Barbara Reynolds, Chair
Barbara Reynolds began her career as a therapeutic dietitian at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and later the Easter Seals Society for over 7 years. After completing her M.B.A. at the Schulich School of Business she started a new career in the pharmaceutical industry. Barbara worked in sales, training and marketing at Wyeth, Ortho Biotech (J&J) and most recently as the Director of Marketing and New Product Development at Astellas Pharma over a combined period of 20+ years. In 2011 she was nominated and inducted into the Pharmaceutical Marketing Hall of Fame. Over the course of her career Barbara has worked or volunteered with various non-profit agencies including the ALS Society, the Kidney Foundation, the Canadian Transplant Association and the Canadian Association of Oncology Nurses. She has had the privilege of working with talented physicians and allied health professionals and during her time at the Hospital for Sick Children she saw firsthand the power of recreation and music therapy in speeding the healing of children. Barbara loves to travel, read and cook. She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Richmond Hill.
Rose Marie Grycaj, Secretary-Treasurer
Rose Marie Grycaj is an educator with over 30 years of experience with the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She has been a classroom teacher, a teacher of students with special needs and a Summer School Principal. From 2001 to 2013, it was her great privilege to serve the teachers of the TCDSB as the Chairperson of the Metro Catholic Teachers’ Long Term Disability Plan Board of Trustees. In this role, Rose Marie was able to assist teachers and their families as they dealt with many challenging health situations. She has been the Chief Negotiator for the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers. Rose Marie has been a Governor for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. She has also been the Chairperson of several committees of her professional association, OECTA. Rose Marie has her BA and B.Ed. from York University and a Masters of Theological Studies from St. Augustine’s Seminary (member of the Toronto School of Theology). She also holds a certificate from York University in Conflict Management. From 2006 until 2013, Rose Marie was Chairperson of the Family Council at Specialty Care Mississauga Road. In this role, she demonstrated her ability to advocate on behalf of the residents to gain significant improvements with regard to care, quality of food and improvements to the physical plant. She is a strong advocate for the elderly and the disabled.
Christine Lasky, Past Chair
Christine Lasky is a marketing/business and social enterprise professional with over 30 years of experience. With a background in packaged goods marketing, which includes 15 years with such notable firms a Procter and Gamble, Nabisco and George Weston. Christine also worked in Financial Services for 12 years at a Vice President level with National Trust and Spectrum Investment (part of SunLife). 7 years ago she moved into the not-for-profit sector with The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) to help them brand build, raise more funds through creative programs as the lotteries and The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to Women’s Cancers. She was instrumental in the very successful launch of The Ride to Conquer Cancer. Christine also oversees branding, public relations and all communications for PMCF. Christine has her BA from York University and an MBA from The Schulich School of Business. She has taught at George Brown College and had her own consulting practice. Christine worked with Bev Foster to help her launch Room 217 and she has an intimate and personal connection to this program, Bev’s vision, along with her own very personal experiences of looking after her parents end of life journeys. Christine is married with two grown children and loves the outdoors, baking, entertaining friends and family, and her new dog Monty.
Donna Cansfield, Director
Donna Cansfield is a former school trustee for 15 years serving both provincially and nationally as the Presidents of the Ontario and Canadian School Boards Associations and Chair of the Toronto District School Board. Donna Cansfield served as MPP for Etobicoke Centre from 2003 to 2014. Her cabinet posts included Minister of Energy, Transportation and Natural Resources. A Member of Rotary, and an active volunteer, Donna is currently the chair of Brands For Canada, supporting people with disabilities , providing new clothing to shelters and supporting refugee programs. She also serves on the Boards of the Dorothy Ley Hospice, Etobicoke Service for seniors, the Ontario Lung Association and several other charities. Donna lives in Toronto with her husband Bill.
Anglea Elster, Director
Ms. Elster is one of Canada’s preeminent Arts & Learning executives. Following three decades of leadership most recently as Senior Vice President of The Royal Conservatory where she created, launched and directed Learning Through the Arts in addition to many other successful initiatives.. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto, an MA from OISE and Certificate of Leadership in Expressive Arts from the European Graduate School where she is in the process of completing her PhD. She brings to organizations demonstrated expertise in curriculum development, government relations, fundraising and strategic planning. Recently, Angela was awarded one of Canada’s highest honors – the Meritorious Service Medal from the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada recognizing outstanding accomplishments that set an example and bring benefit to our country.
Mary Jane Esplen, Director
Dr. Mary Jane Esplen is a Clinician-Scientist, University Health Network in Toronto and a Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and the inaugural Director of the de Souza Institute, a provincial knowledge translation centre focusing on educating health professionals in oncology. She has held prior career scientist awards from CIHR and NCIC for her research program in the field of psychosocial oncology and conducts research on the psychosocial impact of having cancer and the quality of life impacts of genetic testing, as well as designs and tests psychotherapeutic interventions or scales to address coping challenges, grief and loss and specific quality of life impacts, such as those in the area of body image and sexuality. Dr. Esplen also provides clinical consultation and therapy for individuals with cancer or members of their families, and in women’s mental health. Dr. Esplen has a PhD with a fellowship specialty in psychosomatic medicine from the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto. Her PhD work was a randomized trial of guided imagery for Bulimia. Following her PhD, Dr. Esplen completed a post-doctorate fellowship in cancer genetics and psychosocial oncology at the prestigious Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto conducting a trial of group therapy for women at high risk for breast cancer and who carry mutations. Dr. Esplen is a scientist, educator, therapist and scholar and has received several awards, given numerous workshops and keynotes in psychosocial oncology- from prevention to palliative care. Dr. Esplen is a past President of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) and recently received the CAPO’s lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the field of Psycho-oncology.
