2024 AGM: Introducing the Candidates to the Board of Directors

Featured, Gouvernance, Governance

We are excited to introduce to the community 7 people from all walks of life who have applied to fill the 3 open seats on the Roulant’s Board of Directors in 2024, keen to oversee its governance and further its mission. You’ll also recognize a familiar face among them, who is now standing for re-election after her second two-year term.

Below are the profiles of the candidates, with a few words to describe them and the skills they would bring to the Board. We’ve highlighted in bold the skills that are particularly in demand this year.

These particular skills are:

  • Experience in leading agricultural projects (especially with the experience related to infrastructure projects and project management, or general experience in small-scale organic farming, urban, or organic agriculture)
  • Experience in philanthropy (especially in foundations and in Montreal)
  • Professional experience in finance (certification as a Chartered Professional Accountant – CPA is particularly sought after)
  • Human Resources experience (specific interest: labour standards, recruitment, policy development)

If you’d like to refresh your memory on the role and needs of the Board of Directors, we invite you to (re)read our current Board page and our call for candidates.

Which candidates speak to you most? Join us at the AGM on March 28th for the chance to hear their speeches, ask them your questions, and cast your vote!

Claire Aubert

Strategic Planning Project Manager

Key words to describe myself: Montréal lover, Roulant neighbor, enthusiastic, bike and outdoor adept, caregiver

Skills: Strategic planning

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

I will bring my solid experience in strategic planning, developed in particular in the community and municipal sectors, which will prove highly useful in these times where the Roulant freshens up its strat plan (including at the AGM, be ready!) Also, I’ve worked for the City of Montreal and have a good knowledge of this big partner / stakeholder of the Roulant. Finally, as a Board member for the past 4 years at the Roulant, I feel like I can bring a high level of efficiency and impact at the meetings and working committees for this last mandate. I’m also capable of taking on a chairing role.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

I think I am way more useful as a Board member than as a gardener!
I simply love learning how to ensure good governance and all that’s at stake, and it’s a role (and legal requirement) that is crucial to fill. It allows me to make my set of skills available for the community in my neighbourhood.
And although I love meeting the Roulant’s beneficiaries and learning to cook in our little paradise, the volunteer hours for the board are more accessible to me because they are in the evenings.

Edward Palmer


Key words to describe myself: Keen Gardener, Patient, Team Player, Conscientious, Generous

Skills: General Governance

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

I hold a BSc (Hons) Physics and an MBA. Organisation strategy and development were important parts of my masters education. I worked for SAP (German software company) for 20 years (Germany, US and Canada) creating solutions for large international customers. The product and project management skills gained would help oversee Roulant activities. I am a keen gardener and have been volunteering at the farm and urban garden for the past 2 years so have some understanding of urban agriculture.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

After 2 years volunteering at the farm and urban garden, I would like to contribute more time to the Roulant. I retired early and have time to support worthy organisations. I would like to pass on my knowledge gained from my MBA and 20 years of corporate operations to the Roulant. Protecting the environment is important to me and I would like to help influence the local community to the importance of responsible agriculture.

Guillaume Charpenel

Director at Sawa Energy

Key words to describe myself: Solidarity, Entrepreneurial, New Dad, Passionate, Integrity

Skills: Finances

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

Bringing a wealth of experience from serving on the boards of non-profits, including holding two current board positions, I offer a strong blend of leadership, strategic insight, and a proven track record in governance. My business experience, complemented by an MBA, equips me with the ability to structure effective solutions and contribute significantly to the finance subcommittee. While I possess a technical background, I emphasize my dedication to volunteerism, which has been a substantial part of my life, enriching my understanding of non-profit challenges and community needs. This unique combination of professional acumen and a deep commitment to volunteer service positions me to contribute valuable perspectives and drive impactful decisions on the board.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

My interest in an administrative role at the Roulant lies in the significant impact I can bring to the table. With proven experience in non-profit governance, I am confident in my ability to contribute to the Roulant’s strategy and vision, guiding decisions that resonate far beyond board meetings. As a new dad, my time is precious, but I am committed to investing it where I can create the most value. A position on the board allows me to maximize this impact while balancing my family responsibilities, deeply engaging with a cause close to my heart with the efficiency and insight my professional and personal journey has provided.

