Board of Directors

The Board of Directors have a mandate to oversee and steward how Kids Brain Health Network conducts business. Accountable to the NCE Secretariat, the Board reports twice annually on Kids Brain Health’s activities and progress. The Board has also created a number of committees to guide various aspects of Kids Brain Health. Board meetings are held at least four times per year. The Board comprises twelve to fifteen Directors, each who serve one- to three-year terms, renewable for a further term. Directors represent academic, business, and community sectors. Kids Brain Health is fortunate to have an exceptionally qualified and diverse group of Directors, who are rich in experience, and have an active interest in helping Kids Brain Health realize its vision.

Board responsibilities

  • Provide overall guidance on the management of Kids Brain Health operations
  • Provide direction to the strategic plans and objectives of NeuroDevNet
  • Approve Kids Brain Health business plans, budgets, and financial reports
  • Review the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Research Management Committee



Sheila LaredoChairBio
Sheila Laredo, Chair of the Board of Directors, received her MD from the University of Toronto in 1991, and specialized in endocrinology and metabolism. She holds a PhD in clinical epidemiology. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Medicine. Her clinical interest is in women's reproductive health, and particularly, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Her research interest in PCOS focuses on the role of insulin resistance and obesity on reproductive health outcomes. She is an enthusiastic teacher, has supervised many students, residents and fellows, and has been the recipient of research and teaching awards. At Women’s College Hospital, she is the Chief of Staff. She is also the parent of four children, two of whom have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She has advocated for 13 years for effective evidence-based interventions for children with ASDs. This has included her participation in a Charter of Rights challenge (Wynberg et al v. Ontario) as a litigant and expert witness. She has worked with individual families to help them obtain services, with the Ministries of Children and Youth Services and Education in the Government of Ontario (member of Autism Reference Group and Expert Clinical Panel), and participated in the legislative process (e.g. Senate of Canada at the Enquiry on the Funding for Treatment with Autism, the Standing Committee on Social Policy in Ontario Legislative Assembly on the Developmental Services Act). She continues to advocate for the creation of public policy that provides appropriate evidence-based services and support for individuals with ASD and other disabilities throughout their lives. She is teaching medical trainees about public health policy advocacy and has supervised several social justice advocacy initiatives with these students.
Colin DeaconVice-ChairBio
Mr. Colin Deacon is the Founder of BlueLight Analytics Inc. a dental technology company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Colin started his career as a runner and eventually a research analyst with a stockbrokerage firm in “The City” in London, England. After 10 years as a stockbroker in England and Canada, Colin was searching for something new and joined Coopers & Lybrand Consulting Group in Ottawa as a management consultant. His early projects were in the health care and health research field. In particular, Colin was the project manager for the Medical Research Council of Canada’s (MRC) first strategic planning process involving over 3,000 stakeholders in Canada’s 16 academic health science centres. The resulting plan helped to guide the development of new partnerships and activities, including the refocusing and renaming of the MRC when it became the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Colin went on to help build Canada’s largest health research venture capital fund, before becoming an entrepreneur. After a successful exit from his last startup venture in education, Colin founded BlueLight Analytics, which helps your dentist to make sure that your dental fillings are long-lasting and safe.
Donna DuncanMemberBio
Donna Duncan is an experienced public sector board member and executive, with extensive experience in health care and post-secondary education. Most recently, Donna served as the President and CEO of the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Toronto’s largest children’s mental health treatment, research and teaching centre and a University of Toronto community affiliate, serving more than 8,000 families annually. Donna led Hincks-Dellcrest through transformational change and extensive programmatic and quality improvements, culminating in Hincks-Dellcrest’s integration with The Hospital for Sick Children in 2017. Prior to her role with Hincks-Dellcrest, Donna served on the executive team of The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), where she successfully led the campaign to secure approvals for the transformational redevelopment of CAMH’s Queen Street campus. She also has extensive experience within government, having served in senior staff roles with federal and provincial ministers, and with the United Nations. Donna has a deep commitment to advocacy and to volunteerism. In addition to her service on the Board of Kids Brain Health Network, she sits on the Board of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Board of Children’s Mental Health Ontario. Most recently, Donna chaired the Board of Seneca College and the provincial College Employer Council.
