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Leadership Team

Laura Syron

President and CEO, Diabetes Canada

Laura is the President & CEO of Diabetes Canada, the country’s largest national charitable organization working to end diabetes. In this role, Laura leads a $35M organization with 100 staff across Canada focused on preventing, caring for people living with, and curing diabetes through investments in education, advocacy and scientific research. 

Prior to leading Diabetes Canada, Laura had the privilege of steering and managing high-performance teams for three well-known not-for-profits over the past 20 years including the Arthritis Society, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and Heart & Stroke Foundation. 

Before her work in the NFP sector, Laura worked in the for-profit sector at consumer packages goods leader Procter & Gamble, holding senior marketing positions in the Canada business until her move into NFP.

Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has two teenage boys and enjoys golf, yoga and cooking. In addition to her family and her professional career, Laura is a life-long volunteer. 

Russell Williams

Senior Vice President, Mission 

Since joining Diabetes Canada in 2016, Russell is the Senior Vice-President, Mission, leading the organization’s advocacy efforts at all levels of government for public policy change that will better support people with diabetes and their families, from improved access to medications and devices to strategies to improve the health of all Canadians and support type 2 diabetes prevention.

He is the former president of Innovative Medicines Canada (formerly Rx&D), an influential association of over 50 pharmaceutical companies, a leading voice of the innovative life science sector in Canada. His leadership included working with all governments at the Federal and Provincial levels, both at political and administrative levels, and he was involved in numerous task forces on pharmaceutical policy, and also participated in a number of key international coalitions focused on improving research, health care and ethics networks. Russell chaired the Code Compliance Network for the IFPMA, and since 2011, served as the primary private sector lead for the APEC biopharmaceutical ethics initiative, a group of 21 countries that developed international principles for business ethics. In 2015, he was named Industry Co-Chair of the APEC Biopharmaceutical Working Group on Ethics set up by the U.S. Department of Commerce to support the initiative. Prior to his appointment as President of Innovative Medicines Canada, Russell served as the Member of the Quebec National Assembly for the riding of Nelligan. Ethics and integrity in the pharmaceutical and medical fields have always been a passion of Russell's, and in November of 2016, Innovative Medicines Canada and Queen’s University announced the creation of the Russell Williams Studentship in Medical Ethics in his honour.

Brendan Robinson

Senior Vice President, Development

Joining Diabetes Canada in 2021, Brendan is the Senior Vice President, Development, leading the organization’s philanthropic fundraising efforts in support of Diabetes Canada’s research, education and community programs.

Brendan has been working in not-for-profit fundraising since 1993, including executive leadership roles with organizations such as the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, the Calgary Health Foundation, the BC Cancer Foundation and STARS Air Ambulance. The majority of Brendan’s career has been in health fundraising because he is passionate about using philanthropy as a means to help people, families and communities improve health outcomes and quality of life. To date, teams under his leadership have raised in excess of $600 million.

When not at work Brendan enjoys family time with his wife and two daughters, travelling to warm places during our long, cold winters, and riding his bicycles in and around the city.

Tim D'Souza

Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Operations

Tim D'Souza has 30 years of finance, consulting and leadership experience, helping a wide range of organizations improve what they do. He started his career working in international development, assisting small NGOs develop and execute improvements. Tim then spent 18+ years in the private sector, working with companies like IBM, Sun Life and Pet Valu – engineering changes that helped improved strategy and/or operations. Tim returned to the non-profit world in 2018, serving as the COO of Children Believe (formerly the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada).  During his time at Children Believe, he reduced costs, improved revenue and enhanced efficiency. Tim recently joined Diabetes Canada as the Senior VP of Finance and Business Operations. Tim is a trained accountant and holds three university degrees, including an MBA from Yale. He serves on several boards of directors and teaches part-time at three post-secondary institutions.

Lisa Chicules

Interim Head, Marketing and Knowledge Innovation

Lisa Chicules is the Interim Head of Marketing and Knowledge Innovation. In this role, Lisa is responsible for the organization's corporate brand management, communications, digital marketing, fundraising, and mission to support the prevention, treatment, and cure of diabetes through investments in research, education, and advocacy. In addition to Marketing and Communications leadership, she will provide strategic direction and oversight to three key mission patient and provider education programs – D-Camps, Professional Conference and Information and Support.  

Lisa has over 20 years' experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors and has held a number of leadership roles in marketing and communications at the Terry Fox Foundation, Plan International, and Heart and Stroke Foundation. Additionally, she worked closely with Diabetes Canada's partners during the launch of Diabetes Action Canada and Banting Research Foundation.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Economics at the University of Western Ontario. After commencing her career in advertising, she joined Cossette Communications and progressed into the role of Vice President, National Client Leader to propel a variety of award-winning creative campaigns for General Mills Canada, Coca Cola Canada, and Nike Canada.

Sean Shannon

President and CEO, National Diabetes Trust

Sean Shannon is the President and CEO of National Diabetes Trust (NDT), the social enterprise that operates the collection of household textiles and small items. One hundred percent of net proceeds raised by NDT directly supports the work of Diabetes Canada. NDT also diverts 100 million pounds of textiles a year through the collection and sale of these items. He joined NDT in February 2019 and brings 35 years of cross-functional business experience across numerous consumer-facing well known brands. Prior to joining NDT, he was Chief Operating Officer of Busbud, Inc., a global online consumer marketplace for purchasing city to city bus tickets. Previous, he was Managing Director of Expedia Canada and Latin America over a 14 year span, and one of 4 founding employees for this business unit. He began his career in marketing at Procter & Gamble, and also was a Vice President at Molson Breweries for 10 years. Sean holds an Honours degree (HBA) from Ivey School of Business, Western University.

Diabetes Canada’s National Board of Directors

The board’s responsibilities include governance, leadership, public accountability, establishing our nation-wide priorities and acting as trustees on behalf of Canadians.

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