Board of Directors


Keith has a varied educational and professional background, and brings a variety of perspectives and skills to problem solving and leadership. He has worked as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator, educator, mentor and as an elected official for 12 years. His experience includes both the private and public sectors.

Keith has chaired the City of Ottawa Transportation Committee and the Ottawa Board of Health. In these roles, as well as that of City Councillor, he led numerous community consultations regarding major planning and development applications, as well as infrastructure projects, acting as a bridge between impacted communities and the City to ensure that community voices were heard and considered.

Keith played a critical role in a number of significant negotiations and discussions with various levels of government, including successfully working collaboratively with a not for profit women’s shelter to achieve the funding and approvals for a new and improved location. He was also part of a team that successfully negotiated with the National Capital Commission through a series of obstacles to the choice of a route for a major transit expansion. In his role as Chair of the Ottawa Board of Health, along with a team of medical and emergency planning staff as well as representatives of the Provincial and Federal governments, Keith worked through a seemingly endless list of challenges related to responding to COVID.

Most recently Keith has joined the consulting group at Paradeigma and is looking forward working on a creative and inclusive problem-solving team. Keith is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Mark is a Founding Partner at The Greater Return, a mission-oriented private investment firm focussed on investing in early-stage companies looking to change the world. He is also the Chairman of Invert Inc., an Ottawa-based company that funds and supports projects that reduce or remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Mark is the former President & CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation, building it into one of Canada’s most successful start-ups over the past decade, growing to become a NYSE-listed, $20 billion dollar enterprise with over 4400 staff located across five continents.

Currently, Mark serves as a Fellow at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Toronto Metropolitan University and as Chair of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa. He is also a founding director at Happy Roots Foundation, a private charitable foundation committed to supporting the healthy development of children’s minds and bodies. Mark is also a Co-Founder and Director of Happy Roots Foundation, a private charitable foundation committed to supporting the healthy development of children’s minds and bodies. Mark holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, a Bachelor of Law from the University of Ottawa, and a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge, where he specialized in International Law. In 2018, Mark was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40. Mark is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Lindsay Ostrom works in the Finance Department at the Ottawa Hospital, although spent most of her career in Alberta, where she obtained her CPA designation. While in Alberta, Lindsay volunteered often at the Calgary Drop-In Center and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. In her free time, Lindsay is an avid hiker and traveler, and loves to combine the two. Lindsay looks forward to continuing on the Board as Treasurer. They are nominated as a Board member. Lindsay is a Returning Board Member in her second term.


Leslie Rae Ferat is currently the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control (GATC) in Ottawa. She manages the day-to-day operations of the organization and leads a diverse team spread across the world. She also leads the organization’s work on key policy issues such as financing for development, sustainable development, and non-communicable diseases. She is currently a member of the World Health Organization’s Civil Society Working Group on non-communicable diseases, sits on the Board of Directors of the NCD Alliance, and is a member of various Advisory Boards and Scientific Committees.

Leslie has over a decade of international experience, mainly working with low and middle-income countries to collect and use data to drive sustainable development. Before moving to Ottawa and joining the GATC, Leslie lived in Paris, France for almost 15 years where she worked for several international organizations including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data at the United Nations Foundation.

In addition to sitting on the Board of BBBSO, Leslie also serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors of St. Mary’s Home in Ottawa. She holds an MSc in International Development (Poverty and Inequality) from the University of Birmingham and is fluent in English and French. Leslie is a Returning Board Member in her second term.


Colin is an experienced educator who has worked in Ottawa schools for over 30 years. Beginning as a secondary school teacher in 1990, Colin taught Math and Computer Science in several high schools across the city before moving into school administration in 2002. Colin retired in 2022 from the position as the System Principal for Safe Schools with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board where he worked with educators, police, public health, and other community professionals to support youth and their families dealing with challenges related to safety and well-being. Colin still works with the OCDSB part time supporting schools as a replacement principal.

Colin holds degrees from the University of Waterloo (Bachelor of Mathematics, Honors) and the University of Western Ontario (Bachelor of Education), and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and of the Ontario Principals Council, where he spent 8 years representing Ottawa as a Provincial Councillor.

Colin spent over 20 years coaching basketball at the high school, club, and provincial level and still loves to spend time with players and coaches in the gym whenever possible. Colin enjoys pickleball and spends as much time as possible outdoors, occasionally spoiling a good walk by combining it with playing golf. This is Colin’s third year as a Board Member with Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa. This is Colin’s second term as a Returning Board Member.


