The MATCH International Women’s Fund Board of Directors is a group of strong, dedicated Canadian leaders who are passionate about women’s rights. Coming from diverse backgrounds, our Board is foundational to The MATCH Fund’s continued success.
Joanna Kerr: Chair
Joanna Kerr is President and CEO of Tides Canada, a leading national charity that enables community-led transformation advancing environmental, social, and economic justice in Canada. Joanna led Greenpeace Canada as Executive Director, working to stop climate change and protect precious biodiversity while supporting Indigenous rights. She served as the first female Chief Executive of ActionAid International working in 50 countries with the most marginalized communities to tackle inequality. She also led the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, transforming it into one of the most significant global feminist conveners and influencers on funding for gender equality.
Joanna has held senior positions with Oxfam Canada—where she spearheaded its women and climate campaign—and the North-South Institute, where she was researching, writing and influencing international policy and processes for women’s rights and empowerment as a Senior Researcher throughout the 1990s. Some of her publications include The Future of Women’s Rights (Zed Press co-edited with Ellen Sprenger) Ours by Right: Women’s Rights are Human Rights (Zed Press) and Demanding Dignity: Women confronting Economic Reforms in Africa (North South Institute co-edited with Dzodzi Tsikata).
Joanna has served on numerous boards including Gender at Work, The Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Society for International Development and CIVICUS. Joanna Kerr holds a BA from the University of Toronto and an MA in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. A Canadian, she has lived in Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Germany and the UK and has worked across Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Maxine Ifill: Treasurer
Currently, a Senior Director with the Government of Canada, Maxine Ifill has held executive level positions in the Federal Public Service since 2006. Maxine has ten years of private sector business marketing experience, managing quarterly marketing campaigns with Bell Canada and conducting national customer research studies with Canada Post. She is a former co-chair of the Black History Ottawa committee and a former board member of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. Maxine holds an MBA in marketing and international business from McGill University as well as a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa.
Linda Plumpton: Director
Linda Plumpton, a member of Torys’ Executive Committee, is a partner in the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice and Competition and Antitrust Practice Group. Her practice focuses on competition litigation, class action defence, corporate/commercial disputes, and securities litigation. She also practises in the areas of public law, constitutional law, and employment. Linda has appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada, in all levels of court in Ontario, and in the Federal Court, as well as before the Competition Tribunal and the Ontario Securities Commission.
Nick Cowling: Director
For almost 20 years, Nick has been crafting corporate and media strategies for clients and advising senior executives on maximizing communications to deliver direct business results. As President for North America of Citizen Relations, he is responsible for providing vision, growth of the business and strategic oversight for a client portfolio including Egg Farmers of Canada, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo Foods, Dyson, Loblaws and MolsonCoors. Before joining Citizen, Nick spent four years managing public relations, internal communications, community affairs, and the environment portfolio for The Home Depot Canada. He has a wide range of industry and sector experience including clean technology, financial services, energy, non-profit, and retail. Nick is also a blogger for the Huffington Post.
Susan Lewis: Director
Susan Lewis has been dedicated to the United Way movement since 1974 when she began working as a Campaign Manager at United Way of Winnipeg, ultimately assuming the role of President in 1985. Susan retired in November 2014 after over four decades of dedicated service to her community. As a CEO, she challenged the status quo and in the mid-1990s launched a transformational change process that led to a new vision and a new operating model and restructured every functional area of United Way of Winnipeg. In 2006, Susan led the formation of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council which included leadership from all sectors working together to address in real and measurable ways some of Winnipeg’s toughest issues. Susan has served on many boards and advisory councils and continues to do so in her retirement.
Robin Howlings: Director
Robin Howlings, Owner and CEO of Danamark WaterCare, has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs in Canadian business, while leading Danamark to a market-leading position in the increasingly important water filtration business. In 2012, Robin was recognized as a Canadian Diversity Champion by Women of Influence. Robin is a past board member of MADD Canada, Mothers against Drunk Driving, and a past member of the advisory board for Canada’s Most Powerful Women-Top 100 and The Ted Rogers School of Business Management. Robin is a member of The International Women’s Forum (IWF) and The Women’s Executive Network (WXN). She is active in Ronald McDonald’s House Charities, and founded The Robin S. Howlings Foundation for Clean Water, in memory of her late father. Robin has completed the Institute for Corporate Directors (ICD) course for Not-for-profit boards. In 2014, Robin attended Harvard University as an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow. In Sept. 2015, Robin joined UNICEF Canada and the 25th Team; a National Women’s Giving Circle. Robin lives in Toronto with her partner, Paul Bowers and enjoys golf, cycling, good wine and cooking!
