Our Board Members
The Parkinson Wellness Project's volunteer board is made up of many talented individuals, whose diverse backgrounds create a solid foundation to the organization.
Founder, fundraiser and fanatical fighter in the war on Parkinson’s, Jillian is the force of nature who invented the original ParkinGo and now propels the successor Parkinson Wellness Project (PWP) forward. Chair of PWP’s Board of Directors, Jillian was a physiotherapist in Victoria forced in 2007 to give up her profession and her practice as a result of parkinsonism. She has relentlessly built awareness of Parkinson’s disease on Vancouver Island and across Canada, secured international partnerships with organizations such as Davis Phinney Foundation and become a respected ambassador for the World Parkinson Coalition. Jill’s personal Parkinson’s contacts stretch around the world. She’s also found time to ride bicycles in fundraisers and bake cookies for Board meetings. Jill saw the need for a Parkinson’s support organization and brought people together to make it happen. Having guided PWP through formation of a volunteer Board, development of the strategic plan to launch a community wellness centre and, most importantly, turning PWP’s new centre into reality, Jillian is the public face and voice of PWP.
John spent 30 years with the international accounting firm, Ernst & Young. Starting in his home town of Sydney Australia, he worked in Toronto, Victoria and finished his career with E&Y in Regina as managing partner for Saskatchewan, leaving the firm in 1997. Both the Victoria and Regina offices closed after he left, although there is no compelling evidence that these events are linked.
Returning to Victoria in 1997, he joined the Chew Companies as CFO, running the finance operations of what were then eight separate lines of business. He orchestrated the divestiture of all but one business as part of the owners’ estate plans. He retired in 2015 but still is active as CFO and partner in Victoria Harbour Ferry Co., a business he bought into in 2004.
John learned volunteering and team work when he joined a surf lifesaving club in Sydney at age 18. These were lessons that have served him well his entire career, volunteering for decades with United Way and Rotary, as well as currently sitting on several not-for-profit boards. He joined the PWP board because he was invited by a good friend who thought his business experience would be useful in starting and operating the new centre. He then realized he had friends and family with Parkinson’s who could have used what PWP is going to offer at its centre.
Lisa grew up in the states, but came north after meeting her Canadian hockey-playing husband in Alabama. She completed her BSc in Nutrition at University of Alberta & MSc in Exercise Science at Seattle Pacific University. With a focus on wellness, she worked for the Edmonton YMCA as Women’s Fitness Director before moving to Victoria & starting a family in 1991. Her involvement in her children’s activities shifted her focus, resulting in her sitting on various boards from school fairs to Little League to Girl Guides. She later shifted her focus once again and joined the BC Cancer Foundation’s Jingle Mingle as a board member and auction chair. She sought out PWP after returning from a hometown visit with her father who has been battling Parkinson’s for over 20 years. Feeling grateful that her Dad had such wonderful people looking after him in her absence, she felt she could be of help to someone else’s loved ones here in Victoria. Lisa’s involvement with PWP includes Programming/ Education, Marketing/Communications/Fundraising and Project Décor committees. Lisa also mentors PWP’s Manager of Operations.
Kaitlyn (Kate) Roland is a researcher/instructor at the University of Victoria, as well as a ‘Yoga for Parkinson’ (yogadopa) instructor/trainer. Kate has a PhD from University of British Columbia Okanagan (2012), which measured Parkinson-related changes to daily muscle activity, physical function and frailty. She completed a PostDoctoral Fellowship at the University of Victoria’s Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health (2017), which explored meaningful activity and the care needs of persons with Parkinson-related dementia. Overall, her research program aims to support healthy aging, independent living, and reduce distress and healthcare utilization.
Kate has published and presented on the benefits of yoga for Parkinson disease. She teaches yogadopa classes, has delivered yoga education in collaboration with the National Parkinson Foundation/Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health, and recently designed a ‘Yoga for Parkinson’ instructor training program in collaboration with the Greater LA Veterans Administration Medical Centre and Yoga Research and Education Center (manual forthcoming). Kate presents extensively in the community (i.e., Parkinson Society BC’s Time Out for Caregivers) and has presented her research at three World Parkinson Congress Meetings (Glasgow 2010, Montreal 2013, Portland 2016). Kate has been actively involved in PWP since meeting Jillian in 2013 and is currently Program and Education Chair, as well as our Research Scientist. Her grandfather had Parkinson’s disease and grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease - this inspired her volunteering and research. She believes in the importance of belonging to a community for health and that people with PD can still be healthy – to Kate, PWP brings people with PD together and inspires them to lead their fullest, healthiest life!
