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Who We Are

Our Board of Directors provides skills and expertise that are vital to the governance of Global Gathering Place. We are grateful to each board member for their contributions. To apply to join our board, please fill out the online form here.

Suresh Kalagnanam, Board Chair

Suresh is an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business.  His work at the university has provided the opportunity to collaborate with community organizations, understand issues pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusiveness, and mentor students.  Originally from India, he came to Saskatoon 33 years ago.  Over the years, he has volunteered his time as a treasurer, educator, and mentor; he enjoys interacting with people.

Beth Guy, Vice Chair

Beth Guy has lived in Saskatoon for almost 4 years, prior to that she spent most of her life in rural Saskatchewan. She has her Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from the University of Alberta and is currently a Manager of Health and Safety at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.  Being new to the city herself, Beth realizes how difficult it must be for newcomers to this country with all the barriers they face, and the importance of the support and community provided by Global Gathering Place. She is grateful to make a small contribution to this incredible organization.

Laura Herman, Secretary

Laura Herman brings 20 years of strategic communications and fundraising expertise garnered through diverse roles in post-secondary education, co-operative and corporate banking, healthcare and the non-profit sector. She was bitten early by the ‘service bug’ and was fortunate to spend a year travelling the globe with the international performance and service group, Up With People. The learning experience cemented a love of travel and culture as she was fully immersed in new ways of living and language alongside her castmates who collectively represented 25 countries. Always curious about the motivations behind transformative corporate giving, Laura spent time researching the impact of strategic corporate philanthropy on Canadian non-profits. Never wanting to use her marketing degree from the U of S as a way to sell more product, she used her unique study as a launching point for a purpose-driven career. Many millions of dollars fundraised later, and with more than a few communication plans tucked in her back pocket, Laura is excited to continue serving community alongside the Global Gathering Place team. Food, family and football are a few of Laura’s favs and she can often be found in her kitchen creating a new recipe for husband and two kids to devour!

Dennis Vezeau, Treasurer

Firstly, Dennis is a proud father of William and spouse to Kimberly. Professionally, Dennis is a CPA with 10 years accounting experience, including not-for-profit assurance and governance best practices. Dennis believes in Global Gathering Place’s core values of respectfulness, dignity and diversity and looks forward to continuing the success of a very important community organization. 

Janet Okoko, Board Member

Janet Okoko, Board Member

Janet Mola Okoko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan. She came to Canada as a student and obtained her PhD from the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Janet trained and worked as a teacher and as an education program officer for both government and non-governmental organizations in Eastern Africa.

Some of her experience includes working with foundations and relief organizations to enhance educational opportunities for minoritized populations, including refugees from war-affected countries. Her commitment to volunteer and scholarly work that supports culturally and linguistically diverse newcomers won her a nomination for the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction: Education in 2017.

Gbenga David Rufai, Board Member

Gbenga David Rufai has almost 15 years of experience working in the private, public (government), and non-profit sectors. He holds qualifications in Business Administration & Management, Human Resource Management, Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration. He is passionate about giving back to society and when he is not spending time with family, he is volunteering his spare time on different causes. He is excited at the opportunity to contribute to the important work being done at the Global Gathering Place.

Chanda Tannis, Board Member

Chanda Tannis completed her undergrad at the University of Guelph and Carleton University majoring in political science with a focus in comparative politics of development and underdevelopment. She went on to complete a Civil Law degree and Juris Doctorate from the University of Ottawa and spent the last semester of the Civil Law degree in a study abroad program in Tunisia.

She was called to the bar in Ontario in 2009 and in Saskatchewan in 2010.  She has practised criminal and family law with Legal Aid Saskatchewan for the past 13 years.

Chanda has two beautiful children who are 5 and 9, two cats, and four fish, who take up most of her spare time.


• Belma Podrug, Executive Director
• Afton Tolley, Program Manager