Canuck Place Senior Leadership
Denise Praill joined Canuck Place in 2013 as Chief Development Officer and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in April 2022. She brings more than 20 years of experience and success as a senior executive in the philanthropic, non-profit and private sectors in BC.
Denise has helped build a diverse and talented team that brought a relationship-based fundraising model and other significant strategies to Canuck Place — doubling annual revenues from $9.1M to more than $18M. She has also been a key member of the senior leadership team, providing strategic vision and direction to the organization.
Before joining Canuck Place, Denise held front-line fundraising and senior management positions with United Way of the Lower Mainland. She also has management, communications and public relations experience in the private sector.
Denise holds her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation and is a long-standing member with the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is an active volunteer in her community, currently serving on two non-profit boards dedicated to animal welfare.
Dr. Hal Siden, MD MHSc FRCPC
Medical DirectorView bio
Dr. Hal Siden, MD MHSc FRCPC
Dr. Harold (Hal) Siden, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, is the Medical Director of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver Canada. He oversees the physician team, research, education programs and care of over 800 children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Specializing in pediatric palliative care, Dr. Hal Siden has been the Canuck Place Medical Director since 2001 and has played a vital role in caring for children and families for the over 20 years. Leading innovative research, developing new clinical practices, educating medical students and residents while advocating for the care of terminally ill children are all part of his committed career.
Hal’s work has made BC the nation’s leader in pediatric palliative care, which in turn, provides a unique model followed throughout the world. His efforts have undeniably improved the lives of many children and their families. A devoted educator in the specialty he pioneered, Hal continues his work as a compassionate and involved clinician.
He is also is an Attending Physician in Pediatrics and Division Head of Palliative Medicine at BC Children’s Hospital and an Investigator in the BCCH Research Institute. He is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a joint appointment in the Inter-Departmental Division of Palliative Medicine. His clinical interests are pediatric palliative care, pediatric pain management and general & complex care pediatrics. He is Principal Investigator on several projects funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
In 2017, Dr. Hal was presented with the Dr. Parminder Singh Award of Distinction by the BC Pediatric Society for his leading work in the field of pediatrics. In 2016, Dr. Hal was presented with the BC Community Achievement Award recognizing individuals who have made a significant contribution to their community either as volunteers or in the course of their work.
Early in his career, he realized he wanted to help the children he was caring for in a different way.
“I was a physician caring for a lot of kids that I couldn’t cure, but I realized I could still make a difference in their lives. That was really important to me as a doctor.”
Kristina Boyer, RN MScA
Clinical Program DirectorView bio
Kristina Boyer, RN MScA
Clinical Program Director
Kristina Boyer joined Canuck Place in 2005 as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and being an integral part of the Canuck Place team for over 15 years has provided Kristina with a deep understanding of the complex needs of vulnerable children and families and the value of working with them to reduce suffering and improve their quality of life.
She transitioned to her current role as Clinical Director in July 2020, overseeing the entire clinical program at Canuck Place. Her passion and dedication to the role enables her to set strategic priorities to further the development of pediatric palliative care in the province
Working closely alongside the medical director, Kristina is committed to supporting excellence in pediatric palliative care, including ongoing learning, innovation and continuous improvement of Canuck Place’s model of care.
Before joining Canuck Place, Kristina was a Clinical Nurse Specialist at SickKids, the largest pediatric hospital in Canada. This is where she first began working with children with life-limiting illnesses and their families – advancing her career in complex pediatric palliative care.
Kristina is a Registered Nurse; she attended McGill University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree, and a Master of Science (Applied) degree.
Managing Director, DevelopmentView bio
Managing Director, Development
Jennifer Polci joined Canuck Place in 2014 as Director, Corporate & Community Partnerships, and was named Managing Director, Development in 2021. Jennifer brings more than 15 years experience as a senior leader in Development.
Prior to joining Canuck Place in 2014, she held the role of Director, Corporate & Major Gifts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for nine years with previous roles at Thames Valley Children’s Centre, the Grand Theatre and Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London, ON. From special events and major gifts to planned giving, Jennifer’s career has spanned the range of fundraising activities.
In her eight years at Canuck Place, Jennifer has helped establish a diverse, multi-talented team that excels in a relationship-based fundraising model and strong community partnerships. She brings a strategic vision alongside a measured approach to key strategic conversations, and builds strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.
