People behind CPCO

Meet the people behind CPCO

Annalisa Varano, President

How long with CPCO?

President since July 2019
Member of Executive Council since 2014
Proud Associate since 2006

What do you do at CPCO?

I am currently the President where I work closely with our Executive Director and amazing team in providing service, advocacy and leadership to Catholic Leaders in the Province of Ontario. I strive to provide hands-on support and a voice to our 2100 associates as they work to provide a positive impact on students, staff and families in our dynamic school system.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy world-wide travelling, amazing cuisine and fine wine. I also enjoy reading, hiking, bike-riding and adventure activities. Love listening to music, going to concerts and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Feel the fear and do it anyways.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My mother always told me that if you stay in a situation that is not healthy or where you are not growing, then there is no hope for something greater. Stagnation is the enemy of progress.

What was your favourite subject in school?
My favourite subject was French. Although I lack in conversational skills, it was my absolute favourite subject in elementary and secondary school.


Joe

Joseph Geiser, Executive Director

How long with CPCO?
Since 2014

What do you do at CPCO?
I oversee the management and operations of CPCO. This includes writing policies for approval by the Executive Council and subsequently ensuring that the operations adhere to those policies. I work closely with the President and the CPCO staff on a daily basis to achieve CPCO’s organizational goals and the strategic plan. Finance, governance, policy and human resources are also some of my responsibilities.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Running (the occasional race), golf (when I can), reading (professional and personal)

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
My word is my commitment and bond.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
You can’t control the actions of others – only your reactions to them. Do what you do because you want to and not because you have to.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Mathematics. Math is Life – as I always told my students and my children.


Wendy Lopez

Wendy Lopez, General Counsel

How long with CPCO?
Since 2017

What do you do at CPCO?
All things legal.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I have a passion for dance. I take ballet and salsa three times a week. I have also been known to perform on a stage or two.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
When I was younger, I used to read the poetry of Pablo Neruda. I once came upon a quote that resonated for me. He said: “Algún día en cualquier parte, en cualquier lugar indefectiblemente te encontrarás a ti mismo, y ésa, sólo ésa, puede ser la más feliz o la más amarga de tus horas’, which translates to “Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your hours.”

What I took from it is that you must live your life so that when you finally realize who you are, you will be pleased with the person you have become and the journey it took to get there.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Remember you cannot always be everything to everyone. Sometimes you have to take care of yourself before you are in a position to take care of others.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Art.


Tilia Cruz, Support Services Advisor

How long with CPCO?
Starting in January 2019

What do you do at CPCO?
I work as one of the Support Services Advisors on the CPCO team supporting our Practising Associates, answering questions, and providing consultation as needed.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy travelling, photography and am an avid reader.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never allow others to convince you that you are less than others. You are the best gift we have been given.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Mathematics and science.


Jeff

Jeff Baechler, Support Services Advisor

How long with CPCO?
Since 2016

What do you do at CPCO?
I am in the Support Services department and serve as the Assistance Coordinator in a part-time capacity.

What are your interests/hobbies?
My two main interests/hobbies are:

  1. I am actively involved in sports/athletics. Despite my “advanced” age, I continue to play sports in an adult men’s soccer league and an adult men’s basketball league, belong to a tennis club, play squash and any other sport when the opportunity presents itself. I also exercise regularly and have coached many youth sports’ teams over the years.
  2. I am actively involved in music. I have played in numerous bands. I play the drums and enjoy playing/performing a wide variety of music genres.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Treat everyone with dignity, courtesy and respect.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Success comes after many failures. If at first you don’t succeed,  try again. It’s estimated a baby falls at least 500 times before s/he learns to walk. Now that’s perseverance!!!

What was your favourite subject in school?
That’s a tough question but to narrow it down to one, it would be Physical and Health Education (which was one of my majors at university and one of the subjects I taught as a teacher).


