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Leadership

Claudia Hepburn

Claudia Hepburn

CEO

Claudia has devoted her career to building innovative charities that convert human potential into prosperity. Before Windmill, she co-founded and ran NEXT Canada, to develop high-impact young entrepreneurs. She also founded and ran an award-winning program to improve educational opportunities for children living in poverty in Canada and has led the education policy work of a leading Canadian think tank.

Claudia serves on the board of the LCBO, on C.D. Howe Institute’s Human Capital Council, and is an advisor of Impression Ventures and Gotcare. During her 18 years serving on the board of the Kids & Company, it grew from a start-up into Canada’s largest childcare company with over 12,000 spaces across North America. Claudia is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and has been named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence.

Carrie Church

Carrie Church

National Director, Operations

Carrie joined Windmill in March 2014, and was appointed as the National Director, Operations in April 2015. Carrie’s passion and experience for ensuring that the right people are in the right position, and have access to the appropriate tools to meet the needs of our clients, are the driving force behind her work at Windmill.

Prior to her work with Windmill, Carrie spent more than 20 years in the charitable sector in Saskatchewan; leading team development projects; supporting CEOs and Board members; facilitating technology directives; and aligning operational and human resource strategies.

Jon Lam

Jon Lam, CFA

National Director, Finance, Risk & IT

Jon is a finance professional with deep operational experience in the startup software and non-profit sectors. His entrepreneurial spirit has driven him to build companies that range from tutoring high school kids in math to building video games that have been played by over 4 million people. Most recently, he has been focusing on giving back to the community – volunteering on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary for 9 years, and then as their Director of Finance for the 2 years before he joined Windmill in 2017.

Oumar Dicko

Oumar Dicko

National Director, Government Partnerships

Oumar is a seasoned government relations and public affairs professional, who brings years of experience helping organizations across the country build partnerships with all levels of government. He has a deep understanding of the Canadian political landscape and public policy topped with a track record helping organizations access government funding, run successful campaigns and achieve their advocacy goals.

Oumar is well known in Ottawa, having served in senior positions with the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and the Minister of National Revenue. In both roles, he dealt with complex issues that impacted a variety of public policy areas. He has also played a key role as a researcher for a leading think tank and has been involved in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Oumar is a frequent media contributor on economic and public policy issues and has appeared on programs such as CBC – The National, BNN Bloomberg, CTV News and Global News, as well as provided commentary for many radio shows, Financial Post, the Globe and Mail, iPolitics, The Hill Times, and industry magazines.

He holds both a Masters degree and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Economics from the University of Ottawa and is a first-generation immigrant, having moved to Canada from Côte d’Ivoire as a teenager. Oumar is fully bilingual in French and English and is an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.

Paula Calderon

Paula Calderon

National Director, Client Success

Originally from Colombia, Paula has spent her career leading workforce development projects that support the economic integration of newcomers to Canada. In the past, she pioneered English as a Second Language programs, worked on paid internship programs and oversaw various employment services and bridging programs supporting internationally trained professionals. She has also worked as a professor in the Career Development Practitioner program at George Brown College, and she is the former President of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Colombian Professional Association, a volunteer run Professional Immigrant Network that supports the integration and professional development of Latin-American professionals in the Canadian labour market.

Paula has focused her career on identifying business improvement opportunities through the enhancement of productivity and performance of a company’s biggest asset, its PEOPLE. Paula specializes in the use of Psychometric assessments for organizational and professional development and has developed and delivered a suite of training programs that support companies and individuals through all stages of the employee lifecycle. In 2018, Paula completed the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity program and became an Aspen Institute Economic Opportunity Fellow.

Rob Hindley

Rob Hindley

National Director, Marketing & Communications

With broad marketing experience across a range of sectors, Rob drives Windmill’s ongoing efforts to develop Windmill’s brand and engage clients and donors in support of Windmill’s dynamic mission.

