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Leadership Team

Executive Leadership

Medora Uppal, Chief Executive Officer

Medora Uppal (she/her) has dedicated her career to advancing social justice and gender equity.

Medora is a dynamic leader, a creative problem-solver, and a tireless advocate for women, gender-diverse people, and families. From 2011 to 2022, she served as the Director of Operations at YWCA Hamilton, focusing on the development of high-quality programs and services, strengthening organizational capacity, and adapting YWCA Hamilton’s programs and services to best meet the community’s needs.

Medora has played an active leadership role at community planning tables across a variety of sectors. She has served on the boards of Today’s Family, the Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton & Area, and has chaired the Equity Advisory Council of the Greater Hamilton Health Network, the City of Hamilton’s Early Years Equity and Engagement Advisory Group, the Women’s Housing Planning Collaborative Hamilton, and the Women Abuse Working Group.

Medora was appointed as CEO of YWCA Hamilton on December 1, 2022. Her transformational leadership has led to the expansion of YWCA Hamilton’s housing and gender-based violence services;  programs to advance economic opportunities for women; and the development of  improved gender-based healthcare, , new capital projects, and a new child care centre.

She has been recognized for her tireless work with YWCA Canada’s esteemed Carolyn B. Bray Award in 2019, and before joining YWCA Hamilton, she was a recipient of a YWCA Hamilton Woman of Distinction Award in 2010.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext.101

Chelsea Kirkby, VP Strategic Initiatives and Program Development

Chelsea Kirkby (she/her) has nearly 20 years of experience working non-profit and government sectors primarily supporting women and gender-diverse individuals and their families in Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton. Her past work spans program innovation and implementation, policy and strategy development, community engagement and relationship building, and leading organizational growth and capacity building. Chelsea has written and presented on various topics related to trauma-informed care, health equity, and innovative approaches to gender-based health and social services. With a wide range of experience, Chelsea brings creativity and innovation to her role at the YWCA. Chelsea is very active in her community, volunteering with organizations that promote youth engagement, provide dignified housing, and improve health and wellness.

Contact: ckirkby@ywcahamilton.org

Sarah Glen, VP Culture and Knowledge Mobilization

Sarah has 20 years of experience leading operations, projects and teams in institutional, educational and community-based organizations. She is adept at growing and sustaining relationships with strategic partners, and building consensus across multiple institutions and community organizations especially in times of ambiguity and adaptation. Sarah is an award winning post-secondary educator, expert facilitator and mediator. She believes change can only happen when we change ourselves, and internal change work takes root when we are in relationship together. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, the Vice-President, Culture & Knowledge Mobilization is responsible for developing the organization to support inclusion, compliance, quality, and risk management to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the organization. Sarah also oversees research and evaluation efforts to support equity and social justice, innovation, and implementation of best practices. She holds a Master’s in Communication and Culture, with a specific focus on community-based participatory research.

Contact: sglen@ywcahamilton.org

Khadija Hamidu, VP Economic Development

Khadija Hamidu is an accomplished leader with a rich background in fostering community development and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the new Vice President of Economic Development for YWCA Hamilton, she has demonstrated a commitment to strategic planning and governance development within non-profit organizations, with a focus on enhancing the local economy through innovative sociological frameworks.

In addition to her role at YWCA Hamilton, Khadija is also the Founder of Melanin Market, a platform dedicated to supporting BIPOC businesses on a national level. Through Melanin Market, she provides essential support to entrepreneurs and creators, aiming to amplify their voices and facilitate access to funding, marketing, and event opportunities.

Khadija’s dedication to community engagement and empowerment extends beyond her professional endeavors. She actively contributes to various initiatives and organizations, serving as a Vice Chair of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council and volunteering as a Board Member for the Goodwill Amity Board of Directors. Her commitment to leadership excellence has been recognized through her inclusion in the Top 40 leaders under 40 in Hamilton.

With her extensive experience and passion for creating positive change, Khadija Hamidu continues to make significant contributions to the advancement of inclusive economic development and social justice within her community and beyond.

