KidsAbility Board of Directors
Sandra Hanmer - Chair
Sandra has devoted her professional career to providing senior leadership in health service organizations in Canada and internationally. Her focus has been on supporting an organization’s commitment to providing accessible, smooth and effective community-based health and disability services that make a real difference to people’s lives. Sandra has and continues to serve on a number of boards at the local, provincial, national and international level. She holds a Masters of Health Science from the University of Toronto. Recognized as both a visionary leader and strategic thinker, Sandra has an impressive ability to move programs forward from conception to implementation. She is an accomplished community building and visionary governance leader who thrives on developing strong community leaders.
Peter Haney - Vice Chair
Peter Haney is a partner at the law firm of McCormick Haney Brimblecombe and Code LLP in Kitchener and has worked at the firm since completing his education in 1989. Peter was born and raised in Waterloo and continues to reside there with his spouse. They have three grown children. Peter's mother worked for years at KidsAbility, or rather the Rotary Centre as it was then called. He was introduced to the Centre as a volunteer during high school where he first learned of the importance of the role played by the Centre to the community and to the children & families that it serves.
Gwen Yun Weng -Treasurer
Gwen is an Actuary and Director at Equitable Life of Canada, a proud Waterloo-based life insurer, where she is a leader and subject matter expert in the intersection of actuarial analysis, accounting, investment, and risk management. She has extensive experience working with complex financial models as well as navigating change and uncertainty. A graduate of University of Waterloo, Gwen is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, a CFA (Charted Financial Analyst) charterholder, and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst. Passionate about urban planning, active transportation and youth empowerment, Gwen and her husband Joel are avid community volunteers and live in the heart of Waterloo with their two young children Nicole and Felix.
Janna is a passionate advocate of inclusive design. The inclusive design program that she established and led at Desire2Learn, was awarded the Nation Federation of the Blind’s highest honour: The Jacob Bolton Award. It was featured alongside Apple and Oracle’s programs in the book: “Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy” by Jonathan Lazar, Daniel F. Goldstein, Anne Taylor. She has presented on inclusive design across North America, including at TedX UWaterloo, A11YTO, ID24 and at the Fluxible conference. She is the Design Lead at the Sonova Innovation Lab.
Adrian is a founding partner in the training and organizational development firm of Great Lakes Learning Inc. For more than 30 years he has had extensive experience working with a variety of clients in leadership training, developing strategic direction, facilitation of management of change, team building and development of teams at all levels. He has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Kitchener since 1986 in a number of administrative and committee roles and a board member for the past 11 years. He has been a part of the District Training Committee for the past 15 years and has just completed his fifth year as the Director of Training for Rotary District 7080. He is currently the Chair of Rotary Leadership Institute, and Chair of the District 7080 Strategic Planning Committee. He is a multiple recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship, one of Rotary’s highest honors.
Michael Duschenes – Chair, KidsAbility Foundation
Michael Duschenes has spent over 35 years as a senior executive and management consultant. As Managing Director and COO at the Perimeter Institute since 2004, he has worked alongside Directors Howard Burton, Neil Turok and Rob Myers overseeing a major period of growth, establishing the institute as one of the world’s leading centres for foundational theoretical physics. Prior to joining Perimeter Michael held a number of leadership positions, primarily in the not-for-profit sector. He has also worked as a management consultant specializing in strategic and business planning, revenue generation, and organizational development. Over the course of his career, Michael has been involved with organizations and projects in Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. He is a native of Montreal and a graduate of McGill University. Michael lives in Waterloo and has two university age children.
Vikki was born and raised in Guelph and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo. She and her husband Jake have four children and five granddaughters. Vikki has had a long and winding journey with KidsAbility, beginning in 2001 as the manager of the newly opened West End Community Centre, which was also the new home for the KidsAbility Guelph site. Working with Denise Watson this partnership grew and strengthened quickly. In 2010, her son and daughter in law were blessed with a daughter who was a micro preemie and six months after Ella's birth, began a new relationship as a "Nonna" to a KidsAbility client. Her Ella is a past Guelph Ambassador. In 2017, Vikki retired from the City of Guelph after four decades of service but shortly thereafter agreed to become the project manager for the new KidsAbility site that would now include Autism services. After a successful completion of the project and grand opening she applied to become a board director. Vikki is currently Vice Chair of the Wellington Catholic DSB and has been a trustee for 25 years. In 2019 she received the Provincial Award of Merit for outstanding service. In 2017 she was awarded the Tony Brenner Mentor Award from the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association. Vikki champions children every chance she gets, believing that "every child is gifted, they just unwrap their packages at different times."
As a Chartered Professional Accountant and Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s (EY’s) accounting and assurance practice, Theresa’s focus is on the private and mid-market companies in Southwestern Ontario. Theresa has over 20 years of public accounting experience—providing accounting, business advisory and auditing services to growing organizations, including early stage technology companies, manufacturing companies, service-based entities and not-for-profit organizations. Theresa is Past Chair of the Board of Governors of the Grand River Hospital Foundation and is currently a member of its Finance Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Waterloo and currently lives in Waterloo with her family.
