My participation in social causes throughout my formative years inspired me to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector. Ralph Nader was an early role model. His determination to make automobiles safer put him in conflict with insurance companies that had far greater resources, resources that funded numerous strategies to silence him. He persevered, effectively changing the landscape and saving innumerable lives. His vision coupled with his unrelenting approach forged the consumer protection movement.
About ten years ago I had the occasion to meet Mr. Nader. Although I knew of his shy and reserved demeanour, I took the opportunity to ask for a photo together. He reluctantly agreed. That photo hangs in my office as a constant reminder of how against seemingly impossible odds, change is indeed possible.
My experience in the charitable sectors encompassed a range of organizations including those that address children’s mental health, hunger relief, seniors and cancer. Volunteers are the life blood of the sector. I have had the great good fortune to collaborate with many talented and committed individuals whose passion and expertise advanced important initiatives.
Some career highlights of which I am especially proud include; developing the event Toronto Taste more than 20 years ago (an event that continues to provide significant funds to Second Harvest), building corporate support at Kids Help Phone and creating a national footprint while at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Most recently, while with Lymphoma Canada, I spearheaded the development of a white paper to address systemic issues that ultimately limited access to cancer therapies. Thereafter there was a first-time reversal (from negative to positive) in a decision by the regulatory body. Furthermore, recommendations inclusive in the paper were utilized in subsequent decisions, positively impacting Canadian cancer patients across the spectrum.
My first introduction to Huntington disease was through a very compelling piece on “60 Minutes” that profoundly affected me. I have since learned of the international community of Huntington families. Their determination, resilience, strength in facing adversity and enduring belief that a treatment is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ drew me to this role.
I am honoured and privileged to be the new Chief Executive Officer of the Huntington Society of Canada. This is a critical time in the organization’s history. The work on genetic fairness, the clinical trial readiness and the continued support required to meet families’ needs energizes me as I join this extraordinary community.
Thank you in advance for welcoming me. I look forward to meeting you.
CEO, Huntington Society of Canada