Board of Directors


I had the opportunity to be introduced to many not for profit and charitable organizations in the City of Ottawa during my 12 year tenure as a City Councillor. As I was contemplating stepping back from my role as Councillor, I was also considering how I could continue to give back to the community. The organization that really resonated with me was BBBSO. One of my favourite events each year while in office was attending the Big Shout Out. It was always such an uplifting and positive event filled with energy and fun.

The work that BBBSO does is direct and uncomplicated. It provides the opportunity for children to have meaningful relationships with caring and engaged mentors. As a Board member, you have the privilege of helping to facilitate and support these amazing partnerships and seeing the profound change such relationships can have on both the Big and the Little.

Keith is a returning Board Member in his second term.


Michelle is committed to giving back to her profession and community with an intentional focus on mentoring. Having been a Big Sister with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa for many years, Michelle has seen the life-changing impact that mentorship can have for mentees and mentors alike. 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 is the chair of the Program Advisory Committee for Algonquin College’s Project Management graduate program and a supporter of various charitable organizations in Ottawa.

Michelle is a Partner within Deloitte Canada’s consulting business and has spent over twenty years proudly supporting her public sector clients in transforming service delivery for citizens. She 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 has called Ottawa home since 2004 and lives in Manotick with her husband and two sons. She enjoys staying active, reading and spending time outdoors and at the cottage with her family. A lifelong learner, Michelle is currently learning to play golf and piano.

Michelle is a returning Board Member in her second term.


Lindsay Ostrom is the Finance Manager for the New Campus Development at the Ottawa Hospital. Lindsay is a Chartered Professional Accountant, obtaining her designation in 2015. She has been working in a variety of accounting and finance positions for the past decade in both Oil and Gas and Healthcare.

Lindsay grew up in a low-income family, and understands what it is like to see a single parent struggle to provide both basic needs and the emotional support that children require. Without the support of mentors, Lindsay knows she would not be where she is today and understands the profound value of mentorship.

Lindsay is also very interested in the connection between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their long-lasting effects on an individual’s health and life trajectory. Lindsay is committed to raising awareness about the significant role mentors play in mitigating these impacts. By providing a stable and positive influence, mentors become a beacon of hope, offering encouragement, guidance, and a sense of belonging that can counteract the challenges faced by many young people.

Lindsay is a returning Board Member in her third term.


Leslie is the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Tobacco Control (GATC), an international not-for-profit, working primarily to support low-and-middle income countries, and grassroots organizations in decreasing tobacco use which will result in a global healthier society. Having spent most of her career to date working in sustainable development and now in global health she recognizes the importance of creating equal opportunity for underprivileged societies and those facing social disparities.

Leslie professional and volunteer background has largely been focussed in the not-for-profit sector, working very closely with civil society and advocates across the globe to advance social and health equity. Prior to joining the BBBSO Board, Leslie served as Vice-President of the Board of St. Mary’s Home; a safe space where specialized residential and community support services are provided to marginalized young pregnant women/parents and their children. She also serves as President-Elect of NCDA, an international civil society network, dedicated to ensuring everyone can live a healthy and productive life, free from the preventable suffering, stigma, disability and death caused by non-communicable diseases.

As a business professional and mother, she strongly believes that investing in Ottawa’s children and youth is such an important priority and that it is our collective responsibility to provide them with the resources and support they need to reach their full potential. Mentorship opens up new opportunities for mentees and imparts knowledge and expertise on young individuals seeking to grow and thrive within their community.

Leslie is a returning Board Member in her second term.


Mark is an entrepreneur and philanthropist focussed on making the world a better place. Mark is a founder of the Happy Roots Foundation, a private charitable foundation committed to supporting the healthy development of children’s minds and bodies. Happy Roots has supported partners including the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Service at CHEO, and the Parent Coaching Program at Family Services Ottawa.

Mark’s commitment to the Happy Roots Foundation and BBBSO reflects his strong belief that early involvement with children facing adverse life events or challenges can provide immeasurable benefits for children, their families, and society as a whole. Mark is also on the Board of the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organisation, which is similarly dedicated to helping those in need.

