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Staff and Board



The team at Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) work hard to make a positive impact on families, caregivers, and members. The staff here have experience working inside and outside the provincial government on both the bureaucratic and political sides. Children’s Mental Health Ontario is governed by a Board of Directors composed of volunteers. These Directors are eligible to serve on the Board for a maximum of 2 terms that are 3-years in length. There are currently 13 Directors on the CMHO Board.

Mary Kloosterman

Interim Chief Executive Officer

Mary Kloosterman is a seasoned non-profit leader. She is the former Board Chair of CMHO and a former board member of The Maltby Centre, a child and youth mental health centre and lead agency in Kingston.

Her professional background includes working for the YMCA for 20 years at a number of associations, most recently as the CEO of the YMCA of Kingston and of RKY Camp, retiring in 2018. She has had an extensive volunteer career with diverse agencies such as as fall fairs, children’s camps, and recently as a Judicial Advisor, vetting applications for judgeships in the Federal Court system.  

She has been married for 40 years, and has two children and 4.5 grandchildren.



AllStaffBoard of Directors

Alex Munter

Alex Munter is President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Since joining CHEO in 2011, he has helped CHEO earn recognition as one of Canada’s most admired corporate cultures and a leader in research, health technology and patient-centred care. Previously, Alex was Chief Executive Officer of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Before joining the LHIN, he led Ottawa’s Youth Services Bureau, one of Ontario’s leading child and youth mental health agencies. From 1991 to 2003, he was an elected Councillor in Ottawa, where he also had lead responsibility for public health, long-term care, housing and social services.

Policy Advisor

Aliya Allen-Valley

Program Manager, Family Partnership

Andrea Tagalakis

Andrea has been working in the social services sector for over 10 years, her expertise includes: program design and implementation, stakeholder engagement, community development, and capacity building. She is looking forward to the opportunity to advance family engagement, family partnership and family peer support in child and youth mental health. Andrea brings an equity lens to her work, and has extensive experience working with marginalized and vulnerable groups.  As a mom of two Andrea understands the lengths parents will go to, to support their kids and ensure their needs are met; this drives her commitment to support parents seeking access to services to support their children with mental health issues or mental illness. Andrea’s passion for community development extends beyond her professional life, she previously sat on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Public Library and is currently supporting the wind down of Parents Action on Drugs in her role as a Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext. 125


Charlotte Moore-Hepburn

Charlotte is a pediatrician who combines her academic clinical practice with policy work in health systems improvement, with a specific focus on child health and child health priorities. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto School of Medicine and a Faculty Paediatrician at The Hospital for Sick Children. Currently she serves as the Director of Medical Affairs for the Canadian Paediatric Society. She has developed and led policy both inside and outside government in Canada and the United States as well as leads a busy clinical practice. From 2006 to 2011, Charlotte served as the Provincial Lead for Maternal, Child and Youth Health Strategy in the Office of the Assistant Deputy Minister – Health System Strategy Division at MOHLTC. She has a degree from Princeton University and pursued further medical studies at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Senior Policy Advisor

Christal Huang

Senior Manager, Projects and Operations

Cindy Prins

Cindy joined us from The Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute, where she worked with Principal Investigators in the department for Neuroscience & Mental Health. She has a B.A. in Psychology from McMaster University. As Project Manager, Cindy has a lead role in areas including event management, CMHO board support, and office administration. Cindy is our point person for CMHO’s annual conference, member meetings and billing inquiries.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext. 124

Executive Assistant

Clare Bradshaw

Clare is Executive Assistant to CHMO’S CEO Mary Kloosterman. Having relocated to Toronto, Canada from the UK, where she previously worked as Administration Manger at Hays Specialist Recruitment in London, England. Clare has a varied experience in administration and is also currently studying a Business Management Degree to further her development and understanding in these areas. Clare will always try to be the best asset to her team and CEO, her key attributes include, loyalty, efficiency and being innovative.

Junior Policy Analyst

Evelyn Ascencio

Evelyn is a junior policy analyst with a Masters in Public Health specializing in Health Promotion. She has past experience facilitating and planning programming with communities in Toronto addressing poverty, housing, and mental health issues. Evelyn has previously worked on community-based research with youth in Toronto focusing on their health outcomes. She is interested in bringing her public health expertise and personal lived experiences to the children and youth mental health sector.

