our people

Our board of directors

Governance, leadership and public accountability. Establishing priorities and acting as a trustee on behalf of Canadians.

A message from the chair of our board of directors

Last year the Canadian Cancer Society again improved its financial efficiency. We will announce our third consecutive surplus, while maintaining our level of research investment (~$40 million a year) and other mission support – education, lodges, rides to treatment, wig and prosthesis loans, support and government advocacy. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. We now know 40% of cancers are preventable, so we are launching a new initiative investing in research to discover and inform Canadians about living healthier lifestyles and we are advocating for government participation. And for those who are diagnosed, the Society will continue to provide support to make their journey less hard.

We also achieved two new strategic initiatives:

  1. Amalgamation with Prostate Cancer Canada, continuing our commitment to consolidate the sector to reduce expense and to dedicate more donor dollars to mission, all to help bring us closer to realizing our vision of a world where no Canadian fears cancer; and

  2. CDL Cancer from our soon-to-be-opened new Centre for Cancer Prevention and Support in Vancouver. It will be the first venture incubator- accelerator discovering and supporting early-stage science and technology startup ventures focusing on cancer prevention and support and accelerating early-stage ventures’ commercialization in Canada and beyond.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you to our new CEO, Andrea Seale, and our staff; to our donors and volunteers, our work simply would not happen without your support; and to researchers and clinical professionals, you are on the front line giving us strength as you make discoveries and bring comfort as you offer compassionate care. None of this progress would be possible without all of you. Together, we are all a force-for-life in the face of cancer.

Robert Lawrie

Rob Lawrie
Toronto, On

Rob Lawrie (Chair)

Robert Lawrie trained as a lawyer and has practiced privately and corporately in Canada and the United States. For the past 20 years, he has worked in investment banking and private equity globally. Robert is now energetically giving back in Canada through commitments to healthcare, culture and education. After seeing many family and friends confront cancer, he has committed to work with CCS to fight the disease. Robert will do everything he can to help people with cancer, and he will work to generate funding for those searching for treatments and cures.
Rob Lawrie
Rob Assimakopoulos
toronto, on

Rob Assimakopoulos

Rob Assimakopoulos is a seasoned executive who has held several senior roles in multiple industry sectors. Most recently, Rob was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), one of Canada’s leading banks. Rob’s career has taken him from Ford Motor Company to Procter & Gamble, Molson-Coors, the Canadian Football League and General Motors. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BA in Economics and went on to obtain an MBA from the University of Windsor with a concentration on Finance and Marketing. Rob is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Marketing Association where he serves as a member of the Education Committee.
Rob Assimakopoulos
Dr. Robert Bell
toronto, on

Dr Robert Bell

Dr Robert Bell is an orthopedic surgeon and health system executive with more than 40 years of experience. Most recently, he served as Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario. Prior to this, he was President and CEO of University Health Network and CEO of Princess Margaret Hospital. He has also served as the chair of both Cancer Care Ontario’s Clinical Council and the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

Dr Bell received his Doctor of Medicine from McGill University and a Masters of Science from the University of Toronto, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Robert Bell
John Boynton
toronto, on

John Boynton

John Boynton is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Torstar and Publisher of the Toronto Star. Before joining Torstar in 2017, he served as Aimia Inc.'s Chief Marketing Officer from 2014 onwards and was an Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Rogers Communications for 12 years. He is the Vice Chair of the board at both the Toronto Region Board of Trade and Canadian Marketing Association. John is actively involved in the media community as board member for Vertical Scope, Blue Ant Media, Canadian Press, Black Press, and the International News Media Association (INMA). He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business.
John Boynton
Philippe Couillard
Saint-Félicien, QC

Philippe Couillard

Philippe Couillard is currently a consultant. He practiced neurosurgery for 20 years before serving as Minister of Health and Social Services in Quebec from 2003 to 2008. In 2014, Philippe became the 31st Premier of Quebec, a position he held until his retirement from politics in 2018. During his political tenure, Philippe led important structural reforms, banned smoking in public places and significantly improved Quebec’s public finances and its economic outlook.

Philippe holds a Doctor of Medicine and Diploma in Neurosurgery from the University of Montreal. He also holds Specialist’s Certificates from the Quebec College of Physicians and from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Philippe Couillard
Dr Chen Fong
calgary, ab

Dr Chen Fong

A radiologist by training, Dr Chen Fong is currently the Professor Emeritus of Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is also the Co-Chair of the Global Strategy Board of the Creative Destruction Lab; a platform of mentoring of young entrepreneurs. Dr Fong has 18 years of experience in the building of start-up entrepreneurial companies as well as participation in a number of philanthropic boards in healthcare.

Dr Fong holds an MD from University of Manitoba and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Calgary. He was invested into Order of Canada, inducted into Junior Achievement’s Alberta Business Hall of Fame and elected as Fellow of America College of Radiology.

