Our board of directors


Alison Twiner

Chair: Alison Twiner (Vancouver) 

“I have fond memories of canvassing my neighborhood for Heart & Stroke as a young girl, connecting with our community and sharing stories of heart health and stroke awareness. Knowing that access to information and early intervention vastly improves health outcomes, it is a privilege to serve and connect more Canadians with Heart & Stroke’s important work and impact.”

Alison Twiner has spent her career working at leading technology companies like Facebook, Google and DoubleClick during early stages of their growth in Canada. She was group director of global marketing solutions at Facebook & Instagram Canada from 2010 to 2017, where she worked with the team responsible for guiding strategy, planning and implementation of business solutions and for building strategic marketing relationships with Canada’s largest marketers and agencies. Prior to Facebook, Alison held a similar role building the business of Google in Canada. Throughout her career Alison has used her curiosity about communications and technology to deliver strategic and tactical solutions that drive growth in a changing digital and mobile world. She is currently a Digital Marketing and Strategy Consultant and has a BA with distinction from McGill University.

Past chair: Andrew Pipe, MD (Ottawa)

"I am honoured to be able to serve such a vibrant organization which has contributed so much to transforming the lives of Canadians by reducing the burden of heart disease and stroke as a consequence of its research, educational and advocacy activities."

Dr. Andrew Pipe joined our Ontario Provincial Board in 2010 and has been a member of the Heart & Stroke Ontario Mission Committee since 2006. He previously co-chaired our Council on Mission: Priorities, Advice, Strategy and Science (CoMPASS).

Andrew graduated from Queen's University in 1974. Formerly chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, he is a professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Ottawa. Andrew is involved in clinical research assessing new approaches to smoking cessation, strategies designed to facilitate exercise adoption, and novel initiatives to prevent cardiovascular disease. Andrew 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.

Andrew is a past president of the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada, has been a physician at 13 Olympic Games, and is currently Team Physician for Canada's National Women's Soccer Team. As a member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, he served as the Chair of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport from its inception until 2003.

Andrew is the recipient of the International Olympic Committee's Award for Sport, Health and Wellbeing and holds honorary degrees from Queen's University, Brock University and the University of Guelph.  In 2002 he was named to the Order of Canada.


Penny Ballem

Penny Ballem, MSc, MD, FRCP, FCAHS (Vancouver)

“As a senior government health policy decision-maker over many years, I have had the remarkable opportunity to work with Heart & Stroke, watching it evolve into the most coherent and effective agency in Canada, working for the heart and vascular health of our public. It is such a privilege to be able to serve on the board of this remarkable organization.”

For the last seven years, Dr. Penny Ballem served as the city manager of the City of Vancouver. During her tenure, Vancouver experienced a remarkable rise in its global brand built on the success of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the City’s innovative policy agenda in the area of sustainability, its comprehensive healthy city strategy and its innovation economy. Penny served on multiple boards including VANOC Canada, Canada Line, the Vancouver Board of Trade, EComm and the Street to Home Foundation.

Since graduating from UBC with her medical degree in 1978, Penny has had a diverse career in the health and government sector as a clinical professor of medicine, researcher and senior administrator in various academic institutions in British Columbia. 

In 2001 Penny was appointed deputy minister of health for the Province of BC and was one of the longest serving health deputy ministers in Canada (2001 – 2006). While deputy minister, Penny co-chaired the Federal/Provincial Territorial Conference of Deputy Ministers of Canada and served on a number of key boards including Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and as a member of Canada Health Infoway.

Nadine Caron

Nadine Caron MA, MD (Prince George, BC)

Dr. Nadine Caron is Canada’s first woman Indigenous general surgeon. She is internationally renowned for her advocacy work addressing the disparities of rural, remote, northern and Indigenous communities.

Reaching extraordinary success since her university days as a star student and basketball player, Nadine was the first female First Nations student to graduate from UBC’s School of Medicine (as the top student) and was named one of Maclean’s 100 Canadians to Watch.

While completing her surgical residency, she achieved her master’s degree in public health at Harvard. Today she continues to distinguish herself as an outstanding surgeon, researcher, mentor, educator, patient advocate and community leader.

Nadine is a faculty member in the Northern Medicine program at the University of Northern BC, an associate faculty member at Johns Hopkins Centre for American Indian Health, and an assistant professor with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine. Through role-modeling and public speaking, she encourages First Nations youth to share her love of learning and further their education.

Thomas Feasby

Thomas Feasby, MD (Calgary)

“I have been interested in stroke since my early days of training with Dr. Henry Barnett who put stroke and Canada on the map through the first clinical trials in stroke. I was inspired by the work of Dr. Alastair Buchan who developed the Calgary Stroke Program into a world leader. Canada continues to lead the way with new advances in the prevention and treatment of stroke.”

Dr. Thomas Feasby is a professor of neurology and was the dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary from 2007 to 2012. Prior to that, he was an associate dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Alberta and vice-president academic at Capital Health in Edmonton.

