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,
Wester
n 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 Amanda McGraw

 Amanda McGraw

Youth Representative

Amanda McGraw is finishing school in Windsor while working as a freelance youth engagement facilitator and consultant in Ontario. She has worn many hats within the mental health sector in Ontario: she’s currently a member of Children Mental Health Ontario’s Youth Action Committee and has been involved in various capacities with The New Mentality and the Centre since 2011. Amanda is extremely passionate about meaningful youth engagement, intersectionality and accountability. She enjoys hanging out with her cat and pinning recipes to her Pinterest board.

Portrait of Anvita Desai

Anvita Desai

Youth Representative

Anvita Desai is studying knowledge integration and cognitive science at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about working in the mental health sector and has been a Centre volunteer since she was 15! After graduating, Avita plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work and hopes to continue to dedicate her time and efforts to initiatives that value youth engagement, health equity, harm reduction and accessibility. In her free time, Anvita enjoys reading, swimming and listening to true crime podcasts.

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 Ekua Asabea Blair

 Ekua Asabea Blair

Chief Executive Officer,
Massey Centre for Women

Ekua Asabea Blair is the chief executive officer of the Massey Centre for Women, a client-centred infant and early childhood mental health organization providing support for pregnant and parenting adolescents and their children. Prior to joining the Massey Centre, Ekua worked as the executive director of the Rexdale Community Health Centre for nine years. She also worked as the interim executive director of the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre, where she was instrumental in establishing the Nighana African-Centered Program in partnership with the Toronto District School Board. Her work with low-income women in Rexdale was recognized by the City of Toronto in 2002, when she received the Constance E. Hamilton Award.

Portrait of Joanne Lowe

 Joanne Lowe

Vice-President,
Mental Health and Addictions, CHEO

Executive Director,
Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa

Joanne holds a BSW from Laurentian University and an MSW from Wilfred Laurier University and has extensive experience in the field of mental health. Prior to joining YSB, Joanne spent nearly a decade each as manager of the community division of CHEO’s specialized psychiatric and mental health services and executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Ottawa Branch.

Joanne’s impact — locally, provincially and nationally — is astounding! In recent years, she has co-chaired or chaired the cross-sectoral committee in mental health and education, the provincial framework advisory committee for child and youth mental health, the Ottawa Suicide Prevention Network, the Provincial Lead Agency Consortium and the Provincial Priorities Standing Committee.

A big believer in continuous quality improvement, Joanne is currently working on her LEAN black belt certification.

Portrait of Karen Ingebrigtson

 Karen Ingebrigtson 

Chief Executive Officer,
FIREFLY

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 Lori Kempe

 Lori Kempe

Executive Director,
Children First in Essex County

Lori holds a BSW from University of Windsor and an MSW from Eastern Michigan University. She is also an alumna of St. Clair College, sign language communicator and interpreter training programs.

Lori has held a variety of positions in children’s mental health, developmental services and child welfare in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent Communities. She has also been employed with the provincial government and conducted compliance and licensing reviews for both adult and children’s service agencies within southwestern Ontario. Lori currently enjoys the learning and networking opportunities as an accreditation reviewer with the Canadian Centre for Accreditation.

Lori has extensive governance experience having been on the St. Clair College board of governors for six years including serving as vice-chair in her final year. In 2020 Lori was one of six St. Clair College Alumni of Distinction award recipients.

Lori spends her free time cheering on her two boys either on the soccer field or at the swimming pool. The entire family is active with Epilepsy Southwestern Ontario – Windsor Region to raise awareness about epilepsy.

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 Michael Hone

 Michael Hone 

Executive Director,
Crossroads Childen’s Mental Health 

Michael has been working in child and adolescent services since 1988 in a variety of settings, including child welfare, youth justice, education and child and youth mental health. He has been with Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre (CCMHC) since 1996, and has been the executive director since January 2015. Michael has completed his Black Belt in Lean and continues his Lean journey at CCMHC.

 

Portrait of Michelle Dermenjian

Michelle Dermenjian

Director of Child and Youth Services,
Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca

Michelle received her BA from University of Western Ontario and her MEdPsych from the University of Alberta. Her early work as a member of the Integrated Services for Northern Children’s multidisciplinary travelling team was formative to a belief in client-informed systems work. This was followed by a move to Parry Sound where she has held positions of psychologist; senior manager of quality, research and evaluation; oversight of lead agency of child and youth mental health services for Nipissing, Parry Sound, Muskoka; and now as director of child and youth services, including child and youth mental health, autism services, justice, developmental services for children, early intervention and navigation.

Michelle has been a member of local, regional and provincial working groups, invested in the development of innovative solutions, and shared resources, toward the creation of a true service system.

The following quote by Sir Winston Churchill, sits on her desk as a reminder to be humble and brave during this process: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."