Prior to joining Windmill, Rob was Vice President, Marketing and Product Development at CNIB and part of the executive team that led a major restructuring of the 100-year-old charity serving blind and partially sighted Canadians. Rob has owned and operated a full service marketing agency, supporting well-known multinational brands and large not-for-profits. Earlier in his career Rob also worked in senior marketing roles with high-profile brand organizations in consumer goods, food service and entertainment, domestically and internationally.

Board of Directors

Carsten Jensen Windmill Microlending

Carsten Jensen

Chair | Chair, Executive Committee |
Partner, JSS Barristers

Carsten is one of the founding partners of JSS Barristers, a Calgary based litigation law firm. Carsten’s practice focuses exclusively on civil litigation, with an emphasis on corporate and commercial litigation including commercial class actions, oil and gas disputes, shareholder disputes, multi-party litigation and arbitrations. In 1998, Carsten commenced a two-year leave of absence during which time he acted as senior legal officer and eventually team leader at the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNCC was established to process and resolve compensation claims arising from Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Carsten is a past bencher (director) of the Law Society of Alberta, which is the governing body for lawyers in Alberta, and in that role he served at various times as Chair of Finance, Chair of Credentials and Education, and Chair of Conduct. Carsten is also a past-President of the Law Society of Alberta, and is now the Law Society’s representative to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Carsten has served on the board of the Alberta Lawyers Insurance Exchange, which provided regulated professional negligence insurance coverage to lawyers in Alberta. Carsten joined the Windmill board in 2017 and assumed the role of Chair in May 2019.

Shamira Madhany Windmill Microlending

Shamira Madhany

Secretary | Chair, Loan Committee |
Managing Director and Deputy Executive Director, World Education Services

Shamira Madhany joined World Education Services (WES) in 2018 after more than two decades of public service. She has extensive experience working with licensing bodies, settlement agencies, and higher education and post-secondary sectors in Ontario. She served as the chief architect of several government programs that enable highly skilled immigrants to obtain employment in their fields. Shamira played a key role in the launch of WES Canada in 2000 during her tenure at the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration as Provincial Lead, Access to Professions and Trades. Shamira is a high-energy, transformative leader who is passionate about making innovative public policy, breaking down barriers to equality, and advancing opportunities for all.  Shamira holds a degree from York University, an advanced certificate in Managing Change from the Rotman School of Management, and a certificate from Queen’s University’s Public Executive Program. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Queen’s, Ryerson University, and the School of Public Policy at the University of Toronto (now the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy). Shamira joined the Windmill Board in May 2019.

John Montalbano, Director, Windmill Microlending

John Montalbano

Treasurer | Chair, Finance & Risk Management Committee |
Principal, Tower Beach Capital Ltd.

John is Principal of Tower Beach Capital Ltd. and retired in 2015 as CEO of RBC Global Asset Management (RBC GAM) and Vice Chair of RBC Wealth Management. During his tenure as CEO, RBC GAM had extended its scope to include offices in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, managing in aggregate more than $370 billion, placing the firm among the largest 50 asset managers worldwide. John currently serves as a director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Aritzia Inc., the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Chairs both White Crane Capital Corp. and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. John volunteers as a director for The BC Achievement Foundation and the Vancouver Police Foundation (past Chair).  John served as Chair of the UBC Board of Governors, Trustee of the Killam Trusts and Chair for the Vancouver Public Library Capital Campaign. John remains a strong supporter of the UBC Sauder School of Business, where he and his wife, Dana, established the Montalbano Centre for Responsible Leadership Development. John holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation and a Bachelor of Commerce, with Honours, from the University of British Columbia. He is a Leslie Wong Fellow of the UBC Portfolio Management Foundation and holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. John Joined the Windmill Board in September 2020.