Sean is a partner practicing business and technology law in Gowlings' Waterloo Region office. His practice involves assisting clients in a wide variety of business and technology matters with a particular focus on early-stage technology companies. He is an active member of a number of community organizations in KW and Guelph. Sean resides in Guelph with his wife and three young children.
Ann graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor’s degree in Systems Design Engineering and a Master’s degree in Statistics. Ann’s professional experiences include the responsibility and leadership for process improvement, team facilitation and organizational coaching initiatives. She believes in the power of teams to accomplish exceptional results. Ann joined the Family Advisory Council at London Children’s Hospital in 2007 to support the Hospital in its efforts to improve patient and family-centred care. As a council member, Ann presents to hospital staff and administration on the criticality of health-care providers partnering successfully with parents, to achieve optimal results. She lives in Waterloo with her two beautiful girls and is thankful for KidsAbility’s role in her older daughter’s recovery!
Linda Kenny, Chief Executive Officer
Linda Kenny is the Chief Executive Officer of KidsAbility Centre for Child Development. Prior to her appointment to KidsAbility in April 2013, Linda was the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services (OACRS) the provincial umbrella group representing all 20 Children’s Treatment Centres. Linda has over 25 years of experience in the field of disability, having held positions with SCI Ontario, March of Dimes Canada and the Simcoe County Association for the Physically Disabled.
Over her career, Linda has consistently demonstrated her leadership skills in service delivery, client affairs, government relations, community development and sector knowledge. Dedicated to the pursuit of an integrated and seamless system of supports and services for Ontario's families, Ms. Kenny brings extensive experience in strategic leadership, organizational development and stakeholder relations.
Mary has lived in Cambridge for the past 41 years. Mary is an occupational therapist by training and worked at KidsAbility (then the Rotary Children's Centre) from 1977-83. She then worked for many years as a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Mary is co-founder of CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, a multidisciplinary research centre at McMaster University. She participated in many evaluation and outcome studies about children's rehabilitation until retiring in 2014. In Cambridge, Mary has been actively involved on the Board of several community organizations. In 2018, Mary was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Rick is the General Manager of
Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. WFS
serves Ontario agriculture by providing feed, premix, and nutritional services
for about 25% of the farm animals (poultry, swine, cattle, etc.) in the
province. Rick and his wife Nancy
(Accountant at WFS) live in Elmira. They
have two daughters: Shelley, who owns
and operates Arts Abound, an inclusive arts center for kids in St. Jacobs, and
Stephanie who works at the family business (WFS). Rick has a B Math from University of Waterloo
and an MBA from York University. Rick
serves on many boards and wants to make a difference in the local
community. His charitable interests
include addiction, homelessness, affordable housing, income disparity, human
trafficking, welcoming immigrants, health, education, and the arts.
Melissa was born and raised in Milton, Ontario and moved to the Tri-City area in 2001. She sits on the Family Advisory Council for Empowered Kids Ontario (EKO), is the President of her son's Sledge Hockey Team (Woolwich Thrashers), and works part-time as a personal trainer. She and her husband, Peter, have a 15-year-old son that has been a client at KidsAbility for over 15 years, where he and their family have benefited tremendously from the support and services the program provides. Her passions include all different types of sports, spending time outdoors, reading, and most of all spending time with her family and their dog, Manchester.
Eileen is Shad Canada’s national lead on program strategy
development and execution. Knowing her work makes a difference in the lives of youth, Eileen thrives on helping prepare the next generation of Canadian leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs make a meaningful difference in communities around the world.
Prior to joining Shad, Eileen spent over 20 years as a human resources executive in the financial services sector, fostering peoples’ highest possible engagement, potential and performance. Eileen has an HBA in Sociology, an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and completed the Adult Education program at St. Francis Xavier University. In her spare time, Eileen lends her time to not-for-profit organizations, cheers on her son from the baseball stands, and loves to cook and eat, bike and travel with her husband and son.
Elizabeth is Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and has a 35-year history of public service as a trustee and school board Chair, Kitchener-Waterloo MPP, Deputy Premier, Minister of Labour, Health & Long-Term Care, Environment and Education. As an MPP, she was a tireless community advocate and brought the Cancer Centre to Grand River Hospital and the Cardiac Centre to St. Mary’s Hospital.
She has received many awards such as the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Rotary, the Social Work Doctors Award for her strong commitment to a just and caring society, the 2013 Kitchener-Waterloo Citizen of the Year Award and in 2014, was the first recipient of the Asthma Society of Canada Innovation in Public Policy Award for her role in beginning Ontario’s coal phase-out. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Althouse College of Education and the ICD Rotman Program.
Lisa Talbot, CFRE - Executive Director, KidsAbility Foundation
Lisa has been with KidsAbility since 2000. She is a member of the Waterloo Region Fund Raising Executives and Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph and Leadership Waterloo Region, a local executive development program. Lisa earned her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation in 2013. Her leadership has enabled KidsAbility Foundation to develop strong community support and KidsAbility to enhance its profile as an important, innovative and knowledge-sharing organization.