The Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association welcomes its Board of Directors for 2020–2021, comprising an impressive group of individuals representing a cross-section of professions, disciplines and experiences. Some are brand new members, others are returning and some will continue their important work from 2019–2020. All of whom are dedicated to leading CMHA Ottawa through the COVID-19 pandemic, as the agency settles into its new home at 311 McArthur Avenue and through the challenges and victories that may be presented in the year ahead.
Get to know the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors:
Mary Bartram, PhD RSW
Mary is the Director of Mental Health and Substance Use for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She brings to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors extensive experience in mental health policy development with federal and territorial governments, Indigenous organizations and NGOs, including her current role with MHCC, and as an independent consultant. Mary completed her Ph.D. at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University. She is an RSW and holds an MSc in family therapy from Purdue University. Mary’s doctoral research focused on equity in access to psychotherapy in Canada, Australia and the UK, with a focus on financial barriers and how government structure shapes service system design.
Shannon Black, MSW
Shannon works as a cognitive behavioural therapist at the Ottawa Institute of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She holds a master’s degree in social work with a minor in psychology from Carleton University. Since joining the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors in 2018, Shannon has brought to the table her extensive counselling experience supporting vulnerable individuals, as well as a comprehensive understanding of mental health, addiction, chronic illnesses and emotional issues. Shannon prides her practice as being client-centered, strength-based, self-determined, equitable and anti-oppressive. These frameworks are her personal and professional pillars which allow her the ability to respect individuals as ‘experts’ of their own lives and help support them to reignite or discover new possibilities and reasons to heal or remedy ‘problem(s)’ that they are encountering.
Tamzin Cathers, MA, MSW, RSW
Tamzin is a social worker at The Ottawa Hospital’s Rose Ages Breast Health Centre, where she delivers outpatient counselling, psychosocial assessment, anxiety and depression screening and management, crisis intervention, counseling regarding adjustment to new cancer diagnoses, system navigation, linking to community resources, pre-surgery planning, and sits on several committees. Tamzin returns to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors with two decades of clinical experience, as well as eleven refereed/journal publications and four published research reports/program summaries, and experience in leadership, research and teaching. She is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Guelph, and the University of Western Ontario.
Peter is a multi-faceted senior executive with experience in multiple industry sectors. He is very active in his community and a strong supporter of mental health initiatives, including his continued work as a dedicated member of the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors. Peter’s professional passion is building robust teams who deliver outstanding growth and operational results. He has managed regional and international businesses, from initiating start-ups to multinational corporations. Peter specializes in Information Technology (IT) services, IT services management, Systems Integration, Enterprise Program Management, and Organizational Architecture. He has recently served as Director, Interdependency Management at the Bank of Canada, and Partner in IT advisory at KPMG.
Nabanita Giri, MPP, DPA | Secretary
Nabanita has been a public servant for more than two decades, working in several executive positions within the federal government. She has worked primarily in Ottawa but has done postings in Edmonton and Eastern Europe. She has graduate studies in Economics, Public Policy and Administration, Public Relations, Accounting, and Conflict Resolution. Her career has spanned the economic, resource and social domains including Indigenous Affairs, most recently at the Public Health Agency and at Indigenous Services Canada. She has worked primarily in policy functions and has also designed and delivered large programs and directed research units. Prior to her public service, Nabanita worked as an accountant and in public relations in the private sector. Nabanita was born in India, raised in Montreal, studied and lived in South Asia, South America and Eastern Europe and is very grateful to consider Ottawa her home and the place she has chosen to raise her family.
John James, BA | President
Growing up in Toronto’s Scarborough neighbourhood, John developed an interest in people and helping the community at a young age. He obtained a B.A. in Political Science from York University and then embarked on a three-month backpacking tour across Europe, a trip that inspired a lifelong love of travel and connecting with people. In 1995, John joined the RCMP. Over his career as a Mountie, he was posted in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Nunavut and recently retired at HQ Ottawa. John has varied police experience including general duty, serious crime, crisis negotiation, human trafficking and northern service.
John brings to the CMHA Ottawa Board an extensive background in volunteer work. He has held a variety of roles across the country in both frontline volunteering duties and has served on several non-profit boards of directors. Some of the organizations John has served with include the Scarborough Distress Centre, Big Brothers, Pathways to Education, youth softball organizations and several adult literacy organizations in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia. More recently, John served as the President of the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre Board and currently serves on the National Board of Pathways to Education and the board of Operation Come Home. John also serves with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Every Wednesday John can be found volunteering at the Ottawa Hospice. John’s passion is travel, and he has currently backpacked to some 60 countries. When he’s not on the road John enjoys a quiet existence with his wife and son and their dog, Barley, in his adopted home of Ottawa.
Mélanie Leclair, BA
Mélanie brings the teacher’s perspective to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors. She is an enthusiastic and dynamic schoolteacher with experience in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the well-being of her students. Mélanie teaches at École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Bernadette (CECCE), where she has introduced complementary educational courses in mental health such as ASIST, safeTALK, non-violent intervention in crisis, anxiety management and more. Mélanie holds a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa.
