Carolyn Warkentin has been the Executive Director at South Essex Community Council in Leamington, Ontario for the past ten years. Prior to that, she spent ten years in the employment sector as an Employment Consultant and a Program Manager. She has been the Southwest Rep for the past ten years and brings a good deal of past board experience with her. Carolyn is currently sitting on two other boards, one of which she is the Chair. Carolyn also delivers board governance training to other non-profit boards on behalf of United Way Centraide Windsor-Essex. Carolyn has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Career Practitioner’s Certificate, and a Certified Association Executive certification from the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
John Mitteregger has been working in vocational and employment services since 1999. He started his career as an Employment Counsellor, Facilitator and Vocational Evaluator. He has held his current role as Director of Employment Services at Job Skills since 2008. John is the Treasurer of First Work and been on the Board since 2009. Throughout his career and in every role he has held, John has worked to assist youth to improve the quality of their lives through connecting them to meaningful employment and careers. John continues to emphasize the value and central importance of a client-centered yet results-oriented approach to youth employment. John completed his schooling at Brock University as well as Sir Sandford Fleming College, with specializations in Psychology and Career Counselling.
KEYS Employment Counselling Services
Gillian Watters is currently the Director of Programs at Kingston Employment & Youth Services (KEYS) and has been part of the First Work/OAYEC network for over 25 years. A graduate of both Queen’s (BA/BEd) and St. Lawrence (BST), Gillian has spent most of her career in the field of workforce development and career counseling. Her years of front-line experience as a teacher, career counselor, and job developer bring a pragmatism to an otherwise creative approach to program development. In her current role, Gillian is particularly passionate about creating programs, which support people through the transition to sustainable employment; and supporting community-led initiatives to grow local economies. Gillian has been a director and/or officer on numerous boards over the years and is currently a Director of Kingston Economic Development as well as the Eastern Region Representative and Director with First Work.
Laryssa Smith Southwest Region Rep
Manager, Employment Services
John Howard Society Niagara
Laryssa has been with the John Howard Society of Niagara for 16 years in a variety of capacities. Her primary role has been in the employment services division, Job Gym, as part of the management team, with a staff of over 30 individuals in both Welland and Fort Erie, and 8 provincially funded programs.
Previously Laryssa worked as a group facilitator and employment counsellor assisting and coaching clients with diverse backgrounds. Her expertise lies primarily in youth employment issues and pre-employment training using cognitive behavior techniques.
Laryssa has acted in an advisory capacity for First Work, the Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centres. In addition, Laryssa is an active member in cross Regional committees and groups including Executive member of YES Niagara, Executive member Welland Neighbourhood Projects, former Employment Service management advisor with Literacy and Basic Skills; Literacy Service Providers and Common Frontline Group, Erie Service Providers, and Youth Engagement Community of Practice. Laryssa’s strengths includes a hands on leadership approach, mentoring and coaching and responding to labour market demands using her creativity and ability to be a forward thinker. Laryssa’s focus at the moment is performing statistical analysis of all employment service reports and evaluating the effectiveness of current practices and behaviours.
Laryssa has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Management Certificate and Human Services. She has a passion for studying social behaviour, especially in the not for profit sector.
Donna SedoreNorthern Region Rep
District of Parry Sound Employment Service
Donna Sedore began her career with Employment North in 1984, and has been leading the organization since 1999, in the role of Executive Director. During this time Employment North has tripled in size and has offices in Gravenhurst and Sundridge, all the while growing youth program opportunities. Donna has served as Chair of Northern Partners for more than 10 years and has been a Board Member at First Work for 4 years. Donna is proud to say that she has been participating in First Work conferences and activities supporting youth since First Work began in 1988.
Kim Patel Central Region Rep
Director of Employment Services
St. Stephen’s Community House
She has been in the employment field for close to two decades supporting job seekers in a variety of programs in many roles including Resource Counsellor, Job Developer and Coordinator. Kim strives to empower her team to provide exceptional support to the Employment & Training Centre’s participants. This support includes finding employment opportunities that fall within the decent work realm.
Susan Watts Eastern Region Rep
Employment and Education Centre
Sue Watts is the Executive Director of the Employment + Education Centre, a charitable, not-for-profit, multi-service organization. Sue has over 25 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector and prides herself on building and growing community collaborations for the purpose of meeting the needs of and positively impacting her communities.
Sue is the recipient of National, Provincial and Local awards for her work in this sector. Sue is an Executive Member of the ONESTEP Board of Directors (provincial) and an Executive Member of Credit Counselling Canada Board of Directors (national). Locally, she is an active member of a number of boards and committees including; City of Brockville Economic Development Advisory Committee, Victim Services of Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Poverty Reduction Alliance, EKIOC Transportation Committee, RNJ Youth Services, Leeds and Grenville Immigration Partnership Council and Employment /Settlement Committee.
LeeAnne MailleFrench Language Service Rep
Director of Operations
YES Employment Services
North Bay, ON
LeeAnne Maille is the Director of Operations at Yes Employment Services in North Bay. She brings to the First Work Board 20 years’ experience in the field where she has worked in both front line and management roles. She brings a solid understanding of the complexities surrounding the issue of youth employment, as well as experience addressing these issues by taking on leadership, advocacy and collaborative roles when needed. LeeAnne’s experience includes both Ministry and community lead committees and initiatives including the EOIS External Reference Group, the local Homelessness and Housing Partnership, the Crown Ward Education Championship Table, the OYAP steering community for the local French catholic school board and the local Newcomer Network. LeeAnne looks forward to continuing to contribute to improvements in the area of youth employment as a member of the First Work Board of Directors.
YMCA of Greater Toronto-York Region
Richmond Hill, ON
Ian’s involvement in the field of youth employment in Toronto commenced in 1987, and he has been with the YMCA of Greater Toronto for the past 20 years. His experience in employment counseling and job development has helped him develop an appreciation for the struggles that many job-seeking individuals go through, and he is amazed and impressed by the tenacity and diligence that so many of his clientele have demonstrated to find and maintain employment, and improve their lives. He owes his success as the General Manager of the York Region Employment Services to the many staff that he has had the privilege of working alongside, in the past and today.
Deanna VillellaPast President
Job Gym – Welland / John Howard Society of Niagara
Deanna has been an active member of the Niagara Region community and has worked in the area of youth employment and community-based programs for 25 years. Currently, she is Manager of Employment Services at the John Howard Society of Niagara responsible for Federal, Provincial and Municipal programs. During her tenure, she has provided leadership to numerous employment and education programs. As President of First Work and Board member for the previous 12 years, she has sat on the Ministry of Education Student Success Strategy working group. She has also been Treasurer and Southwest Representative. Deanna has been actively engaged in the community as Chair of the North Welland Business Improvement Area representing over 150 local businesses. She has sat on numerous Boards, agencies and commissions such as the Welland Transit Advisory Committee, Women’s Place of South Niagara, and Chair of City of Wellands 150th Anniversary Planning Committee. Deanna also was the recipient of the Niagara’s 40 under 40 Business Achievement Award and past President of the Kiwanis Club of Welland.
Gladys Okine Executive Director
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