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Board of Directors

Valerie Steele

Valerie Steele is an enthusiastic audit, IT, governance and risk executive with significant experience leading teams in designing, implementing and evaluating audit, risk management governance and internal control programs, proactively identifying and resolving complex issues by providing creative and pragmatic advice and articulating and operationalizing strategy in a variety of industries. She is recognized as a trusted advisor to C-level executives, audit committees, boards and regulators. Currently, Ms. Steele heads the Professional Practice Centre for the Internal Audit function of a major Canadian financial institution. Ms. Steele has also served as a Managing Director at the Canadian Public Accountability Board where she established the risk function and led an inspection team. Prior to 2009, she was a partner in a major Canadian public accounting firm.

Ms. Steele joined the National Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in September 2009, was a member of the National Audit, Finance and Investment Committee, and presently serves as 1st Vice-Chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.


Lenora Gates
1st Vice-Chair

Lenora Gates' 28-year career in commercial real estate included the formation of Gates Real Estate Services Ltd. She is also a founding partner of Orange National Retail Group which provides real estate consulting and brokerage services to regional, national and international retailers to facilitate expansion into and across the Canadian market. 

In addition to servicing her exclusive clients, she has dedicated time to speak at the International Conference of Shopping Centres (ICSC), MAPIC, The Urban Development Institute, The Real Estate Forum and British Columbia Shopping Centre Association events. In 2009, she accepted a position on the Board of Vancouver CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) and held the position of President 2012 and 2013. In 2000 and 2004, Lenora was nominated as “Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Lenora served on the board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation B.C. Yukon Chapter from 2002 – 2015, most recently as Chair. She chaired the annual Awareness Day Luncheon from 2007 - 2012. She has served on the CBCF Board since 2011, currently in the position of 2nd Vice Chair and a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. As the key note speaker at the 8th annual “The Night of Hope, held in Richmond, B.C. Lenora was involved in bringing this successful fund raiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to the North Shore in the Spring of 2009. Lenora was co-founder of Lifelines Targeted Fundraising which rose over $700,000 for the purchase of the first Digital Image Mammography Machine located and in use in the British Columbia Cancer Agency.

Lenora and her husband Bob have 2 boys, enjoy golf, travel and gardening.

Suzanne Bays.jpg

Suzanne Bays
2nd Vice-Chair

Suzanne is the President of Baymont IT Consulting Inc., which specializes in managing large transformational IT projects as well as reviewing projects in flight, with the objective of ensuring business needs are met. Suzanne has over 30 years of management consulting experience both in delivery and management. Prior to this, she was the Program Manager for Transit Information Technology, where she led the technology projects portfolio for OC Transpo, the transit agency for the City of Ottawa. Suzanne was also a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where she specialized in IT Program & Project Management, Transformation and Performance Management, with a particular emphasis on successful large scale technology implementations.

Suzanne has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, along with a Master of Business Administration (Finance & Industrial Relations) from the University of Western Ontario. She is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, and holds the designation of ICD.D. She is also a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Suzanne joined the Board of Directors in June 2014. She is currently the Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee and is also a member of the Audit, Finance and Investment Committee.

Jodi Misheal

Jodi Misheal is a partner at Red Letter Philanthropy Counsel in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Over the course of her 30 year fundraising career, Jodi has directed Alumni and Advancement programs at Mount Allison University, Acadia University and Saint Mary's University, actively contributing to the success of these institutions’ fundraising and capital campaigns. As a consultant, Jodi has worked with a wide variety of charitable organizations in the past ten years.  She holds a BA (Honours in English and History) from Mount Allison University, and a Bachelor of Education (BEd) from Saint Francis Xavier University.

Jodi has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2011 and is a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee.

Gail Rudderham Chernin

Gail Rudderham Chernin, Q.C.
Past Chair

For more than 30 years, Gail has worked with clients on a host of legal issues with an emphasis on claims against insurance companies. Gail has also acted as a mediator to assist in settlement of insurance claims between parties.

Gail served as President of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society (NSBS) from 2003 to 2004. Throughout her career, she has served on most of the Boards and Committees within the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society. At present, Gail serves as Vice-Chair of the Disciplinary Hearing Committee of the Professional Responsibility Department of the NSBS.

