Meet the members of the 2015-2016 Board of Directors
Bottom from left: Johsa Manzanilla, Gloria Nafziger (Staff Representative), Tim Carpentier, Bill Rafoss, Samantha Burdett and Brian Radburn
Amnesty International Canada's Board of Directors is made up of 10 dedicated elected members who volunteer their time to oversee our strategic direction and financial management, maintain strong links with the international movement of Amnesty International, and provide leadership and guidance in advancing our human rights work.
Members of the Board are happy to respond to questions about the governance of Amnesty Canada. Please contact us here.
Sharmila Setaram, President
Sharmila works as an Occupational Health & Safety Advisor with the Ontario Clean Water Agency. She is a certified professional facilitator and has worked in the field of community engagement for many years, providing leadership skills training and empowering individuals to participate in decision-making processes in their communities.
Sharmila has been a volunteer with Amnesty International for 15 years, and has taken on an active leadership role as a local member, fieldworker, international delegate, and now as President on the Board. She has participated in various human rights campaigns and actively supports initiatives to promote access to clean drinking water and sanitation services.
Samantha Burdett, Vice-President
Sam became involved with Amnesty over 25 years ago, writing letters with a local community group in Calgary. Since then, she has been a member of staff in the Ottawa office, a Fieldworker, monthly donor and has been privileged to participate in a number of international Amnesty committees. Sam credits her training with Amnesty for a number of skills she draws on in her professional life including facilitating change processes, public speaking, and expert flip-charting!
Sam currently works as a policy advisor with the Regional Municipality of Durham in southern Ontario, working in the areas of diversity and newcomer integration. As part of her community development work, Sam sits on the social planning council for the largely rural area of Durham region. This position provides a combination of grassroots engagement with strategic planning and policy development, and is something she truly enjoys. Sam is also active in the local LGBTQ community. Sam brings research and evaluation skills to the Board, as well as her breadth of experience with Amnesty.
Andrew Thompson, Chair
Andrew Thompson is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, an adjunct assistant professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, and the program officer for the global governance programs at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He has written and co-edited four books on human rights, and his work has been published in The Journal of Human Rights, The Journal of Canadian Studies, and the American Review of Canadian Studies. He has also appeared as an expert witness before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights. In 2004, he was a member of an Amnesty International human rights lobbying and fact-finding mission to Haiti, and has served as the Haiti Coordinator for AI Canada's English Speaking section since 2005. He was first elected to the Board in 2011.
For fun, Andrew enjoys traveling, playing piano, gardening, and indoor rock climbing with his daughters.
Nancy Kingsbury, Secretary
Amnesty has been an important part of Nancy's life for over 20 years. She is a long-term member of the Urgent Action Network, previously served on the Amnesty International Canada Board, including two years as President, and recently 2 years as an international Trustee for Amnesty International Charities Ltd. in London (UK). The longer she volunteers for Amnesty and the more members and staff she meets and works with, the deeper her respect for the movement and its activists.
Nancy’s other volunteer work includes being Treasurer for the Sunset & Sunrise Lakes Association in Vermont.
A scientist by training and profession, Nancy has extensive research experience in the Caribbean and South America, and is a Senior Science Advisor at Environment Canada. She is happily living in Ottawa and frequently going to the National Arts Centre to see dance and to the various museums to see art and dinosaur bones.
Brian Radburn, Treasurer
Brian is a knowledgeable financial expert with many years of executive experience in the field of financial accounting and management. Brian’s career began with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) based in their Ottawa office. Brian was an Audit Partner and trusted business advisor to client senior management and their Boards of Directors. One of Brian’s audit clients was Amnesty and it was through this relationship that he first met our senior management team and developed his understanding and appreciation for the work Amnesty does. Brian retired from PwC in 2007, after 25 years, and currently provides contract CFO and Financial Advisory services to a small group of clients, acting as an engaged member of their management teams.
From an early point in his career, Brian committed to contribute substantially, through expertise and time, to community organizations and remains actively involved in his community as a member of a number of not-for-profit and charitable Boards in addition to his role as Treasurer of Amnesty International, Canadian Section.
Brian is an avid reader, listens to a wide variety of music, live and recorded, and enjoys cooking.
Johsa Manzanilla, Director
Johsa has been involved with Amnesty in several capacities; as a member of Group 19 in Winnipeg, a participant at the Human Rights College, and now as the Philippines Country Coordinator. Born on the islands of the Philippines and raised in the desert of Saudi Arabia, she is the daughter of overseas Filipino workers who eventually immigrated to the prairies of Manitoba.
She received her undergraduate degree from Queen’s University and went on to complete a Master’s specializing in Human Rights, Social Justice and Development from the International Institute of Social Studies at The Hague, in the Netherlands.
To these skills and experiences she adds her current work as a researcher, educator and facilitator for a number of not-for-profit community organizations and the provincial government, protecting the rights of vulnerable people. She has developed strong skills in grassroots, member-based capacity building, strategic organizing and consensus-based decision-making.
Renee Saviour, Director
Renee joined Amnesty as a founding member of one of AI Canada's very first school groups. Many years have passed since then and she's still in high school, though now as a teacher. In addition to being on the Board, Renee is a member of the Iran Action Circle, the Reel Awareness Film Team and the recently formed Action Circle on Indigenous Issues.
In 2012 Renee joined AMENO (Anti-racist Multicultural Education Network of Ontario) and was asked to support their Executive Committee. That same year, she became the recipient of the Harmony Movement's Educator Award for demonstrating her "passion and commitment to inspiring and educating our youth to be leaders for social justice and change.”