Lori Sterling, Director

Lori Sterling

Director | Chair, Governance & Nominating Committee |
Senior Counsel, Bennett Jones LLP

Lori has been a public servant leader at both provincial and federal levels and is currently senior counsel at Bennett Jones LLP. She received the United Nations Public Service Award for Building Aboriginal Relations in 2013. She was named Top 100 Most Powerful & Influential People in Government & Politics in Canada in 2018 and a nominee for top lawyer in Canada in 2014. Until September 2018, she was Canada’s Deputy Minister of Labour and Associated Deputy Minister, Employment, Social Development Canada. In this capacity, she was also responsible for the Status of Women and Accessibility for Persons with Disability. Previously, she has been the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs for the province of Ontario where she helped create the inaugural ministry. As well, she has held the position of Associate Deputy Minister of Justice for Canada and Assistant Deputy Minister for Legal Services in Ontario. Lori has taught constitutional and labour law school courses at University of Toronto Law School, and appeared as legal counsel at all levels of court, including 15 cases before the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2017, Lori earned her ICD designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. She currently serves on the Boards of the United World College International Council and Pearson College of the Pacific. Previously, she served on the Boards of the Public Service Management Insurance Plan, the Supreme Court of Canada Advocacy Institute, the Niagara Parks Commission and the Ryerson University Aboriginal Governance Institute. Lori joined the Windmill Board in February 2021.

Peter Aghar director image

Peter Aghar

Director | President, Crux Capital Corporation
Peter is the President, Crux Capital Corporation, a value-add real estate investor and developer, as well as a venture capital investor. Crux’s vision is to make fewer investments, with better results and aligned relationships. Peter started his career at GE Capital, then co-founded KingSett Capital in 2002, departing as President/CIO in 2010 before launching Crux in 2013. With 25 years of execution, Peter has led more than 100 real estate investments with a total value in excess of $10 billion across virtually all real estate classes in major and secondary Canadian markets, as well as select US markets, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. For Peter, it has always been about the challenge, the intellectual engagement and the opportunity to learn while being able to see risks clearly and execute through them to create value. Peter is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with an Honours Mathematics Degree and is a CPA, CMA. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and participates on a variety of public and private boards, including Granite REIT (TSX: GRT.UN) and PRO REIT (TSXV: PRV-UN.V). Peter, his family and Crux support a variety of charitable and social enterprises, including Windmill Microlending, We Charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres, True Patriot Love, the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. Peter joined the Windmill Board in May 2020.

Vladimir Ahmad Windmill Microlending

Vladimir Ahmad

Director | Senior Vice President, Operations & Business Transformation, Canadian Western Bank
Vlad is an experienced international banker specializing in turnaround, sales, service and operations. He is currently the Senior Vice President, Operations and Business Transformation, at Canadian Western Bank. From 2014-2018, Vlad was the Chief Operating Officer of Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APSC), a Crown Corporation providing administration related services to more than 500 participating employers across Alberta and pension-related services to over 342,000 members and pensioners. Before joining APSC, Vlad established a new greenfield bank in Eastern Europe and prior to that spent 22 years with HSBC, one of the largest banking institutions in the world, where he held various SVP, EVP and CEO level positions in a variety of roles and locations such as Hong Kong, Mauritius, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Vlad is fluent in Serbian, Arabic, and English and comfortable in Russian. Vlad is passionate about freedom, equal rights and education. Vlad joined the Windmill Board in June 2016.

Dapo Bankole, Director

Dapo Bankole

Director | Founder and President, Mopheth Systems Corp.
Dapo is an entrepreneur, a social innovator, and a successful podcaster whose technology leadership experience spans over 22-years of an intense professional and character moulding journey. At the core, Dapo is a service-oriented and strategic individual whose love for people and technology led him to build a business that delivers true value to small businesses in Canada, Nigeria, UK, US, The Netherlands, and the UAE. His organization, Mopheth Systems, offers digital marketing services and lead generation, business process automation, custom software development and implementation. Founded in 2015, Mopheth Systems employs both full-time and contract staff. Dapo is also the creator of Immigrant Life, the Canadian Narrative – a podcast and community that focuses on helping first-generation Canadian immigrants have a better story in Canada. He served on the boards of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Nigeria as Vice-President Administration and Communication, and Heritage Christian Academy (HCA) Calgary as Technology Chair. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University, Victoria and is a certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell team in the USA. Dapo, a first-generation Canadian immigrant, lives in Calgary with his award-winning wife, Buki and three boys. Dapo was a 2013 client of Windmill Microlending and joined the Windmill Board in February 2021.

