Our Executive

And now, dear members and friends, may we introduce the team of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to organizing events for the Canadian Club of Rome? Of course, we would also like to extend heartfelt thanks to all the CCR members who have contributed their time, homes, energy, ideas and enthusiasm over the years.

CCR Executive 2020-2021:

Paul E. Ares – President
Anna T. Ambrosini  – Vice-President & Communications
Caroline Heider  – Treasurer 
Joyce de Azavedo - Secretary (until Nov. 2020)
Marielle Lacroix - Secretary (starting Dec. 2020)
Luigi Girolametto – CCR Book Club Coordinator
Neeya Jacob – Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine Tasting Coordinators
Joe Zamoyta & 
Peter McKellar – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinators 
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Marielle Lacroix & Sonya Behnke – Events Co-ordinators

CCR Executive 2019-2020:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Caroline Heider  – Treasurer 
Joyce de Azavedo - Secretary
Luigi Girolametto – CCR Book Club Coordinator
Neeya Jacob – Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine Tasting Coordinators
Joe Zamoyta – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer
Marielle Lacroix & Sonya Behnke – Special Events Co-ordinators

New to the CCR Executive in 2019-2020:

Joyce de Azavedo - Secretary
Joyce


Joyce has lived in Kenya, Ireland, England and Canada. With a PhD from Trinity College, Dublin, she has worked as a research scientist, a university professor, a freelance science and medical writer, and more recently as an English teacher. Her move to Rome in 2012 was reluctant at first but she soon fell in love with the city, its history, the narrow cobbled streets in the historic centre with an artistic or architectural surprise around every corner, the array of fresh, local vegetables in the neighbourhood markets, the culinary delicacies, singing in a choir, and, needless to say, the winter warmth and sunshine.

Caroline Heider  – Treasurer

Caroline
Caroline was born in Edmonton and from the age of 5 1/2 grew up in Germany. Since then, she has lived in Belgrade (when Yugoslavia was one country), Vienna, Manila, Rome, and Washington. Her first visit to Rome was in the early 1990s; she was thrilled when she got a job in Rome in 2005. She fell in love with the city -- its people, culture, architecture, arts, food and markets, sunshine and torrential rains, chaos and all -- and decided to retire in Rome while she was living in Washington DC, where she had moved from Rome in 2011. She concluded her career with international development organizations (UN and International Finance Institutions) after some 30+ years and is now enjoying life in Rome.

Sonya Behnke – Special Events Co-ordinator

Sonya
Born and raised in the Canadian Prairies, a Saskatchewan girl, Sonya has always had a love of travel that led her to study Aviation and Business. Then, meeting her Italian husband in 2007 in Canada, she moved to Italy in 2011 to marry him and start her life abroad once again. Since then she has lived in different places in Italy and the United States before settling in Rome. Here she joined the Canadian Club in 2019 and has enjoyed meeting many new people, participating in wonderful events and finding the beauty in the Eternal City in her day to day life.

CCR Excecutive 2017-2018 and 2018-2019:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Marielle Lacroix – Treasurer 
Luigi Girolametto – CCR Book Club Coordinator
Neeya Jacob – Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine Tasting Coordinators
Joe Zamoyta – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer
Sangita Dubey – Special Events & Volunteering

New to the CCR Executive in 2017-2018:

Luigi Girolametto – CCR Book Club Coordinator

Luigi
Taking the helm from Nicoletta, Luigi has volunteered to coordinate the Book Club. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto (speech-language pathology). Luigi decided to move to Rome after spending a sabbatical year here in 2014 and is planning to live out his retirement in his parents’ native country, enjoying the chaos of a city that is too tolerant but full of sunshine, life, and adventure. He is continuing his research, giving workshops and training professionals. The rest of his time is spent exploring Rome, seeing friends, volunteering with Caritas, eating great Italian food, meeting new people, dealing with Italian bureaucracy, and living “la dolce vita” for as long as he is able.

CCR Excecutive 2016-2017:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Marielle Lacroix – Treasurer
Nicoletta Barbarito – CCR Book Club Coordinator
Neeya Jacob – Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine Tasting Coordinators
Joe Zamoyta – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer
Sangita Dubey – Special Events & Volunteering

CCR Excecutive 2015-2016:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Marielle Lacroix & Neeya Jacob – Co-Treasurers
Nicoletta Barbarito CCR Book Club Coordinator
Oksana Ares Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine-tasting Coordinators
Joe Zamoyta CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator 
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer
Marina Lavoie & Sangita Dubey Special Events Coordinators

New to the CCR Executive in 2015-2016:

Marina Lavoie - Special Events Coordinator

Marina
Classically trained as an opera singer at Université de Montréal, Marina has since traded her singing voice for that of a conference interpreter. She moved from Canada to the Netherlands in 2000 to work for the War Crimes Tribunal and met her husband there. For 14 years she "enjoyed" the famous Dutch weather before heading to sunny Rome. Marina arrived in the Eternal City in 2014 and is currently working for the United Nations, the Italian parliament, NATO and other international organizations. Originally from St-Bruno, Québec, Marina can still belt an aria just as long there's a piano around and some bubbly in her glass.

