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CMHA Ottawa welcomes Peter Donnelly as new President of the Board of Directors 

Multi-faceted senior executive and fervent mental health advocate Donnelly succeeds outgoing chair Nabanita Giri 


[Tuesday, July 9, 2024 – OTTAWA] The Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA Ottawa) is thrilled to announce a new leader at its Board of Directors table, Peter Donnelly, who will serve as President for the 2024–2026 term. 

“CMHA Ottawa is delighted and appreciative to have Peter as the next Board Chair,” said Dr. Susan Farrell, CEO. “It will be a pleasure to work together on some of our significant goals in serving our community.” 

Donnelly is a multi-faceted senior executive with experience in many industry sectors. He is active in his community and is a strong supporter of mental health initiatives, including his work on the CMHA Ottawa Board. Donnelly’s professional passion is building robust teams that deliver outstanding growth and operational results. He has managed regional and international businesses, from initiating start-ups to multinational corporations. Donnelly specializes in Information Technology (IT) services, IT services management, Systems Integration, Enterprise Program Management, and Organizational Architecture. He most recently served as Director, Interdependency Management at the Bank of Canada, and Partner in IT advisory at KPMG. 

Donnelly succeeds outgoing President Nabanita Giri, who expertly led the Board as chair from 2021 through 2024, a period that saw an ongoing crisis in human resources in the healthcare sector and the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on Canadians’ mental health and substance use. 

Donnelly is joined by Lynne Vail, who will serve as Vice-President. Donnelly and Vail were each voted into their new positions unanimously by their Board peers at the agency’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, June 19. Both Donnelly and Vail have served on the Board since 2019. 

Vail is a mental health advocate with a background in communications. As a person with lived experience, she is a founding member of CMHA Ottawa’s Peer Engagement Advisory Council (PEAC), which is composed of past and present clients and their families and advises the agency on operational matters. Previously, Vail was a communicator in the federal public service working on government priorities including climate change and food safety. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Brock University.  

Donnelly and Vail will begin their work at a pivotal moment for the community-based agency, as it serves some of the most marginalized individuals in Ottawa against a backdrop of escalating homelessness, mental health and toxic drug crises. 

“The challenges our community faces are only increasing in this post-COVID environment. CMHA Ottawa provides critically needed services through the dedication of our talented and committed staff and management,” said Donnelly when reached for comment. “Our joint challenge is to continuously create ever greater value for our community where the demand often outpaces the available funding.  

“It is my pleasure to accept this challenge and serve this fantastic organization in the capacity of President of the Board of Directors. I look forward to continuing to our work with the Board for the 2024–2026 term.”  

CMHA Ottawa warmly welcomes Peter and Lynne to their new positions, and thanks Nabanita for her service and the decisiveness, humour and cool headedness she consistently displayed as leader.  

The agency would also like to sincerely thank John James, former President, as he retires from the Board. John was steadfast during his more than a decade on the Board, which saw tremendous change and growth for CMHA Ottawa, including its relocation in 2019 from its previous offices in Alta Vista to its current home in Vanier. John’s colleagues will miss his wisdom and impeccable comic timing.  

CMHA Ottawa also thanks Shannon Black for her years of service, who is leaving the Board of Directors for personal reasons. 

A woman with a dark complexion in a red dress stands beside a tall white man in a blue golf shirt, a white woman in a shirt with multi-coloured patterns, and a tall man with a dark complexion in a plaid shirt. They stand in an office.

Une femme au teint foncé portant une robe rouge se tient à côté d'un grand homme blanc portant une chemise de golf bleue, d'une femme blanche portant une chemise à motifs multicolores et d'un grand homme au teint foncé portant une chemise à carreaux. Ils se trouvent dans un bureau.

Nabanita Giri, Peter Donnelly, Lynne Vail, and John James at the CMHA Ottawa offices in Vanier after the Board of Directors’ annual general meeting.

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Ottawa Branch (CMHA Ottawa), is an independent, community-based non-profit organization that provides services for eligible individuals in the Ottawa area with severe and persistent mental illness and/or substance use disorder, many of whom are experiencing chronic homelessness or are vulnerably housed. CMHA Ottawa is dedicated to promoting good mental health, developing and implementing sustainable support systems and services, and encouraging public action to strengthen community mental health services and related policies and legislation.

For media inquiries:
Patrick Jodoin, Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
613-737-7791 ext. 135
[email protected]

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