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Board of Directors

Our leadership team and employees across Canada are held accountable to a national volunteer 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.

Sonia Yung

Board Chair (Toronto, ON) – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Sonia Yung has more than 30 years of legal, governance and strategic planning expertise. She recently retired from her position as general counsel and chief compliance officer at Bloom Burton & Co., an investment banking firm dedicated to accelerating returns in the healthcare sector for both investors and companies. Prior to that, she was a partner in the global law firm Baker McKenzie where she led their corporate and securities law practice group in Toronto. Sonia’s law practice focused on the capital markets in both the mining and healthcare sectors.

Sonia was the chair of the board and of the governance committee for The Neighbourhood Group Community Services, a not-for-profit organization that works with people affected by poverty, isolation and/or marginalization in the Greater Toronto Area. She also served as a director on the boards of Neighbourhood Link Homes and The Neighbourhood Group Foundation. Prior to that, she was chair of the quality committee and vice-chair of the board for St. Stephen’s Community House.

Sonia currently serves as board chair for Diabetes Canada and is a member of all the board committees. She is also a board director for the National Diabetes Trustee Corp., as well as serving on the boards of three privately held companies. She is also a member of the strategic planning advisory committee for the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre at the University of Toronto.

Sonia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2017, prompting her avid interest in advancements in the detection, treatment and management of diabetes, and in advocacy for a better quality of life for people living with the condition.

Robert Screaton

Vice-Chair/Secretary (Toronto, ON) – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Robert Screaton, PhD, is senior scientist in Biological Sciences at the Sunnybrook Research Institute and Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. His expertise is in cell and molecular biology with a focus on the use of robotic technology to identify the genetic program that governs the growth and function of adult human insulin-producing beta cells. The goal of his work is to identify strategies to help promote replication and improved function of beta cells to treat type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. 

He is a founding member of the Canadian Islet Research and Training Network (CIRTN) and co-coordinator of the first national graduate course in islet biology hosted by UToronto. He also serves as chair of the mentoring committee for the CIHR National MyROaD Training Platform. He has been a professional volunteer at Diabetes Canada since 2007 and is former co-chair of the National Research Council (2017-2024). He is currently a member of the people & culture and fund development committees.

Patricia Li

Treasurer (Toronto, ON) – Term of Office: 2023-2026

Patricia Li is an accomplished senior executive in the public and broader public sectors. As a former assistant deputy minister with the Government of Ontario, she was responsible for delivering a diverse portfolio of front-line government services, ranging from consumer and business services to health care, and leading reform initiatives to improve many programs within the province.

Her broader public sector experience at eHealth Ontario, Royal Botanical Gardens and CPA Canada focused on leading business transformation and large-scale projects. She has a passion for board governance and has been an independent director at several organizations. She is a member of the departmental audit committee of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

At Diabetes Canada, Patricia is chair of the audit, investment & risk committee and a member of the fund development committee.

She is a board director at the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace, a not-for-profit sourcing partner for Ontario’s education sector, broader public sector and other not-for-profit organizations. She was previously a director with the Ontario Pension Board, a trustee with the OPSEU Pension Trust, a commissioner with the Niagara Parks Commission, and vice-chair of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation.

Patricia is a graduate of the Ivey Business School, Western University; a chartered professional accountant (CPA); and an Institute of Corporate Directors certified director (ICD.D).   

a man in a suit

Henri-Jean Bonnis

Montréal, QC – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Henri-Jean Bonnis is founding partner of the consulting firm Adsum Consulting Group, which focuses on project and people management, strategy execution and innovation. With a master’s degree in IT and telecom, he moved very quickly into project and change management, and became an expert in large-scale transformations, including those with a strong political component.

His clients hire him for the recovery and audit of large-scale projects, business model transformation, setting up project offices, governance overhaul, risk management, strategic planning, implementation of project portfolio management, implementation of innovation processes, and integration of agility at the organizational, portfolio and project level.

Henri-Jean has taught project, program and portfolio management at HEC Montréal since 2020. He is a certified PMP instructor (Project Management Institute).

Henri-Jean chaired the board of directors of PMI-Montréal from 2015 to 2021. He sits on the boards of the Canadian crown corporation Jacques Cartier, and Champlain Bridges Inc., where he chairs the risk management committee. He is a member of the Francophone outreach committee of PMI.

Henri-Jean has developed industry expertise in the finance, health and energy sectors. He also coaches executives to help them improve their business model.

He is accredited by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for their innovation service.

He is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s governance & nominations, and people & culture committees.

a woman in a red suit

Lynne Bridgman

Toronto, ON – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Lynne Bridgman is a demonstrated leader and business professional with a diverse background working in the private and public sectors over a 30-year career. She has worked in retail and commercial banking, project management, management consulting, and most recently as executive director of a not-for-profit academic and research organization at Sunnybrook Hospital. Over the course of her career, Lynne has lived and worked professionally and philanthropically in Toronto, Vancouver, Hong Kong and Beijing.

