Our volunteer Board of Directors provides guidance and leadership at a national level and is made up of people with neuromuscular disorders and their family members from across the country. The national staff team is led by CEO, Barbara Stead-Coyle. Together, she and the Board work with staff and volunteers to enhance the lives of those impacted with neuromuscular disorders by continually working to provide ongoing support and resources while relentlessly searching for a cure through well-funded research.

Board of Directors

  • Donna Nixon
    Ottawa, ON
    Profession: Market Researcher
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “I strongly believe in giving back to our society and ensuring that everyone has a chance to participate, be as productive as possible and enjoy life to the fullest. People with neuromuscular disorders face significant challenges every day. It’s important that we do all we can to support them. Together, we can do great things!”
  • David Crawford
    Coquitlam, BC
    Profession: VP and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, Board of Trade
  • Michael L. Kaye
    Victoria, BC
    Profession: Assistant Deputy Fire Chief
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “it is a tradition within the fire service, and together we can make a difference in people’s lives.”
  • David Cluff
    Ottawa, ON
    Profession: Chartered Accountant (Retired)
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “I have seen the difference Muscular Dystrophy Canada can make in the lives of the people it serves, in particular with one of my close friends and colleagues.”
  • Debra Chiabai
    Ottawa, ON
    Profession: Teacher; Senior Instructional Designer Online Training
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because “I have seen first-hand the help and hope it brings to families through peer support, funding for equipment, and research. I have had a life-long connection with the organization, in my youth through my father’s involvement as a firefighter and more recently since my son Alex was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2003.”
  • Dave Ferguson
    Cowichan Bay, BC
    Profession: Retired Civil Servant; Retired Volunteer Fire Chief
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “It is the fire service’s charity of choice and the more I meet folks who are affected by neuromuscular disorders, the more I want to help make a difference for them and to ‘make muscles move.’”
  • Buzz Green
    Etobicoke, ON
    Profession: Management Consultant; Former Senior Executive
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “I continue to be truly inspired by the remarkable courage and resilience of so many of the individuals and their families that I have met who are living with neuromuscular disorders and I wanted to do more to ensure they get all the support they need and to help raise awareness of this terrible disease.”
  • Yazmine Laroche
    Ottawa, ON
    Profession:  Deputy Minister, Government of Canada
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “I have a neuromuscular disorder and I want to make a difference.”
  • Alfred Breton-Paré
    Quebec, QC
    Profession: Senior CRA; Project Manager; Clinical Research Manager
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “It is the organization supporting families like mine, present since the DMD diagnosis of our son Eloi. Through the High-Rise Challenge, I want to actively support him. Being sponsored by firefighters, we are combining our efforts to raise awareness to our cause; and fundraising in order to finance research for a cure & services to Canadians living with a neuromuscular disorder. Being a member of the Board of Directors, I want to use my experience and knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry to the benefit of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. I hope to contribute in facilitating the awareness amongst clients of clinical studies being conducted in our country. By having full knowledge of potential new treatment options, MDC clients will be better equipped to take an informed decision regarding their desire to participate or not. Finally, I also want to play a role with MDC being a leader in advocating for an easy and universal access to potent and new treatments for neuromuscular disorders.”
  • Kara Reid
    New Maryland, NB
    Profession: Occupational Therapist
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “children with neuromuscular disorders have always held a special place in my heart – first when I was a camp counselor at an Easter Seals camp in New Brunswick, and now through my position as an Occupational Therapist at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. The positive impact of Muscular Dystrophy Canada is one which can be clearly seen through the support, education, research and funding provided to children, their families and teams of health care professionals. The feedback shared by families who have been involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada has motivated me to become a more active member of this organization, so that I too can work to better the quality of life for individuals with Neuromuscular Disorders across our country.”
  • Kelly Zacharias
    Smithers, BC
    Profession: Fire Fighter
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “it is traditionally the Fire Fighters charity of choice since 1954. Having been involved as a volunteer for the past 33 years in various capacities within the organization I have seen great advancements in Research, Equipment, Advocacy and Services. These advancements have allowed those effected with a neuromuscular disorder to live fuller more independent lives and that’s what keeps me involved.”
  • Kerry Zado
    Langford, BC
    Profession: Deputy Fire Chief (Retired)
    I am involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada because: “I became involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada in 1989 as a volunteer firefighter and have served as Chair of our department since 1991. I remain involved because I believe as a group, we can make a difference.”

