Board of Directors
The Embrace Rwanda International Society was formed in 2013 and a talented and committed Board of Directors gave their support to the vision for the future.
Executive Director – Hilary King
Following a call from God to support the people of Rwanda in 2006 I have been amazed at how “God driven” the work of Embrace Rwanda has been as it multiplies every year. I graduated from the University of London, UK in Education and taught in High Schools in London for 10 years. After emigrating to Canada I worked in Community Health Management and then in Community Development for the North Shore Health Region. Lastly, I was Leader of Community Engagement for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. These careers have prepared me for the role I play now as the Founder and Executive Director of Embrace Rwanda. I am committed to this ministry and trust in God for all that we need to grow Embrace Rwanda. To sum up, I feel that this work gives glory to God, blessings to others and satisfaction to my life.
Chair – Peter Turner
A Computer engineer and businessman. It is very exciting to see God blessing and expanding the work of Embrace Rwanda. It is my privilege to make whatever contribution I can and to be part of this ministry that is touching so many lives. My purpose is to support the Director as much as possible.
Vice Chair – Susan Conley
Susan Conley is the Regional Manager, Public Health, Perinatal & Early Childhood Development for Vancouver Coastal Health Region. While she has enjoyed an extensive career in healthcare including roles in Primary Care, Mental Health and Palliative Care, it has been her roles in neonatal and public health nursing where her passion for babies, children and mums has truly stood out. Even before there was an Embrace Rwanda, Susan had responded to Hilary King’s quest for a nurse with maternal-child experience to help her set up what would become the “Healthy Mum’s” project in the remote Rwandan village of Kigeme. As a health care leader, she was hopeful that she could contribute to Kigeme’s vision of creating a model of care that would improve the health of the most vulnerable children in rural Rwanda. While her leadership skills and experience were definitely useful to the project, she is quick to point out that she learned far more about faith, hope, compassion and grace from the people of Rwanda. Susan is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Victoria, an Advanced Diploma in Neonatal Nursing, and a Masters Degree in Health Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University. She considers her experience as a mother and grandmother to be of even greater importance in fulfilling her work with Embrace Rwanda.
Director of Business Strategies – Susan Romeo Gilbert
I was born in Trinidad, West Indies, tenth in a family of eleven children. I grew up serving and praising God, and I have from a very young age been surrounded by children being born and looked after by the “Village.” I have spent the past 19 years in the chaos of raising three boys and working full time. Now that the boys are older, I looked around for charitable work of the faith with which to immerse myself. For the past five years I had been listening to and buying from Hilary on every occasion that she came back from Rwanda. Over these years I kept hearing this little voice in my head saying “get involved, get involved”. Then one Sunday morning earlier this year, Hilary mentioned that she needed to work on establishing a formal Society under which to put “Embrace Rwanda”, with a fully functioning Board of Directors. I realised there and then that this was a place I could step into and be part of this amazing activity as a member of the Embrace Rwanda “Village”. I did and here I am, willing and able to serve. I am currently an Instructor in the Faculty of Business at Capilano University and an Independent Management Information Systems Consultant, with over 25 years of Business and Information Systems experience to bring to bear to the Society. I have lived and worked in Trinidad, Britain, USA and now Canada.
Director of Political Affairs – Dr Lillian Wong
Educated in Scotland, I graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Geography and a PH.D with a thesis on “The Gold Mining Industry in Ghana”. I spent over one year in Ghana doing the fieldwork. Subsequently I enjoyed a wonderful career spanning 35 years as an Africa Specialist with the British Diplomatic Service. During that time I worked in 35 African countries, including, inter alia, Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. But the most challenging and rewarding posting I was given was to Rwanda. I served there in 1994/1995, in the aftermath of the genocide, as the first resident British diplomat, opening the first British Embassy in Rwanda. After retiring from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I spent over a year at a London-based “think tank”, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). There I produced a report, after months of fieldwork, on “The Impact of Asian National Oil Companies on Nigeria”. Simultaneously I acted as a Consultant to an oil trading company which had lifting rights for Nigerian oil. In addition, I helped to launch a UK-based charity for Rwanda, called Rwanda UK Goodwill Organisation (RUGO). It is still going strong. After emigrating to Canada in 2009 I was thrilled to find in Vancouver a charity focussed solely on Rwanda, Embrace Rwanda. I immediately joined up! In my role as Political Adviser to the Board, I hope to bring my experience and knowledge of Rwanda to the decision-making process.
Director of International Relations – Florence Drent
Foremost, I am linked to Embrace Rwanda because I am a Rwandan who sees the work of Embrace Rwanda fulfilling the vision that I had for my country. Embrace Rwanda is very critical in bridging the economic and spiritual needs which are helping to rebuild the country. Through Embrace Rwanda, I find myself contributing my skills of speaking both English and other African languages and also evangelistic knowledge which is a big tool of bringing unity and reconciliation among Rwandans. I also find myself being the bridge between Canadian community and Rwandan community.
Director of Communications – Lois Carter
Lois Carter is an award winning musician who enjoys writing. Currently residing in Vancouver BC with her husband Paul – an ex-military Chaplain in the British Army and ordained Anglican priest in the Anglican Church, they hope to visit Rwanda in January 2014. Lois has a keen interest in the physical and spiritual welfare of all Rwandan people and is particularly looking forward to developing stronger links with the Healthy Mums project. As a mother of three daughters herself, two of whom have spent time in Rwanda, Lois has a strong sense of connection with the women’s outreach and mission of Embrace Rwanda.
Chaplain – Rev. Paul Carter
Paul Carter is a retired Anglican Priest who served for sixteen years as a Chaplain to the Forces with the British Army in the Parachute Regiment. He first visited Rwanda in 2006 feeling very privileged to work alongside the local Rwandan community and build relationships. Although he suffered a severe heart attack in 2007 which prevented him from returning to his parish work, his appointment as the Chaplain for Embrace Rwanda means he can serve the Rwandan people again. Rwanda is a country which is very close to his heart. He hopes to visit Rwanda again in 2014.
Rob Conley is a finance and human resources professional with over thirty years of experience in the Canadian credit union system. He is currently the Manager of Human Resources and Administration for BC211, a not for profit organization that provides information and referral to vulnerable individuals regarding community, government, and social services. He describes his first trip to Rwanda as a life changing experience as he was humbled by the severe poverty in the rural villages, but also encouraged by the resilience and determination of the Rwandan people. He was especially delighted by the heartwarming smiles of all the children. It is very rewarding for him to see the positive impact that Embrace Rwanda is having as thousands of families are benefitting from the programs being offered, thus ensuring that many children will have hope for a brighter future. Rob has a MBA in Executive Management from Royal Roads University and he is an Associate of the Credit Union Institute of Canada. He is also a Chartered Professional in Human Resources that is indicative of his passion for helping others to succeed through coaching and mentoring.