Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

MS Society Board of Directors 2020-2021

The affairs of the MS Society are managed by the MS Society Board of Directors. More specifically, the board is mandated to make, monitor and amend national policy decisions relating to all levels of the MS Society; provide overall strategic direction and monitor strategic progress; approve the annual consolidated budget; monitor and approve financial statements; oversee the work of the president and chief executive officer; and make investment decisions at the national level.

Many members of the MS Society board have MS or have loved ones with MS. The quality of the oversight provided by the board hinges on these important perspectives and many others. The MS Society values and protects the privacy of people with MS. In this spirit, we do not require our volunteers to disclose whether they have MS or have loved ones with MS.

Officers

John Folka (British Columbia), Chair

John Folka

John Folka graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in Economics and went on to become a chartered accountant articling with KPMG LLP. He is currently a partner in the KPMG Enterprise practice working with private companies as well as non-profit organizations.

John became involved with the MS Society in 1999 since participating in the MS 100 Hole Golf Challenge and the MS Bike Tour. John is a past chair of the British Columbia and Yukon division board and involved in various board committees.

Susan Senecal (British Columbia), Vice Chair

Susan Senecal

Susan Senecal is the President and Chief Executive Officer at A&W Food Services of Canada. In this role, Susan has responsibility for strategies to market and grow the business of one of the country’s top restaurant brands.

Susan joined A&W in 1992 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in Operations, Development and Marketing. She is a former Director and Past Chair of the Board of Restaurants of Canada and has also served as a Director on the Board of the British Columbia-based Coast Capital Savings. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University.

Susan plays a major role in A&W’s work with the MS Society of Canada. For the past ten years, A&W and the MS Society have created a variety of fundraising events and activities leading up to Burgers to Beat MS Day in August. Since 2009 A&W has raised $ 13 million toward supporting the Society in its mission to find a cure for MS and improve the lives of those touched by MS.

Valerie Hussey (Ontario), Past Chair

Valerie Hussey

Valerie Hussey has held numerous leadership roles at the MS Society at both the national and division level since 2008. In 2011, Valerie joined the MS Society of Canada board of directors and has served as vice-chair and as chair of both the government relations and governance committees. Valerie is also a member of the leadership advisory council and was a member of the Society’s renewal initiative task force and the renewal initiative oversight committee. As a past director on the Ontario Division board, she served as board chair, vice-chair, past-chair and provided leadership to the governance committee.

Valerie was publisher, president and chief executive officer of Kids Can Press from 1979 to 2006, having played a leading role in the evolution of the Canadian children’s publishing industry for more than 30 years. Under her direction, Kids Can Press developed an internationally successful publishing program.

She has served on numerous government advisory councils and industry and not-for-profit boards, including the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Women’s College Hospital and Tides Canada. She is currently on the board of Art of Time Ensemble. In 2007, Valerie received the Order of Canada for her work in publishing.

Gayelene Bonenfant (Alberta), Treasurer

Gayelene Bonenfant

Gayelene Bonenfant is a volunteer with the MS Society of Canada, Alberta and Northwest Territories division and is the past chair and former treasurer to the division council. She is the past chair of the national investment committee and is a member of the governance committee. She is an active fundraiser and helped to launch the endMS campaign and build support through her networks for “People Against MS” (PAMS) events, among other initiatives. She is a longtime supporter of the endMS network and training school, and a recent inductee to the Opal Society.

Professionally, Gayelene is the President and CEO of KuSu Inc. and the CFO of Growbotix AgTech Inc., former controller of Freemont Resources and was the CFO of Athena Resources. Gayelene completed her MBA at Royal Roads University with a specialization in executive management with a focus on Sustainability and Innovation. Additionally, Gayelene is a Project Management Professional (PMP) candidate, has completed work in Future Studies with Foresight Canada, and is a member of Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

John Clifford (Ontario), Secretary

John Clifford

John is a senior partner of McMillan LLP (Toronto), where he focuses his practice on M&A transactions. He has extensive experience advising a diverse group of clients on domestic and cross-border acquisitions and divestitures and the legal requirements for establishing new businesses in Canada. John also is a recognized expert on antitrust/competition matters.

John has been a dedicated volunteer of the MS Society of Canada since 2002, when he was first elected director of the Ontario and Nunavut Division. While on the board (from 2002 – 2014), John held numerous leadership positions including chair, vice-chair and honorary legal counsel. From 2007 to 2011, he also served as a director of the National board of the MS Society of Canada. During his tenure on the MS Society and Ontario and Nunavut Division boards, John was very active on both division and national committees. He chaired both the national and Ontario and Nunavut Division governance committees, was chair of the government relations committee, and was a member of the endMS campaign Ontario cabinet.

