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Crisis Services Canada

Canada Suicide Prevention Service Board of Directors

Our non-profit board is comprised of a diverse group of distress centre service providers, researchers, administrators, policymakers and business professionals from across Canada.

Our experienced committee members provide their expertise to help ensure that the various areas of Crisis Services Canada they represent will develop programs and policies that support our objectives of providing suicide prevention and support.

We together share a common set of core values with a commitment to support people affected by suicide.

Karen Letofsky

Karen Letofsky


President of the Board, CSC

President of the Board
Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention

Karen Letofsky, a nationally recognized leader in suicide prevention, has worked in the field of traumatic loss and crisis in the Greater Toronto Area for several decades, primarily as Executive Director of the Toronto Distress Centres, the agency that, under her leadership, pioneered support for individuals/families impacted by suicide, Crisis Link in the subway system and mental health community partnerships and collaborations with priority populations. She brings her extensive experience and relationships to help CSC expand its member network and programs as CSC continues to grow.

Outside activities:  Board President of The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP), an organization that provides information and resources to communities to reduce the suicide rate and minimize the harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour; member of the faculties of the Canadian Centre for Bereavement Education and Grief Counselling and the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

Past career roles:  Executive Director, Toronto Distress Centres, strategic planning, developed pioneer leadership programs in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention; Co-Instructor, Humber College, developed and taught certificate grief counseling program; Project Manager, Ontario Metis and Non-Status Indian Association, capacity building initiative training members in conducting needs assessments; Bereavement Project Researcher, Clark Institute of Psychiatry, conducted research in grief and bereavement culminating in launch of Canada’s first support program for the bereaved.  

Awards:  Order of Canada recipient, Canada’s highest honour, in recognition of contribution to suicide prevention in Canada, including the development of community-based assistance programs for people at risk or in distress; Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient awarded to Canadians who made outstanding and exemplary contributions to their communities or to Canada as a whole; National Service Award, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. Doug Lear Memorial Award, The Council on Suicide Prevention.

Susan Dineen

Susan Dineen


Vice President of the Board, CSC

Legacy Next Strategies

Susan has over twenty-five years experience in assisting organizations achieve outstanding business performance through the innovative use of technology linked to business strategy. She works at the intersection of people, process and technology.

Susan is a passionate and inspiring business leader with demonstrated success developing complex business strategies involving the coordination of cross-functional teams. She has held executive positions leading Strategy, Innovation, Technology, Marketing, Social and Digital Media, Business Development and Customer Service.

As an innovation agent Susan focuses her professional career on bringing ideas from inception to execution. With a strong skill set in team building, connecting people and creative problem solving; she is a leader in the development of new business opportunities and strategies. She is passionate about innovation, social media and digital technologies and how they can be used to transform a business or market.

Outside activities:  Chief Executive Officer of LegacyNEXT Strategies, a consulting company focused on IT Strategy and skills gap advisory services; Susan is on the board of Immigrant Women in Business (IWB) and on the curriculum advisory boards for Centennial College, Operations Management and Georgian College, IT & Interactive Media.

Past career roles:  EVP, Fox Group Technology; COO, Apptitude Inc. an IT cloud and managed services company; EVP at Stornoway Communications, a digital broadcaster; VP at Arius3D, a high-tech 3D imaging company; SVP, IT, New Media & Strategic Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment.

Sophia Husanini

Sophia Husanini

Officer/Treasurer & Chair of the Board, CSC

CPA, Bachelor of Business Management, Accounting and Finance

Sophia is a Chartered Professional Accountant who has held senior finance positions in both for profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Past career roles:  Controller, Bell Canada; Director of Finance, scPharmaceuticals Inc.; Director of Finance - North American Operations, EC Canada; Controller, Diabetes Canada; past member of the Board of Directors at Heritage Toronto.

Charles Laframboise

Charles Laframboise


Director, CSC

Executive Director
Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region

Charles celebrates more than 30 years working with not-for-profit organizations. He began his career working for national sport governing bodies before taking on his position as Executive Director for the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region. He enjoyed a long association supporting the Canadian Distress Line Network prior to joining the Board of Directors of Crisis Services Canada.

During his career, Charles developed an interest in helping organizations evolve to reach their full potential. An effective strategist, Charles is at his best when tackling the intricacies of structures and systems while applying a twist of high technology.

Outside activities:  Executive Director for the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, a progressive United Way agency providing a free and confidential active listening service offering suicide prevention, crisis intervention, support, information and referrals in the Nunavut Territory and the region of Nunavik, in South-Central Ontario, Western Québec and Eastern Ontario; member of the Canadian Distress Line Network; member of Champlain District Mental Health Crisis Service Management Committee; active participant in Distress and Crisis Ontario initiatives.

Awards:  A three-time finalist in the Crisis Intervention category of the Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services, the Distress Centre’s volunteer Responders were also honoured by winning the Community Activism Group Award at the City of Ottawa Civic Appreciation Awards.