Involvement in her community has been a focal point of Gail’s work. She has been extensively involved in the local community including the Sydney Rotary Club, particularly with regard to student exchange. Her volunteer work includes being Chair of the Cape Breton United Way; she has served as Secretary, Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee and 1st Vice-Chair of the Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation; she is Past Chair of CBCF – Atlantic.

Gail has been a keynote speaker for many presentations including the appointment of several Supreme Court Judges, Bar Admission Ceremonies, Admissions Dinners, Testimonial Dinners for the appointment of new Judges, Annual Meeting Ceremonies, etc. She has also spoken on legal issues to the public at a variety of events including televised and radio interviews. She has spoken publicly on behalf of the volunteer organizations with which she has been involved, most notably, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

In 2012, Gail was selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in Canada directory in the practice of personal injury litigation. Gail’s selection is based upon results of a nationwide survey involving detailed evaluations of leading lawyers by their professional peers.

Gail prefers a pragmatic approach in her work. Although she does not shy away from controversy, she ensures her clients are aware of the strengths and weaknesses in a case to assist in bringing the matter to a cost-effective and satisfactory resolution.

Volunteer work is, and always has been, a significant part of Gail’s life.

Rob Assimakopoulos

Rob Assimakopoulos joined CIBC as Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer in August 2014. Rob went to CIBC from General Motors Canada, where he was Executive Director, Marketing and Communications. Although Rob originally worked in Finance with Ford Motor Company, his career has been spent as a brand marketer. Rob was a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble (in Canada, and in P&G's Global group in Cincinnati), Vice President Marketing at Molson-Coors Canada, and Chief Marketing Officer at the Canadian Football League. Rob graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Economics. He obtained a Master of Business Administration from the University of Windsor, with a concentration on Finance and Marketing.

Rob joined the Board of Directors of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in September 2015 and serves as a member of the Audit, Finance & Investment Committee.

Robert Coard

Robert Coard is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has been in public practice since 2004. He is an Assurance Partner with PwC. Robert works with a diverse base of companies, helping them deal with impacts of growth and acquisitions, corporate governance and resolving complex financial reporting issues. Robert has also assisted companies with significant capital transactions in Canada and the US.

Robert also spent two years abroad in London, England with PwC. Prior to joining PwC, he worked with a large privately held automotive business in Vancouver.

Robert graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, and lives in Vancouver with his wife Darcy. Robert joined the BC/Yukon Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in 2013 and joined the Board of Directors of the Foundation in 2015. He is the Vice-Chair of the Audit, Finance and Investment Committee.

Sue Delong

As a Registered nurse for almost 38 years, Sue Delong has had a lifelong passion to be of service, paying particular attention to those in greatest need including those who have been marginalized. She has been involved with volunteering for the Homeless and became a champion for the Out of the Cold homelessness program in Ontario before moving back home to NB to care for her mother during her end stages of breast cancer in 1999. Following this, Sue began her association with CBCF during the inaugural CIBC Run for the Cure in 2001 in Saint John - and never looked back. She continued each year as the volunteer chair until 2006 when she became the Run Director for the next 4 years. In the fall of 2010, she became a Director of the Atlantic Region. Sue was involved with the community grants committee during her first 2 years on the Board. She assumed the Chair position of this committee three years ago and remains so. Sue joined the Board of Directors of the Foundation in September 2015, and is a member of the National Grants Committee.

In her spare time, Sue has trained and competed in sprint triathlons during the past three years. She is a champion for health and wellness and is often told she “leads by example”. Sue recently returned from a cycling tour of the south of France and has plans to do a similar tour of Belgium in 2 years’ time.

Gord Gilroy

Gord Gilroy is the co-founder of Vision Creative Inc., a dynamic Edmonton-based marketing and advertising agency. Over its 20 year history, Vision Creative has lent its support to a diverse range of charitable and non-profit organizations serving the Edmonton community.

Gord joined the CBCF Board in 2013, has served as Secretary since 2014, and is currently a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Previous volunteer board commitments include: Habitat for Humanity, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and Northlands. Gord is also a trustee on the Mental Health Foundation Board.

