As a registered charity, Lymphoma Canada is led by a volunteer board of directors drawn from the Canadian lymphoma community. Our board includes lymphoma patients and medical and research professionals. All members of our Board of Directors reside in Canada.
Sharlene Smith | Chair Victoria, BC
Claudio Grossi | Vice Chair Woodbridge, ON
Karen Gillespie | Treasurer Vancouver, BC
Ryan Baxter Halifax, NS
Lucy Bonanno Geraldton, ON
James Hanson Victoria, BC
Dr. Nathalie Johnson Montréal, QC
Sarwar Azam Khan Toronto, ON
Dr. John Kuruvilla Toronto, ON
Kathy Mannas Richmond, BC
Sean Pieris Milton, ON
Barbara Pollock Regina, SK
Sharlene Smith - Chair
Victoria, British Columbia
Owner/Operator, CommPlan Canada
Sharlene is the owner/operator of CommPlan Canada, a BC-based communication management consulting firm she established in 1997 after a 20-year career in communications, public relations and management in senior positions largely in the public sector in BC and Saskatchewan.
Sharlene is a founding member of both the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University’s public relations programs, where she has taught hundreds of public relations practitioners from across Canada. She is a life member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, was inducted into its College of Fellows in 2003, and is a recipient of the Society's Lamp of Service - Canada's most coveted public relations honor for an individual member.
Sharlene has held governance positions with national, provincial and local organizations. She has been on the boards of nine public and voluntary sector organizations, serving as the lead director (Chair or President) on four of them.
She comes to Lymphoma Canada as a result of her husband of 35 years being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2013.
Claudio Grossi - Vice Chair
Mr. Grossi is a Chartered Accountant and has an MBA in International Business and Finance. He has over 30 years’ experience in the finance area ranging from public accounting to financial control, reporting and management in the biotech, manufacturing, and transportation industries in Canada, the US and Europe. Mr. Grossi is CFO of Novera Capital Inc. a Fintech company that provides investment solutions through innovative fund structures. From 2002 to 2018 he was the Managing Director of Finance for the 407ETR Highway and drove significant systems and operational changes with the Company. From 1996 to 2001 he was the Corporate Controller of a US publicly traded international Biotech Company in Atlanta, Georgia and previously was the Managing Director of their Italian and Spanish Operations from 1992 to 1996. From 1987 to 1991 Mr. Grossi worked for Deloitte in their audit and financial services areas in Canada and later in Italy.
Karen Gillespie- Treasurer
Delta, British Columbia
Director of Finance and Administration - HFBC Housing Foundation
Karen is a CPA with over 30 years of experience in public practise, industry and not for profit. Karen currently works as a Manager of Accounting and Human Resources for Spinal Cord Injury BC. She has over 20 years of experience working with various not for profit boards, and is also currently Treasurer for the Delta Hospice Society.
Karen joined the board of directors at Lymphoma Canada after being diagnosed and treated for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2013/14. Giving back to Lymphoma Canada is her way of turning lemons into lemonade.
Ryan Baxter - Director
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Lawyer, McInnes Cooper
Ryan’s legal practice is primarily focused in the areas of health law and the regulation of professions, extending to administrative law and litigation matters. He is a member of the Advocates’ Society, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association.
Lucy Bonanno - Director
CEO - Geraldton District Hospital
Lucy Bonanno was appointed CEO of the fully-accredited, progressive healthcare organization, Geraldton District Hospital (GDH). Encompassing direct operations with values based leadership style on Patient and Family Centered Care at a strategic and governance level with the Board of Directors, physicians, staff, volunteers, and community partners. GDH provides service for the amalgamated community of Greenstone, Ontario, which includes; Beardmore, Caramat, Longlac, Nakina, and surrounding First Nation populations. Lucy is a compassionate and community-oriented Healthcare Executive with a track record in strong communications, partnership building and driving results. Her history offers 25 years of experience in Ontario healthcare institutions, emphasizing high morale through team collaboration in organizational structure, policy development and long-term strategic planning. Proven record of implementing initiatives in client and community satisfaction, physician-management relations and improved access-to-care. Lucy is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and holds a MBA and a MA in Leadership, along with being a Certified Healthcare Executive (CHE) and a Certified Association Executive (CAE). She also sits on the NOSM (Northern Ontario School of Medicine) Board of Directors and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Small, Rural & Northern Leadership Council.
James Hanson - Director
Victoria, British Columbia
Vice President, Operations and Support Services, Island Health
As Vice President – Operations and Support at Island Health, James provides strategic and operational leadership in the areas of Facilities Maintenance, Design and Construction, Biomedical Engineering, Materials Management, Protection Services, Housekeeping, Food Services, Laundry, Logistics, Patient Flow, and Health Emergency Management. In this role James leads a diverse and integrated team focused on enhancing Island Health’s physical infrastructure, processes and support services to improve our patients’ experience and ensure system sustainability.
