On behalf of the Board of Directors I wish to welcome you to the Banyan website. Our organization has a deep and rich history serving some of the most vulnerable populations in our City.

We are dedicated to providing our community with high quality, accessible and safe programs and services. Working together with our staff of dedicated personnel, Banyan is focused on improving the experiences and outcomes of the people we serve through the delivery of our services. While many exciting projects are in progress in our organization, we are most gratified when we can offer our clients effective, safe and considerate care.

Banyan has been providing programs and services since 1978. In that time, we have acquired a diverse range of knowledge and expertise to assist children and young people in need of support and advocacy throughout the Niagara, Hamilton, Simcoe, Haldimand and Brant regions. We are known for our quick response to emerging needs and innovative approach to service.

I look forward to working with all of our partners to improve the quality of service we provide.

Board of Directors

Jacqueline Barrett, Chair

Jacqueline Barrett joined the Board of Directors in 2015. Jackie is a Nurse Leader with a strong history of commitment to social issues related to children and youth and was a member of the Healthy Birth Weights Coalition of Hamilton for over 5 years. Jackie has worked as an administrator at many hospitals across the province of Ontario and was a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Jackie holds a clinical appointment with McMaster University in the School of Nursing. Jackie also has a strong foundation in agriculture, she is a member of the Ontario Wine Society – Niagara Chapter (not-for-profit organization) and a member of their executive team.

Glenn Cooke, Vice Chair

Glenn Cooke is a career educator and currently the Principal of System Programs for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.  His portfolio includes direct oversight for:  System Alternative Education, SAL (Supervised Alternative Learning), Care, Treatment, Custody & Corrections Programs, and Gateway (Expulsion & Long Term Suspension), and includes Administrative Liaison for:  ArtSmart, HWDSB Audition Based Program of the Arts, Strings, and International Baccalaureate programs.

Jennifer Gibson, Treasurer

Jennifer Gibson, CPA, CGA joined the Banyan Board of Directors in 2019. Jennifer is the Director of Finance for Homewood Health Centre and is a member in good standing of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Jennifer’s previous roles span private and public sectors, as well as charitable organizations. A member of CFUW Guelph, Jennifer sits on the advocacy committee, and is a past volunteer for the City of Hamilton Homelessness Point in Time Count.

Sonia Boyle

Sonia Boyle is Chief Human Resources Officer, Gore Mutual Insurance. Prior to joining Gore Mutual, she was VP Human Resources, TD Bank Group supporting over 10,000 employees in Digital and Shared Services. Her career expands 25+ years within progressive, senior HR roles in industries as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, and professional services. Sonia holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, in Labour Relations and Sociology, from McMaster University.  She has also obtained her post-graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management and holds the designation of Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL). She is an active member of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPA). She is Co-Chair of the Governing Body for the Toronto CHRO Leadership Summit. She sits on the Advisory Council (Eastern Canada) for the Conference Board of Canada Council for HR Executives as well as for the IPMI HR Management Institute.

Donnaa Fredrick

Donnaa has an Honours Degree in Psychology from York University and Certification in Physical, Mental and Developmental Rehabilitation from Seneca College. Her internship with Correctional Service Canada; authoring recommendations to the Parole Board of Canada propelled an interest in the legal field, to advocate for individuals in conflict with the law. She currently works as a Compliance and Quality Assurance Specialist within the private education sector. Donnaa hopes to service vulnerable populations, advance social justice, community empowerment and reintegration efforts.

Mark Garcia

Mark Garcia, CPA is an experienced financial professional with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. As Finance Manager at Athena Software, he is passionate about advancing business systems/processes and financial reporting. Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) focused in Accounting, Audit & Information Technology.

Yvonne Kaczanowski

Yvonne Kaczanowski, CIP, joined the Banyan Board of Directors in 2020. She currently works in the Insurance Industry as a Commercial Lines Underwriter for a Fortune 500 company. Yvonne is in good standing with the Insurance Institute of Canada as a Chartered Insurance Professional, and is currently working towards obtaining her Canadian Risk Management Designation through the Global Risk Management Institute. Yvonne has a passion for humanitarian work, as shown with her current volunteer experience with Hamilton’s homeless shelters, as well as her past in volunteering with animal rescues.

John Laratta

John Laratta, CA, CPA, FCPA (NT), FCA (NT) has 40 years’ of accounting and auditing experience.  He is a retired partner with Crowe Chartered Accountants. He currently assists the firm in financial statement and audit quality control. He also assists in the financial training of clients. His experience includes assurance engagements of First Nations, government entities development corporations owned by First Nations, and corporate groups with multiple subsidiaries in diverse industries. In these roles he has reviewed management information systems, assisted with Board development, enhanced financial reporting of subsidiaries to parent corporations, assessing the financial return and KPI’s of subsidiaries. John has conducted many special projects in areas of contribution agreement management, reporting and auditing, board training, corporate strategy, and budget management. In his volunteer work, John currently sits on the Audit Committee of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and serves on the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Conservation Foundation.  John is also on the Steering Committee with CPA Canada working on their annual report of not-for-profit organizations and serves with the CPA NWT-NU awards committee.

Jill McKenzie

Called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1994, Jill has a Master of Laws degree specializing in criminal law.  Since March 2015 Jill has been an Assistant Crown Counsel (Hamilton and Cayuga).  Her achievements include the Reuben Wells Leonard Prize in Sentencing from Queen’s University and the Sher Singh Award in Civil Liberties from the University of Western Ontario.   She is an Advisory Committee member of the Lawyer’s Legacy for Children and Fund and past volunteer of Welcome Inn’s Children’s After School Nutrition Program.

Angela Morgan

Angela has a passion for community service and giving back to her community. A leader in municipal government with over 30 years of experience, Angela’s strengths are in strategic thinking, building relationships and leadership. Angela’s volunteer activities include her current role as President of the Board of Directors for the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers (AMCTO).

Michael Spencer

Michael Spencer is a Staff Sergeant with Hamilton Police Services and joined the Banyan Board of Directors in 2016.A recipient of the Canadian Forces Decoration and Clasp (28 years to date), Mike’s volunteer experiences includes Hamilton Highland Games, Mount Hamilton Youth Soccer, Ontario Rep Hockey League, Mount Hamilton Minor Hockey Association, Argyll andSutherland Highlanders of Canada (Pipes and Drums).

Community Members of the Board

Bart Halasa

Bart Halasa graduated Summa Cum Laude from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business in 2009 and subsequently obtained his Chartered Accountant designation while articling with KPMG LLP. He has experience working in various private and public industries and is currently the Controller for JNE Group of Companies in Hamilton. Bart’s previous roles include Senior Financial Advisor, Financial Planning & Analysis at Hamilton Health Sciences and Senior Manager, Corporate Finance at Fengate Capital Management Ltd. in Oakville. Bart is a proud Hamiltonian with a commitment to improving the quality of life in our community.
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Dr. Julie L

Dr. Julie L. is an Anesthesiologist at St Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton and Associate Clinical Professor at McMaster University.  Her teaching interests include crisis management at the Simulation Centre at the DeGroote School of Medicine and one on one teaching in the operating room.  Dr. Julie L.’s administration interests include continuous process improvement within the healthcare system and is currently a surveyor for Accreditation Canada.  She is a Mom of four children and has experience with kids with special needs and boys with disruptive behaviour.  Dr. Julie L. has a strong belief that helping children develop life skills at an early age not only helps the child, but society as a whole.


OUr History

Helping the Hamilton
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Leadership team

Meet the people
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Phone: 905.545.0133
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