Board of Directors

Sue Ramsay
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.

Kevin Whyte
Vice Chair
Job Title: Principal, Rycorp Strategies
Biography: Kevin is the founder of Rycorp Strategies, a Hamilton-based government and public relations firm. In his role, he helps clients achieve their government and communications goals through effective lobbying and public relations efforts. A life-long Hamilton resident, Kevin started his career working for Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga in a ReStore procurement and government relations role. Kevin holds a B.A. (Hons.) in business communications from Brock University, which included a one year exchange to the University of Tampere in Finland, a Master’s degree in international politics and security from the University of Dundee in Scotland, and is currently working towards his MBA at McMaster University.

Cherie Somerville
Past 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.

Chrissy Walker
Board Member
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 Sagen (formerly 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 supoort of Sagen’s “Meaning of Home” contest, raising thousands of dollars in support of Habitat for Humanity, each year.

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.

John Ariens
Board Member
Job Title: Associate Director & Planning Practice Lead, IBI Group
Biography: John is the Associate Director and Planning Practice Lead at IBI Group’s Hamilton office, representing the interests of development clients, both public and private, through the planning and development process for the Hamilton region. John’s corporate philosophy embodies the message of “treating others as you want to be treated: with respect and fairness”. He holds a Diploma from Mohawk College in Community Planning as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. He’s passionate about affordable housing and heritage preservation, dedicating years of volunteer support to Habitat for Humanity Hamilton and various heritage restoration projects.

Alana Crugnale
Board Member
Job Title: Partner, Mackesy Smye LLP.
Biography: Alana is a partner at Mackesy Smye LLP. Her practice concentrates on personal injury litigation resulting from motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls and long term disability claims. Alana is a member of the Hamilton Law Association, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Canadian Bar Association. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in 2006 and her LLB from the University of Ottawa in 2009. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2010. She is an active participant in seminars and events sponsored by the Hamilton Law Association and cares deeply about access to affordable housing.

Jennica Gahan
Board Member
Job Title: Manager, Operational Performance, Losani Homes
Biography: Jennica is the Manager of Operational Performance at Losani Homes. In this role, she is responsible for the alignment of homebuilder operations including production, design, contracts, and accounting.  Jennica obtained her Master of Business Administration degree from McMaster University and her Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree from Western University. She has also earned a post-graduate certificate in Construction Estimating from Conestoga College. Jennica’s love for construction and homebuilding grew after completing two Collegiate Challenges for Habitat for Humanity during her undergrad. She also served as a ReStore Volunteer in Burlington before relocating to Hamilton where she is an active member of her community and enjoys playing soccer and golf.

Irene Deketele
Board Member
Job Title: Manager, Health & Safety, ArcelorMittal Dofasco
Biography: Irene is the Manager of Health & Safety at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, a Hamilton steel manufacturer since 1912.  Dofasco has a people-first culture with a rich history of passionate volunteers and giving back to the community. Irene previously held positions in Engineering as well as Maintenance before moving to her present role. She has a Bachelor of Engineering from McMaster University and is a Professional Engineer in Ontario. Irene’s core values of honesty, caring and respect align with Habitat for Humanity principles in helping people to have safe and affordable housing. Irene is proud to live and work in the Hamilton area.  She is an avid cyclist, reader, traveler and enjoys an active lifestyle.

Rahima Nenshi
Board Member
Job Title: Associate Professor of Surgery, McMaster University
Biography: Dr. Nenshi is an Associate Professor of Surgery at McMaster University in the Division of General Surgery. She completed her medical and surgical training  at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University and in the Department of Surgery in Toronto. She also completed a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology. Dr. Nenshi’s clinical area of interest is in minimally invasive surgery and acute care surgery; She is the director of Acute Care Surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH). Dr. Nenshi is also currently the director of postgraduate education at SJHH, the academic lead for the division of perioperative medicine, co-chair of the city-wide Credentials committee, vice-president of the Medical Staff Association and a member of the national CANUCS executive. She is involved in local and national research in the fields of acute care surgery and peri-operative surgery, acting as co-PI on trials in acute care surgery, remote monitoring and virtual post operative patient care. She is a passionate advocate for equity and passionate about the social determinants of health which led her to join the Habitat team.