Jennifer completed a post-graduate degree in PR and Journalism from Sheridan College after completing her BA in Sociology and Journalism from the University of Western Ontario.
Catherine Gordon, CPHR SHRM-SCP
Director, People & CultureView bio
Catherine Gordon, CPHR SHRM-SCP
Director, People & Culture
Catherine Gordon joined Canuck Place in 2018 as Director, People and Culture and supports all aspects of HR for staff across BC.
Originally, from Northern Ireland, Catherine worked in London, UK for eight years before immigrating to Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2005. She has experience in the recruitment, legal, technology, regulatory, environmental, healthcare and non-profit sectors, the latter being her passion. Previously Catherine was the Director, HR for the David Suzuki Foundation for over six years and managed the HR function at the BC College of Teachers, and has been a volunteer mentor with MOSAIC since 2011.
A life-long learner Catherine holds the following qualifications:
-Disability Management Practitioner through the Pacific University for Workplace Health Sciences.
-Maslow Research Centre – Certificate in Foundations of Coaching, Certified Leadership Coach (CLC), Culture Levers Course and is one of the first hundred people to be certified as an Executive Culture Coach.
-Cornell University’s Strategic HR Practices Certificate, Ph. Creative - Employer Brand Strategist, Douglas College - Employment Supports Specialty Advanced Certificate. As a Program Ambassador of HackingHR she was also part of the first ever GROW cohort.
Her commitment to mental health, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are reflected in her completion of the Centennial College Leadership and Inclusion Certificate, CCDI Antiracism Certificate and San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training. Queens University, Canada “Leading a Mentally Healthy Workplace”, CPHR Certificate in Workplace Mental Health, Mental Health First Aid Certificate. As a founding Chapter Lead of Mindful Employer, who holds the “Psychologically Safe Leader Method” certification, she is a proud in-house Champion of the program.
Currently enrolled in the following: Effective Workplace Responses to Mental Health Certificate Program offered by the Pacific University for Workplace Health Sciences and Professional Practice in Psychological Health and Safety program through FlourishDx, her learning journey continues.
Catherine completed her Bachelors degree in Ancient History and Byzantine Studies from Queens University, Belfast.
Director, Volunteer & Support ServicesView bio
Director, Volunteer & Support Services
Jessica Tremblay joined Canuck Place in 2018 as Director, Volunteer & Support Services. Jessica oversees housekeeping and food service departments across two hospice sites, as well as the volunteer program consisting of 400 incredibly dedicated people.
Jessica has an extensive background in leadership, hospitality and operations. She has over 15 years in senior leadership roles with Red Robin Restaurants both franchise and corporate operations. This included overseeing new restaurant openings and training programs for management and staff across BC and Alberta, comprised of 18 locations and 1500+ employees. As Regional Operations Director (multi-unit), Jessica was responsible for overseeing up to $11 million in revenue.
In her four years at Canuck Place, Jessica has mentored and leveraged the talent of her staff and managers. Her focus has been on attracting and retaining top support staff and volunteer talent, ensuring her team’s work is guided by the program service needs that support Canuck Place children and families. In 2019 she led her team in the growth and recruitment to reach over 400 volunteers dedicating an incredible 25,000 hours of service.
Being able to offer hot meals, housekeeping services, and quality time with volunteers, keeps Jessica and her team connected to the purpose of Canuck Place; to ease the burden for families staying in hospice, and provide exceptional pediatric palliative care for children with short lives and the families who love them.
Director, Communications Marketing & EventsView bio
Director, Communications Marketing & Events
Debbie leads the communications, marketing and proprietary fundraising events team for Canuck Place. Working in partnership with families, volunteers, clinical and fundraising staff the communications and events team engages the community, donors and builds awareness of the positive impact of Canuck Place programs on children with life-threatening illnesses and BC families.
Previously, Debbie was the Director of Communications & Brand for the Rick Hansen Leadership group supporting initiatives of the 25th Anniversary Man in Motion World Tour, Rick Hansen Heroes CTV Special and the key lead on the Difference Maker Series for the London 2012 Games. As Executive Director of the independent not-for-profit Canucks for Kids Fund and Director of Community Partnerships, she led largest NHL-team charity from 2005 to 2010 generating grants of over $14.3 million to BC charities serving children.
