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.

  Karen Marie Gariba     Director   Karen-Marie has traveled extensively throughout Africa and around the world. During her eight years living in Hong Kong, she worked for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and World Vision. Her heart is to use her humanitarian and fundraising experience to bless GAM in helping to fulfill the mission, vision, and programs. Karen-Marie and her husband are founding Pastors of Jubilee Celebration Centre in Orillia, Owen Sound, Alliston, and Barrie.

Karen Marie Gariba

Director

Karen-Marie has traveled extensively throughout Africa and around the world. During her eight years living in Hong Kong, she worked for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and World Vision. Her heart is to use her humanitarian and fundraising experience to bless GAM in helping to fulfill the mission, vision, and programs. Karen-Marie and her husband are founding Pastors of Jubilee Celebration Centre in Orillia, Owen Sound, Alliston, and Barrie.

 

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 there have been 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 recently completed a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology at the Western University of Canada in London, Ontario.

HOLLY LAAKSO BMSc, PhD

PROMOTION

Holly was only thirteen years old when she first visited Sub-Saharan Africa and her experiences there have been 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 recently completed a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology at the Western University of Canada in London, Ontario.

  LARRY BACK PhD     RESEARCH   Larry was born in Middle Sackville, NB and has degrees from Mount Allison, Boston University and McGill. He was professor of history at Laurentian (9 yrs) and Carleton Universities (30 yrs) and is now Professor Emeritus at Carleton University.  Founding director of the Centre for Research in Canadian-Russian Relations (CRCR), Larry has served as a researcher for NATO, a recruit trainer for CSIS, and consultant with the Immigration & Refugee Board. He is the author, co-author or editor of 53 books on Russia, the USSR and Russian-Canadian relations. 

LARRY BACK PhD

RESEARCH

Larry was born in Middle Sackville, NB and has degrees from Mount Allison, Boston University and McGill. He was professor of history at Laurentian (9 yrs) and Carleton Universities (30 yrs) and is now Professor Emeritus at Carleton University.

Founding director of the Centre for Research in Canadian-Russian Relations (CRCR), Larry has served as a researcher for NATO, a recruit trainer for CSIS, and consultant with the Immigration & Refugee Board. He is the author, co-author or editor of 53 books on Russia, the USSR and Russian-Canadian relations. 

 
 
 
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