Ian is the Chief Financial Officer at Pythian, where he’s been for the past 9+ years, and currently oversees the finance, legal, IT, HR and PMO functions at the company. Previously, he spent seven years in the assurance & advisory practice at Deloitte where he served a variety of clients, primarily in the technology and financial industries. As a financial expert, Ian is excited by the chance to help businesses transform and compete with his unique perspective and skillset.

Ian is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce with highest honours from Carleton University. This is Ian’s second term as a Returning Board Member.


Toni Francis is the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Senate of Canada. Toni has enjoyed a career in Human Resources for over 20 years, working in healthcare, policing, government and academia. Before joining the Senate she held the position of Chief Human Resources Officer with the Parliamentary Protective Service. Toni is a graduate of both Carleton and York University.

An avid believer in the importance of leveraging and echoing messages about the role of community for the betterment of our society, she has consistently shared her voice and time with a number of community organizations and formed part of advisory committees in areas of equity and diversity. She has worked to raise awareness about sickle cell disease and is a founding member of the Brent Louis Research Fund, dedicated to raising funds for sickle cell research. Toni has also been a mentor with the Afro Caribbean Cotillion, a formalized mentorship program for Afro-Caribbean youth between the ages of 15 and 22. She is a recipient of the Leading Women Leading Girls Building Communities Award from the Government Ontario and the United Way Community Builder Award. Toni is a Returning Board Member in her second term.


Matt is in Premium Seating Sales with the Ottawa Senators. He is from Windsor, attended University in Australia graduating with a Master of Business Sport Management. He worked for the Windsor Spitfires in corporate sales, hosted and won a Memorial Cup with the Spitfires in 2017. He began volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor-Essex as part of the In-School Mentorship program. Matt then joined the BBBSWE board and assisted in board restructuring & strategic planning initiatives. Matt has been part of BBBSO since 2019, lives in Stittsville, passionate about hockey, golf, BeaverTails & hiking with his rescue golden retriever Rip. He is really loving living in Ottawa despite the much colder temperatures and enjoying working alongside a board that has been enhancing the lives of youth in Ottawa for over 50 years. Matt is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Michael Qaqish is currently Manager of Government Relations and Special Advisor to the President at Algonquin College. In this role he advocates for the post-secondary sector with all levels of government to help ensure public colleges continue to play a pivotal role in supporting students and preparing the talent pipeline for the future.

Prior to joining Algonquin, Michael served as City Councillor for Ward 22 – Gloucester-South Nepean in the 2014-2018 term. He was Vice-Chair of the Transit Commission and a member of the Community and Protective Services Committee, Environment and Climate Protection Committee, Transportation Committee and the Ottawa Board of Health. His council colleagues appointed him as the City’s Special Liaison for Refugee Resettlement in 2016. Michael led city efforts to integrate close to 3,000 Syrian newcomers to Ottawa in a very short period of time as a result of the tragic war in Syria. Michael also served as Council Co-Chair for the City’s United Way Campaign raising thousands of dollars for local charities.

During his time in office, Michael secured land and funding for a new police station in Barrhaven and a Community Centre, library and pool for Riverside South. He was also instrumental in advancing infrastructure upgrades for his community including the LRT extension to the heart of Riverside South.

Michael is host of a current affairs radio show on CHIN Radio Ottawa. A skilled communicator and trusted policy and political advisor, Michael has contributed to panels on CTV National, 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, 1310AM and was a former columnist with The Hill Times.

Born in Toronto, Michael graduated with a degree in Psychology from Carleton University. Michael enjoys walking, playing tennis and baseball.

He is nominated as a Board member. Michael is a Returning Board Member in his third term.


Phil has been a lawyer for over twenty years, commencing his career at McCarthy Tetrault, where he was part of the M&A/Corporate Finance Group, then moving inhouse to eventually become both General Counsel and Chief Licensing Officer at MOSAID Technologies Inc. (formerly Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc.). He then joined Canopy Growth Corporation where he was Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. He is currently General Counsel at Invert Inc.

Over his fifteen years as an executive, Phil has not only been responsible for managing and growing Legal Departments, but he’s also had responsibility for Advocacy, Business and Market Research, Chief Medical/Product Safety, Government Relations and Human Resources Departments. He’s also been directly responsible for tens of millions in revenue generation and has overseen billions of dollars in mergers and acquisitions, and investments spanning several dozens of deals.

