Gillian Akai, LL/B, M.B.A., Chair

Gillian completed her LL.B./M.B.A at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business. Gillian was called to the bar in 2002 and is Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at Postmedia, a Canadian news media company representing more than 140 brands across multiple print, online, and mobile platforms. At Postmedia, Gillian is responsible for Postmedia’s legal and regulatory affairs and corporate governance. Prior to joining the company, Gillian was an Associate at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons Canada LLP) and worked within the Business Law Group with a focus on private mergers and acquisitions, technology and software licensing and general corporate commercial work. Gillian has had a long relationship with Hydrocephalus Canada and a close connection to the Hydrocephalus Canada mission as her husband Justin lives with hydrocephalus. Gillian lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario. 

Kristine Dorward, M.B.A., B.Sc., 1st Vice-Chair

Ms. Dorward has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for more than 20 years. She recently held positions involving strategic planning, licensing, marketing and market access. Kristine has contributed to the evaluation and commercial launch of therapeutics in a variety of disciplines, including hematology, pulmonology, psychiatry and neurology. As part of her clinical and commercial drug development work in specialty health care and rare diseases, Kristine has developed advocacy and educational campaigns to support those impacted by lesser-known conditions; suring this time Kristine became interested in hydrocephalus and spina bifida. Having served on boards of private and public companies, Kristine is committed to supporting and advocating the mandate of Hydrocephalus Canada. 

Stephen Rex, BCom, CPHR, 2nd Vice-Chair

Stephen Rex lives in Calgary and is a senior, strategic, service oriented human resources leader and graduate from Queen’s University (Bachelor of Commerce, Honours). He has spent over 20 years working across Canada with leading organizations such as, Canadian Airlines, Air Canada and Labatt Breweries. He is passionate about the human resources function and has broad HR, performance management, pension/benefit and senior level experience. He is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources, and holds the CPHR designation, has studied and continues to pursue coursework with the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), and has prior board experience within the non-profit, healthcare sector currently operating as a Board Member, and Chair of the Human Resources Committee. Stephen, has a great interest and commitment to contribute to the future success of Hydrocephalus Canada and its Core Purpose to empower those impacted by hydrocephalus and spina bifida to experience the best life possible.

Justin Parappally, LL.B., M.B.A., Secretary

Justin Parappally completed his Bachelor of Education in 1998 at Brock University and went on to obtain his LL.B./M.B.A. at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business. Justin was called to the bar in 2003 and is a partner in the business law firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP where he is a member of the corporate/commercial group with a particular emphasis on bank financing and commercial lending. Justin was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of 10 and had surgery to insert a shunt. As someone living with hydrocephalus, he is deeply committed to the Hydrocephalus Canada mission and wishes to make use of both his business skills and legal expertise to assist Hydrocephalus Canada in furthering its mission. As a result of both his personal experience and educational background, Justin also has a particular interest in making a positive impact for children living with hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida and their parents. He chairs the Education Committee and is a member of the Finance & Audit Committee. Justin lives with his wife and family in Toronto, Ontario. 

Paul Egli, C.P.A., C.G.A., Treasurer

Paul retired in May of 2017 after a long career in public sector management and finance. Most recently, he was the CFO for the Canadian National Exhibition for a five-year period. Paul is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) and graduate of York University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA). Paul is active with a number of community organizations in his hometown of Ajax and is married with three grown children. His youngest son Stewart was treated for hydrocephalus when he was an infant at the Hospital for Sick Children. Paul is so grateful for the medical expertise that treats this condition and wants to contribute in any way he can to help in the advancement of medical research and knowledge sharing for hydrocephalus. 

Dr. Scott W.H. Barton, Ed.D, MBA, Member

Dr. Barton is the Vice President for Finance & Administration at Shepherd University. He holds a BBA in Accounting from Florida Atlantic University, an MBA from Regis University, and a Doctor of Education from the University of New England. He has nearly two decades of experience as a financial administrator and is adept at establishing systems, procedures, and controls to optimize information flow and transparency in decision making. He has a track record for leading efficient, collaborative, multi-generational teams in supporting fiscally-strong higher education institutions. Dr. Barton has had a long standing relationship with Hydrocephalus Canada and is a previous recipient of the Dr. E. Bruce Hendrick Scholarship. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. 

Heather Cheeseman, CPA, CA, Partner, Member

Heather is a partner with KPMG and a Chartered Professional Accountant. She leads KPMG’s Mining and Energy and Natural Resources Audit practices in Toronto and has extensive experience in assurance, governance, financial process and controls, and risk. Heather currently serves as the Board Treasurer for Women in Mining Canada and previously was Board Treasurer for Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy. Born with spina bifida, Heather feels fortunate it was repaired shortly thereafter and wants to give back to the spina bifida and hydrocephalus community throughout the Hydrocephalus Canada board.

Laura Gatensby, Member

Laura Gatensby is based in Brampton, ON an in addition to having been personally touched by hydrocephalus, brings a long career of work in an with the non-profit sector, both as a fundraiser and participant during her decade of entrepreneurship. As a professional fundraiser and non-profit manager, she worked with Women’s College Hospital Foundation and Hrabourfront Centre, as well as working as a consultant to non-profit fundraising campaigns while at Artsmarketing Services. Her volunteer experience spans both Board and Committee roles (Association of Fundraising Professionals GTA Chapter, AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Canada) and leadership in grassroots fundraising initiatives (Heart & Stroke Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Arthritis Society). Laura looks forward to using her experience to make a positive  impact at Hydrocephalus Canada. 

