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Leadership Team

Russell Williams

Russell Williams

Senior Vice President, Mission

Russell is president of Diabetes Canada, leading our mission to support Canadians living with diabetes and prediabetes while we work to end the diabetes epidemic in Canada. Since joining Diabetes Canada in 2016, Russell was 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.

Mary Ann Azzarello

Mary Ann Azzarello

Vice President, Fund Development

Joining Diabetes Canada in 2018 as Vice President, Fund Development, Mary Ann is responsible for leading fund development to enable Diabetes Canada to achieve its mission. This includes all national revenue channels, as well as Diabetes Canada’s regional operations in communities across Canada.

Mary Ann’s career began in real estate marketing working in Toronto, New York, Boston and New Jersey. Feeling the need to give back, she applied her marketing knowledge and expertise and began volunteering at Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (H&S) in fund development. Soon after, she was on her way to a new career path joining the Canadian Cancer Society in corporate relations and then Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She enjoyed 15 years of continual advancement in fund development and operations departing in 2015 as Vice President, Development.

Mary Ann is a fervent and energetic leader, known for motivating her teams to deliver. She is passionate and committed to working in the non-profit sector where she has dedicated 25 years of her career.

Mary Ann holds a BSc in Psychology and an MA in Cultural Anthropology from McMaster University.

Seema Nagpal

Dr. Seema Nagpal

Vice President, Science & Policy

Seema Nagpal is an epidemiologist with broad experience in research and policy. She has expertise in population health, epidemiology, and pharmaceutical sciences with an emphasis on interpretation of science into policy and practice. As the Epidemiologist and Senior Leader, Public Policy at Diabetes Canada, she is responsible for directing public policy interests and activities at both the federal and provincial levels, as well as providing public health and epidemiological input to program and policy development for Diabetes Canada. She is also responsible for analyzing the impact of public policy and regulations flowing from government, health stakeholders, academia and overseeing the developing policy options and positions to influence health and diabetes-related public policy.

Sean Shannon

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.