She is a creative and strategic thinker and planner, who has led teams in the public and private sectors to initiate, implement and scale programs that resulted in transformative change. Her solid business acumen combined with effective communication skills have led to proven success in stakeholder facilitation and network collaboration. Lynne is most interested in helping others and supporting them to succeed. 

Lynne has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; a Bachelor of Arts (business and economics) from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que.; and, a certificate in adult training and development from OISE, University of Toronto. 

With a long tenure of community involvement, Lynne has developed grassroots-level programs to help not-for-profits and charities improve their revenue, streamline their operations and grow their donor base. As a volunteer with Diabetes Canada for more than 12 years, Lynne and her son founded Put a Squeeze on Diabetes (2014 to 2019), a national fundraising program that empowered families to host lemonade stands in their communities to raise funds to help send children with type 1 diabetes to D-Camps. Lynne is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s mission, and fund development committees.

She is also board member of the Bishop’s University Foundation where she is chair of the nominations and governance committee, and a member of the development committee. Her past philanthropic involvement includes Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, JDRF, SickKids, and Children’s Hope Orphanage in Beijing.

Michael Coyle

Canning, NS – Term of Office: 2022-2025

Michael Coyle, JD, CPHR, is principal consultant with MVC Management Consulting based in Canning. Michael practised employment, labour and human rights law for 30 years in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He is also a chartered professional in human resources. He has worked extensively on both sides of the labour-management table. He served as legal counsel and chief negotiator for the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union for several years, and also represented management interests in healthcare labour relations. Michael was appointed chair of the Nova Scotia Election Commission for a statutory five-year term in 2009.

Michael’s previous board service includes the Annapolis Valley District Health Authority, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the Annapolis Valley-Hants Community Action Program for Children, which he chaired for about 10 years. He is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s people & culture committee and is also on the board of the National Diabetes Trustee Corp.

Lawrence Davis

Vancouver, BC/Toronto ON – Term of Office: 2023-2026

Lawrence Davis is an experienced finance and technology executive who served as chief financial officer and consultant for several organizations undergoing operational and technology transformation mandates.

His current professional experience includes providing advisory services to several investment and wealth management organizations on technology-related projects. Prior professional experience includes chief financial officer roles for British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, a provider of investment management services for British Columbia’s public sector and one of the largest asset managers in Canada; and the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, one of the largest insurance organizations in North America.

His governance experience includes board, audit committee chair and chief financial officer roles for publicly listed corporations (NASDAQ, TSX, TSX-V), public sector financial institutions and not-for-profit organizations. His community involvement includes guest lecturer (on the development and use of complex financial models) for the Rotman School of Management MBA program.

Lawrence is a chartered professional accountant (fellow), chartered Insolvency and restructuring professional (CIRP), and member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D). He is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s audit, investment & risk committee.

a man wearing glasses

Gary Howard

Rothesay, N.B. – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Gary Howard is a business, marketing and communications professional. Previously the senior vice-president of marketing and communications at CAA Atlantic, Gary has more than 30 years of experience in building, designing, and implementing business-driven marketing, communications and partnership strategies using a collaborative enterprise-wide approach with demonstrable results. As a senior business leader, he has progressive experience in corporate strategic planning and implementation, as well as extensive experience and proven success in developing partnerships and leadership with all stakeholders. He offers creativity in innovative and engaging marketing, with extensive experience in understanding consumer behaviour and trends. Gary has experience working in all marketing and communications channels, including direct, digital, broadcast, consumer loyalty strategy, public relations and media relations. He currently works as a consultant, with a primary focus on marketing, communications, project facilitation, media relations, and consumer loyalty strategy development.

Gary’s community involvement includes the YMCA of Saint John (chair and board member), JDRF (cabinet member of the Walk for the Cure), and the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation (director of the board, member of the governance and nomination committees).

Gary has a personal connection to diabetes: his daughter Regan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 16 years ago at age five. He is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s governance & nominations and mission committees.

Mark Lehman

CPA, CA (Toronto, ON) - Term of Office: 2023-2026

Mark Lehman, CPA, CA, is an audit partner with KPMG in Toronto. He specializes in consumer and industrial market practice with public, private and multinational companies, and is a seasoned finance professional with more than 30 years in public accounting. 

Throughout his career, Mark has gained significant experience in many different boardroom settings and has developed a strong understanding of board governance. He has worked at large and small companies, including not-for-profit organizations and family foundations, as well as pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical, consumer goods, transportation, service sector and manufacturing companies. 

Mark understands the challenges of working with volunteer boards through personal volunteer experience, including religious, academic and advisory boards. He is a member of the Diabetes Canada board’s audit, investment & risk committee, and is the board chair of the National Diabetes Trustee Corp.

