Our Team

Heart for Africa (Canada) is a humanitarian aid organization focused on providing HOPE to Eswatini, Africa. Meet our team below.

Our Team

JANINE MAXWELL

CO-FOUNDER & COO, VICE-CHAIR OF BOARD

IAN MAXWELL

CO-FOUNDER & CEO

CHLOE MAXWELL

MARKETING & COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST

Our board of directors

Carol Hickman obtained her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987 and has practiced family law in the Greater Vancouver area for over 25 years. Carol has extensive experience in complex family law matters, including property division, maintenance, and custody and access disputes. She has experience at all levels of Court including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Carol was a Bencher of the Law Society of BC from 2004 – 2011, when she completed her final term, and sat on several Committees and Task Forces. Carol continues to sit on Law Society Discipline Hearing panels. Carol was recognized for her contribution to the legal profession when she was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2010.

For the past 15 years, Carol has been helping couples resolve their disputes outside of the courtroom, as a family law Mediator and a Collaborative family lawyer. Carol is also a family law Arbitrator. Carol has been an instructor for Continuing Legal Education for many years and has also been a guest instructor at UBC Law School and Thompson Rivers University Law School. Carol has been a guest speaker across North America in the area of family law. Carol recently completed her Masters of Law in Alternate Dispute Resolution at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Carol continues her litigation practice at Quay Law Centre, the largest group of family lawyers in BC. In addition, in 2012 Carol established West Coast ADR Law Group, which is focused on mediation, arbitration and collaborative law.

Carol has been involved in a number of charities and is actively involved with her Church. Carol is also very passionate about Heart for Africa (Canada) and the children at Project Canaan. Carol was instrumental in organizing a large fundraiser in BC, in the fall of 2016, to raise money for Project Canaan Academy. Carol and her husband Barry made their first trip to Eswatini in 2016. They spent the majority of their time with the children and participating in the HFA Outreach Program. Carol is passionate about raising awareness of the drought, famine and AIDS epidemic in Eswatini. Carol is organizing another large fundraiser in BC and can’t wait to see the children of Project Canaan again in 2017.

Janine Maxwell holding child
At the age of 24, Janine Maxwell founded what would become one of the most successful marketing companies in Canada, ONYX Marketing Group. 16 years later, Janine found herself in New York City for business on 9/11. This life-changing event sent Janine on a search for the meaning of life, which led her to Africa. Together, Janine and her husband, Ian, co-founded Heart for Africa (Canada), and now live in Eswatini, Africa at a 1,000-hector farm called Project Canaan. Janine focuses on being “mom” to the hundreds of children who have been placed at Project Canaan through the government social welfare department. In addition she works with Ian on land development, infrastructure, design and construction plans all leading towards their goal of being a sustainable project in Africa. She is the author of three books, Is It Okay With You?, It’s Not Okay With Me, and her new release, HOPE LIVES HERE.
Cheri Peters feeding a baby at Project Canaan

Cheri was blessed to be born into a Christian family and was brought up in the Church. She accepted Jesus as her Savior very early in life and His hand has been upon her all her life. Cheri and her husband Dave have four children and she had the privilege of being a stay at home Mom until the last child went off to college. After the kids were gone she and her husband started a retail flooring business that they owned for 12 years. They sold that business and retired for a bit. Currently, Cheri works at a Seniors residence in Penticton.

Cheri’s introduction to Heart for Africa (Canada) came from Dave’s connection to Mercy Tech Mission. MTM’s Mission statement is “Changing Lives – One Skill at a Time”. They have been working at Project Canaan for a few years, training employees in auto mechanics, welding, electrical, and millwrights. Dave was interested (as a Mercy Tech board member) in going to Eswatini to get a sense of the opportunity, and to help plan for future training missions. Cheri agreed to go along and was astounded by the whole operation!

Cheri spent an epic “day in the life” with Janine – they picked up baby Cheri and baby Jewel in the morning and in the afternoon took Elvis II’s Mom up country to the Hospital to await his birth. On the way home Janine stopped at a roadside vegetable stand and bought all of their sweet potatoes. Were the venders ever happy. Cheri was hooked! The kids, the farm, the hydraponics, aquaponics, the fruit, the fields, the dairy, the egg production, the school, the Medical clinic, the Artisans, the housing, the mechanic shop – an amazing operation!

Cheri is deeply honored and humbled to be asked to join this incredible group of people and do what she can to move this project forward.

Chris Winkle served as the chief executive officer for Sunrise Senior Living from April 2014 to Jan 2021.  With extensive knowledge of acute, post-acute, and senior living sectors, Mr. Winkle is a  seasoned executive with more than 35 years of experience in leadership management,  healthcare operations, finance, and strategic planning.