CCR Excecutive 2014-2015:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Marielle Lacroix – Treasurer
Nicoletta Barbarito CCR Book Club Coordinator
Oksana Ares Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine-tasting Coordinators

Joe Zamoyta – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator  
Michèle Mangani – French Translator
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer

Joining the CCR Excecutive 2014-2015:

Joe
Joe Zamoyta – CCR Walks & Talks Coordinator  



Oksana Ares - Membership Coordinator

Oksana
Oksana was born in Ukraine but grew up in Uzbekistan until the age of 14. She then lived in Kiev, where she finished her studies and started working for the Canadian Embassy. It was there that she met her husband. They have now recently moved to Rome with their three year-old son.

CCR Excecutive 2013-2014
This year our organizing team is like last year, but with a couple of switches:

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President
Peter McKellar – Vice-President
Neeya Jacob – Treasurer
Marielle Lacroix – Events Coordinator
Nicoletta Barbarito CCR Book Club Coordinator
Jessie Shen Membership Coordinator
Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Wine-tasting Coordinators
Laurent Beaulieu Special Events Consultancy & Translation
Michèle Mangani – Translation
Anna T. Ambrosini – Communications Officer

CCR Excecutive 2012-2013
Our organizing team is still in place, but with some great additions: 

Jessie Shen - Membership Coordinator
Jessie

Jessie was born and raised in Canada, but recently spent a year and a half living in Rome with her husband. With Rome being her first experience living abroad, she was thrilled to meet other Canadians through the CCR and learn more about Rome through the CCR events. During her time abroad, she was able to thoroughly enjoy her hobbies and interests, which include travel, food, snowboarding, running, and learning different languages. Now that she is back home in Canada, she still volunteers with the club by helping with Membership Coordination.

Nicoletta Barbarito - CCR Book Club Coordinator

Nicoletta
Taking the helm from founding coordinator Cindi Emond, Nicoletta leads our group of voracious readers. After 15 years as the Academic Relations Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Rome, she retired 3 years ago. In her pre-Embassy life she taught Italian at college level in the U.S., where she originally went as a Fulbright grantee after graduating from the University of Rome. She obtained an M.A. in French Studies from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Yale. Nicoletta has 3 sons and 5 great multilingual grandchildren living in different parts of the world. She now works part-time as a volunteer at the CARITAS School of Italian for Migrants and at the Centro di Accoglienza dei Padri Scalabriniani.

CCR Executive 2011-2012

Diana Szyszka-Pompei – President

Diana
Diana was the first president of the CCR when it was created on the foundations of the former Canadian Women’s Association (CWAR) in 2008 and she has continued to meet the challenge of leadership since then. She previously had the privilege of being part of the CWAR executive for many years, including the role of Treasurer for over 7 years, and working with many other associations. A "life-timer,"  as she calls it, she arrived in Rome over 21 years ago. Proud to have been the first member of her family to be born in Canada,  she also cherishes her German-Polish roots. She is responsible for many club events as well as overseeing many facets of club workings. She is a graduate of O.C.A.D. in Toronto and has travelled and worked all over North America, Europe and Asia in the fashion and design fields.

Peter
Peter McKellar – Vice-President

Peter was born in California but spent most of his childhood in Ottawa. He is a retired Canadian foreign affairs officer whose last posting was Rome. He now enjoys spending his time between Italy, Canada and France.

Marielle Lacroix – Treasurer 

Marielle
Marielle is Canadian and has lived in many parts of the world: the great Canadian North (Iqaluit), Guinea in West Africa and now Rome for the last 23 years. She is a graduate of Concordia University of Montreal and has worked for a number of international companies in the financial and marketing sectors. She has been with the Canadian Embassy since 1990 as Deputy Financial Officer and she has been the CCR Treasurer since 2007. She particularly enjoys cooking, travelling and keeping fit at the gym.

Maria Luisa Saponaro – Membership Coordinator 
Maria Luisa

Maria Luisa is as comfortable jumping to and from French, English, Italian and Spanish as she is jumping into water. This professional interpreter and avid swimmer loves all kinds of sports and thrives in multilingual environments. Look out for a warm welcome message in any of these languages from our membership coordinator when you sign up with the CCR!

