Board members

 

Penny Smiley

Penny lives in Guelph and is proud to have had the opportunity to volunteer with children with special needs through her Board work with KidsAbility Centre for Child Development, including holding the role of Chair. Penny serves as Chair of the Empowered Kids Ontario Board of Directors, and previously served as Finance Committee Chair.

Over the course of her career, Penny was responsible for the Member Services Division of the Waterloo Regional Police Service where she oversaw Human Resources, Training, and Organizational and Culture Development. Previously she served as Commissioner of Human Resources for the Region of Waterloo. Penny’s career has also included work in the Education and Health sectors. Penny holds a BA, an LLM from the London School of Economics, and a Masters of Industrial Relations from Queens University as well as a Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution. In her leisure time Penny enjoys travel, golf and cooking.

 
Lois A. Ouellette 

Lois A. Ouellette, CPA, CA

Lois is a Chartered Professional Accountant and an Audit Partner at KPMG LLP with 35 years of experience. She is a life-long resident of St. Catharines, a mom (she considers herself a mom to her son-in-law, too), and grandmother. Lois’s grandson, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, is a client of Niagara Children’s Centre.

Through her day job Lois works with a number of not-for-profit organizations and is familiar with their unique needs and challenges. Lois has assisted her clients with developing good governance, policies and processes to provide oversight to the organization’s employees. She has served on a number of boards including Alzheimer Society Niagara, and Niagara Children’s Centre. Lois is the Treasurer and a board member at Lifepointe Bible Church, and also provides volunteer bookkeeping services to Living Waters Life Centre.

 
Paul Cantin 

Paul Cantin

Paul is a communications and marketing professional with experience in the not-for-profit, fundraising, health care, education, and government sectors. He currently leads all marketing and communications activities for Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, Canada’s largest English-language business school. An award-winning and internationally published journalist, Paul is also the author of a critically acclaimed biography of Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and actress Alanis Morisette.

 
Sara Pot 

Sara Pot

Sara is a writer, speaker, volunteer, and the parent of four daughters. Sara says that while she and her husband celebrate all four girls’ unique gifts and abilities, they are particularly consumed by the care for their two youngest who are medically fragile children with complex care needs. She has been involved in the child development and rehabilitation sector through Niagara Children’s Centre, as a client family and support parent, as well as a volunteer with the association, representing interests of parents of children with special needs. Sara is committed to the vision of cultivating communities of belonging, with families, care providers and support organizations collaborating to provide, affirm and encourage best practice and sustainable plans that help children and families thrive.

 
 Susan Nall

Susan Nall

Susan Nall is the Clinical Manager of Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation at the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre of McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH). Susan is a Nurse registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario, and has a Developmental Services background. She is currently completing her Masters of Business Administration. Since joining MCH in 2016, Susan has been instrumental in the planning and transition of Special Needs Resourcing in the Early Years sector and is leading the transition of School Based Rehabilitation Services for MCH.

Prior to joining MCH, Susan lead the Regional Trauma, Spine and Neurosurgical Programs for Hamilton Health Sciences and was responsible for the operations, financial and strategic planning, staffing, and critical care services for Hamilton Niagara Brant Haldimand (HNBH) and Waterloo Wellington (WW). Susan was instrumental in the planning, design and construction of Level II Neurosurgical Step-Down Unit at the Hamilton General Hospital. She was actively also involved in the planning and development of the integrated stroke program, the integrated spine program and the acquired brain injury continuum for HNHB and WW.

 

Tom Walters

With Master’s degrees in Social Work and in Healthcare Administration, Tom enjoyed a storied career in community services and in mental health care and planning in Manitoba and in Ontario, before being named CEO of the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre in Thunder Bay. Tom has been recognized for his many professional contributions with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Elizabeth Manson Award for Community Service in Mental Health, and the Thunder Bay City Council’s Citizen of Exceptional Achievement Award. While he is moving on from his professional career, Tom continues to contribute as an active and dedicated volunteer with regional, provincial and national organizations.

 
 

Zoran Piljevic

As Director of Information and Instructional Technology Services at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Zoran is responsible for IT infrastructure, services and information security for the campus with over 13,000 students and more than 650 staff and faculty.

Zoran holds an M.A. and M.I.St. from the University of Toronto and has over 15 years of experience in various IT roles. Recently, he has been focusing on the implementation of continual service improvement methodology and has been pursuing ITIL and LEAN Six Sigma certifications. During his career he has received UofT’s Excellence through Innovation Award in 2011 and in 2016.

