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Our Board

Unsinkable’s Board of Directors is a dynamic and passionate group of corporate and community leaders. Together, they support Unsinkable’s mission to educate, empower and support people with their mental health.

Silken Laumann

Olympian, Author & Unsinkable Founder

Four-time Olympian Silken Laumann is one of Canada’s most inspirational leaders, a best-selling author, and a child and mental health advocate. Silken’s Olympic story is legendary and inspirational. As reigning world champion, Silken fought back from a devastating rowing accident, to win a bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

In her best-selling memoir, Unsinkable, Silken shines a spotlight on all the obstacles she has encountered and overcome. Silken speaks candidly about her athletic success and triumph over physical adversity, but also the intense personal challenges of her past and the fierce determination she applies to living a bold and successful life today. Most recently, Silken launched a not-for-profit organization, aptly called Unsinkable that connects humans and life stories together to spark new insights around achieving better mental, physical and spiritual health.

Kate Nazar

Board Chair

Kate Nazar has been a pension focused professional for more than 26 years. Prior to her current role as Vice President, Strategy and Market Development, she held a select number of senior roles within Sun Life as: Vice President, Client Solutions Centre; Regional Vice President, Client Relationships and Business Development; and AVP, Client Relationships. Kate is a graduate of Western University with a degree in Economics and holds the RPA designation. She has dedicated her career to making the retirement industry stronger through active involvement and advocacy. Kate is a member of the Association of Canadian Pension Management National Policy Committee (ACPM NPC), the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) Defined Contribution Pension Plans Technical Advisory Committee, the Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute (CPBI) and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (ISCEBS). She was also appointed to the Board of Sun Life Financial Trust in late 2019.
Kate’s commitment to the future of the pension industry is matched only by her commitment to making her communities stronger and more resilient. A 17 year survivor of late stage ovarian cancer, Kate volunteers as a speaker for the Survivor’s Teaching Students program through Ovarian Cancer Canada, is a female leadership mentor for The Scala Network, and was a 2018-2019 Vice Chair for the Princess Margaret Hospital Ride to Conquer Cancer.
Recognizing the healthful benefits of being in and around nature, Kate enjoys downhill skiing, cycling, hiking and remaining faithful to her daily yoga rituals. Spending time with her husband, three adult children and the family pup is what keeps her grounded and feeling grateful each and every day.

Franca Piacente

Board Director

Franca Piacente has been working in the advertising industry for over 35 years. She began her career at Y&R. After a decade working on a variety of categories. Franca decided to broaden her experience and moved to Vickers &Benson, where her main accounts consisted of McDonald’s and Ontario Tourism. In 1992, she gave up fast food and carried on to McLaren McCann to work on Coca-Cola, Molson, MasterCard, GM and many other clients. She became Head of Production at McLaren McCann and continued to work on big and small projects. She has now landed at Leo Burnett as SVP of Production Services, running four departments and still producing. She’s become a top producer in the industry and has won a truckload of awards. She has worked with some of the top industry creative’s and production folks. In 2012, Franca received a lifetime achievement award, giving recognition to her many accomplishments. Franca is also the co-creator and producer of the Unsinkable Youth COVID-19 CTV special.
Divya Shahani

Divya Shahani

Board Advisor

Divya Shahani is an associate at Miller Thomson LLP. Her practice focuses on transactional, intellectual property and corporate matters in the entertainment industry. Ms. Shahani represents clients ranging from film, television and new media producers, distributors, institutional lenders, private financiers, new media and technology start-ups, content creators, talent, music artists and producers, artist management companies and hospitality companies. Divya is particularly passionate about supporting the legal needs of emerging artists and promoting diversity in the entertainment industry. 

Judy Lung

Board Director

Judy is a Communications & Marketing executive with 20 years of experience creating PR, marketing, and social media campaigns for some of Canada’s leading arts & entertainment organizations. Known for developing innovative audience-building strategies and championing Canadian content and talent both at home and on the international stage, Lung has held roles in all areas of the industry and has worked in-house and agency-side with broadcasters, producers, distributors, and cultural institutions. Currently, Lung is Vice President, Communications & Marketing for Touchwood PR, an entertainment PR firm whose clients include Netflix, Cineplex, Focus Features, Fan Expo, IFC Films, and Toronto Reel Asian International Festival. Lung is a frequent speaker at industry events about current trends, best practices, and the evolving role of entertainment PR & marketing. Recent speaking engagements include presentations for the Toronto International Film Festival Industry Conference, Canadian Film Centre, Ryerson School of Journalism, and Women in Film & Television. Lung is an Advisor on the BIPOC TV & FILM Visioning Committee, a grassroots advocacy group dedicated to increasing representation in front of and behind the camera, and sits on the Board of Directors of Unsinkable, a non-profit organization founded by Olympian Silken Laumann.

