Board of Directors
Vanessa Fyfe, Jackie Barrett-Greene, Talia Storm are the Directors of Positive Living Niagara. Under a Triumvirate model, they oversee agency operations along with individual departments. This shared model of leadership allows for community-based decision making and seeks to flatten organizational hierarchies.
Rand Meshki, Chair
A nearly lifelong resident of Niagara, Rand Meshki returned to the area to join a law firm of personal injury lawyers in St. Catharines. Rand’s legal practice enables her to fulfill her passion for assisting injured people and their families and empowering them to overcome some of the most challenging times of their lives. Rand works exclusively on behalf of injured individuals and their families in injury cases of all types from Orthopaedic Injuries to Traumatic and Catastrophic Brain Injuries, as well as Fatality cases. Prior to law school, Rand graduated from Western University in 2009 with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree specializing in Kinesiology. Following that, she completed a Master of Arts degree in Applied Health Science at Brock University in 2011. While completing her law degree at the University of Windsor, Rand worked as a caseworker at the Community Legal Aid Clinic and volunteered at the Essex County Diversion Program through Probono Students of Canada, to help improve access to justice in Windsor. Rand excelled in law school, graduating in the Top 7% of her class in 2014. As a former varsity tennis player, Rand loves playing tennis in her spare time. She also enjoys traveling, hiking, and playing beach volleyball and soccer.
Carline Gutierrez, Vice-Chair
Carline was born and raised in a small town in Niagara, and although she resides in Hamilton now, Niagara will always feel like home. Carline’s passion for caring and helping others guided her decision to attend McMaster university and obtain her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduating in 2009. Her love for children grounded her 11 year nursing career in paediatric medicine, surgical and ICU settings. With a drive to further education she received her Master of Nursing, Nurse Practitioner degree in 2015 and for the last five years has worked with overweight and obese children and families in making positive healthy lifestyle changes. Her work has been enhanced with multiple leadership roles including co-chair of the Ontario Pediatric Bariatric Network and steering committee member of Meant 2 Prevent: A type 2 diabetes –prevention initiative for children and youth. In her spare time, she enjoys staying active, spending time with family and embracing being a new mother.
Jane Masenda, Treasurer
Jane Masenda graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting Control Systems. She emigrated to Canada eleven years ago and settled in St. Catharines. Jane has worked with various organizations (both for profit and non-profit) and has experience in accounting, budgeting and administration. A great team player, Jane is always ready and open to try new and innovative ways that promote efficiency and effectiveness. As an active volunteer in the community, Jane for the past ten years, cooked and served meals to the homeless through the Out of the Cold program. She has also been a volunteer with other local entities, including Habitat for Humanity Niagara. Homelessness and poverty reduction are issues that are very close to Jane’s heart and she would like to see these challenges aggressively addressed in a holistic manner. To help her recharge, Jane enjoys good food, nature and travelling. Family and friends are very precious to Jane.
Adeola Awogbemi, Recording Secretary
Adeola Awogbemi is a Research and Development Consultant with about 2 decades’ experience working with non-profits in Africa. With a background in Political Science, her experience cuts across Health, Education, Livelihoods, Gender, and Governance. Her specialties include Monitoring & Evaluation, Project Design & Management, Advocacy & Campaign Management, Capacity Development, and Election Monitoring. Adeola is an activist, mentor, trainer, and avid volunteer with extensive experience designing and implementing educational, gender, capacity building, leadership and mentoring programs. She has also provided strategy, capacity building and conducted evaluation studies on development projects for donors like Voice 4 Change (V4C), Christian Aid (CA), Women 4 Women International (WFWI), Encompass LLB, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Women Win), and others. Adeola has an “M.Sc degree in Political Science” and other certificates in, “Participatory Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (PPME)”, Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR, Netherlands; “Building Assets and Agency for Citizen-Led Development (Asset Based Community Development)”, “Advocacy: Increasing Citizen’s Voice and Agency” and “Women’s Leadership in Community Development”, from the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada; “Meta-Evaluation” International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and “Gender and Development, Future Learn by Deakin University. Adeola is the immediate past National Publicity Secretary, Nigerian Association of Evaluators (NAE) and currently, Director of Development, Skillcity Institute.
Alicia Marshall, Director
Alicia is a recent graduate of the Social Service Worker program at Niagara College. She currently works as an Intensive Case Manager with YWCA Home for Good program. She is also the Family Shelter Advocate with the YWCA Family Shelter in St. Catharines. She also works Part time with Quest CHC as a Peer Support Navigator at both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls emergency rooms helping those who are homeless or vulnerably housed find a safe place to live. As well as her position on the board of PLN, she also sits on the board of directors with Arid Recovery Homes. She is passionate about recovery, harm reduction, and helping those with mental health because she struggled with addiction and mental health for 18 years. She has been free from active addiction for over 10 years. Her community is very important to her!
