Board of Directors

Cherie Somerville
Board Chair
Job Title: Business Transformation Leader, BMO
Biography: Cherie is the Senior Project Manager at the Bank of Montreal and has been a board member with Habitat Hamilton since 2015. She holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and a BSc degree with specialized honours in psychology from the University of Guelph. Cherie grew up in Millgrove (north of Waterdown) and lived there most of her life. She’s since relocated to the Hamilton downtown area, where she has resided for about 14 years. Cherie is also very active in the equestrian community and loves to spend time in her garden.

Sue Ramsay
Vice Chair
Job Title: General Manager, Hamilton-Halton Construction Association
Sue Ramsay is the General Manager of the Hamilton Halton Construction Association (HHCA), a not-for-profit organization that serves the needs of non-residential construction employers in the Hamilton and Burlington area.  Prior to joining the HHCA, Sue spent more than eight years with the Council of Ontario Construction Associations serving as Manager of Operations & Communications. Sue holds a BA in Communications from Brock University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.

Ken Lancaster
Treasurer & Secretary
Job Title: Associate Wealth Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities
Biography: As an Associate Wealth Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, Ken Lancaster provides access to a comprehensive range of services to help you build and protect your wealth. Ken is a graduate of McMaster University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree and a Master of Business Administration degree. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant, and has completed the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada’s In-Depth Tax Course. A firm believer in ongoing education, Ken recently obtained the Family Enterprise Advisor (FEA) designation. Ken’s experience spans over 25 years in public accounting, most recently as a tax partner with a national accounting and business advisory firm. He specializes in building all-encompassing strategies and solutions for business owners and high-net-worth individuals. Ken enjoys collaborating with clients’ other professional advisors to deliver comprehensive, integrated wealth management and financial solutions. Ken’s breadth of experience, expertise and credentials help ensure sound advice, expert execution and peace of mind for clients who require solutions suited to broad and complex wealth management needs. Ken lives in Ancaster with his wife Deborah. They proudly raised three children, who are living and working in the Hamilton area. Ken and Deborah are avid golfers and also enjoy travelling. They are active members of their community and volunteer on numerous boards and committees.

Tom Vert
Past Board Chair
Job Title: Retired VP of Manufacturing, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
Biography: Tom was appointed to the position of Vice President, Manufacturing in 2014 at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. Tom held various leadership roles in manufacturing including General Manager, Primary Manufacturing, Steelmaking Business Unit Manager and Steelmaking Technology Coach. Tom joined ArcelorMittal Dofasco in 1989 as Refractory Engineer after beginning his career at Crane Canada in 1987. Tom holds a Master of Business Administration and a degree in Ceramics Engineering from McMaster University. As a recognized expert in refractories, Tom was awarded the Distinguished Life Member of the United International Conference on Refractories in 2011 and has recently published a textbook on refractories for steelmaking. Tom retired from ArcelorMittal Dofasco in 2018. An avid Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Tom has built homes for Habitat in Malawi, Chile, El Salvador and in Hamilton.

Natalie Porcaro-Clermont
Board Member
Job Title: Barrister & Solicitor, Porcaro Law
Natalie specializes in both Real Estate and Business/Commercial law and has been routinely recognized as one of Hamilton’s best Real Estate lawyers, receiving four Hamilton Spectator Reader’s Choice Awards to date. She is a graduate of McMaster University and University of Ottawa, and is a proud member of several esteemed legal associations. Natalie started her career in Hamilton in 2012 with a prominent downtown legal firm, where she expanded her extensive experience in Commercial and Residential Real Estate, Condominium/Land Development, Corporate/Commercial and Secured Financings. Colleagues and clients appreciate working with Natalie because of her collaborative approach to legal matters. She routinely works with and consults her clients’ Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Accountants, Insurance agents, Bankers and other key partners–as she firmly believes that a team approach is best to ensure optimum protection and cost-efficiency for her clients.

