Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

MS Society Board of Directors 2021-2022

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.


Marilyn Emery (Ontario), Chair

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.

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.

John Folka (British Columbia), Past 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.

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.

Joe Healey (Manitoba), Treasurer

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.


Michael Giuffre (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.

Kent Kirkpatrick (Ontario)

Kent Kirkpatrick

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)

Brian Kusisto

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.

Guy Langevin (Quebec)

Guy Langevin

Guy is an executive advisor with more than 30 years experience in executive positions (CIO, COO and CEO) in private as well as public organizations.

Professionally, he has a track record of managing risks, creating and implementing innovative strategies, as well as extensive international experience in governance of Information Technology, Cyber Security, project management, fiscal management, operations, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, international trade compliance, information systems, and telecommunications and Enterprise Risk Management.

A quick study, Guy rapidly understands complex organizations, identifies key risks, success drivers, develops and explains strategies using easy-to-apply models. With deep experience in Cyber Security, Information Technology, telecom, finance, manufacturing, supply chain and operations, he can bridge the hugely different worlds of these critical functions to achieve exceptional results.

After serving on non-profit boards for almost 15 years, he obtained the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation from The Directors College in 2021.

He is also a bilingual P.Eng. with a master's in Project Management and a CGEIT certification. Personally, Guy is grand-father and a passionate ski instructor in Quebec.

Shashi Malik (Alberta)

Shashi Malik

Shashi Malik, MAcc, CPA, CA, J.D., TEP, is a senior partner practicing tax law. He helps clients with mergers, acquisitions, and corporate reorganizations. He is the former Managing Partner for the Calgary office and was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee from January 2014 to January 2019.

Shashi advises on tax matters relating to private and public equity and debt financing transactions, resource flow through financing structures, the use of partnerships and trusts as alternative business vehicles, and the structuring of cross-border investments and tax structuring and corporate advice to private multinational companies.

Shashi regularly advises on the tax effective acquisition of Canadian entities by multinational entities, involving in the appropriate circumstances hybrid entities and exchangeable shares, and on corporate restructurings involving multinational entities to improve tax efficiency and the flow of funds.

Shashi also has significant experience with dispute resolution involving taxation authorities. His tax experience also covers a broad range of commercial and corporate matters, including shareholder and partnership agreements and shareholder disputes.

Other leadership roles include previously serving as a member of the By-laws and Rules Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta since 2009. Shashi also serves as a Director of several private companies and is a Director of the MS Society (Calgary Branch). Prior to becoming a lawyer, Shashi practiced as a tax manager with two different national chartered accounting firms and has instructed for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta. Shashi speaks frequently for the Canadian Tax Foundation and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, including with respect to tax planning for private corporations and their shareholders, the TOSI rules, Subsection 55(2), Life Insurance in Succession Planning, amendments to the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty and cross-border investments, the taxable Canadian property rules, and the safe practice of taxation and tax adviser negligence.

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.

Rheanna Robinson (British Columbia)

Rheanna Robinson

Dr. Rheanna Robinson is a Métis mother, scholar, and advocate for Indigenous health and education. She was raised on Wetsuwet'en territory (Smithers, BC) and has resided on the territory of the Lheidl T'enneh Nation (Prince George, BC) for the last twenty years. Rheanna completed her PhD in Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia in BC'S lower mainland, but has a deep commitment and love for Northern BC and all it has to offer.

Diagnosed with MS in 1997 at the age of 19, Rheanna was determined to still pursue her goals and dreams despite the adversity she was facing. Her post-secondary experiences bolstered her ambitions to contribute to research and knowledge translation and her desires to be part of important collective conversations about priorities for Indigenous people and their communities.

Prior to taking a leave from her active and engaging career as a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia due to significant MS progression, Rheanna did not ever disclose she lives with MS. However, now, as an Ambassador for the MS Society, disclosure has afforded her important opportunities to highlight the impact of MS on Indigenous people and their communities and systemic barriers in the health care system.

Always committed to principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, Rheanna looks forward to engaging further with the MS Society of Canada and broadening the perspectives and voices for all Canadians impacted by Multiple Sclerosis.

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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