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.
Fraser Macdonald, Treasurer
I joined the Heart-Links Board as treasurer in November 2015. I am a retired banker, having served for many years in a senior capacity in various Latin American countries. My experience in South America included active participation in charitable endeavours and through it, I developed a deep appreciation for and friendships with people throughout the region. My wife Yvonne and I are avid but very average golfers and enjoy life on our large hobby farm just outside London.
My name is Julia Rolo, and I am grateful and excited to be joining the board of Heart Links! As a graduate of International Development and a lover of language, culture, and learning, I am happy to be part of this globally conscientious team’s efforts to improve the lived realities of our friends and neighbours in Peru. I am currently working as an external researcher for Department of Social Work at King’s College. I hope to bring my research and communications experience to Heart-Links as we implement new fundraising actions in support of the incredible life-enhancing services run by our partner agencies in Peru.
I recently joined the board of Heart-Links Lazos de Corazón 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.
Michelle Pierce Hamilton
As a career project management professional of over 25 years, I’m delighted to contribute time and skills to Heart-Links. Since exiting my corporate career to focus on my personal dreams, my tea house and my family, it has been a goal for me to be community-focused. I joined Heart-Links in 2019 and couldn’t feel more proud and privileged to be a part of this amazing organization that not only allows us to be local advocates for social accountability and justice, but also to reach across continents into the hearts and lives of these beautiful people in Peru! For me, it’s a gratifying reminder that we are all of us, citizens of the world, and that our efforts are magnified when we think and act globally.
I have 27 years 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.
As a social worker, currently in private practice, I have dedicated my career to strengthening families and communities. I became involved with Heart-Links in 2010: one, because I’d had a busy year at work and wanted to try something completely different; and two, because I had always planned to do international work once my children were grown. Heart-Links’ Work/ Awareness Trip (now called the Solidarity Trip) seemed like the perfect window into international work. From the start, I was hooked. The people I met in Peru were generous and kind and showed such resilience under very difficult circumstances. I returned to Canada resolved to become involved in the organization. It has been a fulfilling endeavour.
Ruth Taylor, Operations Coordinator
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.