Governance Sessions2019-03-20T02:06:51-05:00

Governance Sessions

Go to Day One Sessions        Go to Day Two Sessions

April 1st, 2019

G1-1: Board Member 101

11:00am – 12:00pm


In this workshop new board members will look at three different areas of board responsibility. This session will be spent addressing the role of the board, financial statements and structure of the board.

Boards function most effectively when everyone on the board knows what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. This session will be of interest to board members who wish to better understand their role.

Finances and Financial Statements can be daunting at the best of times. This session will help board members understand the various financial statements; how to read them; what they should look for; the purpose of an audit; and what are budgets and variance reports.

Structure of Boards – Learn how your board is structured. In the past everyone used the Carver model, now there’s a hybrid model, learn what the best practices are around each. What is a committee? What are their functions? What are the terms of reference? Learn the ways your board and committees are structured so that your board can conquer its work, work well as a team and carry out its responsibilities.


Catherine Anastakis, Collaborative Solutions

Marcel Gagnon, Board Member and Treasurer of CMHA Ontario and Thunder Bay


Catherine Anastakis is a consultant and facilitator specializing in governance, strategic planning, strategic alliances and integration, and organizational effectiveness. Catherine has worked across the private, public and non-profit sectors and in recent years has focused her practice in health and social services working with hospitals, mental health and addictions, long term care, home and community support, family health teams, and numerous health professions and health sector associations in Ontario.

Catherine has helped many Boards improve their effectiveness through comprehensive governance reviews, results-oriented facilitated sessions, and practical advice and tools to address specific governance challenges. In addition to working with individual Boards, Catherine has extensive experience supporting Boards through integration and in collaborative governance across multiple Boards and at the provincial level. She is dedicated to advancing effective governance leadership as a key part of Ontario health system transformation.

Catherine has presented on governance and collaborative governance and delivered training programs for Boards on a wide range of topics. She is a past Board member of CMHA Toronto, recently completing her final term as Board President.

Marcel Gagnon, CPA, CA, MNP LLP, graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Lakehead University in 1979 and articled in Toronto where he acquired significant auditing and accounting experience with a national accounting firm. Marcel moved back to Thunder Bay in 1984 after a three-year position at a large real estate contracting firm and accepted a Controllership position for a local hospital. This position provided him with hands-on experience in fund accounting in a multi-faceted, community-based programming environment. Marcel held that position until 1988 when he joined the firm of Fitzpatrick & Partners LLP, which merged with MNP on February 1, 2010.

Presently, Marcel is in charge of a number of not-for-profit clients in the healthcare, social service, aboriginal governance and housing fields. Many of these assurance engagements he has held in excess of ten years. Marcel is currently the partner in charge of audit services provided by the firm to one hospital and several health-service organizations and was the partner in charge of three regional hospital audits. Marcel ensures the timely reporting and compliance with the accountability issues of financial reporting in accordance with Canadian auditing standards. In addition to these assurance services, Marcel manages the professional services provided to a large group of small business clients, which include construction, retail sales, restaurants and health services. He provides services in the preparation of financial statements and corporate tax services. His professional services for these clients include assistance in obtaining financing, debt restructuring, corporate reorganization, personal and corporate tax planning, succession planning, profitability and feasibility studies, and cash resource management.

Marcel is a current Board Member and Treasurer for the Canadian Mental Health Association – both Thunder Bay and Ontario branches.

G1-2: Board Member 201

11:00am – 12:00pm


In this workshop seasoned board members will look at three different areas of board responsibility – Succession Planning, Member Recruitment and Board Retention

Planning for succession is critical to ensuring board continuity and the success of your organization. Succession planning means not only preparing for the loss of key positions but also being pro-active. Organizations need to ensure they can retain leadership, skills and experience, while at the same time allow for growth and introduction of new people. Part of ensuring the good health of an organization is having a good balance of new and experienced board members.

Recruitment and Retention go hand in hand – a board is one of the greatest volunteer opportunities there is. Learn ways in which to attract and retain good board members. Begin with a plan, recruit for the skills the organization requires, build upon developing the volunteer team desired that makes the vision of the organization. Recruitment is not just about how, but who and what – who do you want on your board and what skills and qualities are you seeking to help govern your organization. Recruitment should be an ongoing process for boards so that ideally when it’s time to select new members organizations have a pool of skilled, appropriate and diverse individuals to draw from.


Melodie Zarzeczny, Principal, The Osborne Group


Melodie Zarzeczny is a consultant with The Osborne Group, specializing in not-for-profit governance, strategy and operations.  Melodie has more than 30 years of experience working in and with community health and social service agencies in primary care, developmental services, women’s issues, mental health and community support services.

Melodie has comprehensive knowledge of not-for-profit governance, and has consulted to a wide range of associations and agencies, developed governance materials and policies, provided Board governance training, and spoken at provincial and national conferences on governance issues.  She also has hands-on experience as a board member (and chair) of numerous community agencies.

G2: What do Board Members Need to Know about Quality Improvement

1:00pm – 2:00pm


The workshop will begin with participants considering the strengths and gaps in their agency from a readiness to a Quality Improvement (QI) perspective.

The presentation will help develop a shared understanding of the Board and Senior Leadership roles in establishing the link between the agency’s strategic direction and quality improvement; explore the key drivers for effective governance and leadership for quality improvement: including creating a culture of quality improvement, understanding data sources and asking questions to understand quality; reflect on where your agency is on the quality journey relative to working within a culture of quality improvement, to consider next steps for your agency, and who would be beneficial to connect with.

A discussion and networking opportunity will round out the workshop with opportunities to share experience and resources; connecting people to assist them with their quality improvement activities – no matter where they are on the quality improvement continuum.