Executive Director - Toronto

Ewa Deszynski

Ewa is the Executive Director of The Etobicoke Children’s Centre in West Toronto. Ewa is a strong advocate for Child and Youth Mental Health and has over 30 years of professional and personal experience with CYMH. Ewa is the former Board Chair of a Community Health Care Centre, former Advisory and Governance member for the Centre for Excellence, and a former chair of the CMHO Advocacy committee.  She is an accreditor for the Canadian Centre for Accreditation. Ewa is the very proud parent of two adult children.

Network Coordinator, The New Mentality

Fizza Abbas

Fizza is a familiar face in our network, as she has previously been involved as a Youth Facilitator for our TNM group in Peel and has attended Disable the Label the past two years as a Crew Leader. Fizza graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and then further pursued her post-graduate in Addictions and Mental Health. Prior to the Network Coordinator position, she was a Recreation Specialist at a psychosocial rehabilitation program and created fun and engaging wellness-based programming, as well as provided supportive counselling for individuals experiencing mental health challenges, and social isolation.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext.135


George Arthur Ross

George is currently President and CEO of George Arthur Ross and Associates Inc., a consulting services business based in Owen Sound, Ontario. Previously, George spent over 33 years in Ontario Public Service including appointments as Deputy Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Deputy Minister of Consumer Services, and Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation. George also held appointments with the Yukon Territorial Government, as Deputy Minister of Energy Mines and Resources and Acting President and CEO of the Yukon Development Corporation. An active volunteer, he serves on the Board of the YMCA of Owen Sound and as a Director of the Bluewater (Outdoor) Education Foundation.

Board Chair

Gregory J. Glenn

Greg is the current Board Chair of Kinark Child and Family Services, as well as Secretary Treasurer of the Kinark Foundation. Greg has spent over 40 years in the Canadian healthcare industry. During that time, he has held positions in Sales, Marketing, Government Relations and Public Affairs. A successful entrepreneur he was the President of The Glenn Group for 13 years and the Senior Vice President of The JBL Group from December 2006 until December 2015 where he was the primary government relations contact for the firm’s clients and worked with both bureaucratic and political staff.

Director, Strategic Relations and Communications

Jessica Behnke

Jessica joins CMHO from the adult community mental health and addiction sector, where she led advocacy work that contributed to mental health and addiction being a top election issue for all political parties. She is passionate about building relationships and bringing government and direct service providers together to advance policy, and has over five years experience working in healthcare communications and government relations at membership associations, including at Addictions and Mental Health Ontario and the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada. Having supported two MPPs (Christine Elliott and Mitzie Hunter) through the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP), Jessica brings a strong understanding of political and legislative processes to the child and youth mental health sector.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext.127

Director, Public Policy

Kerry Smuk

Kerry has worked in government for more than 15 years with almost 10 years in policy development and implementation at the provincial level. As an experienced Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Ontario, she has led progressive social policy priorities in early years and child care, education and women’s issues. A skillful collaborator, Kerry has been involved in long term planning and has engaged across sectors and communities to provide strategic advice about complex policy objectives. She is a community Guider with Girl Guides of Canada and a Patient Family Advisor with North York General Hospital. She has a BA in Psychology and has also expanded her professional learning in non-profit and voluntary sector management.

Board Member

Lori Brady

Lori Brady is a Registered Physiotherapist with clinical leadership expertise. She has experience in the acute care, home and community care, and health system planning sectors. She has held leadership roles with accountability for strategic planning and driving innovation at both the system and local levels. Through this work, Lori has developed a history of propelling transformative change and is a strong advocate for patient-centred care.

Lori holds a Master of Science (PT) degree from McMaster University and a Master of Health Administration (MHSc) degree from the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. She also holds designations as a Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE) and a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Board Member

Mamta Chail

Mamta Chail is the Executive Director at Youthdale, Social Advocate/Disrupter and Mother of Two. These are just a few things that describe and drive Mamta’s passion for wellness and focus on improving the mental health and quality of life for children, youth and families.

Prior to her role at Youthdale, Mamta’s background is derived from over 20 years’ experience in the not for profit sector in counselling, addictions, mental health, justice and residential support. As a Social Advocate/Disrupter, Mamta is involved in a number of steering committees and networks to lead and inspire change at the municipal and provincial level.