Executive Leadership Team

  • Barbara Stead-Coyle
    Chief Executive Officer

    Barbara joined Muscular Dystrophy Canada as the CEO in May 2016, and has since engineered a major restructuring that has significantly decreased fundraising costs and increased funds directed to the mission. Previously, Barbara was the national vice president of annual development at the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS); and later, the CEO of the Nova Scotia division of the CCS.

    Barbara has also held several positions in public relations and communications. In 2001, Barbara moved to Sydney, Nova Scotia where she worked as the director of marketing with Techlink Entertainment; the director of communications for the Cape Breton Growth Fund Corporation; the founding general manager of the Cape Breton Partnership; and led the economic benefits file at the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency. In 2006, she accepted the position of CEO at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation.

    Barbara holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree from McGill University and has continued her professional advancement at the University of Wisconsin, St Mary’s University, Queen’s University, and was one of fifty not-for-profit leaders selected to attend the Community Shift Program at the Ivey School of Business, at Western University. She holds a professional designation from the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), and she is currently studying her MBA at the University of Edinburgh. Barbara is a strong supporter of creating a culture of giving—in her life, her family, and her community.

    Who do you admire or look up to, and why?

    “Nelson Mandela. He completely changed the face of a country, and is one of the world’s most inspiring leaders. He took what seemed an impossible life situation and used it to inspire great change. He had a remarkable work ethic, believed in service to others, and never stopped believing that the impossible is possible.”

  • Stacey Lintern
    Chief Operating Officer

    Stacey joined Muscular Dystrophy Canada in 2012, and has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years. She has worked as a senior manager in large health organizations and the government, where she managed organizational development, strategic planning, stakeholder relations, partnerships, and mission delivery. Stacey started her career with the RN program at Seneca and was later a graduate of York University and the University of Toronto, specializing in non-profit business management in the executive business programs.

    Wise words from Stacey

    “Our community has taught me to persevere, be bold, adapt, to not give up—and to stay forever hopeful. It has allowed me to be committed to visionary leadership and achieving organizational goals to maximize the full potential of clients, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders. I am so fortunate to work in an organization that is passionate and committed to making a difference.”

  • Kendra Morton
    Vice President, Talent

    Kendra has spent her entire career working in the not-for-profit sector. She has more than 25 years of experience in all areas human resources and volunteer engagement including: talent engagement, recognition, performance management, compensation, training, wellness, and safety. Kendra believes that the human resources and volunteer engagement portfolios play a strategic role in helping Muscular Dystrophy Canada achieve its overall direction, goals and objectives.

    What is your favourite quote?

    My favourite quote is from Steve Jobs: “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” This quote speaks to the passion our staff and volunteers have for mission and vision of the organization. We Work as One to do more, give more and ultimately, ensure that people living with neuromuscular disease live their best lives.

  • Faith Bacolod
    Vice President, Finance and Administration

    Faith is a chartered professional accountant with dedicated experience working in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining Muscular Dystrophy Canada in 2018, Faith worked at Hope Mission in Edmonton, AB where she held the role of controller. Faith passionately applies her accounting expertise and strong business acumen to help Muscular Dystrophy Canada succeed in its mission and continue to maximize its impact in the lives of those it serves.

    What is your favourite quote?

    “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” As a finance professional, I have to ensure that my actions are always conducted with honesty and integrity. Having to “stand for something” equips me to participate in conversations and provide insight in situations that may be difficult or challenging.

Senior Leadership Team

  • Sharon Bristol
    Director, Annual Campaigns

    Sharon joined Muscular Dystrophy Canada in 2017 and has been truly inspired by the clients we serve, their courage, strength, and determination. Prior to working in the fundraising world for over a decade, she has spent her career in government social services, education, and housing. Throughout her varied career, Sharon has worked with all levels of government, industry, and at the community level. Sharon says her mantra, “Avanti Alto Couraggio—Onward Upward Courageously,” embodies everything she has witnessed in her role at MDC.

