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A charitable organization that delivers enriching sports and fitness, arts, research and education, and life skills opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

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Board of Directors

The Abilities Centre Board of Directors is committed to our mission and vision, and to a sustainable Abilities Centre.

Christine Elliott – Director

Christine resides in Toronto and has three sons John, Galen and Quinn. Prior to entering politics, Christine was a founding member and partner of Flaherty Dow Elliott & McCarthy, a law firm with offices in Whitby, Toronto and Ottawa, where she practiced real estate, corporate and estate law. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Christine was called to the Ontario Bar in 1980. She is currently the Patient Ombudsman Designate for Ontario. She was the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Critic for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Citizenship and Immigration, and Mental Health Reform. Christine is also a past Director and Chair of Grandview Children's Centre, a past Director of the Lakeridge Health Whitby Foundation, a past Director and Board President of Durham Mental Health Services (DMHS), and has been a Director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Douglas Allingham – Director

Douglas Allingham is the Executive Vice President of AECOM, Canada East Region, and is functionally responsible for all corporate activities within this region. He has more than 35 years of extensive expertise in the public and private sector, and has served on a number of boards and organizations relating directly to his professional work. Douglas' extensive involvement in community work has led to a recent appointment to the Abilities Centre Foundation Board. In 2012, Douglas was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to the community.

Wayne Gingrich – Treasurer

Wayne Gingrich is the Chief Financial Officer for MMM Group Limited, which is an engineering consulting firm with offices across Canada. Wayne has also held a number of senior financial positions with AECOM, including Executive VP of Finance for AECOM North America. Wayne joined AECOM through Tyco International's sale of Earth Tech in 2008, where Wayne was the VP of Finance for its Global Water Projects and Products division, which was an international portfolio of Design Build (DB), Design Build Finance Operate (DBFO), and manufacturing businesses across the globe. Before joining Earth Tech in 2003 he worked for General Electric in both the GE Capital and industrial business units, including Large Motors, Power Management, Retailer Financial Services and IT Solutions. A chartered Professional Accountant, Wayne is a graduate from Wilfred Laurier University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialty in finance and minor in economics.

Mark Wafer – Director

Mark Wafer is a former Tim Hortons restaurant owner from Toronto. During his 25 years as a business owner Mark and his wife Valarie hired almost 200 workers with disabilities in meaningful and competitively paid positions. On average The Wafers employed 45 workers with disabilities from a workforce of 250 or 17% of their workforce. Mark believes there is a clear and compelling business case for real inclusion. Mark is a member of the Federal government’s panel on labour market initiatives for Canadians with disabilities and helped to create Canada's national strategy on disability employment. He is the co-founder of Canadian Business Senseability and was a member of Ontario's Economic Development partnership council. Mark is an advisor to many levels of government both nationally and around the world, he is a sought after keynote speaker. Mark is a recipient of Canada's Meritorious Service Cross, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and was inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2014. In his spare time Mark is a Motorsports enthusiast, race car driver and former amateur sports car champion.

Nancy Thomas – Chair

Nancy is Director, Customer Marketing for TELUS Communications. Prior to joining the TELUS team, Nancy was a member of the Koodo Mobile leadership team where she played a key role in developing a culture of strong team member engagement, creative problem solving and business ownership. Nancy recently developed and launched a Social Enterprise Competition that ignited entrepreneurship and innovation across the TELUS organization. Team members were invited to submit ideas on how to improve the lives and well-being of Canadians, with the winning team bringing their idea to market in 2015. Over the past 15 years, Nancy has held a variety of sales and marketing positions with a focus on telecommunications, sales and distribution, and customer communications. Nancy graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honors degree in Marketing Management. Nancy is an active volunteer and member of her community. She is a regular Habitat for Humanity builder, participates as a judge in the annual Enactus Financial Literacy Challenge for Canadian Universities, and joined the Abilities Centre Foundation Board in April 2015.


Kevin Empey – Director

Kevin Empey is President and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeridge Health, a position he has held since July 2008. Kevin is a Chartered Accountant and a graduate of the Rotman School of Management's Directors Education Program and Harvard's Advanced Management Program. Kevin has worked in the Hospital sector since 1990. His prior experience includes senior roles at University Health Network and St. Michael's Hospital. Kevin has been heavily involved in transforming hospital services through the creation of shared services, private public partnerships and companies such as Plexxus. He is engaged on a number of MOHLTC provincial committees. He is a Board Member of the Ontario Hospital Association and HIROC. In 2012 we was appointed an Adjunct Professor at UOIT and is also a guest lecturer at U of T and York University. He received the ICD.D designation in January 2015.


Todd Nicholson – Director

For over a quarter of a century, Todd Nicholson represented Canada on the international stage as a member of Canada's National Sledge Team and a number of other summer sports. Between 1994 and 2010, Nicholson competed in sledge hockey at five Paralympic Winter Games, winning bronze, silver and gold medals. Team captain for 15 years, Nicholson was named to the Paralympic All-Star Team in 1998 and 2002. In 2010, Nicholson retired from competition, but not from his committment as a volunteer to sport and the Paralympic movement. From 2013 until April 2017, he served as Chairman for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes' Council and as such, was a Governing Board member for the International Paralympic Committee. He also served as the IPC Athlete Representative to the International Olympic Committee and has direct hands-on experience planning and administering the Games (Olympic and Paralympic) in London (2012), Sochi (2014), Rio de Janeiro (2016) and PyeongChang (2018). On January 24, 2017, Nicholson was named Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

Sharon Cochran – Director

During her professional career, Sharon has been administratively responsible for many entities in the university system. These included financial services, human resources management, facilities/capital management, purchasing, risk operations, ancillary/business operations, including public/private partnerships. She was the Director of Faculty Bargaining Services for the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, which provided management support in labour negotiations for Canadian universities, Vice-President Special Projects and Vice-President Administration and Finance for the University of Northern British Columbia, and Associate Vice-President Human Resources (University of Saskatchewan). She continues to consult in the post-secondary system. Engagement in community corporate boards has been a commitment. Currently, she is involved with Lakeridge Health as Chair of the Governance Committee and the Enterprise Risk Management Task Force. A sampling of previous Boards include Two-Rivers Gallery (President) and Centennial Auditorium Board. Her education includes a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of British Columbia. She is currently enrolled in the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management Director’s Education Program. She resides in Whitby.     

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