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 has also served on the Empowered Kids Ontario board for the past three years, previously serving as Chair of the Finance Committee and now as 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.


Colleen Fotheringham-Anderson

Colleen Anderson is the Director of Developmental and Rehabilitation Health and the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre of McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH). Since joining MCH, Colleen has been instrumental in the planning and development of a new child and youth mental health inpatient unit, day hospital, regional outreach, urgent access and emergency mental health services. She was also the MCH lead for the planning, design and construction of the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, bringing together the programs of Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation (including the Hamilton Children’s Treatment Centre), Autism Spectrum Disorders, Child and Youth Mental Health outpatient services and Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Prior to joining McMaster Children’s Hospital, Colleen was the Administrator of the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University where she was responsible for operations, financial and strategic planning, staffing, and physician recruitment. She also served as Business Manager for the McMaster Pediatric Medical Association and Hamilton Academic Pediatrics Associates. Colleen also held the position of Research Grants Officer for McMaster University and continues to support and embed research as a fundamental aspect of clinical programs.


Elizabeth Haugh

Elizabeth Haugh is President of the John McGivney Children’s Centre Board of Directors and chair of the Quality Committee. She has served on the Centre’s board since June 2014. Liz retired from a lengthy career in public health as Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Health Promotion at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit.

Liz was also Adjunct Associate Professor with the Faculty of Nursing and a Member of the Ethics Review Board for Public Health Ontario. Throughout her career she served in leadership roles including as President of the local Children’s Aid Society, with the College of Nurses of Ontario, and with the Ontario Public Health Association. Liz has also been involved as a board member and served on committees for several nursing organizations including Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Sigma Theta Tau Honour Society of Nursing, Association of Public Health Nursing Leaders, the Ontario Nurses Association, as well as the Association for Local Public Health Agencies which granted her a Distinguished Service Award.

Liz currently serves on her condo board. She enjoys regular gym, Pilates and yoga classes, bridge club, book club, and especially her five grandchildren and two grand-dogs.


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, the mother of an adult daughter (and she considers herself like a mother to her son-in-law), and grandmother to a two and a half-year old grandson, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, who 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, where she has been actively engaged in fundraising. At both Village Bible Church Inc. and St. Catharines and District Chamber of Commerce Lois served as a board member and treasurer.


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 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.


Sacha Baharmand

Sacha is a lawyer with the Department of Justice Canada. Before joining the public service, he was a litigator in private practice in Ottawa and on Bay Street. His professional experience includes having been seconded to both the RCMP and the Competition Bureau to manage complex commercial and regulatory litigation on behalf of the Crown.

Sacha is a recognized resource on access to justice and in his current role he helps craft policy in this area, drawing upon his particular expertise relating to official language minority communities. He is a member of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages, Justice Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages, and the Ontario Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Access to Justice.

He also has considerable experience in health policy and systems governance. Sacha is a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Board Chair of Centretown Community Health Centre. He previously served on the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre Board, where he chaired the Quality and Safety Committee, and as Board Chair of Carlington Community Health Centre.

His professional and community service were recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Sacha is the proud father of two daughters, both of whom are “CHEO kids.”


Susan Adamson

As retired Ministry of Education Field Team Leader NE Region, Superintendent of Education, administrator and teacher of the Near North and West Parry Sound Boards of Education, Susan completed a 38-year career by continuing to give back to her community. Susan currently sits on the boards of One Kid’s Place and Manitouwabing Lake Community Association, and volunteers at both the West Parry Sound Heath Centre and the Stockey Centre.

Supporting children and youth with special needs has always been important to Susan both professionally and personally, and was the driving force to her pursuing a Masters of Education in special education. She is proud to be a volunteer in the child development and rehabilitation sector.

Susan enjoys spending winters as a snowbird, with spending quality time with her bearded collie.


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 led 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 for six years. 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.

Jennifer Churchill

Jennifer Churchill


Jennifer Churchill joined the Empowered Kids Ontario 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.