CASDA’s Board of Directors is made of representatives from across Canada who bring to the table a range of experiences and expertise.

Our Board Members:

 

 

Debbie Irish – Chair

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Debbie Irish is an accomplished not-for-profit leader with over 30 years experience in developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Early in her career Debbie focused on the delivery of respite services to provide families a much needed break from caregiving. This led to the development of respitesevices.com, a service that supports families in navigating services, as well as connecting to respite providers. Under Debbie’s leadership this program grew to a province-wide service in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Debbie worked in a variety of roles at Geneva Centre for Autism, including leading large training projects through the Training Institute, client and family focused program development, operations and lastly as the CEO. In her current role, Debbie is the Chief Operating Officer at Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. Working in a pan disability organization Debbie uses her experience and knowledge to create new collaborative opportunities and ensures the voices of autism are represented in pan-disability initiatives.

 

 

Karen Bopp – Vice-Chair

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Dr. Karen Bopp has worked extensively with autistic individuals and their families for over 25 years. She received her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology in 1995 and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2006. Following her studies, she completed a 2-year interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship in the faculties of Medicine and Education at UBC. Dr. Bopp co-founded one of the first Early Intervention programs in British Columbia. She then went on to join the Children and Youth with Special Needs Policy team at the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) where she held the positions of Senior Behaviour Consultant, Autism Policy Lead and Director of Autism Information Services BC. At MCFD, Dr. Bopp led the Cross-Ministry Autism Services and Supports Review; was responsible for the development of autism policy for the autism funding programs; developed the BC Autism Outreach and the Autism Information Services programs; consulted with intergovernmental relations; and provided clinical consultation to children and youth with complex care needs across the province.

Dr. Bopp is currently on a secondment from MCFD until April 2022 and is now the Director of Provincial Outreach at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism (CIRCA) at UBC. At CIRCA she is leading the creation of online, sustainable professional development opportunities for interdisciplinary professionals to improve access to effective, evidence-based services and promote acceptance and inclusion for autistic individuals and their families across British Columbia and beyond.

 

Shino Nakane – Vice-Chair

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Shino has a passion for helping non-profit groups that strive to meet the unique needs of families like hers. She currently manages community relations for Autism Society Alberta, helping launch province-wide initiatives like Autism Alberta’s Alliance and supporting the foundational work in developing a provincial autism strategy. She also works with Autism Calgary in helping to develop multiple project initiatives. 

She has volunteered on a variety of boards and committees over the past decade for organizations like the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She is the Vice-Chair for the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, an advisory body for the Government of Alberta

Shino is the mother of a young adult who is on the autism spectrum who communicates uniquely without words to the people he loves and the world around him. She enjoys walking and listening to music with her son. Shino continually strives to spearhead efforts so that all people are able to live in accessible and inclusive communities.

 

Kimberley Ward – Board Secretary

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Kimberley Ward completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1995 at the University of Calgary. One of the requirements associated with her doctoral program was the completion of a one-year clinical internship at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. During her years in graduate school, her research focused specifically on the social-cognitive differences associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kimberley became a Registered Psychologist in 1996 and joined the clinical team at Society for Treatment of Autism (STA). After serving as the Clinical Director for nine years, she transitioned to the role of Executive Director in 2018. STA provides an array of services to enhance lives across the Spectrum, including early intervention, out-of-home placements for complex youth, community consultation and life skills and employment supports for adolescents and adults. She has also worked with the Government of Alberta to develop a resource manual for teachers (i.e., Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders) and draft recommendations for service delivery (i.e., A System of Care for Children with Autism: Expert Panel Report). Finally, as a Sessional Instructor Kimberley developed and taught a course that focused on “ASD across the Life Span” at the University of Calgary as part of Graduate Certificate program.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kLrD25Q1O3Q

 

Arshad Zaver – Treasurer

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Arshad Zaver is currently the Board Treasurer at CASDA. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Specialization in Accounting. Upon completion, he decided to pursue the Chartered Accountancy designation. He has held several roles with a variety of not-for-profit organizations, some of which include the University of Toronto, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, where he currently holds a role as the Director of Finance. Arshad was appointed to the Board in June 2020. He is excited to make a positive contribution towards the autism community, while adding some flavour and spice to the finances.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OMiS1aYm74c

 

Adrian Bohach – Director

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Adrian is recognized as a world thought leader and innovator in the growing Social Enterprise sector. He is a gifted leader with a vision that inspires everyone he meets.

For over 35 years Adrian has built a reputation as a leader with a track record of delivering exceptional results in the business, government, and the non-profit sectors. His diverse career includes roles as an actuary, business owner, executive management consultant, writer and board chair/member. He is a pioneer of social enterprise in North America, and has been a advocate of the Social Enterprise model since 1989.