Debbie was the Director of Communications for four years for the BC Lions Football Club and held the same title with the Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA for a six year tenure and led the Spinoza Bear program for the Grizzlies Foundation. Debbie completed her degree in journalism from Ryerson Polytechnical University after graduating from the University of British Columbia in Human Kinetics.
Hospice Society Board of Directors
Suzanne Steenburgh is a former nurse and health leader with almost 20 years of experience in children’s health.
During her career, Suzanne held roles including Director for Quality, Safety and Accreditation, Program Manager and Nurse Clinician with the Provincial Health Services Authority. As part of these roles, Suzanne lead safety programs for multiple child and youth programs and agencies, supported the teams through Accreditation Canada surveys (achieving ongoing Exemplary Status), held oversight of several medical/surgical inpatient units and clinics and lead teams through the design process for 2 of the new inpatient floors at the Teck Acute Care Center. Suzanne’s early clinical time was spent working in the areas of pediatric neurosciences, oncology, and palliative care with a specific focus in the care of children with brain and spinal cord tumors.
Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master’s in Nursing and certifications in Lean Leader Methodologies, Change Management, Quality Improvement and Executive Coaching.
Suzanne lives in Vancouver with her husband and children and currently spends her time supporting a small family business and volunteering to support local charities.
Vice ChairView bio
Partner, PwC Canada
Robert Coard is Partner in the Vancouver office of PwC Canada, who specializes in providing assurance and business advisory services to growing companies. He is the People Experience Leader for the Canadian Assurance practice where his focus is on delivering an exceptional experience for over 2,300 Partners and staff in the Assurance practice. Robert has advised many companies on significant transactions and assisted others in achieving growth through acquisition and in capital markets. He spent two years seconded to the London, UK office of PwC. His past voluntary involvement has included extensive service to the CPA training program, The Canadian Cancer Society, The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Neil Squire Society.
Vice Chair & SecretaryView bio
Vice Chair & Secretary
Governance Consultant & Lawyer
Teresa Budd is a governance consultant and lawyer with 20 years’ experience in governance and law. As a collaborator with WATSON, Teresa conducts governance reviews, board evaluations, corporate secretarial practice assessments and supports multiple boards as an outsourced corporate secretary. She also facilitates governance education programs for individual directors and boards.
Previously, Teresa was a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, practicing corporate finance and business law in both Vancouver and Toronto.
Active in her community, Teresa is the Chair of the Inquiry Committee of the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia and is a Past Chair of the Board of 211 British Columbia Services Society.
Teresa resides in North Vancouver with her husband, two daughters and their dog.
Chief Treasury & Investment Officer, First West Credit Union
Tom Webster is an experienced senior executive who has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. His areas of expertise include strategic management, leadership and coaching, financial management, investment management and risk management.
Tom recently retired from First West Credit Union as the Chief Treasury and Investment Officer following 17 years as CFO overseeing an eight-fold growth in assets. First West is the third-largest credit union in the Province of British Columbia and operates through four community-based regional brands.
Tom has an undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria, as well as a CPA, CA and the ICD.D designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors. Tom was recognized in 2021 by Business in Vancouver as CFO of the year in the Transformation category.
Bob SmartView bio
President & CEO, Primex Technologies
Bob Smart holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and an MBA from The Ivey School of Business. For over 45 years, Bob has provided strategic and operational expertise to a wide variety of industries, and he has contributed as a director to both private and non-profit organizations.
As President and CEO of Primex Manufacturing Ltd., a B.C.-based plastic injection molder, Bob lead the company from a regional supplier to become the market leader in engineered plastic panels to the Telecommunications Industry in North America. This journey involved several acquisitions and divestitures, as well as a recent sale to CRH, a multinational public corporation.
Bob has recently retired from Primex and now focuses his energy and expertise as a strategic advisor to businesses and organizations.
John DeLucchiView bio
President & CEO, Madison Group
John is the President & CEO of Madison Venture Corporation (madisonGroup of companies) which has interests in commercial real estate and operating businesses in industrial automation, service and engineering, business information analytics and media.
Prior to joining the madisonGroup John was a partner at PwC until March of 2020.
After serving as the BC Region Managing Partner John was elected to the board of PwC Canada and served as a director from 2018 to 2020 when he joined the madisonGroup.
John was the Managing Partner for PwC in the BC Region from 2009 to 2017. In addition to being Managing Partner, John previously held various leadership roles at PwC including National Consumer and Industrial Products Leader (responsible for industries including: Mining, Forestry, Retail, Real Estate, Pharma and Life Sciences and other Industrial products industries), National Technology Leader and National Life Sciences Leader.
