Trish Gergich, Chair
I joined the Board in May of 2019. I have 15 years of experience as a professional fundraiser, raising funds for education, mental health, community healthcare and hospice. I have a degree in International Development and a passion to help those living in developing countries, especially in South and Central America. I volunteered in Peru many years ago, helping children who were orphaned, neglected or abused. The experience left an imprint on my heart. I feel fortunate that my volunteer role with Heart-Links gives me the chance to connect again with the people of Peru right here in London, Ontario.
Tayane Santos Bomfim Andrade, Treasurer
Nathalie Kroeker, Secretary
I joined the Heart-Links board in 2020 after completing my MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. I was drawn to Heart-Links’ mission of building cross-cultural relationships, which is why I chose to sit on Heart-Links’ Solidarity Trip Committee. I bring to this role on-the-ground experience with peace-work organizations in Bosnia and Guatemala. I currently reside in Kelowna, BC, where I am completing a PhD.
I volunteered to join the Heart-Links Board of Directors in 2022 to touch the lives of women and girls by empowering them to reach their potential. My social justice compassion is rooted in the spirit of Ubuntu which speaks about our interconnectedness and fairness regardless of which part of the world you live in. In the past 30 years of my legal career, I have acquired extensive experience working in human rights. My work has been to advocate for vulnerable groups, including women, youth, persons with disabilities, and Aboriginal children. I find this work meaningful and fulfilling. It is my hope that my previous experience serving on various boards will give me an opportunity to advance gender equity, as well as economic empowerment for women who are within the reach of Heart-Links.
I joined the Heart-Links’ board in 2019 and I am on the Peru Projects Committee. In my professional life as a community developer, I have worked on numerous global and local projects concerned with food security and social justice. For more than 10 years I was field director for a grassroots Canadian NGO, working throughout the Caribbean region with agricultural co-operatives and sustainability projects. My involvement with Heart-Links means that as a retired person I can support projects that promote and build community internationally through Canada-Peru solidarity.
I am a PhD student in Media Studies at Western University, with a BA in Economic Development and International Cooperation from the University of Florence, Italy, and an MA in International Relations from Aarhus University in Denmark. My doctoral research focuses on social movements and environmental activism and how they translate in policy. My research interests include environmental communication, media activism and social movements, and access to information on environmental justice matters with a particular focus on the Latin American region. Currently, I am working as a research assistant for the project Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador, a collaborative research initiative to document the Salvadoran Civil War. I joined the Heart-Links board in 2021.
I have three decades of experience working with vulnerable communities in urban and rural areas in both Peru and Canada. As a case worker at My Sister’s Place, I have dedicated 17 years to community mental health, in particular among women facing abuse and trauma. One of the passions I share with Heart-Links is the desire to help Peruvian communities along the road to an improved quality of life by supporting their empowerment through education and training, starting with the recognition of their own strengths and potential. I have served on the Heart-Links board since 2016.
I draw on 15 years of work in the international development, humanitarian, and non-profit sectors and have held senior leadership positions in Central America, the Caribbean, Central Asia, Africa and most recently Canada. Besides my most recent position as program manager with Plan International Canada, I have held positions with Save the Children, CARE International, and Christian Aid. I hold an MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies from the University of London, UK, and a BA in Political Science (International Relations) from the University of British Columbia. I am a fluent English and Spanish speaker. I joined the Heart-Links board in 2022.
I joined the Heart-Links board in 2020. As an HR administrator who recently immigrated to Canada with my family from Brazil, I hope to draw on both my familiarity with the Latin American region and my professional expertise to promote great leadership and smart project management within our organization. I am motivated by my wife, who has always encouraged me to participate in humanitarian work, but also by a personal desire to help vulnerable people build a more secure and stable life for themselves, their families, and their communities. I am eager to educate our community here in London about the problems that other localities face and about the capacity of organizations like Heart-Links to make a profound difference in people’s lives.
I joined the board in March of 2022. I have a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality and an MBA in Business Management, and for seven years, I was a flight attendant in South America. I remember many times visiting countries in South America, including Peru, and witnessing people’s simplicity and hospitality. Also, I love to support people arriving for the first time in London. As an immigrant, I know how challenging it is to restart life again and learn a new culture and language. I am studying at Fanshawe College to become a human resources professional, and my career goal is to provide people opportunities to grow and develop their careers. I am pleased to be chosen as a volunteer at Heart-Links and be able to make a difference in people’s lives in Peru.
Ruth Taylor (staff)
I work part-time as Heart-Links’ sole staff person. Supported by a great board and many dedicated volunteers, I get to apply my skills to helping make our world a little more like the compassionate, fair, inclusive place I’d love it to be. I draw on close to a decade of experience working as a journalist and communicator in Guatemala and on a long history of participation in global solidarity efforts. I was thrilled to discover that an organization like Heart-Links existed in London, Ontario, and even more thrilled that they hired me.