The Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who share a commitment to the well-being of children and families. The role of the Board of Directors is to ensure the on-going sustainability, credibility and ability of the organization to realize its Mandate, Vision, Mission Statement and Values & Guiding Principles.
Ms. Vicki Houston, B.A., B. Ed., M. Ed., Board Chair
Ms. Vicki Houston was appointed to the Board in June of 2019 and currently serves as the Chair of the Board. Ms. Houston is a Superintendent with the Greater Essex County District School Board and has been a secondary school principal, vice principal and teacher prior to her current role.
Vicki is a member of the LaSalle Police Services Board and is actively involved in giving back to her community.
Ms. Houston is a strong advocate for youth in Windsor and Essex County and has worked throughout her entire career and in her community involvement to improve the lives of teens who are at risk of not graduating from high school.
Mr. Kulveer Virk, M.Eng., PMP, Past Chair
Mr. Kulveer Virk has been a Board Director since September 2016, currently serving as the Past Chair of the Board. He is presently working for a major automotive manufacturer in Detroit as ITO Transformation Manager.
Mr. Virk has over 20 years of experience in managing and delivering complex programs in Information Technology and is a thought leader with deep experience in solving business problems utilizing continuous improvement methods and efficient use of technologies. He teaches Management of Information Systems as adjunct professor at University of Windsor. His expertise includes creating process efficiencies, governance structures, data analytics and strong stakeholder relations.
Mr. Virk brings over a decade of board governance, strategic planning and program management experiences serving multiple roles in various sectors in USA and Canada.
Ms. Rana Olwan, CBA, CGA, MBA, CFE, Vice Chair
Ms. Rana Olwan has been a Board Director since December 2017, currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Board and the Chair of the Governance Committee. She is the Director of Finance and Portfolio Management for the Department of Hunger and Livelihoods at Save the Children Federation, Inc. She has over 15 years of experience in accounting and financial management in international development programs. She has worked in a number of places, including Save the Children’s offices in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She brings to the board an extensive knowledge and experience in risk management, donor compliance, financial accounting and reporting, and strategic planning.
Rana holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Yarmouk University in Jordan and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Laurentian University in Canada. She is also a Chartered Professional Accountant, a Certified General Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Ms. Melissa Cuzzocrea, CPA, CA., Treasurer
Ms. Melissa Cuzzocrea has been a Board Director since January 2022, currently servigin as Treasurer of the Board and Chair of the Corporate Services Committee. Ms. Cuzzocrea is a Director in Baker Tilly Windsor’s Assurance and Advisory department. She has over 20 years of accounting experience, most of which has been spent in public accounting. Ms. Cuzzocrea works primarily with owner-managed corporations providing business advisory, accounting, and tax compliance services, as well as personal and corporate tax planning services.
Melissa graduated from the University of Windsor with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree. She earned her Chartered Accountant designation in 2000 and her CPA designation in 2008 in the State of Illinois. Ms. Cuzzocrea has also taught at the University Of Windsor Odette School Of Business as a sessional instructor.
Ms. Stephanie Williams, Secretary
Boozhoo, Anii Stephanie Williams dizhinikaaz! Ojibway from Bkejwanong Territory. Ms. Williams has been a Board Director since September 2018, currently filling the designated seat for a representative of the Indigenous community. She currently serves as Board Secretary and sits on both the Governance and Services Planning Committees.
Ms. Williams was born and raised on reserve (Walpole Island First Nation), where she lived all her life. She is a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, cousin and mother of two children. Ms. Williams brings with her a great deal of experience through her professional career as well as life experiences. She possesses a Social Service Worker Diploma from St. Lawrence College, specializing in Indigenous Peoples, and she is currently a Bachelor’s of Social work student with Ryerson University in Toronto.
Ms. Williams worked at Three Fires Exhignowenmindwaa Women’s Shelter for ten years, Sarnia Lambton Children’s Aid Society and currently at the South West Detention Centre. She enjoys working with people and being a helper. She believes in Wholistic and traditional healing along with promoting healthy balanced daily living and the safety and well-being of all.
Mr. Shane Renaud, OMC, Police Constable, Services Planning Committee Chair
Mr. Shane Renaud has been a Board Director since September 2018, currently serving as Chair of the Services Planning Committee. As a former Crown Ward, he is a strong advocate for children and youth. During his teen years, Shane acted as a liaison between youth in care and the WECAS Board and he has continued donating his time ever since by providing presentations to foster parents, youth in care and staff.
Shane’s commitment to the Windsor-Essex community is also reflected in his chosen profession, that of a Constable with the Windsor Police Service. He is a graduate of the Law and Security Administration Program at St. Clair College, the Ontario Police College’s Constable Training Program and has an Executive Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Windsor – Faculty of Law.
Mr. Renaud has been an active and previous member of the Board of Directors serving from 2004-2014; and he served in all roles including that of President. Mr. Renaud’s initial term further included him representing Southwest Ontario on the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and being one of only 12 members named from the Province of Ontario to represent the Society by sitting as a member with the Commission to Promote Sustainability in Child Welfare. At the conclusion of Mr. Renaud’s tenure, he took a four-year hiatus.
In December of 2016, Mr. Renaud’s volunteer work with the Society, Windsor Police Service and advocacy for youth in care was recognized with him being awarded the Ontario Medal of Good Citizenship.
Dr. Mohammed Hussain, MD, CCFP, Board Director
Dr. Mohammed Hussain has been a Board Director since September 2018, currently sitting on the Governance Committee. Dr. Hussain works as a family physician for City Centre Health Care, which is a community centre affiliated with the Canadian Mental Health Association. He has an interest in the treatment of mental health problems in a primary care setting.