During his career at PwC John primarily worked with public companies listed in Canada and the US as well as selected large, professionally run private companies. The majority of the companies John worked with have international operations in several countries.
Over the last number of years John was an instructor for the Directors Education Program for the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors of Canada.
John currently serves as a director on the boards of Covenant House Vancouver and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. John has also previously served on several business association and not for profit boards over the years such as the Business Council of B.C. and the United Way as well as many others.
Markus T. DelvesView bio
Markus T. Delves
Director, Finance & Investment, Quantum Properties
Markus T. Delves, CPA, CA is a Chartered Professional Accountant and an experienced board member in the healthcare sector. He is the Director of Finance for Quantum Properties, a Fraser Valley real estate construction company where he’s worked since 2013. His healthcare experience includes serving as a board member and the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee at the Fraser Health Authority from 2014 to 2018 and serving as the Treasurer of the Abbotsford Hospice Society since 2014. He is also currently the Treasurer of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association.
Markus articled with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Vancouver. After obtaining his designation, he transferred to PwC’s London, UK office where he advised multinational corporations. Previously he served in the Royal Canadian Navy reserves where he retired as a Lieutenant.
Markus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in Accounting from the University of British Columbia. He later returned to SFU to teach as a Lecturer at the Beedie School of Business.
Markus lives in Abbotsford where he is an active volunteer in the community and joined the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice board in September 2019.
Barbra MohanView bio
Canuck Place Family Advisor
Barbra Mohan became part of the Canuck Place family when her fifteen-year-old son Jasper received end-of-life care at Glen Brae Manor in 2013. Following his passing, Barbra served a six-year term on the Canuck Place Family Advisory Committee (FAC) and is now serving as the designated Board member on that committee, representing the family experience at the Board level and acting as a liaison between the two groups.
Barbra has worked in local government since 2003 and is currently the General Manager, Corporate Services for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. She also serves on the Vancouver Island Counselling Board as well as the Cowichan Valley Concert Band Board. She enjoys speaking to physician and patient groups about the experience of rare childhood cancer research, treatment and child loss.
Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria and an MBA from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. She loves playing and composing music, cycling and sailing with her husband Stephen from their home on Vancouver Island.
Jill DonaldsonView bio
Principal, IWJ Law
Jill is a Principal at IWJ Law, Business + Investment Counsel, having joined in 2000 as an associate from the Vancouver office of Blakes, Cassels & Graydon. Jill has extensive experience working with senior executives and their boards in the areas of strategic planning and implementation, governance and stakeholder capitalism, mergers and acquisitions, and compliance and risk management. Jill brings a breadth of experience advising her clients on the business, legal and regulatory issues that arise with the formation, management and operation of public and private investment funds and private and listed companies.
Jill promotes an active and collaborative decision-making process for Boards tied to strong corporate governance, avoiding group think and supporting effective deliberations. For the past 14 years, Jill served as corporate secretary of a public investment fund that is a unique partnership of diverse stakeholders seeking to provide more than rates of return by offering retail investors access to venture capital investments, encouraging employee share ownership, and being an economic driver of the B.C. economy. In April 2021, Jill joined the board of directors of Prospera Credit Union.
Jill obtained her J.D. from the University of British Columbia Law School in 1996 and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1997. Prior to attending law school, Jill received a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from the University of British Columbia. In 2019, Jill obtained her Institute of Corporate Directors Director Designation after completing the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.
Jill is also active in the community as an advisor to the Governance Committee of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, as co-chair of the Canuck Place Gift of Time Gala Committee for a second term having been on the committee for the past five years and previously was on the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Run for the Cure organizing committee for six years. Jill enjoys family life with her husband and their two daughters.
Barry MacdonaldView bio
Chairman and CEO of Truvera Trust & Mortgage Group.
Barry is also a corporate director and strategic advisor. He focuses on governance, business growth and innovation, international expansion, and accounting/finance in a variety of industries. He has chaired (and created) large boards for businesses, public institutions, member organizations, non profits, foundations, and was chair of an international organization (see below) with 32,000 worldwide members.
