2020 Program Group

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Board is honoured to announce the 2020 cohort. Fourteen outstanding, talented women from across Canada will form for the class for the third Certificate program in Catholic Women’s Leadership developed in partnership with Saint Paul University’s Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality.

Thank you to all the inspiring women who applied for the program. The Foundation was humbled to have a pool of women diverse in age, experience, and education from all parts of Canada who demonstrated strong Catholic values and lives of faith in service.


Crystal Campbell

Crystal has always been passionate about leadership and is consistently striving to contribute to faith based and community initiatives. Her leadership goals are building relationships, individual and team development, and establishing a legacy, and she is excited to meet everyone in this year’s program and develop together.

Leadership permeates all aspects of Crystal’s life. As a certified Level 1 Competition Coach (Western Riding) she has worked and used her leadership skills in the equine community. Holding a Canadian Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies, she has worked and volunteered in strengthening and developing youth ministry. Encompassing intensive year-long, live-in volunteer ministry to collaborating with Yellowknife Catholic Schools and the local Catholic church in building from ground up youth ministry initiatives. Joining the CWL in 2005, she remains an active member to date. In addition, she has been involved in various capacities over the years culminating as the Council President at St. Bonaventure in Calgary, AB.

As her family grows, Crystal is cultivating her passion for Catholic Education, specifically with a focus on the resurgence of Catholic classical learning. Her hope is this program will assist her in strengthening and developing Catholic Classical Education. Until recently, Crystal spent a handful of years living abroad with her family and now is settled in Carstairs, Alberta. In every community she resides she seeks out ways to offer her skills. She has worked on multiple startup initiatives, strengthening existing programs and events as well as re-envisioning struggling programs.


Donna Appel

Donna Appel was born in Uranium City in northern Saskatchewan. Her father delivered parcels that arrived on the plane and her mother was a teacher. After completing Kindergarten there, Donna’s mom and dad decided to ‘come down’ from the north! Her family moved around a lot and found themselves in Saskatoon, Guernsey, Humboldt, and Tramping Lake.

Donna is married to Keith and they are building their ‘forever home’ in Moose Jaw and will be moving there shortly. Her two brothers and their families live in Winnipeg and her sister lives in Eston, Saskatchewan. She comes from a family of strong Catholic tradition as her father was French Canadian and her mother joined the Church and is an active CWL member to this day. She travelled with her mother to National Convention in P.E.I. and that is where Donna first heard of the leadership program and knew it was for her.

Currently, she is a principal in Holdfast, Saskatchewan. She has been teaching for over 25 years and is hoping to make the career move to a Superintendent soon. Donna’s career has taken her to Loreburn, Saskatoon, Notre Dame (Wilcox), Rose Valley, Lanigan, and Drake. Her sport life has given her opportunities to grow as a team player and coach. God has blessed her with many gifts, and she feels she can contribute as a leader. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48).


Erica Gismondi

Erica has always found herself working with young people, whether it was in youth ministry, retreat facilitation, daycare support, tutoring, teaching English as a Second Language or piano, and now as a secondary school teacher and chaplain. Young people have so much potential to make a difference in our world, and Erica feels truly blessed that she is able to work with them every day.

Erica has been married to her husband, Rod, for 10 years and they have two children, Mia and Ethan. Her family is her foundation, support, and motivator. Witnessing the world through her children’s eyes and sharing her faith with them is of the utmost importance to her.

Erica describes herself as a lifelong learner, always willing to explore new ideas and ways of thinking. Some of her hobbies include music, baking, and reading. She is very excited to be given the opportunity to participate in this leadership program.


Jennifer Sellecchia

Jennifer Sellecchia lives in Woodbridge, Ontario. She graduated from York University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in History & Humanities and Bachelor of Education. Jennifer has taught in both the elementary and secondary panels with the York Catholic District School Board since 2006. Currently, she is teaching in the Canadian & World Studies department at Sacred Heart CHS in Newmarket, Ontario and has been part of the Chaplaincy Team since 2016. Since her teenage years, Jennifer has been actively involved in various social justice initiatives through the Archdiocese of Toronto as well as with various NGOs. As a teacher, she is part of the Luke 4:18 Social Justice Steering Committee at the school board level, empowering young people from grades 6-8 to take on leadership roles in both local and global social justice initiatives.

When speaking of this opportunity with the CWLF in her essay, Jennifer states, “​This program will deepen my own faith and help me foster and encourage others along in their own faith journey. My goal is to inspire women, especially my female students, to take an active role in their faith development.”


Linda Maddaford

When her family was young she became involved in the school as home room Mom for each of her three children, she served on the Home and School Executive, taught Sacramental Programs, and lead Beaver and Cub troops during those years. In later years, she served on various community boards and on the Executive for Navy League while continuing to participate at the parish level and served as parish Finance Chair and Pastoral Council Chair. Joining the CWL in 2005 opened a new door to service and she has been a member of her council’s executive since 2006, serving two separate terms as President. She is currently Past President of her council and completing her second term as CWL Community Life Chair at the Diocesan level.

