Board of Directors

2022 – 2023

The Board of Directors is vested with the responsibility for carrying out the mission of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and overseeing its management and direction. The Board is responsible for planning and policy decisions, for financial stability, selection and evaluation of the CEO and for evaluating and monitoring the work of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. A Director’s primary role is to serve the best interests of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Phyllis Retty

Phyllis Retty is retired after 35 years with 3M Canada. Phyllis is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) and spent her career in Finance and Human Resources.

Phyllis is the Chair of the Board of Directors and also sits on the Finance, Governance and Executive Committees.

Phyllis joined Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in 1996 as a volunteer and became passionate about the cause and humbled by the patients and families we serve. It was a life changing moment of a desire to give back that lead to a journey of service to not-for-profit organizations over many years. Phyllis has served on many not-for-profit Boards and is currently the Chair of the Board of the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario.

Faith Davis, PhD, FACE, FCAHS

Faith Davis has over 40 years of experience as a cancer epidemiologist and is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta. She retired from her role as Vice-Dean of the School of Public Health in 2018 and transitioned her research projects, including leadership of the Brain Tumour Registry of Canada, to colleagues by December 2021.

Faith is the Vice-Chair of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Board and serves on the Executive, Governance and Research Committees. She is passionate about supporting the goals of the Foundation and believes that the innovative, disciplined, and multipronged approach is critical for translating research into optimal care and support for patients and caregivers. She hopes that the Foundation’s efforts will help build a multidisciplinary network of professionals well prepared to ensure that the evolving understanding of brain tumours is translated to this underfunded and important research area in Canada.

Lynn McRae

Lynn McRae is General Counsel for a private infrastructure firm and was previously in-house counsel for the University of Calgary and a vertically-integrated power company with engineering and telecom subsidiaries.

Lynn holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and a Juris Doctor from the University of Alberta. Lynn is a member of the Law Society of Alberta.

In addition to her role as a Director on Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Board, she also sits on the Executive Committee and is the Chair of the Governance Committee.

Russell Smith

Russell Smith is the Director of Internal Audit and Internal Control Compliance for City of Dreams Manila, where he relies on over 30 years of experience as a CPA, CGA to lead a professional team of auditors.

Russell first became involved with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in 2006 when his four-year-old daughter Sarah was diagnosed with a rare malignant Brain Tumour. After many adventures and ups and downs, Sarah died peacefully at home on March 1, 2011. Russell has remained involved with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada since then, volunteering in several roles over the years. In June 2019, Russell joined the Board of Directors and chairs the Finance Committee.

When not working or volunteering, Russell enjoys travelling with his wife of 30 years, Suzanne, and spending time with his daughter Jillian who attends Western University.

Dela Avle

Dela Avle is General Counsel at Bruce Power where he manages the legal and administrative staff in the Law Division.

He is a member of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Board Governance Committee.

The basis for Dela’s involvement with BTFC is to be involved in an organization for which he can see tangible benefits to the community, and one that could benefit from his skills, experience, and time. He feels BTFC does amazing work in the critical area of support for brain tumours and is glad to be able to support its mission.

Maureen Daniels, BScN. R.N.

Maureen Daniels is a registered nurse and has been the Coordinator of The Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, in Toronto, Canada for over 20 years. She has been a facilitator of support groups for patients living with brain tumours and their families for over 30 years. Throughout her career, Maureen has worked extensively within the neurooncology community, both nationally and internationally in many projects that have focused on patient education, program planning, and advocacy.

Maureen is a member of the Bboard of Directors of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and currently chairs the Advocacy Committee. In addition, Maureen is honoured to be an advisor and active participant with the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA). Both organizations provide a patient’s voice and perspective on issues of importance for patients and families affected by a brain tumour.

Daniel Mendelsohn, MD, MSc, FRCSC

Daniel Mendelsohn is a neurosurgeon at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, BC. In addition to his role as a Director on Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Board of Directors, Danny sits on the BTFC Information, Support and Education Committee.

Danny became involved with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as a result of his work. He performs brain tumour operations routinely and hopes that his involvement with BTFC can help to improve patients’ experiences with these challenging diagnoses.

Mary Lou Robertson, BA, BSW, RSW

Mary Lou Robertson is a registered social worker who has spent nearly 25 years helping people with complex diseases to navigate health care systems. Her experience spans outpatient work in oncology, mental health, geriatrics and neurology.

As a BTFC Board Member and member of the Advocacy Committee, Mary Lou contributes her perspective as a health care professional, and her vast knowledge of policies related to drug and treatment access in Canada. She is committed to simplifying access to care for patients in Canada, particularly those facing the unique challenges of a brain disease.

James Scongack

James Scongack is the Executive Vice-President, Operational Services and Chief Development Officer at Bruce Power. In this role, he is responsible for the company’s medical isotope program that produces critical Cobalt-60 used in the treatment of brain tumours, breast cancer and the sterilization annually of billions of pieces of medical equipment.

James also serves as chair of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council, a coalition of over 70 Canadian organizations advancing Canada’s leadership in role in the development, production, and deployment of medical isotopes.

James has been a member of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Board of Directors since 2018 and is passionate about Canada’s leadership role as a world leader in the advancement of Cancer treatments serving patients and families across Canada.

Arun Thomas

Arun Thomas is the Chief Information Officer at Dynacare. As an accomplished IT executive, Arun has a successful history of leading complex technology initiatives within the demands of large, national organizations.

Committed to giving back to the community, Arun is an active board member for BTFC where he also contributes as a member of the Finance Committee.

Arun is also a board member for Rapport Youth and Family Services, a not-for-profit social service organization that provides counselling and related support services to youth in Peel Region of Greater Toronto Area.

Bill Walker

Bill Walker is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI), supporting a dedicated team of staff and volunteers and a membership of 230+ companies with a vision to drive and strengthen a thriving Canadian nuclear supply chain through innovation and leadership. Bill recently retired as MPP for the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound after a 10-year tenure of public service.

As a Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Board member Bill attends and participates in meetings of the Board of Directors, and the Advocacy and Fundraising Committees.

Bill’s interest and commitment to supporting BTFC is a way of giving back, as his son is a survivor of a brain tumour.

His philanthropic spirit extends beyond his role at BTFC, and he has volunteered in various roles with many charitable and not-for-profit organizations over his lifetime. He is also an amateur Auctioneer and a practicing Marriage Officiant, and an avid sports fan.