Sarah Govan-Sisk, Director-International Commissioner

Sarah Govan-Sisk

Sarah was elected as a Director in June 2017. Sarah is a long-standing member of Girl Guides of Canada, and has volunteered as a Unit Guider with the organization since 2005. Sarah previously served on the Board as Chair of the Program Stewardship Committee, as well as a member of the Inclusivity and Diversity Task Force. Sarah has been extensively involved in Guiding at the international level, having participated in numerous sessions at all five World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) World Centres. She is a graduate of the WAGGGS Leadership Development Program, a member of the Olave Baden-Powell Society, and currently sits on the WAGGGS Governance Sub-Committee on Constitutions and By-Laws.

Sarah holds a Masters in International Communications Policy and has worked in parliamentary affairs for over two decades. She has extensive experience in the areas of governance, advocacy, and public relations. Sarah looks forward to using these skills to ensure that Girl Guides of Canada continues to be a leader on the world stage, fostering and maintaining strong relationships with international counterparts, and promoting understanding and co-operation at a global level. Sarah is committed to ensuring that the voice of girls remains at the centre of decision-making at all levels of Guiding, and that their views drive change within the organization in order to ensure GGC continues to be dynamic, relevant, and vibrant for years to come.

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Krysta Coyle, Guiding Ambassador and Director-Guiding Experience

Sarah Krysta Coyle

Krysta was elected as a Director of the Board in November 2017. She has been a member of GGC since she was a Spark and has held a variety of roles as an adult member in BC, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. She has worked as a Guider with Brownies, Guides, and Rangers; as a District Commissioner, and as the National Link Liaison. Krysta was also fortunate to represent GGC and WAGGGS at the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Krysta is currently completing her Ph.D. in Pathology, focused on cancer research. Krysta's love for science and research started during her undergraduate degree at UBC, and has continued to grow during her graduate training at Dalhousie University. As a result of her academic and professional pursuits, Krysta brings experience with quantitative research and analysis, communication, and issues affecting women and girls to her role as a Board Director.

Krysta believes in the value of Guiding to empower each girl to be everything she wants to be. Whether it is from her experience supporting girls in exploring STEM, trying their hand in the creative world, or tackling new outdoor adventures, Krysta has seen girls in Guiding step outside their comfort zones to reach new heights. Krysta is eager to champion GGC as a progressive organization, providing a place for girls to feel valued and supported – and a place where girls see that their voices matter.

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Brenda Abrams, Director-Governance

Brenda Abrams

Brenda was elected as a Director of the Board in June 2016. She joined GGC as an adult member, collaborating to establish a Guiding unit to ensure her daughter's Brownie unit could continue their Guiding experience. The opportunity to share the positive impact of Guiding with her daughter informed and enriched a life time commitment to service in the public and volunteer sectors.

As General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for a large public sector organization, Brenda provided advice and guidance on strategic, legal, regulatory, compliance and governance matters. Over the past ten years, Brenda has held a variety of volunteer roles and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Toronto North Support Services.

​Throughout her career in the public service, and her extensive volunteer sector work, Brenda has been a strong believer in supporting groups that build community. She is an avid supporter of good governance in the volunteer and not for profit sectors and offers her experience and expertise to help GGC grow and thrive.

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Madeleine Deschenes, Director-Chair, Youth Council

Madeleine Deschenes

Madeleine was elected as a Director of the Board in June 2016. She has been a member of GGC since she was a Spark and is currently a Spark Guider. Guiding has played a very important role in her life, providing her with the opportunity to explore and develop leadership and confidence. In 2010, she attended the Our Cabana International Friendship Camp in Mexico where she developed many friendships and discovered new ways to communicate in order to bridge language barriers.

Madeleine is very passionate about girl empowerment and ensuring that all girls are confident enough to pursue their dreams. She believes strongly that active living, sports and a connection with the outdoors are very important components to girls growing into strong, healthy and compassionate women. 

Madeleine is pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Kinesiology at Queen's University. She is dedicated to developing a welcoming community at her school. In her role as Logistics Coordinator for the 2016 Orientation Week she is ensuring that all incoming students feel included and at home at Queen's University. She also volunteers for Revved Up, a physiotherapy clinic at Queen's, where she supports individuals with mobility impairments in building and maintaining their health and wellness in a fun and social environment.

