Our strategic advisory council (the Council) provides us with advice, direction and input on strategic plans, partnership initiatives and other high-level operations that advance our work toward achieving our vision, mission and strategic goals.

Member responsibilities

The Council meets four times a year, often in person. Members are committed for a two-year term.
Council duties include:

  • working with our leadership team to set strategic priorities and directions
  • contributing to generative discussions to advance the relevance and impact of our work
  • reviewing and advising on our annual operating plans and budgets
  • reviewing quarterly performance reports
  • providing input into our executive director's performance appraisals

Meet the Council

Council members include:

  • young people with lived experience with mental health challenges or mental illness
  • parents or family members of a child or youth with mental health challenges or mental illness
  • organizational decision makers from the child and youth mental health sector
  • individuals with relevant experience in finance and management


Portrait of Cathy Curry

 Cathy Curry (Chair)
CHEO Board of Trustees

Cathy Curry holds a BA in English Literature and an MSc in Education. Her considerable experience in education and community building includes time spent as a trustee and chair of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and director of the Ottawa Carleton Education Network.

As if she wasn't busy enough, Cathy is raising four teenagers. Still, she manages to find the time to travel and play French horn in Kanata's concert band. 

Portrait of Alan Leschied

 Alan Leschied, PhD
Psychologist and Professor, 
Western University

Alan Leschied is a founding member of the International Prisons and Corrections Association and an expert in children's legislation and juvenile justice. His work in children's services began in 1977 at the London Family Court Clinic. He has been at Western University for more than 20 years and currently teaches in both the graduate program in counselling psychology and the preservice program in the Faculty of Education. Alan's work focuses on assessing the prevention of childhood sexual abuse in institutions like schools and churches, as well as the trauma concerns of victimization in civil and criminal cases.

Portrait of Assia Messaoudi

 Assia Messaoudi

Assia Messaoudi is a poet and writer of prose who recently published a book of poetry exploring her personal journey with mental health. She is currently studying English, professional writing and communication at the University of Toronto and plans to pursue a graduate degree in social work. Assia is a co-founder of Stella's Studio, an arts-based mental health group. She offers formal and informal peer support to friends and acquaintances by drawing on her own experiences with mental health struggles.


Portrait of Camille Quenneville

Camille Quenneville 
Chief Executive Officer, 
Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division 

Camille Quenneville is an alumnus of the University of Windsor and the University of Toronto. Prior to joining CMHA Ontario, Camille channeled her passion for mental health care through senior leadership roles in the education, government and children’s mental health sectors. She has served in senior roles at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. 

Portrait of Fae Johnstone

 Fae Johnstone 

Fae Johnstone (they/them) is a queer nonbinary young person with a passion for youth engagement, mental health and anti-oppression practices. They are a social work student at Carleton University, a board member with the Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Trans Youth Line and an experienced young consultant, facilitator and community organizer. Fae has supported advocacy, social policy and youth-led education initiatives on the local, provincial and national level and they believe deeply in the power of young people to effect system change. 

Portrait of Karen Ingebrigtson

 Karen Ingebrigtson 
Chief Executive Officer, 

Karen Ingebrigtson holds master’s degrees in social work and business administration and is a Certified Health Executive. She has extensive experience in healthcare, having previously worked as a senior consultant for a Local health Integration Network in Ontario and in leadership roles in community health centres in Manitoba. Karen has also been a surveyor for Accreditation Canada, an associate researcher and a lecturer for the eUniversity of Manitoba’s Faculty of Social Work. We hear that back in the day, she was a pretty good Kentucky Fried Chicken cook, too. 

Portrait of Leena K. Augimeri

 Leena K. Augimeri, PhD 
Director, Scientific & Program Development, 
Child Development Institute 

Leena K. Augimeri has devoted more than three decades to child and youth mental health and has many prestigious awards boasting of her contributions to the sector, including the Prime Minister’s Regional Social Innovation Award. In addition to her role at the Child Development Institute, Leena is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, a prolific academic author and co-founder of SNAP®, a model to help teach effective emotional regulation and self-control to children with serious behaviour challenges and their parents. She is currently leading a multi-million-dollar national implementation strategy to bring SNAP to communities across Canada. 

Portrait of Lynn Courey

 Lynn Courey, CSW 
Founder and President, 
Sashbear Foundation 

Lynn Courey studied marketing and entrepreneurship at McGill University before embarking on an award-wining career in child and youth mental health. Lynn is a trained Family Connection Leader representing the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD) and a founding member of the Sashbear Foundation. This organization is committed to leading the way to mental health reform by promoting awareness for the need of early prevention, recognition, timely intervention and access to affordable treatment for individuals with emotional dysregulation. Lynn also brings a notable family perspective through her own lived experience. 

Portrait of Mari Teitelbaum

 Mari Teitelbaum 
Vice-president of Provincial Programs & Technology and Chief Information Officer, 

Mari Teitelbaum followed a unique path to her current role at CHEO. She first studied electrical engineering before earning a Master of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa. Following her residency, Mari joined BORN Ontario, where she served as director for five years. Mari has a passion for applying technology to improve healthcare systems and help clinicians care for kids in her community. 

Portrait of Michael Lafontaine

 Michael Lafontaine 
Manager, Commercial banking division, 
Toronto Dominion Bank 

Michael Lafontaine holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University and has been involved with the Toronto Dominion (TD) bank for close to three decades. Outside of work, he is active in his community, chairing the direct assistance committee of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. He also enjoys golfing, travel, fitness and cooking. Michael has been married to his wife, Debbie, for over 25 years and they have two children. 

Portrait of Vicki Cochrane

Vicki Cochrane  
Family member 

Vicki Cochrane is a busy mom of two sons with exceptions that require constant advocacy, resourcefulness and the ability to ask for support when needed. She is driven by the desire to bring a voice of families trying to navigate the child and youth mental health system and the hope of improving it. Vicki is passionate about community development and volunteerism. She also happens to be a child and youth worker with over 20 years of experience working for the Children’s Aid Society.  

Portrait of Vicki Downie

 Vicki Downie 
Director of Program Operations, 
Lynwood Charlton Centre 

Vicki Downie has been supporting children, youth and families to achieve better mental health for over 30 years as a staff member at the Lynwood Charlton Centre. Now a director, Vicki is passionate about on-the-ground ways to make program development and evaluation meaningful for staff, and in turn, for children, youth and families.