The Board & Committees

Adele Poynter (Founder, Chair 2012-2016)

Adele was a strong community leader, born and raised in Newfoundland. She held a B.Sc(Hons) in Geology from Memorial University and a Master’s in Resource Management from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Adele started working for Gulf Oil in Calgary and then returned to Newfoundland to work for the province’s Petroleum Directorate, and then as a Commissioner with the Economic Recovery Commission in 1990. She also worked as a consultant and later as the executive director of the Johnson Geo Centre.

Adele was a passionate environmentalist. She established the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992- an organization that provides environmental education throughout the province. Adele went on to create the FIG Fund in 2012, with a donation to the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (CFNL). This donation was matched by Adele’s friend, Gretchen Bauta, who is a passionate philanthropist and has been a major supporter of the FIG Fund since the beginning.

Adele passed away in June 2016, leaving the Fund in the hands of her trusted board members and daughter, Kate.

Kate McNicholas (Chair)

Kate is the daughter of the founder of the FIG Fund, Adele Poynter. Kate was born and raised in St. John’s and has a strong community tie from this and the influence of her mother. She sat on the board of the FIG Fund for six years and has recently become chair in the last year. Kate is a recent graduate of Memorial University with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Biochemistry. She dances with the Dance Centre and Mosaic Dance Company as a pastime. Kate has also been volunteering at The Gathering Place for five years. She runs the jewelry program originally started and supported by the FIG Fund.

Viki O’Dea (Vice-chair)

Viki’s involvement with the FIG Fund began during her eleven years on the board of the Community Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (CFNL). Viki – along with fellow board member Jennifer Guy – worked with Adele on the creation of the Fund in 2012 and the planning for the first FIG Fund Fete in 2014.

Viki’s past volunteer work has also included the Winterset in Summer Literary Festival, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Festival of Trees, the Girl Guides, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Department of Justice Youth Diversion Program.

Viki holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education (Information Technology) from Memorial University in Newfoundland.

Geralyn Christmas (Grants Committee)

Born and educated in St. John’s, Geralyn is a retired lawyer who spent her career as a vice-president of a legal publishing company and a publishing consultant in Ontario. She sat on the Board of Governors of George Brown College in Toronto and served one year as Chair. She was also a representative on the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. In 2010 she joined the board of the East Coast Trail Association and served as the executive in charge of land and legal affairs for the association until 2016.

Jennifer Guy (Communications Committee)

In August of 2009, Jennifer Guy and Viki O’Dea,  in their capacity as Members of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Newfoundland, visited Adele Poynter to discuss channeling funds from her dear friend Gretchen Bauta to those in need in the wake of the recession. The seeds of the FIG Fund were planted in that meeting and it has been a joy to see the FIG Fund grow and help the many women who have benefitted from it, as was Adele’s wish. 

Jennifer brings to the FIG Fund Board a deep commitment to philanthropy and extensive experience as volunteer Board member of a diverse range of non profit organizations including Community Foundations of Canada, the Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Winterset in Summer Literary Festival, The Canadian Business Council of Abu Dhabi , The International Women’s Business Group, Abu Dhabi , and most recently, as founding Chair of the Bannerman Park Foundation. 

As a broadcast journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on regional and national networks for over 25 years and as an Executive Director of the 25,000 member Ontario Medical Association for 7 years, Jennifer has gained an understanding of challenges associated with effective communications, government relations and the subtle techniques of consensus building, as well as developing a deep appreciation for worthwhile causes such as the FIG Fund. 

Yvonne Manning (Fundraising Committee)

Yvonne holds an MEd. from Mount St. Vincent’s University and a BA., B.Ed. from Memorial University, in addition to having studied music (voice) at Laval University. She continues to enjoy a long and fulfilling career as a French Immersion teacher with the Eastern District School Board in St. John’s. Yvonne has served on the boards of many organizations including: Shallaway Youth Choir and the Elaine Dobbin Centre, and has participated as an advisor, volunteer, fundraiser, and organizer for numerous community and support groups and charity events. Yvonne loves hiking, skiing, the outdoors, being “on the peninsula” with friends and family, French language, culture and life and singing – particularly singing as a member of Lady Cove Women’s Choir.