Lorraine Lipscombe

Toronto, ON – Term of Office: 2024-2027

Lorraine Lipscombe, MD, MSc, FRCPC, is a practicing endocrinologist and diabetes researcher. Her current roles include staff physician and senior scientist, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Women’s College Hospital; professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, management and evaluation, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; senior adjunct scientist, ICES; and executive director of the Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations at University of Toronto.

Dr. Lipscombe has developed new clinical programs to enhance the care for patients with diabetes, and advocates for more effective, efficient and person-centred healthcare models for persons with or at risk of diabetes. Her current research is testing interventions for new mothers to help lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As executive director of the Novo Nordisk Network for Healthy Populations—a cross-disciplinary research network at the University of Toronto—she is leading a multi-pronged research program to address the burden of diabetes and related conditions in the Peel region.

She has received funding from Diabetes Canada and been a member of Diabetes Canada’s professional section since 2001. Dr. Lipscombe has volunteered with the organization in various roles, including as speaker, grants and awards reviewer, consultant, and the lead author of the chapter on pharmacotherapy for type 2 diabetes for the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and the 2020 update. She is chair of the board’s mission committee.

Nafisa Merali 

Vancouver, BC – Term of Office: 2023-2026

Nafisa Merali is the founder of Naz Pharmacy and co-founder of Wellness Pharmacy. Since 1996, she has been a consulting pharmacist and served in various capacities within the NAZ Wellness Group, which consists of several pharmacies in Vancouver’s lower mainland area.
She has been a certified diabetes educator and a diabetes case manager since 2013. Her current engagements include being a patient advocate for people living with Crohn’s and colitis, and a committee member for Fraser Health. She was previously part of a working group for Vancouver Coastal Health. 
In 2018, Nafisa received Diabetes Canada’s Charles H. Best Award that recognizes a health professional who has made a significant difference across Canada in improving the quality of life for individuals living with diabetes. In 2016, she received the Outstanding Health Care Professional Award from Diabetes Canada’s Vancouver Coastal Region. She is a member of the board’s governance & nominations committee.

Verlyn Olson

Camrose, AB – Term of Office: 2022-2025

Verlyn Olson is an Alberta lawyer who practised in Camrose for more than 30 years before seeking political office in 2008. He was elected and served as MLA for Westaskiwin-Camrose from 2008 to 2015. In 2011 he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General; from mid-2012 to mid-2015, he served as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

After seven years in politics, Verlyn returned to law to assist families transitioning their farms or small businesses to the next generation. With that vision in mind, he founded OlsonLaw in 2016. The firm, now Olson Rau + Mohr, has two offices serving a large part of east central Alberta.

Verlyn has lived with type 1 diabetes for 42 years. In the spring of 2015, he had two islet cell transplants at the University of Alberta Hospital and a third in early 2017. He and his family are very grateful for the significant improvement this has made to his health.

Verlyn is the chair of the Diabetes Canada board’s governance & nominations committee.

a person with long hair

Gloria Pakravan

Toronto, ON - Term of Office: 2024-2027

Gloria Pakravan is the vice-president of people & culture at CreateTO, an agency of the City of Toronto charged with managing the city’s real estate assets. With more than 8,000 properties, the agency is one of the most expansive, diverse, and valuable real estate portfolios in North America.

Gloria is a visionary HR leader acknowledged for her transformational leadership in aligning culture to drive employee engagement and impact business outcomes. She is a recognized expert who has been profiled in trade publications, and a seasoned speaker at national and global HR conferences and symposiums. 

Prior to CreateTO, Gloria held progressively more senior roles at such organizations as University Health Network, Toronto Police Service, Royal Sun Alliance and Scotiabank. 

Gloria is the chair of the Diabetes Canada board’s people & culture committee.

Ben Voss

Sioux Falls, SD and Spiritwood, SK – Term of Office: 2022-2025

Ben Voss, P.Eng, ICD.D, is president of NEXAT LLC. An agricultural and bioresource engineering graduate from the University of Saskatchewan, he has worked in several long-term roles in agribusiness, private equity and technology. Born and raised on a farm near Spiritwood, Sask., he has farmed part-time since 2011. Throughout his career Ben has travelled to more than 35 countries.
A recognized business leader, Ben works as an executive, board member, farmer, agriculture engineer, technology expert and community volunteer. He has dedicated a significant portion of his life to philanthropy and community volunteering, specifically as a board member with STARS, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the University of Saskatchewan Alumni. He currently works in the United States and Canada; his family lives in Regina and Spiritwood, Sask. He is on the board of directors of Plannera, a pension fund management and benefits company in Saskatchewan; and GRIPP.AG, a U.S.-based startup company. He is chair of the Diabetes Canada board’s fund development committee and a member of the mission committee.


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