Dr. Donna Ferguson, C. Psych

Board Director | Lead Clinical Advisor for Unsinkable

Dr. Donna Ferguson is a Board certified clinical psychologist (ABPP) who provides assessment and treatment (specifically, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy focused) in the area of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other Anxiety Disorders, primarily with injured workers at the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)- Work Stress and Health Program.  Clinical research interests and areas of specialty include concurrent disorders, particularly in the area of anxiety disorders and or co-morbid depressive disorders with gambling pathology (in areas of assessment and intervention). Dr. Ferguson has published research in problem gambling and has worked with clients in the area of gambling addiction.  Dr. Ferguson has also published articles in the area of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

 

Why I decided to lend my talents and expertise to Unsinkable, I am very impressed with the way the organization tells people’s stories and connects people to others to lend mental health supports and offer mental health resources. I would love to support Unsinkable with their mental health goals in reaching youth and assisting with the gaps where youth aren’t getting the support they need and helping to build appropriate programs and provide overall clinical support.

Asha Burry

Board Director

Asha Burry has held several roles in human resources and operations prior to her current role as Human Resource Leader for Owens Corning Canada. Currently, Asha oversees human resources for Owens Corning’s Canadian manufacturing, sales, pension and benefits departments, and also sits on Owens Corning Canada’ s pension investment and administration committees. Asha holds a master’s degree in economics and a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation from the Human Resource Professional Association (HRPA). Asha brings with her a breadth of experience as a pervious treasurer and general member for the HRPA Board, Durham chapter. In addition, through her work as a member of the Jill of All Trades steering committee, Asha pursues her passion for developing, coaching, and encouraging young women to explore career opportunities they otherwise would not have not considered. After spending many years running half marathons and sprint triathlons, when Asha is not spending time with her husband, daughter, and dog, you can find her swimming, reading, or working out.

Michelle Archer

Board Director

Michelle Archer, founder of Archer Consulting, and a graduate of The University of Western Ontario brings with her over 20 years of digital, marketing and advertising experience. She has experience on both client and agency side on such brands as Nike, LoyaltyOne, McDonald’s, Unilever, Canadian Tire, Rogers Communications, Cystic Fibrosis, University of Toronto and Oracle. She has an intimate understanding of digital and social in both B2B and B2C space and a breadth of industry experience in Healthcare, Education, Not For Profit, Telco, CPG, Food Services, Technology, and Retail. She has worked with talented creative teams resulting in various awards such as the Applied Arts, Bessie and POPAI for her work on McDonald’s and Rogers Communications respectively. Michelle has also completed her first manuscript for middle grade readers, and is launching a Writers Retreat with good friends Donna Frietas and Andrea Jo DeWerd. She sits on the board of POV, a not-for-profit dedicated to helping talented young BIPOC adults who are denied access to careers in TV, film and advertising. Michelle is the co-creator and producer of the Unsinkable Youth COVID CTV special. When she isn’t writing, you can find her on her Peloton, in front of her iPad binging on TV shows or snuggled up with a book.

Kathy Cunningham

Board Director

Kathy Cunningham is the Chief Financial Officer at The Globe and Mail, where she is responsible for Strategy, Corporate Development and all aspects of financial management as The Globe and Mail focuses on its digital future. Kathy is also a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Boat Rocker Media Inc., a Toronto based independent, integrated global entertainment company.  Kathy is a CPA, and prior to joining The Globe and Mail, Kathy was Senior Vice-President, Finance at Sun Life Financial and before that, a partner at KPMG, where she held a variety of leadership roles. 

Kathy has served as a Director for a number of private companies and not for profit organizations.  Most recently she was a member of the Board of Directors of The Macaulay Child Development Centre in Toronto, which provides essential services to more than 7,000 children and youth focused on promoting healthy child development and nurturing strong families.  Kathy was the Co-Chair of the YWCA Women of Distinction Committee (Toronto) and Treasurer for Sheena’s Place. Outside of The Globe and Mail, most of Kathy’s personal time is spent with her husband and children, who she is trying to keep up with on the ski hills.

Why Unsinkable ? 

Like so many others, I have had loved ones impacted by mental health and I am keen to contribute to Unsinkable, making a direct impact on Canadians’, particularly young people’s, well being.  Ensuring people feel they can discuss freely their mental health issues, and in doing so helping others around them, is a powerful model for change that I’m excited to be a small part of. 

Plus I get to meet Silken Laumann and spend time with the great Kate Nazar and Jen Elia !

Lindsey Thomson

Unsinkable Mental Health Clinical Advisor

Lindsey is a Registered Psychotherapist, Educator, Clinical Supervisor and Advocate. She is passionate about all things mental health, which is demonstrated by her range of experience. She owns and runs a business providing psychotherapy focused on women’s issues and also supports novice psychotherapists to grow their skills through supervision. Lindsey is also a furmom to a rescue pup and loves everything Formula 1.

 

As a Registered Psychotherapist and  someone who has struggled with my own mental health for many years, I believe in the power of speaking out and speaking up. One of the best things we can do for our well-being is to connect with others and open up. I’m looking forward to supporting Unsinkable through a clinical lens.