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.

Fox Maggie

Vice chair: 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 spends her time advising first-time CEO’s of high-growth Canadian startups. Fox is the former CEO and founder of Social Media Group, one of the world’s first pure-play social media consultancies, and more recently Chief Marketing Officer at both Aeroplan and Workhuman, a Boston-based software company. From 2013-2016 she was Global Senior Vice President, 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, 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, and Marketing Magazine included her in their list of the 100 most influential marketers. Fox is also board Chair for The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario & Nunavut.


Sonia Anand

Sonia Anand, MD, PhD (Hamilton, Ontario)

Dr. Sonia Anand is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University, is the Director of the Chanchlani Research Centre focussed on Health Equity Research, and is a Senior Scientist at the Population Health Research Institute. Sonia received a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster in 1992, internal medicine training at McMaster and a fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1996. 

After additional clinical training in thrombosis and in vascular medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Sonia works as a vascular medicine specialist at Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. Sonia further received her master’s in clinical epidemiology at McMaster in 1996 and Ph.D. in health research methodology at McMaster in 2002. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Population Health Research. 

Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. Sonia has been awarded more than 30 million dollars in research funding in the last 10 years including two recent COVID-19 observational studies. Sonia’s work is widely published amongst academic journals with over 380 scientific publications, and in 2019 she was inducted as a Fellow to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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.

Jason Chang

Jason Chang, CFA, ICD.D (Toronto)

A senior investment executive with over 25 years in the investment and portfolio management industry, Jason was formerly the Managing Director and Head of Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada.  He led the team responsible for the overall fund’s exposures to these global asset classes and the related active investment programs.  Previously, Jason held various other portfolio management and investment-related responsibilities spanning global credit products, debt issuance, counterparty credit management and liquidity management. 

Jason has been active in many professional associations including the Canadian Fixed-Income Forum which was established by the Bank of Canada, and the Fixed Income Advisory Committee for the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).  He has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company as well as having acted as chair of their Investment Committee, and served on the Board and Executive Committee for the Investor Leadership Network.  In 2019, Jason was a recipient of Women in Capital Markets’ Champion of Change Award which recognizes excellence in leadership, commitment and creativity in advancing equality in the Canadian finance industry. 

Jason is a graduate of the Ivey School of Business and has received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and he is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Director Education Program and achieved his ICD.D designation.

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.

Gavin Oudit

Dr. Gavin Y. Oudit, MD, PhD (Calgary)

"I have had many opportunities afforded to me during my career and have benefitted from exceptional mentoring and support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Being a member of the board of directors allows me to give back and to support, and guide future generations. I am deeply honoured to serve an organization committed to improving the lives of so many Canadians."

Dr. Gavin Oudit is Professor of Medicine and Clinician-Scientist at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, University of Alberta. He completed the Clinician-Investigator Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, followed by training in adult cardiology at the University of Toronto. He completed a four-year post-doctoral fellowship in the molecular biology of heart failure. 

Gavin was part of the team that discovered ACE2, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2, leading to the development of recombinant human ACE2. This discovery has created a unique opportunity to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular disease and health. He designed and led the biomarker component of the Alberta HEART prospective cohort to study HF with preserved ejection fraction. He has created a unique and extensive tissue database of human explanted heart samples which have led to the creation of the first “Spatial Cell Atlas of the Adult Human Heart” including efforts to support diversity.

Gavin is currently a Canada Research Chair in Heart Failure, Director of the Heart Function Clinic at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. His clinical activities with a primary emphasis on heart failure and cardiomyopathies. He introduced the use of supportive care, genetic counselling and testing, and created a virtual care pathway for patients. He is the primary cardiologist in the Neuromuscular Multidisciplinary Clinic that provides care to vulnerable patients with muscular dystrophy.

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.  

Ratika Parkash

Dr Ratika Parkash (Halifax)

Dr. Ratika Parkash obtained her medical degree in 1996 from Dalhousie University. She completed her residency in internal medicine/cardiology in Ottawa from 1996-2002, followed by a fellowship in cardiac electrophysiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 2002-2004. Ratika obtained a master’s of science in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004. She has been a professor of medicine at Dalhousie University since 2004. She has two major areas of research:  atrial fibrillation (AF) and cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs). 

Currently, Ratika is involved in a number of clinical trial initiatives in atrial fibrillation focused on mechanisms of disease and management strategies, as well as a large trial in catheter ablation and heart failure. She continues to investigate prevention of recurrent atrial fibrillation in patients with a high symptom burden to prevent future cardiovascular events and improve quality of life. In addition, she investigates cardiac implantable electronic devices in the areas of device recalls, management, outcomes, complications, heart failure, and virtual care strategies, as well as prevention of sudden death. She is the past chair of the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society Device Committee and has been lead investigator in initiatives to improve outcomes in patients with cardiac implantable devices.

Ratika is the associate scientific director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Network, dedicated to reducing sudden cardiac death, atrial fibrillation and syncope in Canada and holds a University Research Professorship at Dalhousie University. 

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.

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.

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.