Catherine Van der Linden
President & Co-Founder
Catherine is an international business development leader. During her 25-plus years of experience she spearheaded successful ventures throughout global markets for multinationals including Kraft General Foods, Unilever and Costco. She defined marketing strategies and developed the North American market for companies with different business models such as franchising, licensing and import/distribution. She created branded and private label programs for suppliers from Europe, the US, Australia and Canada. Catherine is a Belgian/ Canadian citizen who speaks 4 languages (English, French, Flemish, and German). She moved to Canada in 1991 and embraced the challenge of developing new markets and living in a different country. Almost all ventures she has focussed on, both professionally and philanthropically, were start-ups. Passionate about giving back, she applies her entrepreneurial skills towards different causes, mainly in the fields of children’s health and education. Catherine initiated and chaired many fundraisers, holds board positions and has served on the corporate appeal committee for the Montreal Children's Hospital. Catherine has a master’s degree in History of Art and Archeology from Ghent University in Belgium. She is married, has a daughter and three stepdaughters. She loves hiking, history, biographies and history of art and architecture. She is enthralled by developing opportunities, and mentoring. Catherine decided to dedicate more time to Phelps in 2015, when it became clear that its potential for exponential growth required her full commitment.
Vice-President & Co-Founder
Jeanie Markwick was born and raised in Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan too long ago to admit. Her unconventional path started on the trading floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and led to New York, where she acted as an options specialist on the floors of the NYSE and the Amex, later moving to institutional equity trading at Kidder Peabody and Paine Webber. Marriage brought her to Canada in 1996 where she held senior institutional equity trading and management positions at UBS and Scotia Capital until retiring in 2009 to seek new pursuits. After the chance meeting with Catherine Van der Linden at the 2011 opening of the Pat Burns Arena in Stanstead, the seed was planted for what today has proudly grown to become Phelps Aide Phelps Help. With the belief that one is never too old to learn something new, she returned to the workforce full time in 2015 to become the V.P. of Operations for a small investment advisory firm in Montreal, allowing her to wear many different hats. As unique and exciting as she found her first career and as interesting as she finds her new career, Phelps remains her passion, coupled with a love for the local community in which she has been a part-time resident for 21 years. Jeanie currently divides her time between Montreal and the Townships with her husband, Eric and their furry sons, Zeppelin and T.C.
Mark Derusha is the third generation to help his family business grow into a major North American player within the stone tooling and equipment industry, Derusha Group. Starting as a project manager in 2005, Mark has grown with the company to his current role as President. Prior to his inception into the company, Mark worked for Accenture as an Analyst, Consultant and Manager; helping forture 500 companies around the globe adopt and integrate technologies and processes.
Mark’s education included a degree in Business Management, with a specialization in Finance. Bringing this knowledge, along with his understanding of accounting systems, experience on several boards, the numerous lessons learned in business as an owner/operator and a network of contacts, can help Phelps Help continue to grow as an organization.
Mark believes that Phelp Helps is making an enormous impact in our small community by changing the perception of the youth and young adults towards education and ultimately keeping them in school. As a business person, but more importantly, as a young father, he understands that a good education, whether it is completing secondary, university or a professional/technical degree, lays the foundation for a healthy and strong community by enabling employability at all levels of organizations.
Lisa Smith, a graduate of Bishop’s University Department of Education, is a resident of Stanstead East, where she lives with her husband and various pets. Their three children have grown and moved away from home to pursue their careers. After an eighteen year teaching career at North Country Union High School in Newport, VT, Lisa accepted a post at Stanstead College. Lisa is Head of the Math and Science Department and for the past 10 years, has also been the Coordinator of the Learning Resource Centre.
Currently in her 36th year of teaching, Lisa love sports, the outdoors, cooking, crafts and being involved in the community. Many years have been spent coaching youth soccer, hockey, baseball and golf. Lisa has been involved with Phelps Helps since its inception, and when not coaching during the winter months is a regular tutor at the high school program. When not busy with these endeavours, she is busy with the Dufferin Heights Junior Golf program as well as volunteering on the Board of Directors of Sisken-Coutts http://siskincoutts.org/ .
Lisa is extremely proud of the positive effect that the Phelps programs have had on the Stanstead youth and community.
Lynn Johnston was born and raised in Toronto and left the city at a young age when her free spirit and gypsy blood called her to move to New York City to study theatrical arts. Upon completion of her studies, she soon realized that theatre was not her calling, but simply a passion. Life brought her back to Toronto and the next phase of her life started. She went back to school in 2007 as a mature student and earned an advanced diploma in Accounting and Finance, graduating with Honors, from Seneca College. Continuing her studies, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, majoring in Accounting, from Concordia University. Serendipitously, in 2015 she found herself working at Stanstead College and currently holds the position as Controller. In the same year, Lynn was introduced to Phelps Helps when she was asked to assist with their financials. She is a strong proponent in education as one of the key components in changing one’s life, as she is proof of the experience. Life long learning, in any capacity, is paramount to everyone’s existence and quality of life. Phelps not only facilitates in educational support but allows permission to dream and hope for more.
For twenty (20) years as founder and president of Knock on Wood Design, this woman passionate for designs and trends, manager of many sites has transformed unique and luxurious interiors throughout North America. For many years, she has been the head of the Dennis Wood Holdings company as Executive Director, manages the Wood Family Foundation and Usinage Nado. Mother of four, Alyson offers support towards causes that are close to her heart, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Mental Illness Foundation, and many others. She is a graduate of McGill University obtaining an MBA and HEC diploma in 2017. Highly involved concerning issues of quality and accessibility to education, she is also on the board of the Stanstead College’s Red and White Foundation and the Butters Foundation. Alyson’s belief that Phelps Helps offers a unique opportunity for others to experience the joy of learning led her to join the board in 2018.
Nancy Layton grew up in the village of Hudson in Quebec, similar to the Eastern Townships with it's lake and proximity to hiking trails. A McGill graduate, Nancy hails from the world of academia, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and experience as a member of the faculty of Trafalgar School for Girls for over 20 years, Principal of Kells Academy for 4 years and Head of Bishop's College School for 8 years.
The wider community has benefitted from Nancy's community service, whether it be from her years volunteering at Stanstead's Haskell Library, her involvement of the co-op health clinic in Ayers Cliff among others.
Nancy is a passionate golfer and along with many wins for her Dufferin Heights club, was elected in October 2020 as the new Chairperson of the Golf Québec Rules Committee.