Zoran is an avid basketball supporter—both of Toronto’s Raptors and of players who enjoy the sport just for fun. He has been involved with his community basketball organization for 15 years, including as a board director and 10 years as a head coach. In 2008, he was recognized by the Toronto Raptors as a BMO Community Hero of the Game for his contributions as a volunteer basketball coach.

 

Christina (Tina) Langlois

Tina’s legal practice includes providing advice and contract services in the areas of professional regulation, committee and board liaison training and facilitation, program and project management, and policy development and implementation. She manages the enforcement processes at two regulatory health colleges, and has assisted clients in the development and implementation of privacy policies and record management. Tina was first introduced to the child development and rehabilitation sector when her son was diagnosed at Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe-York. She later served as a Board director for CTN for six years, including three years as Board Chair.

 

Lucia (Lucy) Goldberg

Lucy is a special education teacher and a versatile and dedicated advocate for educational, rehabilitation and health care equity for kids with exceptionalities and disabilities. She is skilled in addressing student needs, ensuring kids thrive and develop in an adaptable educational atmosphere. Proficient in special education assessment, curriculum development, Indigenous culture and awareness, and technology integration among other skills, she has served as a Board director for George Jeffrey Children’s Centre. Lucy also brings experience from a parent’s perspective, including her work with Autism Ontario efforts to improve services for children in northern Ontario.

 

Warren Kennedy

Warren has devoted his career to Ontario’s kids, beginning his career as an elementary teacher in the Lambton Kent District School Board and moving into school and later school district administration. Throughout his career, Warren welcomed challenges as opportunities and is known for creating effective teams and developing partnerships with all stakeholders, meeting the needs of kids and families. Warren brings extensive experience as a board director with not-for-profit organizations that serve youth—including Pathways Health Centre for Children—to the Empowered Kids Ontario Board.

 

Carole Moore

Carole Moore

Carole Moore is a senior health care administrator dedicated to improving outcomes and to ensuring an exceptional patient and staff experience. She is a speaker on this subject at national and international conferences. Carole is also a dedicated volunteer who has served on boards, including Children’s Treatment Network of Simcoe-York and DeafBlind Ontario Services. As a parent, Carole considers herself “a long-time customer” of Ontario’s child development sector and its services.

 
Susan Vanagas-Cote

Susan Vanagas-Cote

Susan Vanagas-Cote is passionate about empowering children and youth with disabilities and their families. Susan dedicated her career as a Speech-Language pathologist to treating individuals with communicative disorders—early on working with adults before moving to administration, clinical supervision, and treatment for kids with language, speech and feeding issues. As Executive Director for THRIVE Child Development Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Susan made significant contributions to building the agency’s governance and operational structures in order to deliver of high quality, consumer-oriented services.

 
Dr. Mohammad Zubairi

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi

Dr. Mohammad Zubairi is a physician, researcher, teacher and advocate. A developmental pediatrician and medical director at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in Hamilton and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University, he is also Vice-Chair for the Physicians of Ontario NeuroDevelopmental Advocacy Network, a board member of the SAAAC Autism Centre, and serves nationally as an executive member in the Canadian Pediatrics Society’s Section on Developmental Pediatrics. Dr. Zubairi received the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Spotlight Award on three occasions; he has also received the University of Toronto Faculty Teaching Award, and the Hamilton Health Sciences Outstanding Resident Award. He is a frequent presenter at conferences, and his work has been presented in journals, editorials, and webinars.

 
Jennifer Churchill

Jennifer Churchill

Ex-Officio

Jennifer Churchill joined the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services in July 2015, after more than 25 years experience in management and leadership positions in health care and in regional and provincial governments. Prior to joining EKO, she led stakeholder relations for a division of the Treasury Board in the Ontario Ministry of Finance. Before that she held the position of Director, Community Development for the Region of York and in that role she was responsible for community and stakeholder engagement for Emergency Medical Services, Long-Term Care and Seniors Services and Public Health.

Jennifer began her career as a medical social worker at Markham Stouffville Hospital. In addition to her social work degree, she has a Master’s Certificate in Municipal Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and Executive Leadership Certification from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. She has also served on a number of boards including York Region Community Foundation, York Regional Human Services Planning Coalition, and HealthYork, and the York Region Heart Health Program.