Meet our Board of Directors
The board of directors is the legal authority for Women’s Place of South Niagara Inc. By providing effective governance and strategic leadership, and by acting as ambassadors for Women’s Place, board members ensure that the agency is able to effectively continue its efforts to provide safe haven and support services to women and children fleeing abuse in our community.
Deborah Richards – President
Deborah Richards has spent her career in the non-profit sector with an emphasis on those who have a mental health diagnosis and an intellectual disability. She has been and continues to be a strong advocate in the prevention of abuse for our most vulnerable populations. As the Co-founder and Clinical Director of DS Consulting, she developed and implements “Training the Trainer Abuse Awareness Certification – TTAAC” program for developmental service agencies throughout Ontario. Deborah is also a Registered Psychotherapist with the Ontario College of Registered Psychotherapists and has a private therapy practice in Fonthill. She is passionate in her private practice toward supporting victims of abuse. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies, a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and a Post Graduate Certificate in Habilitative Mental Health. Deborah has been a long time resident in the Pelham area.
Alison Ryder – Vice-President
A lifelong resident of Niagara, Alison obtained her first degree at Brock University, graduating with her Hons. BA in Recreation and Leisure Studies, and worked for 9 years as an Activation Therapist in long-term care. While completing her Human Resource certificate at Niagara College, followed by her B.Ed in Adult Education, also at Brock, she pursued a number of career opportunities, including marketing, teaching, and entrepreneurship. Alison is currently the Academic Advisor for the School of Community Services at Niagara College.
Mary Battey – Treasurer
Mary has been in the construction and property management business for over 30 years. While working for one of North America’s largest construction companies in Toronto, she administered project accounting operations over a 5 year period for the construction of the $500M BCE Place which is home of the Hockey Hall of Fame. She is also very experienced in developing and maintaining budget and cost saving strategies. Mary was educated in Toronto.
While not working Mary is a dedicated mother to her son and spends most of her spare time driving from hockey rink to hockey rink.
Kristine Canniff – Secretary
Kristine is the Research Project Manager of the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre at Niagara College where she assists food and beverage partners by providing access to funding, expertise and technology for research and innovation. She is also a Life Goals Coach who operates a coaching business in her spare time. She is passionate about helping people set and achieve their goals.
Prior to this, Kristine served as Director of a fundraising agency serving Canadian charities and non-profits where she oversaw training and operations. Kristine brings over 15 years’ experience in communications, training and project management. She has taught marketing at Niagara College and coaching skills at the Toronto Learning Annex.
Kristine holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from Brock University, and is currently enrolled part-time in Niagara College’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program. She is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaches Training Institute and is certified through the International Coach Federation.
Kristine joined our Board of Directors in 2013 and serves as Secretary. Her background provides the Board with broad expertise in communications, fundraising and governance.
Nancy Dillon – Director
Nancy Dillon is a Consultant in Organizational Development with the Niagara Health System. With more than 30 years of experience, she is committed to the development of people, processes and practices to continuously improve organizational performance. She attended Niagara College and Brock University and has a certificate in Public Relations and Adult Education and is a certified Change Management Practitioner.
Nancy is a proud graduate of Leadership Niagara. Her volunteer experience includes the United Way of South Niagara, Niagara Victim Crisis Support Services and Healthy Living Niagara.
She was born and raised in Welland and just recently moved to Crystal Beach with Randy. They enjoy spending time with their 4 children, cycling on the Friendship Trail, kayaking and strolling along the shores of Lake Erie.
Frances Gregotski – Director
Frances was formerly the Human Resource Manager at Cytec Canada Inc. before she retired in 2011. Upon her retirement, she was approached to lead the Welland McMaster Family Health Team as it began its journey to create a team of Allied Health Professionals to support the patients of 10 Family Physicians. She is still currently the Executive Director at the Family Health Team. In 2013, Fran completed a 6-year term as director on the Board for WPSN. She is excited to return and work with a dedicated and caring group of individuals in their effort to support abused women and children. She is also a member of the board for Positive Living Niagara and an active member of 100+ Women Who Care Niagara.
Teresa Quinlin – Director
Teresa Quinlin is a self-motivated, energetic leader with demonstrated expertise in Corporate and Financial Services. She is a consultant with Teresa Quinlin and Associates Inc. She was formerly the Vice President Corporate Services and Vice President Business Development at Niagara College before she retired in 2015 after 20 years. Teresa oversaw a division that included Financial Services, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Facilities Management Services, Ancillary Services, Campus Safety, Institutional Planning and Research and Sustainability. She successfully led the College’s $90 million capital expansion.
Teresa is a Chartered Accountant who holds an undergraduate degree from Brock University and a Masters in Business Administration from Niagara University. She is a graduate from Leadership Niagara and the Community Shift program for Not-for-Profit Organizations from Richard Ivey School of Business.
Teresa’s volunteer experience includes One Foundation for the Niagara Health System Board, YMCA of Niagara Board, Niagara Community Foundation Investment Committee, Ontario Colleges Library Service Board, Leadership Niagara Board and Niagara College Foundation Board.
Susan Robbins – Director
Susan attended Niagara College where she graduated from the Early Childhood Education Program. She worked directly with children for several years before managing multiple child care centres. Having always known her intention was to help families in the Niagara Region, she has many years’ experience working with families, helping them in a variety of ways, from helping them find child care, to helping them fill out forms for social services or to secure housing.
She lives with her husband John and their two adopted sons in Ridgeway, Ontario
Jeffrey Sinclair – Director
Jeff completed a Bachelor of Business, International Commerce and Global Development at Niagara College in 2012, including an internship as capacity development officer with the O R Tambo Development agency in South Africa.
Jeff is currently employed as the Homelessness Action Plan Advisor at the Niagara Region, and he also provides consulting on strategy and impact assessment as a business partner at J. Sinclair & Associates.
Both Jeff and his wife, Jennifer, are both originally from Niagara Falls. Together, they are actively involved in promoting social innovation and social justice within the Niagara region. Jeff’s involvement also includes: Chair of research & evaluation at the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network (NPRN), community investment committee member at the United Way, and curriculum team member at Leadership Niagara.
Deborah Wilkes-Whitehall – Director
Debbie received her M.D. from Queen’s University in 1990. She did her Family Medicine Residency at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, through McGill University. She received her Diploma in Clinical Behavioural Sciences from McMaster University in 2002.
She is a Certificant and Fellow of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and a Certificant of the General Practice Psychotherapy Association. She is a Part-Time Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.
She currently works as a Family Physician in Port Colborne. She is the Medical Director of the Niagara Eating Disorder Outpatient Program. She is a Longitudinal Facilitator for Professional Competency for the McMaster University DeGroot School of Medicine.
She is married to Jeff. They have 3 sons and Chesapeake Bay retriever. Her hobbies include rowing, running and NFL football.