Executive Director 

Gabriel Miller

Gabriel Miller is an experienced not-for-profit leader who has built an extensive track record in member relations, advocacy, stakeholder engagement and public policy development over his 16-year career.

Prior to joining the Federation, he served in a series of senior roles with the Canadian Cancer Society, culminating as Vice-President of Public Issues, Policy and Cancer Information. Miller has extensive experience building public dialogue on complex issues such as end-of-life and palliative care, directed successful national campaigns, and been a leader in highly effective coalitions, including one that led to the federal ban on asbestos announced in 2016. He is an experienced media spokesperson who has appeared in major national television news broadcast organizations and leading Canadian newspapers.

Previously, Miller was the Government and Media Relations Director of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which represents big city mayors and municipal governments across the country.

Miller holds a B.A in Philosophy from Queen’s University, and has served as a member of several not-for-profit boards as well as on the Government of Canada’s Diamond Jubilee Advisory Committee. 

Director, Member Engagement and Communications 

Sonia Vani

Sonia Vani is a bilingual communications strategist, digital content producer, and a team leader. 

Over the past twenty years, she has applied her skills in leadership, storytelling, communications planning and strategic positioning to the advancement of education, culture, civic responsibility and sustainability. Before joining the Federation, Sonia managed a communications and marketing team at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences where she focused specifically on highlighting the contributions of members of the Social Sciences community through the production and management of content and events.

Her background in journalism and in teaching allowed her to build a parallel career as a communications consultant. Her public and private workshops focus primarily on the management of adversity, on organizational change, and on setting/understanding expectations in a culture of service excellence. Sonia’s content has appeared through traditional and non-traditional media platforms ranging from newspapers, radio and television to videos and blogs.

Sonia holds a Master's in Media Studies as well as degrees in Education, Communications and General Arts.

Director, Business Operations

Brenda Dashney, CPA, CMA

Brenda is a professional accountant with over 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector. Her strong understanding of finance, administration, information technology, human resources and risk management was acquired through the various senior management positions she has held throughout her career. Her educational, professional and volunteer experience has provided her with the fiscal acumen and the people leadership skills essential for addressing complex financial issues, as well as financial analysis, planning, policy review and interpretation. 

Prior to joining the Federation, Brenda was the Director of Finance for Amnesty International Canada, the VP Finance and Administration at Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, and most recently, the CFO at the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation. She has served as volunteer Treasurer at Amnesty International Canada and currently sits on the Board for Serenity Renewal for Families.

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), from the University of Ottawa, and is a member in good standing with CPA Ontario and CPA Canada.

Director of Congress and Events

Laura Chajkowski

Laura Chajkowski has supported the Federation over the past four years in various roles, the most recent being Acting Director of Congress and Events since January 2017.

She is an experienced conference management professional with a 30-year career, which includes more than 15 years as a conference/association management business owner and 15 years in hotel/catering and sales in the hospitality industry. 

Laura has a Diploma (Honours) in Hospitality Management from Humber College, Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) accreditation from the Convention Liaison Council, and a Global Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM) designation from Cornell University.

Board of Directors

Click here to see Board of Directors biographies.