Glenys GodlovitchMemberBio
A philosopher and lawyer, Glenys Godlovitch came to health law and ethics through a happy coincidence when she moved for family reasons to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1994. Before then, Glenys had practiced law in Alberta and taught occasional university courses in philosophy, jurisprudence and criminal law. In New Zealand, Glenys's first job was as a lawyer with the regional health authority. In 1996 she took an academic position in law and philosophy at Lincoln University. She joined the Canterbury Ethics Committee in 1996 and began to focus on and publish in bioethics, medical law and property law. Glenys also chaired the university research ethics committee until she and her family returned to Canada in 2002 where she took up a position at the University of Calgary. At Calgary she chaired the University's Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, taught and supervised students in health law and ethics, and served on a number of national and provincial committees to help harmonize research ethics review. Following her retirement from the Faculty of Medicine in 2012, Glenys chaired the Alberta Cancer Research Ethics Committee in addition to serving on the steering committee for MICRYN (Mother, Infant, Child and Youth Research Network). Special highlights for Glenys in her pursuit of contributing to health research ethics include being asked to serve on the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Committee, and being given the feather which she still carries with her to all meetings as a reminder of her responsibilities and the trust placed in her. Her core interests are health research and bio-banking, registries, and secondary use of health information. She maintains bioethics connections in New Zealand as well as remaining an active author with recent publications in various neurosciences and research journals, and the ethics chapter in the 5th edition of Health Care and the Law (New Zealand).
Julia HanigsbergMemberBio
Julia Hanigsberg is President and CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada’s largest paediatric rehabilitation hospital and an academic health science centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. Each year Holland Bloorview serves 7500 children and youth with disabilities and complex medical needs spanning more than 1000 diagnoses. Its Bloorview Research Institute is an international leader in the field of childhood disability research. Through its Teaching and Learning Institute, the hospital welcomes hundreds of students from across all disciplines each year. Holland Bloorview’s vision is “The Most Meaningful and Healthy Futures for all Children, Youth and Families.” Prior to joining Holland Bloorview Julia spent 9 years at Ryerson University, first as General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors and then as Vice-President, Administration and Finance. Prior to that Julia worked in a number of roles within the Ontario government including counsel to the Secretary of Cabinet and Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of Ontario. A lawyer by training Julia has law degrees from McGill University and the Columbia Law School. She has held Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Fulbright Fellowships. Julia has served on numerous volunteer boards and currently she is a member of the boards of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Heath Centres, Canadian Business SenseAbility, and on Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, the CEO Committee of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network, the Executive Advisory Board of FIRST Robotics Canada, the FIRST Robotics Canada Girls in STEM Advisory Council and McGill University’s Women, Leadership and Philanthropy Committee.
William KovalchukMemberBio
William is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and an M.B.A. degree from McGill University. Prior to starting Claret, Bill was formerly Managing Partner of AMI Private Capital, responsible for the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offices from March 1993 until July of 1996 when the division was purchased by Toronto Dominion Bank. Before this, he was Vice President of Newcastle Capital Management from 1991 to 1993, a firm specializing in the use of derivative products for institutional accounts. Bill began his career at Burns Fry Limited in 1986 as the first Bankers Acceptance Futures Trader on the floor of the Montreal Exchange, was promoted to the position of a Government of Canada Bond Options Market Maker, and then progressed as an Institutional Futures and Options Sales Representative. He has worked in institutional derivative markets in Canada since 1986, and has an extensive background in risk management. He has written numerous articles, been featured on CBC TV Business Report, Radio Canada, Bloomberg, VIP Forum Washington and has been a guest speaker for the Strategy Institute, Treasury Management Association of Canada, North American Society of Securities Auditors (NASSA), Quebec Securities Commission (AMF) and the Montreal Society of Financial Analysts in addition to all 10 Societies of Financial Analysts across Canada. He spoke at the 1998 annual CFA Institute global conference in Phoenix.
David KuikMemberBio
David is a founder and CEO of Norima Consulting Inc. Under David’s leadership, Norima has been engaged by a number of North America’s most innovative independent financial institutions, as well as insurance companies and energy utilities that are rising to be leaders in their industries. David is passionate about working with organizations that are leveraging technology to innovate and enable the next stage of growth. As CEO, David has led the growth of Norima Consulting, building a team of disciplined, top-tier professionals and providing pragmatic, results-oriented solutions to clients. David is actively engaged in the visioning and conceptualization of solutions, with a focus on balancing solution purity and business drivers to achieve realized business value. He is uniquely skilled in his ability to understand complex technical issues and distill and communicate actionable solutions. David has recently worked with teams at LPL Financial, Cetera Financial, LightYear Capital, KIOSK Information Systems, Qliance Medical, and One Roof Energy. Prior to founding Norima Consulting, David served as the Director of Software Architecture at LPL Financial, the largest Independent Broker Dealer in the United States. David has over 20 years of consulting experience with a particular focus on enterprise architecture, system integrations and implementations in the financial services industry.