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Kathy McKay, Director

Sarah Kathy McKay

Kathy was elected as a Board Member in June, 2017.  She has been a member for over 35 years, starting as a Brownie. She especially enjoys working with guide age girls. This year, she plans to work in a unit at a shelter for women and children.  Kathy has held a wide variety of district, area and provincial positions. Most recently, she was the Provincial Commissioner for Nova Scotia.  She has attended three Guiding Mosiac  Camps and numerous provincial camps.  Kathy is a Trainer and has a passion for mentoring guiders.

Kathy is a retired Registered  Nurse, with a Master of Nursing from the University of Calgary. Most of her career focused on working with children with complex chronic illnesses and their families.  She spent six years as the Manager of Redevelopment for the IWK Health Centre.  During this time, she oversaw the renovation of several patient care units.  Kathy volunteers with a weekly supper program for marginalized individuals, an organization working with woman and girls involved with the criminal justice system and Sexual Health Services of Nova Scotia.

Kathy has a passion for social justice and is committed to ensuring GGC is relevant and accessible to all girls and woman.  She looks forward to contributing to stewardship of the organization as we move towards true girl engagement.

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Melissa Martin, Chair, Council of Provincial Commissioners


Melissa was elected as a Director of the Board in June 2016. She has been an active member of Guiding since she was a Spark and has held a number of positions as an adult member. Her roles in Guiding have included Unit Guider and Treasurer for Brownies and Rangers, Program Lead for Ontario Rally Day, Administrative Community Leader, and member of the National Governance Committee.

Melissa is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Ontario government's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services where she develops consumer protection and business law policy. Melissa holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Master of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business, and a Master of Public Administration from Queen's University.

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Robyn McDonald, Chair, Board of Directors

Robyn McDonald

Robyn was elected as a Director of the Board in June 2015. As a Director, Robyn is a steward of GGC and is accountable for the viability of our organization.

Robyn began her Guiding journey as Brownie and Guide, and is currently a Ranger Guider in Surrey, British Columbia. She has been a Unit Guider for 14 years, joining with her daughters as a Sparks Guider, continuing through each branch to Rangers. She particularly enjoys working with the Pathfinder and Ranger branches: acquiring and teaching skills, empowering girls, fostering youth leadership, undertaking service in the community, and demonstrating to girls in younger branches what they have to look forward to in their senior years of the program.

Obtaining her Certified General Accountant designation in 1995, Robyn has used her accounting and financial background in various positions on District council – as secretary, treasurer, and Deputy Co-Commissioner. She has been a volunteer treasurer of many community societies, as well as controller and finance/accounting administrator for non-governmental organizations. Outside of Guiding and her accounting practice, Robyn is a concert and jazz musician, and enjoys travel.

Robyn is passionate about offering dynamic experiences to girls, recruiting and retaining members at the senior level, and promoting the Link experience to foster the next generation of Guiders.

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Alexandra Russell, Director-Risk Oversight

Alexandra Russell

Alexandra was elected as a Director of the Board in June 2016.  She was a Brownie, a Guide, and a Spark Girl Assistant while growing up in Ontario. Since joining as an adult member in 2013 she has been a Brownie and Ranger Guider in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a Link member, and a member of the Nova Scotia Camping Advisory Committee.

Alexandra joins the Board with experience and training in governance, strategic planning, advocacy, and women's issues. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree she served as Director and Vice President of the Federation of Students at the University of Waterloo, and on the Board of the Business and Professional Women of Greater Moncton, chairing the Resolutions, Bylaws, and Public Affairs Committee.

Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo and is obtaining her professional designation as an Associate of the Society of Actuaries (ASA), working with quantifying and modeling various types of organizational risks. She is currently working in group benefits consulting at a national human resources consulting firm.

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Jill Zelmanovits, Chief Executive Officer

Jill Zelmanovits

As a longtime GGC member, Jill is committed to the Mission of the organization. She has previous GGC experience as a past Board Director and has chaired several national committees including Audit and Finance, and Governance. Jill brings international Guiding experience to her role as CEO, having served as Trustee on the World Board of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), and held positions of Chair, Membership Growth Work Group, and Chair, Advocacy Task Group. Additionally, Jill has been a member of the Membership Services Working Group, the Global Engagement Group, and the Technology Work Group.  

A bilingual lawyer, Jill was a commercial litigator at a Bay Street law firm before working for Legal Aid Ontario at a number of Community Legal Clinics. Most recently, she was head of the Housing Department and a Staff Lawyer at West Scarborough Community Legal Services.

Working alongside volunteers and staff, Jill is inspired by the passionate commitment of Guiding's members. She is a firm believer that Guiding is what girls need to be the best they can be and is full of optimism in the strength of the organization.

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