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Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario: Provincial Board of Directors

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario Provincial Board of Directors bring unique passion to the Foundation’s mission of preventing disease, saving lives and promoting recovery. Our diverse, 15-member Board is comprised of leadership volunteers with extensive financial, business and health expertise. The Provincial Board provides crucial advice, support and connection to the community, to the Provincial CEO and Foundation with respect to the Foundation’s activities in Ontario.

Michael Barrack, LL.B. - Chair of the Board
Michael Barrack joined the Ontario Provincial Board in November of 2011. Mr. Barrack was the Vice-Chair of the Board in 2013 and Chair of the Board Development Committee. Currently, a Partner at Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP, previously Mr. Barrack was with McCarthy Tétrault for 28 years and a member of their inaugural Board of Directors. 

Mr. Barrack is Past President of The Advocates' Society and a founding director of Pro Bono Law Ontario. He has appeared as counsel in Canada, England and the United States. With a law degree from York University, Mr. Barrack was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1982. His volunteerism includes the past position of Vice Chair of the Board of Unison Health and Community Services.

Mr. Barrack is the first male in his family to reach age 50. On his father's side, the men in his family have fallen victim to early deaths from myocardial infarctions due to high cholesterol. With him and two of his three sons genetically predisposed to this condition, Mr. Barrack’s reasons for supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation are clear. He has been a supporter of Heart and Stroke for many years.



Michael Barrack, LL.B.

Barry Cracower – Past Chair of the Board
Barry Cracower joined the Ontario Provincial Board in November 2004 and was Chair of the Board from November 2010 to February 2014. A dedicated leadership volunteer, Mr. Cracower has held numerous positions with the Foundation including Vice Chair of the Board, Chair of the Fundraising and Marketing Committee, Chair of the Board Development Committee, member of the Lottery Management Advisory Group and member of the Ontario Community Advisory Group. Mr. Cracower is also a member of the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and was Chair of the Provincial Chairs Advisory Group (PCAG) for the past two years. In June 2013, Mr. Cracower was appointed Chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, the leading research partnership in the world dedicated solely to stroke recovery, in which the Foundation is a key stakeholder. Mr. Cracower received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in February 2013 and the 2013 Tony Graham Award in September 201.

With an extensive career in marketing and sales in the retail sector, Mr. Cracower brings business, entrepreneurial and consulting experience to his Foundation role. Founder and former President of Rexall Drug Stores, Mr. Cracower is currently the CEO of Baycrest Global Solutions as well as an active member of several profit (public and private) and not-for-profit boards including The Martin Ross Group, Zast Foods and Dominion Citrus.

Mr. Cracower is a graduate of Sir George Williams College (now Concordia University) and holds an MBA from Columbia University. He has completed his Certified Director designation with the Institute of Corporate Directors.



Barry Cracower

Navdeep Singh Bains, MBA, CMA
The Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains joined the Ontario Provincial Board of Directors in February 2014. He has over ten years of experience in the public and private sectors with a demonstrated track record of implementing new initiatives and driving transformative change from the Ford Finance Department to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Elected to parliament in 2004, Mr. Bains served as Human Rights Chair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Chair of Platform Development and Party Renewal for the Liberal Party of Canada and in several senior shadow cabinet portfolios including International Trade and Natural Resources.

Mr. Bains has extensive experience in advocacy and public affairs and a successful track record of fundraising for various causes. He is a noted advocate on diversity; speaking to groups across Canada and is the recipient of various community awards recognizing his work on the issue. He is currently a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University, Ted Rogers School of Management and a lecturer at the University of Waterloo in their Masters of Public Policy program.

Mr. Bains is on the board of directors for Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and is a member of the advisory board for the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation at University of Toronto.



Navdeep Singh Bains

Maggie Fox
Maggie Fox joined the Ontario Provincial Board in February 2013. Ms. Fox is the Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing at SAP, responsible for delivering a unified digital experience to SAP customers and the market. Prior to joining SAP, Ms. Fox was founder and CEO of Social Media Group, established in 2006 and one of the world's most highly respected independent agencies helping businesses navigate the socially engaged Web. She has been interviewed by Inc. magazine, The Washington Post, CBC Radio, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, CTV News and The Financial Post, among others. In 2011, The National Post named her one of Canada's Top Innovators. Maggie also sits on the boards of GetElevate.com.



