We are thrilled to announce five new additions to the Plan Institute Board of Directors. These new board members will join three continuing members as they guide and nurture Plan Institute’s mission. We are fortunate to have so many skilled individuals willing to dedicate their time and energy to supporting the work we do to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.
Barb Hambly is new to the Board and will also serve as Treasurer. Barb brings extensive experience as an executive health leader in Canada. She has an accounting designation with the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C., a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University, and is a Chartered Director (C.Dir). Barb also currently sits on the board of Alberta Public Laboratories and Chairs the Make-A-Wish Canada national board.
Franceska Grantzidis is new to the Board, but not to Plan Institute. She was a long time member of PLAN and has personal experience with the work we do as the parent of a son with Autism. She has a passion for supporting families, and as a result has held various roles with Plan Institute and PLAN over the years. She currently works with the Family Support Institute of BC as the Provincial Network Manager.
Andrea Podruski joins us from Chelsea, Quebec, where she works for the Federal Government with the Social Innovation and Social Finance Team. Previously, Andrea was a Social worker, and has worked in the community for 15+ years contributing towards the full inclusion of people with disabilities. She is also the former Manager of Lifetime Networks (Plan Institute & PLAN Affiliate in Ottawa) and has worked with both Plan Institute and PLAN over the years on various projects. Andrea is also the parent of a ten-year-old child with a disability; she has a personal understanding of the Plan Institute and PLAN philosophy from both a personal and professional perspective.
Also new the Board is Hengameh Saberi, a Law Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. Hengameh recognized a need for educational resources and accessible platforms for people with disabilities to learn about investment. As a result, she is starting to work on a start-up to address the gap. While still at the beginning of this work, she thought community serving on Plan Institute’s board would be a very good return on the time and effort she’s invested in educating herself. In addition, she is visually impaired, and brings with her a deep personal understanding of the work Plan Institute participates in.
We are also very excited to welcome Cynthia Minh to the Board. Cynthia works as Program Manager and Outreach Coordinator at Disability Alliance BC’s in the Access RDSP Program, of which Plan Institute is a project partner. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia, sits on the Transitions Advisory Committee and is a member of the Disability Tax Fairness Alliance.
Stefan Wittman has been a dedicated Board member since 2016, and is now Board Chair. Stefan is following in his parents’ footsteps, who were tireless advocates for his younger brother who lives with Cerebral Palsy. His upbringing has uniquely shaped his worldview as he developed a profound understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face on a daily basis.
Cathy Anthony has been a Board member since 2017, facilitates Plan Institute’s Caregivers Retreat, and has been extensively involved in both Plan Institute and PLAN over the years. Cathy is the current board chair of PLAN and has over 30 years of experience supporting and advocating with families who have loved ones living with disabilities.
Diane Finegood has also been a Board member since 2017 and brings family perspective and experience to her role. She is a Professor and Fellow at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and has had many leadership roles in health research at both the provincial and national level. She and her wife Andrea have been members of PLAN for many years.
Each member brings with them crucial experience that will allow us to further our work and fulfill our mission. We look forward to working with this group of outstanding individuals over the next year and beyond, and are excited about all we will accomplish together.