Our executive team works together to oversee the YW’s strategic plan, organizational administration, and direct program areas in housing and homelessness, youth programs, employment and entrepreneurship training, childcare and early learning.
Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer Breaton, RN, MHSc is a recognized leader who has worked in health care and social services for over 20 years. She is passionate about women’s and children’s health and well being.
Jennifer is a collaborative systems leader who believes communities are stronger when they work together.
Director of People & Culture
I am a wife and mother of 3. I was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo and am a proud volunteer within the community. Having worked in the legal world for 15 years I made the switch to Human Resources 6 years ago. I am a board member with the Pregnancy Centre and in my spare time I enjoy attending sporting events, music and the joy of baking. I look forward to being a part of YWKW as a long standing community organization YWKW is a valuable community asset that I am proud to be a part of.
Director of Children’s Services
Keri is the Director of Children’s Services at the YW, a position she has held since 2009.
She has spent her career as an Early Childhood Educator in the non-profit sector, working for YW Children’s Services since 1991 in a variety of roles and at various locations.
She works in partnership with many organizations on behalf of the YW, including the Waterloo Region District School Board and Conestoga College.
She is a member of the Child Care Network of Waterloo Region and the Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region. She is also a participant in the Region’s Early Learning and Child Care Forums.
Director of Development
Christine came to her role as Director of Development in 2019.
She is a life-long resident of Kitchener with post-secondary education in Journalism and Marketing. She has 26 years of experience in communications and public relations, through her position at Waterloo Region Record.
Christine is a member of Kitchener City Council and has served on many volunteer committees and boards in the Waterloo Region, including Safe and Healthy Advisory Committee, Affordable Housing Strategy Committee, Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Board, Centre in The Square Board, Food4Kids Waterloo Wellington Board, 20,000 Homes Canada Campaign, Junior Achievement, and Big Brothers and Sisters.
Director of Homelessness & Housing Services
Abla came to her role as the Director of Homelessness and Housing Services in 2019. She holds a bachelors degree in sociology and masters in sustainable international development, with a focus on social policy and management.
She has experience in affordable and supportive housing at the domestic and international levels. She has a passion for policy and program development, project management, serving on boards and committees in her community, and helping to direct the strategic initiatives of organizations.
She has served on many boards in Hamilton and Oxford County since 2009, including affordable and supportive housing boards and local riding boards, and she continues to maintain positive relationships with provincial and federal government representatives in Hamilton and Oxford County. She is the membership chair for her local riding board in Oxford County.
Rodica is the Controller of the YW, a post she’s held since 2005. Rodica studied economics in Bucharest before moving with her family to Canada in 1993. Prior to joining the YW, Rodica worked in financial management in the private and not-for-profit sectors. In 2011, Rodica received her Canadian Risk Management (CRM) designation, having completed her required course work at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Steph (she/her/hers) is the Director of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity with KPMG in Canada. She brings 12+ years of diverse leadership experience in equity, inclusion & diversity, strategy & operations, leadership, talent management, mental health and well-being, data & analytics and more.
Steph’s purpose in life has always been centered around people. She is a passionate advocate for building more people-centric, equitable cultures and systems.
In her spare time she can be found spending time with friends and family, mentoring, cooking, and planning or partaking in her next outdoor adventure.
Tanya is a committed lifelong learner. She has worked at local technology companies for the past 17 years, with leadership roles in program/project management and operations. She graduated from McGill University with a BA in Political Science and History, and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Tanya has lived in Waterloo Region for 20 years. She is dedicated to community-building and has enjoyed using the skills she’s gained in the corporate world in a volunteer capacity. Most recently, she has devoted her volunteer time to local election campaigns, serving in a variety of community-engagement based roles.
Tanya lives in Waterloo with her partner, children and pets. She is excited and honoured to join the YW Board of Directors.
Lisa is the VP, People & Culture at Borrowell, a Canadian company that provides access to credit education, innovative digital tools and personalized experiences to help all Canadians feel in control and optimistic about their future. With more than 20 years’ experience in the technology industry, Lisa has played a key role in providing HR solutions and programs in the areas of talent acquisition, HR systems/programs, training and development, and leadership and management coaching. She has had extensive experience leading HR and Talent Acquisition teams and is passionate about technology and people.
Lisa holds an Honours Degree in Sociology from McMaster University and a Management Certificate in Human Resources.
Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. You can often find her on a virtual coffee date mentoring up-and-coming professionals and sharing her passion for all things talent.
Karen’s professional roots lie in primary education, where she developed a passion for creating the space for others to flourish. Her proven talents are geared to create a successful learning organization: developing effective stakeholder engagement strategies, workshop design and facilitation, strategic planning, and guiding organizations through complex change initiatives.
Karen is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (B.Sc.), Western (B.Ed.) and Royal Roads University (M.A. Leadership). Prior to joining Habitat Canada as the VP of Affiliate Success, Karen was the CEO of Habitat Waterloo Region (2018-2020), served as a City of Waterloo Councillor (2006-14), and was a professor in Conestoga College’s Business School.
Karen believes that we all have a role in creating a better Waterloo Region for women and girls – a community that is safe and provides opportunities for all to develop strength, stability, and independence.
