The Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association welcomes its Board of Directors for 2021–2022, 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 2021–2022. 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.
Peter Donnelly | Vice President
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, MPA | President
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 but 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 but is very grateful to consider Ottawa her home and the place she has chosen to raise her family.
Jette Haswell, MSW, RSW
Over the past 18 years, Jette Haswell has been employed at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) as a medical social worker. She worked in the Emergency Department at the Civic Campus for 11 years and the Trauma Unit for 1.5 years, which allowed her to develop the aptitude to remain composed and focused, while exercising sound judgment in often complex circumstances. Other positions held at the hospital include secondments to the Department of Patient Relations and the TOH Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit, which assists patients with severe and persistent mental illness. Since 2018, Jette has been working on the Transitional Care Unit. By working in a hospital setting, she has developed a high level of psychological resilience, strong crisis intervention skills, psychosocial assessment, and mental health/suicide risk assessment skills. Early in Jette’s career she worked as a child protection and adoption worker at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa.
Jette has a Master of Social Work Degree and a Certificate in Families, Youth and Children from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She also has a bachelor’s degree in social work at University of Windsor and social sciences degree with a concentration in criminology from the University of Ottawa. Jette is passionate and has devoted most of her career to assisting and supporting patients/families who have various forms of illnesses and/or injuries in a health care setting.
John James, BA | Past 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.
Stéphanie Leclerc, BSW
Stéphanie currently works for the Government of Canada at the Department of Indigenous Services Canada as a social policy researcher. Her career path has allowed her to develop many interpersonal skills that are necessary for helping people. She worked for 10 years with members of her Indigenous community in Lac St-Jean as a social worker for child and youth protection services. Afterwards, she worked for three years at the Outaouais Youth Protection Branch. For nine years she held the position of Planning, Programming and Research Officer at the Public Health Department of the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais. She has dedicated her entire career to working with children and families in vulnerable situations.
Admir Minarolli | Secretary
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
Stacey Moreau leads the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) division at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. She joined the federal government in 2007 and has held senior roles in HR in various departments, most recently, she was the Director of the Leadership Development Centre and the Professional Centre for Indigenous Policing at the RCMP. Prior to this, Stacey led the policy centre within the Equity and Diversity division at the CRA and was responsible for the implementation of the renewed suite of leadership development programs at the Canada School of Public Service. Stacey has sat on the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ottawa Board of Directors since 2020. She has also 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.
Currently a Doctoral candidate in leadership studies at Western University, Stacey holds a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Ottawa.
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.
Vincent Trottier, BComm, CPA, CA | Treasurer
Vincent is a lifelong resident of Ottawa and a senior manager at KPMG, where his primary responsibilities include providing audit, accounting, and financial reporting services to public sector organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and recently also completed his Master of Science in Accounting with Cognitive Analytics from Simon Fraser University. He has been a member of the CMHA Ottawa Board since 2019 and along with his strong financial and analytic background, also brings a passion to improve awareness of mental health in our community.
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.