Susan has been with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa agency for over seven years. Susan’s career spans over 15 years from private sector in manufacturing operations to project management in telecommunications.

Susan was first handed the reins as Manager, Service Delivery then Director of Programs and Community Partnerships, before moving into the Executive Director role in September 2015.


Jessica Ripley is the Strategic Youth Specialist with the Ottawa Police Service and the Chair of the Ottawa Youth Justice Services Network. She grew up in Montreal where she studied at McGill University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work. She then moved and attended the University of Ottawa and received a Master’s in Criminology. Prior to her current position, she was the Program Supervisor of Youth Net/Réseau Ado, a youth mental health promotion and early intervention program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern

Jessica has been collaborating with both youth and community partners using a strengths-based approach for over 20 years through her work in the fields of mental health, child welfare, community development, and youth justice. She is a big believer that relationships are at the heart of all community-based work. Jessica worked for BBBSO almost 20 years ago, has remained a strong advocate for the impact of mentoring, and greatly appreciates the opportunity to return to BBBSO as a Board member. It must also be noted that she is a big Montreal Canadians hockey fan – please do not hold that against her!


Paul is an employment and labour lawyer. He co-founded Vey Willetts LLP in 2014 – an employment law boutique that helps individuals and employers navigate and resolve workplace problems. Prior to founding Vey Willetts LLP, Paul worked at one of Canada's leading labour and employment law firms and at a large energy corporation. In addition to completing his law degree at the University of Ottawa, Paul holds degrees in political science from the University of Winnipeg (B.A. Hons.) and the University of Calgary (M.A.). Paul has published and presented research on a number of employment law topics, including employee privacy, workplace accommodation and severance packages. He has been involved with BBBBSO on its Human Resources Committee since 2014.


Cindy is a skilled technology lawyer with more than 25 years of private practice and in-house experience.  Cindy started her legal career as a litigation lawyer with Blake, Cassels & Graydon (Ottawa).  In 1996, she transitioned in-house and since then, has held a series of General Counsel positions with both private and public companies including Corel Corporation, Watchfire Corporation/IBM and Halogen Software.  Currently, Cindy is serving as General Counsel to three local technology companies (ProntoForms, Fusebill and Decisive Technologies) where she
provides day-to-day legal and strategic business advice on various matters, including software licensing, vendor agreements, partner agreements, employment matters and intellectual property ownership and protection.

Cindy holds three degrees from Ottawa University (Bachelors of Administration, Bachelors of Law (LL.B.) and MBA) and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  This is Cindy’s fourth year on the BBBSO Board. Her prior non-profit board experience includes the Western-Ottawa Community Resource Centre (6 years) and the Roberts/Smart Centre (4 years).  Cindy is an avid kayaker.  When she is not on the water, she can be found talking to her garden plants and planning her next travel adventure.


Rana Pishva is a clinical psychologist working with children, adolescents, and adults. She has a particular interest in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders, as well as youth involved in the child welfare system and the criminal justice system. She also enjoys teaching, and has been a lecturer at Queen’s University, Royal Military College in Kingston, and Lakehead University. Rana completed a BA at Concordia University in Montreal, and her Master and Doctoral Degrees at Queen’s University in Kingston. She subsequently worked in Thunder Bay.

Rana joined the Board of Directors in 2018 and is a member of the Governance subcommittee. She hopes to give back to the Ottawa community and follow her interest in policy. She’s been heard saying that work is her hobby, but Rana is also an avid yogi and has recently taken up knitting, with moderate success.


Colin is an experienced educator who has worked in Ottawa schools for the last 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. Currently, Colin serves as the System Principal for Safe Schools with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board where he works 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 holds degrees from the University of Waterloo (Bachelor of Mathematics, Honours) 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. This is Colin’s first year on the BBBSO Board. 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 spending lots of time outdoors, including occasionally spoiling a good walk by combining it with playing golf.


Mitchell Carkner is a Senior Executive Advisor at Amazon Web Services. Mitchell has over 15 years of management consulting experience in the technology and organization transformation space. Currently, Mitchell leads Amazon Web Services cloud advisory practice. Mitchell is a trusted advisor to his clients and helps them leverage cloud technology to digitize operations and improve customer insights. He holds a degree in political science from Queen’s University (B.A. Hons.) and finance & management from Carleton University (M.B.A.) Prior to his career in
consulting; Mitchell served as an officer in the Canadian Forces.

Mitchell is a proud father and member of the Ottawa community. He has been involved in charities in Ottawa for over a decade and is passionate about supporting a respected and impactful organization like BBBSO.


Toni Francis is the Director of Labour & Employee Relations with the University of Ottawa. Toni is a graduate of both Carleton and York University. Combining her interest in law, communications, education and psychology she has enjoyed a career in Human Resources for over 20 years.  While her experience falls across the field of Human Resources, she specializes in the labour and employee relations.  Her career has spanned healthcare, policing, government and education.

