Governance

Lupus Ontario is governed by a 12 member volunteer board to provide governance, set the strategic plan and execute on major initiatives. The board members are located throughout the province and supported by our staff members. We work with Lupus Canada to advocate for improved access to information, health services and research.

We wish to thank present and past members for their outstanding service.

President
Linda Keill

Linda has previously served on the Board of Lupus Ontario as Secretary and as President from August 2014 until April 2019. Diagnosed with discoid lupus in 1982 and with SLE in 1983. Linda rejoined the Board in 2020 to continue contributing to improving the lives of lupus patients. Her interests lie in Fundraising and Advocacy. She brings to Lupus Ontario over 30 years’ experience as an Information Technology Consultant and Project Manager.

Email: lindakeill@lupusontario.org


Vice President
June Alikhan

June Alikhan was elected to the Board of Lupus Ontario in 2016. June joined Lupus Ontario in order to combine both her personal and professional interests as well as contribute her financial skills and insights to the organization.

June has over 35 years of experience in the accounting field; with over 25 years in the real estate industry. At Tricon Residential, June was CFO responsible for the Company’s overall financial management including information technology, reporting and administration before taking retirement at the end of a fifteen year career with the company.

Prior to joining Tricon in 2001, June led her own consulting company providing financial management, process re-engineering, and systems assessment and implementation services within the real estate industry. June graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and subsequently received her CPA, CA designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

Email: jalikhan@lupusontario.org


Treasurer
Siraj Mehdi

Siraj is Head of Structured Finance and Deal Management at MHIRJ Aviation.  He is a CPA CGA accountant with an MBA. He has spent the last 30 years in Finance and Planning with large public companies in the Aerospace, Consumer Goods, Automation and Pharmaceutical sectors. Siraj is eager and excited to use his skills to help Lupus Ontario achieve its mission of “Life Without Lupus”.

Siraj along with his wife and two daughters are avid travellers who have climbed an active volcano to see the sunrise in Bali, spent 30-hours trekking in the Sahara Desert and went on a shark cage dive on Hawaii’s North Shore.

Email: smehdi@lupusontario.org


Secretary
Uzair Jalil

Uzair Jalil is a passionate advocate for the patient community managing autoimmune diseases with broad prior experiences relating to fibromyalgia, celiac disease and cancer.

Uzair is currently Senior Director, Capital Markets & International, Procurement, Technology, Innovation & Infrastructure at CIBC and has been with the bank since 2005. He brings 16-years of extensive business and banking experiences, including with CIBC Technology & Operations, Global Transaction Banking, Commercial Banking, Capital Markets and Retail Markets businesses.  

Uzair holds a Masters in Law (Business Law) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Hon. Bachelor of Science (Genetics & Biotechnology) degree from the University of Toronto as well as numerous Finance designations.

Email: ujalil@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Faizan Bari

Faizan has been working in the biopharmaceutical area for well over 25 years.  He has spent many of those years engaging with various patient advocacy organizations. He is currently working in market access and government relations area where he works to ensure access to innovative medicines for appropriate patients. His work also involves government relations work and management of key stakeholders. He brings considerable board experience from serving in a community-based health care delivery organization.

Faizan wants to utilize his experience to advance Lupus Ontario’s mission in spreading awareness and to improve the lives of Lupus patients. As a Board Member, Faizan plans to engage with the both fundraising and advocacy committees to enable Lupus Ontario to achieve its mandate.

Email: fbari@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Joseph Braithwaite

Joseph is a professional business consultant living in Whitby with his wife. His focus in consulting is around the alignment of business and technology to create client value. His passion for education and personal growth are apparent in the continued pursuit of his doctorate in business and his public speaking activities related to his book ‘Not Your Average Cup of Joe’. Joseph’s interest in the auto-immune disease area, including Lupus, comes from his diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes and his wife’s diagnosis with Rheumatoid Arthritis. His business, marketing and engagement skills make him an ideal candidate and Board Member for Lupus Ontario.

Email: jbraithwaite@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Brynja Clark

Brynja is a Chartered Herbalist living in Ottawa with her five children. Diagnosed with Lupus in 2010, she has since been committed to seeking out resources and networking opportunities for the betterment of patients and families living with Lupus. A law clerk by profession, she has endeavoured to utilize her passion for writing, social media and learning to highlight lupus awareness in a global environment. Brynja’s weblog, Lupus Interrupted, has achieved global recognition and she is a WEGO Health Patient Leader. She has since published several articles, including writing for Stanford University’s medical blog, Scope, for the purpose of illustrating to new physicians the challenges faced by lupus patients around the world. Brynja brings to the Board her skills in social media, event management, not-for-profit governance and a commitment to Lupus Ontario in helping reach their mission goals and targets.