Maggie Fox

Lisa Heidman, LL.B.
Lisa Heidman joined the Ontario Provincial Board in June 2010 and currently sits on the Board Development Committee. Ms. Heidman holds a law degree from McGill University and is Senior Client Partner, North American Director of Bedford Legal. Prior to joining The Bedford Group, Ms. Heidman was a Principal with Ray & Berndtson and a Senior Consultant with Knightsbridge in Toronto. Before launching her career in Executive Search, Ms. Heidman practiced law in both Canada and the United States as a Senior Corporate Attorney specializing in mergers and acquisitions

In addition to her work with HSF, Ms. Heidman is Board member with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto and Women of Influence. She has also been appointed to the Canadian Senior Executive Task Force responsible for launching the Women’s Food Service Forum in Canada.



Lisa Heidman

Colleen Johnston, F.C.A.
Colleen Johnston has been a member of the Ontario Provincial Board since November 2006. Ms. Johnston’s previous HSF experience includes Chair and Past Chair of the Board, Chair of the Board Development Committee and Chair of the Mission Committee. Ms. Johnston was also a member of the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

A graduate of York University, Ms. Johnston is Group Head Finance and CFO of TD Bank Group. She joined TD Bank Group in March 2004 as Executive Vice President, Finance Operations after spending 15 years with Scotiabank in various senior positions. Ms. Johnston has previously served as Chair of Bridgepoint Health and the ShareLife Corporate Campaign. She is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Schulich School of Business at York University and is also a member of the Canadian Board Diversity Council.

Ms. Johnston has received numerous top industry honours as a senior finance executive and various awards recognizing her role as a leading woman in business in North America. In 2012, she was recognized as Canada’s CFO of the Year, an award that is presented annually by Financial Executives Canada, PwC and Robert Half International. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in February 2013. More recently, Ms. Johnston was awarded the Catalyst Canada Honours in the Business Leader Category.



Colleen Johnson

Michael Kessel, MBA
Michael A. Kessel, MBA, CPA joined the Ontario Provincial Board in June 2010. Mr. Kessel is President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic Canada, and an executive with 20 years of experience in strategy, finance, operations and entrepreneurial activities. In addition to his work at Cleveland Clinic Canada, he is a member of the International Chief Executives in Canada Committee of the Conference Board of Canada. Mr. Kessel is also an active member of Young Presidents Organization and serves on the Upper Canada chapter New Member Committee.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Canada, Mr. Kessel was Co-founder and Vice President of Business Development and Finance for the Center for Partnership Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital /Trio Health in Chicago. In this role, Mr. Kessel was instrumental in the development of a network of executive health and wellness programs with leading medical centers throughout the United States. The program was ranked as one of the top in the country by Forbes and Fortune magazines. Mr. Kessel was also Finance Manager and then Interim Finance Director for Cardinal Health Medical Products and Services, a manufacturer of medical, surgical and laboratory products in Illinois. Additionally, he was Co-founder and the Chief Financial Operations Officer for Ignition State Group, LLC, a web strategy and development firm based in Chicago. As President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic Canada, Mr. Kessel oversees the operations of the Canadian facility, as well as program development, medical staff recruitment and operational efficiency.



Michael Kessel

Tamara L. Lawson, CA
Tamara Lawson joined the Ontario Provincial Board in March 2011. She was Chair of the Finance and Investment Committee for Ontario. Currently, Ms. Lawson is Chief Financial Officer of Starlight Investments Limited. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Lawson served as both Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Inn Vest REIT and Chief Financial Officer of Westmont Hospitality Group, one of the largest private owner/operators of hotels worldwide. She has over 25 years of financial management and capital markets experience. Ms. Lawson has held several senior executive positions at major Canadian companies, including Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Chapters Inc. and Treasurer of Sears Canada Inc.

