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Who We Are


Peter Allen - Chief Executive Officer

Peter has over 30 years experience in the leadership of Canadian corporations and charitable foundations. Among his other career accomplishments, Peter played a key role in the privatisation of Canada’s air traffic control system as the founding CFO of Nav Canada, where he led the largest bank financing and IPO in Canadian history to that date. He later spent 10 years in international economic development with Export Development Canada (EDC) initially as CFO and latterly as Executive Vice-President. During his tenure as CFO, EDC was six times the recipient of the Auditor General of Canada’s Award for Excellence.

Peter is the Past President and Chairman of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, and for over 15 years Peter has been the Treasurer of Orbis Canada. Orbis operates the world’s only flying eye surgery teaching hospital and is committed to the goal of eradicating preventable blindness in the developing world. Peter is a commercial pilot and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, England. Twice nominated as Canada’s CFO of the Year, Peter is also a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Orlaith McCaul - Vice President, Development

Orlaith is an experienced senior level international development specialist and has worked in international development for over twenty years.  She holds an MSc and PhD in International Development. She has spent most of her professional life living and working in Africa. Her career in the nonprofit sector began during the genocide in Rwanda where she managed refugee programs in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Since that time she has worked with many nonprofit, nongovernmental, bilateral and multilateral organizations across many parts of the world. Much of her work has focused on nonprofit management and governance. Orlaith has recently left East Africa to become a Vice President, Development of WaterCan.

Christina Benotto – Public Engagement and Administrative Coordinator

Christina is responsible for school-based outreach with the goal of engaging youth on global water and sanitation issues. In addition, Christina provides support and guidance to WaterCan’s "Champions" and third-party fundraisers. Christina also responds to inquiries and requests from the public and oversees daily office tasks. She graduated from Carleton University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in International History, and is currently working on a Fundraising Management Certificate from Algonquin College.

Andrea Helfer – Director of Communications and Campaigns

Andrea's passion is building community. She believes in bringing people together, leveraging connections and talents, for the greater humanitarian good. In her role she is responsible for designing and managing online and offline programs, campaigns and publications aimed at engaging Canadians of all walks of life on the issues of clean water and sanitation. Andrea has worked with NGOs both  in Canada and abroad including the Varqa Foundation in Guyana, Cornerstone Foundation of Belize and the Canadian Make Poverty History campaign. Andrea holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University in Sociology and a Master of Social Work from Carleton University.

Laura Merrifield - Fundraising and Finance Assistant

Laura is responsible for supporting WaterCan's fundraising and finance activities, including processing donations, issuing tax receipts, major gifts reporting and donor relations. She graduated from Carleton University with an Honours degree in Political Science and a minor in History.

Kyla Smith - Program Manager

Kyla joined the WaterCan International Program team as a Program Officer in September 2012. Prior to joining the WaterCan team, Kyla completed her MASc with the Drinking Water Research Group in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. Before returning to do her Masters, Kyla spent time working on water and sanitation projects in Western and Eastern Africa and in South East Asia. At WaterCan, she continues to work both in Canada and East Africa, bringing her experience and passion to help support innovative, participatory and community-based water and sanitation programs.

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Banner photo credit: Peter Bregg

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