Heather Powers

General Manager, Philanthropic Services, RBC Royal Trust

Key words to describe myself: Passionate, Pleasantly persistant, Community-oriented

Skills: Philanthropy

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

Having completed seven years on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (including as Chair and Vice-Chair), I am finishing in May and ready for my next volunteer role. Ideally, I would like to be more involved in Montreal. I would be happy to share my fundraising and governance expertise. The full food-cycle that happens at the Roulant and the idea of breaking isolation through food have always been things I am passionate about, and whether it’s sharing my experience, my contacts, and/or my time, I am ready to put my shoulder to the wheel.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

I know the Roulant as a fundraiser (having spent nearly a decade with Centraide of Greater Montreal and encouraging giving to SR and others that combat hunger and social exclusion), and as a volunteer (I spent two years as part of the Beekeeping Collective from 2013-2015), and as a donor (which I hope you are too! Every single gift helps!), I would like to bring my skills as a Director. If I am not chosen, of course my other engagement will remain.

Noémie Desbiens Riendeau

Organizational development consultant and human resources manager

Key words to describe myself: Plant lover, empathetic, fiercely alive!

Skills: Leadership in agricultural projects; Human Resources & organizational culture

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

Between 2011 and 2015, I had the immense privilege to plant my roots in the very fertile ground known as the Roulant culture, as the Urban Agriculture Program co-manager. It is my transformative journey at the Roulant which then led me to dive deeper into group dynamics and organisational development. My previous experiences on multiple organic vegetable farms and my fascination to help teams work better together have one thing in common: to cultivate life in all of its forms with a special attention on the quality of our relationships, which I now consider my own life mission. It is thus with this double background, as an agricultural leader and a human resource manager, that I wish to support the board of the Roulant.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

Even though I’ve managed to do a few Roulant shifts in the past years, volunteering as a board member would allow me to bring my desired contribution to its full potential, with more ease in terms of availability. In addition, being deeply in love with the Roulant’s ever-evolving culture, I think I have gathered, over the years and especially as an employee, the ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ which makes the organization so unique. It is hence my capacity to carry such special flavor at the board level, all the while benefiting and being inspired by its inner workings, which leads me to wanting a board director role. With a special fondness for community and connection, it would also be a great pleasure to represent the Roulant during events.

Olivier Rénald

Accountant at Demers Beaulne

Key words to describe myself: Calm, Inspired, Dedicated, Organized, Entertaining

Skills: Finances

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

I am an accountant by training, I hold a CPA auditor designation and I have been a partner since 2019 in the accounting firm Demers Beaulne, where I started my career more than 15 years ago. As an auditor or consultant, I work with several NPOs, both large organizations that promote Montreal internationally and smaller ones that have a concrete impact in their communities. I also served for almost 8 years on the Board of Directors of the Molinari Quartet and for 5 years on the Emerging Leaders Committee of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation. I therefore believe I have the ideal profile to occupy a position focused on finance within the Board of Directors.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

I have lived in the neighborhood for a few months, and I have a sincere desire to get involved in an organization that is true to my values to help my community. The Roulant perfectly meets this desire. As I have in-depth knowledge of best practices in governance and have a perfect understanding of the current issues facing NPOs, both from a strategic and financial point of view, I humbly believe that I will be able to have more impact at the Roulant through a director function. My goal is to help promote the Roulant and be part of establishing its strategy in order to have a concrete impact in my community. It’s by being a director that I will succeed!

Vira Kovalova

Community Partnerships Advisor, Fondation du Grand Montréal

Key words to describe myself: Always-learner, innovative, introspective, collaborative and social justice driven

Skills: Philanthropy

What experience or skill set do you bring to the Board?

I have extensive experience on both sides of grantmaking processes: as a non-profit professional responsible for managing government and philanthropic funding, and as a philanthropy professional responsible for grant allocation and relationships with the non-profits. I have worked as a community partnerships advisor at Centraide and have a similar role at the Foundation of Greater Montreal. During my time at Centraide, I worked directly with Santropol Roulant. I have also been on grant allocation committees on the borough and city levels. I’m passionate about building more equitable, trust-based relationships between foundations and community organizations.

Why are you interested in a role on the Board?

Santropol Roulant is well known for its organizational excellence, innovative culture and humanistic approach. Over the years, I’ve worked with many people who have been involved with the organization (former employees and executives, board members) and I’ve always been impressed by their human and professional qualities. I want to bring my skills and knowledge of the philanthropic world to the organization, but I’m also motivated by the opportunities to learn and grow both professionally and personally.