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Board of Directors

CMHA Niagara is governed by a dedicated volunteer board of directors. The membership is drawn from individuals either living or working in the Niagara region. Efforts are made to provide diverse representation while considering required skills, experience and knowledge.

Chris Ventura

President

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Chris Ventura

As the Senior Experiential Education Coordinator for the Goodman School of Business at Brock University, Chris supports over 3,000 students a year in connecting classroom knowledge to community partners experiencing real world business challenges. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science and a Masters of Education, Leadership and Administration from Brock University, which he uses to bring specialized knowledge in board governance, relationship management, capacity building, and strategic planning to the CMHA Board. He joined the CMHA Niagara Board in 2020, and has been inspired by the life-saving services CMHA Niagara offered to his family in a time of crisis. Dedicated to serving communities he believes in, Chris also serves as the President of the Brock University Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a 2024 recipient of the Niagara 40 Under Forty Awards.

Peter Fraser

Vice-President

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Peter Fraser

Peter grew up in the towns of Maple and Richmond Hill and moved to Niagara in 2019. Peter graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Math/Accountancy and he also obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. After work experience in chartered professional accounting firms and the travel industry, Peter took on the role of Director of Finance at OCAD University (the largest Art & Design University in Canada and fourth largest in North America). When he isn’t enthusiastically playing hockey or enjoying the outdoors with his Golden Retriever Charli, Peter enjoys spending time at a cottage on Koshlong Lake and touring the wineries of Niagara.

Timothy Nelles

Treasurer

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Timothy Nelles

Tim is a Partner at Grant Thornton, a top Canadian accounting and advisory firm. As a Partner in the Independent Business Group, and with over 20 years in the industry, Tim’s expertise lies in serving small businesses, real estate companies, manufacturers, and not-for-profit entities.  Tim brings to the board his experience and knowledge in offering strategic advice, managing complex financials, and identifying growth opportunities, Tim has previously served as Treasurer for Big Brothers Big Sisters St. Catharines, Thorold & District and Tim has been recognized for the Niagara 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Award. Tim lives in Grimsby with his wife and two children.

Kelly Pilato

Board Director / Chair of Service Outcomes/Quality Committee

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Kelly Pilato

Passionate about mental health and wellness and equity of mental health services and programs in Niagara, particularly related to youth, Kelly feels compelled to effect positive change in the lives of others and wants to help bridge the gap between research and health action and values of equity and inclusion to support better mental health for all.

As a health policy scientist, her research is applied in nature and is rooted in evidence-informed policy processes and appraisal with a particular interest in development and implementation as a framework for enhancing mental health at a population health level across the lifespan. She joined the Board in 2022, offering specialized knowledge in Mental health policy, policy analysis, and implementation science and is excited to serve and help towards fulfilling the vision of a Niagara where mental health is recognized, supported and optimized.

Kelly has affiliations with Brock University and University of Ottawa and currently supports the Niagara Soccer Club. She has previously served as a community member for the Niagara Council on Smoking and Health, United Way of South Niagara, Healthy Living Niagara, Heart Niagara, and Niagara Against Drunk Driving.

Andrew Bassingthwaighte

Board Director

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Andrew Bassingthwaighte

Employed as a Student Talent Performance Consultant at Brock University, Andrew holds an MA in Social Justice and Equity Studies, B.Ed. Adult Education, and is a Certified Career Development Professional. Affiliated with mental health and equity committees in his current employ, his areas of interest and expertise include Governance and Policy management, Social Justice and Equity, Career Development and Equity of Access. Andrew joined CMHA Niagara’s board in 2016, spurred by wanting to make a difference in the community having witnessed both family members and clients being impacted by mental health concerns. He has previously served as CMHA Niagara’s Vice-President.

Faith Scott

Board Director

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Faith Scott

Faith Scott joined the CMHA Board of Directors in 2022. As a Human Resources Generalist at Synagro, WWT., she brings specialized skills in Human Resources, Labour Relations and Ontario legislative policies, procedures and practices and holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Psychology.

With a keen interest in mental health initiatives and community resources, Faith’s prior volunteer experience in the mental health sector, including Victim Services Niagara, Niagara Regional Police Service, Brock Student Sexual Violence Support Centre, Brock University Conduct Council, and 14 years as a dance instructor to children and adolescents, offers much experience and knowledge to the Board.

Fred Cipryk

Board Director

Clayton Roenspiess

Board Director

Tara McKendrick

Ex Officio / Executive Director

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Tara McKendrick

Tara’s social services career path has been well aligned with her passion to help people and have a positive impact on the lives and well-being of those in her community. Over the past 20 years she has held roles in emergency response services, child protection services, hospital emergency services and mental health and addictions with a focus on suicide prevention, crisis intervention and resolution, advocacy, awareness and facilitation of curriculum regarding suicide prevention and mental health and addictions.

Her tenure at CMHA Niagara began in 2004 as a Crisis Intervention Worker. In 2012 she assumed the position of Quality and Program Manager, followed by a promotion in 2017 to the role of the Executive Director. She has been a provincial appointee to the Niagara Regional Police Service Board since 2018.

Tara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (with honours) from Brock University, Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from University of Windsor, and Certificate in Community Health Leadership from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

To learn more about joining our board of directors, please review our Board Application Package 2022.

Our board policy and procedures can be found here.

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