Board Members

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Executive Director's Message

Leading Distress and Crisis Ontario, DCO is a privilege I take seriously. As we continue to shelter during this pandemic and provide care for individuals in distress with mental health and suicidal ideations, in increased numbers, this responsibility has taken on a new urgency. My goals to expand our membership, be more accessible and improve our service excellence are being met. Our new website is key in achieving these goals, as are the volunteers who continue to provide services even though they are experiencing their own pandemic challenges. Thank you volunteers. 

It is an honor to work alongside the many dedicated individuals and groups who are committed to continue providing services under these challenging times. Thank you to Ontogether.org https://www.ontogether.org/ for providing us with a resiliency poster -Home Team, that supports the work we do.  The increased demand for services is being met by each Distress Center.  

The Team at DCO have been working on improving our data collection, providing up to date information on COVID-19 through our podcasts, E-news & views and webinars. We continued to plan and deliver essential services such as education through our conferences and updating our Learning Forum modules. We met advocacy and networking deliverables through meetings with community partners such as Wellbeing Waterloo to create a guideline for grieving during loss, death and dying in a pandemic https://www.wellbeingwaterloo.ca/blog/grief-dying-and-death-during-a-pandemic. 

These unprecedented times have called for us to collaborate, share and be creative- we are meeting the demands. We are here to listen, support and refer. Thank you for trusting us, volunteering with us and challenging us to do better. We are committed to meeting your expectations. 

Stay safe, be well, reach out for assistance if you need it and know that we will gather again soon. 

Neta Gear

Executive Director

Meet the team

Colleen Gallagher
Chair, Board of Directors
Principal, RLB LPP

Colleen is a life-long resident of Kitchener-Waterloo, a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University, and a CPA, CA. She enjoys giving back to the community, having served as the treasurer for DCO for many years as well as for United Way Kitchener-Waterloo & Area. She is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, is a practice inspector of professional accounting firms as well as the auditor for many not-for-profit and charitable organizations. She is an avid hockey fan, recreational reader and enjoys travelling, preferably to a sunny tropical locale.

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Stacy Terry
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Executive Director, Distress Centre Niagara

Stacy has been involved with Distress Centre Niagara for over 18 years and moved to the role of Executive Director in 2011. She has been involved in many initiatives in the Niagara area and sat on the advisory group that lead to a successful partnering with 15 community agencies to develop a Coordinated Access Line for the Niagara region that is managed by Distress Centre Niagara. She is a team player and has experience working in collective and collaborative environments. She has knowledge of the mental health systems and has community connections to Mental Health and Addictions as well as suicide awareness and prevention programs.

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Diwa Satkunanathan
Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors
Accountant, RLB LLP

Diwa’s passion is giving back to her community and helping people to be better versions of themselves. She witnessed the impact of mental health issues with a family member and saw how much difference it can make when people feel heard. As a senior accountant, Diwa brings with her experience in financial management, human resources, and a strategic mindset. Being a DCO Board member bridges the cap between what she feels good about and what she is passionate about.

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Peter Donnelly
Board of Directors
IT Executive

Peter has been involved with Distress Centre of Ottawa & Region for 15 years with roles that included Board President and various committees. After losing a close family member to suicide, he actively sought opportunities to help others and has been involved in several charitable activities for more than 20 years. He brings experience in financial management, information and call centre technology as well as organizational and program development.

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Shri (Shrinivasan) Kalyanasundaram
Board of Directors
Head of Digital Identity Solutions, Telus Communications

Shri brings skills and experience that include partnership agreements, commercial negotiations, call centre technology, and public relations. Coming from a society where mental health issues were taboo, Shri wants to contribute to changing that. Past volunteer experiences with mentoring new immigrant professionals showed that the most important issue to newcomers to Canada is loneliness and having someone to talk to. Becoming a new parent was the catalyst to wanting to set a good example by making a difference in society.

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Glen Katsnelson
Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors
Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Glen has many skills he brings to his position that have been cultivated through his education, his service to his community, and his extra-curricular activities. He believes in the powerful and meaningful impact DCO has on the communities it serves. He believes that advocating for food security, better living conditions, and secure employment can help improve mental health, and that looking at the root cause of mental distress can provided the tools to maintain overall personal

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Matthew Sem
Board of Directors
MD Candidate – University of Toronto

Matthew worked in suicide intervention and prevention as a crisis-line responder for a number of years with the CSPS and the Toronto Distress Centres. Among his many roles was working as a TTC Crisis-Link responder, along with receiving extra training in handling emotional trauma and supporting at-risk youth. He believes that this experience as a frontline responder and the stories he has heard will inform him in making decisions as a DCO Board Member. He also brings a wealth of experience in event planning, research, and advocacy initiatives.

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