    Wise words from Sharon

    “Fundraising is only achieved through strong mutually respectful relationships. At MDC, I am proud to say we truly value our volunteers, partners, donors, clients, and employees. We work diligently every day to strengthen the bond that unites our passion to improve the lives of persons with neuromuscular disorders.”

  • Marie-Helene Bolduc
    Director, Mission

    Marie-Hélène is the director of mission at Muscular Dystrophy Canada. She is responsible for provincial advocacy, clinical relationships, drug patient submissions, and the delivery of MDC’s programs and services. This includes MDC’s system navigation program that enables service specialists to work with individuals and their families, as well as health care professionals to navigate complicated systems to access the right resources to enhance the quality of life for people affected by neuromuscular disorders.

    What was your first job? And, how did it prepare you for your role at MDC?

    My first job was a project officer at a women’s centre. I had just finished my degree and I was really interested in feminism. I worked on women’s empowerment. I interviewed business women, created a resource guide for women wanting to start a business, and I organized a one-day symposium for 200 participants. This job prepared me to take initiatives, do presentations in front of various audiences, prepare for meetings, and it taught me how to negotiate with different stakeholders including politics and event planning—and most importantly it taught me how to get organized. I still use all these skills at my job 25 years later!

  • Kevin Harrison
    Director, Corporate & Business Development

    Kevin Harrison has been an advocate for the disabled community for over 20 years in various fundraising roles for disability organizations, such as the Action Centre and Muscular Dystrophy Canada. As someone with muscular dystrophy, Kevin has brought both the perspective and daily challenges faced by those living with a physical disability to corporate boardrooms nationwide through speaking events, the media, and the general public. His passion and drive to bring awareness to these challenges resulted in the initiation of various programs and fundraising campaigns.

    What was your first job? And, how did it prepare you for your role at MDC?

    I grew up dreaming to be a stock broker. My dreams came true after university when I was recruited to join an investment business in Montreal, RBC Dominion Securities. I learned all kinds of things about relationship building, the economy, networking, and sales. I stayed there for three years when I realized that my passion in life was to raise funds for a not-for-profit. All of those skills I learned I was able to apply here at my job at MDC.

  • Patricia MacArthur
    Director, Donor Relations and Stewardship

    Patricia has spent 15 years in the charitable sector, with a strong focus on health and education. She has gained extensive fundraising experience in senior roles at the Nova Scotia Community College and the Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division. She started her fundraising career at the Arthritis Society, Ontario Division—and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree, and the Fundraising and Volunteer Management post-graduate program at Humber College. Patricia is an active volunteer in her community and is deeply committed to giving back.

    What is your favourite quote?

    “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you have accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up. Who you’ve made better. It’s about what you have given back.” – Denzel Washington

  • Danielle Campo McLeod
    Director, Mission

    Danielle has been a national ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy Canada since 2001. More recently, she has joined the staff as the director of mission. She is a keynote speaker at most of the organization’s events and fundraisers, and travels the country to inspire youth and adults to achieve their goals. Danielle is a Canadian Paralympic swimmer and represented Canada on the national swim team from 1998–2006, where she earned a place on the podium for several competitions. She believes that determination, perseverance and passion is key to everyone’s life journey. Danielle is also currently a member of the Board of Directors of the John McGivney Children’s Centre.

    What is your favourite quote or mantra? How does it relate to your role at MDC?

    “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing.” This quote to me means we need to recognize and galvanize the potential in every situation—especially those that seem less than perfect. Despite these imperfections, I believe the opportunity to create astonishing results is always within reach. This is what we do every day in Mission we push forward to ensure that all person affected by a Neuromuscular disorder are living their best life. That is amazing!

  • Pam Mosher
    Director, IT and Data

    Pam comes to the Muscular Dystrophy Canada leadership team with over 10 years of information management experience. In her current role at MDC she manages a team of five to troubleshoot software and hardware issues, and ensure all systems are operational. Her impact since joining MDC in March 2018 has been significant. Her vision has led to long term solutions and success. Her work has also improved efficiencies by automation processes, and systemizing operating structures. In her previous role with the Canadian Cancer Society, she led the IT team through the implementation of significant changes in technological systems and processes.