Gord is married to Angie and together they experience the daily joys of two young teenagers. In his free time he enjoys hiking in the Rockies, downhill & cross-country skiing, travelling abroad, and experiencing art in its various forms.

Dr. Ruth Heisey

Bio and picture coming soon.

Dr. David Hoskin

Dr. David Hoskin obtained his Ph.D. in Immunology from McGill University. He received postdoctoral training in tumour immunology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. In 1989, Dr. Hoskin joined the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University where he is a Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Surgery. Dr. Hoskin lectures on Immunology and Cancer Biology and has research interests that include iron metabolism by breast cancer cells and breast cancer prevention and treatment using natural products. His research program is supported by agencies such as NSERC, the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Atlantic Region. He has served on numerous scientific review panels and is a member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Letters. Dr. Hoskin has authored over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters.

Dr. Hoskin joined the Board in 2013 and currently serves as the Chair of the National Grants Committee. He holds the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Atlantic Region Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research.


Linda Humphreys, CMA

Linda is a retired Certified Management Accountant who spent over two decades in senior management and executive roles in the health research sector in Alberta. She has provided oversight and direction in the areas of governance, finance, accounting, human resources, information technology and technology commercialization.

Linda has participated on several boards including Inno-Centre Alberta, Alberta Science and Technology Awards Foundation, Alberta Aviation Council, Edmonton Flying Club and founded the Women’s Fly Fishing Association of Alberta. She was a volunteer instructor for the Board Development Program of the Alberta Government and currently sits on the Finance and Audit Committee of the Rural Physicians Action Plan of Alberta and is co-chair of the Members of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. She also enjoys her role as mentor to new immigrants for Immigration Services Calgary.

She joined the Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in 2013 and is a member of the Governance & Nominating Committee and the Audit, Finance & Investment Committee.

Nashater Jajj

Bio and picture coming soon.

Dr. Jacques Magnan

Dr. Magnan received undergraduate training as a Biochemist, then obtained a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec. After post-doctoral studies in Aberdeen (Scotland), Toronto and Montréal, he joined the Faculty at Université de Montréal in 1984. His research work focused on the pharmacology of brain peptides and was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council of Canada and Scholarships from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec.

Since 1990 he has contributed to the administration and management of granting processes and other activities related to the support of health research, its evaluation and the dissemination and application of research knowledge first at the Medical Research Council of Canada (1990 to 1994) and then at the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (now Alberta Innovates Health Solutions) from 1994 to 2012 at increasing levels of responsibility rising to the position of President and CEO.

Dr. Magnan currently serves as the Senior Scientific Lead for Research and the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC). He also sits on the Advisory Board for the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research at CIHR, and Chairs the Board of the Translation of Research into Elder Care (TREC) program in Alberta. He joined the Board of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in September 2015 and is the Vice-Chair of the National Grants Committee.

Deb Manz

Bio and picture coming soon.

Ron Marshall

Bio and picture coming soon.

Don Pagnutti

Bio and picture coming soon.

Christy Teasdale

Christy has been in the marketing communications industry for over 25 years. Christy is the Executive Director, Marketing and Communications for the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) a national, not-for-profit electronic stewardship organization and she is a graduate of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) course at St. Michael’s College (U of T). In the decade before joining EPRA, Christy ran Decision Source Consulting Inc., a marketing consulting business, and she was Forum Director at Cambridge Forums. Prior to that she was Vice President at The Mohan Group, where she was responsible for providing senior thought leadership for key clients as well as helping to build and manage new business for the company. 

Christy also spent a few years living abroad with her family in London, England and prior to that, she was with the WPP Group of companies for over 16 years, and most recently held the position of Senior Vice President, General Manager of Wunderman Canada where she was responsible for managing the promotional division as well as the human resources, office administration and client service divisions. Christy’s many years within the marketing industry, her current exposure to the social and environmental areas of CSR, as well as her experience with emerging markets, and the industry knowledge gained from working on a wide range of client businesses including retail, automotive, packaged goods, and beverage, allow her to bring a wide range of experience to all the businesses she works on. Christy is also a past member of the PA Executive at Bishop Strachan School (2013-14).

Christy joined the Board of Directors in June 2014 and is a member of the National Grants Committee. She is the past Chair of CBCF Ontario Region Board and has been involved with the Foundation since 2004.