Phil obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of Windsor in 2000 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature (with a minor in French) from Université Laval. Phil received the Ottawa Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40 Award in 2008, was a finalist in Lexpert®’s Rising Stars—Leading Lawyers Under 40 in 2011, received the Dealmakers (Small Department) Innovation Award in 2017 and received the CGCA Deal Maker of the Year Award in 2019.

Phil is an avid crossfitter, and spends most of his time hanging out with his wife and two teenage daughters. Phil is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Michelle Alfieri is a Partner within Deloitte Canada’s consulting business. In her twenty years of experience working at the world’s largest consulting firms, including Deloitte, Gartner, Accenture and CGI, Michelle is proud to support her public sector clients in implementing technology-powered business transformation programs to drive execution of critical government priorities and transform how citizens are served. Michelle also worked directly in the public sector as the Director of an enterprise-wide business and technology transformation at Canadian Blood Services to modernize the way the organization attracts recruits and retains donors.

Michelle holds a degree in Engineering from Western University and has obtained certifications related to project management and information technology. She is a member of the Ottawa chapter of the Project Management Institute.

Michelle is committed to giving back to her profession and community. She is the chair of the Program Advisory Committee for Algonquin College’s Project Management graduate program, a former big sister with Big Brothers and Big Sisters Ottawa and a supporter of various charitable organizations in Ottawa. A passionate champion of women in STEM, Michelle provides mentorship in both informal and formal mentorship programs and is a former Chair of the National Capital Regional Board of Directors of the Women in Communications and Technology organization.

Michelle has called Ottawa home since 2004 and lives in Manotick with her husband and two young sons. She enjoys staying active, reading and spending time outdoors and at the cottage with her family. Michelle is a Board Member in her first term.


Michael S. Purcell is an Assistant Crown Attorney in the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). He prosecutes all manner of offences at the trial and appellate levels before the Ontario and Superior Court of Justice. Prior to joining MAG, Michael served as defense counsel and appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, as well as the Ontario Review Board and Federal Court of Canada.

Michael is a Professor (Part-Time) at the University Of Ottawa Faculty Of Law, where he teaches in the areas of criminal and national security law. He previously served as a Contract Instructor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.

Prior to joining BBBSO, Michael sat on the Board of Directors of the John Howard Society of Ottawa and served as a volunteer Ambassador for the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, which resulted in his receipt of The Counselling Foundation of Canada award for volunteer service.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (JD, 2012) and University of Toronto (Hons. BA, 2008). While in law school, he was a Criminal Division Leader of the Community Legal Clinic. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2013. Michael is a Board Member in his first term.


Carrie Irvine has over 30 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry and has built a series of successful entrepreneurial enterprises. She has become a commanding and creative marketing force in Ottawa.   

Most of her career has been spent marketing some of the most noteworthy retail destinations in the city – Rideau Centre, Place d’Orleans and St. Laurent. During that time, she received the Cadillac Fairview Leader’s Circle Award for exceptional performance in shopping centre marketing and several ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centres) Maple Leaf Gold and Silver Awards.    

Carrie thrives on the challenge of building a business from the ground up. Blackbird Communications was owned and founded by Carrie in 2008. In 2003, Carrie founded Laura’s Corner Home Furnishings & Décor, an award-winning boutique. 

Carrie has been a media spokesperson and contributor on Rogers Daytime, CTV’s Fashion Friday, the Morning Show and CTV News, and with her recent launch of Carrie Irvine Communications, she is once again helping businesses and organizations amplify their brand through public relations, marketing, and communications. She will also teach in the Creative Advertising program at Algonquin College this Fall.


With a passion for high-performance, Cody spent eight years competing as a member of the Canadian National Bobsleigh Team and captained the team at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. In 2010, he was named the Ontario Male athlete of the year. More recently, Cody returned to bobsleigh after an 8-year retirement, to compete in the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, finishing 9th overall in the Olympic 4-man bobsleigh final.

“I am thrilled and honoured to step into a role on the Board of Directors for BBBSO. I have been working with the organization in a variety of capacities since 2011 and I am excited to join a strong team of individuals within this impactful organization.”

Cody Sorensen is currently Managing Director, Mergers and Acquisitions, joined Welch Capital Partners. Cody graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Economics and obtained his MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in 2016. He is also a former Big Brother and has been involved and directly supporting BBBSO for many years.