Mark Hamilton, MDCM, FRCSC, FAANS, Member

Dr. Mark G. Hamilton, MDCM, FRCSC, FAANS, is from the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Division of Neurosurgery. Dr. Hamilton did his Bachelor of Science degree (with distinction) at the University of Toronto and the graduated from McGill University Medical School in 1983. He did his Neurosurgery Residency at the University of Calgary and received his FRCSC in 1991. He did Fellowship training in the cerebrovascular, skull base, and pediatric Neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurosurgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix Arizona, and joined the University of Calgary Department of Clinical Neurosciences in 1994, where he is currently a Professor of Neurosurgery with additional appointments in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Pediatrics. He was the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery from 2002-2011. He is head of the University of Calgary Adult Hydrocephalus Program, which he established with the University of Calgary Adult Hydrocephalus Clinic in 2008. Dr. Hamilton is the chair of the Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (AHCRN), which has eight clinical sites in three countries, Past-President of the Hydrocephalus Society (International Society for Hydrocephalus and Cerebrospinal Fluid Disorders (ISHCSF)), a member of the Board of Directors of the Hydrocephalus Association (HA), Vice-Chair of the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) of HA, a member of the Board of Directors of Hydrocephalus Canada, and a member of the Medical Advisory Board of Hydrocephalus Canada. He has been a past co-chair of the Journal of Neurosurgery Editorial Board and is a member of the Editorial Boards of Neurosurgery and the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. His current main clinical and research interests are diagnosing and managing hydrocephalus in adults. 

Abhaya V. Kukarni, MD, PhD, FRCSC Member

Dr. Ab Kulkarni is a pediatric neurosurgeon and Professor of Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, a Senior Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute, and program Director for the Neurosurgery Residency Program at the University of Toronto. he completed neurosurgery training at the University of Toronto and his PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster University. After a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship at Hospital Necker Enfants Malades in Paris, he began his faculty appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children in 2003. Dr. Kulkarni’s research focuses on health outcome assessments in pediatric neurosurgery, with special emphasis on hydrocephalus. He is a site investigator for the North American Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network and has received research funding from several national and international funding agencies. He services on the Editorial Boards of Neurosurgery and Journal of Neurosurgery. 

Joshua Matthewman, Member

Joshua is a strategic communications professional at Temple Scott Associates, a leading Canadian government and public affairs firm. He counsels a range of Canadian and global companies, trade associations, charities, and municipal governments. Joshua’s Omie (that’s Dutch for grandmother) lived with hydrocephalus, and he is happy to be contributing to Hydrocephalus Canada’s work to improve the research, resources, and treatments available to those impacted by hydrocephalus and/or spina bifida. In his spare time, Joshua is a sports and politics enthusiast. He has held senior leadership roles on several political campaigns, including as a Campaign Manager during the Federal Election in 2019. Joshua was a University of Ottawa Gee-Gees varsity cross country and track runner, and maintains a passion for competing in running, triathlons, soccer, and hockey. Joshua studied in the Advance Placement program at Western University, holds and Honours Bachelor of Social Science – Specialization in Criminology (with highest honours and a bilingual designation) from the University of Ottawa, and completed graduate studies in Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

Eric Smith, Member

Eric Smith has been working with the Toronto Raptors broadcasts on Sportsnet 590 The FAN for 20 years and now covers the games on Sportsnet TV and is the radio play-by-play voice. He has served as host of the pre, half and postgame shows since 1997. When not calling the games on radio, Smith moves to the TV side for broadcasts working as a sideline reporter and halftime host. Smith also cover the Raptors and the NBA on a regular basis as host, reporter, analyst and columnist for Sportsnet TV, Sportsnet 590 The FAN and Sportsnet.ca and hosts a weekly NBA radio show (“Hoops”). In addition to his baseball work, Smith was a play-by-play voice for the last two Rogers Cups (WTA), has filled in as host alongside former MLB catcher Gregg Zaun on “Blue Jays Central” – Sportsnet’s official Blue Jays pregame show, and hosted “Blue Jays Xpress” on Sportsnet 360. He has also worked for the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium serving as the television voice for men’s boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games and on-air NBA TV Canada, contributing to past and present shows such as “Double Dribble” and “Full Court Press”. Smith has appeared on NBA TV’s “Insiders” and on CNN, written columns for NBA.com, and regularly guests on radio shows throughout Canada and the United States. Smith resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and son.  

Amy St. Aubin, Member

Amy St. Aubin is a graduate of Brock University and a resident of the Niagara Region in Ontario. She has worked for over 20 years in the Criminal Law Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General, where she applies critical thinking and strong communication skills as a Case Management Coordinator. Amy was the Leader and a major contributor to the research, planning, implementation and ongoing management of an alternative court designed to address criminal behaviour due to addiction. Amy and her husband have two children. Their oldest, Emma, was born with hydrocephalus due to a brain tumour. They are very thankful for the ongoing support og Hydrocephalus Canada, especially during difficult times involving numerous shunt revisions. Amy is driven to spread awareness and contribute in making a positive impact within the organization and all those whom they serve. 

Nicolena "Nikki" Stone, BB, Member

Nikki Stone is a mom, wife, and executive, with a passion for the outdoors. Growing up in the Niagara region until the age of 17, she then moved to Toronto and shortly after, Australia for University. Currently, she resides in the beaches area of Toronto, which supports her love of long walks in the woods. Her record of accomplishments mostly derived from spearheading and managing the launch of innovative new companies and divisions, adding incremental revenue streams, with customer and company success in mind. Recognized for employee satisfaction and engagement, mentoring, and leading by example is always at the forefront of Nikki’s leadership style, personally and professionally. Her values are around living a grateful life and remembering to enjoy the journey. Connect with Nikki on LinkedIn.