Marguerite

Marguerite Thomson, Support Services Advisor

How long with CPCO?
Since 2017

What do you do at CPCO?
I work with the Support Services team supporting our Practising Associates, answering questions, and assisting with the writing and following of the Terms and Conditions of local members and Associates.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love to cook, travel, read and walk, but most of all I love people. I really enjoy solving world problems whether on a long walk, over tea with my reading group or with a glass of wine at the fire pit.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Look for the happy side of life, because the negative side finds itself.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My father always said to “find something you enjoy and get really good at it”.
My mentor said it was all about “relationships, relationships”. Relationships are what I try to be good at.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Recess.


Tania

Tania Mejía, Administrative Assistant, Legal

How long with CPCO?
Since 2019

What do you do at CPCO?
I work within the Support Services Department and serve as the Legal Administrative Assistant. I act as a first responder taking calls and administering Associates’ inquiries to our Support Services Advisors.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Paddle boarding, travelling, rollerblading, snowboarding, reading and jet skiing.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always remember to stop and smell the flowers.

What was your favourite subject in school?
History and Social Science.


Ania Czupajlo, Sr. Designer

How long with CPCO?
Since 2006

What do you do at CPCO?
Art direction and production of the organization’s brand, publications, campaigns, eLearning, marketing materials, online newsletter, social media, blog and website.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Branding, music, art, movies, learning about different cultures, acrylic painting, jewellery design and poetry.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Be happy now, not in the future.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Everyone you meet is fighting their own battle that you know nothing about. So have a heart and be kind.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Math, art and physics.


Jacob Chouinard

Jacob Chouinard, Communications & Technology Officer

How long with CPCO?
Since 2017

What do you do at CPCO?
I have the honour to be working as the Communications & Technology Officer. I work with our Marketing & Communications Manager, and with several members of the CPCO communications team to expand and advance CPCO’s marketing and communications portfolio.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy many sports-related activities, such as basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and cycling. I am also quite the avid sports fan who follows the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLS, CFL and the Olympic Games. As well, I enjoy long-distance running, and I’ve completed several road races consisting of a variety of distances. One of my all-time favourite interests is watching films, which was a result of taking a film course in university. I enjoy analyzing films.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t get discouraged by failing, don’t let one failure stop you from having many successes.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Communications. Learning about different types of technology and how it can be used always seemed fascinating to me.


Deirdre

Deirdre Kinsella Biss, Editor, Principal Connections

How long with CPCO?
Since 2012

What do you do at CPCO?
As Editor of Principal Connections magazine I am responsible for designing the theme and the content of our magazine.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I enjoy reading, music, traveling and outdoor living.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
I believe you get out of life what you give. The joy in living is found in the giving.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Shakespeare once said, “To thine own self be true.” Honesty with yourself and others is the key to building trusting relationships.

What was your favourite subject in school?
My favorite subjects in school were English and History. I think we learn about ourselves through the stories of others.


John Nijmeh

John Nijmeh, Advertising Manager

How long with CPCO?
Since 2000

What do you do at CPCO?
I look after advertising for CPCO’s Principal Connections magazine and online as well. Assist with the yearly conference and the vendors.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Travelling and cruising

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Don’t worry be happy!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Math.


Gaby Aloi

Gaby Aloi, Manager of Corporate Operations

How long with CPCO?
Since 1998

What do you do at CPCO?
Manage day-to-day office operations and CPCO services database. Administer Human Resources functions and coordinate CPCO meetings, conference and AGM. Provide support to the Executive Director and President for Executive Council, AMR meetings and standing committee meetings and assist CPCO associates.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Baking and reading

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Always offer a helping hand.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Stay true to yourself.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Studies in law.


Maria Cortez

Maria Cortez, Administrative Assistant

How long with CPCO?
Since 2008

What do you do at CPCO?
I assist with financial duties, maintain member database, process application forms and provide support for CPCO’s annual conference and AGM. I also work closely with the President, Executive Director and the Manager of Corporate Operations by providing administrative support.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love listening to music, cooking, reading and travelling.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Respect me and you’ll get my respect or respect and you’ll be respected. Mutual respect is an essential factor in communication.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do the best that you can in life and believe in what you do. Have passion in what you’re doing.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Economics and Spanish.