Barry was 2018/19 Chair of the Board of the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. He led their board of 17 directors governing 35,000 members. Barry was on their leadership team that unified three accounting bodies in 2015, creating a new board and governance structure. At the CPA profession’s national level, Barry represented BC on the Collaboration Accord Review Task Force, which reviewed the governance and operational relationships among CPA Canada and the regulated provincial bodies (including two territories and Bermuda).
Barry retired in 2016 as a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, after a 34 year career with them. From 1990 to 1997, Barry was a partner in PwC’s Hong Kong firm, their only partner from North America. His PwC expertise area was cross border tax and transfer pricing planning. He also held various executive leadership roles with the firm, including large client relationships, HR, Recruiting, and was their Canadian Inbound Clients Leader. Barry has lectured and given presentations in over ten countries.
In addition to Truvera Trust & Mortgage, Barry is a board director of these companies; Iplayco (until end of 2019; TSX-V traded children’s indoor playground equipment manufacturer, Chair of their Audit Committee), EasyPark (parking transportation, past Chair of their Governance, HR and Nominating Committee), and Frontfundr (fintech, Chair of their Audit Committee). He was a strategic advisor to TMF (a global business services provider). Barry further serves on the Institute of Corporate Directors’ BC Chapter Executive Committee.
Barry is passionate about community service. He chairs or serves on many non-profits, including a number of boards at Simon Fraser University (Chair of the Beedie Dean’s Business Advisory Board, Executive Chair of the UniverCity Real Estate Trust, past member of the Board of Governors, and director of the SFU Foundation), the Hong Kong Canada Business Association (past National Chairman, 1500 members across Canada), Federation of HK Business Associations Worldwide (past elected World Chairman; 32,000 members) and Arts Umbrella Foundation (Immediate Past Chairman).
During his time in Hong Kong, Barry was a Chairman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in HK, and an early governor of the Canadian International School of HK. Barry recently joined the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Governance Committee.
Barry has enthusiastically raised funds, through participating in the Campaign Cabinets, for Simon Fraser University, Arts Umbrella, and the new YMCA Coquitlam BC Building.
Barry was elected Fellowship by the CPA CA profession in 2005. In 2018, he received the SFU Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award. Barry qualified as a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant in 1993. He earned the ICD designation in 2015.
Dr. Matthew ChowView bio
Dr. Matthew Chow
Dr. Matthew Chow is Chief Mental Health Officer at TELUS Health, Canada's largest digital health company and one of the largest providers of physical, mental, and financial wellbeing services in the world.
By the time he was 40, Dr. Chow had served as founding medical director of e-Mental Health Services and Strategy at British Columbia Children's Hospital; co-chaired the Specialist Services Committee to improve medical, surgical, diagnostic, and mental health services across British Columbia in partnership with government and physicians; oversaw more than $3 billion in annual public healthcare spending as a member of the Medical Services Commission, British Columbia's public health insurance board; and led 14,000 physicians through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and a year of unprecedented climate-related disasters as President of Doctors of British Columbia.
Dr. Chow's personal mission is to enable people to make their highest and best possible contribution to their communities. This aligns with TELUS Health's focus on total wellbeing: physical, mental, and financial. Dr. Chow and his colleagues weave together 'high touch' and 'high tech'—a global team of compassionate human beings empowered by digital technologies— to create remarkable wellbeing experiences for people worldwide.
Tom WongView bio
Tom Wong is a retired PwC Consulting Partner with over 45 years of experience assisting clients on large and complex transformational and IT programs. He is an accomplished executive who has held various regional and national responsibilities at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (E&Y) and CapGemini including leadership roles in Public Sector markets, Healthcare markets, Utility and Energy markets, Technology Advisory services, ERP implementation services, Program Risk Advisory Services, Data and Business Intelligence services, and Computer Forensics services.
He remains active as a strategic executive and board advisor to various organizations. His corporate and non-profit board involvement includes EasyPark, Zajac Ranch Society, The Mel Jr and Marty Zajac Foundation, Community Living Society, and Vancouver Community College.
Tom was elected as a Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountants, CA in 2017.
Join the Canuck Place team
The Canuck Place team is leading the way in pediatric palliative care. Our interdisciplinary team works together to provide expert, compassionate care that lets kids be kids. Every member of the Canuck Place staff has an impact on children and their families, whether they’re interacting directly in one of our hospices, or working from our development office to raise the funds that make our work possible.
Join our team of amazing individuals who serve the children and families in our care.