In 2019 she became a Laudato Si Animator and is focused on responding to the call of the Holy Father to become the Laudato Si generation. We must learn to live within the earth’s means so that all have the means to live. Linda feels humbled and fortunate to be selected for the 2020 CWLF Cohort, looks forward to the challenge of distance learning and the opportunity to enrich her leadership skills through this program.


Lisa McQuarrie

Lisa MacQuarrie lives in Red Deer, Alberta. She has completed a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Calgary; a Canadian Certificate of Youth Ministry Studies; a Certificate of Catholic Studies – Foundations in Faith Year 1 & 2 and Certificate in Youth Evangelization from Newman Theological College; attended the Canadian Camp Director’s course and is a Certified Praesidium Guardian. Lisa is the Coordinator of Youth Evangelization for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton working with parishes and leaders of youth/ young adult ministry. As part of her portfolio, she is also the Camp Director for the two Archdiocesan youth camps: Camp Encounter and Our Lady of Victory Camp. Lisa has helped to facilitate the Called to Protect, a safe environment and abuse prevention program for the archdiocese since 2012.

Lisa has been married to her husband Leonard for 28 years and is the mother of six amazing young adults. She is an active member of Sacred Heart parish where she volunteers as a Eucharistic Minister and Proclaimer.

Lisa is looking forward to participating in the 2020 cohort and feels that it comes at an opportune time in her career. The Archdiocesan camps have undertaken a yearlong strategic planning process. After reviewing all areas of camp operations, the Catholic Women’s Leadership program will enable her to reexamine her own leadership, learn from others and set goals for this new chapter in her leadership journey!


Louise Bitz

Growing up on a prairie farm offered a deep connection to the land and sky. Music and faith-filled Louise’s home. The close bond of her sibling group of 8 continues to offer support and encouragement in all things. She is happily married and has raised three sons and one daughter, all of whom have found their soulmate to share their life. Louise became a high school teacher for English but was called into Chaplaincy early in her career. Subsequently, most of her career was spent teaching Christian Ethics, facilitating retreats, and serving the spiritual needs and direction in a large school. Louise co-authored a Grade 11 Social Justice course for Saskatoon Catholic in 2002, and in 2008, completed her Masters in Educational Foundations with a focus on Ecology, Anti-Racism, and Philosophy of Education. Development and Peace were formative in her own faith formation, and, as Chaplain, she worked with others to include D&P as a partner in Catholic education.

Louise has played piano since the age of four, and began playing for a church choir as a teenager; presently, she is a part of a vibrant group of musicians who have offered contemporary music ministry in her parish for over 25 years. She appreciates being on parish council as we grapple with changing times in the church.


Marilyn Martin

Marilyn Martin recently retired from a very demanding position as Controller for a rapidly expanding construction company. She is active in her parish community, the Catholic Women’s League, and is also a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

In her role as a volunteer, making a difference in her community has now become a top priority. A lifelong learner, retirement offers the opportunity for deeper faith-based learning to enhance the technical skills acquired in university. She is actively involved in the Catholic Women’s League on the Vancouver Diocesan Council as Communications Chair. It is through her ongoing work with the League and with Ministries in the Church that the dire need for strong leadership, especially from women, has become obvious. Marilyn firmly believes that every woman who desires to be a leader can become one with encouragement and support.

Marilyn is very excited to begin the journey with her fellow Third Cohort participants; working together with strong Catholic women, who share strong Catholic values, helping each other to strengthen our faith and leadership skills. The CWLF has created an amazing opportunity that must be experienced and then shared with other Catholic women in Canada.


Maureen Campbell

Maureen Campbell grew up in the rural community of Big Pond Center, Nova Scotia where she and her family volunteered in many of St Mary’s parish activities and in the community concerts and sporting events.

While living in Fredericton, NB as a single mom of two children, Maureen worked fulltime at Canada Post. During these years she volunteered with the Fredericton School Girl’s Choir and served with 333 Lord Beaverbrook Air Cadet parent committee.

Maureen moved back to Cape Breton in 2012 where she was the primary caregiver for her mother for 5 plus years until her death. Meanwhile, she continued to work fulltime at Canada Post as a letter carrier. During this time she participated in a 3 year Lay Formation Program facilitated by the Diocese of Antigonish. Maureen also spearheaded the community breakfast for two summers and served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

The opportunity to participate in the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Program is a gift. Maureen is honored and privileged to be accepted into this course and looks forward to absorbing the experience.


Myrna Perez

Myrna is a Certified Public Accountant by profession from Manila, Philippines. She worked for an Ernst & Young local affiliate as an Auditor. Later, she ventured into entrepreneurship of a home-based knitting business of 15 workers mostly women, for 9 years. Ditto, while hands-on raising her 3 wonderful daughters.