Bessy

Bessy Valerio, Receptionist

How long with CPCO?
Since 2009

What do you do at CPCO?
I am responsible for answering telephone calls and greeting visitors. I respond to general enquiries from internal and external parties via telephone or email. I also provide support for projects and other initiatives as required.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love to read and spend time with my family.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Life is no joke!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Doesn’t matter what you do at work, as long as you have a job!

What was your favourite subject in school?
Math.


Luciana Cardarelli

Luciana Cardarelli, Program & Member Services Coordinator

How long with CPCO?
Since 2014

What do you do at CPCO?
I seek to serve the more than 2100 principals and vice-principals who make up CPCO as I strategically plan, co-ordinate and oversee professional learning.  Seeking to be relevant and connected to the needs of practicing school leaders, eLearning, through its many platforms (social media, webinars, professional videos and virtual learning sessions), is key to being able to “serve, advocate and lead” capacity building for Catholic education leaders.

As well, in my role I seek to co-create engaging, participatory face-to-face learning opportunities which allow associates to “learn with and from each other” and make faith and leadership formation core goals to what CPCO provides.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love all things beautiful… and seek to find the beauty in all things!  This can mean taking the bounty of our garden and creating a great meal to share with family and friends as well as relaxing under the trees and marvelling at the colours of the leaves and the sky. Traveling to uncover local cultures and cuisine is high on my list – and always doing this in the company of those who I love and cherish.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Learn every day!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Go slow to go fast.” This has helped me be patient, strategic and purposeful in work and in life. Taking time to establish strong foundations rooted in faith, sound thinking and working to build consensus and collaboration.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Art, history… and as a Grade 8 teacher – Math – each discipline builds on understanding the narrative and looking for emerging patterns.


Jan Murphy

Jan Murphy, Project Lead, Professional Learning

How long with CPCO?
Since 2015

What do you do at CPCO?
Support associates in professional learning.

What are your interests/hobbies?
I love boating, exploring beaches around the world, snorkeling and gardening.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Work a little, play a little, pray a little.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Seek first to understand.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Health and physical education.


Vanessa Kellow, Administrative Assistant, Professional Learning

How long with CPCO?
Since 2002

What do you do at CPCO?
Work alongside the Program and Member Services Coordinator in the Professional Learning Department.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Paddle boarding, travelling, reading

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Take one day at a time.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Think before you speak.

What was your favourite subject in school?
English.


Paul Game

Paul Game, PQP Registrar

How long with CPCO?
Since 2003

What do you do at CPCO?
Working with the Professional Learning team, I look after PQP registration, course dates, presentations for the course from OCT, LNS and CECE, course materials and questions from candidates and instructors. This past year we were involved in the re-accreditation process for the courses with OCT.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Reading, playing hockey, fishing and the cottage

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Growing old is not an option, growing up is!

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was thinking about going into school administration my principal told me – “Never sell your soul for a job.”

What was your favourite subject in school?
Science.


Mary Cordeiro

Mary Cordeiro, Leading Student Achievement Coordinator

How long with CPCO?
Since 2005

What do you do at CPCO?
I  work with all staff as an integral part of the CPCO team to provide support and resources for our membership in any needed area.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Love travel, music, dance, theatre, spending time with my group of long-time friends, and my extended family. Love to learn and be part of vibrant, innovative professional networks.

What is your mantra/slogan for life?
Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” To remember always the writing by Emma Bombeck “If I Had My Life To Live Over…”

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
By my parents, “have a positive work ethic, integrity and maintain your values in everything you do personally and professionally. From respected education colleagues, “focus should always be on what is good for all children/students”.

What was your favourite subject in school?
Didn’t have “a” favourite, but especially enjoyed languages, sciences, athletics and music.