The Coalition for Persons with Disabilities was formed as a not-for-profit community-based partnership of persons with disabilities and community groups working collaboratively to affect positive changes for persons with disabilities in the regions of Peel, Halton and Dufferin. Operating since 1985, it was established in order to avoid duplication of services and to foster cooperation, trust and collaboration to meet the challenges faced by persons with disabilities.
The Coalition continues its vision for independence and inclusion for persons with disabilities through a number of community-based programs and services. From offices in Mississauga and Brampton, these programs serve the regions of Peel, Halton and Dufferin. Projects of the Coalition are funded, in whole or in part, by the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.
Board of Directors
Vision and governance for the Coalition are provided by a Board of Directors. Persons with disabilities are represented in the majority of seats on the board. Meetings are held 6 times annually and an Annual General Meeting is held in June.
Meet Our Board
Dina Barazza - Chairperson – Member since 2012
Mrs. Barazza has over 25 years experience in business, human resources, OD and learning. As a subject expert in human resources and learning she brings her leadership and business know how to the fore front of the Coalition. Part-time Dina fosters homeless pets and is the Founder, of Avanti Women, a volunteer organization for women to move forward professionally and personally through networking, mentoring and learning.
She has been canvassing for the Canadian Cancer Society for 22 years and sits on the Dufferin Board of Directors as an Advisory Board Member with the Dufferin Young Professionals.
Paula OlthuisVice Chairperson
Paula Olthuis – Vice Chair – Member since 2006
Paula worked in the Human Resources environment for 24 years. Paula is a published author of poetry and children’s books. A University of Toronto (B.A. History Specialist) graduate who also studied Social Work (Western University), Business Management, Computer Programming, Journalism and Interior Design, and has acted as Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary for various volunteer groups and charities for over 30 years.
Paula especially enjoyed being a coach for Dale Carnegie seminars. Being a board member for the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities has been the most informative and enjoyable experience of her life. Paula’s journey began when she was asked to be Miss Easter Seal at the age of five and seven. Paula continues to write poetry and books and is a reporter for a local community newspaper writing articles regarding the achievements and successes of disabled persons and local charities.
Nancy GaleBoard Member
Nancy Gale - Member since January 2017
Nancy is an award-winning and accredited communications professional. As the Mississauga Halton CCAC’s Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications and Partnership Advancement, she works to position, promote and partner for this community-based health services provider. She co-designed and co-led the Mississauga Halton CCAC Share Care Council, its inaugural patient and family caregiver advisory forum, from 2014-2017.
Nancy has broad experience as a marketing communication professional in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining the Mississauga Halton CCAC, Nancy served as Marketing Communications director for Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga; communications lead for the Toronto District School Board; and held progressive roles at Bell Canada's enterprise divisions.
Shauna PetriePast Chairperson
Shauna Petrie – Past Chairperson – Member since 2007
Mrs. Petrie comes to the Coalition with over 20 years of business experience and runs an organization as the Director, Sea Wheels Inc. where she is dedicated to facilitating accessible travel opportunities for persons with disabilities, their families and friends. As a professional speaker and consultant, Shauna brings her results focused and collaboration skills to chairing to our Board.
Shauna is passionate about curling, making a difference and supports the Coalition with Persons of Disabilities whole heartily.
Maria Eugenia RictoteBoard Member
Maria Eugenia Rictote – Member since January 2017
Maria-Eugenia Ricote is a Career and Work Counsellor with vast experience in the community services sector. As an employment and career counsellor, she specializes in mental health and vocational rehabilitation case management as well as in career assessments and mapping, job readiness and life skills training, job development, and job coaching services of persons with disabilities and multi-barriers.
Most recently, Maria-Eugenia joined the Mental Health Ambassador Pilot Project, which is a network of mental health professionals in Toronto who share knowledge and experience with frontline staff of settlement professionals
Adriana AlvaroAcademic Consultant
Adriana (Audrey) Alvaro has been employed with the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board for 23 years, and is a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers.
Adriana has taught in both the Elementary & Secondary panel and is currently in the role of Academic Consultant. Adriana works with principals, vice principals and teachers to help develop and launch school-based literacy plans. She plans and facilitates both large and small scale professional learning sessions and modules. Adriana has been a writer, contributor, reviewer, consultant and presenter for several major educational publishing houses and has worked in various capacities with the Ministry of Education and the Education Quality & Accountability Office of Ontario.
Adriana is an active participant in several organizations that advocate for people with diverse needs.
Divya KulkarniBoard Member
Divya has over 20 years of experience across Sales & Marketing, PR, Finance, Audit and General Management.She began her career with GE where she held progressive leadership roles in Finance and Audit across Asia, Europe, Australia and North America as part of the elite Global Audit Team.
Her experience spanned many GE businesses including Medical Systems, Consumer & Commercial Finance, Appliances, Power Systems, Water, and Insurance. Post GE, she created the Internal Audit Division for the global mining companies Noranda and Falconbridge and was a Board Member for a Noranda/Falconbridge Joint Venture.
Divya is the Executive Vice-President at Showcase. Showcase is a national retail chain with 107 stores across Canada. Divya is also a Director of the Kulkarni Family Private Equity Group with investments in Manufacturing, Retail, and Finance across North America, Europe and Asia. Divya has been a strong advocate for the disabled over the past 12 years over which she has supported a number of individuals and their families, to improve their outcomes and significantly impacted their lives.
Neta GearBoard Member
My over 25 years in the Social Services and Health sector has been spent improving access, especially to those most in need. My specialty encompasses a number of areas as I have worked in the Community and Hospital settings in Child Welfare, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Mental Health, Addictions, Brain Injury, Developmental and Education.
Also, I have worked in various communities such as Kitchener/Waterloo, Dufferin, Etobicoke, Mississauga and Peel. My roles have spanned frontline, senior management, teaching and Board Member in strategic and operational scopes. Some of my skill sets include Resource management- Financial and Human, Collaboration and Partnership development, Strategic planning and execution, Fundraising, Program planning, implementation and evaluation.
With a myriad of relevant volunteer experience including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Guelph Salvation Army, Kidney Cancer Foundation, Women In Crisis to name a few, I am prepared to manage the Board Member Role with Coalition for Persons with Disabilities with due diligence, competence and vision.
Mark EllisBoard Member
Mark Ellis grasps human behaviour traits to create innovative talent and business solutions tailored to the culture.
A highly experienced Human Resource Executive with a proven track record of facilitating improved business results through expert development and management of corporate human resource operations. Specializing in building and leading high performing teams, establishing HR as a leader within an organization and improving labour / employee relations. Adept at directing all HR functions, including collective bargaining, to achieve excellent people practices, policies, programs and initiatives that are fully aligned to the organizational mission, vision and strategic plan and contribute to the high performance culture. Mark has a diverse background including global executive experience as well as experience in both a federally regulated work environment and the non-profit sector (Health Care).
In addition to his professional accomplishments Mark believes in giving back to his community and helping not-for-profit organizations achieve their mandates. As such Mark has sat on many boards holding positions such as Board Member, Treasure and Chair. In today’s economic climate Mark believes that, now more than ever, those organizations that provide assistance to those in need are vital to ensure a thriving community and that the role of all Board Members is critical in ensuring the organizations mandate is met.