Email: bclark@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Jillian Cooper

Jillian is a small business owner living in Owen Sound with her husband and two beautiful children. She opened her business in 2014 and has since watched it double in size and even more in customer base. She prides herself in her abilities to connect with her customers wants and needs to successfully grow her business. She is passionate about health and fitness and has even ran multiple marathons and half marathons despite her lupus diagnosis in 2002 as a 17-year old. Jillian has held several fundraisers in support of lupus research, one raising over $5,000. She is currently the Walk for Lupus Ontario Coordinator in the Grey and Bruce area and she hopes to bring her skills in social media and business management as well as fundraising and event organization to help Lupus Ontario reach a broader scope of lupus patients.

Email: jilliancooper@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Cheryl Gajadhar

Cheryl is an accomplished real estate professional with domestic and international experience in asset management as well as property and facilities management and strategic planning with a track record in improving return on invested capital. She brings a proven ability to lead inclusive teams with a dedication to professional growth and development.

Cheryl’s achievements include successfully creating and implementing strategic operational processes, coaching and developing, and managing business development efforts. Through her experience, she has become adept in overseeing a wide variety of operational and fiduciary responsibilities.

Cheryl’s proven dedication to optimizing operational success and business performance, along with her analytical and communication talents, contributed to the navigation of the health care system during her journey with Lupus. Her goal is to use these same qualities and skills to advance the objectives of Lupus Ontario.

Email: cgajadhar@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Faraz Islam

Faraz Islam is a results-oriented professional with strong experience in global capital markets. He is currently Director, Cross-Asset Solutions for BMO Capital Markets. Faraz is also a CFA charter-holder and an MBA graduate from the University of Toronto where he was in the top percentile of his cohort and received several awards for academic excellence and community involvement. Having lived and worked in five different countries, Faraz leverages this broad exposure to develop meaningful connections with people from all walks of life.

Faraz is deeply passionate about community involvement and has been associated with several charitable initiatives in different capacities. He strongly believes in the importance of raising awareness of diseases like Lupus which are often misdiagnosed for years, thereby inflicting further stress, pain and harm on both the patients and their caregivers. Hence, Faraz hopes to play a role in raising awareness on Lupus and contribute thought-leadership to Lupus Ontario to help the organization meet its strategic and tactical goals. 

Email: fislam@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Brent Leonard

Brent is a member of the senior finance team at a health-tech firm based in Ottawa, Ontario whose mission is to foster a holistic approach to healthcare aimed at supporting individuals through their entire wellness journey – before and after illness, not just during it. This is a cause he is truly passionate about and has continued to pursue through the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program at the University of Ottawa.

In addition to his 15+ years of experience in finance and operations at several start-up companies and software firms, Brent is actively involved in the community. Among other areas, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Immunodeficiency Patient Organization (CIPO, www.cipo.ca) where he is Board Treasurer. Brent also participates annually in fundraisers for The Ottawa Hospital and SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

Brent is passionate about health advocacy, awareness and education and strongly believes that knowledge is power in dealing with illness and that engagement in care is key for patients. It is with this mindset that Brent spearheaded the development and launch of the Lupus Ontario Podcast geared toward helping those with Lupus better understand the disease and empower them to become more involved in their health journey.

Email: bleonard@lupusontario.org


Director at Large
Sandra Williams Reid

Sandra has worked for many years as a Travel Consultant, 25 of those years being with Carlson Wagonlit Travel. She has travelled extensively and has experience working with culturally diverse populations. Sandra is a good neighbor and very involved with her local community; local schools, nursing homes, and the Pickering Pentecostal Church.

Sandra first became involved with Lupus Ontario after she was diagnosed with Lupus in 1986. Not knowing anything about Lupus at the time, she was directed to the Lupus Support Group at Wellesley Hospital by the Lupus Clinic. It was there she learned about the disease and got the support she needed as no one she knew was familiar with Lupus. In 1991, she moved to Ajax and later got involved with the Walk A Block for Lupus. She is currently one of the Durham Walk for Lupus Coordinators and a Facilitator for the Durham Lupus Support Group. Her passion for helping people makes her the ideal candidate to Chair the Support & Education Committee and the Volunteer Committee.

Email: swilliams-reid@lupusontario.org


Medical Advisory Board

Dr. Murray Urowitz, Toronto Western Hospital Lupus Clinic
Dr. Dafna Gladman, Toronto Western Hospital Lupus Clinic
Dr. Janet Pope, St. Joseph’s Health Care Centre, Arithritis Institute
Dr. Judah Denburg, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster Division
Dr. C. Douglas Smith, The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Earl Silverman, Hosptial for Sick Children
Dr. Derek Haaland, Barrie and the North
Dr. Mark Matsos, Hamilton Health Sciences McMaster Div and St. Joseph’s Hamilton Healthcare
Dr. Amanda Steiman, Rheumatologist
Dr. Zahi Touma, Rheumatologist, Toronto Western Hospital