Our 2018 / 2019 Board of Directors

Volunteer Board of Directors

To contact CDCD’s Board of Directors, please email

President Keith Hernandez

Keith is from Ajax, Ontario. He is an experienced bilingual HR professional within the Canadian financial industry. In 2007, after 20 plus years of service with CIBC and Scotiabank, mainly in the various disciplines of Human Resources, he took an early retirement to become an entrepreneur. His company KAH Consultants provides various Human Resources support, including HR audits and revision of HR infrastructures. He also provides management consulting support to companies, settlement services agencies and related government entities for intercultural competency, inclusiveness at the leadership level, diversity awareness, and newcomers’ integration strategy. This includes speaking engagements and workshops on facilitating newcomer integration and moving careers forward for Canadians with an immigrant background.

Keith has become an advocate for supporting newcomers with their careers through mentoring, while coaching them on enhancing their networking skills. He writes articles for several magazines on career advancement for newcomers and for Canadians with an immigrant background. Keith is the Board President of the Community Development Council of Durham (CDCD) and Board member of the Conseil des Organismes Francophones de la Région de Durham (COFRD), the lead Francophone organization for Durham region. Keith has been on the CDCD Board since 2011.

Vice President Michelle Davis

Michelle is from Whitby, Ontario. She holds a Social Work degree with a minor in Public Administration from Ryerson University in Toronto. She specializes in the field of community health and safety promotion within the Public Housing sector. With over 20 years’ experience, Michelle provides strategic guidance on matters pertaining to community safety and crime prevention through social development initiatives for at risk communities with highly vulnerable populations in Toronto.

Michelle takes an anti-oppressive, social justice approach to her work and comes with extensive experience both in Canada and the United States. She has been recognized for her expertise in community development and engagement, strategic partnerships, stakeholder relations, individual and family counseling, advocacy, board governance, and social policy. In addition to being the President and Chair of New Hope Dwellings, Michelle currently serves as a Board member with the Denise House, Durham Children’s Aid Society’s (DCAS) and most recently the Community Development Council Durham (CDCD). Michelle is highly motivated and enjoys giving back to her community in many ways. Her energy is well balanced amongst work, church, family and volunteering.

Secretary Melanie Blackman

Melanie has lived in Durham Region for over 25 years. Born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, her family immigrated to Canada when she was a toddler. Raised in Pickering, she attended both elementary and secondary school in Durham Region. She has an Honours B.A from the University of Toronto Scarborough where she currently works as a Community Development Coordinator.

Through various roles and volunteer opportunities, Melanie has collaborated with diverse groups to build capacity in local communities; these initiatives include working with East Scarborough Multi-Sport Collaborative programming committee, fundraising for New Hope Charitable Society in India and participating in youth mentorship programs across the GTA. She is also passionate about sports and the arts; in her spare time she co-coaches the UTSC Women’s Intramural Basketball team.

Melanie is excited to be a new member of the board this year and hopes her passion and past experience will assist in the continued development of community within Durham.

Director Neha Kohli

Neha Kohli has lived in Ajax-Pickering, Ontario for over 25 years. She is a CPA, CA who founded NK Consulting which specializes in providing tax consulting services in personal Canadian and US tax, as well as corporate Canadian tax to clients across various industries.  Prior to founding NK Consulting Services, Neha worked at Deloitte LLP for over 4 years. Although she graduated with Honors Bachelors in Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business in 2013, she remains passionate about education and you can find her delivering motivational talks with organizations like Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Neha is also a facilitator of the Creative Entrepreneurship Program at Artscape Launchpad.

Neha is a graduate of the very prestigious Conservatory Sketch Program from The Second City and can be seen in various theatres and comedy clubs in Toronto performing improv, sketch and stand up comedy.

Neha is passionate about supporting newcomers as a result of growing up with immigrant parents and seeing the issues they faced first hand. She has been with the CDCD Board since 2014.

Director Thelson Desamour

Thelson is from Pickering, Ontario. He is a litigation lawyer specializing in insurance matters. He is currently an in-house counsel at Desjardins, prior to which he served as in-house counsel at another national insurance company. He has also served as a mediator with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

Thelson attended the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and York University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degree respectively. Thelson is a former board member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, and has been published in Lawyers Weekly.

Director Hillary Ireland

Hillary has lived in Durham her entire life, growing up in Whitby and currently living in Ajax. She is excited to be a new board member and give back to the community she has always called home.

She graduated from UOIT with a Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting in 2012 and is a qualifying CPA.

While her professional experience has spanned both the public and private sector, she is currently a Business Manager in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry. Her passion for performance management and strategy lead her to CDCD, as she wishes to help support an organization that provides such a broad range of key services to members of the community in need.

In her spare time, Hillary is an avid runner and can be found running the many trails around Durham Region.

Director Roger Ramkissoon

Roger is a resident of Oshawa and a seasoned finance professional with considerable experience in the banking, health care and non-profit sectors. He has served in various leadership roles in Canada and abroad and adopts a “hands-on” approach to financial management. His experience in financial management, policy development, budgeting, corporate governance and human resource management blends well with the needs of CDCD as the organization looks to the future. Roger is involved with various boards and board committees across Durham Region and has significant experience working with diverse communities including seniors, children, newcomers and persons with food insecurity.  He has been recognized for his ability to lead multidisciplinary teams while seeing the big picture impact of financial decision making.

Roger is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA Ontario), and also holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University (Scotland), and a Bachelors of Commerce from Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON).  

In his spare time, he runs, listens to music and helps those in need.

Director Gina Roberts

As a bilingual Human Resources Executive with a generalist and entrepreneurial background, Gina Roberts has extensive expertise developing and implementing organizational best practices. Gina focuses on creating environments that support management in defining and successfully implementing change management processes that enhance overall organizational performance.

Gina is a strategic business leader with over 20 years’ experience achieving organizational alignment through effective assessment, development, and execution of Human Resources strategies. She has worked in a wide variety of industries including financial, entertainment, technology, travel, legal and not-for-profit sectors.

In her consulting work, Gina can be relied on to champion the needs of the employees while serving the best interests of the organization. With strengths in people strategy, organizational design, benefits and compensation, employee relations, training and development, recruitment and retention, she has an innate enthusiasm for seizing challenges and driving projects to successful completion.

Gina has an Associate of Arts in Business Administration from Cégep du Vieux Montreal and is a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) candidate.