Our 2019 / 2020 Board of Directors

Volunteer Board of Directors

To contact CDCD’s Board of Directors, please email

Roger Ramkissoon, President

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.


Michelle Davis, Vice President

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, 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.

Hilary Smith, Treasurer

Hillary is a lifelong resident of Durham Region and is passionate about giving back to her community. She joined the CDCD Board of Directors in 2017 as she wished to use her background in Finance and Accounting to help support the organization and its objectives. Professionally, Hillary is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). She is a Business Manager for a large Value Chain Solution provider in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry and specialized in risk and performance management. In her free time, Hillary enjoys being active and is an avid runner, cyclist, skier and outdoor enthusiast.

Pinder DaSilva, Secretary

Pinder is an innovative, performance-driven management professional, with experience in leading multidisciplinary work teams in the delivery and execution of employment and social service programs across Ontario. With a strong passion for inclusion, Pinder has spent over 15 years developing and managing programs that serve the unique needs and abilities of individuals. Pinder values the importance of building strong and collaborative cross-sectoral partnerships to address accessibility, inclusion and diversity challenges facing communities across Ontario.

Audette James, Director

Having migrated to Canada at a young age, Audette appreciates the diverse experiences in both the ambition and disenfranchisement of immigrants, women and racialized persons. Audette values critical thinking and strategic community development, research and program evaluation. Her board experience includes being a founding member of TAIBU Community Health Centre in Scarborough and serving on various non for profits. Audette’s experience in policy analysis, performance and project management as well as governance are tools to guide her role as a board director. Audette holds a Batchelor’s in Social Work from Ryerson University which has grounded her in Anti Oppressive practice, a Master’s in Social Work from York University and is looking forward to starting her Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Community Economic Development. During her spare time she enjoys playing football, travelling and spending time with her family. Audette looks forward to learning and adding value to CDCD while serving as a board member.

Portia Daisy, Director

Portia has lived in the Durham Region for several years. She completed a BFA at York University and holds both a CHRL and PMP designation. Her employment background includes several years in the Financial Services Industry, Consulting Services and the Public Education sector. She currently works at Centennial College, where she is a valued Human Resources Professional with expertise in talent acquisition, employee development and change management/process improvement. She is also a certified Facilitator in Crucial Conversations. As a first generation Canadian she has a good understanding of challenges faced by new immigrants and she is excited to provide support to CDCD and its many programs. Portia’s volunteer work includes several years of leadership as a head coach to rep level girls basketball teams. In her spare time, she is very passionate about travel, listening to music and playing in various soccer and basketball leagues.

Melissa Batchellor, Director

Melissa is a long-time resident of the Durham Region.  She completed her BA in Psychology  from Brock University and her Graduate Certificate in HR from Durham College. She holds a CHRL designation.  Melissa has worked in several sectors over her employment years and is currently working in the Not-for-Profit sector. Melissa is passionate about her community and usually works behind the scenes. She has volunteered with a local minor baseball association as well as at numerous Rotary events. Melissa enjoys spending time with her family and travelling

Ali Hirji, Director

Ali Hirji, Project Manager, AI Hub, and lead of the Centre for Cyber Innovation at Durham College has over 14 years of experience working on various technology implementations in the government, academic and not-for-profit sectors. With a specific interest in broadband communications, Ali has held senior roles in projects to enable remote connectivity, implement technical trainings, bolster cybersecurity frameworks and enhance access to mission-critical applications. He has also taken a lead role in securing funding for over 15 related projects and established numerous public, private partnerships.   Ali is completing his Ph.D. in communications and holds multiple research and teaching positions. He has recently been appointed as the siberXchange advisory lead and is working on a task force to deploy and scale secure communication protocols for SMBs. Ali is also part of international research groups, including the Borealis Council and CPDRC.