Empowered Kids Ontario-Enfants Avenir Ontario (EKO) is pleased to announce three new members joining its Board of Directors. Coming from the healthcare and social services sectors, the new board directors bring a diversity of experience and strategic insight to the association as Ontario recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and transitions to new models of health and social care.
I am thrilled to welcome these three talented individuals,” says Jennifer Churchill, EKO CEO. “Their unique backgrounds and diverse experience make them great assets to EKO’s board and to the organization.”
The new board members are:
Andra Duff-Woskosky is a senior healthcare executive at Unity Health. She brings lived experience to the EKO board, both as the mother of a child with disabilities and a pediatric physiotherapist. Andra has led portfolios in acute care, community care and tertiary care, influencing positive change and successfully embedding the patient and family experience into quality councils, team meetings and hiring panels to radically push the service quality.
Kevin J. Collins is President and CEO of Easter Seals Ontario. Born with cerebral palsy and having served as a Provincial Easter Seals Ambassador in 1976, Kevin has the ability to relate to the children Easter Seals serves and often acts as a mentor, empowering others to reach their full potential. As President and CEO, Kevin works diligently to ensure children, teens and families experience greater independence, freedom and dignity through the organization’s programs. Throughout his career, Kevin been an active community member. He brings a strong background in strategic planning and Board governance to EKO.
Nagham Azzam is a social worker in Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation at McMaster Children’s Hospital. As an Arabic speaking and visibly Muslim clinician, Nagham connects with many non-English speakers in their first language, and she is passionate about meeting the needs of newcomer children and their families. She is committed to ensuring their voices are represented at decision-making tables, and that culturally relevant services are provided for Muslim and Muslim-adjacent peoples and cultures. Nagham brings an intersectional approach to the work of the board to create equitable and inclusive pathways for those experiencing marginalization and systemic barriers to accessing care. Her focus on equity, diversity and inclusion, and corporate experience in EDI, are valued contributions to the conversation at EKO’s board table.
EKO also recognizes two outgoing members of the Board: Penny Smiley and Lucy Goldberg. Penny Smiley served on the EKO board for six years, including the past three years as Chair. Under her leadership EKO members received the first significant investment in more than a decade, and the association grew its membership—expanding and further deepening its broad representation of the child development and rehabilitation sector. She guided the association in modernizing its governance, and led the board in developing EKO’s Strategic Plan 2021-24, focused on the association’s response to global trends likely to shape the sector in the coming years. EKO thanks Penny and Lucy for their service, and wishes them continued success.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of such a strong, active Board at EKO,” says Churchill. “The entire EKO team thanks our outgoing directors for their outstanding dedication, support and contributions, while welcoming our three new directors and the perspectives and expertise each offers. EKO is very well positioned for the future.”