Brenda Khes
Board Member
Job Title: Associate, Senior Planner, GSP Group Inc.
Brenda is a Senior Associate Planner at GSP Group Inc.’s Hamilton Office with over 30 years of land use planning experience in both the public and private sectors. She has extensive experience in urban redevelopment, secondary planning, management and coordinating land development projects and securing development approvals on a wide range of projects. Brenda is also actively involved in the community as a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the Hamilton Halton Home Builders’ Association, the Mohawk College Urban and Regional Planning GIS Program Advisory Committee, the OPPI Western Lake Advisory District Executive Team, the Greater Hamilton Professional Planners Advisory Group and Habitat for Humanity Hamilton.

Marie Verdun
Board Member
Job Title: Manager, Corporate Affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco
Marie is currently Manager, Corporate Affairs at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Canada’s largest flat roll steel producer. She manages an extensive portfolio of internal and external corporate communications strategy and programs at the local and national level, including crisis communications, issues management, media relations, employee communications and marketing communications. A corporate communicator for 23 years, Marie has worked on both the agency and client sides and also spent time as a book and magazine editor. Marie is a graduate of Ryerson University (Journalism) and Western University (English).

Jennifer Isaacs
Board Member
Job Title: Realtor, Royal LePage State Realty Brokerage
Jennifer Isaacs is a licensed Realtor® with Royal LePage State Realty Brokerage. Jennifer was raised in Hamilton and has an intimate knowledge of the city’s real estate market across all price points and its continuous transformation. She also guides international clients with relocation needs as well as real estate acquisitions and portfolios. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gerontology and Sociology from McMaster University and has previous experience in research, public relations, marketing and business development. She’s also an active member on several various associations and real estate boards, including the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB), Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the McMaster Alumni Association.

Chrissy Walker
Board Member
Job Title: Account Manager, Genworth Canada
Biography: Chrissy has over 25 years of experience in the finance sector, specializing in mortgages and client services. She previously held positions including Mortgage Specialist and Mortgage Broker before becoming an Account Manager with Genworth Canada, where she provides lending institutions with the highest level of service. Having attained a Personal Financial Planning Designation, Chrissy understands the importance of financial security, which is one of the many reasons why she volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Hamilton. She has had the fortunate opportunity of participating in multiple build days and also volunteers her time in support of Genworth Canada’s “Meaning of Home” contest, raising thousands of dollars in support of Habitat for Humanity, each year.

Seif El-Sahly
Board Member
Job Title: Owner & Director, Newfore Inc.
Biography: Seif is the Owner and Director of Newfore Inc., a general contracting company servicing the Hamilton region with both commercial and residential projects. He is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng) with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) and holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McMaster University. For two years, he’s been an active supporter of Canstruction Toronto, an international annual design and build competition that raises awareness about the growing hunger gap. Together with Canstruction Toronto, he’s collected and donated non perishable food items in direct support of the Daily Bread Foodbank. As an active real estate investor—renovating residential units and providing quality rental properties throughout the city—Seif understands the importance of decent, safe and affordable housing, which is why he’s also an active volunteer with Habitat Hamilton. He spends his spare time leading an active lifestyle, with the strong belief that staying active is the best way to keep a clear and focused mind.

Stephen Gagne
Board Member
Job Title: Senior Project Manager, City of Hamilton
Biography: Stephen is a Senior Project Manager in the Transportation Operations & Maintenance division of Public Works at the City of Hamilton. He is currently working in a continuous improvement role and recently obtained his Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He previously spent five years in the Engineering Services division working as a Designer. Stephen grew up in Brampton, Ontario and lived there until moving to Hamilton to pursue his education. He holds two undergraduate degrees from McMaster University: an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree. He is a Professional Engineer (P. Eng) with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO). Stephen enjoys an active lifestyle and can be found walking or running along the trails in Hamilton in his spare time. His other hobbies include photography, travel, and ultimate Frisbee. Stephen also volunteers with YMCA as a Newcomer Mentor and previously volunteered as a Big Brother.