GRACELAND AFRICA MISSION

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Graceland Africa Mission is led by a dedicated board of directors who have extensive experience working in developing nations.  

Diane Laakso BASc, MSc        Founder & President   Diane’s love for Africa began in 1986 when she spent 6 months backpacking through 13 African countries. Diane’s vision is to see Kenyans have access to clean water and opportunities for education and employment. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Science in human nutrition, and Certificates in Christian Education and Co-operative Management. She is currently enrolled in the International Development Program at the University of British Columbia.

Diane Laakso BASc, MSc

Founder & President

Diane’s love for Africa began in 1986 when she spent 6 months backpacking through 13 African countries. Diane’s vision is to see Kenyans have access to clean water and opportunities for education and employment. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Science in human nutrition, and Certificates in Christian Education and Co-operative Management. She is currently enrolled in the International Development Program at the University of British Columbia.

Laurel Laakso BMSc, MD, CCFP    Secretary   Laurel has been involved with GAM since it’s very beginning in 2005. She has traveled extensively in eastern and southern Africa. She has a keen interest in community and global health and is an alumna of the Global Health Education Initiative at the University of Toronto. Laurel is a family physician in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Laurel Laakso BMSc, MD, CCFP

Secretary

Laurel has been involved with GAM since it’s very beginning in 2005. She has traveled extensively in eastern and southern Africa. She has a keen interest in community and global health and is an alumna of the Global Health Education Initiative at the University of Toronto. Laurel is a family physician in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

Michael Phillips PhD        Director of Fundraising   Michael is an internationally recognized expert with more than 30 years experience in the field of forensic mental health and the criminal justice system. He is a recipient of the Amethyst Award for Out- standing Achievement in the Ontario Public Service. He is Chairman of the International Institute on Special Needs Offenders and Public Policy, and is a member of the Ontario Justice of the Peace Review Council.

Michael Phillips PhD

Director of Fundraising

Michael is an internationally recognized expert with more than 30 years experience in the field of forensic mental health and the criminal justice system. He is a recipient of the Amethyst Award for Out- standing Achievement in the Ontario Public Service. He is Chairman of the International Institute on Special Needs Offenders and Public Policy, and is a member of the Ontario Justice of the Peace Review Council.

 
Brian Treleaven      Director of Volunteers   Brian has extensive experience in leading short-term missions in developing countries. In 2012, Brain led a team to Kenya which ministered, constructed a Sunday school building and encouraged many Kenyans. Brian has been, for over 10 years, the Chairman of the Board of Elders, Alliston Alliance Church, Alliston Ontario.

Brian Treleaven

Director of Volunteers

Brian has extensive experience in leading short-term missions in developing countries. In 2012, Brain led a team to Kenya which ministered, constructed a Sunday school building and encouraged many Kenyans. Brian has been, for over 10 years, the Chairman of the Board of Elders, Alliston Alliance Church, Alliston Ontario.

 
Sharron Beaton BHEc, MSFN    Director   Sharron’s passion for helping people improve their nutrition and education began while she was living overseas conducting research and volunteering in the slums and resettlement areas in the Philippines (5.5 years) and visiting China (6 months). Sharron has seen entire communities benefit from efforts that simply focus on helping people help themselves. Sharron has a Bachelor of Home Economics and a Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition.

Sharron Beaton BHEc, MSFN

Director

Sharron’s passion for helping people improve their nutrition and education began while she was living overseas conducting research and volunteering in the slums and resettlement areas in the Philippines (5.5 years) and visiting China (6 months). Sharron has seen entire communities benefit from efforts that simply focus on helping people help themselves. Sharron has a Bachelor of Home Economics and a Master of Science in Foods and Nutrition.

 


ADVISORY COUNCIL

Our advisory council provides valuable expertise is their area of interest.

PAUL ROBERTS HBOR    SUSTAINABLE CO-OPERATIVES   Paul has a wide variety of experience in the Co-op sector. His most recent endeavor was to establish a worker co-op coffee roastery in Stratford, Ontario, To Bean or Not to Bean. Paul is certified in Co-operative Management and Advanced Business Analysis. He currently teaches Business Foundations and Sustainable Business Planning at Fanshawe College, London Ontario. He is the SW Ontario Manager for the Ontario Co-operative Association.

PAUL ROBERTS HBOR

SUSTAINABLE CO-OPERATIVES

Paul has a wide variety of experience in the Co-op sector. His most recent endeavor was to establish a worker co-op coffee roastery in Stratford, Ontario, To Bean or Not to Bean. Paul is certified in Co-operative Management and Advanced Business Analysis. He currently teaches Business Foundations and Sustainable Business Planning at Fanshawe College, London Ontario. He is the SW Ontario Manager for the Ontario Co-operative Association.

HEATHER LAAKSO BMSc, MD, CCFP    GENDER EQUITY   Heather was profoundly impacted by her travels in Africa as an adolescent and young adult, and has a strong interest in social equity and justice. In particular, Heather has become an active advocate for gender equality in both Canada and Kenya, and is passionate about GAM’s gender equity programs. Heather is a family physician in Orillia, Ontario.

HEATHER LAAKSO BMSc, MD, CCFP

GENDER EQUITY

Heather was profoundly impacted by her travels in Africa as an adolescent and young adult, and has a strong interest in social equity and justice. In particular, Heather has become an active advocate for gender equality in both Canada and Kenya, and is passionate about GAM’s gender equity programs. Heather is a family physician in Orillia, Ontario.

HOLLY LAAKSO BMSc, PhD    PROMOTION   Holly was only thirteen years old when she first visited Sub-Saharan Africa and her experiences were foundational in both her personal and professional life. After seeing the devastating effects of infection, such as HIV, on human health in developing countries, Holly pursued research in infection and immunity. She has a desire to see Kenyans overcome every obstacle to becoming successful leaders. Holly has a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology and is involved in cancer research at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ontario.

HOLLY LAAKSO BMSc, PhD

PROMOTION

Holly was only thirteen years old when she first visited Sub-Saharan Africa and her experiences were foundational in both her personal and professional life. After seeing the devastating effects of infection, such as HIV, on human health in developing countries, Holly pursued research in infection and immunity. She has a desire to see Kenyans overcome every obstacle to becoming successful leaders. Holly has a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology and is involved in cancer research at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ontario.