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OPDI Board of Directors

About the Board of Directors

OPDI has a governance type board whose activities include

  • establishing long term strategic plans, based on member identified needs,
  • identifying annual goals and objectives for the organization,
  • overseeing fiscal accountabilities to membership and funder(s) and reporting of same
  • engaging/evaluating an Executive Director who is accountable to the Board, and who in turn is responsible engages/evaluates staff who are accountable to the ED
  • bringing forward information about members needs and interests to inform OPDI positions

Directors are not involved in day to day operations and management of the organization.

OPDI’s board model focuses on being “skills-based” as opposed to “representative”. We use a Skills and Diversity Matrix to identify experiences that contribute to the interests of the organization and its members and to assess our bench strength for the nomination process. Although the directors’ role is not to represent specific groups or regions, we aim to reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of our member groups – groups which may operate in urban, rural or remote settings and whose levels of empowerment range from complete independence, through various degrees of autonomy, to being small programs within mainstream mental health service organizations or institutions.

OPDI has nine directors who are elected to two-year terms of office and may be re-elected for up to three terms. The exception to this is when vacant positions are appointed mid-term by the Board. We attach expiry dates to positions in an attempt to facilitate succession and achieve balance between newer and longer serving directors.

Board applicants must be members in good standing of an OPDI member organization. One director may come from the Associate membership. Director applications are considered by a nominating committee which invites applications, conducts interviews, and recommends a slate to the Board which is in turn moved to members at the Annual General Meeting. The Executive (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) are elected by the Board just after the AGM.

The Board’s current meeting schedule includes two day face to face “retreats” on a quarterly basis, usually at weekends, plus teleconferences as needed. For timely handling of issues we also use email discussion threads and electronic voting where appropriate and possible, with any e-votes ratified at the next board meeting.

We welcome and encourage our members to bring good candidates to the attention of the nominating committee by emailing opdi@opdi.org or by speaking to a member of the Board.

Board Members
Yvette Brook / President (Penetanguishene)

Yvette is relatively new to the work of OPDI and Board membership. Born in England, she has always had a passion for ‘giving back’ to her community and over the years has volunteered in a variety of community sectors. Mental Health has always been on her radar, both as a consumer during her younger years and as a family member during both her childhood and adulthood. A Microsoft trainer and Health & Safety professional by trade, Yvette brings a wide variety of skills and a great deal of positivity and enthusiasm to any role she takes on. Along with her professional qualifications and networking skills, her strength lies in understanding the bigger strategic picture and working the steps to reach that vision. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Patient/Client & Family Council (PCFC) located in Midland/Penetanguishene. The PCFC is a non-profit consumer run organization that advocates for a Mental Health Community, guided by the experience of its users, where everyone is supported to cope, heal and thrive beyond Mental Illness.

Yvette is also the Chair of the Ontario Association of Patient Councils (OAPC), a member of the Ontario Family Caregivers Advisory Network and the LHIN 12 Crises and Community Resources Committee.


Dylan de la Riviere / Vice President (Toronto)

Dylan is a long-time grass-roots volunteer attracted to the opportunity OPDI provides to meet people with similar interests and, especially, to advance the value and presence of peer support. He studied philosophy and literature at University of Toronto and continues to bring that passionately critical and humanist approach to his work. When not riding his bicycle inordinate distances, he enjoys reading, watching movies and wearing funny hats. He currently volunteers with the Participants’ Council of North York General.


Barbara Frampton / Treasurer (Aylmer)

Barbara has a background in Business and Volunteer Management. She has over 20 years’ experience in the mental health system as a user of service, a volunteer, and a research assistant. Currently, Barbara is the Co-Chair for CONNECT for Mental Health Inc. Previous to that she was the Regional Director of the South Western Alliance Network (SWAN). Barbara maintains membership on a number of community boards and committees. Previously she served as a member of Addictions Services Thames Valley Board of Directors; of the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addictions Programs – Mental Health Council; a Director on the Patients’ Council of Regional Mental Health Care London/St. Thomas; as well as, an executive member of the Ontario Association of Patient Councils. Barbara is a provincial trainer for the OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials Program training, as well as a provincial trainer for the Diabetes and Mental Health Peer Support project. Training in Intentional Peer Support as Alternatives to Crisis and Advanced Level Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator, added skills when she was involved in a four month demonstration project as a Peer Supporter/Peer Navigator in the Emergency Department of London Health Sciences Centre. Barbara has received two distinguished awards, the Ontario Peer Support Initiatives’ Lighthouse Award and the Ontario Addiction and Mental Health’s President Shield Award for outstanding contribution in the field of addiction and mental health. Barbara’s mantra is “Nothing about Us, Without Us”. Most importantly, Barbara has five children and four beautiful granddaughters.


