The Board of Directors is considered to be the dominant policy and decision making governing body of the organization, regulated by a defined Constitution and By-laws. It has a strategic function in providing the mission, vision and goals of the agency. The Board has a fiduciary duty to protect the agency’s assets and investments by managing the yearly audit process. The Board’s prime responsibility is to the general membership who at the Annual General Meeting, elects the Board’s twelve members comprising four executive officers, ie. Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and eight directors. The Board is also responsible for the selection and appointment of the Chief Executive Officer of the organization, who reviews policies and procedures of the agency and advises the Board of any changes that may be required. Our Board members represent a wide-range of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Bringing a rich blend of experience to this governance body, their expertise ranges from professionals in the fields of finance, law, medicine, marketing and human resources.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Dr. Evelyn C. Adams
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and a Registered Nurse, Dr. Evelyn Adams has a private practice and in the past has been a Director of Public Health, a Provincial Consultant, University Professor with Tenure and a Director of Nursing at a 467 bed Home for the Aged. Her research has been in self care of senior adults. She has been a Director on Children’s Aid Board, Family Services Board and is active in community services as a volunteer visiting seniors who have health concerns. She enjoys fundraising and identifying community issues and needs. Her mission in life is to serve those who need her expertise or who just want to see her smile. Currently she is completing a novel [based on fact] about a family that escaped from Hungary during the second world war. She loves movies, reading about history, and traveling. Eve currently serves the Board as Board Development Chair.
Donna Cansfield has been involved with charity work her entire life. Besides serving on the ESS Board, recent tenures include Chairing the Board of Brands for Canada, member Canadian International Air Shows Inc. Board, Dorothy Ley Hospice, Ontario Lung Association, Room 217, Etobicoke Rotary (president-elect for the 2017-2018 term) and serves as an Honouray Patron for Dying with Dignity, Community Living, Canadian Korean Business Mens Association, and the Shevcheko Foundation. In 1988, Donna was elected to the Etobicoke Board of Education. During her tenure she served as president of both the Ontario Public and Canadian School Boards Association. In November 1997, she was elected trustee as a member of the newly amalgamated Toronto District School Board. She also served as Vice-Chair, Chair and Co-Chair of the Board. She was successful as Liberal MPP candidate in the riding of Etobicoke Centre in the 2003 election. Cansfield was appointed Parliamentary Assistant (PA) to Energy Minister and later served as Minister of Energy, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Natural Resources. She also served as PA to the Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Research and Development, and PA to the Minister of Finance. Cansfield also served as chief government whip for the Liberal Caucus. Cansfield left provincial politics after she declined to seek another term in the 2014 Ontario election.
Ken Chong – Treasurer
Ken Chong has been a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario since 1984. Ken has been a partner in the firm of Wallington Chong, Chartered Professional Accountants since its inception in 1989. Ken has served as the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of Osteoporosis Canada from 2002 until June 2007 and as Vice–Chair, Chair and Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Osteoporosis Canada from 2007 until 2012. From 1998 to 2007 Ken was Treasurer of the Board of Etobicoke Services for Seniors, and rejoined the Board in 2013, and currently serves the Board in the same capacity.
After a thirty-year career in the Ontario Public Service working in the areas of program analysis, planning, finance and policy development in the Ministries of Health, Labour, Community & Social Services and the Attorney General, Darlene joined ESS’s Board of Directors in June 2003. She accepted the position of Chair of the Board in June 2005, she left the board in 2015 and rejoined the board in 2016. As a long-time resident of Etobicoke, Darlene has extensive experience in fund-raising for both national and community organizations and continues to be an active volunteer as the Executive of a long-standing Etobicoke social club fostering fellowship amongst seniors in Etobicoke.
Alsie Jones is a Registered Practical Nurse. She obtained her Registered Practical Nursing Certificate in 2008 with a focus on community nursing. With over ten years of nursing experience, Alsie brings a deep level of knowledge and insight to her role. She is a very caring, dedicated and motivated nurse who strives to achieve what is in the best interest of clients. Alsie is an interactive leader who has mentored and trained nursing students through the preceptorship program by inspiring students to give their best and as a result will improve the health of all Canadians. In 2010, Alsie received a Celebrating Heroes in the Home – Caregiver Recognition Award from the Mississauga Halton Community Care Access Centre in recognition of her outstanding caregiving contributions.
Ken Jones has been a practicing lawyer for over 25 years, advocating for the rights and interests of individuals and organizations in a variety of contexts. His practice has focussed primarily on commercial litigation – the conduct and defence of lawsuits arising out of contract disputes, shareholder or partnership matters, or business or real estate transactions gone wrong. He also has considerable appellate experience, including before the Supreme Canada. In addition, a significant part of Ken’s practice has involved representing clients before administrative tribunals such as the Ontario Securities Commission. Outside of the law, Ken has been a volunteer leader and committee member with Scouts Canada, and has coached/managed youth baseball.