Carolyn Dyer, Director
Carolyn is a Niagara resident and has lived here for the last 15 years, developing a deep love and appreciation for the Niagara community. Having completed her Bachelors of Kinesiology and Masters of Arts in Applied Health Sciences degrees at Brock University, Carolyn decided to put down roots in Niagara. Professionally, Carolyn is currently part of the HR team at Niagara Region and a member of the Human Resources Professional Association with formal education in HR Management from York University who thrives on the ability to support clients in achieving their HR goals. Prior to this, Carolyn led an interdisciplinary team at a local Community Health Centre who serviced marginalized populations, where a passion started in being part of a system that removed barriers to care and led to this constant desire to collaborate with community partners to continually address health equity. With formal training in quality improvement, Carolyn is constantly finding ways to improve ‘systems’ or processes to achieve greater outcomes. Finally, having worked in various healthcare systems from public health to the community, it has motivated Carolyn in wanting to be part of the positive change in the client experience and in the overall community. Personally, Carolyn finds solace in Mother Nature, where she is often hiking with her beloved dog.
Deborah Richards, Director
Deborah is a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Fonthill, Ontario. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) with faculty appointments in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences and the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. She has numerous publications and presents at conferences both nationally and internationally speaking on vulnerable populations. In 2018 she became the recipient of the Attorney General’s Award for Victim’s Services in Ontario for her work with victims of violence and vulnerable people. Deborah’s son, Jay lost his battle against an opioid overdose and because of this, she brings a personal passion to change and alter the stigma attached to substance use.
Julie Evans, Director
Born, raised, and living in Niagara, Julie Evans is a Registered Social Worker who enjoys working with some of our communities most vulnerable populations. Graduating from Sheridan College in 1999, with her Correctional Diploma, she spent some time working with youth, in group homes settings, working at the YWCA shelter and completed a student placement, in the role of a Correctional Officer, with Niagara Detention Centre. Julie worked for many years with Family and Children Services of Niagara, in their RAC group home and as a Child Protection Support Worker, with the Welland Intake Team. During her years working with FACS, she gained a passion for this work and returned to school to complete her BA in Social Development Studies, her Bachelor of Social Work Degree and graduated with her Masters of Social Work, in 2018. Julie has worked as an Intensive Case Manager with Community Addiction Services of Niagara, in their Addiction Supportive Housing Program, and as a Mental Health Counsellor, in a relief position with CMHA Niagara’s, Urgent Support Services Program. Just over three years ago, she began working with Niagara Region Mental Health as a Social Worker, within the shelter system. She has secured a permanent position as a Social Worker with Niagara Region Mental Health’s, Assertive Community Treatment Team and is currently working, in a pilot program, with Homelessness Services Community Engagement within the Niagara shelter system and our communities, homelessness, population. In her spare time, Julie loves to travel, spend time near water, further her skills and enjoy outings with friends and family.
Dr. Karim Ali, Director
Dr. Ali attended Ziauddin Medical University in Karachi, Pakistan; he then went on to complete his Internal Medicine Residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and his Infectious Disease Fellowship at Creighton University and University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Ali has recently been appointed a Fellow of Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). He joined Niagara Health in 2012 and established the Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Ali is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in Infectious Diseases at McMaster University; and currently serves as the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases as well as Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Niagara Health. Dr. Ali is the National Deputy for Public Health and Pandemic response, and is also involved in multiple national/international clinical trials for COVID-19. Dr. Ali volunteers with the Aga Khan Health Board for Canada and Positive Living Niagara’s StreetWorks program, and is on the Board of Directors of both Positive Living Niagara and Family and Children Services of Niagara. Dr. Ali lives in Niagara with his family.
Liam Coward, Director
Liam Coward (he/him) is a 2SLGBTQIA+ activist and social justice advocate. While not originally from the Niagara Region, he has called St. Catharines home since 2016. A graduate of Brock University’s Political Science Department (Class of 2020), he currently works as a Constituency Assistant. He brings lived experience as a person living with HIV to the Board, as he has been HIV positive since 2015. He is particularly passionate about the de-stigmatization of HIV, creating equitable health outcomes for all people living with HIV, and HIV prevention.
Esther Rongoma, Director
Esther Rongoma is a qualified Clinician with 11 years’ experience in clinical practice, public health programming, coordination and management. She graduated from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology (JKUAT) -Kenya with a Bachelor of Public Health. She emigrated to Canada two and a half years ago and has been living in Niagara Falls. Having worked with various HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations in different capacities, she has a in-depth understanding of HIV/AIDS comprehensive care, positive engagement with stakeholders and team members, critical organizational documentation, Budget preparation, Networking and collaboration. She is currently the Women development community coordinator with ARCH (HIV/AIDS Resource & Community Health). In her role she works with designated local communities in Guelph to build community capacity to respond to women’s HIV/AIDS prevention needs, and to improve the quality of life for women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. She works with diverse agencies, organizations, and groups that serve women, to advance the Women and HIV Prevention Initiative. Esther enjoys travelling, nature walks and connecting with friends and family.
Become a Member
Positive Living Niagara has had an exciting year of development and transformation.
We invite you to join us as a member.
Your membership demonstrates your commitment to our community by supporting our mission of providing innovative and proactive approaches to education, harm-reduction models of prevention, and support strategies for those affected by HIV.
With your support and the support of our community partners we can continue to improve the lives of those impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Membership terms run from April 1 – March 31 with a fee of $10.00 per year. Clients of Positive Living Niagara who would like to become a member may request to have this fee waived.
Please consider an additional donation to Positive Living Niagara while completing this membership to assist us to more effectively support or community. Charitable receipts will be issued for any donations.