Senior Leadership Team

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Maria Zegarac, Executive Director

Maria is dedicated to fostering a collaborative work culture where uniqueness and diversity are embraced and celebrated.  Her passion to be the voice of and advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable community members has been the driving force behind her commitment to the not-for-profit sector.  

Maria is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has held senior roles in various social service organizations focused on providing support to vulnerable community members.  She brings a strong governance background which was attained both in supporting Boards and serving on various Boards over her career.  

Maria believes in leading with purpose and inspiring an excellence in service delivery with the goal of remaining person centred in all organizational decision making.

Steve Sicurella, Director of Finance

Steve comes to Hopewell with extensive experience in the charitable/not-for-profit sector managing very complex funding streams from all levels of government and within the Ministry of Children Community and Social Service and Ministry of Health portfolios.  In addition to his Finance expertise, Steve also brings with him demonstrated oversight and leadership in the areas of Information Technology, Facilities Management, BackOffice Support and Privacy.  In addition to his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation, Steve holds a Certificate in Privacy Law and Information Management in Healthcare from Osgood Hall, Law School of York University. Steve’s strong affinity for the developmental services sector is evident not only through his previous roles in the sector but also in his volunteer work with Special Olympics Ontario.

Jessica Johnston, Director of Operations and Support Services 

Jessica brings with her a solid commitment and a wealth of experience. She began her career with Hopewell nearly 18 years ago as a PSW in the Ariss home. With guidance from founder John Oosterhuis, Jessica soon learned to care for and respect the unique individuals who madet heir home there. She invested herself in helping them develop their abilities and face their challenges.

 During her years as Program Coordinator, Jessica worked closely with the Upper Grand District School Board for the onsite school program. She spent time working alongside occupational and physical therapists in a concerted effort to bring clients up to their full personal potential. Serving as Manager for Respite Services brought her many opportunities to interact with families to ensure positive experiences for clients coming into the home for respite care.  

Over the last decade Jessica has worked in a variety of management roles and has been an integral part of the start up of several residential programs and facilities. It has been gratifying for her to see how Hopewell has successfully expanded to meet the great needs of people who require specialized care. She remains a dedicated advocate for those individuals and strongly promotes the person-centered approach that Hopewell has always maintained. With that in mind she is now in a position to offer support and encouragement to the many managers who serve diligently throughout the Hopewell organization.

Gayle Dennison, Manager of People & Culture

Gayle brings many years of human resource learning and experience, a strategic focus and a solid commitment to people and their work life. This experience has been honed within a wide variety of public and private, for profit and not for profit organizations including within health care, addictions and mental health, education, and environmental services. A past corporate executive and a strong generalist, now choosing to provide strategic HR leadership advice, and counsel; to develop and lead start up, evolving and growing organizations, ensuring alignment of value-based culture with the vision and mission of the organization. Proven strengths and expertise include management coaching, talent acquisition,  policy development and administration, organizational effectiveness, change management, employee/labour relations, compensation, and benefits. A leader committed to best practices, continuous improvement, and client service.  

Lindsay Sweeney-Hockin CFRE, Director of Development

Lindsay Sweeney-Hockin is a white, queer, neurodivergent, and non-binary settler new to the Guelph community. As a Fundraising Executive with over 15 years of experience, Lindsay has committed to building strategic, sustainable, and equitable fundraising programs. They are committed to supporting small to midsize organizations with effective, scalable, and meaningful revenue results. They have raised funds for cause close to their values including 2SLGBTAIA services, Housing, Mental Health, Peer Support, Anti-Violence Housing, and Reproductive Justice.

Lindsay is a proud fundraiser with strong values centered on Community-Centric Fundraising (CCF)- a model of fundraising that is grounded in equity and social justice. Lindsay’s dedication to CCF stems from a profound understanding of the systemic challenges present in the nonprofit sector. They are unwavering in their commitment to both learn and unlearn systemic inequities, to ensure that their work is always aligned with the broader good of the community. They are committed to using their privilege to make space and leverage their fundraising expertise to center communities.

Throughout their career, Lindsay has been able to work for amazing leaders and organizations and also hire and build teams that honour their lived experience- as well as their expertise. They are committed to being a leader who is accountable, responsive and committed to continuous learning.

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