Board of Directors
Members of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s Board of Directors, elected from across Ontario, guide the organization’s efforts to improve service and care, fund and advance research, and educate the communities we serve.
Claire Forster, Chair
Claire Forster is a seasoned Human Resources Professional who has global experience in North America and Hong Kong. Claire was a VP for a leading financial services organization, but now her sole focus is working in the not-for-profit sector with organizations to ensure alignment of strategy, governance, and resources.
With experience as a past Chair of the Alzheimer Society of Brant, Haldimand Norfolk, Hamilton Halton (BHNHH), Claire brings ample experience to her position as Chair of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. Claire volunteers with International Needs, an organization that supports women and children in countries where female education is not a priority and is a volunteer consultant for CEE, and organization that focuses on careers, education and empowerment for disadvantaged Black youth.
Barbara McDougall, Regional Director – Eastern
Barbara is a marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Barbara owned and operated a consulting company for more than 17 years where she created advertising campaigns and strategies using traditional and new media. She also provided personalized training in consultative selling and new business development. Her career now includes educating and supporting older adults who are transitioning to the next stage of their life.
For the past 20 years, Barbara has built strong community connections through her senior volunteer work including mental health, fundraising and creating supportive neighbourhood communities.
Camila Vital Nunes Pereira, PhD - Senior Manager, Development & Communications
Camila is a Black woman born and raised in Brazil. She understood from a very young age that race relations, identity and gender roles were central not only to her family but to herself and that skin color in Brazil dictates your role, future and existence within society. Since childhood Camila has been involved in philanthropy through her family’s community initiatives. Her career in the charitable sector is a means to contribute towards the eradication of all forms of prejudice preventing the advancement and betterment of humankind. Camila is the Senior Manager, Development & Communications at Child Development Institute in Toronto, an avid researcher and consultant on issues of race, gender, diversity, social justice and equity, as well as a coach to Brazilians involved in philanthropy and fundraising in Brazil and Canada. She holds a PhD in Public Policy/Public Administration & International Relations.
Camila is a co-editor and contributor in the book “Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love” a collection of personal testimonies written by 15 Black American and Canadian non-profit professionals about racism and exclusion in the sector. She is a member of the Black Canadian Fundraisers Collective; and serves on the Board of Ciranda Brasileira Community Association, a Brazilian non-profit organization focused on disseminating and strengthening the Brazilian culture and language amongst Brazilians residing in Toronto GTA.
Diane Tennant, Regional Director - Southwest
Diane is a retired Registered Nurse following a 43-year nursing career in Sarnia, Ontario. During her career, Diane developed a passion for and focused her work on dementia care and palliative care.
For most of Diane’s nursing career, she was employed as a Case Manager/Care Coordinator with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), which later became the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). The highlight of Diane’s career was her role as a Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant which arose from the Ontario Dementia Strategy in 2001. She received education from highly skilled professionals through the Southwestern Ontario Geriatric Assessment Network (SWOGAN) and worked as a member of a Psychogeriatric Assessment team in the Community and in Long-Term Care, performing cognitive assessments and comprehensive geriatric assessments.
Diane’s volunteer work includes, but is not limited to, a member of the Sarnia Lambton Palliative Care Association and has served as co-chair for two years, and Board Director for AS of Sarnia Lambton for 12 years.
Elaine’s interest in the Alzheimer Society began when her father was diagnosed with young-onset dementia at the age of 54 as well as her mother, several years ago. Elaine decided to devote her life to raising awareness, challenging norms, public education, caregiver support, and promoting lifestyle changes to protect brain health and find a cure for dementia.
Professionally, Elaine brings decades of experience spanning private, public and non-profit sectors. She was President of 3Com Corporation Canada, a silicon-valley based company and most recently, Head of Operations at Lazard Canada Inc. responsible for human resources, infrastructure and technology, risk & compliance and media. Elaine is an Ambassador in the Women’s Alzheimer Movement, an organization founded by Maria Schriver, devoted to women-based Alzheimer’s research.
Dr. Komal Bhasin
Dr. Komal Bhasin is a seasoned public sector professional with nearly 20 years of experience as a consultant, strategic advisor, and operations leader in Ontario's health and social service sectors. As the founder of Insayva, Dr. Bhasin works at the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and mental health, using an anti-oppressive decolonization approach when partnering with public sector and not-for-profit organizations that are committed to amplifying their impact.
Komal has worked in a range of contexts including providing one-on-one counselling to individuals and families; community development and advocacy; and leading large-scale strategic and operational initiatives in healthcare institutions and across government. Komal previously served on the board of Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), and on the board of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
Komal brings a deeply personal connection to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario Board as she has experience supporting a loved one on their journey with dementia.