Dr. Hussain was raised in Windsor and completed his primary and secondary schooling locally. He completed an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Windsor before going to the University of Toronto for medical school. As a local family physician, Dr. Hussain is actively engaged in clinical work with families of lower socioeconomic status. He is also very aware of how essential it is for children to be raised in a safe and secure environment where all of their physical and emotional needs are adequately met. As the son of Indian immigrants, and as an active member of the Muslim community in Windsor, Dr. Hussain brings a background that contributes to the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Board of Directors.
Dr. Vikesh Maraj, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Board Director
Dr. Vikesh Maraj has been a Board Director since September 2021, currently sitting on the Corporate Services Committee. Originally from South Africa, he is a Windsor based family physician with 20 years of experience.
Dr. Maraj is the President of the Essex County Medical Society, and is also the Ontario Medical Association District 1 Representative, Section of General and Family Practice.
Passionate about addressing all facets of healthcare, Dr. Maraj is deeply embedded in both the local and provincial healthcare system. He strongly advocates for physician involvement in both the design and implementation of patient centric healthcare policy.
Ms. Stephanie Savoni, LL.B., Board Director
Ms. Stephanie Savoni has been a Board Director since September 2021, currently sitting on the Services Planning Committee. Ms. Savoni has over twenty-one years of experience in the worker’s compensation field of law, and has been representing employers exclusively in workers’ compensation matters since 2005 with the Office of the Employer Adviser, an independent agency of the Ministry of Labour. Ms. Savoni represents employers at the WSIB Operations Level, WSlB’s Appeals Services Division and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.
Ms. Savoni graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1998 from the University of Windsor, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2000. Ms. Savoni has also been teaching employment law and property law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor as a sessional instructor since 2016, and she devotes much of her personal time to mentoring and supporting her students, both past and current.
Ms. Savoni has a deep personal interest in social justice and advocacy for youth and children, and is so pleased to have the opportunity to contribute her skills to the WECAS as a Board Director.
Mr. Brendan Dodd, MBA, CMM III
Mr. Brendan Dodd was elected to the Board in October 2022. He sits on the Corporate Services Committee. Brendan has served as a police officer with the Windsor Police Service (WPS) for over twenty seven years. For the last six years, he has held the rank of Superintendent and his portfolio includes, Information Technology, Information Management, and Planning and Resources for the WPS. Superintendent Dodd has worked in a diverse array of operational and administrative assignments. He has frontline operational and supervisory experience in the areas of patrol response and tactical support. Additionally, he served as a Detective for four years of specialized investigative work in the area of internet child exploitation offences and technology crime, where he led several investigations that were international in scope, and utilized his expertise as a trained Computer Forensic Examiner.
A strong believer in the power of technology to transform public safety service delivery, Superintendent Dodd has also led a number of cross-functional special project teams tasked with implementing strategic information and communications technology initiatives. These projects have included the deployment of large-scale digital voice radio and broadband mobile data systems, as well as CAD and RMS applications. Superintendent Dodd also served as the National Co-Chair of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and as a member of the Innovation and IT Committees of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
Brendan has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario (Huron College) and a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Windsor. In addition to professional certifications in policing and emergency management, Superintendent Dodd achieved Executive Level accreditation as a Certified Municipal Manager by the Province of Ontario, and has served in a variety of Governance roles, including as a member of National Police Information Systems Advisory Board (NPIS-AB) and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Windsor-Essex County Children’s Aid Society and other not for profit entities.
Mr. Leonardo Gil, MSW, BA
Mr. Leonardo Gil was elected to the Board in October 2022. He currently sits on the Services Planning Committee. Leonardo is the Executive Initiatives Coordinator for the Human and Health Services Department at the City of Windsor. Through this role, Leo supports the work of all major departmental portfolios (e.g. Housing and Children’s Services, Social Policy and Planning, etc.) through research and analysis, planning and policy development, issue management and government relations and special project support. For over 8 years, Leo has worked in a variety of community development and engagement capacities including outreach, group facilitation, research, data analysis and project management. As the former Project Manager of the joint City/County Windsor Essex Regional Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, Leo has worked with community leaders from priority populations and from across multiple sectors to establish sustainable community led strategies.
As a second generation immigrant, Leo’s experience of humble beginnings living in Windsor’s downtown core has shaped his belief in the power of community over adversity. He often credits his work alongside residents and youth as an outreach coordinator in local neighbourhood renewal strategies as driving his passion for community work. Leo holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Windsor and has experience in working at micro, mezzo and macro levels of Social Work practice.
Ms. Kendall Dunlop, Youth Representative
Ms. Kendall Dunlop has been the Youth Representative on the Board since January 2022, and currently sits on the Services Planning Committee. Ms. Dunlop is a first-generation University student currently working towards obtaining her Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Psychology degrees with the University of Windsor, and her Early Childhood Education diploma from St. Clair College. Kendall has a passion for advocating for youth in care stemming from her own experiences as a Crown Ward and her position as a kinship parent.
Kendall’s advocacy work began in 2020 when she wrote her children’s book, Sally and her Suitcase, which touched upon unique experiences that children in care have and issues that are often overlooked. Kendall also has a passion for cultivating the curiosity of young minds and has spent four years working in various comp-ed schools in Windsor Essex County as a before and after school teacher.
Ms. Dunlop brings many unique and valuable perspectives to the WECAS Board and wishes to continue to grow her knowledge and continue to advocate for the needs of youth in our community.
Board meetings are held ten times throughout the year. If you wish to attend a meeting and/or address the Board, please contact the Executive Assistant in writing, identifying the topic, rationale and speaker(s) at firstname.lastname@example.org