Patrick LaffertyMemberBio
Patrick D. Lafferty served as Chair of Kids Brain Health Network's Board of Directors from 2014-2016, having joined as a director in 2012. Mr. Lafferty retired in 2002 after more than 38 years serving PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Toronto, London (U.K.), Montreal, New York, and Ottawa. He provided auditing, business valuation, financial management, and strategic planning services to the private sector, regulated industries, three levels of government, Crown corporations, and the United Nations. This included terms as: Assistant Auditor General of Canada; member of the Public Sector Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants; co-author of a governance study entitled Effectiveness Reporting and Auditing in the Public Sector; and national leader of government, telecom industry and postal services. He also served on the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation, The Friends of the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Henry G. Friesen International Prize for Health Research, Opera Lyra, THe Rideau Club, and The Country Club. Through the 1990s he provided strategic planning support to: the Medical Research Council, The Canadian Medical Discovery Fund, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, most branches of Health Canada, the Ontario Cancer Research Network, Rick Hansen Foundation, the Canada West Health Innovation Council, and several universities and research institutes. In retirement he served as a member of the Ontario Cancer Working Group, and provided strategic planning services to St. Boniface Hospital Research Institute, Genome Canada, Ontario Photonics Institute, and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. In 2013, he was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian Health Research.
Nicky LewisMember, Ex-OfficioBio
Nicky brings more than 20 years’ experience in senior management and executive leadership roles in public health and health research administration. Returning to Canada after three years in Australia driving research and innovation projects at Murdoch University and leading research development at the renowned Telethon Kids Institute, Nicky is uniquely and ideally positioned to guide KBHN, having served four years as the inaugural executive director of the Network from its inception as NeuroDevNet. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance leading the development of a national breast cancer research framework. Her past positions have also included Director of Research for Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada and Assistant Director to CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. A graduate of Dalhousie University, she holds an MSc in the health field, and was predominately educated in the UK.
Brett SharpMemberBio
Brett Sharp is an Associate Director in the UBC Univeristy-Industry Liaison Office (UILO) and oversees the group in the UILO with responsibility for technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property from UBC. He joined the office in 2001 as a technology transfer officer following completion of his Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry at UBC. In the intervening years he has held a variety of positions in the UILO including as a technology transfer and prototype development manager and, most recently, Director of Operations for the office. He is a member of the Licensing Executives Society and the Association of University Technology Managers and is a Certified Patent Valuation Analyst. He further represents the UILO on the Advisory Board of the UBC Neglected Global Disease Initiative.
Vasanthi SrinivasanMemberBio
Dr. Vasanthi Srinivasan is the founding Executive Director of the Ontario Strategy for Patient- Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit. Until December 2013, Vasanthi was the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health Systems Strategy and Policy Division. She was also the lead for the research program for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. She has held several senior management positions at the federal and provincial levels of government. Vasanthi holds a PHD from the University of Ottawa and has led several key policy and research initiatives. She has served at the national and international levels in social policy areas such as health and immigration with a particular focus on seniors, aboriginal peoples and women’s issues. During her tenure in the Policy Research Initiative of the Privy Council Office of Canada, she was seconded to the Cabinet Office in the United Kingdom to the Performance and Innovation Unit. While in London, she co-authored a white paper on Immigration and Integration Issues and created the Strategic Futures Group that led horizontal policy development for Whitehall, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland. Vasanthi was awarded the prestigious Head of the Public Service of Canada Award for her work on the Metropolis Project established to conduct policy research on immigration and integration in cities lead by Canada and involving 18 countries. As Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Vasanthi was the lead of two teams that won the coveted Amethyst Awards for the Ontario Mental Health and Addiction Strategy and for the work of the Trilateral Committee addressing First Nations and Aboriginal issues.
Donna ThomsonMemberBio
Donna Thomson began her career as an actor, director and teacher. But in 1988, when her son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities, Donna embarked on her second career as a disability activist, author, consultant and writer. In her book, "THE FOUR WALLS OF MY FREEDOM", (2010, re-issued in paperback in Jan. 2014 by House of Anansi Press), Donna examines her personal family experience with caregiving, probing the ethics and economics of how families giving and receiving care can flourish in society. Donna examines how social innovation leading to practical solutions for families can thrive even in times of austerity - a subject she blogs about regularly at her site "The Caregivers' Living Room" ( Donna also writes extensively for magazines on the topics of eldercare and family caregiving. Donna is the Special Advisor for Caregiving at Tyze Personal Networks and is the International Advisor to the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship. She is the co-founder of Lifetime Networks Ottawa, a PLAN affiliate and is a member of the Cambridge University Capability Approach Network. Donna is also an instructor at the Advocacy School (Ottawa, Canada), teaching families how to employ best practice political advocacy tools when advocating for care. Donna holds degrees in Fine Art (Theatre), Education and Theatre in Education. Donna’s interest in new modes of social engagement for marginalised families led her to sit on numerous boards such as the London International Festival of Theatre, Women for Women International Leadership Circle and Dovercourt Community Association. Donna has spoken on disability and family wellbeing extensively, including at the London School of Economics, the Skoll World Forum, and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability. She has also released a piece for CMAJ on parenting a child with severe disabilities - available at . She is married to James Wright, the former High Commissioner for Canada in the UK. Their previous postings have been in London, Washington D.C. and Moscow. Jim and Donna have two children and live in Ottawa, Canada.