James joined Lymphoma Canada after losing his father to non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2016
Dr Nathalie Johnson - Director
Physician, Division of hematology, Jewish General Hospital
Dr. Nathalie Johnson is a hematologist who treats patients with lymphoma and CLL with a special interest in lymphomas that occur in the adolescent and young adult population. She completed her clinical training in hematology and oncology at McGill and her PhD in Pathology at the British Columbia Cancer Agency in 2010. Since then, she has been performing translational and clinical research at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. She is also an associate professor in the department of Medicine and Oncology at McGill University. Her research focuses on identifying the factors that predict responses to chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Her motivation for joining Lymphoma Canada is to help lymphoma patients by promoting advocacy, education and research.
Sarwar Khan - Director
Assistant Controller EOS Canada Inc.
Sarwar is an Independent Finance Professional working in Tax, Accounting and Advisory issues in Canada. Sarwar has Chartered Accountant qualification from Bangladesh and also did MBA in Marketing, MComm and BComm and is being enrolled for CPA designation. He completed Canadian Business Law course at York University and Taxation for Canadian Business course at University of Toronto. Sarwar has 30 plus years of wide financial experience in increasingly higher responsibilities with international operations of global health care and consumer goods companies including the role of CFO of Bangladesh subsidiary (a listed company) of GlaxoSmithKline for 17 years.
Sarwar has extensive professional, volunteer and academic experience in Bangladesh and Canada.
Sarwar joined the board of directors at Lymphoma Canada in 2015 to utilize his expertise in financial matters and giving back his services to the communities.
Dr. John Kuruvilla - Director
Dr. John Kuruvilla is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Clinical Investigator in the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. He is a hematologist and member of the Lymphoma Program and the Autologous Blood and Marrow Transplant program. Dr. Kuruvilla’s research interests include novel drug development in lymphoid malignancies incorporating translational research and clinical trials in these disorders. He is a member of the Hematology Disease Site Group of the Canadian Trials Group (CCTG formerly NCIC CTG) as well as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Lymphoma Canada.
Kathy Mannas - Director
Richmond, British Columbia
As a fundraising professional for over 30 years, Kathy has spearheaded a myriad of successful fundraising endeavours including corporate sponsorships, government and community grants, third party fundraisers and special events for three health charities. Her work has incorporated a heavy marketing component that has included designing promotional materials, organizing stakeholder conferences, and participating in media interviews
In 1998 Kathy was among the first fundraisers in Canada to receive accreditation as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). In 2002 she was appointed to the Greater Vancouver Board of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners where she served for six years. In that capacity she founded and rapidly expanded one of the first LEAVE A LEGACY™ programs in Canada. Today this partnership of charities and professional advisors has expanded to regions across the country to create public awareness on the importance of leaving charitable bequests.
Most recently, Kathy worked for 15 years as a senior gift planner, major gift fundraiser and capital campaign manager for The Salvation Army, Canada’s largest non-governmental social service organization.
Sean Pieris - Director
Sean is a seasoned financial services professional with almost 30 years experience in customer sales and service, banking, people management, and leading key strategic initiatives across various lines of business. In his current HR Director role at Rogers Communications, Sean is accountable for leading a team of Senior HR Professionals and developing & leading multi-year people strategy supporting Senior Executives within the Residential Services division. An MBA graduate and Fellow of Canadian Bankers, focused in Financial Services from Canadian Securities Institute, Sean joined the Board of Directors for Lymphoma Canada in 2016.
Barbara L. Pollock APR, FCPRS, LM - Director
Barbara Pollock provides strategic counsel with POLMAC Communications, her communications and public relations firm, which offers strategic planning, crisis communications and issues management services. She returned to the firm in 2013 after nearly 13 years in the role of Vice-President (External Relations) at the University of Regina. She was part of the University’s executive team, responsible for reputation management, and relationship management with the University’s stakeholders, including alumni, donors, government and the public.
She holds an Accredited Public Relations designation and was inducted in to the College of Fellows in the Canadian Public Relations Society in 2006. In 2018 she was made a Life Member of the organization.
She holds bilingual degrees from the University of Regina in Arts and Education and certificates from the Institute for Educational Management, Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and the Institute for Crisis Management in Kentucky.
In 2009 she was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Regina as Outstanding Fundraising Executive for 2008; and in 2008 and 2010 she was recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Most Influential Women.
Her work/life balance efforts allow attention to her husband Paul, their chocolate Labrador Sam, cooking, golf and travel.