Ms. Lawson holds an MBA from York University and is a Chartered Accountant. She currently sits on the Board of Choice Canada, the largest franchisor of hotels in Canada.



Tamara Lawson

G. Peter Oakes, CA
Peter Oakes joined the Ontario Provincial Board in November 2008. Mr. Oakes is also a Board member with the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, and chairs the Finance and Operations Committee.

Currently, Mr. Oakes is the Principal, Peter Oakes & Associates Inc. – Interim Management. Prior to this, Mr. Oakes held various positions including Chief Financial Officer, Ontario Realty Corporation; Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Foresters Insurance; Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Mitchell International and Chief Financial Officer/Senior Vice President, George Wimpey Inc. and George Wimpey Canada Limited.

Mr. Oakes sits on the Board of Tarion Warranty Corporation. He holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School and is a Certified Director with the Institute of Corporate Directors.



Peter Oakes

Richard C. Pettit, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D, CIRP (ret’d)
Richard Pettit joined the Ontario Provincial Board in July 2009 and currently sits on the Board Development Committee.

Mr. Pettit retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers in June of 2009. Previously, Mr. Pettit was a Partner with the Corporate Advisory and Restructuring ("CAR") practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP/Coopers & Lybrand where he was responsible for managing large and complex corporate restructurings, inclusive of managing businesses in a variety of industries, marshalling the right resources and building cohesive teams and effective reporting structures. Mr. Pettit was also a member of the Advisory Practice Leadership Team at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

His other Board memberships include Board member, Audit Committee member, Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee Chair and member of Rainy River Resources Limited; former Past President/President, Former Treasurer and Board Member of Insolvency Institute of Canada and Board and Finance Committee member, Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation. Mr. Pettit was awarded his ICD.D. designation by the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2009.



Richard Pettit

J. Geoffrey Pickering, MD
Dr. Geoffrey Pickering joined the Ontario Provincial Board of HSF in 2009 and is currently a member of the Ontario Mission Committee, Chair of the Ontario Research Sub-Committee and a member of the Council on Mission, Priorities, Advice, Strategy and Science (CoMPASS). Previously, he was a member of the HSFC Scientific Review Committee and Chair, Scientific Review Committee IVa.

Dr. Pickering is a Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry, and Medical Biophysics at the University of Western Ontario. He is also the Co-Director, Molecular Medicine at Robarts Research Institute and Director of Research, Division of Cardiology at Western University. Dr. Pickering is the holder of the Heart and Stroke Foundation/Barnett Ivey Chair at the Robarts Research Institute.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Dr. Pickering’s other Board memberships and affiliations include Board member and President, Canadian Society of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Past Chair, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Cardiovascular System C Peer Review Committee; and past Executive Board member and Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Hypertension Society.



Geoffrey Pickering

Andrew Pipe, MD
Dr. Andrew Pipe joined the Ontario Provincial Board in November 2010. He has been a member of the Ontario Mission Committee since 2006 and is currently its Chair. Dr. Pipe is also the Co-chair of the Council on Mission, Priorities, Advice, Strategy and Science (CoMPASS).

Dr. Pipe graduated from Queen's University in 1974. Currently, Chief of the Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Dr. Pipe is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He is involved in clinical research assessing new approaches to smoking cessation, strategies designed to facilitate exercise adoption, and novel initiatives to prevent cardiovascular disease. Dr. Pipe has addressed audiences in over 30 nations and is frequently consulted on issues related to tobacco use and smoking cessation, drug use in sport, and physical activity and health.

In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Pipe has been extensively involved in sports and sport medicine for many years. He is currently President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada. Dr. Pipe served as a physician at eight Olympic Games and has been the Team Physician for Canada's National Men's Basketball Team since 1978. A member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, he served as Chair of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport from its inception until 2003.

Dr. Pipe is the recipient of the International Olympic Committee's Award for "Sport, Health and Wellbeing" and holds honorary degrees from Queen's University (LLD), Brock University (DSc) and University of Guelph (DSc). He was formerly Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Queen’s University. In 2002 he was named to the Order of Canada.



