Board of Directors

Meet our passionate, experienced and accomplished sport and community leaders.

Doug Hamilton

Board Chairman

Doug Hamilton was an Olympic medalist (1984) and World Champion (1985) rower. During his career as an environmental lawyer at one of Canada’s premiere law firms, Doug continued to contribute as a volunteer in several Canadian amateur sport organizations, including serving as VP High Performance of Rowing Canada, Board member of the Canadian Olympic Association, VP Sport and Venues of the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid Group, Chair of the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario, and Board member of TO2015. Doug was also Chair of Niagara’s Bid Group. Doug now lives in St. Catharines with his wife, Lynn, a former Canadian Olympic basketball player. Both sons have had careers in Professional hockey: one in Calgary and Phoenix and the other currently in Carolina.

Tom Arkell

Tom Arkell, retired from Special Advisor to the Vice-President Administration at Brock University in St. Catharines, ON. Since joining Brock in 1989 he has been involved in a number of ancillary functions of the university, including residences, food services, retail, conference services, Rodman Hall Art Centre and others. In his time he has hosted and facilitated the athletes village of a number of large national and international events including World Rowing, canoe, kayaking and dragon boating, Ontario Special Olympics and the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Tom has volunteered with a number of professional associations, and at the local level with the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce, Credit Counselling of Regional Niagara, The Niagara Symphony, Theatre Beyond Words, and the Rotary Club of St. Catharines. Tom believes that the Games will deliver an outstanding athlete experience through providing not just exceptional facilities and services, but also a community that will ensure the athlete’s care, comfort, and safety.

Mario D’Uva

Mario D’Uva is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist that was born and raised in the Niagara Region. He is currently the Managing Partner of Fallsview Golf Inc., whose shareholders have developed and operated several hospitality and real estate projects in the Niagara region; including the Radisson Hotel & Suites, Thundering Waters Golf Club and Thundering Waters Village. He also serves as a director on several corporate boards. He is a Commerce graduate of McMaster University and completed the CIM program from the Canadian Securities Institute. He has had a lifelong passion for athletics; was actively involved as a coach, sponsor and volunteer in multiple minority sports organizations, including hockey, baseball, gymnastics and basketball. Mario believes that his past experiences in developing projects from inception to completion that have involved both public and private stakeholders will be of benefit to the 2021 Canada Games.

Mary De Sousa

A twenty-five-year financial services marketing professional, Mary De Sousa is currently on sabbatical from FirstOntario Credit Union. Her experience in marketing and the financial services industry, combined with her extensive industry knowledge, led to her appointment of Executive Vice President of Marketing in 2013. Her responsibilities included public relations, advertising, branding, corporate strategy development, product development, corporate communications, retail banking sales, corporate social responsibility, government relations and most recently, overseeing facilities and property management. Within the last three years, Mary has negotiated corporate sponsorship contracts for FirstOntario Centre (formerly Copps Coliseum and includes sponsorship of the Hamilton Bulldogs), FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place), FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (Niagara), FirstOntario Arts Centre Milton (and Every Child, Every Year Program) and lead the partnership development for being the official financial institution of the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Mary currently sits on the Brock University Board of Trustees as well as the Oakville Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Over the last five years she participated on or chaired several credit union professional committees both nationally and provincially. She was a Board Member for Oakville Economic Development and she served for two years as a member of the McMaster Children’s Hospital Fundraising council. Mary was born and raised in St. Catharines, and she wants Niagara to be recognized for the great place to live and visit that it is. Being on this Board provides her the opportunity to give back in a meaningful way through the economic development and legacy infrastructure that the Games will bring to Niagara. Mary is also excited for the advancement in sport that the Games will bring to the region, and she is proud to be contributing her experience in marketing and communications to this endeavour.

Carolyn Hurst

Carolyn has recently “retired” from a 30 year career in the IT industry. This work took her around the world working with public and private sector organizations. After this, Carolyn and her husband decided to purchase a vineyard in Jordan and created their own winery called Westcott Vineyards. She grew up in the Niagara Region and is looking forward to hosting the games here. Carolyn has previously been on the Board of Trustees at Brock University and the Board of Directors at Willowbank School for Restoration Arts, as well as the Deputy Minister of Education’s Advisory Committee on School to Work transitions. She was also on the Board for the Gatineau Fish and Game club for 9 years where she was the President for 2 years. Currently Carolyn sits on the Board of Governors at Niagara College and the Strategic Advisory Board of ADGA, a privately owned defence, security, and enterprise computing company. She is also an Executive member of Ontario Craft Wineries.