Murray McLauchlan, Director
Murray McLauchlan is one of Canada’s great story tellers and most decorated songwriters with 11 JUNO Awards and 24 nominations. His cultural impact runs across generations from his influential albums Songs From the Street, Day to Day Dust and Boulevard to his memorable appearances on Sesame Street and the Elephant Show. Murray was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1993. In his over 40-year career, he has played in every major Canadian concert hall, from Massey Hall in Toronto to the Orpheum in Vancouver. Before he even cut his first record, Murray’s track Child’s Song was already well-known after it was recorded by American folk legend, Tom Rush, and Honky Red had been floating around the folk and country circuit, performed by Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Bobby Neuwirth. Murray’s passion for celebrating Canadian culture through art found an outlet with Swinging on a Star, his weekly CBC radio program which became the top rated music show in the country in the mid-80s. The 90s saw the release of his memoir titled Getting Out Of Here Alive (Penguin/Viking), providing a well-lit snapshot of the early days of the Toronto music scene. In the early 2000s Murray began to work on his stage musical, Eddie; the story of a Sinatra-like singer who has as much trouble with his demons as his women. Murray joined the mega-songwriter band, Lunch At Allen’s, featuring Marc Jordan, Cindy Church and Ian Thomas. The band has released three CDs: Lunch At Allen’s (2004), Catch The Moon (2007) and More Lunch At Allen’s (2010). Murray’s most recent album, Human Writes, is a work that explores the light and dark side of humanity. Produced by Murray McLauchlan in 2011 and engineered and mixed by Jeremy Darby (Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton) at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto, the album is about putting the song and its performance at the centre of the production; everything else, the instrumentation and arrangements, work only in support of that end. It’s a work of art that explores the light and dark side of humanity. Human Writes is pinnacle piece in a lifetime of achievement for Murray McLauchlan.
James Medeiros, Director
James Medeiros is a singer, musical director and health care program manager who happily traverses these two fields and is increasingly interested in the connection between music and wellness. Coming from a family with deep roots in music and front-line health care, James’ studies led him to Western University where he graduated a Master of Music in Literature and Performance in 2012. After some time spent teaching and performing “on the road”, James was offered a position with Health Quality Ontario. In this role, he found that his skills as a musician translated beautifully to his work in health care. Over the next few years he quickly advanced, earning his Project Management Professional and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (quality improvement) designations while maintaining an active musical directing and performance schedule. James currently develops educational programming for health care professionals in a range of settings across the continuum of care at the Ontario Hospital Association. He also spends a significant amount of his spare time sharing his talents with community theatre groups and building computers. He lives in Hamilton with his wife Stephanie and their three cats.
Randy Steffan, Director
Randy Steffan is an experienced Public Affairs Executive specializing in government relations, corporate communications and stakeholder management. He has been recognized as a skilled communicator with a reputation for engaging key stakeholders in strategic relationships. In his 10 years at Purdue Pharma, Randy was VP Corporate and Government Affairs. Prior to that, he held various management positions at Schering Canada including Federal Health Affairs, Stakeholder Alliance, Health and Public Affairs. Early in his career, Randy was VP Public Affairs and Member Relations at the Canadian College of Health Services. Currently, Randy is Principal Consultant at RRS Strategic which provides public affairs and strategic communications counsel to corporate, not-for-profit and association clients in the complex and highly regulated health, pharmaceutical and consumer health product sectors. Randy helps clients navigate conflicts between business strategy and government policy and ensures that whatever strategies are developed serve to protect and enhance corporate reputation. Randy is an active volunteer with a strong interest in the arts and is a director of the Durham West Arts Centre Foundation and Vice-Chair of the Ontario Philharmonic Orchestra.
Rob Foster, Founding Director
Dr. Rob Foster, EdD, is currently Assistant Professor of Education at Tyndale University College in Toronto, Ontario. He formerly taught in the Durham District School Board for more than 25 years. He specializes in philosophy of education, curriculum writing, teaching French and assessment and evaluation. His passion and particular interest of study is for ethical relations in the classroom. Rob loves music, the outdoors and writing. He is married to Bev and has four adult children, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.
Bev Foster, Founding Director
Bev Foster, MA, is the Executive Director of the Room 217 Foundation. She is an experienced, performer, songwriter and music educator. Bev has taught music in in the Durham District School Board as well as in her private studio and has been the Executive Director of the Ontario Vocal Festival, and Director of Music in several churches. Compelled by their own caregiving situation, Bev and her husband, Rob, founded the Room 217 Foundation in 2009. Bev speaks and writes extensively on the power of music.