Renee is a self-proclaimed book, film and music snob, occasionally photographing and reviewing gigs for www.musicvice.com. She is also not embarrassed to admit to watching an unholy amount of television. Basically, if she hasn't seen it, read it or heard it, she tries to at least know of it and is at all times aiming to keep abreast of her own ignorance. She loves to travel and is a big believer in taking advantage of life's opportunities.
Tim Carpentier, Director
Tim has been involved with Amnesty since 2002 and is currently a member of Group 63, the Action Network on Women's Human Rights, and the Speakers' Bureau in Toronto. His studies include a BA in Psychology and Global Studies, and a joint MA in International Humanitarian Action.
Tim has lived and travelled extensively throughout South America and East Africa and worked for a variety of NGOs both abroad and in Canada; he is currently working with Save the Children in the Humanitarian and Emergency Response Unit. Tim brings strong fundraising experience and a keen interest in Women's Human Rights to the table. His favourite way to get from A to B is on his bike and he loves playing squash.
Bill Rafoss, Director
Bill was elected to the Board in 2015. He is an active member of Group 33, in Saskatoon. For over 25 years, Bill was the chief investigating officer at the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, and he currently is a Sessional Instructor in Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon. Bill is President of a newcomer settlement agency in Saskatoon and he serves on a national post-secondary education task force. Bill has been to Africa several times, including 2013 when he worked as an election monitor in the Kenya election. Bill has also assisted in human rights training nationally and internationally in the Cayman Islands, Mongolia, and Uganda.
Lana Verran, Director
Lana Verran has been a member of Amnesty International Canada for over 15 years and previously served on the Board from 2009-2013. Her Amnesty engagement has included work on numerous committees, film festival organizing, Urgent Action member, participating in regional meetings, monthly donor and an international delegate in 2015.
With more than 25 years of experience in leading and managing teams, Lana brings expertise in organizational change management, communication, operational excellence, working with cross functional teams and building consensus. Human resource education and numerous certifications are additional skills that help to contribute to effective Board work.www.lanaverran.com.
Having grown up in Northern Ontario and Winnipeg, and a professional career that has taken her to Halifax, Toronto and now Vancouver, Lana has a great appreciation for the rich diversity of both people and geography within Canada. Leisure time in Vancouver includes reading, cycling, walking and the occasional mountain hike.
Alex Neve, Secretary General
Alex Neve became Secretary General in January 2000. He shares the senior leadership with the Executive Director. Alex is the primary spokesperson for the Branch. Among his many other duties he has participated in Amnesty International missions to South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoïre, Tanzania, Ghana, Mexico, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Guinea, Honduras, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Guantánamo Bay and Grassy Narrows, Ontario.
He has represented Amnesty International at international meetings such as the Summit of the Americas and the G8 Summit. He has appeared before numerous Canadian parliamentary committees as well as various UN and Inter-American human rights bodies. He appears and writes regularly in the media and speaks to audiences across the country on a range of human rights topics.
Alex is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and a member of the Board of Directors of Partnership Africa Canada and the Centre for Law and Democracy. He served as a Trudeau Foundation Mentor from 2008-2009.
Alex holds a Bachelor Laws from Dalhousie and an LL.M In International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007.
Bob Goodfellow, Executive Director
Bob Goodfellow joined the staff first as Program Director in 1988 and then as Executive Director in 1995, sharing leadership of the organization with its Secretary General.
He is responsible for the effective management of AI Canada, including finance, resource development, communication, campaigning and activism. He provides the Board and membership with planning, development and management support and ensures the preparation, analysis and coordination of all budgeting and planning processes.
He holds a Masters of Management from McGill University, and a BA and MA from Dalhousie University.
Alain Roy, Director of Campaigns
Alain Roy has been Director of Campaigns and Activism since January 2002. As such he fosters the development of new program strategy where needed and in ways that are effective in and appropriate to a grassroots organization. He works with his teams to creatively implement the campaigning and activist priorities of the Branch.
Alain came to Amnesty from the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and worked prior to that within government ministries of External Affairs, Health and Industry, Trade & Technology.
Alain has a Bachelors Degree in Public Communication from Laval and a Masters in Management from McGill.
Gordon Mair, Director of Finance and Administration
Gordon Mair has been the Branch’s Director of Finance and Administration since March 2008 after holding similar positions with Sierra Club Canada, CARE International in Zambia, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Costa Rica. Previously he had worked for Forestry Canada and for the Office of the Auditor General.
Gordon has overall responsibility for the financial management of the Branch, including the preparation of financial statements, monitoring of revenue and expenses, risk management, health and safety, and liaison with auditors. He and his team carry out all of the financial functions for the Branch and the administrative functions related to the National Office.
He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University and a CMA designation.
Rosemary Oliver, Director of Resource Development
Rosemary Oliver joined Amnesty Canada as Director of Resource Development in August of 1999 after working with OXFAM and Greenpeace. She manages Amnesty Canada’s Fundraising Team whose members carry out programs in monthly giving, legacy gifts, major donors, direct mail, telemarketing and face-to-face fundraising.
In addition to her fundraising efforts for Amnesty Canada, Rosemary has been an active member of the International Fundraising Team for Amnesty International and has been supporting the work of the fundraisers in Amnesty USA.
Rosemary graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts, is a member of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives and holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from Humber College.