Contact: khamidu@ywcahamilton.org

Daniela Giulietti, Director of Public Affairs

Daniela Giulietti (she/her/elle) first joined YWCA Hamilton in 2016 when she led the Elect More Women Conference that preceded City Council’s historic Gender Parity. Since then, she has built significant experience working as a strategic advisor to elected officials in government and leading successful political campaigns focused on amplifying marginalized voices and pushing for positive change in the community. In her current role as the YWCA’s Director of Public Affairs, she leads the organization’s advocacy work, supports government relations, and advances strategic communications that connect YWCA Hamilton’s impact with a broad public.

Daniela has degrees in Labour Studies form McMaster University and an Honours Specialization in Social Justice from King’s College. Her academic research focused on successful methods of building solidarity between community and institutions toward the influence of policy and government action.

Contact: dgiulietti@ywcahamilton.org

Melissa Ramos, Director of Human Resources

Melissa Ramos (she/her) joined YWCA Hamilton on March of 2022 and since then, her commitment to working hard to help YWCA Hamilton overcome challenges and improve our human resource services has been consistent. Melissa has fully embraced the organizations values and she understands the support our clients need and how to assist our employees to be successful and rewarded in their work.  Before coming to YWCA Hamilton Melissa worked in a diversity of Industries such as Manufacturing, Retail and Healthcare.  Melissa is passionate about helping people thrive in organizations to reach their full potential, and her education and experience in Human Resources reflect that.  She holds a Bachelor’s in Organizational Psychology, a Certification in Human Resources Management and she is a Certified Human Resources Professional.

Contact: 905.522.9922 ext. 127

Matt Barton, Director of Information Technologies

Matt Barton (he/him) has over 30 years working within the IT discipline, focused on utilizing technology as a platform for success of the organization. Prior to YWCA Hamilton, Matt has worked in the fields of Communication, Financial Services and Healthcare. Matt looks at things from the “Big Picture” perspective and has the ability to understand business strategies, and transform them into technology solutions. Matt is very results driven and passionate about technology, and wants to help people understand how technology is a key to their success.

Contact: mbarton@ywcahamilton.org

Sarah Borde, Director, Capital Projects

Sarah (she/her) specialized in Project Management and stakeholders’ relationships and has worked in various industries before joining the YWCA Hamilton. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences, a master degree in Environmental Sciences and a master degree in Geophysics. In her previous roles, Sarah worked on feasibility studies and due diligences mostly in the mining industry. Sarah is a scientific enthusiast and is always on the lookout for prospective opportunities. She became interested in Passive House Building with the Putman Family YWCA construction project and since then has obtained Passive House training. Sarah is currently Vice-Chair of the Passive House Canada Board. As the Director of Capital Projects, Sarah supports new capital acquisitions, development planning, and major repair & renewal with the purpose of expanding YWCA’s affordable housing portfolio and decreasing the impact on the environment through engaging in environmentally sustainable planning.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 187

Heather Barkley Photo

Heather Barkley, Director of Philanthropy

Heather Barkley (she/her) joined YWCA Hamilton in 2019 as the Campaign Officer for the successful #WomenBuildHamilton capital campaign. The opportunity to increase permanent, affordable housing for women and women-led families at the Putman Family YWCA was a personal and professional milestone that resonated with her core value that housing is a human right. Heather moved into the position of Director of Philanthropy in 2023 and she is passionate about connecting donors, funders, and volunteers with YWCA Hamilton’s mission and growing the organization’s impact in the community. Heather holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Medical Sciences, a Post Graduate Certificate in International Development, and a Master’s Degree in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 156

Violetta Nikolskaya, Director, Inclusion & Engagement

Violetta Nikolskaya (she/her/elle) joined the YWCA in 2017 as the Manager of Transitional Housing, and promptly joined the Young Women’s Leadership Engagement Committee to further amplify the voices of young persons within the movement. Violetta has experience in front-line shelter service, management of shelter, housing and support programs for individuals experiencing homelessness, and program design.

