Board of Directors
Get to know our Board of Directors — volunteers charged with setting directions and policies, overseeing their implementation, and controlling operations of the Patient Alumni Association.
Stephen B. Sharp, CPA, CA
Board Member and Treasurer: since 2014
I have been an Alumni for a life-time (since November 2013). That is when I walked into the UOHI and they saved my life. Healthy, active, no symptoms, I needed a simple test and then they informed me that my aorta was torn from top to bottom. Two brilliant surgeons performed an emergency open heart surgery for 7.5 hours. Not only did I join the 3% club of those who lived with what I had for almost three weeks but I also joined the Alumni in recognition of how special this place truly is.
A CA for over 28 years, I am self-employed and provide Chief Financial Officer services to a variety of clients. I am proud to serve my community, alongside this wonderful group of individuals collectively called the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Alumni Board. It is an honour to give back to this incredible Institution.
Nancy Lawson – Ex Officio on Executive Committee
Board Member Since: 2010
As a female who experienced a major heart attack before the age of 60, I became acutely aware that heart disease is not just a man’s disease. My life was saved in 2007 by the newly instituted “code STEMI” protocol, which was pioneered at the Heart Institute. At that point I knew I wanted to give back in some way to the Heart Institute, which literally saved my life.
Prior to retirement, I spent thirty years in a management capacity at Bell, working in Customer Care, Marketing, and IT. After retirement, I worked as a consultant for another three years.
I am currently the curator of the Patient Alumni website, and administer of our membership database.
Board member since: 2020
After a two year sabbatical from a 30 year career in Ottawa’s technology sector, it was my hope to get involved with an organization of passionate and diverse people that are committed to giving back to the great city we live in. Like many in Ottawa, our family has been a beneficiary of the spectacular care provided by the UOHI, which made my decision to put my experience and energy to work on the Patient Alumni Association Board of Directors an easy one.
My career gave me the chance to work in interesting places like the UK, Dubai, and the US which helped me better understand the cultural diversity that makes up our world. This gave me the opportunity to develop the broad set of skills that I was able to deploy as leader or member of senior leadership teams. My passion has ranged from taking on the challenges of building new companies from the spark of an idea to helping larger organizations align their strategic goals and executing on their vision.
I joined the Board in January of 2020, just prior to the explosion of the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with the other members of the Board and the entire Alumni community to seek new and innovative ways to provide meaningful and valuable programs and resources to patients and their families, friends and caregivers.
Caroline L. Weber
I retired from the federal public service in October 2020, where I worked for 20 years. I worked in departments as diverse as Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, Public Safety and the RCMP, and spent the last 12 years as an Assistant Deputy Minister.
Prior to joining the federal public service, I was a tenured professor at Queen’s University, appointed in the School of Industrial Relations, and cross-appointed to the School of Business. I hold a Ph.D. and Master’s of Science degree from Cornell University, and an undergraduate degree from M.I.T.
I am an example of successful “prevention”: There is an incidence of heart disease in my family. People have passed away as young as 45. My father died of heart disease and one of my younger brothers had a heart attack and a stroke about 10 years ago. As for my own hypertension and AFib, my excellent GP decided to take an aggressive approach to managing my heart health. I was under the care of the lovely and charming Dr. Ruth McPherson for a few years, ensuring that my medications were right for me. I understand the excellence of the Heart Institute and that the Heart Institute will always be in my future. I am indebted, and I want to make my contribution to the continuing excellence of the UOHI.
Past executive members
Board Member Since: 2010
I have been a patient of the UOHI for over 32 years. I received my pacemaker then and I am now on my fifth. Now that I’m completely I retired I wanted to give something back to the organization that has given me so much. I work as an auxiliary volunteer once a week and since have become involved in the Patient Alumni as a Board Member.
I’ve always taken great pleasure from working and I continue to do so through my volunteer work. I strongly believe that being intellectually active has a direct positive impact on my physical health. I really enjoy my work with the UOHI.
Board Member Since: 2014
I joined the Patient Alumni in 2012, only months after receiving an aortic valve replacement. I wanted to “give back” to the UOHI as a volunteer after receiving outstanding, life-saving care. I was also motivated because, as it is for so many others, my heart disease was an unexpected congenital condition that could easily have gone undetected.
