Senior Management

Ben André

Ben André

Executive Director

Ben André joined the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada) as its Executive Director (ED) in April 2018. Mr. André has over 15 years of experience in the Canadian non-profit sector, having served as an executive director for several organizations. He has also been legal manager for large corporations, and was also an entrepreneur. He holds a LLB and a Master’s degree in Law.

Donna Miller

Donna Miller

Director, Operations & Engagement

Donna Miller is the Director of Operations & Engagement at CDF Canada, where she oversees a diverse portfolio including International Human Resources, International Safety & Security, Health & Safety (HQ), Risk and Contract management, as well as Fundraising and Donor Engagement. Since joining CDF Canada in 2014, Donna has held various leadership roles within the organization.

With a passion for making a difference, Donna’s greatest fulfillment is managing CDF Canada’s Women’s Mentorship Program. Through this initiative, she has had the privilege of witnessing countless inspiring stories from program graduates worldwide, highlighting the transformative impact the program has had on their lives.

 Donna’s professional journey spans across multiple sectors, where she has held numerous executive positions and contributed her expertise to non-profit Boards of Directors. Her focus on reducing poverty, empowering women and girls, and combating violence against women underscores her commitment to creating positive change on both local and global scales.

Amyn Hyder Ali

Amyn Hyder Ali

Director of Finance

Amyn Hyder Ali is Director of Finance with CDF Canada and started in March 2018. At CDF Canada, Mr. Hyder Ali is accountable for the financial and risk management operations, including development of a financial strategy. He is also responsible to ensure the implementation of financial controls, policies and practice to achieve organizational goal.

Mr. Hyder Ali brings with him extensive finance experience in the non-profit/charity organizations sector in the senior financial management role. He has managed grants; accounting processes, budget and planning, forecasting and monitoring the budget by variance analysis.

Sanjeev Singh

Sanjeev Singh

Director, Programs & Development

Sanjeev Singh is the Director, Program Development with CDF Canada. Mr. Singh has been responsible for strategic, operational, and technical assistance for a multimillion-dollar portfolio across 20 countries in  Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Singh brings over 25 years of professional experience in management consulting, international development, policy, and program management. He has collaborated extensively with NGOs, governments, the private sector, funding agencies, and multilateral organizations.

He has worked with and consulted organizations such as World Education Inc, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), The European Commission, The German Technical Agency (GTZ), Cuso International, and CDF Canada.

Mr. Singh has a Bcom degree from the University of South Africa and an MBA from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom. Over the years, Mr. Singh has served on many different Boards.

Headquarters Staff - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Business Development

Jimmy Agbayani

Senior Programme Development Specialist

Jimmy Agbayani is Senior Programme Development Specialist at CDF Canada. Mr. Agbayani develops project proposals and concept notes in response to the development priorities of donors, multilateral finance institutions, governments, and the private sector. He also supports business development and project implementation. Joined in 2021, he is currently involved in project identification and project development activities in selected countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Before joining CDF Canada, Mr. Agbayani worked in international development for over 30 years in the education and social development sectors involving foreign-assisted projects in 18 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Alisa Gehrels-Mallette

Senior Business Development Specialist

Alisa Gehrels is the Senior Business Development Officer at CDF Canada. She joined the organization in 2018.

She collaborates with the CDF team to develop new project initiatives that strengthen and use co-operatives as an international development approach. This process includes coordinating inputs and feedback from subject experts, partner organizations, project teams, monitoring and evaluation specialists, and financial experts. She works in collaboration with government representatives and foundations to secure support and move these initiatives toward implementation.

Ms. Gehrels has a multi-disciplinary background with a focus on monitoring and evaluation, non-profit management, and organizational development. Before joining CDF Canada, she consulted with several non-profits, working with ethno-cultural communities in Ottawa to create responsive programs in the settlement and mental health sectors


Sharon Alexanian

Manager Finance

Sharon Alexanian joined CDF Canada in 2007 and served as its Finance Assistant for six years before moving into the accountant position for the organization and has been the Manager of finance for the last three years.  Before joining CDF Canada, she worked for Accenture Business in Enbridge billing.