Directors

Lynda Archambault (Quebec)

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Lynda Archambault learned that she had MS on October 23, 1994. Over the next ten years, Lynda kept this to herself for several reasons, including her willingness to protect her children. Lynda later felt the need to get involved with the MS Society, first to give hope to her daughters, and then to help change the image of multiple sclerosis in the eyes of people, since she had met many people in recent years who knew little about this disease or who had misconceptions about it.

As a result, in 2004, Lynda and her husband participated for the first time at the MS Bike, held by the Quebec Division of the MS Society.

For fifteen years, Lynda has recruited her team members, Pédaliers de l’avenir, among her friends and other members of her entourage, and each recruited participant must meet a minimum fundraising threshold to maximize the results of the team. While some wish to get involved without taking part in the MS Bike tour, Lynda offers them the opportunity to volunteer at one of the fundraising events she organizes.

Lynda and her team make a lot of effort to raise funds for the MS Bike tour. Since 2004, significant sums have been delivered by the Pédaliers de l’avenir to the MS Society of Canada, and the total amount raised by the team is gradually approaching a million dollars.

The second event organized by Lynda and the members of her team consists of an evening of humour. This highly-popular event attracts around 200 people from year to year and raises $100 000.

Lynda is an extremely determined woman who mobilizes a large number of people every year for the benefit of the MS Society. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Quebec Division of the organization. What makes her the proudest is to bring all these people together towards a common goal.

Rahil Dattu (Ontario)

Rahil Dattu

Rahil has been an active volunteer with the MS Society of Canada since 2007. He currently serves as chair of the Ottawa chapter council. For a number of years, he has volunteered at Ottawa’s MS Walk and MS Bike events and has also participated in the MS Kilts Fore a Cure golf tournament. At a national level, Rahil has been a Director of the MS Society of Canada since 2015 and is a member of the governance committee. Professionally, Rahil has held a number of operational, management and sales roles over the course of 20 years working as a researcher in the private and public sector.

Marilyn Emery (Ontario)

Marilyn Emery

For over three decades, Marilyn Emery has been a transformational leader within Ontario’s healthcare system, producing outstanding results in various positions in both clinical and leadership roles.

For the past 12 years, Marilyn led the innovative redesign of Women’s College Hospital into Canada’s only academic, ambulatory hospital with a focus on the health of women.

Her passion and dedication to revolutionizing healthcare and closing health gaps through innovation in clinical, research and education resulted in unprecedented solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing our health system.

Marilyn lives her commitment to advance the health of women and girls through extensive community partnerships and services that have increased access and reduced barriers for the diverse communities the hospital serves while championing patient-informed, inclusive and responsive care.

Beyond her role as CEO of WCH, Marilyn is also recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in Ontario’s health sector and has been a hospital CEO since 1989. At St. Joseph’s Health Centre, she not only revamped the hospital’s financial and business performance, but also transformed the patient experience, attaining the greatest improvement in patient satisfaction ever achieved by an Ontario hospital. As president and CEO of Markham Stouffville Hospital, Marilyn oversaw the construction of a new 220-bed community hospital – on time and under budget. As CEO of the Central East Local Health Integration Network, Marilyn led the planning, co-ordination and integration of healthcare services reaching 1.4 million people.

Throughout her career, Marilyn was a mentor and helped propel the careers of countless health professionals, researchers and leaders. Her mentorship has been key to developing women as executives and in leadership positions at WCH and across the country.

Marilyn’s leadership, courage and pioneering spirit have made her a popular and inspirational guest speaker and lecturer. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing Education from University of Western Ontario.

Michael Giuffre, M.D., MBA (Alberta)

Michael Giuffre

As a Clinical Professor of Cardiac Sciences and Pediatrics at the University of Calgary, Dr. Giuffre maintains a portfolio of clinical practice, cardiovascular research, and university teaching. He maintains on-going involvement in both the health care and biotechnology business sectors. Dr. Giuffre is Past President of the Calgary and Area Physicians Association (CAPA) and a past representative to the board of the Calgary Health Region. Dr. Giuffre holds a B.Sc. in cellular and microbial biology, an MD and an MBA. His Canadian Royal College board certified specialties include Pediatrics, Pediatric Cardiology and a subspecialty in Pediatric Electrophysiology. He serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the SADS Foundation. He is a past six year national board member of Unicef Canada and a past nine year board member of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA). He has been a past board member of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and sits on CMA committee’s Nominating Committee and Indigenous Health. He has also been an MD-MP contact for the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Giuffre received a Certified and Registered Appointment by the American Academy of Cardiology, “Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Cardiology”. Dr. Giuffre also sits as a board of director member of several biotechnical companies, and is chair of the board for Foodchek Systems Inc.