He 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, as well as the Chairman of Invert and the Chairman of BC Biocarbon. He is also the former President & CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation, one of Canada’s most successful start-ups over the past decade. Mark was named as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

Mark is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Michael is Manager of Government Relations and Special Advisor to the President at Algonquin College.

Born in Toronto, Michael grew up in Amman, Jordan and moved to Ottawa in 2002 for university where he earned a BA Hon in Psychology. As a son of immigrant parents, he understands the challenges newcomers face when it comes to learning a new language, finding employment or making new friends in a new city. As the former City of Ottawa Councillor and Liaison for refugee resettlement, Michael worked closely with local agencies across the city to help ensure the smooth integration of 3000 Syrian families in 2016.

Given Michael’s personal family journey and work with the City of Ottawa, he appreciates the profound impact not for profit organizations do in our city. He was especially touched by the impact Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa had on youth when he heard a mentor and mentee share their personal story and how life changing it was for both of them. After leaving municipal government, Michael had some extra time to volunteer and immediately knew he wanted to help contribute to BBBSO’s important work in the community.

Michael hosts an Arabic radio show every Thursday morning with CHIN Radio Ottawa where he reports the latest local news stories to the community in their first language. He believes multicultural media and radio are one important way to engage newcomers and diverse communities in the local democratic process.

Michael is a returning Board Member in his third 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 & hiking with his golden retriever Rip.

Matt has an active volunteer life, always focused on his belief that children and youth are the foundation of the future. As a former Big Brother, Matt has seen the direct impact BBBS has on the youth how and much a positive influence can transform their direction in life. Matt is involved with Golden Rescue Canada and the Senators Community Foundation, strongly believing that loyalty and compassion are built on actions and inspired by paying-it-forward.

Matt is a returning Board Member in his third term.


Colin began coaching youth on the basketball court nearly 40 years ago, and has since spent his entire adult life working with youth and those that support youth. Coaching and mentoring have been the threads that have run through his career as an educator and time as a community coach, moving from working directly with students and players as a teacher and coach to mentoring and leading other youth-supporting adults as a school and system administrator. Now retired from education, he brings his passion for leadership, coaching, and mentoring to the Board of Directors at Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.

During his time with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Colin worked in nine different schools as well as at a system level, helping him develop an understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of communities and needs of families and youth within Ottawa. He finished his career as the OCDSB System Principal for Safe Schools, focused on supporting some of the most at-risk youth and those school and community staff who worked with them. Colin also spent 8 years as a Provincial Councillor with the Ontario Principals Council, and more than 10 years as a mentor for Principals and Vice-Principals with the OCDSB.

Having benefited from great mentors in his time as a coach and educator, as well as mentoring youth and the adults who support them for many years, Colin has a great appreciation for the value of the mentoring relationship. Colin is proud to be volunteering at a BBBSO, where he can continue supporting those that mentor and empower youth.

Colin is a returning Board Member in his third term.


In his professional life, Ian is the Chief Financial Officer at Pythian, a global data and analytics services provider, where he oversees the finance, legal, and HR functions at the company. He previously spent seven years in the assurance & advisory practice at Deloitte where he served a variety of clients, primarily in the technology and financial industries. Ian is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce, highest honours, from Carleton University.

Ottawa born and raised, Ian has deep ties to the community and is passionate about doing his part to make it one of the best places to live in the world. Ian believes that at the core of any great city or community is its people, and that the mentoring services that BBBSO facilitates are an extremely vital component in shaping the lives and trajectory of our youth. When the opportunity to join the Board of Directors arose, it was a no-brainer to jump in and lend a hand wherever needed to support this great organization.

Ian is also a big believer in supporting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and the benefits that effective DEI management can have on an organization. At Pythian, Ian’s teams, particularly in human resources, have implemented multiple DEI programs across the company, as well as holding several #IAmRemarkable designations as certified facilitators within the team. They have also been recognized as winner of Employer of the Year and a finalist for DEI Leader of the Year by Women in IT.

Ian is a returning Board member in his second term


Phil has been a lawyer for over twenty years and an executive for over fifteen, commencing his career at McCarthy Tetrault, and then moving in-house to eventually become both General Counsel and Chief Licensing Officer at MOSAID Technologies Inc. He then joined Canopy Growth Corporation where he was Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary. He is currently General Counsel at Invert Inc.