At her core, Mamta is a proud mother of two. Her children and family drive her purpose. When she is not working, advocating or disrupting, Mamta spends her time with family enjoying copious amounts of chocolate and coffee!

Senior Program Manager

Mary-Anne Leahy

Mary-Anne is a youth engagement specialist with a wealth of experience in project management, network development, youth-led policy, event planning, and facilitation. She was previously a Network Coordinator for The New Mentality, ensuring the program enhances the health and lives of youth across Ontario. Her current role is Senior Program Manager.

Phone:416-921-2109 ext.133


Melanie Barwick


Melanie Barwick, PhD, CPsych is a Senior Scientist in the Child Evaluative Sciences Program of the SickKids’ Research Institute, and Head of the Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit (CYMHRU) in the Department of Psychiatry at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). She is affiliated with the SickKids’ Learning Institute where she conducts professional development in knowledge translation, and with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, as a scientist and member of the leadership.At the University of Toronto, she is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Policy, Measurement, and Evaluation.She is a Governing Board Director for the Wisdom to Action Network Centre of Excellence and AMREF Health Africa.


Board Member

Michael Dawthorne

Michael is the Director of Programs and Services Operations at Canadian Hearing Services and previous Board Chair of Parents for Children’s Mental Health. He currently serves on numerous boards and committees related to accessibility, disabilities, and mental health. He is a graduate from the University of Western Ontario (BA), Mohawk College (Labour Studies) and Lambton College (Community Advocacy). Michael is a passionate advocate for community and global change, particularly in the areas of Children and Families; Human Rights and Equality; and Accessibility. Much of his time is spent supporting and advocating for his son with Autism, developmental disability, and mental illness.

Director, Strategic Relations and Communications

Nicole Helsberg


Pamela Spencer

Pamela has worked extensively with public sector Boards as Corporate Secretary and General Counsel including Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto Community Housing Corporation and eHealth Ontario. Her role has included providing strategic advice and counsel to Boards on a wide range of legal, public relations, risk, conflict of interest and governance issues. She has also served as a member of the Claims & Risk Management Committee of the Board of the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada and as Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Health Law Executive and currently sits on the Governing Council of the Ontario Bar Association. In addition to her undergraduate and law degrees, she holds a Masters in Health Administration / Collaborative Program in Bioethics from the University of Toronto and is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in Health Law. In 2018, Pamela took on a new role as inaugural Legal Counsel and Safeguarding Children and Youth Focal Point with Plan International Canada Inc., an international NGO dedicated to advancing Children’s rights and equality for girls.

Senior Policy Advisor

Sandani Hapuhennedige

Sandani is a Senior Policy Advisor and joins CMHO from the public health sector, where she was involved in public policy, health systems planning and program implementation. Following her masters of public health training, she has gained extensive experience working with diverse, multi-sector stakeholders, both at the local and global level. She is passionate about finding meaningful solutions to complex policy issues and applies systems-thinking and health equity to her work. Along with these strengths, her strategic planning and advocacy skills have benefited the advancement of several notable policy agendas and programs. She is also interested in policy communications, and recently completed a fellowship in journalism at the University of Toronto. She is committed to strengthening healthcare policies in the mental health sector and improving the lives of children, youth, and their families.

Communications Specialist

Taryn Welch


Tesa Fiddler

Tesa Fiddler is Anishinabek with family roots throughout Northwestern Ontario. She is currently the English Literacy Development Teacher with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. In partnership with Dr. Lisa Korteweg at Lakehead University, Tesa has conducted research in FNMI education and FNMI student success. She has also taught courses at the university which specialize in FNMI education and supporting teacher candidates in their role as culturally responsive and relevant educators. In addition to her work for the Thunder Bay Catholic board, Tesa has also taught at York University, Lakehead University, Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, and Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education Institute. Tesa also actively volunteers her time and expertise as a member of CMHO’s Family Action Committee, as well as a member of the Parent Council at Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and as a Governor with Confederation College.

Executive Director - Carizon

Tracy Elop

Currently Tracy is the CEO of Carizon Family and Community Services and also a board member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation where she was elected to serve as Treasurer. She is a CPA by training and was recently recognized as a fellow by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Tracy is an active volunteer in her community with many years of governance experience. She has served on the Board of two hospitals and accumulated over fifteen years of service in this capacity.

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