Mohammad Alqawasmeh

Finance Officer

Mohammad Alqawasmeh joins the team in the position of Finance Officer. He has extensive experience with international organizations coupled with a BA in accounting and an MBA from the University of Newcastle in Australia.  Mr. Alqawasmeh’s years of experience in accounting and auditing, including the non-profit sector will be an asset to CDF Canada. He has also worked as an external auditor for Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Operations & Engagement

Chris Chung

HR & Engagement Officer

Chris Chung is a seasoned HR & Engagement Officer at CDF Canada, with a well-rounded background in human resources, technology, and administration gained from his previous work experiences. Leveraging his extensive expertise in HR practices, he develops and implements comprehensive strategies that optimize engagement and performance across the organization. Mr. Chung also oversees donor engagement and fundraising initiatives, including major gifts, donor relations, stewardship, and CRM database management. His exceptional skills in these areas have enabled him to achieve remarkable success in mobilizing resources and cultivating strong relationships with stakeholders.

Since joining CDF Canada in 2019, Mr. Chung has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to driving organizational growth and development. Drawing from his distinguished career as a commissioned officer in the Air Force, as well as his work in government, education institutions, and start-ups, he has played a pivotal role in positioning CDF Canada for sustained success.

Mariel Edwards-Carreau

Engagement Coordinator

Mariel Edwards-Carreau is the Engagement Coordinator at CDF Canada. She works alongside the Operations team in supporting CDF’s fundraising, communications and marketing. She brings to CDF Canada strong professional experience in the financial management of nonprofits, with an emphasis on fundraising, program development and management, organizational development, operations, and volunteer management. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Concordia University Greenhouse and is passionate about food security, the environment and equity in all forms, especially gender and sexuality.

She has a background in project management and web development and is passionate about finding innovative ways to use creative tech solutions to solve the problems faced in the not-for-profit world.

Gerald Rucchin

Marketing and Communications Officer

Gerald Rucchin is the Marketing and Communications Officer and he manages CDF Canada’s traditional and digital marketing platforms. He promotes CDF Canada’s programs, fundraising campaigns, and international development efforts.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Rucchin has been a radio newscaster/reporter and newspaper journalist who produced and delivered compelling stories to the public. In addition, he has experience as a writer and communications specialist in the automotive, financial services and higher education industries. Mr. Rucchin’s responsibilities have included publication management, brand journalism, newsletters, event management, and relationship building.

Mr. Rucchin has a diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Fanshawe College, a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree from Western University and a Master of Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University.


Waleed Hakim

Program Manager

Waleed Hakim is the Programs Manager at CDF Canada. He is working to support the implementation of projects to build the resilience of smallholder farmers in Africa. Mr. Hakim is experienced in project management and brings experience in international development, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation and rural assistance programs.

Mr. Hakim holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and before joining CDF Canada, he worked for over a decade in managerial positions for international organizations.

Jane Cooper

Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist

Jane Cooper is a monitoring and evaluation specialist at CDF Canada, responsible for designing, implementing and operating M&E systems, including supporting staff across the organization as they build their capacity to monitor and evaluate project implementation in the field.

Ms. Cooper has more than 25 years of experience designing and implementing qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methods, which have provided clients in government, non-profit and the private sector with evidence-based findings to help them make sound policy and program development decisions. Ms. Cooper is recognized as a Credentialed Evaluator by the Canadian Evaluation Society and has worked for clients in Canada and internationally in Central Asia, South Asia and Southern Africa.

She holds an MSc in Human Resource Management and Development from the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester. Before joining CDF Canada, she worked for The Conference Board of Canada, the Aga Khan Foundation Tajikistan, and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, among other organizations.

