BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Andy Barrie is a 25 year veteran of radio and broadcasting. In 2007 Andy learned he had Parkinson's disease and a year later, thanks to Dancing with Parkinson's, learned how to do the tango.
"When I'm dancing I'm completely unaware of the limitations of Parkinson's."--Andy
"Parkinson's is not a pleasure trip," he continues. "So it's nice to be involved in something as a result of the disease that is fun. [Dancing] loosens you up in your body and in your brain. You can get tight in both places."--Andy
Tess McLean is foremost a supporter and lover of the arts. She is also a communications specialist with over twenty years’ experience in helping organizations successfully plan and deliver effective communications strategies. In the corporate consulting environment, the public sector, and with not for profits, Tess works with all levels to ensure key messages are shared and vital information is understood.
From the boardrooms of Bay Street to artist co-operatives – everyone has a story to tell. Tess has had the privilege of assisting organizations find their voice over the roar of 21st century challenges. She is passionate about arts organizations that are innovative and committed to making art accessible to all. Tess is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School and continues to feed her creative soul through the adult ballet program at NBS. She currently serves as NBS’ Alumni Relations and Donor Communications Officer.
Rachel Gray is the Operations Director at the Global Alliance for the Future. Previously, Rachel was the Executive Director of The Stop Community Food Centre, and worked nationally and locally with homeless youth, first developing and managing Eva's Phoenix, and then as Director of Eva's National Program, facilitating national knowledge sharing initiatives and research projects, and supporting the establishment of a national, partnership based response to youth homelessness. She worked for the Ontario Government as a special assistant to the Minister of Health. Rachel is the Chair of the Toronto Food Policy Council and a member of the Board of Directors for Dancing with Parkinson's.
Dr. Jackie Bender
Dr. Bender, in addition to DWP Director, leads our Research Committee. She is a Scientist at the ELLICSR Health, Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Centre in the Department of Supportive Care at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and an Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Dr. Bender's father, John Bender (also known as Dancing Johnny), has had Parkinson's Disease since 2004.
Susan Shiels is currently the Operations Manager for AT&T Global Network Services Canada Co. Seven years before this she was the Marketing Manager for Canada and was responsible for all marketing, fund raising and event planning. Susan is looking forward to reviving her event planning and marketing skills to contribute to fundraising and organizing events for Dancing with Parkinson’s. She is thrilled to be part of this board and to contribute to enhancing the lives of PD dancers.
Lorraine Kalia MD, PhD, FRCPC, Director of DWP's Research Committee, graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School, followed by a brief professional ballet career as an apprentice with the National Ballet of Canada and a corps de ballet member with the National Ballet of Portugal. She then pursued academic training to become a clinician scientist, obtaining a BSc (Biology) at Queen’s University, MD/PhD (Neuroscience) at University of Toronto, FRCPC (Neurology) at University of Toronto, postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, and movement disorders fellowship at Toronto Western Hospital. Currently, Lorraine is a clinician scientist and assistant professor in the Division of Neurology, University of Toronto with appointments at the Krembil Research Institute, Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto. She is a movement disorders neurologist at the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Her clinical work and research program focus on improving our understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and related movement disorders.
Robert Davis is a professional facilitator, having worked in the public sector for almost 25 years. With a degree in Urban Studies/Sociology, with a minor in music, from York University, Robert feels privileged to have applied most of that degree to his working life. Robert played string bass in a number of amateur orchestras in the Toronto area for 40 years, until the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Robert's hobbies have included music recording and production, photography (he is also a graduate of Sheridan College Photography) and video production - some of which are used as part of his volunteer activities. Since 1999, Robert has sat on the board of the Aradia Ensemble, a Toronto-based professional period baroque orchestra. Robert lives in Toronto with his wife Cheryl, his daughter Chloë, and Dr. Tofu the rabbit.
Nicholas Smerek is the Assistant Vice President, Planning & Analysis at Mackenzie Investments, where he leads the team responsible for all aspects of financial forecasting, expense management, and decision support. Prior to this, he worked for more than 15 years in the financial sector in a variety of roles in banking, mining, financial services, and government.
Mr. Smerek is active in the community and sits on the Board of Directors of the Wellesley Institute. He also regularly volunteered with Canadian Blood Services and provided financial expertise for a Toronto-based art collective. He is excited to use his experience to help the Board of Directors.
He has a Bachelor of Business Administration, with Major in Accounting from St. Francis Xavier University and holds the Chartered Accountant, Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst designations.
Alexandra Robinson Fawcett is a classically trained dancer and graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow Russia. She went on to dance with ballet companies in Europe and Canada, and also performed in musical theatre and in film and television. After retiring from performing, Alexandra went on to work as Event Coordinator for Toronto’s Distillery Historic District.
After several years at the DHD Alexandra opened her own event planning company, Alexandra Fawcett Events, and has planned and executed weddings, b'nai mitzvahs, and corporate events at venues in Toronto and Cottage Country, including Evergreen Brickworks, Malaparte, and the Royal Ontario Museum, to name a few.
Alexandra continues to practice her love of dancing through ballet classes and through her involvement with this wonderful organization, where she can help seniors discover their own love of dancing and movement.