Board of Directors
BOARD MEMBER BIOS
The Board of Directors is made up of 15 members – nine residents (of which four must be 55+) and 6 representatives of partner agencies providing services to all ages.
William (Bill) Atanas – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
A Brantford resident, Bill retired from the City of Hamilton after 35 years of service in leadership and program management positions in Employment and Income Support, Ontario Works, Culture, Recreation, Housing & Homelessness, and Strategic Services. Bill brings skills developed over the years in public services, as a volunteer board member in community and health organizations, and personal care-giver experience for seniors and youth.
Sara Darling – Community Agency Representative
Sara is the Community Service-Learning Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford Campus. She coordinates student placements and projects with organizations in the community. Her previous work as an Early Childhood Educator in the role of Early Literary Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator prepared her well for her current position. Sara is also active with the Boys and Girls Club, the Social Profit Innovation Network, Brant Regional Association of Volunteer Administrators (BRAVA), 100 Women Who Care Brantford Chapter, and a Brant County Home & School Association.
Jim Harder – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
Jim is a long time resident of Brant County and lives in Paris. Jim’s career in education spanned 34 years as a teacher, vice-principal and principal in the elementary school system and as a Special Education Head in the secondary school system. He has certification from the Ministry of Education in five specialty areas and can still be found coaching high school sports. As an active Board member, Jim represents the GRCOA on 11 different community committees. As a retired Teacher, he is also active in the Retired Teachers of Ontario Association, Brantford-Brant branch.
Maryellen MacLellan – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
Maryellen has 40 years of experience in the social housing industry, initially with the Brant and Brantford Housing Authority and then the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Housing where she was responsible for the implementation of the Special Priority Policy for victims of family violence, Race and Ethnic Relations policy and Quality of Life policies. She then joined the Niagara Housing Corporation as Manager of Community Programs, followed by Operations Manager and General Manager. Maryellen returned to the City of Brantford as Director of Housing and, prior to her retirement, was responsible for the building of Brantford’s first self-sustaining energy efficient and mixed income 57 unit apartment building for older persons over the age of 60.
Lucy Marco – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
Lucy has 57 years of experience in manufacturing, marketing, human resources, administration and management positions, combined with 50 years of volunteer service in over 40 community boards, advisory committees and service clubs. A recipient of many awards, Lucy is most proud of her federal Citation for Citizenship, YMCA Peacemaker Medal, Rotary Sunrise Paul Harris Fellow Award, Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award and the naming of a Wilfrid Laurier University Student Residence as Lucy Marco Place.
Jennifer Miller – Community Agency Representative
Jennifer is the Administrator of the John Noble Home which is devoted to senior housing, care and services. A registered nurse and with a Masters of Business Administration in Management, Jennifer has held many positions in her 29 year career in long term care. A passionate advocate, Jennifer is chair of the Brant Long Term Care Administrators Association, a member of the Board of the Long Term Care Network Council for the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Region, and an active member of the Executive Leadership Team for the development of the Brantford Brant Ontario Health Team.
Annette Minutillo – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
Annette’s many years of work experience in strategic leadership and administrative positions have taken her from Executive Director of Braemar House School through to a Professional Development Consultant and finally into Real Estate, specializing in housing options for age 50+ adults. As well, she has experience in Board governance, community relations, fundraising and stewardship. Always aware of the changes in the workplace, Annette led Braemar House School to create and integrate advancements in technology, receiving the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award in Technology.
Nina Okopien – Community Agency Representative
Nina is a Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant and Team Leader for the Alzheimer Society of Brant. Nina’s nursing career has provided 24 years in long term care as a nurse, manager and associate director. Nina is passionate in her philosophy, “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, to be able to think like they think, feel what they feel, and understand why they are who and where they are….every step is about empathy!”
Gloria Ord – Community Agency Representative
Gloria is a Client Advocate and Counsellor with the Grand River Community Health Centre where she also facilitates weekly women’s groups and Horticultural Therapy and Gardening Workshops. Prior to relocating to Canada from Scotland, in 2004, Gloria worked with seniors in a nursing home and with adults with learning disabilities in group homes where she specialized in creating “sensory” gardens for wellbeing. This has allowed Gloria to include her passion for gardening in her work.
Marcia Pereira – Resident Member
Marcia is the owner/operator of a new business, “Metronom Arts”, that focuses on personal and enriching experiences for older adults…i.e. written legacies/videos, accompanied outings, art/photo collages, etc. Marcia has 22 years of experience of working with both youth and seniors while in positions in Administration, Community Engagement, Customer relations, Advocacy, Fundraising, and Arts and Culture. Marcia is completing her continuing education process in order to be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
DeAnna Renn – Community Agency Representative
DeAnna is a Public Health Nurse with over 20 years at the Brant County Health Unit. With experience in health promotion, smoking cessation, healthy eating, early cancer detection, mental health and family health, DeAnna is well qualified for her current role as the lead of the Healthy Aging Program. DeAnna is passionate about healthy aging and is dedicated to educating residents about healthy lifestyles and prevention of injury and abuse. In addition to the GRCOA, DeAnna is active with the local Seniors Safety Group and the Brant Elder Abuse Awareness Committee.
James (Jim) Steele – Resident Member (55+)
Jim has 36 years of experience in the municipal supply of power… 16 years with Brantford Power and 20 years as CEO of Kinetiq Canada, a software developer for Ontario municipalities. The 36 years also includes active membership in Kiwanis through to District Secretary of Eastern Canada & the Caribbean. His board experience is vast and includes Past Chair of the Brant Community Foundation, Participation Support Services, Brant Community Healthcare System and the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation.
Abu Noman Tarek – Resident Member
Shaykh Abu Noman Tarek has been serving as an Imam, Teacher, Chaplain, Educator and Consultant in Canada for 15 years. He currently holds three Bachelor Degrees and two Master’s degrees that he earned starting in Bangladesh, and has been continuing in Canada. Currently, he is the Imam-Director of Religious Affairs of the Muslim Association of Brantford, serves as a psychotherapist at Help2Heal and Syeda Khadija Centre, teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University and serves as Chaplain at different correctional services and hospitals. Under his leadership, 83 refugee families have come to Canada and settled in 15 cities.
Betty Ann Whitney – Retired – Resident Member (55+)
Betty Anne is a retired educator with over 35 years of experience as an elementary teacher, coordinator of special education, elementary principal and finally, as principal of the Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA), an alternative secondary school with Continuing Education programs. An active contributor to the community, her volunteer activities have supported the success of many social service and education organizations. She is currently the President of the Retired Teachers of Ontario-Brant District.
Rebecca Wilson – Community Agency Representative
Rebecca brings a unique perspective to the GRCOA. She is a Haudenosaunee woman whose father’s family are members of the Tuscarora Nation and live on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve and her mother’s family is of mixed British, Irish and Scandinavian heritage. With a degree in Indigenous Studies and Sociology and many college certificates in non-profit management and various Cultural studies, Rebecca’s employment experience has seen her transition from direct client services through to Executive Director of the Brantford Regional Indigenous Support Centre.