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Board of Directors

Durham Children’s Aid Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The board consists of a minimum of ten (10) and a maximum of sixteen (16) directors, comprised of up to three (3) appointed directors, and the balance being rotating directors.

All of our board members:

  • Live or work in Durham Region;
  • Have an interest in children and quality children’s services;
  • Are able to attend at least two meetings per month;
  • Are members of the Society;
  • Support the Vision, Mission and objectives of Durham CAS; and
  • Are interested in advocating for the needs of children.

As the demographic profile of Durham Region is constantly changing, we are expressly interested in receiving inquiries and applications from members of Durham’s visible minority community.

If you are interested in getting involved with our Board, contact Candy Cook, 905-433-1551, ext. 2474.

Board meetings are held monthly (usually on the last Thursday of the month), and are open to the public.

Andrew Campbell


I am passionate about transformational leadership and advocacy leadership. I believe that I can use my knowledge, skills, and abilities to help in the work of Durham CAS. I am especially interested in the area of change and system leadership and performance/quality improvement. I am very passionate about my community and the power of representation.

Vera Mercier


I am honored to serve on the board, bringing over twenty years of professional experience in children, youth, and family services. I am a passionate advocate for children and families, and throughout my career, I have witnessed the profound impact that strong family support systems can have on children’s well-being. I am committed to our community’s welfare and have dedicated over ten years of my life to volunteering with organizations dedicated to child welfare. This has solidified my dedication to Durham CAS’s mission of providing essential services to our most vulnerable children and families.

My passion for promoting cultural competency and diversity underscores my belief in creating an inclusive environment that better serves our diverse communities and ensures equity in child welfare services. Being on the board means having the opportunity to play an integral role in shaping policies and strategies that impact the lives of children and families in our community. It’s a responsibility I wholeheartedly embrace, and I am deeply honored to collaborate with this dedicated team.

Nana Ayiku


Having lived in Durham region for over twelve years, I have sought the opportunity to give back purposely to the community in which I live and that in which my young son is growing up. Having served on the Durham CAS board for four years, I have been humbled by the opportunity to serve alongside a quality group of board members and proud to participate in my own small way towards enabling the agency’s child welfare redesign strategy and vision. The opportunity to lend my professional skill sets within finance and accounting and business strategy coupled with the opportunities to share perspectives from my own lived experiences as a member of a historically marginalized population has been a very rewarding and meaningful experience.

Stacey Lepine-Fisher


Stacey Lepine-Fisher has served children, youth and families in varying capacities for over  30 years. Stacey holds a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, a diploma in Early Childhood Education and many leadership and business certificates from post-secondary institutions.

Stacey currently works at the Durham District School Board where she gives lead to the Early Years and Community and Partnership Development departments as well as the Ignite Durham Learning Foundation. Stacey understands the importance of human rights to protect and preserve humanity and works hard to ensure that The Convention on the Rights of the Child are also recognized and adhered to.

Stacey’s passion for children and youth, using her everyday privilege to drive change and her goal of seeking racial equity in all spaces she works and serves, is what brought her to the Durham Children’s Aid Society Board of Directors.

Matthew Sinclair

Honourary Past President

As a resident of Durham Region for most of my life and as an educator for the last fifteen years, I have devoted much of my professional and volunteer energies towards youth in the region. I am presently in a professional role that is devoted to eradicating oppressive barriers in our society at a provincial level which I am proud to extend to my role as part of this amazing board of directors.

My immediate family has been brought together through public adoption which in part, provides continued motivation and connection to contribute to Durham CAS.

Graciel Ballesteros

Board member

Growing up, volunteerism and community building were core values that Graciel developed during her high school days, which followed her to university, and her post-graduate years. She is passionate about youth empowerment, getting involved in youth-led initiatives, mentoring, and networking opportunities. Volunteering for youth crisis lines has also strengthened her advocacy for youth mental health and is continuously engaging in promoting conversations around mental health. With a background in safety, quality, and risk, her goal is to meaningfully engage with the team, working towards ensuring that there is a positive contribution to child and family welfare, and that barriers are identified, challenged, and addressed. Although this is her first time serving on a board, it is not taken for granted and she is continuously inspired and honoured to work with a Board that is passionate and purposeful on making an impact within the community, for children, youth, and their families.

Victoria Bozinovski

Board member

I bring a unique set of skills and experience that are relevant to the work of the Durham CAS. Whether it’s my professional background as a public servant or my expertise in fundraising and community engagement, I am confident that I can make valuable contributions to the board’s initiatives and programs.

Being on the board allows me to contribute to the well-being and development of children in need. I am passionate about helping young people thrive and believe that serving on the board would provide a meaningful avenue to make a positive impact on their lives. On the board, I can actively advocate for the rights of children and ensure that their voices are heard. I believe that every child deserves a safe and nurturing environment, and being part of the board would enable me to work towards achieving this goal.

Laura Colwell

Board member

Laura Colwell, B.A., served as Councillor at the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation from June 2017 to June 2023. Prior to being elected as Councillor, Laura was employed at the Great Blue Heron Casino for over twenty years in many leadership roles throughout the organization.