Karen Kowal completed her nursing diploma at St Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto. She went on to complete her Administrative Degree in Health Care at York University, on a part time basis, while working full time in Management of medical and geriatric patients at St Joseph’s Hospital. Further education included a Fellowship of Health Administration from The Canadian School of Management. She was able to apply her studies in her second career as well, while working as a Community Case Manager with a CCAC. After spending 40 years in nursing she retired and immediately started volunteering at a Seniors Centre Day Program and became a member of the Board of Directors of ESS. Some of her experience involved infection control and patient safety, which she utilizes in her role as a Board member. Her dedication to seniors is demonstrated, both career wise and personally, as she organizes activities and outings in her condo building for its many seniors.
Elizabeth Leach has 30+ years of experience working in the health care system in Ontario. Prior to her recent retirement, she was Executive Director of a health care professional association. She has been a consultant to the Governments of Ontario and Nunavut, an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and a hospital department lead. She received a master’s degree in psychology, a master’s of health sciences degree in health administration and a Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation. Elizabeth is a long-time resident of Etobicoke and was a volunteer with several community agencies.
After over twenty years managing businesses internationally, including the last 8 years building consumer brands at Procter & Gamble, Michael Lu found passion in caregiving. Being brought up by his grandmother in China, Michael has a vision of keeping seniors happy at home and is enjoying making people’s lives better everyday with his team at Nurse Next Door in Etobicoke and West Toronto. Michael holds a Masters degree in Business Administration, is a certified Personal Support Worker and specialized in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Michael believes in supporting the community like a family. He is actively involved in Rotary Club of Etobicoke and serves as a member of their Board of Directors, Chair of Communication Committee and Chair 2018 for Toronto Ribfest, its largest fundraising event.
Karen Lynn – Vice Chair
Karen Lynn is a Human Resource Executive who is passionate about helping others. For over fifteen years, she has headed up the Human Resource function for various businesses operating across Canada in a range of industries. She now works as an independent Human Resource Consultant. Her Bachelors of Science degree coupled with her previous not-for-profit Board leadership experience suits the ongoing needs of ESS’s Board. Karen’s tenure with ESS started as a volunteer for gift wrapping, and now is one of the team leads for the 24-day holiday fund raising event. Karen currently serves the Board as Vice Chair.
Margaret Smuk – Secretary
A graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, Margaret brings a wealth of over 50 years volunteer experience to the ESS Board of Directors. As a “stay at home” mother, Margaret had more time to assist both her own parents and her in-law parents as they aged. This experience has influenced her decision to pursue an active role in senior affairs. She has been a volunteer at Kipling Acres, one of Toronto’s Long-Term Care Homes, for over 39 years, serving as president for 25 years. Margaret is Chair of the Toronto Inter-Home Volunteers and a member of the Advisory Committee for the City’s 10 long-term care homes. Margaret has been an ESS Board member for a number of many years, serving as Board Secretary as well as several terms as Chair of the Volunteer Advisory and Fundraising Committees.
Erica Teklits – Chair
Erica Teklits is an audit partner with BDO Canada LLP and National Leader of the Not-for-Profit and Education Sector for the firm. She is also a member of the Accounting Standards Board Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee. Her experience as an auditor and volunteering on other not-for-profit boards has provided valuable insight into the financial and operational issues facing this sector. Erica has served on the board of ESS Support Services for a number of many years and is passionate about providing services to the community, enabling those requiring additional care to remain in their homes with dignity. She has served as Co-Chair and Treasurer. She is currently serving the Board as Chair.
Alison Coke – CEO and Ex Officio member of the Board
Alison Coke is the second of three sisters who grew up in Canadian military family. Her father was a career officer, married for 63 years to his beautiful British war bride, and who served in WWII and Korea. The family values, instilled in her from day one, were responsibility and commitment to community service. These values have guided her since that day.
As is normal for ‘army brats’, Alison had the opportunity to live in and learn about many different places across Canada, in Germany, England and Washington, D.C.
She obtained her B.A. from Queens, an M.A. from The American University in Washington, D.C. and an M. Phil. from Oxford in the UK.
She started her professional career with a major Canadian resource company, followed by long-service in both the Governments of British Columbia and Ontario, working in Trade Policy, Regional Development, Natural Resources, Education and Training and Housing.
She opened and operated a successful private consulting firm, providing strategic support to a range of health and social services agencies, including the Ontario Hospital Association, the Victorian Order of Nurses and the Ontario Public Health Association.
One her consulting clients, the Scarborough Housing Help Centre, invited her to assume the role of Executive Director and from this agency she then moved to become the ED at Second Base Youth Shelter.
Alison has also enjoyed a rich volunteer life working on non-profit Boards engaged in a diverse causes, including third-world aid and international development, the establishment and launch of a school-based childcare centre and a church-based parish nursing program.
Alison has two terrific adult children, a wonderful Labrador – Logan – and three perfect rescue cats.