Neeya Jacob – Events Coordinator  
Neeya

Born in India, grew up in Bahrain, Dubai, Halifax and Toronto. Decided that Asia, Middle East and North America weren't enough and moved to Milan and then Rome. This world citizen loves dogs, dancing, sport, travel and food. She also enjoys sharing her musings and experiences, which currently focus on her new home city, in her blog:  
www.worldcitizeninrome.blogspot.com

Cindi Emond – Book Club Coordinator 

Cindi
Cindi was President of The Canadian Women's Association of Rome (CWAR) from 2004 to 2008. She organized visits and lectures at the Vatican and created the CWAR/CCR Book Club, which she continued to coordinate for seven years. She also started the club’s winetasting courses in French and English with sommeliers Daniele Maestri and Ian D’Agata. At the end of her term as CWAR president, she initiated the referendum to change CWAR's charter to include men in its membership and rename the club the Canadian Club of Rome (CCR). She has a background in Art History and Fine Arts Photography, holding a BFAH as well as a degree in Marketing & Communications, both from York University, Toronto. Besides teaching English at LUISS University and in the private sector, she loves travel, wine studies, running and diving.

Paul Ares & Linda Champoux-Ares – Winetasting Coordinators


Linda
Linda’s professional background included planning and organizing major exhibits for Canada’s national museums, historic sites and for Canada’s participation in international world fairs (EXPOS). Today she uses her organizing skills to plan activities for CCR and, together with her husband Paul, arrange winetasting evenings for the club. Linda graduated from Laurentian University in her hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, and from the University of Waterloo, where she got her Master's degree. A former president of the Canadian Women’s Association (CWAR), Linda has always maintained close ties with the Canadian community of Rome.

Paul
Paul, a ‘Fransaskois’ (francophone from Saskatchewan), grew up in Saskatchewan and Alberta and graduated from the University of Alberta. After a career at all levels of government in Canada, Paul joined the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and worked at headquarters in Rome and in field operations. He and his family lived in Rome, Abidjan, New York and Managua. After 17 years with the UN, Paul retired to Rome where he followed up on one of his many interests and became a certified sommelier with AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommeliers). Paul lends his expertise to organizing winetasting evenings for the club.
Michèle
 

Michèle Mangani – Translation

Michèle arrived in Rome in 1968 for work reasons. After retiring she decided to stay in Rome. She joined the CCR in 2010 and in 2011 she was asked to help with translations into French.

Anna T. Ambrosini – BlogmasterClub Paparazza
Anna

Since Anna loves adding hats to her collection, it was natural to volunteer to take care of the blog in addition to taking photos at many events! The many hats she wears to make a living (of sorts) in Rome include teaching at universities and international orgs, translating, interpreting, and editing. Attempting to live up to the impressive legacy bequeathed by Will, our previous blogmaster, is her latest challenge. She has subsequently taken on duties including the weekly CCR newsletter, CCR social media and other club communications. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, to and by Italian parents, she is a dual citizen of Canada and Italy.


CCR Executive 2010-2011

Diana Szyszka-Pompei - President

Laurent
Laurent N. Beaulieu - Vice-President 

Laurent was the first male Vice-President of the CCR, from 2008-2011. He is a seasoned diplomat and during his stay in Rome as a member of the Embassy of Canada he was accredited to the Italian Republic. He proposed opening membership to men and making the club inclusive. His proposal brought the creation of the CCR as we know it today. He was responsible for organizing several successful events for the CCR. He will be moving to Ottawa next year.

Marielle Lacroix - Treasurer

Laurie Federgreen - Membership Coordinator

Cindi Emond Cordova - Book Club and Events Coordinator

Paul Ares & Linda Champoux – Wine-tasting Coordinators

Anna

Anna T. Ambrosini - Club Paparazza

Anna hails from Vancouver, B.C., and fends off nostalgia for Lotus Land by blinding fellow Canadians in Rome with her lightening flash. Please be patient with CCR’s volunteer photographer. Ne tirez pas sur la photographe! 

Will Hobbs - Webmaster
Will

Thrice retired after several careers and currently on leave from another, Will has lived in Rome for the past three years.  When he was 10 he dreamt he would see all the major opera houses in Italy - five decades later he has almost made that  dream reality. And he has come to the conclusion that he was switched at birth by gypsies who spirited him off to Canada when he should have grown up in a Palazzo in Rome.

CCR Executive 2009-2010:
Diana Szyszka Pompei - President - Présidente
Ambassador Anne Leahy - Honorary President - Présidente d’honneur
Laurent Beaulieu - Vice-President - Vice-président
Leslie Scott- French and English Bulletin Chair - Responsable du journal (français et anglais)
Laurie Federgreen - Membership Chair - Responsable de l’adhésion
Marielle Lacroix - Treasurer - Trésorière
Cindi Emond - Events Planning and Book Club - Responsable des évènements et du Club de livres
Caroline Robert - Art History Walks - Responsable des visites guidées sur l’histoire de l’art
Anna Ambrosini - Events Photographer - Photographe officielle
Paul Ares and Linda Champoux-Ares - Wine-tasting Coordinators - Responsables - Dégustation de vins
Carol Vaitkevicius - Children’s Program and Events - Responsable des évènements pour les enfants
Deborah Hicks - Executive Volunteers - Bénévoles