Sherri Miller (Fundraising Committee)
Born in St. John’s and a MUN graduate with a BAEd., Sherri has lived and taught in Canada, Germany and the USA. Through her travels, she has volunteered for many child/adolescent advocacy groups and school boards.
After moving away in 1993, Sherri returned to St. John’s in 2009. An important goal of her
return home was to find a place where she could help serve the community. Reconnecting with her long time friend Adele Poynter, Sherri found The FIG Fund and later The Gathering Place, both of which give great meaning to her life here.

Susan Sherk (Governance Committee)

Susan is a socio-economic consultant who recently retired after 20 years with AMEC Foster Wheeler plc, an international project management and services company. A former Assistant Deputy Minister (Tourism and Economic Development) with the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Susan was also former Manager of Corporate Communications with Michelin Tires (Canada) Limited, former Senior Public Affairs Manager with Mobil Oil Canada and Mobil Corporation and head of research and publications with Memorial University’s Extension Service.

Susan is a former director of IG Wealth Management (Investors Group and Mackenzie Inc.) and of Altius Minerals Corporation. She is a former member of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board. In a volunteer capacity, Susan was Chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industries Association and Memorial University’s Botanical Garden. She is currently Chair of both Wonderbolt Circus and 2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects and a member of the marketing team for the Winterset Literary Festival.

Maureen Thorne (Volunteer Coordinator)

Retired after 38 years with Eastern Health most recently as a Child Management Specialist (CMS). Maureen’s entire career has involved working with developmentally delayed children and adults in areas of assessment, advocacy and programming with a family centered approach. Maureen also represented Intervention Services in the Next Step Process and successfully represented CMS group in Job Evaluation System (JES) process. Maureen was a lifelong friend of Adele Poynters, and very happy to be on the board.

Gillian Feehan (Secretary)

Gillian is from the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. She is currently enrolled in the Accelerated Nursing Program at Memorial University. Additionally, she is a graduate from Memorial University with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry (Nutrition). Gillian has been a respite care worker helping children and adults who are developmentally delayed since she was 15 years old. She later completed the ABA Therapy program to develop key skills for working with children living with autism. She enjoys animals, travelling, hiking, skiing, and particularly, volunteering within the community. As a life-long friend of Kate McNicholas, Gillian is both proud and honoured to be a part of the FIG Fund established by the ever-inspiring Adele Poynter.

Lauren Mills (Communications Committee)

Lauren moved from her hometown in England to Paradise, NL in 2014. After many years of visiting family, she had always dreamed of calling this province home. Lauren is a graduate of UCA with a B.A. (Hons) in Broadcast Media and currently works as the Sales and Marketing Manager for New Victorian Homes. Since moving to Newfoundland, Lauren has volunteered with The Nickel Film Festival, Brews Bowls & Charity Goals for Young Adult Cancer Canada, the Canadian Home Builder’s Association and the St. John’s Board of Trade. She is now honoured to sit on the FIG Fund Board with a group of strong, talented and inspiring women.

Jessie Cooper (Treasurer)

Jessie is a CPA and a graduate of Memorial University with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours (Co-operative) Degree. She graduated from the CPA PEP program in 2019 and received the Gold Medal award for highest overall score in the province on the 2019 CFE. Jessie has a background in Audit, having worked for a large global firm, but now works for a local private investment firm, with a focus in providing social services. She is originally from Long Harbour, and grew up in Mount Pearl, however, she now calls the beautiful Conception Bay South home. Jessie is an avid outdoors person, inspired by her “bayman” father who spent all his non-working hours in the woods or on a boat. When the weather co-operates, she loves to spend time hiking, swimming, kayaking or camping. She is a passionate and proud advocate for mental health and will discuss with, or lend an ear to, anyone she meets. As a proud Newfoundlander Jessie believes that supporting the women of our province is integral to our future.

Would you like to be more involved with The FIG Fund and help us provide support to the Women & Girls in our province who need it most? Now’s the time!

The FIG Fund Board of Directors are always seeking expressions of interest to join our Board of Directors and Committees!

We’re looking for those who are able to:

✨ Attend regular meetings and events throughout the year.

✨ Know and understand The FIG Fund’s mission, legacy and programs.

✨ Review meeting agendas, supporting materials and reports.

✨ Be an active member, bring fresh ideas and complete assigned tasks. 

✨ Help The FIG Fund raise it’s profile and engage new networks.

✨ Keep up to date with operations and support fundraising initiatives.

✨ Assist the Board in carrying out their responsibilities as a registered charity.

If you would like to express interest in joining or to find out more, please email

We look forward to hearing from you!