Toni currently sits on the University of Ottawa’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism.  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.  She has worked to raising awareness about sickle cell disease and more recently funds for sickle cell research.  She has formed part of a formal mentorship program for Afro-Caribbean youth between the ages of 15 and 22 for the past 7 years.  Toni is a recipient of the Leading Women Leading Girls Building Communities Award from the Government of Ontario and the United Way Community Builder Award.


Matt was born and raised in Windsor ON, attended St. Clair College then went on exchange to Australia for 3 years to complete my Master of Business Sport Management. He returned to Windsor and began working for the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club where he was in Corporate Sales for 5 years and hosted and won a Memorial Cup with the Spitfires in 2017. Matt was also involved in coaching minor hockey and volunteering with organizing committees for
international sporting events in Windsor. Matt took an opportunity with Spitfires ownership group and transitioned to a Commercial Insurance Broker position with HUB International. He began volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex in 2017 as part of the In-School Mentorship program. His Little Brother was in grade 6 and Matt really enjoyed visiting him at his school every week to play board games and help him through a difficult time. Matt joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex Foundation board in 2018 and assisted in the strategic planning initiative while restructuring the agency and foundation boards to operate more efficiently and with a greater impact on the community.

Matt recently accepted a Corporate Sales position with the Ottawa Senators in October 2019 and moved to Stittsville to begin his new career. He is really loving living in the Ottawa area despite the much colder temperatures and
looking forward to working alongside a board that has been enhancing the lives of youth in Ottawa for 50 years.


Mitchell E. Kutney is passionate about systems change, progressive politics and community development. He is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa, a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa, a trustee for the Harry P. Ward Foundation and the co-founder of JustChange— a micro-granting nonprofit. Throughout his career, Mitchell has raised millions from governments and foundations for local and national institutions, including a $100+ million capital campaign for a provincially-funded hospital wing. His work on charitable issues and social innovation have been featured by top-tier print and broadcast media, contributing to over a hundred thousand followers on Twitter. Mitchell holds a Masters degree in public policy and currently serves as the Director of
Innovation and Development for Bruyère.


Jamie is a community organizer, connector, and communications adviser. She has over 10 years of experience leading non-profit organizations, as the former Executive Director of both the Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Area and the Orleans Chamber of commerce. She has a strong track-record for results, working collaboratively, providing advocacy, and organizing community events in support of raising awareness on the issue of gender-based violence, as well as supporting the importance of small businesses in the local economy.

She holds a Master’s degree in criminology from the University of Ottawa and believes in the importance of prevention by creating the conditions that build healthy communities. She is excited to join the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa. She recently joined the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC) as their Executive Director. She and her dog Char-Li Bucket Kwong McDonald are often exploring the city’s parks and neighbourhoods, together.


Lindsay 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 joining the board as the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.


Michael Qaqish is currently Manager of Government Relations and Special Advisor to the President at Algonquin College. 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. He was appointed in January 2016 by Mayor Jim Watson as the City’s Special Liaison for Refugee Resettlement and helped lead city efforts to integrate close to 3,000 Syrian newcomers to Ottawa. Michael also
served as Council Co-Chair for the City’s United Way Campaign. During his term 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.

A skilled communicator and trusted policy and political advisor, Michael has extensive media background, including past contributor to CTV National, 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, 1310AM and a former columnist with The Hill Times. He currently hosts a morning show at CHIN Radio Ottawa. Born in Toronto, Michael graduated with a degree in Psychology from Carleton University. Michael enjoys running and is a former certified Ontario Tennis Association instructor.


Emily is legal counsel with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, however, is currently enjoying time away from the office on maternity leave.  Throughout her undergraduate and law school degree, Ms. Villeneuve was actively involved in the community by participating in numerous pro bono projects and volunteering with various community-based organizations, including as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.  Emily has greatly enjoyed her time as Chair of the Board of Directors over the past two years and looks forward to now co-
chairing with Jessica Ripley.


Mark is the former President & CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation. With Canopy Growth since its inception, Mark was instrumental in building once of Canada’s most successful start-ups over the past decade, growing to become a NYSE-listed, multi-billion dollar enterprise with over 4400 staff located across five continents. During Mark’s leadership at Canopy Growth, its culture, products, and marketing campaigns all garnered recognition and awards, including as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures.  In 2019, the Toronto Stock Exchange named Canopy Growth as the top performing stock over the preceding three years on its inaugural TSX30 listing. The Company also attracted an unprecedented $5 billion investment from Fortune 500 beverage alcohol company Constellation Brands, and partnered with leading cultural icons including Drake, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen and Martha Stewart.

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.