Kathleen ThurberMemberBio
Kathleen is Principal at Fridman Thurber Consulting Ltd. She was previously Corporate Communications Director at Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions (AIHS). She has a BA with a major in fine arts and an MA in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Alberta. Kathleen has worked for several cultural institutions in Western Canada, including stints as a private art gallery director in Edmonton and Vancouver. She has served on the boards of Changing Together: A centre for Immigrant Women, Edmonton Talmud Torah School, and as Board President of the Edmonton First Night Festival. She has served on the board of the Canadian Science Writers Association and as a board member and member of the Communications Committee for the Alberta Science and Technology (ASTech) Foundation. She was also an adjudicator for the Canadian Institutes for Health Research's (CIHR) annual Health Research Communications Award. Currently she serves on the board of the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton. Under Kathleen's direction, Communications at AIHS expanded to include programs aimed at building experiential knowledge of research among high school students and teachers; developing connections between past and currently funded AIHS researchers and trainees to add value to the Foundation's support; increasing AIHS' profile in the media and sectors of the public; and creating award-winning publications for a broad public international audience. She is an independent member of the Kids Brain Health Network board of directors.
David UreMemberBio
David K. Ure is the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Mercer International Inc., a Nasdaq traded company and a global producer of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp, softwood lumber, biomass-based green electricity and bio-chemicals. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CGA) and holds Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance from the University of British Columbia. He has over 15 years of experience leading finance functions of Canadian and US publicly traded companies in the forest products and technology spaces including previous roles as Vice President, Finance at Sierra Wireless Inc., Vice President and Controller at Mercer International Inc., Controller at Catalyst Paper Corp., Controller at Trojan Lithograph Corp., and Chief Financial Officer and Secretary at Finlay Forest Industries Inc.. Dave currently serves on the Board of Performance Biofilaments Inc., a closely held company commercializing cellulose derivative products. He has previously served on the Boards of Powell River Energy Inc., a closely held hydro electricity producer and the Pulp & Paper Industry Pension Plan, a British Columbia forest products pension investment portfolio manager. He has been active in several of the communities in which he has lived and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Semiahmoo House Society, a metro Vancouver based agency providing services and supports to individuals and their families living with intellectual disabilities. He previously served on the Boards of Reach Child Development Centre, a metro Vancouver agency providing clinical therapies and services to children with neurological disorders and Mackenzie Counseling Services, an agency providing supports to vulnerable families with addiction, abuse and other challenges. Dave lives near Vancouver, BC with his wife and two teenaged children, one of whom has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Jerome YagerMemberBio
Jerome Y. Yager is a clinician-scientist who joined the University of Alberta in 2003 as Professor and Head of the Section of Pediatric Neurosciences. Trained in Pediatric Neurology, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he then went on to complete his research training in applied basic sciences under Dr. Robert C. Vannucci, one of the grandfathers of Neonatal Neurology, at Pennsylvania State University. Subsequently, Dr. Yager became a Queen Elizabeth II and a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada winning the first Henry J.M. Barnett Award, for the best research application to the Heart and Stroke Foundation in cerebrovascular disease in Canada (1997). Dr. Yager has focused his research in the area of perinatal brain injury, and specifically in the development of animal models reflecting human disease. Most recently, his focus has been on the elucidation of neuroprotective agents for the newborn experiencing a hypoxic-ischemic event. Dr. Yager’s Laboratory for Perinatal Brain Research has focused on intra- and post-ischemic hypothermia as a neuroprotectant, and the development of methods for preventing injury to the fetus in-utero, using complementary and alternative medicines. Dr. Yager a past-president of the Canadian Association for Child Neurology and co-Lead of the Cerebral Palsy Discovery Project for Kids Brain Health Network. His research has been consistently funded over the years by CIHR, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, the WCHRI and The Alva Foundation.