Dr. Andrew Pipe

Chris Tambakis
Chris Tambakis joined the Ontario Provincial Board in February 2013. Mr. Tambakis is the Chief Executive Officer, North America, Adgar Investments & Development. Adgar is an active owner of office investments with holdings in North America, Israel and Europe. Mr. Tambakis has over 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry with significant knowledge and transaction experience of real estate throughout North America.

Mr. Tambakis is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business. He is an active and passionate community volunteer with charities and organizations in the arts, education, community, and healthcare areas.



Chris Tambakis

Karima Velji, RN, PhD
Dr. Karima Velji joined the Ontario Provincial Board in February 2013. She is a health care executive with over 25 years of progressive leadership experience spanning the full continuum of care. Her expertise encompasses development and implementation of innovative care models, inter-professional practice, together with quality and safety systems that foster patient-centred outcomes. She has continually demonstrated excellent strategic, execution and people leadership skill-sets aligned to achieving transformational results, vibrant organizational culture and high performing teams. Dr. Velji has specific expertise in creating evidence-based practice mechanisms to operationalize the mission of academic health science centres. Dr. Velji is a peer-funded scholar, awards recipient and sought after keynote speaker. She is an active global volunteer and community leader.

Most recently, Dr. Velji was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Executive at Baycrest, a global leader in developing innovations in aging and brain health. Previously, she was the Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Dr. Velji’s leadership and advisory responsibilities extend provincially and nationally. She is the President-Elect of the Canadian Nurses Association. In addition to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, she is a member of the Board of Directors of Accreditation Canada, University of Toronto (Mississauga Campus), Canadian Nurses Foundation and Assessment Strategies Inc. Dr. Velji was recently appointed as an external reviewer for the Veteran’s Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care/Sunnybrook Hospital.

Dr. Velji has cross appointments to the University of Toronto and McMaster University. She has won several outstanding achievement awards including the Sigma Theta Tau Excellence in Administration award, University of Toronto Distinguished Alumni award, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Margaret Comack Award of Excellence in Nursing Leadership, and the Award of Excellence in Teaching (student nominated) from the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at University of Toronto. She is profiled in the boundless banner campaign as an outstanding alumnus of University of Toronto. Dr. Velji is a consultant to global sites, including East Africa, the Middle East and Asia, for development of nurse credentialing/education programs and quality improvement methodologies.



Karima Velji

Anthony Graham, MD – Honorary Director
Dr. Anthony Graham has been an Honorary Director of the Ontario Provincial Board since 2003. His Foundation experience includes member of the Ontario Provincial Board from 1978 to 2003 and Board Chair and President from 1986 to 1988. Dr. Graham has been a member of various Foundation committees and task forces including the Inter-Provincial and CEO Search Task Forces, the External Relations and Research Policy Committees. His HSFC Board experience includes two terms – from 1986 to 1995 and 2004 to 2009. He served as the HSFC Board Chair from 1991-93 as well as the Chair of the Heart and Stroke Scientific Research Corp. from 1992-93 and 1998-2001. Currently, Dr. Graham is also a member of the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Since 1998, Dr. Graham has served as Director of Ambulatory Care for the Heart and Vascular program at St. Michael's Hospital. He is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In his clinical practice, Dr. Graham is involved in developing pre-hospital Emergency Cardiac Care Programs for heart attack victims and is active on a range of advocacy issues promoting heart healthy lifestyles. He currently is the Medical Director, Robert McRae Heart Health Unit of St. Michael’s Hospital and Medical Director of Philanthropy for the St. Michael’s Foundation.

In 2002, he became a Member of the Order of Canada and in 2008, Dr. Graham was honoured with HSF’s Heart of Gold Award for his loyalty, service and significant impact on the Foundation’s mission. In 2002, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and in 2012, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. More recently in February 2013, Dr. Graham received the Award of Merit 2012 for exceptional contribution to the mission of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.



Dr. Anthony Graham

Updated February 24, 2014