Shelia Levy

Sheila Levy


Director, CSC

Executive Director
Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line

Sheila has a BA in Sociology from Carleton University and a M.ED in applied psychology focusing on counselling and guidance from the University of Toronto.

Outside activities:  Sheila Levy is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line; Vice-President of the Nunavut Embrace Life Council which coordinates and works on suicide prevention activities in Nunavut.

Past career roles:  Guidance Counsellor at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit, Nunavut;  President and Board Member of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention; President, Nunavut Embrace Life Council, which coordinates and works on suicide prevention activities in Nunavut.

Elizabeth Newcombe

Elizabeth Newcombe

BA Rec Admin

Director, CSC

Executive Director
Vancouver Island Crisis Society

Outside activities:  Executive Director for the Vancouver Island Crisis Society. Current Treasurer and was the past President of the Crisis Line Association of BC

Past career roles:  Training Officer, Atomic Energy Control Board; Program Coordinator for the Military Family Support Centre pilot program.

Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell

Director, Chair, Governance and Nominations Committee

K W Mitchell Consulting Services

A highly astute practitioner of government relations, Kelly has served both in government and as founder and President of a leading government relations and public affairs company for the last thirteen years. Kelly has advised a broad range of municipal, corporate and non-governmental clients leading to successful outcomes in their interactions with government. A vast knowledge of procurement and policy development originated from Kelly’s first-hand experience as the Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to cabinet ministers in the Ontario government. Kelly was appointed to two government transition teams which provided a unique education in government decision-making.

A highlight of Kelly’s successful career in government was the implementation of the historic Ontario Living Legacy program at the Ministry of Natural Resources. Living Legacy generated the historically largest increase of Ontario’s parks and protected areas and helped enhance the economic climate for northern communities, forestry, mining and resource-based tourism.

Kelly remains active within government structures and is widely sought by all three levels of government for his unique experiences in communications, community engagement, issue management, crisis management, human resources and operations.

Outside activities:  Director of G52, a company focused on helping municipal governments find and advocate for municipal grants from the federal and provincial governments. In addition, Kelly is the President of K W Mitchell Consulting Services, a government relations consulting company. Board Member, Ontario Professional, Foresters Foundation; Board Member, GreenPAC, a groundbreaking non-partisan organization motivated by a simple belief that Canada needs strong political leaders who are driven to take action to protect the environment.; Community Member to the Board's Finance Committee, Haliburton Highlands Health Services.

Past career roles:  President, Pathway Group, an organization that works constructively with major political parties and the public sector, across all levels of government often bringing divergent viewpoints and priorities into focus to serve a common goal.

Carole Dagher

Carole Dagher

Vice President & Associate General Counsel, The Bank of Nova Scotia

Carole is the Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Retail and Commercial Banking, Legal Department with The Bank of Nova Scotia. A graduate of York University, she was called to the bar in New York (2002) and Ontario (2006) and has experience practicing in both jurisdictions. A recipient of the Precedent Setter Award (Precedent Magazine, June 2013), she as been three times nominated for Canadian General Counsel Awards in the Tomorrow’s Leader category.

Scott Bissessar

Scott Bissessar

Founder & CEO, Straticom Technologies

Scott is founder & CEO of Straticom Technologies, which provides change and transformation data analytics and productivity software through its ChangeVU platform. Prior to this role Scott led global change management at Golder & Associates for 2 years, and prior to that led global change delivery at Shell’s headquarters in the Hague. He is advisor on change leadership and execution at IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also a board director on several private Canadian companies and is on the advisory board for several local and global community-oriented not-for-profit organizations.

Stephanie MacKendrick

Stephanie MacKendrick


CEO at Crisis Services Canada, which operates the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) a national suicide prevention helpline that connects Canada's distress centres into a single national network with one point of access for Canadians in crisis and those affected by suicide.

President, MacKendrick & Associates International Inc., specializing in gender diversity advisory and coaching executives to develop and accelerate their board activities for both non-profit and corporate organizations.

Outside activities:  Vice-Chair, Samara Centre for Democracy, advocating greater engagement in democracy and public life; Co-Chair, Steering Committee of the 30% Club Canada, a business-led campaign to work toward 30% of Canada's FP500 board seats to be held by women by 2019; Advisor and Partner, Lotus Wonders, a fashion accessories social enterprise providing employment to economically disadvantaged women in Cambodia; Advisor, Co-Chair, Awards Committee, The International Alliance for Women (TIAW).

Past career roles:  Former President 1996-2013 at Canadian Women in Communications (now WCT); 10 years as a corporate communications executive and strategist; 10 years as a journalist for communications trade publications and with The Canadian Press (Broadcast News).

Known for extensive national and international network of leaders; connecting, leading and inspiring; developing organizational vision; board leadership; understanding of the impacts of digital media and technology; business communications skills; writing; thought leadership.

Awards:  WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada 2005 and 2012; Canada's Telecom Hall of Fame inductee (Advocacy) 2010; Women of Influence Diversity Champion, 2012; Innoversity Angel award for promoting diversity in media, 2005; Admitted to the Freedom of the City of London (UK), 2010.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1

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