As CEO of the Enterprise4Good since 1996, Adrian has implemented his vision of sound business practices and entrepreneurial spirit to transform a small, local charity into a large, thriving business delivering social good across Canada and abroad. His passion is to grow the organization to a level where it can actually solve social issues and affect real change in societies both domestically and internationally.

Adrian has chaired and served on numerous community boards and committees including the Calgary Foundation, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary Rotary Club, and Champions Employment Centre. When Adrian is not working, you can be sure to find him spending time with his wonderful children, of which he has 9. He loves being a father and enjoys all the blessings that children bring.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y5A0oZwm6pk

 

Maddy (Matthew) Dever – Director

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Maddy (Matthew) Dever (they/them) is an Autistic adult and parent of five children with four also on the autism spectrum, living in Carleton Place in rural Eastern Ontario. Maddy advocates with both provincial and federal governments for the inclusion and acceptance of Autistic individuals and for Autistic people to have their own voice in policy decisions. They are a former member of the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Advisory Panel, and current member of the OAP Implementation Working Group. Maddy is a board member of ConnectWell Community Health (formerly known as Lanark Renfrew Health & Community Services), and is active in advocating for increasing disability supports to above poverty levels, affordable and accessible housing in rural communities, as well as for adequate funding for both LTC and home care. Maddy has also led workshops and panels on topics surrounding autism and education, focussing on bringing a strengths-based approach to the language we use regarding disabilities. They spoke in 2020 at the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit, and Holland Bloorview Summit and are now part of the ECHO Autism Ontario Expert Hub Team. They are an inaugural editor of the Canadian Journal of Autism Equity. Maddy will soon be joining CASDA’s Board of Directors.

 

Heather Driscoll – Director

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Heather Driscoll is a bilingual management consultant specializing in strategic planning, marketing/ communications, knowledge management and stakeholder engagement. She has also spent several years volunteering in the education, health and special needs sectors, holding senior volunteer positions with Autism Ontario and Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, and serving as Chair of her childrens’ school council. A key focus of Heather’s charitable work has been to help not-for-profit organizations leverage the value of emerging technologies such as social media to inform and engage stakeholder groups. As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, she has advocated for over a decade for more services for all individuals and families affected by the disorder, and for a Canadian national autism strategy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HDzN-gWEQnI

 

Jill Farber – Director

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More information to come.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PVKeBJCQ14s

 

Brian Foster – Director

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Brian Foster (MA 2005; Ph.D. 2012) has worked in non-profits for over 10 years, and is an experienced political and social policy analyst, strategic consultant, and lecturer–having taught in history and disability studies at several universities and colleges across Nova Scotia and Ontario. As the Operations Director at Autism Nova Scotia, Brian oversees day-to-day operations and strategic direction of several frontline departments, coordinates the development of much of the organization’s social and policy research, and directs Exploring the Spectrum–a rapidly growing training social enterprise. Brian has been pleased to help Autism Nova Scotia develop into one of the largest community-based autism Organizations in Canada, and a leader in advocacy, supports, training and programming across the lifespan. His current advocacy and social policy work is focused on expanding employment supports, affordable-supportive housing policies, and helping build a person-directed facilitation network across Nova Scotia.

 

rebekah

Rebekah Kintzinger – Director

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Rebekah, diagnosed Autistic in 2012, is a prominent Autistic self-advocate from Kelowna, British Columbia (BC), Canada. Since her diagnosis, her advocacy has included writing extensively about autism in the context of health and policy, which has led her to be featured in a multitude of mediums including magazines, news articles, webinars, the radio, and she has been quoted at the Senate of Canada. 


In addition to presenting her work at conferences, Rebekah is also a Director at the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA), where she has published documents on language and autism. Most recently, she spoke at the United Nations Conference Side Event on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and is a founding member of the Canadian Journal of Autism Equity where she continues her advocacy in championing the voices of Autistic Canadians. Rebekah is also an Okanagan Advisor for the Pacific Family Autism Network’s Voices of Autism program


Rebekah is very creative. Aside from loving to draw and write, she also appreciates cooking for her two boys, acting out scenes from Monty Python with them and singing karaoke together.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vAgGPBSwvlQ

 

Tanya McLeod – Director

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Tanya McLeod is currently President of The Sinneave Family Foundation (Sinneave) located in Calgary, Alberta. Committed to delivering outcomes in education, employment and supported independent living, Sinneave seeks to create opportunities, unlock potential and shape a future where autistic Canadians lead fulfilled lives. As a member of CASDA’s Board of Directors, Tanya brings decades of experience working with the federal government as well as skills and experience in governance, teamwork, strategy, risk management, and stakeholder engagement. Tanya is committed to contributing to the alliance’s collaborative work to inform the government’s development of a comprehensive national autism strategy. Tanya also sits on the Board of Directors of PolicyWise for Children and Families, a not-for-profit corporation that exists to improve child, family and community well-being by leading, creating, enabling and mobilizing research and evaluation for evidence-informed policy and practice.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/z0WcXz1xbf4