Rosa Hageraats

Gender Specialist

Roseann Hageraats is a Gender Specialist at CDF Canada, responsible for integrating gender mainstreaming across the organization’s programming and internal practices. She works with staff from both Headquarters and the Country Offices to ensure that gender-transformative approaches are taken in all phases of project cycles, that these approaches are culturally appropriate, and that gender equality impacts are sustainable over time. As part of CDF’s Specialist Team, her role is to provide gender-focused expertise that contributes to improving best practices and organizational learning, along with other specialists in monitoring and evaluation, climate change and co-operative development.

Before joining CDF Canada, Ms. Hageraats worked as a Gender Advisor with the Canadian international development organization Cuso International. She supported women’s political empowerment processes with grassroots Afro-descendant and Indigenous Women’s Organizations in Colombia and Peru.

She completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Development at the Federal University of Paraiba (Brazil), where she focused on Food Security and Food Sovereignty issues in Afro-Brazilian Quilombola communities. Her community-based experience includes roles she has fulfilled as a Marketing Counsellor with women Shea butter-transformation co-operatives in rural Burkina Faso, and as a Team Leader for a sustainable greenhouse initiative in Ecuador. She is most motivated by collective processes led from the ground-up and strongly believes in achieving meaningful and intersectional gender justice as a requirement to tackle all other issues.

Carly Moir

Program Officer

Carly Moir is a Program Officer at CDF Canada, where she oversees program development including its design, implementation, and evaluation of CDF Canada’s international project in Malawi.  She works with staff from Headquarters and the Country Office to ensure the project is moving forward efficiently.

Prior to CDF Canada, she worked as a Rural Youth Engagement Coordinator and Community Development Worker.  In addition, she has completed international internships in both Eswatini and Zambia. She brings experience in project development, monitoring and evaluation, and community development.

Ms. Moir holds a Certificate in International Development from Humber College and an Honour’s Bachelor of Sport Management degree from Brock University.

Lynne Surette

Program Assistant

Lynne Surette is Program Assistant at CDF Canada, responsible for the logistics of the volunteer program, ensuring qualified candidates are successfully mobilized to their specific mandates. She also supports in the managing of the annual Women’s Mentorship Program.

Before joining the CDF team, she worked for many years in the local and national film industry as a casting agent. Having trained in professional theatre, she was also co-director of a school for performing arts. Her interest in ecological sustainability led her to work as outreach coordinator in a not-for-profit environmental organization overlooking the health of rivers and watersheds in New Brunswick. Lynne is fully bilingual in French and English.

Samantha Torres

Program Officer

Samantha Torres is the Program Officer at CDF Canada and she is responsible for supporting the successful implementation of international projects in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Senegal and Ghana. She works with staff from Headquarters and the various Country Offices to ensure that project cycles are moving efficiently, and work towards improving best practices within the projects.  

Before joining CDF, Ms. Torres worked in project management, community development and gender-equality implementation in Canada and internationally. Having worked in a global context, her passion stems from working with local communities in order to find empowering solutions and transform the future for the better.  

Ms. Torres holds a Bachelor’s degree in international development, with a specialization in Environmental Studies, and a Project Management Professional Certificate from the University of Toronto. She is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. She was also on the board of directors of a non-profit organization based in Toronto that worked towards empowering marginalized community members through food security. 

Daniella Durham

Volunteer Recruitment Officer

Daniella Durham plays a pivotal role in overseeing CDF Canada’s volunteer program. Her responsibilities encompass the entire volunteer lifecycle, from recruiting new volunteers to ensuring their successful integration into CDF Canada’s global programs. Before joining CDF Canada, Ms. Durham’s genuine interest and passion inspired her to engage in meaningful volunteer work abroad, which led to volunteering in South America and later in Northern Peru. Her experience allowed her to form strong connections with volunteers, hearing their inspirational stories about how volunteering abroad profoundly impacted their lives. Ms. Durham holds a bachelor’s degree in international development from York University, and attributes her academic success to the insights gained from her volunteer experience. Having personally navigated the excitement and challenges of living abroad, she is eager to offer guidance and support to volunteers embarking on their global assignments, ensuring that each volunteer’s journey with CDF Canada is a rewarding and enriching one.

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