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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.

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 joined Bird Construction Inc. in April 2016 and assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in July 2016 and assumed the role of Assistant Corporate Secretary. Bird is a publicly traded construction firm (BDT) and is listed on the TSX. With almost 25 years of experience in finance and accounting roles, he has spent the last 15 years of service as a financial executive in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector. Prior to joining Bird, he served as the CFO for MMM Group Limited, acquired by WSP Global Inc. in late 2015. Prior to joining MMM Group, he worked for AECOM in varying Executive Vice President and CFO roles including its Canadian and North American consulting businesses. While at Earth Tech, he served as the Vice President Finance for the Global Water Projects and Products division. Before joining Earth Tech in 2003, he worked for General Electric in both GE Capital and in the industrial business units including business such as Power Control and Conversion, Power Management, Retailer Financial Services and IT Solutions. Wayne is an active volunteer in his position as a Board Member & Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee of the Abilities Centre in Whitby which delivers sports, arts, research and education, and life skills opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Wayne is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and of the Canadian Institute of Investor Relations (CIRI). He previously served as a Board Member at SENA Solid Waste Holdings Inc. and at T2 Utility Engineers. Wayne obtained his Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a minor in Economics and was selected class Valedictorian. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and attained his Certified Management Accountant designation in 2000.

Mark Wafer – Chair

Mark Wafer is a well known Canadian Activist in the disability community, he is a relentless disability rights advocate and policy change instigator.

 

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 – Director

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.

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, Todd retired from competition but not from his commitment as a volunteer to sport and the Paralympic movement.  From 2010 – 2017 Todd served as the Chairperson for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes’ Council and 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). He currently sits on a number of National Sporting Boards within Canada helping share his years of knowledge and experience through many aspects. Todd was awarded in 2015 the Presidential Citation for Meritorious Service, an award that is nominated by the President only. Todd and his wife, an equally committed advocate on behalf of children and youth with disabilities, devote their ‘free’ time and energies left over from raising their twins who were born in 2009, to building Ottawa’s Abilities Centre modelled after the success of Whitby’s remarkable 125,000 square foot recreational facility designed, administered and staffed to create a fully inclusive recreational facility for people of all abilities.       

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 Board. 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 has fulfilled the requirements for the ICD.D. designation. She resides in Whitby.    

Daniel Estoesta – Director

Daniel is Senior Director, Direct Banking & Digital Partnerships at CIBC where he is responsible for the development and execution of the digital strategy for Simplii Financial and CIBC US.  Additionally, Daniel and his team are responsible for the identification and integration of partners and fintech relationships to extend CIBC’s digital banking capabilities. In prior roles at CIBC, Daniel lead the Digital Strategy team and was responsible for the  implementation of the digital roadmap for CIBC’s industry leading  online and mobile banking properties. Prior to joining CIBC, Daniel spent nearly 15 years in progressive management consulting roles with PwC, E&Y, and Capgemini focusing on Technology Strategy, Operational Effectiveness and Global Sourcing. Daniel graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Economics, and participated in CIBC’s Adaptive Leadership Program and Genesis Park, PwC’s Global Leadership Development Program.  Daniel, his wife and two daughters live in Whitby and enjoy a very active lifestyle, enjoying skiing and mountain biking as a family.  Daniel joined the Abilities Centre Board in 2018. 

Jason Hunt – Director

Jason resides in Brooklin with his wife, Dr. Carolyn Hunt, and three daughters, Madelaine, Chloe and Sabrina. Jason is a long time resident of the community and has been involved in a number of community groups including Vice President of the Whitby Girls Hockey Association, Director for Sloane’s House, a past President and Director of Durham Region Lawyers Association, Director of Durham Region Manufacturer’s Association, Member of Durham College Paralegal Advisory Committee, Member of the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce Physician Recruiting Task Force and a Director on the Durham Access to Justice Hub. Jason obtained his Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University where he also served in a number of leadership roles including the President of the McMaster Students Union and the President of the Ontario Federation of Students. Jason graduated from the University of Windsor Law School in 1999 and practiced law in Oshawa at Kitchen Kitchen Simeson McFarlane before moving to the Legal Department at the Region of Durham in 2006. Jason is currently the Director of Legal Services at the Region of Durham. In his spare time Jason enjoys watching, playing and coaching hockey.

Bill Budgell – Director

Bill Budgell is currently Vice President of Operations for Stoncor Group Canada, a leading provider of innovative infrastructure protection solutions at its Canadian headquarters in Whitby.  Bill has been with Stoncor for 19 years and has been a Whitby resident for 16.  Bill is a Professional Engineer and played both hockey and football at Queen’s University while getting honours degrees in Life Sciences and Civil Engineering and more recently an MBA as well. Bill has been an active member of the coaching community for Whitby Girls Hockey Association and Whitby Iroquois Soccer Club.  Bill is a judge for the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade Business Excellence Awards and serves on the Board for the Lakeridge Health Foundation.  Bill enjoys spending time on his pedal bike on the roads north of Brooklin or around the Blue Mountains when not with his family.


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