Thomas is a graduate of the University of Manitoba who trained in neurology at Western University and did post-graduate training at the Institute of Neurology in the UK and at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica CA. He was head of the department of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary 1991 – 2002, where he founded the Calgary Stroke program in 1993. His research work has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and he has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers. He received an honorary degree from Western University in 2013 and the Medal for Distinguished Service from the Alberta Medical Association in 2014. He serves on the boards of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and on the advisory board of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.

Fox Maggie

Maggie Fox (Hamilton)

Maggie Fox is a senior digital marketing leader who has spent more than a decade leveraging disruption to deliver business value; she now advises first-time CEOs of high-growth Canadian startups.

Maggie is the former CEO and founder of Social Media Group, one of the world’s first pure-play social media consultancies. More recently she was chief marketing officer at both Aeroplan and Workhuman, a Boston based software company. From 2013 to 2016 she was global senior vice president of marketing for enterprise software giant SAP.

A seasoned digital transformation leader and disruptor, Maggie has been interviewed about leadership and social and digital trends by Inc. Magazine, The Washington Post and CBC Radio, among others. In 2011, The National Post named her one of Canada’s Top Innovators, and Marketing Magazine included her in their list of the 100 most influential marketers. Besides serving on the Heart & Stroke national board, Maggie is vice chair of the provincial board for Heart & Stroke, Ontario & Nunavut.

John Kelleher

John Kelleher (Toronto)

“I feel very humbled to be joining such a tremendous group of leaders and such a special organization. Like many, heart disease has touched my life very personally. I am looking forward to doing my very best to advance our important mission”.

John Kelleher is a partner and in-house CEO/CXO in McKinsey’s turnaround unit that focuses on providing elite leadership talent to drive large-scale turnarounds. John is an experienced turnaround CEO & private equity executive who has driven multiple successful turnarounds across a range of industries. His specialty is corporate finance, financial modelling, private equity/mergers and acquisitions, and accounting. John’s career has been focused on private equity and leading complex corporate turnarounds. John’s core strength is his ability to combine investing skills and experience with his ability to lead people and execute as a CEO.

John co-chairs NEXT Canada, Canada’s leading program for entrepreneurial development. In this capacity, he works with some of Canada’s top business leaders to build disruptive startup companies that challenge large industries. He has served extensively as a director on for-profit and non-profit boards and has also been an active technology angel investor.  

John’s writing on corporate governance, corporate finance, and technology has been published in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Toronto Star, McKinsey Quarterly, and Director (the magazine of the Institute of Corporate Directors), among other publications.

He holds an Honours BA in business administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business where he graduated as Gold Medalist; an MA in public administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; and an MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated with distinction. 

Caroline Lavalee

Caroline Lavallée (Montreal)

“We are who we are and where we are because someone ―and perhaps even an organization― has helped us get there. As a person with lived experience, I am grateful for all the work Heart & Stroke does and the research it makes possible, because it is thanks to research that my heart was repaired and that I can do anything I want. Contributing to Heart & Stroke’s mission is a privilege and my way to say thank you.”

Caroline is a communications strategist and the president of Catalyst Communications, a consulting firm she founded two years ago, after having spent over 20 years as a consultant and leader in public relations firms and in large organizations in a variety of industries, including insurance and financial services, aerospace and health, among others.

Caroline is a volunteer spokesperson for Heart & Stroke and is co-chair of the National Committee for Women’s Heart and Brain Health. In October 2018, she was presented with the Heart & Stroke Distinguished Service Award for her dedication and for providing a significant contribution to the Foundation. She is the 2019 recipient of the Government of Canada’s volunteer awards in the community leader ― Quebec category, recognizing her leadership in developing solutions to social challenges in the community.

Caroline graduated with a degree in human resources management from HEC and a degree in public relations from the University of Montreal. She also had an academic training in pedagogical design and adult education at UQÀM and is a certified trainer by the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail.

Lothian Derek

Derek Lothian (Regina)

Derek Lothian is a nationally recognized business advocate, strategist, and public affairs executive, with 14 years of senior leadership experience guiding organizations through complex change. 

He currently serves as CEO of the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan, and as a director on the board of Innovation Saskatchewan and the Heart & Stroke national board. He is often tapped as an advisor to private, publicly traded, and not-for-profit entities spanning advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defence, agriculture, bio-sciences, and construction. 

Derek previously held posts as vice president and national director of communications for Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters — the country’s largest trade and industry association; as co-founder and editor of Prairie Manufacturer Magazine; and as founding chair of the Saskatchewan Manufacturing Centre of Excellence — a three-year joint training initiative focused on lean process improvement, leadership development, Indigenous engagement, technology adoption, and commercialization. 

He spearheaded the creation of the Manufacturing Management program at Athabasca University, and has been recognized for his contributions to the sector with several awards and distinctions, including being named to CBC’s Future 40, PR in Canada’s Top 30 Under 30, and as a Premier’s Award nominee in Ontario. 

Derek holds a diploma in public relations from Ottawa’s Algonquin College, and is in the process of obtaining his ICD.D designation in corporate governance through the Institute of Corporate Directors and the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

Kostia Pantazis

Kostia Pantazis (Québec)

“Heart disease and stroke do not discriminate; they affect Canadian families regardless of race, age or gender. I am proud to be part of an organization that saves lives through research, education and awareness.”