Marissa Wesely is the Chief Executive Officer of Win-Win Strategies, a non-profit social enterprise that connects the power of business with the deep assets of women’s organizations to empower women globally. Win-Win Strategies grew out of the Win-Win Coalition, a global network of companies, women’s organizations, and foundations, for which Marissa acted as Coordinator until assuming her current role. Marissa has served as an Advisor to the “Path to Empowerment” series hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center, and was a 2014 Fellow at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center, affiliated with the Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative. Marissa is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and, until her 9-year term ends in November 2018, the Board of Directors of Global Fund for Women. Marissa speaks and writes regularly on issues of women’s empowerment and rights, including as the author of the 2015 cover story in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Empowering Women at the Grassroots.” Prior to 2014, Marissa was a partner in the global law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and was regularly recognized as a leading lawyer in banking and finance. As a long-standing advocate for women in diverse settings, Marissa has received many awards, including the ABA’s 2014 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. Marissa received her B.A. from Williams College, magna cum laude, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude. Marissa lives in New York City with her husband, and has one daughter who is the Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker.
Peggy Antrobus is from the Caribbean – living and working in many of the island states. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics, a Professional Certificate in Social Work and a Doctorate in Education. Since 1974, when she served as Advisor on Women’s Affairs to the government of Jamaica and established their Women’s Bureau, she has worked for the advancement of women’s rights and development. In 1978 she set up the Women and Development (WAND) Unit at the University of the West Indies, and is a founding member of many regional and international organizations including CAFRA (the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action), and DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era). She has served on the Boards and Advisory Commitees of many international organisations including The Match Fund (1978-83), The Coady Institute (1987-1990), the Society for International Development, SID (1991-94) and the Center of Concern, a Washington-based Jesuit organization concerned with international development (1998-2006); and carried out consultancies for numerous agencies and foundations including CIDA, UNIFEM, UNDP, the Ford Foundation, the Rockerfeller Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She has contributed chapters and articles to many publications and her book, The Global Women’s Movement: Origins, Issues and Strategies, was published by Zed Books in 2004.
Diana Rivington is currently a member of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance Independent Review Committee and an independent consultant. Through her long career with the Canadian International Development Agency, Diana made major contributions to CIDA’s Gender Equality policy and programming which were globally recognized as innovative and leading edge. Her last position at CIDA was Director, Human Development and Gender Equality. During her posting to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York, Diana sat on the Advisory Committee of UNIFEM and on the governing Bureau of UNICEF and was a key player in Canada’s successful promotion of the global effort that created UN Women. Diana has made significant contributions to numerous international fora focused on women’s empowerment, including as Chair of the OECD Working Party on Gender Equality from 1998-2000 and as a negotiator on the Canadian delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. Her diplomatic postings also included Honduras and Colombia. Before joining CIDA, she worked with the Canadian NGOs World University Service of Canada, CUSO, and Canada World Youth. Diana’s involvement with Match goes back to when she was a student at the University of Ottawa, biking around Ottawa to organize a Christmas raffle fundraiser. More recently, as a “Friend of Match”, she has been involved with the Feminist Human Library and the recent Feminist Trivia Match.
Mebrat Beyene: Director
Mebrat is an Eritrean, born in Ethiopia and raised in Montreal. She is a mother, community developer, teacher, and singer known for her passion, enthusiasm, and energy. As executive director of WISH and co-chair of Living in Community, Mebrat supports women and initiatives related to the health and safety of women engaged in street-based sex work. She has worked in social justice, and non-profit management and community development for over twenty years. Mebrat has worked closely with women and women-serving organizations as a Programs Officer with Status of Women Canada; and served as executive director of PeerNetBC. In a volunteer capacity, Mebrat sits on the Boards of Pivot Legal Society and MATCH International Women’s Fund; serves on the City of Vancouver’s Black History Month Planning Committee, and also volunteers with the Vancouver Youth Choir. She lives in East Van, doing as much singing, adventuring and plotting with her son…much to their cat’s chagrin.