KidsAbility Foundation Board of Directors (2019-2020)
Michael Duschenes, Chair
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.
Kate Durdan, Vice-Chair
Kate has spent 30 years working in Operational and Human Resources leadership roles spending 18 years in a variety of management and director roles at Mutual Life, Clarica, and SunLife. For the past 12 years she has worked in the manufacturing sector most recently overseeing HR for Barrday Advanced Material Solutions in Cambridge Ontario. Kate has an Honours B.A. in Political Science from Queen’s University as well as various industry designations including her CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) designation. She has been involved with a variety of charitable organizations including Big Sisters, KWAG, and The Museum as well as in numerous capacities in the schools and sports organizations with which her two sons were involved.
Mardi Witzel, Past Chair
Mardi is a graduate of Queen's University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political studies. After working in the advertising industry with J. Walter Thompson and Brighthouse Inc., she obtained an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University. Mardi spent ten years working with AT&T Payment Processing Solutions, leading their worldwide product management and marketing groups. She has previously been a regular contributor to the Waterloo Region Record. Mardi lives in Waterloo with her husband Terry and has four children. She previously served as a member of the KidsAbility Foundation Board (2000-2006).
Karen Grogan, Treasurer
Karen is the Partner in Charge of KPMG’s Forensic practice for Southwestern Ontario. With 25 years of experience, Karen has conducted forensic reviews and investigations for public, private, municipal and not-for-profit organizations as well as business valuations for tax and dispute purposes. She has testified as an expert witness in criminal and civil proceedings in both the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Vancouver Supreme Court as well as been involved in various mediations and private arbitrations. Karen is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), a Chartered Accountant (CA), a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), is Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and was designated by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants as a specialist in Investigative and Forensic Accounting.
Karen served as the Treasurer on the YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015 and has been an active member of its Finance Committee since 2003. At KPMG, Karen has also been involved in various volunteering activities assisting local organizations such as House of Friendship, St. Monica House and Steckle Heritage Farm.
Katherine Bergman, Secretary
Katherine is the past President and Vice Chancellor of St. Jerome's University. She has served on numerous university and community boards, and committees, in the communities where she has lived. She was appointed to the National Round Table on the Economy and the Environment, served as President of the Canadian Council of Deans of Science and Chair of the Saskatchewan Registered Nursing Association Education Committee. Katherine is a Rotarian and has been actively involved in many community‐based organizations such as Big Sisters, Ontario Early Years Centre, the Mattawa Conservation Authority, Saskatchewan Science Centre and the Queen City Kinsmen Gymnastics Club.
Dave is currently a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at the RaeLipskie Partnership, a private wealth management firm located in Waterloo. He has been with the firm for three years, having previously been a Portfolio Manager at CIBC Wood Gundy. Dave is a graduate of the University of Waterloo with an Honours BA in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. He is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a CFA Charterholder, having attained the designation in 2014. Dave lives in Kitchener with his wife and son.Wayne Chang
Wayne is currently an Associate Vice President at KPMG Corporate Finance, where he provides broad range of financial advisory services to his clients, including sell-side M&A, buy-side due diligence and capital advisory. He has a deep understanding of accounting, business valuations, corporate finance and financial consulting services. Wayne graduated from the University of Waterloo. He holds a Master's degree in Accounting and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. Wayne is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder, and a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV).
Leigh has been married to a great guy named Curtis for 27 years and has 2 beautiful daughters, Alex (26) and Mackenzie (23), and a son in-law Evan (26).Leigh currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Centre for Family Business, is part of the Fundraising Committee for Campus Ministry at St. Jerome’s University and every Thursday night she volunteers playing cards or board games with the residents at Beechwood Manor assisted & independent living. Leigh’s family has a wholesale distribution company, Win-Leader Corp., where she is the President.