Before joining Sunrise, Mr. Winkle served eight years as chief executive officer of MedQuest,  Inc., a leading operator of independent, fixed-site, outpatient diagnostic imaging centers in the  United States. Previously, he served as president and chief executive officer for Mariner Health  Care, Inc., which operated skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and long-term acute care  hospitals. Prior to that role, Mr. Winkle was the chief operating officer at Integrated Health  Services, where he helped pioneer the sub-acute care sector and was responsible for all of the  facility and ancillary service operations. Mr. Winkle started his career by holding management  positions within specialty and rehabilitation hospitals.

Mr.  Winkle currently resides in Middleburg, VA with his wife.  They have four children and two grandchildren. Mr Winkle is a long time supporter of Heart for Africa. He and his family visited in 2009 and were present at the ground blessing for Project Canaan.  He returned for the 10th Anniversary in 2019.  He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and is a member of several for profit and nonprofit boards.

Ross Macpherson hugging children

My wife Laurie and I live in Carleton Place Ontario and have three grown boys, three lovely daughter-in-laws and eight wonderful G babies. I grew up in a Christian home with a focus on Missions where I would hear stories of God’s faithfulness and mercy.

I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a follower of Christ and an Auto Mechanic. Following Jesus has taken me to many church roles such as teacher, board member and the hardest trying to live like Him each day. I was certified as an Auto Mechanic after high school and have been learning ever since.

I am a passionate gear head and love all things mechanical which is what took me to Eswatini in 2017 for the first time. I went to teach Auto Mechanics to Project Canaan employees in the Lusito Mechanic Shop with Mercy Tech Mission. I had no idea what a profound influence Project Canaan and the children would have on my life. I tried very hard to concentrate only on all the mechanical issues but over time Love broke through and my heart was captured. Heart for Africa is a place of hope not only for Eswatini but for anyone who wants to see a difference in the world. Come to Africa and make a difference in someone’s life they said, it made a difference in my life. I am honored to serve with Heart for Africa in any way that I am able.

Spencer Maxwell is a Consultant at Ernst & Young (EY), LLP in the Supply Chain Practice, focusing on Supply Chain Innovation and End-to-End (E2E) strategy. Before joining EY, Spencer served as a Marketing Manager for Heart for Africa after completing his two masters degrees in International Business (at Queen’s University, Canada) and Marketing Management (at ESADE Business School, Barcelona).

If you couldn’t tell by the last name, Spencer has been involved with Heart for Africa since 2004 when his parents (Ian and Janine Maxwell) began working for the organization. Since then, he has spent over four years of his life across Eswatini, South Africa, Malawi and Kenya, much of the time participating and leading service trips to various orphanages/children’s homes and communities. He attended the dedication of Project Canaan and has travelled back to the farm at least once every year since its establishment.
Spencer currently lives in Detroit with his wife, Jane Maxwell (who he met on a Heart for Africa service trip in Eswatini back in 2008), and their dog “Swazi”. They intend to live there until the year 2026 when they will move to Cape Town, South Africa to begin the rest of their lives on the continent of Africa.

Jeni lives in Listowel, Ontario with her husband of 22 years and her two boys ages 21 and 19. When her youngest son went off to kindergarten she followed her passion for loving children and went back to school to earn her Early Childhood Education diploma through an apprenticeship program at the North Perth Early Years Centre. After that she went on to become the supervisor of a local Preschool and from there began as a supply ECE teacher with Avon Maitland District school board.

Her passion for helping people led her to her current position as a “full time professional volunteer”. She serves her community by working as a board member/volunteer at a local non profit organization called “It takes a Village”, which focuses on helping those who are most vulnerable. She also serves as a board member for Hope Links North Perth and delivers Meals on Wheels for VON Listowel. Her love for children and ministry has had her teaching ministry weekly through a children’s program called Jubilation Station, as well as volunteering Sunday mornings with their High Voltage (Sunday School) Program. Through the church, Jeni has volunteered on two consecutive missions trips to Saugeen First Nations Reserve helping put on a Christian camp for their youth.

Jeni remembers her love for Africa beginning at a young age after hearing about how impoverished the continent was. In 2020 she learned about Heart for Africa through friends who had attended a previous trip. She immediately read all of Janine’s books and knew this was something she was meant to see. As soon as trips resumed after the pandemic, she booked. She travelled to Eswatini in July of 2022 with her husband Sean, where she fell in love with everything Africa and her new friends at Project Canaan. She is honoured to be asked to serve on this board and is excited to see where God will lead her.

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Heart for Africa (Canada) is a registered Canadian charity BN#85916 3560 RR0001.
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