Laura continues to sit on the Board of Directors for Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child Family Services, where she is able to continue to advocate for children and families in her community and others. Laura resides on the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation with her husband Mike. They have two sons.

Laura states, “It is a privilege and honour to sit on the Durham CAS Board. Durham CAS recognizes the importance to have an indigenous voice at the Board level. Having the opportunity to advocate and provide support to children, youth and families in a positive way is why I am involved with our child welfare systems.”

Cassandra Duncan

Board member

As a community justice worker with over fifteen years of experience working with adults and youths in a court diversion program, I have seen how poverty, homelessness, mental health, and addictions are affecting our communities. Durham CAS’s mission, vision and values align with my belief that it takes a village to raise a child. With a strategic plan that focuses on keeping children in their homes and communities while providing support and resources to the family, kin or kith that ultimately result in the overall health and safety of the children, youth and families is why I am passionate about Durham CAS and a proud to be board member.

Durham CAS’s commitment to living out its AOPDEI values is another reason that I am proud of my association with DCAS. The organization is committed to fostering a healthy workplace environment and genuinely cares about the well-being of its staff members.

Nadia Gouveia

Board member

Nadia Gouveia is a community leader with a deep commitment to service both locally and internationally. For the past twenty years, she has been committed to work that addresses the needs of various equity deserving communities. Her formal career began in South Africa where she supported community programs. She then shifted her focus to more local impact with a series of community development roles in Toronto, leading to her tenure at Toronto Community Housing (TCHC).

She joined TCHC in 2009 as the Social Investment Fund Manager, followed by a series of roles including Children and Youth Manager, Community Economic Development Manager and Director of Programs and Partnerships. Most recently, in April 2022, she was appointed Acting Chief Operating Officer for TCHC where she leads the full breadth of operational services provided to TCHC tenants. She is also currently a proud member of the Durham CAS board and looks forward to ongoing impact in the work she does.

Heather Hilker

Board member

Certified human resource professional leader, and a Prosci certified change management practitioner with over twenty years in human resource leadership positions. In her various professional roles, Heather has partnered with organizations spanning from government healthcare to global high-tech industries, providing advice and support on strategic, cultural, talent, and change management programs.

Born and raised in Ajax, as well as a mother of two young adult boys still making Durham Region her home, Heather has spent her life enjoying the community, the people and the services provided. Heather is giving back to her community that has been home for her and her extended family for decades. Providing her experience in human resources, organizational development and mental health, Heather provides support to the welfare of the children in our community and the hard-working staff who deliver services to these vulnerable individuals.

Dr. Joseph Idegwu

Board member

Joseph is a banking and financial service professional, with over twenty years’ experience in enterprise risk management, corporate governance and risk assessment advisory, professional experience, spanning over regulatory compliance and governance, financial crimes investigation/fraud management, and cyber security. His financial services expertise is a great asset to ensuring quality outcomes, by collaborating with other board members to provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance.

He has served on the board for five years, serving as board treasurer, chair of the Finance Committee and executive board member, and as a member of the Service Quality and Outcome Committee. Joseph has a passionate and keen interest in children, youth and women welfare and advocacy. He is solution oriented and has well-developed oversight and organizational awareness skills ensuring that key details of strategic plans and corporate governance are properly articulated and executed. He supports a strong culture of transparency and open communication in a manner that permits an atmosphere where conflicting views can be expressed on how to reach board consensus and resolution.

Gillian Lock

Board member

Gillian is an Inspector for Durham Regional Police Service in the People, Development and Learning unit focusing on implementing new policies and process for organizational improvement. For ten years Gillian was a member of the Durham CAS Child Abuse Review Team.

She is passionate about the rights of children and of their families. Earlier in her career she investigated criminal cases of physical and sexual child abuse. She witnessed the great work Durham CAS does for vulnerable children and wanted to support the agency by becoming a board member in 2022. Gillian lives in Port Perry with her family and enjoy the outdoors.

Jolleen Mathews

Board member

As an educator, parent, and concerned community member Jolleen strives to serve every student and ensure they know they are valued and belong. She has worked in education for over thirty years and has dedicated her most recent work to struggling students, families, and marginalized youth. She believe in serving vulnerable children, youth, and families in Durham to ensure they have every opportunity to thrive in education with their families and their community. She believes we do that through cultural humility, accountability, and respect. Every child matters.


Drew Samuels

Board member

Drew Samuels is an accomplished professional with a multifaceted background in the legal and mediation fields. As a licensed paralegal and a qualified mediator, Drew brings a wealth of expertise to his roles. Currently serving as the Director of Litigation and Administration at DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Canada, Ltd., Drew specializes in offering strategic litigation guidance and legal counsel across a diverse range of legal matters.

Drew is a dedicated volunteer with a remarkable commitment to community service. He lends his expertise and leadership to an array of boards. He serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Durham Community Legal Clinic and as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the Durham College Alumni Association.

Drew’s dedication to social responsibility is a driving force in his life. He is passionate about making a positive impact on his community, believing that his legacy is rooted in the fulfillment and purpose he gains through strategic leadership, advocacy for youth, and the pursuit of meaningful policy changes.


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