Lisa Plieger, Secretary
Lisa’s desire to contribute to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario board developed many years ago as a result of her own personal experience as a caregiver to a parent with dementia. Lisa began her efforts to make a difference with the Alzheimer Society as a volunteer board member with a local Alzheimer Society and the Foundation Board of Directors. In addition, Lisa contributed her expertise in the most recent ASiO governance review process.
Professionally, Lisa has worked in the financial services industry, and, most recently, established her own Financial Planning Consulting Firm, Financial Planning Matters.
Niambi A. Martin-John
Niambi is a social change champion, community mobilizer, advocate and fund development specialist who has dedicated her career to increasing capacity for marginalized, racialized and at-risk communities. For more than 20 years, Niambi has held leadership roles in the health charity, arts and social services sectors, employing an integrated, mission- centered, collaborative approach to drive revenue, create space and empower beneficiaries.
She values the power of allies and incorporates the concept of partner led, needs based indicators to inform her unique insight to Development work. Utilizing her background in community development and story –telling, she amplifies the stories of beneficiaries and partners by weaving their narratives alongside the organization’s government and public relations, research, engagement and program outcomes to create donor opportunities, deepen relationships and grow revenue.
Niambi strongly believes that we all have a responsibility to drive change, end stigma and eliminate barriers so that all people have equal access to power and personal agency. As such, she uses her access to mentor and guide emerging social sector professionals as a professor in the Non-Profit Leadership Management Post Graduate program at Seneca College and volunteers with a number of charities, groups and associations focused on female and youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, and equity work. She is also the Director of Development at the Stephen Lewis Foundation, an organization committed to delivering resources directly into the hands of the community-based organizations (CBOs) that are turning the tide of HIV & AIDS in Africa.
Paul Methot, Treasurer
As an agile, entrepreneurial and success driven executive with a career spanning 25+ years of diverse leadership, accountability and enterprise-wide influence. Paul Methot brings a verifiable record of year over year success achieving revenue, profit, cost reductions and market growth. A visionary change leader with a consistent record of transforming challenges into expansive business opportunities. Paul has proven exceptionally successful in building relationships and empowers teams to develop business acumen, leadership skills, and operational expertise.
Paul has a passion for the food service industry, travel, world history, and volunteer work. Paul is a passionate supporter of the Alzheimer Society, continuing to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Valerie Armstrong, Regional Director – Central
With a background in occupational therapy, Valerie Armstrong has worked over 30 years in health care, holding a variety of leadership portfolios. She is currently the Director of Quality, Risk and Performance with Home and Community Care Support Services North Simcoe Muskoka, and with Home and Community Care Support Services Mississauga Halton. Valerie holds a Six Sigma Canada Green Belt designation, a master’s certificate in Project Management, an Osgoode Certificate in Health Law, and is a patient safety trainer through the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.
Having volunteered at the local level, Valerie now welcomes the opportunity to serve on the Alzheimer Society of Ontario board and support the organization in achieving its strategic goals, through successful relationships with the Local Societies. Valerie was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County for many years and provided leadership at the governance and organizational level in developing the organization’s risk management framework.
Vanita Varma, PhD
Vanita is a high-performance strategist with 20+ years of executive leadership experience in community healthcare sector. As a visionary and a systems thinker, her expertise includes organizational leadership, operational planning, board governance, change management, policy development & stakeholder engagement.
Vanita is the founding Director of Centre for Innovation in Health and Wellness at Humber College. Her prior roles included CEO of a Community Health Centre and Executive Director of community mental health organization..
Vanita holds a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from University of Toronto. She currently serves on the Board of Crossroads International and is a coach and mentor at Social Venture Zone at Toronto Metropolitan University and at Massey College, University of Toronto.
Her prior community leadership roles included past Board Chair and member at William Osler Health System, leadership committee of Mississauga Community Foundation and United Way’s South Asian Advisory Council.
Wan-Peng Sun, Vice Chair
Wan-Peng is the Software Development Supervisor at Libro Credit Union in London, Ontario where he advises the executive leadership team in the development of technology-informed strategy and initiatives.
Wan-Peng has extensive knowledge of non-profit governance obtained while serving on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Western Ontario and Reforest London.
Ward’s personal experience with dementia has led to a desire to shift his volunteer focus to an organization like the Alzheimer Society. Ward has a long history of volunteer and philanthropic involvement with organizations including the Canadian Opera Company, the Power Plant Art Gallery and the ECS School in Montreal. In addition, Ward rode with a team of cyclists across Canada that raised $1.5 million for Coast-to-Coast National Cancer Foundation.
Professionally, Ward is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Sherritt International Corporation.