Sukhi’s Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis in 2010 led to a big change in his life: In 2015 Sukhi left his career as a financial advisor with TD Canada Trust and joined the PWP Board, becoming Treasurer on the PWP Finance Committee. He worked at TD for 28 years, travelling British Columbia and beyond. While Parkinson’s prompted his departure from TD it also provided an opening for a new involvement with PWP. “Both are great organizations,” says Sukhi. “I would like to think I left the bank a better place than when I started. It is the same passion to learn from others and to hopefully inspire the people around me that I bring as a board member of PWP. I am part of another great organization and I know our board is fully committed to improving the quality of life for those living with Parkinson’s and all those who support them on their journeys.”
As head of several Alberta hospitals, Gil Tourigny held responsibility for some of that province’s largest and most complex health-care facilities. Gil worked in Alberta as Administrator of the Cross Cancer Institute , Senior Vice President of Calgary District Hospital Group, Executive Director of Rockyview Hospital, and CEO of Chinook Health Region. As Chairman of the Project Steering Committee of PWP, he is responsible for planning and building our new Centre. Gil holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Diploma in Hospital Administration from the University of Toronto. Gil served on Calgary’s United Way Cabinet, the Calgary and Lethbridge Rotary Clubs, and a number of non-profit Boards. Gil and his wife, Sandra have now settled into their retirement home that not only overlooks the Pacific Ocean, but more importantly for Gil, several golf courses.
Bill began life as a newspaper reporter. During his journalism career, Bill founded Saskatchewan Free Press community newspapers, rose through the ranks to become editor-in-chief and publisher of The Saskatoon Star Phoenix and served as president and publisher of Southam Group newspapers including Prince George Citizen and Kingston Whig-Standard. The second act of his career cast Bill as Managing Partner of Creative Fire, a Saskatoon-based strategic communications. A U of S graduate in business administration, Bill attended University of Toronto as a Southam Journalism Fellow and City University in London, England as a Commonwealth Journalism Fellow. Bill served on boards of MITACS, a national Centre of Excellence for Mathematics, Michener Journalism Awards Foundation administering meritorious public journalism awards for the Governor General, the Advisory Board of GrowthWorks venture capital and Saskatoon Zoo Foundation. Bill was also a director for United Way of Saskatoon, Habitat For Humanity, Meewasin Valley Authority and Remai Modern Art Gallery. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012, Bill, partner Paul Lavoie and their howling pack of dogs moved to North Saanich in 2014 to avoid freezing to death in a Saskatchewan winter.
Don is fundraiser extraordinaire, famous on the PWP Board for passionate support of the organization’s mission and a relentless willingness to raise money to fund for PWP programs. As Chair of the Marketing, Communications and Fundraising Committee, Don was the architect of a significant shift in PWP policy which saw a transition from charging for PWP exercise classes to removing user fees and financing PWP activities through broadly-based community donations. Don gets immense personal satisfaction from: “ being involved in my community, being connected with others and hopefully using my experience and skills to make a difference.” Don has been volunteering since graduating from UVIC in 1969, serving on boards of a long list of charitable organizations. He enjoyed a 35-year career in the retail sector, which included senior executive roles in mid-sized Canadian companies and ownership of a small business. Don and Katherine are closing in on their 50th wedding anniversary and have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Sam’s eagle financial eye ensures everything at PWP related to numbers, dollars and the law - with the attendant range of related management, regulatory and legal issues - are always accurate, in good order and up to date. With the dual credentials of a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant, Sam lends his expertise to ensure PWP maintains the highest possible standards in terms of transparent financial and tax reporting, regulatory compliance and critical issues of PWP’s status as a federally-registered charitable organization capable of issuing receipts for income tax deductions. Sam has worked at the Victoria firm of CPCM & Co. since 2012. When he’s not up to his ears in PWP issues, Sam teams up with wife Sarah in the struggle to keep up with their young son and daughter. Sam believes that organization, communication and balance are the keys to success. The Yager family can be found reading books, playing chase and other activities that involve running and being outdoors proving the accuracy of his son’s observation: “we have fun in any weather.”
Maureen is a results-oriented individual who is committed to professional development in leadership, strengthening partnerships and focusing on community priorities. Her solid planning and organizational skills and abilities to deliver results in a high-pressure, multi-task environment make her a sought-after resource in the not-for-profit sector having worked for over 35 years with United Way; 15 years leading the organization as CEO. Maureen’s remarkable energy, enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to capacity-building provide a solid foundation for effective participation in growth and community development. In 2010 Maureen was the recipient of the C-Fax Community Leader of the Year Award and the Royal Roads Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award. Her volunteer passion in recent years has been committed to Harbourside Rotary, where she has served as Club President in 2005-6 and Chair of the Harbourside Foundation Board. Recently Maureen’s husband Jerry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and the invitation to serve on the PWP Board is a natural fit for future involvement in the PWP community.
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