Working with the Alumni is how I felt I could best help others who are impacted by heart disease diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle afterwards. Drawing upon my experience as a 35-year management professional, I’ve worked alongside the other Alumni Board members to support the UOHI, its Foundation and, especially, other patients and their families.
Board Member Since: 2021
I am a Project Manager/ Manager, Facilities Standards at the Ottawa International Airport and an Interior Designer by trade. Over my 20 year career at the Airport, I have managed numerous construction projects and interior fit-ups in the passenger terminal building. I was also a part of the project management team that built the new Airport terminal building. Earlier in my career I worked as an interior designer in Montreal for a design firm specializing in high end residential and hotel design.
I have two Daughters and recently became a first time Grandmother.
In August 2018, my life changed when I had a cardiac arrest at work. I am alive today thanks to the Airport Operations first responders and Ottawa Police constables who used an AED and CPR to keep me alive until ERS arrived. As I had no vitals the first responders worked as a team and were able to make it within the critical six minute period before I would have lost cognitive function. When I arrived at the Civic Hospital emergency room I was immediately transferred to the Ottawa Heart Institute. My two daughters then 24 and 28 were told by the cardiologist in the ER that my prognosis wasn’t good (fewer than two percent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive). After 24 days in the hospital I was given an ICD implant along with excellent medication. As a result, I was back at work within four months and I am living a normal life.
I am extremely grateful to the cardiologists at the Heart Institute, the nurses, the cardiac rehabilitation program, my vocational counsellor, and cardiac support group. I am looking forward to giving back through my volunteer work with the Patient Alumni Board of Directors.
As a former senior executive, recently retired from the federal public service, I am happy to now have the opportunity to do some volunteer work. I have been concerned with heart health since I lost my father to heart illness many years ago, and subsequently other members of my extended family. This is why I feel it is so important to emphasize good health practices, and find the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Patient Alumni is providing me a chance to contribute to this important cause, amongst others.
As a member of the Board, I am charged more specifically with coordinating the events in which the Alumni participate, in order to more increasingly support the objectives of the Ottawa Heart Institute. I feel fortunate to be able to work with great Board colleagues, and to benefit from their life experience. On a personal note, one of my goals is to work towards providing a better chance for my grandchildren to live a healthy life.
I have enjoyed many interesting experiences in a 37 year career as a communications engineer and computer security specialist. During my 25 years as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces I worked on satellite communications projects with our NATO allies in Europe and in other roles with our NORAD partner in the United States, giving me a great appreciation for national and cultural diversity. I’m in my 11th year with the federal public service as a manager of cyber security programs. These experiences have made me grateful to live in such a great country!
I came to the Heart Institute in 2021 for an urgent stent placement and I am very thankful for the exceptional care I received. When I was given the opportunity to compete for a Board position, I jumped at the chance to give back to the UOHI through the excellent work the Patient Alumni does on behalf of patients. I am grateful to have been able to contribute to ensuring patient engagement remains an important part of heart research.
Board Member Since: 2016
I have been involved and working with the public throughout my career: initially as a nurse, and secondly as a real estate agent. My focus has been in areas of health, sales, management, business development, coaching, training, communications, and charity work.
I am currently a sole proprietor of my own coaching company. The main focus of the company is Business Coaching and helping others to achieve their goals.
In 2008, while in my 50’s, I developed Sudden Onset Complete Heart Block and required a permanent pacemaker. Needless to say, I am grateful to the Heart Institute. This gratitude has inspired me to focus my efforts on giving back.
In 2007 I became involved with fund raising for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation. I served as co-chair for a charity fund raising event called the Jeanne Fuller Red Dress Golf Classic. This all female golf charity tournament raises awareness of heart disease in women and has raised $1,000,000 for the Canadian Women‘s Heart Health Centre (CWHHC) at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
I am a Women@Heart Program Ambassador for the CWHHC. As a Women@Heart Peer Support Leader we provide support, education and knowledge about women’s heart health. This is one of the programs offered by the CWHHC.
It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Patient Alumni’s Board of distinguished individuals. The Heart Institute is a world renowned institution, and it gives me great pleasure to help in the capacity of women’s heart health.