He has also endeavoured to give back throughout his career, and enjoyed both mentoring young lawyers, and doing volunteer work with a particular focus on improving the lives of children, whether it being reading to children through Frontier College or previously sitting on the Board of the Ottawa Public Library Foundation. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself to join BBBSO, it felt like a perfect fit. Being a part of an organization , the primary focus of which is on the extremely important goal of mentoring children and youth aligned perfectly with his personal desire to give back.

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.

Phil is an avid cross fitter, and spends most of his time hanging out with his wife and two teenagers.

Phil is a Returning Board Member in his second term.


Michael recognizes the profound impact that mentoring relationships have on shaping the fabric of our community. As a criminal prosecutor based in Ottawa, Michael knows that our justice system is incapable of closing the opportunity gaps experienced by youth in Ottawa every day. For that reason, Michael focuses his time outside the courtroom on building relationships of trust between mentors and mentees.

Originally from Toronto, Michael moved to Ottawa to attend law school. He has practiced criminal law exclusively for the past ten years. Michael spent the first years of his career as a defence lawyer, and then joined the Crown Attorney’s Office in 2017, where he currently serves as an Assistant Crown Attorney. Prior to joining BBBSO, Michael sat on the board of directors of the John Howard Society of Ottawa, where he helped oversee the creation of several community bail and housing initiatives. Michael also served as a Volunteer Ambassador for the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto before moving to Ottawa.

Michael has been on both sides of the mentoring relationship. He understands first-hand how mentors empower youth and can influence the trajectory of their lives, which was best exemplified by his late father, a lifelong mentor to countless students in Toronto. Through serving BBBSO and its members, Michael hopes to “pay it forward” and one day inspire a mentee to become a mentor.

Michael is a returning Board Member in his second term.


Carrie has over 30 years of experience in marketing and communications, establishing successful ventures such as Blackbird Communications, Laura’s Corner Home Furnishings & Décor, and her latest endeavour, Carrie Irvine Communications. Throughout her career as a Marketing Director, she has earned accolades such as the Cadillac Fairview Leader’s Circle Award and ICSC Maple Leaf Gold and Silver Awards, primarily marketing notable retail destinations such as Rideau Centre, Place d’Orleans, and St. Laurent.

Mentorship is at the cornerstone of Carrie’s professional life. Prior to her teaching role at Algonquin College, she mentored third-year marketing students, emphasizing the importance that mentorship plays in personal and professional growth. Encouraged by her own mentor, she applied for a board position with BBBSO, recognizing the underrepresentation of women leaders serving on boards and the importance of their voices, especially in matters impacting children.

As a national leader, Carrie dedicated five years to a national philanthropic campaign with Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, focusing on empowering girls through the Go Girls program. The stories from both mentors and mentees (the ‘bigs’ and ‘littles) left a profound impact on her. Motivated by her desire to promote impactful change, she founded Carrie Irvine Communications. Her client portfolio includes Shepherds of Good Hope (homelessness), Dare to be Vulnerable (mental health), and Body Peace Canada (eating disorders).

Both personally and professionally, Carrie shows her commitment to mentoring, education, and community, establishing her as a driving force for positive change.

Carrie is a returning Board Member in her first term.


Cody is the Managing Director at Welch Capital Partners, brings with him a wealth of experience from his banking roles at the Royal Bank of Canada, a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Guelph and an MBA from Queen’s University. Cody is also a two-time Olympian in the sport of bobsleigh.

Cody’s decision to join the BBBSO Board stems from his belief in service and his desire to give back to the community. Mentoring, for Cody, is a cornerstone of personal and community growth. He credits mentoring with playing a significant role in his achievements, personal growth and confidence. To Cody, mentoring is about giving back and ensuring that the next generation is equipped to meet their potential and where everyone has the chance to succeed.

He understands that a diverse team of individuals brings varied perspectives that lead to better decisions, a view forged through his experiences in sports and business. In his life, he leans into these values by advocating for inclusive practices in his professional endeavours and supporting programs that aim to level the playing field for youth.

As a Board member, Cody aims to create an inclusive environment, ensuring that each individual has the support and opportunities to thrive. His goal is to see a community where diversity is celebrated, and every voice is heard and valued.

Cody is returning Board Member in his first term.