    What is your favourite part about working at MDC?

    What I love most about working at MDC is that I get to help people—making their jobs easier and by extension making it easier for them to help our clients. Every day is unique. I learn something new, solve problems, and get to help others.

  • Pam Musgrave
    Director, Revenue Development, Fire Fighter Strategy

    Pamela has more than 20 years working in the not-for-profit sector where she has and continues to develop her skills in fundraising, event planning, volunteer management, and strategic planning. Her earlier jobs in sales taught her about the importance of customer service and some experience working in TV production taught her to troubleshoot and problem solve quickly. Pam has a Bachelor of Arts Community Studies Degree with a Major in Communication, but believes it can be our life experiences that teach us the most about how we communicate and treat others.

    What is your favourite part about working at MDC?

    Working for Muscular Dystrophy Canada has allowed me the opportunity to watch the organization evolve over the years. I have been able to witness firsthand the impact that a grassroots organization can have in local communities as well as across our country. Working for an organization that is known for being the charity of choice for Canadian Fire Fighters is not only a privilege, but is something all of us at MDC are truly proud of.

  • Heather Rice
    Director, Marketing and Communications

    Heather joined the MDC family in 2018, and has more than 20 years of experience working in communications and marketing. She has held positions in the media, education system, and not-for-profit sectors. It was working in a development office at a post-secondary institution, early in her career, that peaked her interest in fundraising and the important work done by not-for-profits. Most recently she has held positions with the Canadian Cancer Society and the IWK Foundation.

    What is your favourite quote?

    “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela

  • Jeff Sparks
    Director, Volunteer Engagement and Human Resources

    Jeff is a quadriplegic diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 10 months of age. More than 40 years later, there is no slowing him down. Jeff holds a graduate degree in human resources and is a chartered professional in human resources. He also serves as the organization’s privacy officer and has managed several strategic initiatives. Jeff raises awareness of what it’s like to live with a neuromuscular disorder, raising funds, and striving daily to engage others in the work of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Outside of work, Jeff is a role model and advocate for those with disabilities. He has been the chairperson of the premier’s council on the Status of Disabled Persons, and past president of the Saint John Ability Advisory Committee.

    Who do you admire or look up to, and why?

    I look up to my parents, Bill (deceased) and Sharon Sparks. My parents always encouraged me to not be limited by my disability. From a young child, they pushed for full integration into education, kept me actively engaged in extracurricular activities and continuously supported my independence (working a summer job away from home and moving to Toronto to begin my career). They did all of this when inclusion wasn’t an everyday word. Parents of children with disabilities can learn so much from their persistence, focus on ability, and them pushing me to be an active community member.

  • Daria Wojtal
    Director, Research

    Daria joined MDC in January 2019. Prior to joining, she was a researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children in the laboratory of Dr. Ronald Cohn, where she focussed on developing CRISPR-Cas9 based gene editing as a potential treatment of neuromuscular disorders caused by duplication mutations. Daria is currently finishing her PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto. In addition to her laboratory work, Daria has a keen interest in making science accessible. She completed the scientist knowledge translation training and internship at the SickKids Learning Institute and over the past five years, has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto and Michener Institute of Education and she has spoken at various international conferences.

    What is your favourite part about working at MDC?

    I’m excited to be a part of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. This is a unique organization which works towards meeting our clients’ needs through our system navigation and equipment programs while striving for a better tomorrow through our research and advocacy programs. This is an unprecedented time, as we are having countless research breakthroughs for neuromuscular disorders previously thought to be untreatable. It is going to take all of us working together—individuals affected by neuromuscular disorders, healthcare professionals, researchers, the government, and industry partners to ensure that we have effective treatments available for a better tomorrow.

Chapters

Muscular Dystrophy Canada Chapters are located across the country. Chapters are made up of individuals living with neuromuscular disorders, family members, friends, caregivers, and other community-minded supporters.

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Fire Fighters

Fire Fighters help generate revenue and raise awareness about neuromuscular disorders and the need for funding to support Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s programs and services.

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