Board of Directors



Heather Powers - Chair

Heather L. M. Powers is the Director of Development at the McGill University Faculty of Law. She started her career in philanthropy in 2002, where she started as a Gift Planning Assistant at Harvard University, and then from 2003-2005 as the Assistant Director of University Planned Giving at Harvard.

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She spent nine years at Centraide (the United Way) of Greater Montreal, where she began their planned gift recognition society and grew the program to $24M in bequest intentions.  While her primary role now focuses on major gifts, she remains a strong planned giving advocate and weaves this conversation into as many donor conversations as possible. 

Geoff Graham, CFRE - Vice Chair


For 25 years, Geoff Graham has helped guide some of the premier fundraising departments in Canada and the US.  He is a senior charitable giving officer and independent consultant helping individuals and non-profit organizations fine tune their philanthropic goals.  

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Geoff’s professional commitment has long been recognized by his peers including being named as Outstanding Development Professional by the San Diego Association of Fundraising Professionals.  He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has held memberships in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, San Diego Planned Giving Partnership, Canadian Association of Gift Planners, and Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.  Geoff currently serves as the Senior Director, Gift Planning, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Outside the office, Geoff has taken leadership positions in a number of nonprofit organizations.  He currently serves on the boards of AFP Nova Scotia and San Diego, CAGP National Board of Directors and is a past President of the San Diego Planned Giving Partnership. In addition, he has been a guest speaker for the University of San Diego Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program and other professional conferences.

Serena Hak - Secretary

Serena started her career at Free The Children in 2009, and has since become Head of Philanthropic Advisory Services at CI Assante Wealth Management and Executive Director of The Donor Motivation Program® Canada.

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With a decade of experience in the philanthropic sector, she is committed to helping Canadians realize their giving potential. She has been featured in The Globe and Mail and National Post’s Guide to Charitable Giving and is a frequent speaker with the Association of Gift Planning Professionals (AFP) and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP).

Serena currently serves on the Board of Outside the March and AMREF Canada. In 2018, she joined The Toronto Foundation Vision 2020 Cohort which was later awarded Martin Connell Spirit of Philanthropy.  Outside of work, she loves sailing and trotting around Toronto with her beagle, Bogart.

Danzel Pinto - Treasurer


Danzel is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant) and Principal at Grant Thornton LLP in the Greater Toronto Area where he exclusively serves charities and not-for-profit organizations.

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Danzel provides assurance and advisory services, with areas of focus including audit and financial reporting, financial statement reviews, operational process improvements, governance and reserves. Danzel is a frequent speaker and author on these and other wider issues affecting the sector.

In addition to his service to CAGP as National Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, Danzel also serves as National Treasurer of the Grant Thornton Foundation. Danzel is also highly involved in his community, serving various leadership positions throughout his life. His service provides him a unique perspective into the challenges faced by charities and not-for-profit organizations, and he brings this understanding and passion in everything he does.  

Kathy Arney


Kathy Arney has spent her career growing organizational capacity and improving results and has a passion for enabling people to reach their full potential.

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Located in Treaty 7 Territory (Canmore, AB), Kathy established KEA Canada in 2013, where she works with leaders, organizations and philanthropists to strengthen the social sector through supporting capacity-strengthening and strategic philanthropy.

Kathy is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA) and obtained Master Financial Advisor-Philanthropy (MFA-P™) certification in 2021.  

Michael Blatchford


Michael Blatchford is a partner with the global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. He is based in Vancouver and works exclusively in the not-for-profit sector.

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His clients include registered charities, non-profits and social enterprises operating across Canada in healthcare, education, social services, arts and culture, environment and recreation. He also assists professional associations, clubs and faith-based organizations. Michael has been a member of CAGP since 2009 and has taken the advanced gift planning course. He serves as past-chair of the Greater Vancouver Chapter of CAGP.  

Carmela Guerriero

Carmela Guerriero is Regional Vice President, with RBC Royal Trust, focusing on strengthening market presence in the Eastern Canada region.

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A graduate of the executive MBA program with Université du Quebec à Montréal, Carmela has continued to deepen her knowledge and expertise by pursuing key industry designations including the Quebec Institute of Financial Planning (IQPF) and Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP). She is a member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).

Carmela also publishes a bi-monthly blog on estates and trust in Les Affaires, the largest French business language newspaper in Canada


Jill Nelson, CFRE


In a fundraising career spanning over 25 years, Jill has worked for a variety of charities, large and small.  For many years she has specialized in planned giving, first at the Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division and now at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation where she is Associate Vice-President, Estate Giving.

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Seeing and hearing the stories of people fulfilling their deepest desires through philanthropy has inspired Jill to help donors achieve their dreams.  She is passionate about the benefits of tax-smart giving for donors, to help them do more for society than they ever imagined. She shares that enthusiasm as a Canadian Association of Gift Planning (CAGP) Faculty member, teaching the Original Gift Planning Course and Gift Planning Fundamentals.

Jill received a B.A. Hons in History from Queen’s University and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).  She is on the National Board of CAGP, chairs the CAGP Education Committee, and participates on the program committee for CAGP’s annual National Conference on Strategic Philanthropy.  Jill received the Jasmine Sweatman Award from the GTA Chapter in 2011, and is a “Friend of CAGP”.


Laily Pirbhai

An accomplished, enthusiastic, and perceptive leader with a proven, articulate style that has manifested in a distinguished, upwardly progressive 30-year career across the private, public, and not-for-profit Sectors.

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Considered a "personnes de confiance", Laily has long been accorded 'a place at the planning table' by clients, donors, professional advisors, and institutions alike by bringing to bear insights and guidance that is entrepreneurial, collaborative, and enduring.

Named one of Leadership Calgary's Top 30, Laily's pursuit of continuous learning and professional excellence has manifested in subsequent designations including FELLOW, Institute of Canadian Bankers, Master Financial Advisor-Philanthropy (MFA-P™) and the esteemed CAGP's FRIEND award.