Ambassadors' Council

Members of our Ambassadors' Council believe that improving the health and well-being of children is one of the most powerful ways to improve society. They appreciate the important role of Children’s Health Foundation and its support of patients, clients and families from across our region at Children’s Hospital in London Health Sciences Centre, Thames Valley Children’s Centre, and more broadly, through the transformative power of research and innovation, at Children’s Health Research Institute. Our council volunteers are community-minded leaders, helping us build partnerships through fundraising, education, and community engagement.

Chris Jones Harris, Co-CEO of Jones Packaging Inc.
(Chair, Ambassadors' Council, and Chair, Digital Creative Sector Roundtable)

Chris Jones Harris is co-owner and Principal, Corporate Development at Jones Packaging Inc., a private company under the leadership of the family’s fourth generation. In this role she leads innovation development and commercialization, strategic partner relationships, marketing and communications, and human resources.

After obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from Queen’s University, Chris began her career in Toronto in the natural resource industry, holding a variety of commercial management positions with Noranda Inc. in the zinc and alumina markets.

In 1996, Chris and her husband, Ron, led the successful buyout of the Jones Packaging business from the remaining family members. The company now employs 340 people across its facilities in London , as well as more recently acquired businesses in Toronto, the United Kingdom and Spain.

Her varied community commitments since returning to London have included Board directorships with the London Economic Development Corporation, the Guelph Food Technology Centre, and London Health Sciences Centre. She is Past Chair of Huron University College Executive Board, and a past member of the Major Gifts Cabinet for the United Way. Chris also served on the National Board of the Packaging Association of Canada.

Chris currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business at Fanshawe College, the Huron University College Foundation Board, and the Children’s Health Foundation Board where she is also Chair of its’ Ambassadors’ Council.

Elana Johnson, Registered Midwife (ret), Consultant, Association of Ontario Midwives (Vice Chair)

Elana was active as a midwife and educator for over 22 years. She graduated from the Michener Midwifery Programme and established a midwifery practice in London in 1985, which has grown into Womancare Midwives.

Elana's experiences include sitting on the Board of Directors of the Association of Ontario Midwives, serving as President of the Association in both in 1987/88 and for the years 2004-2008. She is the past coordinator of the Canadian Confederation of Midwives, and participated on committees such as the Interim Regulatory Council for Midwives, Transition Council of Midwives, and College of Midwives. In addition Elana acted as Head Midwife for London Health Sciences Centre from 1996 -2003.
She also designed curricula and taught education programs in Labour Support and Advocacy, Childbirth Preparation, and the History of Midwifery in Ontario.

Elana generously donates her time volunteering on Children’s Health Foundation’s Work Teams, the Board of Directors, at events, and has been Co-Chair for the Magical Winter Ball Work Team since 2010 and took on the role of Chair in 2015.

Rachel Bayley, Executive Trust Officer TD Wealth Private Trust
(Chair, Legacy Advisors Roundtable)

Rachel Bayley

Rachel manages a portfolio of Power of Attorney, Estate and Trust relationships. She has been helping clients of TD Canada Trust and TD Wealth for more than 25 years, taking the complexity out of preserving and transferring family wealth to the people clients care about.

Rachel is an active volunteer and Board member at Children’s Health Foundation, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and the Estate Planners Council of London.

Graham Bell, Legacy Wealth Coach at Barill and Company

Mr. Bell has been part of the Team at Barill & Company Financial Services since 2013. He was a CPGA Professional at Huron Oaks Golf Course from 2008-2012.

He attended St. Andrews University in North Carolina, graduating with a BEd focusing on Physical Education, and competed in NCAA Golf. He also attended the Professional Golfer’s Career College in Florida, and received a degree in Professional Golf Management.

Graham feels that successful people are those who see what needs to be done, and then work tirelessly to live up to the promise. It is how he excelled in golf and how he cares for his clients.

Teresa Booth, Trust Officer at Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, RBC Wealth Management

Teresa is a successful financial services professional, with an extensive range of experience and skills in the Trust Services Industry. She is currently a Trust Officer at RBC Wealth Management, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada. She was previously a Branch Manager at Desjardins Credit Union, and has also worked at a variety of other financial service businesses. Ms. Booth attended Lake Superior State University for Business Administration, and Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology for Business Management.

She has always been very involved with her community. While living in Sault Ste. Marie, she was Advisory Member of Community Living Algoma from 1995-2000, Director & Chairperson of the Ethics Committee for Plummer Hospital from 1991-1994, and Advisory Committee Member for Credential Securities from 1997-2000, etc. She is currently a Supportive Care Committee Member of Dearness Long Term Care, as of 2010, a Member of the Red Hat Society and Pastoral Care Minister for St. Justin’s Catholic Church, etc.