Since retiring in 2005 from their family business, volunteering has become Sue’s full time job. She has been involved with many charities including YWCA, St Mary’s Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Lyle S Hallman Foundation and Strong Start.She loves facilitating her Senior Group at her church. Sue is a member and is on the programming committee for Twin City Probus. Over the past 20 years Sue has devoted many hours to KidsAbility serving on the Foundation and Centre Boards, as well as volunteering in the classroom. Sue is very proud to have introduced Strong Start to KidsAbility School four years ago, where she has been the co-ordinator since its inception.Sue and her husband Jim love to travel, alone or with their travel group. Their claim to fame is a motorcycle journey across North America over a course of 6 years, putting on 60,000 km on the bike. In her spare time, Sue enjoys reading, walking, exercising, golfing in the summer, curling in the winter and spending as much time as possible at her cottage.
Valerie’s board and committee leadership experience includes serving as Chair of Centre In The Square, the Rotary Centre (now KidsAbility) School Authority, and KW Synchronized Swimming Club, as acting chair of the Clinical Research Ethics Committee at the University of Waterloo, and as a Trustee with the Waterloo Region Law Association.
Valerie practised law for more than thirty years. She was a partner with Sims Clement Eastman, practising commercial litigation, employment law, and insurance defence. She was a full-time law professor at Conestoga College before returning to civil litigation practice, with a boutique firm in Hamilton, Pavoni Patton DiVincenzo. She continued to practise civil litigation with Kay Law Professional Corporation assisting clients with matters involving commercial litigation and employment law.
Kate is a mediator with MacDonald Mediation Inc., specializing in resolution of insurance related matters. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1987 and is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and attended the Advanced Mediation training at the Harvard Negotiation Institute, Cambridge, Mass. Kate served as an executive on the Board of Directors of the Guelph Synchronized Swim Club for 5 years and is the President of the Mayfield Park Community Association. Kate lives in Guelph with her husband and two daughters.
Leanne makes great ideas grow as a marketing and business leader. She is currently a Director of Marketing Sun Life Financial where she’s leading a creative team to solve business problems using agile methodology. She is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, where she obtained both her BBA and MBA with the School of Business and Economics. Prior to joining Sun Life, Leanne worked across a variety of industries as a marketer, leading initiatives for not-for-profit, tech and small business clients. Her hobbies include multi-tasking to audiobooks, touring our local wine country, and spending time with her husband and twin daughters.
Rob Way is currently CEO of Swiftspace Inc., a company dedicated to transforming rigid workspace situations into simple, fast and flexible solutions. Rob's involvement with health care dates back more than a decade, when he and a co-worker formed Softcare Innovations Inc. in 1995. Rob held the position of President with Softcare Inc. Rob also has been active in the community for a number of years. He is the Chair of the KW Hockey Helps the Homeless Tournament. He has also served as Chair of the Board of St. Mary's General Hospital, both President and Fundraising Chair of the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo, Treasurer of the Kitchener Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, and has been a Board member and past Chair of Governance for the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation. Rob obtained his Honors Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, in 1982, and his Professional Chartered Accountant designation in 1984. He currently lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with his wife, Michele. They have two boys.
Tracey is currently the Director, Client Care Operations in Group Retirement Services at Sun Life Financial, and a part-time instructor in the Lazaridis School of Business, at Wilfrid Laurier University where she enjoys teaching and mentoring students. Tracey is a graduate of York University, where she obtained an Honours BA in Psychology and Sociology, Cum Laude. Tracey is also a graduate of the University of Toronto, receiving a Master of Information Studies. She has completed the Wilfrid Laurier MBA program (finance concentration); and has also completed her CPA, CMA designation. Tracey has previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Research in Motion(BlackBerry) in leadership roles. Tracey is the past president and board chair of Our Place Family Resource and Early Years Centre in Kitchener, and is a past Director at YMCA Kitchener-Waterloo. Tracey was recently published as a Women of Merit in Waterloo Region and a nominee for Rogers Oktoberfest 2015 Women of the Year in the Community Service category; she is also an executive member and Treasurer of Rotary Waterloo. Tracey also won a WOW Award as a Community Hero for all her volunteering in the community. Tracey is married with 2 children and loves seeing the world through their eyes as they continue to grow up. Tracey’s passion is volunteering and working on behalf of our community, specifically in the area of children with complex needs.
Sandra Hanmer, Board Chair, KidsAbility
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.