Claude Lurette | Vice President
Claude has been an advocate for people living with mental illness and addictions since 2006, when he formed and became the first Chair of the Client Empowerment Council at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Claude has since joined several policy and planning tables in the region including Co-Chair of the Addictions and Mental Health Network of Champlain, working closely with service providers and funders to provide the voice of lived experience. He has shared his experiences in the media (print, radio and TV), presented at local, provincial, national and international conferences, as well as workplaces and schools. Claude has recently joined the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN) and the advisory panel of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. As a Franco-Ontarian, Claude also works with French Language Services to ensure that services are provided in the language of choice for people in our region.
Currently a detective with the Ottawa Police Criminal Investigations Directorate, Admir brings to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors’ table a broad experience in different capacities of policing, from gangs and domestic violence investigations to community policing, where he has promoted problem solving policing strategies. He has been recognized by Crime Prevention Ottawa for his role as community police officer in high-priority neighborhoods. Admir is fluent in four languages: English, Italian, Albanian and Turkish. He has extensive volunteering experience by mentoring at-risk youth through sport engagement and with the Catholic Immigration Centre. He served as the business owner for Ottawa Neighborhood Watch Executive Committee and on the Community Health Resource Centres/Ottawa Police City-wide Committee. Admir holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Law, Policy and Government from Carleton University and during the past 15 years, he has successfully completed many specialized courses related to law enforcement.
Stacey Moreau, BA Psych, M Ed
New to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors, Stacey has several years’ private sector experience in Human Resources, learning and government relations. Since joining the public service in 2007, she has held positions at the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada School of Public Service, and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). She is currently the Director of the Leadership Development Centre at the RCMP. Stacey has held Board and volunteering positions at the Institute of Public Administration of Canada-NCR, Ottawa Mental Health Helpline and Lifeline Crisis Centre, South Africa. Stacey is also a Positive Space Champion, increasing safety and inclusion for people of all genders and sexual orientations.
Aoife Sheahan, M. Sc., BA Psych.
Aoife is a Human Resources Executive and registered Organizational Psychologist who has held several positions at TD, currently in the role of Associate Vice President HR—Retail Banking Transformation. Over her career to date, Aoife has been responsible for leading through organizational redesigns, building talent culture and succession strategies, employee engagement programs, and leading through the people aspects of organizational restructures and transformations. Aoife has worked across industries, in both the private and public sectors and across three continents. In addition to her professional experience, Aoife brings to the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Limerick, Ireland. Aoife is also certified in psychometric assessment and testing.
Kathleen Terroux, LLB, MHSA | Vice President
Kate is a lifelong resident of Ottawa and has spent more than 10 years working in legal services in the Ottawa community. Kate joined the CMHA Ottawa Board in 2008 after a year on the Financial Accessibility Committee. Kate is a lawyer and legal writer and has worked in government, financial industry, and law firm environments. She has a commitment to mental health advocacy, particularly in relation to mental health in the workplace, as well as reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.
Vincent Trottier, BComm, CPA, CA | Treasurer
Vincent is a senior manager at KPMG, where his primary responsibilities include providing audit, accounting, and financial reporting services to public sector organizations. Vincent has been the manager responsible for the financial statement audits of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Parliamentary Protective Services, Upper Canada District School Board, The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, among others. He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa.
Lynne Vail, MA, BA (Hon)
Lynne is a mental health advocate with an extensive background in communications. She currently sits on the CMHA Ottawa Peer Engagement Advisory Council (PEAC) and its communications subcommittee. Lynne was a communicator in the federal public service working on government priorities including climate change and food safety. Lynne holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Brock University. She brings to the CMHA Ottawa Board an empathy and enthusiasm for the improvement of the delivery of services in the not-for-profit sector.
Martin Vervoort, LLB | Past President
Martin has been a practicing lawyer since 1987. He is currently the in-house legal counsel for a large locally owned property management firm. He has a strong belief in volunteerism and is a past Chair of the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, current member, past Chair and past Vice-Chair of the City of Ottawa Committee of Adjustment, and a past board member and President of Festivals Ottawa. Martin has been a board member of CMHA Ottawa since 2012, and has a strong interest in social justice, effective delivery of social support services, and housing.
Philip C. Wilson, SHRP, ICD.D
Philip arrives at the CMHA Ottawa Board of Directors with more than 30 years of global business and human resources leadership experience. Most recently, he served as Director of Corporate Services at DST Consulting Engineers (Englobe), where he was charged with providing oversight and direction for the following services: Human Resources, Payroll, Information Technology, Administration, and Marketing. Philip has been the recipient of multiple awards over his career. He is a graduate of McGill University, where he received a Bachelor of Industrial Relations.
Tim Simboli, PhD | Executive Director
Tim is a lifelong resident of Ottawa and has spent four decades working in social services in the Ottawa community. Tim joined CMHA Ottawa as Executive Director in the Fall of 2011 after spending 16 years as the Executive Director of a community-based counselling agency. Tim holds a Doctorate in Psychology from Carleton University in clinical research and program evaluation. He has a strong belief in client-focused services and is a proponent of evidenced-based decision making, social innovation, and cross-sectoral collaboration. Tim considers himself a lifelong Ottawa resident and is extensively involved across the community mental health sector.