Joe Healey (Manitoba)

Joe Healey

Joe is the office managing partner of the Winnipeg office of Ernst & Young. Joe volunteers with the Manitoba division of the MS Society and is the past chair, Manitoba division board of directors. Joe has been an active supporter and participant of MS Walk and MS Bike, serving as the MS Bike event chair in 2014.

Joe has over 20 years of transactions and restructuring experience advising clients across a wide range of industries, including agriculture, transportation, aviation, oilfield services, pipeline and facility construction, manufacturing and distribution, real estate, aquaculture, forestry, food processing, technology, and retail.

Prior to joining the EY Winnipeg office in 2008, Joe worked in the St. John’s, NL, Saint John, NB and Edmonton, AB offices of Ernst & Young, where his responsibilities included progressively senior roles delivering restructuring and corporate insolvency mandates, mergers and acquisition advisory services, and valuation advisory services. Joe is currently the chair of the investment committee and a member of the finance, audit and risk management committee.

Kent Kirkpatrick (Ontario)

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A graduate of Western University, Kent had an extensive thirty year career in municipal government that ended with his retirement in 2016 after twelve years as City Manager for the City of Ottawa.

Throughout his career, Kent has been an active member of the communities in which he lives and works. He served four consecutive terms as an elected member of the Council of the Town of Carleton Place. He is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Western University’s Local Government Program Award of Excellence and an Algonquin College honorary degree recognizing exemplary achievement in education, industry, community service and other areas of leadership.

Kent has a long commitment to the MS Society of Canada. Diagnosed with MS in 1998, he shortly after volunteered as a member of the Ottawa Chapter Board. In 2011, he joined the Ontario and Nunavut Division Board, and currently serves as Council Chair. In 2016, he was asked by the Society Board of Directors to chair the Community Facing Task Force which worked with staff and leadership volunteers across the country and reported back to the Board in 2018, recommending the adoption of the Community Engagement Model.

Brian Kusisto (Saskatchewan)

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Brian is the Chairman of the Sexton Family of Companies which are four family owned companies in the building materials industry. Previous to being named Chairman in February, Brian was the CEO of these companies for the past 13 years. His business focus for the next few years will be to successfully transition the ownership of this 53- year old business to the third generation of the family.

Brian’s exposure to MS began early in his life as his mother was diagnosed with MS when he was very young. As an older adult, Brian developed a passion for mountain climbing and has completed three major climbs around the world as fundraisers for charities with significant personal meaning to him including the Canadian Liver Foundation and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. In 2011, Brian climbed Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas, to raise money for MS in honour of his late mother.

Jean-Sylvain Ouellette (Quebec)

Jean-Sylvain Ouellette

Mr. Ouellette has been a dedicated volunteer with the MS Society of Canada since 2016, where he was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors for Montérégie Chapter. Since then, he has been actively involved in the fundraising of the section. He has also been involved at the national level as a member of the Community Facing Task Force mandated to put in place the community collaboration model and as a community representative in the process of evaluating applications submitted at the MS Society's Annual Research Grants and Fellowships Competition.

On the academic level, he holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Administration (MBA). On a professional level, he held various strategic positions in several line of business at National Bank of Canada for nearly 30 years.

Tracey Wahba (Saskatchewan)

Tracey Wahba

Tracey graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor’s of Nursing in 2003. Her nursing practice has taken her to Thailand, rural Alberta, Calgary, Regina and Haiti. Tracey presently works as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department in Saskatoon.

Tracey lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband and their three young children. She spends her spare time volunteering at their children’s school and has served on the preschool board of directors for 5 years.

She became involved with the MS Society not long after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011. She formed a cycling team, The Remyelinators in 2012 for a provincial MS Bike Event. Since that time the team has raised over $194,500 for MS Bike. As a top fundraiser, Tracey has been fortunate to attend various MS Bike events across the United States.

Since her diagnosis Tracey has mentored several other young women with MS along their journey.

Kim Wilson (New Brunswick)

Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson has been a dedicated volunteer with the MS Society since 1989. She is currently Chair of the Atlantic Division Council; is a member of the Community Facing Task Force and is an active fundraiser and participant in the annual New Brunswick MS Bike Tour. 

Professionally, Kim is the Regional General Manager at Hillcore Atlantic Retirement Living and has previously held management roles in both the telecom and gaming industries. She holds a graduate certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Public Relations degree (with a French concentration) from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

President and CEO, Pamela Valentine

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