A Message Of Greeting From The Board Past President
Lupus affects so many people, patients and their families. With lupus so much of what you go through is mysterious and invisible. There is no simple diagnostic test and the symptoms are different for everyone. After being diagnosed in 2009 with discoid lupus and SLE in 2010 like many who share this baffling and complex condition I had a hard time saying no especially as a Mom. “No” had to become the norm for me. However, there is hope. After getting my medications on track I decided I wanted to give back to the community that was there for me leading up to, during and after my diagnosis.
For over 25 years, Lupus Canada has been working with other lupus organizations, including its member organizations to improve the lives of people living with lupus, like myself, through public awareness, research, education and advocacy.
I hope you find our website to be an informative resource. Links to local organizations will help you to learn more about initiatives and events in your community. The staff of Lupus Canada under the direction of Leanne Mielczarek, Executive Director and a dedicated group of volunteers work tirelessly to gather and develop valuable information on our website for people affected by lupus.
Please join me in transforming the diagnosis and experience of living with lupus into a positive force to increase awareness and improve the quality of life for other patients.
Malcolm Gilroy is a seasoned financial services executive with extensive African experience. He has recently returned from Nigeria where he lived for eight years. Initially he was sent to Nigeria as a Technical Advisor to the World Bank Group, mandated to review the financial landscape of the country and to advise the Nigerian Government on ways to rejuvenate their dormant bond market. He continued to work in Nigeria as an investment banker and consultant. Prior to going to Nigeria Malcolm had a successful career as a bank treasurer and investment counsel in Canada. He is currently a Principal of Pax Terra Inc. a Washington based development and private equity consultant and is also an associate of Logan Wealth Management, a Canadian based Investment Counsel. In addition to Lupus Canada, Malcolm sits on the Boards of The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada and CSCDL Funds (Nigeria) and is a former Chair (President) of the ALS Society of Canada.
Tanya has joined the Board of Lupus Canada in order to bring both her personal interests and professional skills to the Board. Tanya was diagnosed with Discoid Lupus in 2009 and SLE in 2010, and after a few years of trying to get her lupus under control, is finally in a position to give back to the community that helped her in her times of need. Tanya is a mother of two teenage boys and a lawyer who practices in the areas of not-for-profit and charity law. Prior to being a lawyer, Tanya taught high school math and chemistry for several years, and then took a hiatus and started a family. Throughout this time, while maintaining her status as an Ontario Certified Teacher, she worked in the dental field and served as a Municipal Councillor. She has also served as a board member and chair of several other smaller not-for-profit organizations throughout the years and is excited about the opportunities ahead for Lupus Canada.
Shane spent 19 years in capital markets with extensive experience in institutional asset management, institutional sales and trading, equity financings, private placements and institutional equity research. Currently, VP of Investor Relations for The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD), the global leader in cultivating premium, certified organic cannabis. Prior to working with TGOD Shane was a Managing Director, Institutional Trading with AltaCorp Capital Inc. working in Calgary Alberta. Previous to joining AltaCorp, Shane was Vice President, Institutional Trading at Macquarie Securities, and prior thereto, Tristone Capital Inc. since 2008. Before moving to Calgary, Shane was Head Trader and Portfolio Manager of Passive funds at AEGON Capital Management in Toronto. His volunteer commitments include Play4Kids, a non-profit organization founded by the Dungey Family that aims to improve the lives of children through PLAY. Shane holds a Hons BA in Political Science from York University. Subsequent to joining the industry, he played professional hockey throughout Europe and the minors in North America.
Vikas is an experienced Wealth Management professional. In the early stages of Vikas’ career, he held several roles across two of Canada’s largest banks. During this time he developed a focus on wealth advisory, with a specialization in investments. Presently, Vikas manages an independent wealth advisory practice with clients based throughout North America. He established his educational foundations with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and advanced them through earning the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation. Vikas has come to understand lupus through his experience as a primary caregiver and advocate. His foremost goal is to help the organization better the lives of those affected by lupus.
Thomas Simpson has several years of experience in government relations, advocacy and stakeholder engagement for a national non-profit and the federal government. Currently, Thomas is the Head of Public Affairs for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). He leads CNIB’s national government relations and advocacy efforts. He works to break barriers and promote accessibility, inclusion and equity for the lives of Canadians with sight loss. In the past, Thomas has worked for Health Canada and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission where his work focused on policy research and analysis, regulatory program support and stakeholder management. Thomas graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor of Social Science Specializing in Political Science with a Minor in History. He is currently working towards a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations through the University of Victoria.
