About the Board of Directors
Unison Health and Community Services seeks individuals with a diverse range of skills and backgrounds for membership on the Board of Directors.
Meet Unison’s Board Members
Laverne Blake, Chair
Laverne has 13 years’ experience working within the non-profit sector; with 4 years in a leadership position with a specific focus on human resource and program management. Currently, Laverne is the Manager of Client Services at Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. Laverne has a BA in criminology and has successfully created, developed, and implemented the Legal Support Program which provided services to over 200 women accessing services at Ernestine’s. The Legal Support Program addresses the barriers that women, specifically those who are victims of violence, face in accessing justice. Laverne delivers dynamic training on anti-racism, anti-oppression and on issues related to violence against women and children to various organizations. Laverne is a passionate and committed advocate for women’s justice and has been involved in community-based agencies where social justice is addressed.
Diana Elder, Vice-Chair
Diana has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources professional. Her background includes specialized knowledge of employee and labour relations, talent management, strategic planning, training, and organizational development, Diana has worked in both the public and private sectors and has spent the last 15 years of her career in the Healthcare sector. She currently works for the University Health Network (UHN) as Executive Director of Human Resources. Diana holds a Master of Business Administration from Royal Roads University and a Master of Industrial Relations from Queens University. Diana’s volunteer work has included board work with the Central Toronto Community Health Centre and on the Board Human Resources Sub-Committee of Fife House. Currently, Diana acts as a volunteer advisor to the White Ribbon Human Resources Subcommittee.
Alexis Villa, Vice Chair
Alexis has 10 years of professional experience in the not-for-profit health care sector developing strategies and delivering on large-scale information technology and change management initiatives across the continuum of care. Alexis is currently the Senior Program Manager for University Health Network’s Regional and Provincial Digital Health Portfolio. Prior to this position, Alexis held various roles across the sector with the goal of increasing access to health information, streamlining business processes and improving the patient experience. Alexis has always been interested in the field of health and science, which combined with her passion for sport, led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario. Most recently, Alexis completed her Masters of Science in Health Administration from the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. Alexis also has her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute and her Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Using her knowledge of the health care arena gained both professionally and academically, Alexis is thrilled to join the Unison Board of Directors to help make a difference in her neighbouring communities.
Richard Linley, Secretary
Richard is a dynamic professional with government and private sector experience. Richard has a Master of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Richard is the President of the Wine Council of Ontario, which presents over 100 VQA winery properties across the province of Ontario. Richard brings to the Board professional experience in policy development; government relations and advocacy; stakeholder engagement and outreach; consensus building and non-profit Board Development; as well as strategic communications and issues management support. Through his commitment to the community, Richard volunteers his time with Journalists for Human Rights and hopes to make a valuable contribution to Unison.
Elese Allin, Treasurer
Elese has worked in the financial services industry for the last 12 to 15 years focusing on corporate finance, restructuring, and accounting services. She is currently a senior director at Alvarez & Marsal where she provides advisory services to management teams, corporate boards, shareholders, and lender groups related to acquisitions, divestitures, refinancings and restructurings. Elese has significant experience in strategic planning and working as part of a team to make decisions and drive results. Elese holds a bachelor’s degree with honours in business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and has also earned her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation and is a Charted Financial Analyst (CFA). Elese strongly supports Unison’s vision of healthy communities and is looking forward to bringing her experience to the Unison board to add value wherever she can.
