About Us

directors and advisors

Our Board of Directors

Autism Canada is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and an ASD Advisory Ambassador. The Board also has four committees for Marketing and Communications, Finance and Audit, Nomination and Governance, and Fund Development. 

Autism Canada’s board drives the strategic direction of the organization and establishes its policies, vision, mission and values. If you are interested in joining this strong team of leaders, please contact the board chair by email at info@autismcanada.org.


Paul Finch

Paul was elected treasurer and chief financial officer of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. He is responsible for the BCGEU’s ethical investment program and policy on housing affordability and land economics. Prior to this, Paul served as the BCGEU’s executive vice president for three years.

Paul is a plan partner representative for the public service and college pension plans, a trustee on the Public Service Pension Plan Board of Trustees and is chairperson of the BC Target Benefit Pension Plan. He also serves on the National Executive Board of the National Union of Public and General Employees and the Executive Council of the BC Federation of Labour

Paul has completed the Directors Education Program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He was appointed a Director for the Board of the BC Investment Management Corporation in April of 2019. During his career in the civil service, Paul worked primarily in real estate and IT project management.


Dr. Suzanne Lewis

Professionally, Dr. Suzanne Lewis is a physician specialist in Pediatrics (FRCPC; 1990) and Clinical Genetics (FCCMG; 1991), a Clinical Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC, Senior Clinician Investigator with BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Suzanne also leads the Autism SPectrum Interdisciplinary REsearch (ASPIRE) Program and Chairs the iTARGET Autism Research Collaborative. 

Suzanne’s collaborative work focuses on the advancement of early, effective and personalized diagnostic, treatment and support services to improve the health, function and quality of life for those living with autism.

Treasurer and Head
of Finance

Milena Nazaruk

Milena is currently a Director of Strategic Planning & Risk at Cadillac Fairview and has been in Corporate Real Estate for several years delivering strategic industry insights, especially around retail and office. Her previous experience includes the corporate, small business, and consulting environments holding roles in financial services and consulting (retail, logistics, media, manufacturing). Milena holds an MBA from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and a Math/Statistics Hon. BSc. from the University of Toronto. Milena also serves on the Board of Directors for Toronto CREW advocating for the advancement of women in corporate real estate. 


Cristi Adams

Cristi is a proud member of the Lake Babine Nation, and an Autistic adult.  Cristi is currently Acting Executive Director and CEO of IOGC in Indigenous Services Canada and an appointed advisor to the City of Calgary Mayor and Council on Urban Indigenous issues.  Cristi has over 20 years of experience guiding programs and organizations and providing strategic direction in Oil & Gas and on multiple Boards of Directors. Cristi is one of less than 3,000 PgMP certification holders worldwide and her project management experience includes construction, IT, and regulatory projects as well as Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. 


Cheryl Burt

Cheryl is a marketing and strategy leader with over 20 years of experience working in the health and wellness space for organizations like Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Consumer Health. Most recently she led strategy for a health technology start-up with a mission to help Life Sciences companies transform how they engage with health professionals, patients, and consumers. Health, wellness and having a positive impact on people’s lives is a long-time passion.

Cheryl has previous board and board committee experience at Broad Reach Canada and currently sits on the event planning committee at Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter where she is based in Toronto. 

Past Chair

Dermot Cleary

Dermot is a photographer/director who has executed advertising, editorial and personal fine art projects worldwide over the last 20 years.

Through the medium of visual storytelling, Dermot has developed a deep respect for, and commitment to, the collaborative process and the successful translation of concept into finished product.

In his spare time Dermot enjoys the mostly-humbling experience of functional fitness workouts.
Dermot studied photography and fine art at the Ontario College of Art. He is the father of two boys.

Head of Governance & Nominations

Sally Ginter

Sally’s experience as a non-for-profit Chief Executive Officer spans a decade.  She has served as the President and CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services, North America’s largest autism service, served as Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto, and currently is the Chief Executive Officer for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation.  Sally holds an honours BA in English literature from Trent University and an MBA from Athabasca University.  She has served as Finance Chair for Autism Canada and currently serves as the Chair of Governance & Nominating.  Sally lives in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.


Tom Jackman

Tom is an advocate for acceptance of people on the autism spectrum. He is featured in the film Autism Grows Up, a Kelly Brothers / Ability Hub production, which takes a look at the employment related challenges of young adults living on the spectrum. He is also featured in the book Autism: The Gift That Needs to Be Opened; a resource aimed at improving the lives of parents, educators, and persons on the autism spectrum.


Lori Neustaedter

Lori began her social work career in the mid-1990s, working over these years primarily with families raising children with disabilities.  Since that time Lori has held a wide range of administrative, policy and leadership roles over the course of her career in social services. In her current role, she is responsible for leading strategic policy, program management, stakeholder relations and service delivery for both children and adults living in Manitoba with disabilities. Lori also sat on the Board of Directors for the Autism Manitoba Society for several years and is passionate about helping children live meaningful, inclusive lives in their communities. She enjoys being a parent, together with her husband, three married sons, and a grandmother to three beautiful granddaughters. 


Philippa St. C. Hood, M.A.

Philippa is an autistic self-advocate and a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at Simon Fraser University. She holds a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Her research and clinical work centres around supporting autistic people with mental health difficulties, and improving the autism assessment process. From an advocacy perspective, she works with mental health clinicians to destigmatize services available to autistic people and their families. Philippa lives in British Columbia.


Milena Nazaruk

ASD Advisory Ambassadors

An Autism Ambassador for Autism Canada is an advocate for and from the autistic community who believes in our organization, and our guiding principals.  We depend on our team of subject matter experts to help offer guidance and support for individuals with Autism and their families living in Canada and to ensure that people on the Autism Spectrum have full, healthy, and happy lives.  

Autism Canada is the only Canadian autism advocacy organization with a national perspective on the issues currently facing those with ASD, their families and other stakeholders.  

They help us all to See the Spectrum Differently.

Chair of ASD Ambassadors Committee

Tom Jackman