Our Team

OIM staff are committed to seeing the organization’s mission lived out in our community. Each brings us a set of expertise, and a passion for the vulnerable and disenfranchised.

Executive Director

Rev. Ken MacLaren
B.A., M.Div., Th.M.

In May 2003, Rev. Ken MacLaren became the Executive Director of Ottawa Innercity Ministries. Ken has a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario (1979), a M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon (1983), and a Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois (1984). Following his formal education, Ken was the Senior Pastor of three churches in three provinces with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (1986-91). He was a member of the National Social Concerns Committee of the P.A.O.C. and initiated and developed a National Capital Men’s Ministry Network in Ottawa in 2001. Ken has been married for 40 years, and has three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Ken has been a member of the National Advisory for Street Level Canada, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Roundtable on Poverty and Homelessness.

He considers it a privilege to work among the poor and disenfranchised in downtown Ottawa.  He says, “All of my education and experience has made me qualified to serve sandwiches to the poor.”

Managing Director

Dr. Jelica Zdero
B.A., M.A., Ph.D.

After volunteering with OIM in 2007/2008, Jelica responded to God’s call to join the team in October 2008. She is honoured to be working alongside the caring staff and volunteers of OIM who joyfully give of themselves to work alongside our street community. Jelica brings with her a skill-set that includes university teaching, research, and writing as well as a variety of volunteer experiences in her church and community.

Youth Program Coordinator 

Moira Alie

Moira joined the OIM team in August 2011. She has a BASc in Child, Youth and Family Studies from the University of Guelph.  For several years, Moira worked with high-risk youth in the criminal justice system. She also has experience in visual art and music, and she believes that the arts can be a powerful tool when it comes to working with youth. She continues to build relationships with Ottawa’s street-engaged young people by facilitating Innercity Arts and the Spirit of the Streets Choir.

Volunteer & Events Coordinator

Rick Ojala

Rick Ojala spent thirty years in the high skilled manufacturing industry, the first ten years helping run a medium sized family business. In 2006 he translated his experience, management and leadership gifts into making a difference in ministry. Rick’s heart has always been to serve the most vulnerable of our society. He successfully graduated from a three-year Bible School program at Ottawa School of the Bible. Rick spent five years serving and helping to build a missional outreach church campus at the right hand of the campus pastor. He has served on two Christian Boards and Co-Directed a local food bank. In 2015  Rick took the next step towards ministry by accepting an offer to start up and develop a Bibles for Missions Thrift Store and also received his License to Ministry with OBFF. This has led Rick to OIM. Stepping out of the boat as Peter did is not an unfamiliar thing for Rick as long as he keeps his eyes on Jesus.

Marketing & Donor Care Coordinator

Gabriela Villalobos-Pot

Gaby has a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of El Salvador. She has over six years of experience working in administration. Gaby joined the OIM team in 2017 as the Administrative Assistant and has now moved towards a new role as OIM’s Marketing & Donor Care Coordinator. She enjoys discovering winter activities and serving others.

Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth Sutherland-Beaven

After 15 years of administrative work at various government and private industries, Beth took 10 years off to concentrate on her family before returning to the work force as an Adult Crossing Guard at a local school, then back into administration at a local church before trying the retail industry.  Beth has felt it is now time to use her administrative gifting’s again that God has blessed her with and has joined OIM.  She obtained her Ministerial Diploma in 2014 at Ottawa School of the Bible.   Beth has been married for 28 years and has two grown sons.   

Frontline Care Worker

Bonnie Gardner

Bonnie volunteered with OIM as a street outreach worker and with the Innercity Arts program for 3 years. God called her into fulltime ministry in March 2018 and she has been with OIM as the FrontLine Care Worker fulltime ever since. Bonnie finds the greatest joy when she is engaging one-on-one with street friends and when mentoring youth, listening, visiting and sharing a cup of coffee. Together Bonnie and her husband of 21 years have a teenage daughter and two fur babies. Bonnie’s first loves are Jesus, walking the dogs in the woods and writing about OIM and life on the streets. She is currently in the process of working towards finishing her Ministerial Diploma at Ottawa School of the Bible.

Office Assistant

Sue O’Neal

After volunteering behind the scene with OIM since 2011, Sue came out of retirement to accept a part-time position as Office Assistant.  She currently splits her time between babysitting four of her eight grandchildren and helping out at OIM.  Sue’s 30 year experience in the workforce includes full-time ministry, banking and as an industry analyst in the Federal Government.  She’s honoured to be a part of this amazing team and ministry.


Lana Phillips-Miller

Board of Directors

The responsibility to govern the policies and direction of OIM is a crucial and vital part of our accountability to the many who share in this work. All elected board members are mature members of Ottawa’s inter-church Christian community, who commit to take time out of their busy lives on a volunteer basis to discern and set the direction for this ministry. Yearly, in the spring, OIM holds an annual meeting which all may attend to hear reports on how OIM is achieving its goals and purposes.


Doug Cooper
Retired Naval Officer


Kari Yli-Renko
Area Manager, Leader Impact Ministries


Eldon Elgie
HR Consultant      


Bethany Yli-Renko

Accountant, Welch LLP


Doug Assaly
Founder/CEO, Honey Construction Ltd


Dr Robert Yelle
Family Medicine, Private Practice