Angie Heydon is a retired executive who spent over 25 years of her career working to improve healthcare delivery in Ontario. She is now a committed volunteer, seeking meaningful opportunities to continue contributing to the wellbeing of people in their communities. Angie retired as the first CEO of the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario, where she worked with its board to build the association’s capacity to support the growth of interprofessional primary care in Ontario. Prior to that Angie served in a number of senior positions with various healthcare organizations, including Health Quality Ontario, the Association of Ontario Health Centres, and Cancer Care Ontario. Angie has an MBA degree from York University, focused on policy and organization development. In addition to her deep knowledge of primary care delivery and quality improvement, Angie brings to the board her skills in policy analysis, advocacy, and consensus-building. As a 30+ year resident in the Unison CHC catchment area, Angie is very excited to work with the Unison board and its community to continue growing and strengthening its capacity to help people and communities achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
Nada is a Registered Social Worker with experience and expertise in Gender-Based Violence, Youth Mental Health and Addictions, Strategic Planning, Program Evaluation, Project Management, Training development and facilitation, Not-for-profit governance, and the Social service Sector. She has more than three years’ experience working with and supporting marginalized youth, individuals from LGBTQ+ communities, young adults and women experiencing mental health, employment, education, trauma and various individual, communal and systemic challenges/barriers. She currently works at Yonge Street Mission as an Employment Counsellor. Nada earned a Master of Social Work degree from York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. She currently holds Board Membership at the Toronto Rape Crisis Center/Multicultural Women Against Rape in Toronto where she actively and strategically works in a collaborative manner to support and advance the organization’s mission in supporting survivors of sexual violence as well as ending gender-based violence in Toronto. Through her commitment to the community, Nada hopes to use her professional experiences to make a valuable contribution to Unison.
Tamia Daniel is a junior at the University of Toronto, where she is a double-major in Public Policy and Health Policy with a concentration in Public Health. She is interested in understanding the social determinants of health in low-income populations, in particular, the influence of historical, political, and economic forces in the construction of clinical operations and health systems. Tamia aspires to pursue a career as a physician in the public health sector where she can develop and advocate for health policies on behalf of those that she is passionate about protecting. Outside of school, Tamia is a research assistant at St. Michael’s Hospital in the Injury and Trauma department, and volunteers her time at Toronto Grace Health where she plans recreational activities and provides administrative assistance to the Post-Acute Care Rehabilitation unit. When she is not busy reading about current health affairs around the world, she enjoys spending time with her family, participating in individual sports and eating burgers from The Burger Shack!
Melissa has 14 years of healthcare leadership experience, with expertise in change management and communication. She spearheads the identification of scalable innovation opportunities and specializes in bringing stakeholders together to deliver complex initiatives from concept to execution. Melissa has an extensive track record of effectively mobilizing teams to drive change for organizations and programs. She previously led the Connecting GTA implementation and adoption program, one of the largest healthcare IM/IT initiatives in Canada, guiding the work of close to 40 organizations and onboarding 40,000 users. She is currently overseeing a range of projects designed to enhance the use of digital health tools, specifically engaging primary care and community providers, in support of Toronto Central LHIN priorities.
Anthony is a seasoned finance executive with over 20 years of experience in both public and private sector spanning across multiple industries (retail, real estate, not-for-profit, long-term care and community service). He is currently the CFO at Talize Inc. and Sky Development Group which operates a chain of sustainable clothing retail stores, commercial plazas and indoor mall as well as a clothing collection business. Previously, he was the CFO at Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care which offers long-term care and community services to seniors. Anthony holds a MBA degree from York University, a B. Sc (Hon) degree in Pharmacology from University of Toronto and also earned his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) Designation. He is also a part-time faculty member at Seneca College teaching core Finance courses. Anthony is very excited to join the Unison Board and leverage his experience to further Unison’s mission.
Selvalakshmi Rabindranath Tagore
Selvalakshmi has been educated and worked in the healthcare sector for over 7 years. She is currently the Policy Advisor for the Ontario Ministry for Long-Term Care. Her experiences include, but are not limited to, wellness services to folks experiencing homelessness and addictions through client-centred, trauma-informed approach; conducting health promotion campaigns to provide education on antibiotic use and misuse; and policy review and recommendations to Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management with the UN Environment Program.
Farrah has worked in the healthcare sector for more than 15 years. Farrah is an expert in the fields of health literacy and patient engagement in care, and is currently the Manager of Patient Education and Engagement at UHN. She is also a founder and the moderator of the Canadian Health Literacy and Patient Education Network (CHLPEN). Farrah holds her Master of Arts Degree in Health Advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Toronto with a focus on Ethics, Society and Law. As a resident of the Unison catchment area, Farrah is excited to join the board and bring her experience and skills to community health local neighbourhood.