The Board of The Townships Project brings together an energetic team with varied skills and experience from right across Canada.
Meet our Board in Canada below.
F. Martha Deacon
Founder & CEO
Martha created The Townships Project in late 1998 in response to then President Nelson Mandela’s challenge to do something about the poverty in his country. For more than 20 years, The Townships Project has worked with local micro-finance organizations, government departments, universities, Rotary Clubs and others in South Africa to start or expand small businesses.
Prior to starting The Townships Project, Martha was an entrepreneur, an investment banker and a corporate solicitor in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada.
Carole joined the board in 2018. She has worked with four national Canadian franchises, leading training and development programs.
Carole became a member of her local Rotary Club more than 25 years ago. She has been involved with many Rotary Club partnerships and the Rotary Foundation, providing shelter, water and sanitation in areas where these basic human needs were lacking, including Northeast Brazil, Sudan, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
More than 10 years ago, Carole began working with Cathy Hume at CHF Investor Relations, and through Cathy's involvement, became a volunteer and adviser with The Townships Project.
Cathy joined the Board of Directors of The Townships Project in 2008, and served as Chair from 2009 to 2019.
Cathy is the CEO of CHF Investor Relations, Canada’s longest-established investor relations company. Cathy spent two terms on the Board of Directors of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, which sponsors the world’s largest annual mining convention, and continues to be an active member of Women in Mining.
Cathy spent two terms on the Board of Governors of the University of Guelph, and has spent many years as a dedicated volunteer for such organizations as The Pauline McGibbon Cultural Centre and The Redwood Shelter.
Brian joined the board as Secretary-Treasurer in 2006 and remains Secretary since Mar Thomson assumed the role of Treasurer in 2019.
Brian's chemical engineering background saw him spend 38 years in the petroleum industry in both onshore and offshore facilities, including 5 years of foreign service.
Brian builds houses with Habitat for Humanity and is co-chair of Basic Income Calgary, part of the Basic Income Canada Network. He also coached soccer for many years, is involved with St. Thomas United Church, and has been the Treasurer and Secretary of Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club and the community coordinator and a board member of the Silver Springs Community Foundation.
Founding Chair, Director Emerita
Jocelyn is a founding Director and the founding Chair of The Townships Project. In October 2019 she was honoured as Director Emerita.
Jocelyn has been a performer (piano and organ), teacher (community, university and college levels), choral conductor, adjudicator (piano and choral), and professional church musician in the United Church of Canada. As well, Jocelyn has been the creator and organizer of many festivals, concerts and workshops over the past 55 years, including with the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Festival of Canadian Music, The British Columbia Choral Federation, the Naramata Summer School of Music Arts, Jubilate! Chamber Choir and the University Women’s Club of Vancouver.
Jocelyn is the mother of five children (three of whom are professional musicians) and the grandmother of ten.
Ambrose joined the board in 2012. He is a Certified Management Accountant, Tax Practitioner and Economist. He served more than 20 years in various management positions (including accounting, planning and logistics) at the largest purchaser of alcoholic beverages in the world.
Ambrose holds a Master of Arts degree in economics from York University (Toronto), the Certified Management Accountant designation from the Institute of Management Accountants (USA), the Certified Investment Manager designation from the Canadian Securities Institute, and other graduate certificates in computer business systems and programming, Ryerson University (Toronto).
He has over 10 years experience as a tax practitioner dba as Ambrose Associates, and has been President of The Board of Directors for Toronto condominium TSCC 1816 for the past 11 years.
Director & Treasurer
Mar joined our board as Treasurer in 2019. Mar has used her degree in chemistry and her love of numbers and logic in many ways. She started as a quality control chemist at General Foods and finished 37 years later as an administrator with the Provincial Drug Programs on Prince Edward Island.
Giving back to her community has always been important, serving with Canadian Parents for French, Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, Parks and People, Habitat for Humanity, the PEI Pharmacy Board and currently with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, the Newcomers Association and the PEI Food Bank.
Mar also spent three two-year volunteer assignments with CUSO: in Malawi where she taught math and science, in Malaysia where she ran chemistry labs at the Agricultural College and in the Solomon Islands where she set up a financial and administrative system for a local NGO.
Heather joined our board in 2018. She has lived and worked her whole life in Vancouver. Heather became acquainted with The Townships Project through Canadian Memorial United Church, which provided key funding. She has supported The Townships Project activities in the Vancouver area ever since.
Heather visited South Africa in 1988 before apartheid ended and is passionate about helping that country thrive in the democracy it fought so hard to achieve. Retiring after 32 years with B.C. Hydro, she now has more time to volunteer at her church with an emphasis on supporting seniors. Her many activities include being outdoors, swimming, walking, hiking and travelling.
The Townships Project was founded in 1998 to help overcome poverty in South African townships by encouraging and developing entrepreneurship.