Dr Chen Fong
Chan Hon Goh
west vancouver, bc

Chan Hon Goh

Chan Hon Goh is the Director of the Goh Ballet Academy and has spent over 20 years on stage as a principal dancer for the National Ballet of Canada. She is also a founding member of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council, which advocates for the creative arts community.

Chan has been awarded several prestigious awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award. In 2019, she was appointed as a member to the Order of Canada for her excellence in ballet as a principal dancer, artistic director and cultural ambassador.

Chan Hon Goh
Diane Gosselin
laval, qc

Diane Gosselin

Diane Gosselin has over 25 years of experience in financing innovative biomedical research. She is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of CQDM.

During her tenure at CQDM, Diane has engaged a national network of over 2000 researchers across Canada and raised over $80M in funding from 14 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Prior to CQDM, Diane worked for the Fonds de solidarité and PROCREA BioSciences, where she led the research team that developed the first non-invasive diagnostic test for endometriosis and developed the world’s largest tissue bank for endometriosis research.

Diane currently sits on the boards of various research and science organizations.

Diane holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from University of Montreal, as well as an Executive MBA from Université du Québec à Montréal and Université Paris-Dauphine. More recently, she completed a university certification program in Corporate Governance from Université Laval.

Diane Gosselin
Dr. David Huntsman
vancouver, bc

Dr David Huntsman

Dr David Huntsman is a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia where he is the Canada Research Chair in molecular and genomic pathology. He also directs OVCARE, BC’s multidisciplinary ovarian cancer research team and conducts his research at the BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver General Hospital. He leads several Canadian and international collaborative networks and founded a company, Contextual Genomics, to increase the clinical and economic impact of his work. He has an MD from Memorial University.
Dr. David Huntsman
Yolande James
beaconsfield, qc

Yolande James

Yolande James is a political commentator for various CBC-Radio Canada programs and a lawyer-mediator. She also gives frequent public talks on various topics such as immigration, diversity and gender equality in society and in politics.

Yolande was elected to the Quebec National Assembly in 2004. She was the first Black female Member of the National Assembly, as well as Quebec’s first Black Cabinet Minister.

In 2007, Yolande was appointed QC’s Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities. In 2010, she was appointed Minister of Families. During her tenure, she overhauled the governance for subsidized daycare, a service that is critically important to working families. She was also Deputy House Leader for the Official Opposition from 2012 to 2013.

Yolande founded the Valorisation Jeunesse Program which offers young people access to professional job opportunities and ensures companies have a more diverse workforce.

Yolande has a degree in Civil Law from the University of Montreal and a degree in Common Law from Queen’s University.

Yolande James
Shachi Kurl
vancouver, bc

Shachi Kurl

Shachi Kurl is Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute, a not-for-profit research and public opinion polling organization. Shachi works to further public knowledge, debunk myths, and contribute to debate and discussion in meaningful ways, enhancing the understanding of issues that matter to Canada and the world. She brings nearly two decades of public policy expertise to her role, spending the first part of her career as a political reporter. Her expertise has been sought by policy makers and she has been invited to testify before parliamentary committees at the House of Commons. Shachi holds a degree in Journalism and Political Science from Carleton University.
Shachi Kurl
Rex Lee
toronto, on

Rex Lee

Rex Lee is the Chief Information Officer of Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), accountable for all aspects of technology strategy, architecture, development, operations, and cyber security. Before joining CTC in 2012, Rex held senior technology leadership roles at BlackBerry, Bell Canada and Bell Mobility leading efforts in Innovation, Digital Transformation, eCommerce, Advanced Analytics, Social Computing, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Automation and Architecture.

 

Rex has a passion for continuously advancing technology systems, agile processes, and operating models and has been featured in various publications including the Wall Street Journal. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Technology Management from McMaster University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Rex Lee
Bretta Maloff
calgary, ab

Bretta Maloff

Bretta Maloff spent many years as a leader in Alberta's health system at the regional and provincial levels in the areas of population health and prevention. Most recently, she worked at Alberta Health Services, focusing on system wide clinical quality improvement in the areas of diabetes, nutrition, obesity and maternal, infant and child health. Bretta was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and served as a participant in a cancer rehabilitation research project. In addition to her roles as national and provincial board members with CCS, she is also an active volunteer with the Alberta Health Services Cancer Strategic Clinical Network Core Committee. Bretta holds graduate degrees in Education and Public Health.
Bretta Maloff
Christine McCourt-Reid
edmonton, ab

Christine McCourt-Reid

Christine McCourt-Reid is a communications consultant specializing in not-for-profit organizations with a focus on strategic communications, media relations and fund development. She also works in community advocacy, stewardship and engagement, and believes in the importance of maintaining an active connection with her communities of interest.

