Board of Directors
WERC is a non-profit charitable community agency established in Woodstock ON in 1996. The Board of Directors is a body of elected/appointed members who jointly oversee the finance and activities of WERC.
Cathy Austin (Chair)
Cathy has found board membership at the Women’s Employment Resource Centre to be a very meaningful way to make a difference for women in Oxford County. Cathy was the first female union president (and only to date) of an automotive manufacturing facility in North America. She is a social justice activist and political ecologist. She is an intersectional feminist who understands how women’s overlapping identities including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation impact the way women experience oppression and discrimination. Cathy states “it is an honour to serve on the board of a very unique, progressive and extremely professional organization.”
Lorraine McLean is the Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Women’s Employment Resource Centre. She has volunteered for other non-for-profit organizations; these include Treasurer for Peace United Church and Charge Treasurer for Drumbo-Richwood Pastoral Charge. Lorraine served eleven years on the Board of Directors for Woodstock Co-Operative Dance School, six of which were spent as Chair of the Board. She also organized the Annual Women’s Curling Bonspiel at the Plattsville Curling Club from 1997 to 2015. Lorraine currently is the President of the Woodstock Lawn Bowling Club. In her (infrequent) spare time, Lorraine likes to ballroom dance with her husband of 30 years this August! She is a fantastic baker, gardener, and wonderful mother of her two daughters.
Michelle Smith is the Secretary for the Board of Directors of the Women’s Employment Resource Centre. It is her first year on the board with WERC and she is excited to connect with women leaders in the community and increase opportunities for women in skilled trades. Michelle is employed as a Business Development Representative in Woodstock for the Sherwin-Williams Company. In her 12 years at Sherwin-Williams she has held leadership positions in provinces across Western Canada and has been a resource to women. She is one of the founding members of the SW Women’s Resource Group for Canada. Michelle has volunteered with various painting projects for women’s shelters, Big Brothers and Sisters, Ronald Mcdonald House and PRIDE cross walks as well Santa Claus Parades, Concerts in the Park and Women’s Leadership Conferences. Michelle and her team won the 2018 SW Canada Division Community Involvement Award for their work growing vegetables for the Saskatoon Foodbank. Michelle was a single mother raising her two sons, now adults. She has a passion for art and painting and is a founder of a Womxn’s Motorcycle Collective.
Anne worked at CAMI for over twenty-two years, and was elected to the position of CAW Local 88 Human Rights/Medical Placement/Employment Equity Representative/Women's Advocate. Apart from this position at CAMI, Anne earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s studies at the University of Western Ontario, while working full time and taking care of her daughter. Currently Anne is the Managing Partner at The Equity Specialists where she specializes in Human Rights and Harassment Investigations, Mediation, Employment & Pay Equity, Conflict Coaching, Conflict Resolution, and Training. Anne was a community research partner in a 6 year in depth policy and practical study into the reality of women living in non-urban settings. Anne has also been a member of WERC’s Board of Directors over the years in different roles.
Elisa began her career in supply chain at a leading automotive manufacturer. She excelled in the dynamic and fast paced environment. During her evenings, she pursued her Master’s in Business Administration and after graduating, moved into a more strategic role within her organization. Through her work in the male dominated industry, Elisa has learned strategies to help women navigate the gender biases. Her passion for improvement has helped her become a go to leader for change. She is quick to react and establish ways that she can help foster an inclusive environment for all.
Marita has over 10 years of Human Resources experience in the Philippines. She moved to Canada in 2009 and faced numerous obstacles as a new immigrant. With great determination, she began to volunteer and work temporary jobs to gain experience. In 2012, she continued to strive for success and enrolled in several accounting courses. She landed an entry-level accounting role for a not-for-profit organization and later took on the role of Finance Manager. In 2014, after years of sacrifice and hard work, she achieved her CPA and CMA designation. Marita is now working as a Financial Specialist in the healthcare industry and enjoys photography in her free time. Marita became a board member at WERC in November 2019. She is excited to make a difference in our community and be an advocate for women.
I am Retired GM/Cami worker of 31 years. I held a position in the union for 23 years helping our local 88 members as their alternate employee and family assistance/addiction referral representative. I was also very active on the Women’s committee within our local where we actively tried to fundraise, educate, and bring awareness within our communities to improve the standard of life for all women. I also sit on the board of directors for Oxford County Victim Assistance service of which I hold the position of Chair/President. It’s a board I am very proud to be on in making a difference in our community and helping victims of crime and circumstance. Since retiring I have gotten my class B license and drive school bus which I am totally loving. I get to spend some time with some amazing kids and have plenty of time to stay active and follow my passion of getting involved in our community. I hope to bring my strength of community and knowledge of resources to help strengthen the WERC board and help make WERC all it can be in meeting our goals and missions in this ever-changing world.