Meet the members of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors
Amnesty International Canada's Board of Directors is made up of 10 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.
Lana Verran, President
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.
Gary Ockenden, Vice President
Gary has been an AI member and donor for 30 years – busy in the Urgent Action and WARN Networks, active in local Action Circle #55 in Nelson BC, and through efforts on many campaigns. He served on this AI board previously and has worked on national (and one international) Committees.
Gary earns his living as a consultant, supporting NGOs and other institutions with their strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and governance issues. He worked for many years in Canadian and International Red Cross before that.
Gary likes to travel, to paddle his canoe, to spend time with his adult kids, to read like crazy, to make puns…and some years ago he addressed his mini mid-life crisis by getting an AI tattoo on his left shoulder.
Brian Radburn, Treasurer
Brian is a knowledgeable finanical expert with many years of executive experience in the field of financial accounting and management. Brian's career began with PricewaterhourCoopers LLP (PwC) based in their Ottawa office. Briand 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 International Canada, and it was through this relationship that he first met the senior management team and developed his understanding and appreciating for the work of Amnesty. 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 was committed to contribute substantially, through expertise and time, to community organizations and remains actively involved in his community as a member of a not-for-profit and charitable Boards in addition to his role as Treasurer of Amnesty International Canada.
Brian is an avid reader, listens to a wide variety of music, live and recorded, and enjoys cooking.
Bill Rafoss, Chair
Bill was first elected to the Amnesty International Canada Board in 2015, and was acclaimed as Board Chair in 2017. Bill 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 since 2006 has been a Sessional Instructor in the Political Studies Department at the University of Saskachewan and St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon.
Bill is Past-President of a newcomer settlement agency in Saskatoon. He has been to Africa seval times, including 2013 when he worked as an election observer in the Kenyan national election. Bill has assisted in training human rights agencies in Mongolia, the Cayman Islands, and South Sudan.
Alex Catchpole, Director
Alex has been involved with Amnesty since 2007 when she worked as a fundraising canvasser in Vancouver. She has volunteered as a local Fieldworker since 2008 and has twice served on the Fieldworker Coordination Committee. She is currently a member of Group 17 in East Vancouver.
Alex received a Bachelor's degree from Simon Fraser University in 2010 and a Master of Arts from the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at UBC in 2013. She has experience in research, teaching assistance, office administration, and fundraising. Outside of Amnesty, Alex is pursuing a degree in law at UBC.
In her free time, she loves to camp, hike, visit with family, and watch cheesy sci-fi shows.
Sarah Damberger, Director
Sarah has been involved with Amnesty in Calgary, Alberta for the last seven years in a number of different roles. After reviving and leading the University of Calgary chapter for four years, she was hired by Amnesty Canada to the position of Southern Alberta Organizer, where she assessed activism in the area and identified opportunities for improving communication and engagement. Upon the completion of her contract, Sarah moved into the role of Local Organizer before joining the Fieldworker program last year.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary. Her honours research focused on online activism campaigns and their effectiveness in supporting activist movements. While she is interested in a wide variety of human rights issues, she is most passionate about women's rights and indigenous rights in Canada.
When she isn't volunteering with Amnesty, Sarah works as a communications coordinator for STARS air ambulance, a donor-funded non-profit emergency medical transport service in Western Canada. She loves to travel, cook, and play badminton in her spare time.
Raheel Zaman, Director
Raheel is a Professional Engineer and Certified Management Consultant with over 20 years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors. He specializes in assisting organizations with their business strategy and information technology management needs. Raheel has worked in senior level positions within the federal government and multi-national consulting organizations. He is the Founder and President of NordKapp Consulting Inc., a managemnet consulting firm specializing in supporting public sector and non-profit organizations.
Over the last five years, Raheel has had the privilege of working on many projects with Amnesty Internatinoal Canada, at both the local and national levels. Raheel was first elected to the Amnesty International Canada Board of Directors in 2016.
Athavarn Srikantharajah, Director
Athavarn has been involved with Amnesty International for over 4 years now, starting out as a school group member when he was 14. After chairing his high school group, Athavarn became a Youth Organizer in Toronto during the pilot year of the project. In the following years Athavarn was a member of the AITO RGM Planning Committee, co-founded the Youth Leadership Council, was a member of the National Youth Action and Advisory Committee, and was a member of the 2017 ICM Delegation as the Alternate Youth Delegate. He helped in drafting the 2017 National Youth Strategy.