Moira Wheeler / Secretary (North Bay)

Moira has over 30 years of lived experience which she has used to assist others in their recovery toward mental health. She served on the board of directors for six years at her local Peer Initiative. Moira has worked as a Peer Support Worker at a community mental health agency and with women recovering from domestic violence. Both allowed her to use her lived experience as a means of assisting others in their recovery; “this has brought meaning and purpose to my own Life experience.”

Moira holds a college diploma in Human Resource Management and is a past recipient of the Peer of the Year Lighthouse award. During years of self-study in the areas of nutrition and intestinal health and the impact these have on mental health, her focus changed and she currently works part time at a North Bay Wellness Center which applies these principals as a path to optimum health.


Donna Forget / Past President (North Bay)

Donna and her two sons relocated to North Bay, Ontario in 1997 seeking a new direction in her life following ten years in the Banking and Real Estate Industries preceded by eight years of service with the Canadian Armed Forces. Shortly after arriving Donna completed a work placement with the OPP North East Regional Headquarters and the North Bay Psychiatric Hospitals Dual Diagnoses Program.

In 2000 through encouragement from Cathy Burns the North East Regional Abuse Issues Coordinator with the OPP, Donna began speaking publicly to tell her story in hopes of helping police officers and social workers better understand the struggles and challenges of women being abused in their own homes. This was the true beginning of Donna’s healing journey and fired a passion for enlightening, leading and supporting women into healing their lives on a broader scale. Thus was born the desire for the True Self Debwewendizwin Program.

In 2006 Donna in collaboration with many community partners was successful in writing a proposal to the Ontario Women’s Directorate to secure project funding and through Nipissing First Nation; the True Self / Debwewendizwin Program officially opened its doors in January 2007 where Donna has been employed for the past 10 years as Program Manager. Donna has taken advantage of a broad range of continuous learning activities through facilitation and knowledge exchange workshops and seminars with a focus on mental wellness, women’s health, domestic violence, and human resources issues. She has also been active in various organizations at the governance level including People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health, the Local Training and Adjustment Board; North Bay Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee; ODSP Local Planning and Coordination Group; AIDS Committee, the North Bay Psychiatric Hospital Volunteer Association, the Ontario Peer Development Initiative, Nipissing University Aboriginal Council on Education, and Board of Governors and Member of Canadore College Aboriginal Council on Education.


Heather Bruce / Director (Ottawa)

A high school teacher by profession, Heather has been passionate about public mental health education for the last fifteen years, first as a presenter and then as coordinator with CMHA Ottawa’s Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI) program. She was honoured to be appointed project manager for CMHA National’s Mental Health and High School Curriculum Pilot Project, which took her to four cities across Canada, and new career heights. Heather’s personal ambition is to see mandatory mental health literacy for all students and teachers.

She’s interested in spreading awareness of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan beyond consumers to the general public, and surviving her father’s suicide has fueled her work towards creating suicide-safer communities and supporting other survivors. Michael Owens, Director (Thunder Bay) No biography available.


Alise de Bie / Director (Hamilton)

Alise is a crazy person that lives with wonderful neighbours in the east end of Hamilton. They are a PhD candidate at McMaster University (focused on Mad Knowing, Teaching, and Learning) where they create community with fellow mad, disabled, service using, and psychiatry surviving student peers through the Hamilton Mad Students Collective and other groups. They are very passionate about accessible education (people with mental health stuff and disabilities should be able to go school, be welcomed and well supported, and learn useful things!) and bringing consumer/survivor and peer support knowledge into the academy in a way that doesn’t feel gross or result in theft/erasure/exploitation. Favourite present/pastimes include: baking, biking, building blanket forts, borrowing library books, growing purple plant babies, discussing trips to alternate realities, delivering the neighbourhood newspaper, and listening to Netflix while washing dishes. They are grateful for their network of lunatikin/crazykin.


Kelly Gottschling / Director (Chatham)

Kelly has been employed as a senior manager in several areas of social services since 1996. She has been employed by three Ministries. Kelly has completed several years of post-secondary education in business management, developmental services, child development, and autism spectrum disorders. She has been employed as Executive Director of the Mental Health Network for 14 years. She also has received several certifications in mental health and addictions, autism, deaf blind Intervention, early childhood education and developmental disabilities studies. She has taught dual diagnosis at St. Clair College of Applied Arts and Technology and wrote a Healthy Living article for the Chatham Daily News for many years. She now specializes in mental health recovery and is a strong advocate who speaks across the province about stigma and inclusion. Kelly founded three not for profit organizations in her career. Her expertise has been requested by the Human Rights Commission. She has spoken before the House of Commons on a joint committee of mental Health and addictions. She is the chair of the Provincial Consumer Survivor LHIN Leads. Kelly was born and raised in Chatham Kent and lives near her three adult children and two grandchildren.

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