With the import liberalization & as a sole proprietor, Myrna was challenged on her local market competitiveness.

By a stroke of fate, Myrna was recruited as a Financial Advisor and has joined an affiliate of the then giant AIG. Years of sales achievements brought her to Top 8 Nationwide as a Manager of 13 sales associates, again mostly women.

In a seeming twist of fate, Myrna & her family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in August 2004. She is now a Financial Advisor for Manulife Financial.

Myrna’s church and community volunteerism in Canada are also notable: Coordinator for Community Volunteer Income Tax Program of CRA, Secretary of Finance Council at St Brigid’s, Committee Chair at International Women’s Club of Ottawa, Lector, Development & Peace Diocesan Council Member, Sunday Children’s Liturgist, Migrant Ministry(Caregiver Program) Coordinator, Coalition for Life Member,

Coordinators for Live Christ Share Christ and First Saturdays Devotion to Our Lady at ABVM Parish.

Myrna is committed to self-improvement so it can be better used by God. This, after she consecrated herself to Mama Mary.


Natasha Tsevende

Natasha Tsevende grew up in Kenora Ontario surrounded by teachers, and as a parishioner of St Louis Church. She attended St Louis Elementary School and graduated from St Thomas Aquinas High School. As soon as she could go away to school she did; she went to the University of Manitoba, the Alberta College of Art and Design, and the University of Calgary. In 1998 she moved to North Vancouver for two years to complete her Master’s diploma in Art Therapy at the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute and stayed there for 18 years. She had always been a part of parish life, but in Vancouver, she worked as a Youth Ministry Coordinator and was involved in many projects at parish and Archdiocesan levels. In 2000 Natasha started to work at St Thomas Aquinas Regional High School…in North Vancouver. Part of her felt like she never left high school! She worked as an Educational Assistant, Religion and Art Teacher and as School Counsellor. Natasha was involved in Campus Ministry and one of her favourite things to do was to run the Social Justice Club, trying to inspire young people to work for justice and understand our rich Catholic Social Justice Teachings. She also became more involved in Development and Peace, running youth programming in her parish and at the high school, as regional chair, National Council Member for BC/Yukon Region, Archdiocesan Council Chair, and member. As a member of Development and Peace, Natasha travelled to Mexico, Bolivia, and Nigeria to see the amazing work of our partners. After her marriage in 2011, and the birth of two incredible daughters it was time to come full circle and move home. In 2016 Natasha returned to Kenora with her family and attends St Louis Parish. She is part of the Mental Health Team for Kenora Catholic District School Board and is still surrounded by teachers. She is involved with the CWL and Development and Peace and is trying to raise her daughters to love God and our rich Catholic Social Teachings.


Tara Hurford

From the little town of Bear River, Nova Scotia, Tara holds a BA Honors in English and World History from St. Thomas University but has also done professional and Master’s level studies in popular education and community development.

She spent two years at the now-closed John Paul II Catholic Bible School earning certificates in Sacred Studies and Leadership and Ministry Skills. But it was with Development and Peace that Tara found a home for her passion for social justice while taking transfer credits through St. Thomas More College and living at the Sisters of the Presentation Discernment House in Saskatoon.

Through the work of Development and Peace, she discovered the richness of Catholic Social Teaching brought to life. Since then her preferential option with the poor has taken her across Canada and to Nigeria and China. Following these travels, she spent two years as a volunteer Missionary in Mexico City with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word working under the auspices of Fr. Salvador Lopez in a local parish in a community development project, youth ministry and street theatre. Currently, Tara is the regional coordinator for Development and Peace in Eastern and Northern Ontario.


Yolanda Broderick

Yolanda Broderick currently lives in Port Moody, BC. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a degree in Management. Throughout her career, she has taken on leadership roles in both the private and public sectors with organizations like Johnson & Johnson Inc., and Simon Fraser University.

She attends All Saints Parish and has been an active member of the CWL for the past 18 years. She is passionate about people and strives to empower her local community to help those most in need through service. From initiatives like Heavenly Blends Coffee Club, a drop-in coffee club targeted at seniors experiencing loneliness and isolation, to the annual Thanksgiving Outreach Dinner, that serves the most vulnerable in the region, Yolanda has made it a personal mission to reach out to others to build community and create the feeling of belonging.

Yolanda has been married to George, a College and University Instructor, for 30 years. Together they are the proud parents of Paula Jean, student affairs professional, and Daniel, a city planner. In her spare time, she loves sailing, walking Poppy (the four-legged family member) on forest trails, and laughing with friends.

Yolanda is humbled to have been selected as a member of the CWLF 2020 cohort and cannot wait to learn and grow alongside such strong and faith-filled women.

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