Kerry is a senior lecturer at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in the Faculty of Health Sciences. His experience in the health care field includes over 30 years of experience as a Health Information Management (HIM) professional, mostly in hospitals. His education includes a masters and doctorate in the field of education, with a focus on adult education, distance learning, and educational technologies. Diagnosed with lupus at a young age, Kerry has lived with lupus for 45 years. The unusual circumstance of a white male with lupus has given Kerry an appreciation for men with lupus and some of the challenges living with a life-long chronic illness. With his experience in the health care field, Kerry also has developed a strong perspective regarding the patient’s and care providers’ points of view in managing chronic illness.
Dr. Holly Jones Taggart
Dr. Holly Jones Taggart is an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ontario Tech University and the director of the Medical Laboratory Sciences program. Her teaching expertise is in the area of human genetics and she has collaborated on teaching innovation projects to develop novel approaches to learning in the classroom. Her research focus is laboratory based and her students currently investigate the molecular mechanisms of cell behaviour in health and disease. Holly joined the board of directors at Lupus Canada to help advance research and education that affects the lives of persons living with lupus and their families.
Michelle Gazze is a purpose driven Communications and Community Engagement professional with over 10 years of experience leading strategy, development and execution of social impact initiatives and campaigns for non –profit, private and public organizations both locally and internationally. Managing sponsorships, events and building community partnerships for True North Sports & Entertainment, CBC Manitoba and diverse community groups has provided Michelle with a unique perspective in philanthropy, donor relations and fundraising.
Currently, Michelle is a Career Consultant at the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, and is a sought out Communications Freelancer supporting the communications goals of impactful community groups across the newcomer and refugee sector. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2016, her commitment to help advance awareness of Lupus and the affect it has on the everyday lives of persons living with Lupus and also their families, leads her to join the board of directors at Lupus Canada.
Mark Masongsong is the CEO and Co-Founder of UrbanLogiq, a data analytics and artificial intelligence software company serving governments. He has been a featured speaker on the future of smart cities and analytics at the White House, World Bank, State Department, and Harvard. Mark has served as a director of international development, environmental and medical non-profits and was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2019 Mark’s father passed away due to complications with Lupus, and Mark is committed to the mission of Lupus Canada to providing support for the Lupus community and the drive to a cure for the illness.
Kendal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Health Education, a Master of Arts in Kinesiology, and a Master of Business Administration. She has worked in the BC Public Service for over ten years, focusing predominantly on the provision of quality health services to seniors and adults with complex care needs. For the last fifteen years, Kendal has volunteered for Special Olympics Victoria, most recently as the Local Coordinator. Kendal lost one of the most important people in her life to Lupus. Her decision to join the Board was inspired by this individual, and by their constant dedication to helping those around them.
Kevan O’Leary is a Risk Management and Technology executive, with over 25 years of experience specializing in the banking and financial sector in Canada, and currently works for HSBC as the Regional Head of Operational and Resilience Risk Specialists. Kevan has led transformative change at major financial institutions, working with technology, third parties and the business to ensure risks are well understood and aligned with organizational appetite. Kevan holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Kevan was a primary caregiver to his wife of 15 years before she passed away from Lupus complications, and it is in her memory that he was inspired to join the board of Lupus Canada and help contribute to achieving their goal of a life without lupus.
Leanne joined Lupus Canada in 2008. As the Executive Director, she reports to the Board of Directors and leads the operations in Canada. Prior to taking on the role of Executive Director, Leanne previously held the positions of National Manager and National Walk Coordinator. Leanne is a seasoned executive with over 20 years experience in the not-for-profit sector. Leanne went to York University and studied sociology. Through her commitment to the organization lupus awareness in Canada has grown.
Manager, Donor Relations/Special Programs
Cora joined Lupus Canada in 2013. Cora’s dedication to the organization has been instrumental to furthering our initiatives. Cora holds the role of Manager, Donor Relations/Special Programs and reports to the Executive Director. She studied Business Administration and Project Management at Humber.
Social Media Coordinator
Ariana recently graduated with a Bachelors Honours Degree in Sociology from Queen’s University which fueled her interest in the not -for-profit field. Ariana’s experience managing fundraisers, hands on work experience with Lupus Canada for the past two summers combined with her education founded her interest to pursue creative outlets in which to communicate knowledge and make it accessible. Ariana is passionate about working on projects with organizations that address the solutions and policies to challenge various social relations within the community, whether that is through arts, media, or education.