Karen Natho

Karen Natho (BPHE, BSc, MSc) is the Executive Director of the Brock Niagara Penguins, the leading ParaSport program in Niagara. She was the Niagara region representative for the Canadian Paralympic Committee – Changing Minds, Changing Lives workshops and has conducted multiple seminars with educators and practitioners locally and around the world pertaining to topics such as disability awareness, adapted physical activity and therapeutic recreation. She worked for 7 years at the Niagara Children’s Centre leading in the creation of the service of Recreational Therapy for children with special needs in Niagara. Her research and activities in this area have been funded by the Ronald McDonald House Charities, United Way and Canadian Paralympic Committee. She completed her Masters of Science at the Steadward Centre at the University of Alberta, looking at the running gait patterns of athletes with cerebral palsy. Karen currently sits on the Niagara Accessible Sport Council (NASC) and is a member of the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability. Karen also competed in the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC in field hockey. She joined this Board to ensure that the Canada Games are as impactful for the young athletes as they were for her. Karen looks forward to being a leader for the Games, which will provide opportunities for not only the diverse citizens of Niagara, but also the ParaSport community who will benefit from the legacy of the Games.

Michele O’Keefe

Longtime sport management leader and Welland native Michele O’Keefe was brought onto the Niagara College team as associate director of Athletics and Recreation, beginning July 3. Michele returned to her hometown in Niagara after serving as president and CEO of Canada Basketball, where she worked to build stronger relationships with sport associations across Canada and was responsible for oversight of key government relations and sponsorship negotiations for Canada Basketball. She is also one of the world’s policy-makers in the sport, as a member of the FIBA Central Board and the First Vice President of FIBA Americas. Michele began her professional career with NSF in 1994 as program coordinator for the World Basketball Championships for Men in Toronto and Hamilton. She has held a variety of positions in the NSF, including Manager, Communications, and Director of Basketball Operations. Michele was the Executive Director of Ontario Basketball before returning to Canada Basketball in 2010. After her first stint with Canada Basketball, O’Keefe spent time working at Fox 40 and then 3 years at CIBC in the Commercial Banking division. Michele joined this Board as a way of giving back to the Region that she grew up in.

Liz Palmieri

Liz Palmieri has worked and volunteered in leadership positions in Niagara’s non-profit sector for more than 30 years. Since her retirement in 2016 as the Executive Director of the Niagara Community Foundation, she has consulted with organizations facilitating their strategic plans, working on board policies, and conducting training workshops on a variety of topics, including risk management, strategic planning, and the roles and responsibilities of boards of directors. She is a passionate advocate for good governance in the sector and during her tenure at the Foundation she leads their work to become one of the first non-profit organizations in Canada to be accredited by Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. As a director of the Canada Games 2021 Host Society Board she wants to ensure that good governance practices are in place and implemented.

Tom Rankin

Tom is the Founder of Rankin Construction Inc., an innovative and diverse Niagara-based company specializing in a wide range of heavy civil construction projects that include roads, bridges, sewer and water main, marine and renewable energy. Mr. Rankin is a strong advocate for Niagara and is very committed to making our region a better place to live. He is a unique philanthropist who gives generously and has a positive impact on projects designed to enhance local communities. Just a few of his initiatives include; the Rankin Cancer Run, support for the construction of a memorial for the Fallen Workers of the Welland Canal, contributions to the Niagara Health System, Hospice Niagara, Goodwill Niagara, Jericho House and Pathstone Mental Health.

Tom has also provided title sponsorship for one of the ice rinks at Seymour Hannah Four Pad Arena in St. Catharines, completed major pledges for Brock University and Niagara College, and has supported the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, Nova Scotia for a decade. Tom understands the value that the 2021 Canada Summer Games will bring to region and the importance of both the Capital and Human legacy it will leave. He is looking forward to sharing his leadership and support in ensuring a successful games.

Elaine Roper

Elaine Roper, ICD.D, Partner, NFP and Public Sector and National Board Practices at Odgers Berndtson, has over 35 years of business experience in the technology, financial services, non-profit sectors, and in public/private partnership organizations. Elaine has worked with numerous organizations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Her particular expertise lies in corporate and board governance, human capital strategy planning and implementation, and organizational development. Elaine has served in senior leadership roles on numerous nonprofit boards over the last 17+ years. Currently she sits on the board of directors of the Royal Ontario Museum in addition to the Canada Games Council Board. She is also a former Director and Chair at the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and has served on, and chaired numerous committees at the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Textile Museum of Canada, and Bishop’s University. Her broad experience includes leading CEO evaluation, chairing CEO search committees and HR committees, board restructuring and renewal, board governance and evaluation, pension restructuring/de-risking, fundraising, investment reviews, and financial oversight on the finance and audit committees. She holds a Bachelors degree in German and Business Administration from Bishop’s University. Elaine has also completed the Rotman Directors Education programme and is accredited through the Institute for Corporate Directors.