Violetta completed her Masters of Critical Social Work at McMaster University, and focused her thesis on understanding the way the homeless-service-sector could improve their performance measurement processes. Violetta has served her community as the Vice and/or Vice-Chair for both the LGBTQ Advisory Committee for the City of Hamilton and the Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee for the City of Hamilton. She now supports the work of City of Hamilton through the Community Benefits Protocol Sub-Committee. She has also been a sessional instructor for Mohawk College since 2017 for the Continuing Education department and an Adjunct Professor at McMaster University since 2022.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 320

Sandra Parker, Director of Child, Youth & Developmental Services

Sandra Parker (she/her) has been working in Hamilton since 2014.  Prior to joining YWCA Hamilton as the Director of Child & Youth Services, Sandra devoted her career to supporting the inclusion of children with special needs in Hamilton’s early year’s system.  Sandra is a strong believer in creating inclusive and equitable opportunities for children and youth in our diverse community and works hard to strengthen YWCA’s portfolio on youth engagement and service provision.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 163

Amy Deschamps, Director of Housing and Gender Based-Violence Support Services

Amy Deschamps (she/ her) has close to 20 years of experience working within the gender based violence and homelessness sectors and applies an intersectional, harm reduction lens in supporting and amplifying the needs of marginalized individuals experiencing violence and homelessness.  She has centred her career around promoting inclusivity within the Gender Based Violence sector while working to enhance access and service for traditionally underserved populations.  Amy has a passion for enhancing wellness, resilience and creating a culture community care within frontline staff teams.  Bridging her direct service knowledge, with her progressive leadership experience, strengthens Amy’s focus on development and capacity building opportunities for frontline teams in the areas of anti-racism/anti oppression, truth and reconciliation, trauma informed care and risk assessment.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 112

Klaudine Ravo-Qurbashi, Director of Finance

Klaudine (she/her) first joined YWCA Hamilton in December 2022.  She is experienced in financial leadership roles, examining complex data and delivering accurate financial information to various clients.  Klaudine has strong team building and leadership skills and is passionate about the programs and services offered by the Hamilton YWCA and their positive impact within the community.  Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an exceptional ability to meet organizational objectives and provide exemplary services to both internal and external stakeholders.  In her current role, Klaudine utilizes her expertise in the areas of strategic operational and financial planning for the organization, process improvements and system implementations, including financial reporting, annual budgeting, audits, policy and legal compliance.

Klaudine is a CPA, CA who obtained an Honours Bachelor of Accounting (Co-op) from Brock University.

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 313

Senior Leadership

Shannon Cummings, Senior Manager, Centre of Innovation

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 176


Deborah Schwientek, Senior Manager, Employment and Training Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 144


Tracey Helwig, Manager, Developmental Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 153


Jennifer Perkins, Manager, Developmental Services

Contact: (905) 389-9091 ext. 507


Carol Fraser, Manager, Developmental Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 153


Neanette Atanas, Quality & Compliance Manager

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 120


Andrea Davies, Project Manager, Administration

Contact: adavies@ywcahamilton.org


Caron Martin, Manager, Employment and Training – Skilled Trades

Contact: (289) 527-6132


Tehreem Zafar, Manager, Immigrant and Settlement IRCC

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 335


Ala Mohamed, Manager, Children’s Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 129


Daniella Bozur, Manager, Supervised Parenting Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 167


Debbie Ashbourne, Chef Manager

Contact: dashbourne@ywcahamilton.org


April Turner, Manager, Housing and Gender Based-Violence Support Services

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 117


Tara Weiderick, Manager, Seniors Program & Community Wellness

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 103


Rene Morrison, Business Advisory Manager, PowerUp

Contact: rmorrison@ywcahamilton.org


Kristina Wooldridge, Digital Learning Manager

Contact: kwooldridge@ywcahamilton.org


Natalie Gonsalves, Marketing Officer

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 174


Sara Charters, Philanthropy Officer

Contact: (905) 522-9922 ext. 315

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