Radha Curpen, Windmill Microlending Board Director

Radha Curpen

Director | Vancouver Managing Partner, Bennett Jones LLP
Radha Curpen is the managing partner of Bennett Jones’ Vancouver office and co-head of the firm’s Aboriginal and Environmental Law practice. She has worked in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta, the Atlantic Provinces and in the United States. She specializes in Environmental, Aboriginal and Regulatory matters, and the transportation of dangerous goods. Radha provides strategic counsel to clients with regards to regulatory compliance, the management of environmental risks, the defense of environmental litigation, the avoidance and defense of environmental related prosecutions, crisis prevention and management, mitigating business disruption and providing reputation management. Radha was an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law for the Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility course. She is an executive committee member of the board of directors of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Radha joined the Windmill Board in February 2019.

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer T. Lee

Director | Global Managing Partner, Global Advisory Clients & Markets; Canadian Managing Partner, Emerging Business & Value Creation Services; Deloitte Canada
Jennifer Lee is a bold, inspiring leader who creates global transformation for her Deloitte clients. In her experience across a wide-variety of global and Canadian leadership roles, her focus is in the areas of growth strategy and analytics, mergers and acquisitions, and value-creation. Her clients include global tier-one consumer, retail and private equity firms. Recently, Jennifer was promoted to serve as the global lead partner for a complex multi-national consumer-retail client. She pioneered Deloitte’s emerging businesses in cannabis, trust, climate change, digital identity, and led the firm’s highly acclaimed global COVID response leadership team. Global Consulting Magazine recognized Jennifer as the 2019 Future Leader in Consulting. As a champion of diversity and inclusion, she orchestrated the Deloitte NextGen program that elevates Deloitte women, establishing a global pipeline of female executives. Jennifer’s passion for driving a local and global impact through volunteerism and board work is demonstrated by empowering under-privileged immigrants in Canada through bursary and micro-loan programs; and by providing access to micro-finance opportunities for women in Central Asia. She earned her Executive MBA from the University of Toronto and undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo. Jennifer is curious and an avid reader. Her family is global and adventurous. They have traveled all over the world together. She lived in five countries and plans to live in five more. Jennifer joined the Windmill Board in May 2021.

Geneviève Morin Windmill Microlending

Geneviève Morin

Director | CEO, Fondaction
Geneviève Morin is the CEO of Fondaction, a Quebec labour-sponsored fund with assets in excess of two billion dollars collected as retirement savings from more than 175,000 shareholders. She returned to Fondaction as CEO in January 2020 after working from February to December 2019 as CEO of Anges Québec Capital, a venture capital fund which invests in innovative Quebec startups alongside the members of Anges Québec, the largest angel network in Canada. Geneviève played a key role in building Fondaction, which she joined in 1996, when it started up. She began as Coordinator of Administration and Finance, then Chief Financial Officer and Head of Corporate Development and finally Chief Investment Officer. In this last role, she was responsible for growing from 500 million to 1.2 billion dollars Fondaction’s portfolio of investments into sustainable development projects, companies and investment funds, increasing both its financial and societal returns. Previously, Geneviève worked for the Mouvement Desjardins, notably in communications, in cooperative development and in business financing. Geneviève is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of CVCA, Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. She also sits on the Board of Directors of Investissement Québec since 2011 and was a co-president of Réseau Capital, the investment capital network of Quebec, from 2010 to 2012. In 2019, Geneviève received the Inspiration-Andrée Corriveau Award from the Association of Quebec Women in Finance, for her achievements. Geneviève holds an MBA in Finance from HEC Montréal and a B.A. Honours in Economics from Concordia University. Geneviève joined the Windmill Board in September 2019.