Board Member Since: 2015
As a retired senior executive who has always tried to volunteer in the community, I leapt at the chance to work with an organization like the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), especially after I had the opportunity to witness the exceptional care provided to my cousin at the UOHI. In addition, I find that the role that the Patient Alumni plays at the UOHI is unique and groundbreaking since it is truly a place where patients and their caregivers can find understanding and support.
Since joining the Patient Alumni in 2015, I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of innovative projects including reviewing the governance documents of the Patient Alumni, contributing to a project on Patient Engagement in Research and providing non-medical advice and feedback on research projects and priorities.
Board Member Since: 2018
I am an academic leader and educator at Algonquin College. My current role as an Associate Chair in the School of Advanced Technology allows me to support and engage faculty on a daily basis. I started my career working in criminology and corrections and my background includes over 20 years working in non-profit organizations. I have a special passion for social justice, advocacy for women’s rights and want to make a difference. For more than 10 years, I served on the Board of Directors with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa, which included a two-year term on the Executive Team as Treasurer.
20 years ago, I was diagnosed with having Bicuspid Aortic Valve Stenosis so my history includes regular visits to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. My connection to the Institute became more intimate six years ago, when I had open-heart surgery, specifically the Ross Procedure. Since my surgery and rehabilitation, I have been a positive advocate of the UOHI, including sharing my story in a few outreach campaigns. As a younger heart patient, I have a unique perspective on the work and mission of the Institute such as being a heart patient, working full-time and being a wife and mother of two young daughters. I want to give back to the community that saved my life and advocate for patients, which is why I am devoting my time to sitting on the Patient Alumni Board.
I recently retired from my position as the nursing coordinator for cardiac surgery at the Heart Institute. During my time in this role, I worked closely with the Alumni on such projects as the preoperative education video, the cough pillows to support the sternum after surgery and the womens’ surgical support bras. I know first hand the incredible difference these initiatives made in patients’ recovery. I also served for 6 years as the clinical services nursing representative to the alumni board. Joining the Alumni is my way of saying thank you and giving back for the incredible support the surgical patients received from the Alumni.
Prior to coming to Ottawa, I worked as a staff nurse, clinical educator and clinical nurse specialist in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Philadelphia.. I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Minnesota, my Master of Science in Acute Care from the University of Pennsylvania and a diploma as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from the University of Toronto.
Board Member Since: 2019
I am a university professor researching aspects of communication; I also has 20 years’ experience of international marketing communications in the corporate sector. I joined the Patient Alumni in 2018 after undergoing minimally-invasive cryo-maze surgery to treat my persistent Atrial Fibrillation.
After completing the Heart Institute’s excellent rehabilitation program, I wanted to contribute to their exceptional work. Consequently, I joined the Patient Alumni Board to use my skills to help in the fulfillment of the Alumni’s mandate to provide support to patients and their families as they journey along the heart disease path from diagnosis to recovery, whilst making healthy and informed lifestyle choices.
Everad Tilokee, MSc, BSc (Hon.)
My diagnosis with heart failure, at age 13, became the spark that led me to pursue a career in health research. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at McMaster University in 2011, I went on to conduct graduate research at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
For most of my life, I have benefitted from world class care across Ontario. In 2014, UOHI became the most meaningful part of my journey. Only a few floors below the lab I was working in at the time, I received a heart transplant. I left UOHI with a new heart, a fresh outlook, and a Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. From there, I went on to obtain an Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research from Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and began working at Canadian Blood Services in 2017 as a Research and Training Program Coordinator, and I was recently promoted to Data Analyst. I have also participated in policy building, patient advocacy and awareness initiatives related to organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
As a member of the Board, I hope to provide my unique perspective as a patient, researcher, and data analyst to give back to the community that has given me the life I lead today. I am particularly interested in helping to develop patient-oriented research and policies to ultimately improve our experience as patients and clinical outcomes. The UOHI Patient Alumni Association is in a unique position to effect positive change and I am happy to be a part of such an important group.
When I am not working, I can be found outside on a trail with my incredible wife and two dogs (with two cats at home), cycling around Ottawa, playing soccer (when it’s safe to do so), reading, or playing guitar.