Announcing our Board of Directors for 2012/13

After more than two weeks of intense work and exploration, we are proud to announce our newly elected board of directors for 2012/13.

Looking forward to a year of growth and exciting possibilities

Executive Director

   Gioel Gioacchino – At the center of Gioel’s work is the belief that intercultural dialogue is a powerful instrument for international development. Gioel grew up in a small town in    central Italy. In 2007, Gioel traveled the world and studied conflict resolution aboard the Scholar Ship. The four-month trip was a true intercultural ‘experiment,’ and it profoundly impacted her worldview.

  In 2008/09, Gioel received a grant to work and study in Germany and during this time she spent a month in Nablus delivering a ‘Cultural Dialogue’ workshop with Project Hope. Following this project, Gioel had the idea to co‐found Recrear and establish a platform to facilitate young people’s ability to launch their own initiatives while experimenting with innovative development approaches.

Since being elected Executive Director in August 2011, her life has been packed in a suitcase, developing community and consultancy projects for Recrear in the Dominican Republic, Canada, Bangladesh, Ecuador, and Thailand. Most recently, Gioel was the honorable recipient to the prestigious Sauvé Scholars Program Scholarship where she will be settling in Montreal, QC and working full-time to develop a sustainable strategy for Recrear. Gioel holds a BA in International Studies from the University of New Orleans and an MPhil in Development Studies from Cambridge University.

Director Marketing and Media 

Valerie Matron- Raised in Puerto Rico, Peru and the US, exposed from a young age to rampant inefficiency, stagnancy and inequality, it is no surprise that Valerie decided to pursue a degree in Political Science and International Development. After receiving her BA from Tulane University, Valerie traveled to India and developed an Eye Care program in Dharamsala, India, providing pro-bono examinations and eyeglasses to the Tibetan refugee community. Before joining the Recrear team in 2011, Valerie worked for the municipal government of New Orleans managing the international affairs of the city on behalf of the Mayor’s Office.

Valerie presently lives in Quito, Ecuador, managing health projects and working on the marketing and communication strategies of Recrear. For the past few months s he has worked on a personal photography project to showcase the stories of the participants  of Recrear’s 100 Voices in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.
Photography and dancing are her religion and she enjoys pushing herself and others to question their beliefs, to push their boundaries, and to always search for new horizons.

Director of Project Development

Kirsten Williams – Kirsten is a global citizen who enjoys challenging her worldview and embracing foreign cultures. After spending 4 years in Indonesia, 3 years in Tanzania, and recently residing in Ecuador, she cultivated an interest for applying innovative and different solutions to the field of development.

Currently, Kirsten studies Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University and is involved in a number of initiatives while also holding  numerous leadership positions. She engages in policy forums through International Model United Nations conferences and participates in CIDA field visits in Bangladesh. Since Recrear was launched in Berlin, Germany in 2010, Kirsten has implemented  pilot projects in Palestine, the Dominican Republic, and Bangladesh. She also assisted in the planning of the 2011 and 2012 RecrearMagnify conference in Ottawa, Canada and Quito, Ecuador. Recently she spearheaded Recrear’s research project 100 voices in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, a research project focusing on the stories of Afro-Ecuadorian youth.

Director of Project Evaluation

Gillian Aitken – Gillian  graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Global Politics from Carleton University. Her passion for women led her to an internship with the Gender Unit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Botswana. She has kept busy managing the Human Resources team of AIESEC Carleton, a chapter of the world’s largest student run organization and serving as Director of Recrear’s Human Resources Department.

Through her work with Recrear as Human Resources coordinator, Gillian has felt that her potential to be an active participant in community  development and social change has increased substantially. Additionally, she gained experience organizing a conference for Ontario university students and spent time at the Coady International Institute.  It has been increasingly reinforced for Gillian that anyone can achieve great things if they have cultivated the will in themselves and have the tools at hand to do so.  By continually exploring her personal potential and seeing the potential in everyone with whom she comes in contact, Gillian finds purpose in all of her passions and activities.

Director of CSR and Consulting

Aneesha Marwah (interim director)- Aneesha, an American-born global citizen, has spent the majority of her childhood living among the palm trees and sand dunes as an expat kid in the beautiful desert country of  Saudi Arabia.  She emigrated back to the United States for boarding school at the ripe age of 15 and attended Tulane University in New Orleans. During Hurricane Katrina she witnessed  the downfall of a great American city and she returned to New Orleans, after a year at American University, with the resolve to rebuild the city.

Aneesha graduated in May 2009 with a BA in International Relations and International Development. She works in New Orleans as the Chief of Staff for a Louisiana State Representative and helps constituents continue rebuilding their lives after Katrina. She is also the Project Leader for a local non-profit called the College Admissions Project, which matches young  professional mentors in New Orleans with inner city high school seniors to help them navigate the daunting college admissions process and receive personal college counseling. She gets much joy  from working in the public and civil sectors and is looking to develop Recrear’s fundraising strategy.


Kamya Raja – 
Born in Bangalore, India, Kamya grew up in Fremont, California and loves the Bay Area. Fremont, among other cities in the Bay, has an especially diverse population and atmosphere; this environment has helped define many of Kamya’s global perspectives.

Currently a student at Tulane University, in New Orleans LA, Kamya studies Public Health, International Development, and Spanish. In the future, Kamya aims to work in environmental and health policy, applying it to the development sector. She enjoys volunteering in the New Orleans community with organizations like the Green Project and Roots of Music program. Some of her hobbies include kayaking, listening to music, crocheting, and of course, exploring other cultures.

Director of Finance and Legality

Jessica Smith – Jess has  dedicated her life to helping others and the environment. From a young age, she has been involved in volunteering in a variety of capacities in organizations like Easter Seals, Amnesty International, Rotary Club, and United Way. Jess is also actively involved in the Social Justice Clubs, the Carleton Disability Awareness Center, Foot Patrol, and the Rideau River Residence Association.

Her passion for international development was ignited from a trip to Nicaragua in 2007, where she worked in hospitals, orphanages, and built a school while working with street children. She is currently attending Carleton University in Ottawa studying Human Rights, Law, and Political Science. Jess is really looking forward to deepening her understanding of international development and applying her skills to strengthening Recrear’s Finance and Legality Department.

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