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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 Whitby with her 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.

Susan McGovern – Vice-Chair

Susan McGovern is Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement, for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ontario. She has held many senior level positions over the last 30 years in both the federal and provincial governments, and in the private and not-for-profit sectors. Susan forged important relationships and maintained key linkages within the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and with community, business and association leaders across the GTA and Ontario. Her expertise includes corporate development, government and stakeholder relations, advancement, corporate governance, public and media relations, strategic communications and issues management. Susan is also a Board Member for VersaBank and lives in Gormley with her husband, John, and their three sons.

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 the owner of six Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. Over the past 20 years Mark and his wife Valarie have hired 107 people with disabilities and currently employ 46 people with disabilities from a workforce of 250. Mark believes there is a clear business case for inclusive employment. Mark is a member of the federal governments panel on labour market opportunities, co-founder of Canada's national strategy Canadian business SenseAbility, a member on Ontario's Lieutenant Governors Accessibility team, Ontario's Economic Development Partnership Council and an inaugural member of Ontario's champions league. Mark is also a motorsports enthusiast, race car driver and former amateur sports car champion. Mark was recently inducted into the disability hall of fame.

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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