Kostia Pantazis joined the Heart & Stroke Québec advisory board in 2013 and was vice-chair of the national volunteer engagement committee.  She has been chair of the provincial advisory board since December 2018. 

With more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, Kostia has been president of Pantazis & Associés, Courtiers d’Assurances Inc. since 2000.  In addition to managing and growing her own business, she has actively participated in several professional and philanthropic organizations. She was a member of the board of directors of the SAAQ (Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec) as well as president of the Hellenic Board of Trade of Montreal.  She has been a member of the board of directors of the YWCA-Montréal since 2012, having previously served on the board of its foundation as vice-president. 

In 2019 Kostia was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Hellenic Board of Trade to recognize her success in the business community as well as her commitment to philanthropy.  

Charlene Ripley

Charlene Ripley (Vancouver)

Charlene Ripley is the executive vice president and general counsel at SNC-Lavalin, a global fully integrated professional services and project management company where she leads the legal and integrity teams.  

Charlene also serves as an independent director on the board of Keyera Corp. (TSX:KEY) and is a member of Keyera’s compensation and governance and health, safety and environment board committees. 

From 2013 to 2019 Charlene was executive vice president, general counsel at Goldcorp Inc., a multi-national gold mining company. Prior to Goldcorp, she served as senior vice president, general counsel at Linn Energy and as vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, both in Houston. 

Charlene holds a bachelor of arts, with distinction, from the University of Alberta and earned her law degree from Dalhousie University. 

Charlene was a past member and former board chair of Heart & Stroke, BC & Yukon. 

In 2018, Charlene was honoured with the Business in Vancouver’s Influential Women in Business Award and in 2017, she received the Lexpert Zenith Award Celebrating Women in Law. In 2015 and 2016 she was recognized with the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award.

Portrait of Rebecca Schalm

Rebecca Schalm, PhD, ICD.D (North Vancouver)

“The mission of Heart & Stroke became very personal to our family when my father underwent heart surgery in 2011. I am honoured to serve an organization committed to improving the lives of so many Canadians."

Dr. Rebecca Schalm is founder & CEO of Strategic Talent Advisors Inc. She provides boards, management teams, and human resources executives with expert advice and innovative succession, development and talent management solutions. She has assisted organizations for over 20 years in building talent capability that enables business strategy.
Prior to founding Strategic Talent Advisors Inc. in 2014, Rebecca was senior vice president and chief human resources officer of Finning International Inc., a $7 billion public company and the world's largest Caterpillar sales and service organization. 

She is currently chair of the board of Vantage Point, an organization that provides leadership and governance education for not-for-profit leaders in British Columbia. She is also a director of PHS Community Services Society, an organization dedicated to providing housing, service and advocacy for poorly served members of Vancouver’s downtown east side and beyond. She is a former board member of OEM Remanufacturing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Finning International Inc.

In 2014, Rebecca was a candidate for Diversity 50 (Canada’s only national database of qualified, diverse candidates for corporate board appointments). She is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Director Education Program and achieved her ICD.D designation in 2016.

She holds a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Guelph.

Glenn Sauntry

Glenn Sauntry, B.Eng, MBA (Toronto)

Glenn Sauntry joined the Ontario provincial board in December 2014. He joined the investment subcommittee of the Heart & Stroke national board in 2015. A graduate of McGill University, Glenn is vice chair of BMO Capital Markets. Prior to his current position, he was a head of Bank of Montreal’s Canadian Corporate and Investment Banking Group. Glen has been at BMO or its successors for the last 22 years. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at Scotiabank.

Glenn has broad experience in advising boards of directors on a wide range of financial matters including mergers and acquisitions, financial strategy and capital raising. Glenn has also previously served on the board of directors of Burns Fry Limited and SP Finance Ltd. Glenn has been a consistent Heart & Stroke donor for the past 10 years and has been a keen supporter of Ride for Heart each year.

Besides serving on the Heart & Stroke national board, Glenn is also on the provincial board for Heart & Stroke, Ontario & Nunavut.

Chris Tambakis

Chris Tambakis (Toronto)

Chris Tambakis is the CEO, North America, Adgar Investments & Development. Adgar is an active, long term owner of office investments with holdings in North America, Israel and Europe.

A graduate of the Ivey School of Business, Chris has over 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry. He brings significant knowledge and transaction experience in the acquisition, sale, leasing, financing and operating of real estate throughout North America.

Chris is an active and passionate community volunteer with charities and organizations in the arts education, community, and healthcare areas. He received the Community Service Award from the Real Estate Excellence (REX) Awards.

Besides serving on the national board of Heart & Stroke, Chris also chairs the provincial board for Heart & Stroke, Ontario & Nunavut. He is a member of the Ivey Business School Advisory Board at Western University, and the boards of the Ontario Science Centre and the Toronto Santa Claus Parade. Previously, he has served on several boards including the North York General Hospital Foundation where he served as vice chair and campaign chair.