 

Sue VanDeVelde-Coke – Director

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Sue VanDeVelde-Coke is the President & CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, the largest provider of support for children and adults on the Autism Spectrum Disorder spectrum in Canada. Dr. Coke served as Executive Vice President and Chief Professions/Nursing Executive at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a 1250 bed facility in Toronto, Ontario, with operational responsibilities for 3500 health care professionals. Previously she was Vice President at VON National Canada, where she led the merging of Ontario VON branches into one governance and operational structure. Dr. Coke also held the position of Senior Vice President, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre where she was responsible for the operations of the major clinical programs. She most recently served as the Executive Director of CARE, Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses and health care consultant focusing on Professional Practice reorganization, senior leadership team building, organizational reviews of organizations, HR planning, staffing and budget realignment.

She has served on numerous federal, provincial and local task forces and committees, focused on health care restructuring, human resource management and more effective ways to manage health care resources. Her most recent research has been as co-investigator on the National Nursing Quality Report, an initiative to set up a national set of structure, process, outcome nurse-sensitive quality indicators. Dr. Coke’s research “The Effectiveness and Efficiency of providing Home Care Visits in Nursing Clinics versus the Traditional Home Setting” focused on home care delivery methods, providing the empirical evidence to support the change in home care regulations to permit setting up nursing clinics in the community.

She has served on the Canadian Nurses Association, the VON National Board of Directors, and is currently a Director on the Habitat for Humanity, GTA, the Canadian Nurses Foundation Board, and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance Board of Directors. She has served for many years on the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses Executive Committee, including president.

Dr. Coke earned an MA from the University of Washington, MBA from McGill University and her PhD from McMaster University. She also serves as lecturer at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and has held similar positions at the University of Manitoba, Ottawa University, and Rush University in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Certified Health Executive.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cWY56nJ97Yg

Corey Walker – Director

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Corey Walker is a self-advocate from Prince George, British Columbia, and a champion for inclusive employment and better services for autistic adults. Corey was unexpectedly diagnosed with ASD in 2001, and since then he has made it his life mission to better understand autism, and to improve the quality of life for autistic Canadians. Corey spent almost eight years as the Northern Regional Coordinator for AutismBC, where he established and ran the organization’s first adult support group, and first young adult social group. As a founding member of the Prince George Adult Autism Stakeholder’s Group, Corey played a key role in organizing two Adult Autism Initiatives, one in Prince George in 2015, and one in Terrace, BC in 2016. These were free one day events that brought together stakeholders in their respective communities to identify service gaps for autistic adults in those communities, and to develop a plan to address those gaps. Both events were very successful, and now as the Chair of the Stakeholder’s Group, Corey is working with the New Horizons Society in Williams Lake, BC to plan for a similar two day event for both Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Corey recently led two employment related projects for two different autism organizations. From March 2020 to February 2021, he led the Success in the Workplace Project for the Sinneave Family Foundation. As part of the project, Corey collaborated with self-advocates and inclusive employment experts from across Canada, which guided the development of the comprehensive toolkit Success in the Workplace Employer Toolkit: Strategies from Autistic Employees, of which Corey was the primary author. This toolkit provides employers with simple to use, autistic employee approved strategies and tools for supporting autistic employees. This toolkit was the brainchild of the Prince George Adult Autism Stakeholders Group, who recognized the need to develop some best practices for supporting autistic employees in the workforce.

From October 2020 until April 2021, Corey served as the Hub and Spoke Coordinator for the Canucks Autism Network, where he led Project Relay, a short-term project designed to drive the development and application of innovative methods of supporting autistic job seekers and employees and employees or job seekers with an intellectual disability in finding and maintaining employment in the context of COVID-19. As part of this project, Corey built a hub team of self-advocates, employment support workers and a psychiatrist who presented on important disability employment related topics during three virtual webinars, held in February and March 2021. Corey remains with the Canucks Autism Network as a part-time learning facilitator, where he will deliver presentations on autism to organizations and businesses requesting them.

Corey has been involved with CASDA since 2016. He participated in the Canadian Autism Partnership Project, has spoken at three Canadian Autism Leadership Summits, and chaired the Lived Experience Subcommittee, part of the main planning committee for the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in both 2020 and 2021.

Corey is a dynamic and engaging public speaker, and is working to establish a career as a motivational speaker. He is available to hire for virtual or in person presentations, and has provided autism training to a wide range of professionals, including teachers, vocational workers, service providers, group home workers, and more. In addition to speaking at the Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in the past, Corey has delivered workshops at three Inclusion BC annual meetings in different communities. Aside from speaking, Corey’s personal interests include camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and learning to play the ukulele. Corey loves music, and currently hosts three weekly music shows on 93.1 CFIS-FM, playing classic country, gospel (all kinds), and bluegrass.

 
 

View the CASDA Governance Handbook here.