Our Board

Incorporated as a registered charity in 2012, Tostan Canada is run by a dedicated group of volunteer directors. The main goal of the Canadian organization is to raise funds in order to support the transformational community work occurring in West Africa.

Board Members

Each board member brings a wide variety of skills that contribute to the organizational goals of Tostan Canada.

Gail Kaneb, Chair

Chair of Tostan International’s board for six years and an emeritus member, Gail has been involved in the governance and strategic direction of Tostan International since 2009. Her leadership role in corporate change management as well as more than 20 years of experience as a coach, mentor, and facilitator have allowed Gail to contribute to the successful development of Tostan Canada.

She has been on the founding board of numerous non-profits in Ontario and has been a guest lecturer at the McGill Faculty of Management. She is also on the board of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation.

Kelly Hawke Baxter, Vice Chair

Kelly Hawke Baxter is the current Chair of Tostan International’s Board of Directors and has dedicated the past 25 years to working with nonprofits to bring about systemic social change, with a special focus on strategy and governance. Former Executive Director of The Natural Step Canada, and a journalist and editor by training, Kelly is an engaging speaker, facilitator, and collaborative leader. Kelly holds Masters degrees in both International Development and International Journalism, as well as a Masters certificate in Social Innovation. She lives in Montreal with her husband.

Cynthia Baxter, Secretary

Cynthia is a member of the Order of Canada and has been involved in the direction and governance of nonprofit organizations for most of her life. She is the former vice-president of International Baccalaureate North America and was the founding president of the CODE Foundation, which helps to promote literacy in Africa and South America.

She brings her vast experience and insight to Tostan Canada’s board through her governance expertise in the fields of education, international development, and community development. She has held volunteer positions at an array of organizations including the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE), and Ashbury College.

Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire, Treasurer

Gizanne is the Executive Director at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre and is a Certified Public and Management Accountant. Her 35 years of business experience have allowed her to develop a passion for innovation, continuous improvement and streamlining processes to operate resourcefully and efficiently.
She has been treasurer of Tostan Canada since 2013 and also sits on the board of Catholic Health International.

Christie Hollingsworth, Director

Christie has worked with a number of volunteer not-for-profit organizations helping create communication and strategic plans for fundraising success. Christie holds a Communications degree from the University of Ottawa, with extensive work in branding, fundraising, editing and project management. Christie has spent the majority of her professional life working for not-for-profit healthcare organizations and is passionate about human rights and equality. She has a strong work ethic, loves networking, and values great conversation. She currently resides in Long Sault, ON with her husband and 3 sons.


Sophie Champagne, Director

Sophie brings 35 years of Marketing experience to Tostan Canada. Fluently bilingual (French and English) and with a Marketing degree from Queens University, Sophie is a team player with strong organizational skills. Highly driven by results, she is solutions-oriented and efficiency-focused. Motivated by human rights and equality, Sophie is passionate about travel, speaks Spanish and has a curious, adventurous mind. She has 2 adult children and lives in Montreal with her husband.


To reach the board members, please email  [email protected] or call (613) 936-4236 .