Annie Katsiris – Vice-Chairperson
Annie Katsiris was raised by her parents to believe that a full life included giving back. While raising her own children, she became passionate about volunteering and campaigning for children’s education by serving on several Boards including the inaugural term for the Toronto Parent Involvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) representing Ward 13. Annie is very proud to work with Abuse Hurts to continue to help advocate for those who need help and support.
Carol Cologna, Treasurer
Carol works as an independent Mortgage Agent with Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres since 2004. She specializes in residential and commercial financing. She left the security of corporate banking after a wonderful 20 years, because she was fascinated with the entrepreneur world.
She is passionate in helping people sort out financial challenges. She is accredited in enRICHed ACADEMY (as seen on The Dragon’s Den) and loves to teach anyone who wants to learn how to manage their money. She has spoken at various events on financial integrity and is most concerned about people having a healthy and honest attitude around money. She says that drive in her was birthed at a very young age.
Carol is First Nations and holds the title of “First Nations Representative” with Abuse Hurts. She attended workshops with the past president, for Residential School Survivors through a federally funded program in Winnipeg. She is a member of Thayendanegea Territory and Justice Circle. With a desire to serve, Carol is actively involved in community service and issues that involve Justice.
Gary Kruze owns a Textile Agency that sells to Canadian Furniture Manufacturers and Distributors. He is also the brother of the late Martin Kruze, the man who came forward and exposed the horrific sex abuse ring that operated for years at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Martin went on to become a Champion of all Survivors at the Gardens but sadly took his life eight months later after finding his pain too much to endure. Today, as a long-time volunteer and Board Member, Gary Kruze is proud to represent Martin and his vision of getting the issue of abuse out into the open, talking about it and helping other survivors cope with their recovery through the good work of Abuse Hurts.
Patti Falus’s personal mantra is “It’s what you do when nobody’s watching that truly defines who you are”. An entrepreneur at heart, Patti has excelled in every business venture, being top sales producer for such companies as Ginger’s, Emco Supply and Barter Business Exchange (now Shopnow.com). This acumen is also reflected in a profitable history of real estate transactions. In 2000, she began her own company, Barter Network Ltd., which boasts 1600 high value business members and has won awards as the largest and ‘best’ barter exchange in Canada.
Personally, Patti has set a positive example for her 2 children by being actively involved in charitable organizations too numerous to list, leading to her receiving many philanthropic awards including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award. Because helping children and other women is an important personal cause, Patti has been an active volunteer and Board member for Abuse Hurts and the Barter Network is a loyal and generous sponsor to the organization.
Stewart Banks – Chairperson
Stewart is currently a retired information technology professional from the financial services industry. He has been involved with charities since his teenage years and has been heavily involved with supporting many GTA charities in the past several years. A single father of two, Stewart instills his passion to assist others in need to his children and others around him. Stewart is very proud of being associated with Abuse Hurts as he is very passionate about the services we supply to the people in need in our country.
With 25 years of experience, Verna has amassed a commanding knowledge of the Real Estate Industry. She is a top producer and valued asset of Hammond International Properties because she provides her clients with the utmost care to ensure exceptional service and satisfaction. Her clients benefit from her vast knowledge of custom-built home design and decor, her broad managerial skills and her extensive experience in multi-residential plus investment properties.
Her talents are not limited to her business acumen – she is also a Cordon Bleu trained chef and fluent in multiple languages. Verna has always channeled her wealth of knowledge and networking skills to charitable causes. She is very proud to be an integral part of AbuseHurts’ mission to help those in need.
Passionate about making a difference through volunteering since she was a young girl, Carole has lent her considerable fundraising talents to several organizations close to her heart over the years. As a mother and grandmother, Carole has a desire to help improve the quality of life for others, from supporting children with disabilities, to supporting programs for geriatric patients. Being involved with Abuse Hurts gives Carole a deep sense of fulfillment, while knowing that she is having a positive impact.