Wade Stayzer

With more than 20 years of financial services experience, Wade Stayzer is Meridian’s Senior Vice President and Chief Member Experience Officer. In this role, he oversees Meridian’s Retail, and Commercial lines of business while developing the credit union’s distribution partnerships, organic Member growth and enhanced sales and service experience.

Since 2005, Wade has been instrumental in shaping Meridian’s retail delivery strategy while establishing a culture of employee engagement. Over his tenure at Meridian, Wade managed key lines of business including Small Business, Retail and Wealth. He has also led various strategic initiatives including the branch and banking system integration of Meridian’s legacy Niagara/Guelph Wellington and Desjardins Credit Union mergers.

A long-time supporter and champion of the Ontario credit union system, Wade has held a variety of roles and responsibilities at Niagara Credit Union – one of Meridian’s legacy credit unions.

In 2010, Wade was recognized as one of Niagara’s Top 40 under 40 for outstanding business achievement and community leadership. That same year, he was also recognized by the St. Catharines Chamber of Commerce as the Young Professional of the Year.

A tireless community advocate, Wade is currently a Governor at Niagara College, a member of the Rotary Club of St. Catharines, and a proud member of the 2021 Canada Games Host Society for the Niagara Region.

Wade received his MBA from McMaster University and currently resides in Niagara.

Mary Turner

Mary Turner is a corporate director, serving on the Board of Directors for The Stars Group Inc. and Mackenzie Financial Corporation. Mary recently retired from her position as the President and CEO of Canadian Tire Bank. Mary was a partner at Deloitte & Touche in Toronto prior to joining Canadian Tire in 1992. She is a Chartered Accountant with the FCA designation and a Chartered Director. Mary is also a long-standing Board member and Treasurer of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, and a member of the Board of Governors of Niagara College, and YMCA Canada. Mary was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2015 by the Women’s Executive Network. Mary has also been recognized for her dedication to the Niagara Voluntary Sector through the receipt of the Community Leadership Corporate Sector Award from the 2006 Peter F. Drucker Canadian Voluntary Sector Innovation Awards.

David Veres

David Veres is the recently retired Associate Vice President, Academic & Learner Services at Niagara College. David has spent over 20 years working in post-secondary education as a professor and administrator. Dr. Veres developed the internationally recognized Event Management program at Niagara College and was inducted to the Festival & Events Ontario Hall of Fame in 2008. He has been involved in numerous community events and organizations including the 2004 Ontario Senior Summer Games, the Many Hands Project, and the Niagara Sports Commission. David’s goal is to ensure that the Games provide a Human Capital legacy through experiential learning opportunities for both secondary and post-secondary individuals in the Niagara region.

Michele-Elise Burnett

Métis with Algonquin roots, Bear Clan, is President of Kakekalanicks, an Indigenous arts and consultancy company which helps promote and educate Indigenous art and artists to a broad audience. Ms. Burnett serves as the Artistic Director of Celebration of Nations, an annual Indigenous gathering, which provides a far-reaching platform for the community to embrace and honour the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples through the arts; Associate Director of Landscape of Nations 360°, a unique national Indigenous education initiative which provides guidance to teachers and programmers in the Niagara Region and beyond; Vice President of Ignite the Spirit of Education Foundation, which promotes Indigenous literature, programming and literacy across Canada, and co-advancement director and inaugural unveiling producer for Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations & Native Allies Commemorative Memorial, at Queenston Heights to recognizing Indigenous contributions during the War of 1812. Ms. Burnett sits on the Board of Trustees at Brock University where she is Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Education Council. She also serves as a Board member of the Ridley College Fund USA and recently has joined the Canada Games 2021 Board. Ms. Burnett started her career in the radio industry. After graduating from Ryerson University’s School of Radio and Television Arts, she became a third-generation radio business owner in an industry pioneered by her father and grandfather. Later, partnering with her mother, she owned and operated the most powerful signal in the Niagara Region, Spirit 91.7 FM Radio. The accomplished mother/daughter team were the first indigenous women to be granted a private broadcasting license in Canada.

Debbie Zimmerman

Ms. Debbie Zimmerman serves as Chief Executive Officer of Grape Growers of Ontario. Since 2003, the official organization that represents over 500 actively producing growers of 17,000 acres in the province’s three viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County. Embracing new technology and creating a focus on growing Ontario’s VQA wines is the culture embraced by the organization.