Nicolas Plourde Windmill Microlending

Nicolas Plourde

Director | Lawyer/Partner, Sarrazin+Plourde
A Université de Montréal law graduate called to the Bar in 1993, Nicolas Plourde has over 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation. He is an accomplished and versatile litigator with expertise in a wide range of areas. He is highly recognized for his skill in helping parties reach mutually beneficial solutions to their disputes.  Over the years, Nicolas has developed a particular expertise in complex commercial litigation, including insurance matters, banking litigation, injunctions, seizures and other urgent and extraordinary procedures, such as Anton Piller orders and Mareva injunctions. Nicolas also has a thorough understanding of bankruptcy and insolvency matters, and routinely advises creditors, debtors and trustees. He has represented a number of clients from a variety of economic sectors, in reorganizations, receiverships and bankruptcies under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). Through his dealings with clients experiencing financial difficulties, Nicolas has also developed an expertise in the area of director and officer liability. Recognized by Lexpert as one of Canada’s best lawyers in the field, he has given several conferences on these topics.  In the last few years, he was Bâtonnier (President) of the Bar of Montreal (2009-2010) and Bâtonnier of the Quebec Bar (2012-2013). As such, he has acquired knowledge and solid credibility in both professional and political spheres. He currently acts as the attorney for the Committee on the remuneration of judges and justices of the peace appointed by the government of Quebec.  Nicolas is actively involved in his community. He has sat on various boards of directors for charitable organizations, including the Quebec Special Olympics. He currently chairs the Board of Directors of the Accueil Bonneau Foundation.  Nicolas joined the Windmill Board in September 2019.

Non-board Volunteers

Armaitish Sethna

Finance & Risk Management Committee | Loan Committee
Director Inspections, Canadian Public Accountability Board

Armaitish is an experienced Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) specializing in the audits of public companies. Currently, Armaitish is a Director in the Inspections team at the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB) – Canada’s independent, public accounting firm regulator. In her role at CPAB, Armaitish performs inspections of audit firms to ultimately provide investor confidence in the integrity of financial statements and the capital markets. Prior to joining CPAB, Armaitish worked several years at a Big 4 accounting firm in Toronto and had a short-term secondment to work in Germany. Armaitish brings her knowledge of accounting, finance and high-energy to the workplace. When Armaitish was young, her family immigrated to Canada and she witnessed first hand the struggle her parents had in their careers as immigrants, so Windmill’s mission deeply resonates with her. Armaitish joined Windmill in November 2019 to serve as a volunteer on the Loan Committee and as of September 2021 also serves on the Finance & Risk Management Committee.

Miho Donald

Miho Donald

Loan Committee
Senior Manager, Operations Change Delivery, TD Securities

Miho Donald is an expert in capital markets, specialized in client strategy and operational enhancement.  Her 16 years of experience across Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Group and TD Securities is uniquely entrepreneurial in that the majority of her roles was focused on launching a new department or a function. She is recognized as the first local female employee to become the head of the Listed Derivatives Department in Deutsche Bank Group’s Tokyo office, where she also served as a key member of the Diversity Committee. She is a true believer in the power of community, education and equal chance, and enjoys taking part in giving back to the immigrant community, of which she is a member of, through volunteering at Windmill and Together Project. Miho joined Windmill in November 2019 to serve as a volunteer on the Loan Committee.

Naeem Siddiqi

Naeem Siddiqi

Finance & Risk Management Committee
Senior Advisor Risk & Quantitative Solutions, SAS

Naeem is a Senior Advisor in SAS’s Risk division. He is the author of two books and various papers on credit risk management. He currently advises bankers worldwide on areas such as the development and validation of credit scoring models, infrastructure planning for analytics, and retail credit risk strategy. Naeem has an Honours Bachelor of Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of London, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. Naeem serves as Vice Chair of the Olive Tree Foundation, which funds community development projects in Canada through grants. Naeem joined Windmill in September 2021 to serve as a volunteer on the Finance & Risk Management Committee.