Board of Directors

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.

Lee Bartel, Director

Lee Bartel is Professor Emeritus of Music and Health and Music Education and at the University of Toronto and Member of the Board and Chair of the Research and Education Committee for the Artists’ Health Alliance. He served as Faculty of Music Associate Dean of Research, and was the Founding Director of the Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) at University of Toronto from 2011 - 2015. He is a Member of the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience, Cross-appointed to Institute for Life Course and Aging, as well as the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science. He taught graduate courses on Music and Brain as well as Social Psychology of Music. With extensive early experience as a music teacher at all levels and as a performing choral conductor, singer, violinist, and guitarist, he has special interest in conditions of learning, pedagogic culture, social psychology, and music in human development. He has focused strongly on music for children developing some 65 albums with Fisher Price. In music education his research has included cognition and perception, social psychology, and curriculum, and in general education ranges from international education to issues of evaluation, professional development, homework, and 21st Century learning. He was editor of the Canadian Journal of Research in Music Education, editor of the CME Journal, and senior editor of the CMEA Research to Practice book series. In Music and Health Bartel has a broad interest ranging through music therapy, music medicine, music neuroscience, health in culture, artists’ health, music performance science, and music in human development. He has a special interest in applications of music in health conditions of aging and rehabilitation and is well known internationally for his research and design of music for brain effects with 24 albums on Solitudes and SonicAid, as well as many music tracks in sound conditioners and for aroma therapy. He has done internationally recognized research in: music enjoyment ability retraining (hearTunes) approaches for cochlear implant recipients at Sunnybrook Health Sciences; Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation for Cardiac Rehab at Toronto Rehab; Rhythmic Sensory Stimulation (RSS) and Fibromyalgia at Mount Sinai Hospital; RSS and Alzheimers at Baycrest; RSS and Major Depressive Disorder with the CAN-BIND project, as well as pilots in Ehlor’s Danlos Syndrome, and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. 

Sonia Brown, Director

Sonia Brown is a Human Resources leader with over 20 years of experience in a variety of industries. Currently, she is the Head of Human Resources for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices in Canada, located out of Markham, Ontario. In her various professional roles, she has worked with business leaders to translate global/regional HR strategies into local/ national strategies, providing leadership, coaching and consultative services as it relates to organizational change plans, HR strategy, talent and compensation strategy. Sonia has built a career in roles that include a strong focus and passion for coaching business leaders for high performance on both a personal and organizational level. Sonia has a BA in Social Science (Political Science) from the University of Western Ontario and a professional certification in Human Resources Management from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. She has a passion for helping others; included in her voluntary and philanthropic activities, she is the President of The George Lunan Charitable Foundation and participates in numerous humanitarian missions in Central America. Sonia resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Donna Ihnatowycz, Director

Donna is a seasoned Human Resources, Training and Business Consultant who brings to each client initiative years of Executive Management Achievement.  Her experience in the Financial Services Industry has focused upon such disciplines as strategic planning, process improvement, management development, change management, recruitment strategies, training and development, leadership initiatives and, the outsourcing of Human Resources functions.

Donna has works with many large well known Canadian and US Corporations both the “buy” and “sell” sides of merger and acquisition integrations.  She has successfully developed and integrated Business and HR functions with business strategies resulting in maximum value added for all parties concerned.

As an instructional designer, Donna has created, developed and delivered many training programs on topic including leadership, team building, sales management, behavioural interviewing, presentation skills and time management.  She has provided one-on-one coaching to senior executives, helping them maximize all levels of employee performance in their business units, as well as guiding executives in achieving their own development goals.

In 2004 Donna took the lead in establishing the Continuing Education Course Accreditation Process (CECAP) for the delivery, administration and assessment of programs qualifying for Continuing Education on behalf of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).  She is currently lead assessor of all programs submitted to IIROC for CE accreditation.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, a Certified Human Resources Professional, and a member of the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario, Donna also devotes her time to Arts and Culture.  She has chaired several “Fund Raising” initiatives for such venues as the Royal Ontario Museum, The Royal Conservatory of Music, the United Way, the Ukrainian Canadian Centre and numerous community centred events.

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.

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.

Randy Steffan, Director

Randy Steffan is Government Relations Advisor to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. During his more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, Randy has held leadership roles in corporate and not-for-profit organizations, specializing in public affairs and communications. He has led numerous national advocacy campaigns and provided strategic counsel. Earlier in his career, Randy was Vice President of a national healthcare association in Ottawa representing hospital executives. An active community volunteer with a strong interest in the Arts, he currently serves as a Director of the Durham West Arts Centre Foundation and on the Industry Engagement Advisory Council of the Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corporation. Randy holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and is a recent graduate of the Queen’s Executive Program. He lives in Toronto.

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.