Christine has been the recipient of the Top 40 Under 40 Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Christine McCourt-Reid
Nancy McKay
fredericton, bc

Nancy McKay

Nancy McKay’s leadership and volunteer experience exemplifies a collaborative approach with partners in the community, business, government, health and social policy environments. She has experienced success as a senior executive, consultant, manager, direct service provider, and volunteer. From 2014 to 2017, Nancy held the role of Director, Stakeholder and Community Relations at Canadian National Railway. In 2013 Nancy was the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Nancy has also provided far-reaching management and front-line services to numerous and varied community, provincial, national and international organizations.
Nancy McKay
Susan McPeak
verdun, qc

Susan McPeak

Susan McPeak is co-founder of the McPeak-Sirois Group for Clinical Research in Breast Cancer, a unique private initiative bringing together public health institutions. Today it is one of the most important breast cancer clinical research consortiums in Canada.

Susan is a breast cancer survivor who participated in a life-saving clinical trial. Capitalizing on her 10+ years of experience in key management positions in marketing and business development, she decided to get involved in making clinical research more accessible in Quebec.

In 2019, Susan was recognized for her contributions to breast cancer research by the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the University of Montreal. The same year, she was named Personality of the Week by La Presse +. In 2018, she received the Prix Innovation dans la communauté from the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.

Susan has an MA in German Literature from the University of Montreal.

Susan McPeak
James Moore
port moody, bc

James Moore

James Moore is the chancellor of the University of Northern British Columbia, a senior business advisor at the multinational law firm Dentons and a public policy advisor at the global firm Edelman. An MP for 15 years, James was the youngest MP and cabinet minister in British Columbia’s history. He served as Canada’s Minister of Industry, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific Gateway, as well as Minister for the 2010 Olympics. Fluently bilingual in French and English, James holds a BA from the University of Northern British Columbia and an MA from the University of Saskatchewan.
James Moore
Hilary Pearson
westmount, qc

Hilary Pearson

Hilary Pearson has over 20 years of experience in foundation philanthropy in Canada. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee to the Masters in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program at Carleton University.

From 2001 to 2019, she was the founding President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada. She also served on the Governor-General’s Advisory Committee on Volunteerism and Philanthropy and co-chaired the Advisory Committee on the Charitable Sector, advising the Federal Minister of Revenue on charitable policy and regulatory issues.

In 2018, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to building the field of philanthropy in Canada. In October 2020, she became Chancellor of Brock University.

She holds a BA and an MA in Political Economy from the University of Toronto and was awarded honourary doctorates from Carleton University and the University of New Brunswick.

Hilary Pearson
Valerie Steele
Toronto, On

Valerie Steele

Valerie Steele is an audit, IT, governance and risk executive who currently heads the Professional Practice Centre of the Internal Audit function of a major Canadian financial institution. She is recognized as a trusted advisor to C-level executives, audit committees, boards and regulators. Valerie was on the Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in from September 2009 until January 2017, where she served as a member of the Audit, Finance and Investment Committee, 1st Vice-Chair and most recently Chair of the Board of Directors. Now, Valerie is a Vice-Chair of the national Board of Directors for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Valerie Steele
Christopher Wein
Toronto,On

Christopher Wein

Christopher is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterra Developments and President of Lanterra Construction Management. Christopher has over 20 years of experience in the real estate development industry, including his previous position as President of Great Gulf Residential, a Toronto real estate developer and builder. Building off of his extensive experience, Christopher is an innovator in utilizing new technologies, sustainable eco-friendly building solutions and engineering ingenuity in the development industry.

In addition to his role, Christopher also acts as Chair of the Design Exchange and has been Chair of Prostate Cancer Canada. Christopher was previously a Governor of the North York General Hospital Foundation, as well as many other health, philanthropic, arts and community Boards. He was also the recipient of Calgary Inc.’s Top 40 Under 40 award in 2004.

Christopher Wein
David Woollcombe
TORONto, ON

David Woollcombe

David Woollcombe is a partner and General Counsel at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, whose practice is focused on corporate law matters such as mergers and acquisitions and capital markets transactions. He regularly advises strategic and financial buyers, sellers, boards and special committees on their most important transactions.

David is a former Vice Chair and member of the board of directors of Prostate Cancer Canada. He holds a BA from Carleton University and an LLB from Queen’s University, and has taught at the Directors College, the University of Western Ontario and University of Windsor.

David Woollcombe
  • Christine McCourt-Reid (Chair), Edmonton, AB
  • Ron Deyholos, Calgary, AB
  • Joanne Dial, Calgary, AB
  • Brady Fletcher, Vancouver, BC
  • Patrick Heinsen, Calgary, AB
  • Tracy Knight, Cochrane, AB
  • Bretta Maloff (Past Chair), Calgary, AB
  • Cameron McDonald, Calgary, AB
  • John Mercer, Edmonton, AB
  • Michael Thomson, Calgary, AB