Debbie Bang, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario

Michael Dunn, CMHA, Ontario


Debbie Bang is the Director of Quality Improvement with Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (seconded from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton) and is co-leading the Excellence through Quality Improvement Project (E-QIP). Debbie is a strong advocate for ensuring meaningful data is available to inform healthcare improvement decisions.

Michael Dunn is the Director of Quality Improvement with CMHA Ontario and co-leading E-QIP, Ontario. Michael is passionate about the ethical application of Quality Improvement as a means to strengthen our work with clients and families.

April 2nd, 2019

G3: Board Evaluation, Good Governance/Risk Management

9:00am – 10:00am


Board Evaluation

The fundamental tool for ensuring critical self-evaluation and continuous improvement is the board evaluation. In a board evaluation, members assess how well the board is doing in its job and reflect on the board’s governance structure and processes. This evaluation process explores how the board is working as a whole – in terms of its role performance, board composition and structure, the quality of information coming to the board, the relevancy of meeting agendas, the effectiveness of its decision-making and delegation, and group dynamics.

Liability and Risk Management for Boards

Boards of non-profit organizations are responsible and potentially liable for the actions and activities of the organization and virtually every organization undertakes activities with inherent risk and liabilities.  As a board member you should understand your organization’s risks and liabilities and how they are being reduced or eliminated through risk management policies and strategies.  Board members need to understand risk, liability, due diligence, duty of care, negligence, and risk management.


Ruth Armstrong, Founder, VISION Management Services


Ruth Armstrong, MBA, founded VISION Management Services through which she provides leadership development and consultation to public and non-profit organizations.

Ruth conducts seminars for CEOs, managers and boards. Her facilitation skills and knowledge of a variety of sectors stimulate strategic and generative conversations (

Ruth taught at York’s Schulich School of Business, MBA program for over 20 years. She now teaches at the Schulich Executive Education Centre. Ruth has published articles on governance, planning and accountability.

G4: Fund Development

10:30am – 12:00pm


What are the different program activities; what is ethical decision making around the way we raise funds; what are some of the practical issues around whether we build a foundation; how is there internal accountability around dollars raised.

Board members will also explore different approaches to fundraising that have been very successful in CMHA branches.

This presentation will include a sample Fundraising Tool Kit – the tool kit will provide practical information that will assist CMHA organizations develop the capacity to raise funds. It will include how we develop the capacity for philanthropy and fundraising; preparing your organization for a culture of philanthropy and fund development; and how to plan and execute effective fund development strategies.

Note: Board members are asked to share their fundraising successes with all participants by displaying samples of their past fundraising projects.  Materials will be displayed around the room.


David Pell, Organization and Enterprise Development, Vice President of CMHA Waterloo Wellington

Kim Willis, CMHA Windsor

Rebecca Shields, Executive Director, CMHA York and South Simcoe Region


David Pell has extensive experience with local economic development programs and youth entrepreneurship. He was the founder and President of the Community Business Resource Centre in Toronto, a highly successful entrepreneurship training centre and consulting organization in economic development.  As the CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and the Canadian Youth Foundation, David expanded the organization’s lending, mentor support and career planning programs for young people across Canada. He was also the CEO of Street Kids International an organization recognized by the United Nations as a leader in youth programming.

Kim Willis is the Director of Communications and Mental Health Promotion at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch.

She has over 15 years of fundraising and communications experience primarily in the education and healthcare sectors. Prior to joining CMHA, Kim served as Manager of Philanthropy at Windsor Regional Hospital where she assisted with a $7.5 million capital campaign, annual campaigns, events and legacy giving. Kim has also worked as a Development Officer at the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.

In her current role, Kim is responsible for fundraising, communications and mental health promotion. Working with her team, they launched the Sole Focus Project campaign in 2017 and reached their 3-year fundraising goal in less than one year.

Kim has her Masters of Arts in Journalism from Western University and also has her CFRE fundraising designation. She has served on the Boards of AFP, CAGP, the AFP Canadian Foundation, Brain Injury Association and the Teen Health Centre. In addition, she is a freelance writer.

Rebecca Shields is the CEO of the CMHA York & South Simcoe. She has held senior leadership positions for over 20 years in the social profit sector, including CMHA Vancouver Burnaby, Deafblind Services Society of BC, and Bantleman Court Housing Society.

She has been named Region of York’s Newsmaker of the Year, one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40, and a Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching Award. Under Rebecca’s leadership, CMHA York & South Simcoe has been awarded Canadian Non-Profit Employer of Choice, Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures, and recognition across Canada as industry leaders in cultural competency and innovation.

G5: Integration

2:30am – 3:30pm


What should we be aware of as it relates to potential integration opportunities; how do we choose partners; and how do we ensure that the best interests of all clients are always the priority.


Dan Carbin, Principal and Co-Founder, Santis Health


Dan Carbin is a Principal and co-Founder at Santis Health, a consultancy based in Toronto and Ottawa. At Santis, Dan provides strategic advice to boards and executives involved in the Canadian health care sector. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, leading national and provincial health care associations, broader public sector organizations, and a range of health charities.

Before co-founding Santis, Dan spent seven years in the Ontario government, serving as an advisor to two Ministers of Health, a Deputy Premier and a Premier. During his time in government, Dan helped drive forward a number of major health care initiatives including the wait time Strategy, primary care reform, and physician services negotiations. Dan also worked in the UK as a parliamentary researcher for a member of parliament and health critic. His private sector experience includes a stint in the investment banking industry in the United Kingdom, where Dan worked for Goldman Sachs and UBS.

Dan has an MSc with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a BA Hons from McGill University. He lives in Toronto with his wife and four young daughters.