Teji Dhami, B.Sc.Phm.RPh, Pharmacist/Owner, Shoppers Drug Mart

Teji Dhami

Teji has recently retired. He was the Pharmacist/Owner of the Shoppers Drug Mart at Masonville Place for over 30 years. Countless people depended on Teji and his pharmacy team to support their family’s healthcare journey, and he is passionate about doing whatever he can to help them live well and manage their individual healthcare needs.

Teji has also served the London community by assisting numerous charities with their fundraising. He volunteers on the Leadership Development Committee of the London Community Foundation and was on the Board of Directors for Thames Valley Children’s Centre for five years. Joining the Ambassadors’ Council for Children’s Health Foundation is a natural extension of Teji’s past volunteer work and
his deep caring for children and families who are facing medical challenges.

Janice Evans, CFA, , Senior Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager at ScotiaMcLeod

Janice is a Senior Wealth Advisor, Portfolio Manager at ScotiaMcLeod®, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. and previously Vice President, Investments, and Vice President & Portfolio Manager at Highstreet Asset Management.

Previous to that she was Vice President, Investment Counsellor at TAL Private Management Ltd.

Ms. Evans attended McMaster University, earning her Honours BA in Economics & Political Science. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation as well as the Certified Investment Manager (CIM) designation.

Ms. Evans is an Operational Board Member of Investing in Children, and on the Guild Committee of Matthews Hall Independent School.

Thomas A. Lacerte, Partner, Foster Townsend Graham & Associates

Thomas has practiced both as a personal injury lawyer and an insurance defense lawyer for the past 20 years. This experienced litigator has been a partner at Foster Townsend Graham & Associates since 2004, with a practice focused on representing injured people and their families as well as acting on behalf of insurance companies in wide range of disputes involving insurance policies. His varied practice has given him a unique understanding and knowledge of personal injury litigation from both the plaintiff and defense perspectives.

His affable and caring demeanor is complemented by his drive to help his clients’ resolve their cases in a cost effective and timely manner.

Thomas completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario then moved on to Osgoode Hall, where he attained his LL.B. Thomas is a longtime resident of London and enjoys a vibrant lifestyle with his wife and two children. He is an avid supporter of many community initiatives including the Brain Injury Association of London, the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada and the Children’s Health Foundation.

Thomas is a member of the Ambassadors Council of the Children’s Health Foundation and is passionate about raising community awareness and fostering community support for the many services provided to children and their families by the incredible people at Children’s Hospital, Thames Valley Children’s Centre, and the Children’s Health Research Institute.

Brian Lessard

Brian’s career has spanned almost 30 years as a Partner at Ernst & Young, and since October 1998 he has been an Investment Associate at ScotiaMcLeod located within the Scotia Private Client Group. Brian graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University in 1969 and has made Ilderton his home, with his wife Sharon and their children, since 1979. Brian is Children’s Health Foundation’s longest serving volunteer. He was instrumental in advocating for the dream of a new Children’s Hospital to become a reality, and has participated in various volunteer capacities since 1979 including Chair of Children's Hospital of Western Ontario Foundation 1990-92, a Golf Work Team member, a Major and Planned Gifts Work Team member and most recently as a member of the Ambassadors’ Council. Brian is an Honorary Director of Children’s Health Foundation.

"I have a long term perspective on Children's due to my involvement since 1979, and I am so impressed with the calibre of children's health services in our region. I want everyone to appreciate this significant resource and I am happy to tell this great story."

Sean Mackintosh, Partner, Harrison Pensa LLP

As a personal injury lawyer, Sean is an advocate for those that have suffered life altering injuries, including children and their families. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sean developed strong, balanced critical thinking and analytical skills while completing his Honours Philosophy Degree from Western University.

Sean is a father of three active children. As a lifetime Londoner, he has maintained a strong interest in contributing to our community goals, particularly those for the benefit of children. He has been a coach with the North London Hockey Association for nearly a decade and while studying in university he volunteered as a sports program coordinator for an after school and summer sports program for youth in London. Sean has also volunteered for more than a decade on fundraising and community awareness committees for programs benefiting those with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.

Dipesh Parmar, Partner, PwC

Dipesh Parmar

Dipesh is a Partner in the Southwestern Ontario Assurance practice of PwC Canada. He has considerable experience with retail, consumer product, financial services, professional services, distribution, technology and educational organizations and services private companies as well as Canadian public companies and not-for-profit organizations.

Through his diverse background of experience, Dipesh has proven the ability to understand his clients business issues and works with them to ensure risks are mitigated. Dipesh has assisted his clients through complex reorganizations, share transactions, and business acquisitions as well as the financial reporting and accounting challenges that come along with transactions of this nature.

He obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2006 and is passionate about giving back to his community. He serves as the treasurer on the Pillar Non-Profit Network Board of Director's and is the Chair of its Finance and Audit Committee. He is also Chair of the Children's Health Foundation Golf Classic and is a member of the Children's Health Foundation's Ambassador's Council and has previously held positions as an instructor at the University of Western Ontario.

Judy Rich

Biography coming soon!

Val Rousom, Retired Director of Children's Care, Children's Hospital at LHSC
(Chair, Regional Roundtable)

Val Rousom was raised in London, and began her nursing career in 1981, became a unit leader in 1991 and a formal program leader in 1999. She received her nursing Diploma from Fanshawe College and Nursing Degree from Lakehead University. Val was charged with the planning, space design, and execution of the amalgamation of the NICU and DFC at SJHC into the Children Hospital at LHSC. Val successfully managed, advocated, lobbied and negotiated children's issues to ensure the provision of safe, timely delivery of services to the most vulnerable patient grouping in Southwestern Ontario- the paediatric population. Val worked closely with CHF leaders and staff for the past 10 years as Director and has been truly amazed by the generosity of donors who through the CHF has purchased much needed equipment, services, family assistance and supports and so much more.

Val is committed to ensuring premature, sick infants, children and youth receive the best health care provision possible, in a family centred health care environment, so that each child and their family can attain an optimal future and transition to adult care; or a fully supported end of life. After one year on the Children’s Health Foundation Board, and grants committee, she is excited to be a volunteer and advocate for CHF, as well as the children and families it serves. Her goal is to ensure the children who require the services of Children's Hospital, Thames Valley Children's Centre, or benefit from the research and treatment advances of Children’s Health Research Institute get what they need to improve their lives; to realize a difference between basic health care and care excellence at the patient level. Our most vulnerable children deserve nothing less.

“I have first-hand knowledge of the positive impacts the Children’s Health Foundation and its donors have on the day to day lives of children in or coming to hospital, children receiving rehabilitation therapy and children being helped through paediatric research. I want to share and expound on the wonderful services, programs, equipment and research that donor funding has made possible. As a grandmother of 3, I am reassured that our Children's Hospital is world class and that CHF helped to make it so!”

John Sliskovic, Chartered Professional Accountant, Partner, Business Tax Services, Ernst & Young

Mr. Sliskovic is a Partner and Leader of the Canadian Private Client Services (PCS) tax practice at EY. He has over 30 years of experience advising clients on private client tax matters including estate, wealth transfer and post mortem planning, asset protection strategies and philanthropic planning. He also acts as an advisor to family offices and provides proactive advice on transaction tax matters including buy-side and sell-side structuring, due diligence reviews, reorganizations and tax effective financing structures. John holds an honours bachelor of commerce degree from Concordia University and is a chartered professional accountant.

John is a director of the Children’s Health Foundation and is a member of the United Way Campaign Cabinet. He has previously served as the chairman of the finance committee and on the board of directors of the London Hunt & Country Club, on the finance committee of the Children’s Health Foundation, on the board of directors of the Canadian Mental Health Association and is a Past President of the London Club.

Jessica Williams, Lawyer, Harrison Pensa LLP

Jessica is a lawyer in the Wills, Estates, Trusts and Charities Group of Harrison Pensa LLP. Her practice involves estate planning, estate administration, incapacity planning, charities law and not-for-profit law.

Originally from Strathroy, Jessica graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Arts, Honors Specialization in Media, Information and Technoculture, and from the University of Windsor with a J.D. While attending law school, she volunteered as a caseworker and litigator at Community Legal Aid, and tutored youth from socially and economically disadvantaged households. Jessica is currently a Cabinet Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual Ride, and in her spare time, enjoys hanging out with her retired greyhound, Saul.

Justine Zavitz, Insurance Advisor, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHIS
(Chair, Children’s Leaders Roundtable)

Justine graduated with an Honours Commerce degree from McMaster University and continued on to earn her Financial Planning Services diploma from Fanshawe College. She decided to join the family business and became a full-time Advisor.

Justine has continued to grow her insurance knowledge by obtaining her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation as well as her Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation, now called the Certified Health Insurance Specialist (CHS) and her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation.

Justine is actively involved in her community. She is a member of the Children’s Health Foundation Ambassador’s Council and the Chair of Children’s Leaders. She serves on the Conference of Advanced Life Underwriters (CALU) Employee Benefits and Living Benefits Issue Group and is on the Great-West Life Advisory Council. She is a co-founder of the Mentoring for Charity Golf Tournament, which supports mentorship between students with professionals in their field.

In 2013, Justine was a recipient of London’s Top 20 Under 40 award.

In 2014, Justine was named as one of the Top 50 Women of Influence in Canada’s Life Insurance Industry in The Insurance & Investment Journal.