Outside of Amnesty, Athavarn currently works at an educational technology start up in Montreal. He has previously worked in fundraising at Plan Canada, and served as the Director of Marketing and Communications at a small youth-led not for profit. He co-lead a community health project in Scarborough, Ontario looking at smoking cessation, substance abuse, and mental health. He also co-founded a youth-led campaign called Shakti, which seeks to empower South Asian folks to break stigmas around sexual health. When he was younger, Athavarn was active in the Tamil diaspora, campaigning for the rights of children during the civil war in Sri Lanka.
Athavarn is currently pursuing his Bachelors of Social Science at the University of Ottawa specializing in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, with funding from the Loran Scholars Foundation.
Lee Seymour, Director
Lee lives in Halifax with her husband and dog, a black lab. She has worked with charitable organizations all her life, primarily as a fundraiser, first with Oxfam Canada and, most recently, as Co-Director of Development with Amnesty International in Ottawa, until 2010. After six years of fundraising consulting, Lee is now finally retired and enjoying being a grandmother, gardening and volunteering. She has served on many Board as both Director and Chairperson. She was most recently Chairperson of the Halifax Refugee Welcome group, which brought five Syrians to Canada over a year ago.
Lee has also served on the Board of the Halifax based environmental group, The Ecology Action Centre and was Chairperson of the Nova Scotia Citizens Health Coalition for five years. She is looking forward to working again with Amnesty International Canada, in the capacity of Board Director.
Sarah Morales, Director
Sarah Morales, JD (UVic), LLM (University of Arizona), PhD (UVic), PostDoc (Illinois) is Coast Salish and a member of Cowichan Tribes. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law where she teaches torts, Aboriginal law, Indigenous legal traditions and international human rights, with a focus on Indigenous peoples. Sarah’s research centres on Indigenous legal traditions, specifically the traditions of the Coast Salish people, Aboriginal law and human rights. Specifically, she is committed to the recognition and reconciliation of Indigenous legal traditions with the common law and civil law traditions in Canada.
In addition to these academic interests, Sarah has been actively involved with Indigenous nations and NGOs across Canada through her work in nation building, inherent rights recognition and international human rights law. Her community-based research has resulted in the creation of policies and procedures that are reflective of the laws and legal orders of the communities who utilize them.
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.
Jayne Stoyles, Executive Director
Jayne Stoyles joined as Executive Director in September 2016, sharing leadership of the organization with its Secretary General.
She is a lawyer and international human rights advocate who served as Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) until 2016, and continues her involvement with CCIJ as an Advisory Committee Member. She is also a current member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute for Criminal Investigations.
Jayne was the Founder & CEO of the Philippe Kirsch Institute and has previously served as the Program Director of the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court in New York, a global network of 2,000 NGOs that helped bring about the establishment of the Court. During her tenure, the Coalition was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She has also been a Senior Adviser to the Institute for Global Policy in New York on issues of human security, UN reform and international justice, provided International Humanitarian Law training for the Red Cross, and taught international law at Carleton University in Canada.
Jayne was awarded a lifetime Ashoka Canada Fellowship in 2008, was the 2010 winner of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award and of the 2010 Lord Reading Law Society Human Rights Award. She was named one of Ottawa’s Top 50 People by Ottawa Life Magazine, and has been featured in Canadian legal magazine The Precedent and in the on-line Charity Village Spotlight.
Jayne regularly speaks and writes about international justice issues, coalition-building, social enterprise and non-profit management. She holds a Bachelor of Law (L.L.B) and a Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) from Queen’s University.
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 Fundraising
Rosemary Oliver joined Amnesty International Canada as Director of Fundraising in August 1999, after seven years as the Fundraising Director for Greenpeace Canada and five years on fundraising staff at Oxfam. She manages Amnesty Canada’s Fundraising Team whose members carry out programs in monthly giving, legacy gifts, major donors, direct mail, digital, telemarketing and face-to-face fundraising.
In addition to her fundraising efforts for Amnesty Canada, Rosemary was an active member of Amnesty’s global Fundraising Management Team for six years until 2015, and worked briefly as the monthly giving coordinator for Amnesty USA.
Rosemary enjoys sharing her passion for fundraising with others in the sector, and has spoken frequently at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Congress and Fundraising Day in Toronto, the International AFP Conference in the US (most recently in Boston, 2016), and at the International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands.
Rosemary graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts, holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from Humber College, and earned her professional CFRE designation (Certified Fundraising Executive) in 1991.