Linda is an Executive Partner at Gartner, a global business and technological research and consulting company serving over 15,000 organizations in > 100 countries. In this role, she acts as a strategic executive business advisor to CIOs in navigating the challenging global landscape of business and IT to deliver their company’s business objectives. With more than 30 years experience in technology across various industries, Linda has held executive roles leading business and technical teams.
She has expertise in the development and delivery of strategic initiatives with large scale transformational impact. Linda provides career mentorship and is a passionate advocate of initiatives advancing women and children’s lives.
Linda graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science specializing in Artificial Intelligence (BSc). She also holds certifications as a Scrum Master (CSM) and Project Management (PMP).
Linda has 3 adult daughters who are officially off the family payroll. She is an avid fitness buff; enjoys gardening, travelling and friends and family games nights.
Joanna currently works at a marketing consulting firm, but her roots lie in public health, community development, and harm reduction. Joanna holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Western Ontario and previously was on the Board of Directors for Community Living Parry Sound. Joanna considers herself a feminist and is interested in the issues of equity, race, and gender.
She values the impact of womxn in our community and believes that we all have a role to play in creating a diverse community that is inclusive for all.
Ingrid Holbik is a Partner with Grant Thornton LLP where she enjoys engaging with clients and colleagues. She specializes in audit and advisory services for mid-market manufacturing, distribution, services and financial services clients.
She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in 2004 from Wilfrid Laurier University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Ingrid has a history of working with homelessness organizations and supporting inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. At home, she enjoys spending her time outdoors with family, pets and nature.
Linda is the Chief Executive Officer of KidsAbility Centre for Child Development. KidsAbility is a leading provider of children’s rehabilitation services in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. Prior to her appointment to KidsAbility in April 2013, Linda was the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services (OACRS) the provincial umbrella group representing all 20 Children’s Treatment Centres.
A Social Worker by profession, Linda has worked extensively in the community services sector, having held positions with SCI Ontario, March of Dimes Canada and Independent Living Services of Simcoe County. She has built considerable experience in service delivery, client affairs, government relations, non profit leadership and community and organizational development.
She is dedicated to improving the lives and experiences of those who benefit from community services.
Cassie Myers is the CEO and Founder of Lunaria Solutions, where she applies her professional and lived experiences to help companies grow their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
In her free time Cassie mentors for Technovations, an organization that engages young women to build applications around a social problem, and sits on the Scientific Advisory Council for Project Scientist, an education nonprofit providing equitable, evidence-based STEM programs for girls ages 4–12.
Cassie loves to garden, play video games and paint.
Kristen is the Director of Finance at Vidyard, a Waterloo based technology company that helps organizations of all sizes humanize their communications through the use of video. Before Vidyard, Kristen spent the early years of her career within the assurance practice at EY. She brings experience in many different areas of finance including financial reporting, accounting, audit & tax compliance, treasury, and stakeholder management.
Kristen received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a specialization in accounting, and her CPA designation shortly thereafter.
Kristen considers herself a financial feminist and is excited to combine those two passions working with YW Kitchener-Waterloo to improve the lives of women in her community.
Steph currently works as a Recruiter for Ada, a Canadian-based unicorn tech start-up. Prior to joining Ada, Steph spent 5 years as a commercial real estate professional focusing on office/retail leasing and investment sales in the Region. She brings experience across real estate, property management/investment and HR to our board.
Outside of her 9-5, Steph can be found coaching the University of Waterloo Warriors Field Hockey team. An alum of the program and university herself, she is entering her 8th season as a coach. As a lifelong athlete, Steph cherishes the opportunity to stay involved in sport while guiding these young womxn through some of the most transformative years of their life.
Born and raised in Waterloo, Steph has a deep passion to see Waterloo Region prosper. She is honoured to be a part of the YW Board of Directors and give back to the community while supporting womxn and children.
A graduate of University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting & Finance, Helene also obtained her Masters in Accounting and holds a CPA, CA designation.
Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Helene has led Finance teams in various industries. Most recently, Helene was CFO at Tennis Canada, a not-for-profit national tennis federation and organizer of the world-renowned tennis tournaments in Toronto and Montreal.
Helene has also had the privilege of participating on many not-for-profit boards such as Canada Games 2013, the Jane & Finch Community Tennis Association, and Black Sea Will Smile Ukrainian relief.
After a distinguished career as a Finance Executive, Helene now focuses her time giving back to her community. She recently completed a certificate in NFP Leadership and this solidified her desire to work with NFP’s and charities and help them fulfill their mission.
The rest of the time, you can find her gardening, leading beginner running groups in Ayr Ontario, or hiking on Grand Valley Trails.
Trish is a HR Operations Partner at Magnet Forensics, where she’s able to focus on what she loves, people! She’s passionate about people and building programs and experiences that enable people to thrive at work. Trish brings experience in many different areas of HR like DE&I, leadership development, achievement management, people metrics and total rewards to name a few.
Trish received her Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and her Certified Human Resources Professional designation shortly after.
Trish is a feminist and is passionate about moving the needle and removing barriers for women, youth and children in her community.