Debbie was actively involved in local politics for 36 years. Her political career began in 1978 as a local alderman for the Town of Grimsby, and in 1989 was elected to Regional Council. In 1997 Debbie was elected as Regional Chair for the Regional Municipality of Niagara, a position that she served for two terms. In 2014 Debbie decided to pursue other interests and did not seek re-election.

Debbie is the past Chair of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for the Province of Ontario (2004-2010), and was assigned by the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, to the 2015/16 Provincial Review Panel for Ontario’s Land Use Plans, including the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Debbie joined the Premier in November 2017 on the Provincial Trade Mission to China and Vietnam.

Along with sitting on the 2021 Canada Games Host Society Board, Debbie currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo/Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority and McNally House. Most recently, Debbie was a member of the YMCA Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the Pathstone “Mending Minds” fundraising campaign.

Debbie has been the recipient of many awards including the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce “Community Leadership Award” in 2013, the “Niagara Award” in 1998, the Niagara College “Board of Governors Award” in 2001 and the YWCA “Woman of Distinction” award in 2003. In 2015 Debbie was awarded the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation’s “Local Food Champion” award for her commitment to local food and her years of service to Niagara, and in 2017 Debbie was named a “Friend of the Greenbelt” for her work on the Provincial Review Panel.

Gervan Fearon

Gervan Fearon began a five-year term as Brock University’s President and Vice-Chancellor on 1 Aug. 2017. Before joining Brock, he served at Brandon University as President and Vice-Chancellor (2014-17) and also as Provost and Vice-President Academic (2013-14).

Prior to his time at Brandon, Fearon served several other academic positions, including as the Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University; as Associate Dean at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies; as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington; and as an Associate Professor at York University. Fearon received his Ph.D in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, after having received his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Agricultural Economics at the University of Guelph. He also holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) designation.

Besides academic achievements, his career includes several years in the Ontario government in roles as a senior analyst at Treasury Board Division, Ontario Ministry of Finance, and an executive assistant to Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

He is passionate about the role of post-secondary education in supporting regional development, and has served on numerous community boards and helped champion significant community development initiatives.

Anthony Everett

Anthony Everett joins the Canada Games Council Board with over 25 years of tourism industry experience beginning with his time at the Butchart Gardens while attending the University of Victoria. He has held positions as manager of travel media relations for Tourism Victoria and account director for Tartan Public Relations, before he accepted the challenge, in 2006, to experience and promote northern British Columbia. As former Chief Executive Officer of Northern BC Tourism Association (NBCTA) (2006-2015), Anthony steered the NBCTA towards its goals. Currently he is consulting with a wide range of organizations in the not-for-profit sector to help them build their governance and strategic plans. In 2011, Anthony Everett was chosen by the community to be the Board Chair for the Prince George 2015 Canada Winter Games Host Society. He led the formation of the Host Society as it transitioned from a successful bid to a staff driven organization and through the actual 2015 Canada Winter Games in February 2015. Anthony was selected by his peers to be the final torch-bearer to light the Canada Games cauldron on February 13, 2015. He was also the Co-Chair of the Games Ambassadors Group that assisted the Host Society in spreading the message across the province and nation as well as building the northern story of what was the 25th edition of the Canada Games. Anthony Everett is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the Canada Games movement. He is married, a father and an avid outdoorsman and currently lives in Prince George, British Columbia with his wife, Paulina and daughter, Olivia. Anthony’s vast knowledge and experience will be tremendous assets to the Canada Games Council Board of Directors.

Sandie Bellows

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Sandie Bellows has extensive volunteer experience, is actively involved in the community and has considerable expertise in sales and development.

Ms. Bellows is currently serving her first term on Niagara Regional Council, after representing Grantham Ward as a St. Catharines city councillor for four years (2014-18). She worked as a senior executive with Telus and general manager for CNN Staffing Solutions. During her tenure at Telus, Ms. Bellows was a member of the Presidents Club, excelling in top sales for Canada. In 2018, she was appointed as a commissioner on the board of the Niagara Parks Commission.

Ms. Bellows has also been involved in community work, as Tournament Director for Niagara Sports and Entertainment, Vice-President, Board Member and Tournament Chair of the St. Catharines Minor Hockey Association and Executive Board Member of both the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival and Crime Stoppers of Niagara. She worked as a long-term care home volunteer at Linhaven in St. Catharines and as a volunteer trainer at Victims Services Niagara.

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