Our Board

Clare Burke, Director

My name is Clare Burke, and I have been a Board Member for three years. The SHRC is a wonderful organization of people helping others through Peer Support. It is my firm belief that everybody, many times in their life, needs help from someone else. Be it a shoulder to lean on, advice, emotional support or a safe place to talk to other people about personal challenges, we can’t do it alone.

When I was asked to the Board, it was a very challenging time for me personally. But I felt a wonderful sense of moving myself forward from my challenges by knowing that in some small way, I could help others to do so as well.

I am a self employed, small business owner of Odd Socks Laundry, and have been since 1998. I provide a wash and fold laundry service with pick up delivery. I am a mother to my wonderful twins. Each, personally, have struggled with their own challenges. I am forever grateful for the support of school counsellors, staff and peer support we have received along our journey. I am a strong advocate for human rights, in general, but am a particularly strong ally of LGBTQ rights. Inclusion and mindfulness are some of the key components to my life decisions.

My educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Psychology (1996).

The Self-Help Resource Centre has taught me much as a Board Member, as a member of our communities, as a person who needed Peer Support personally, and as an individual who can make a difference in other people’s lives by paying it forward with Peer Support.

Connie Sarvanandan, Secretary

Connie Sarvanandan has been a member of the SHRC since March of 2014.  She joined the group initially to start to give back to the great community, city and country that allowed a poor, immigrant child to succeed.  Peer support was critical to her success.  She has stayed with the SHRC because she has found a bond and purpose with the mission statement, staff and board members.

Connie Sarvanandan is Senior Vice President of International for HBO’s Home Entertainment Division.  She is responsible for the Product Management for 71 international countries including Canada, UK, France, Germany and Australia.  HBO Home Entertainment delivers HBO’s amazing content via DVD, Blu Ray and Digital HD.  Connie’s team works in HBO offices in NYC, Toronto and London.

Prior to her current role, Connie held various senior management positions within HBO Home Entertainment including country management for major territories.  Connie has 20+ years of marketing experience with various consumer packaged goods companies in United States (San Francisco) and Canada (Toronto) including Nestle, PowerBar, Dare and Warner Lambert.

In her spare time, Connie loves to hike and travel with her family.

Cristina Arrais, Treasurer

Cristina Arrais is the Treasurer at the SHRC, and has been a member on the board since 2012. After successfully completing her Bachelor of Administrative Studies with a Specialized Honours in Accounting at York University, she pursued further education and received her professional accreditation as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). She brings over nine years of experience in financial planning and reporting, financial analysis, project management, and implementing process improvements, to the board.

Cristina is a Senior Financial Analyst at the Hospital for Sick Children since 2011, where she has supported financial accounting and reporting and currently works managing the capital assets for the hospital. This role has allowed Cristina to provide insightful analysis to the capital spend at the hospital and lead various capital assets reporting improvements initiatives, which reduced lead time of report generation, mitigated risk of vendor fraud, and so much more.

As the Treasurer at the SHRC, Cristina is able to use her financial skills to ensure efficient and valuable spending on programs, services, and administrative costs, so that the SHRC can continue to provide quality community engagement.

In her free time, Cristina loves to practice yoga, travel, and spend time with her family.

Donald Locke, Director

Don has over 30 years’ of varied experience in investment banking, industrial marketing, and general management, including in the non-for-profit sector. He is highly knowledgeable in relationship-based investment banking, lending, mergers and acquisitions, project management and justification, marketing management and joint ventures. He has been a Board Director with SHRC since 2015. Don believes in giving back to community, and works to build connections where they are useful and where they empower people.

Don worked as the Director of Corporate Finance with Prairie Capital Advisors, and was a partner with Osprey Capital Partners Inc. Don volunteers on two other not-for-profit boards and is a highly valued member of the SHRC team.

Earl Silver, Director

Earl Silver has been a member of the Board since 2015 and has served in a similar capacity for a range of non-profits over the years.

Earl brings his expertise in human resources of over30 years that include such areas as training and development, recruitment, compensation, employee relations and organizational development.  As a director and senior manager, he has worked for a diversity of companies and industries over the years.  His wealth of knowledge will be of value to our agency.  As well, Earl has taught HR subjects at Seneca and George Brown Colleges.

On the educational front, Earl has a BA from the University of Alberta and a MBA from the Rotman School of Business.

Earl is married to his partner Denise Brody for the last 15 years and has two step children, Sarah and Jesse.  Recently, he became a grandfather for this first time with the birth of Estee, a very engaging little girl.

His interests are also quite eclectic.  These include renovation, reading, movies and theatre, canoeing and camping, politics, just to name a few.

The reasons that Earl joined SHRC are that he believes in the power beyond self in the facilitation of change and improvement.  When given the chance and support, he believes that people can address their concerns, whatever they may be.  The right kind of coaching support in a group or team environment matters as it enables individuals to move forward in a positive direction with the helpful hand of others who are in a similar situation.

Lauren Cole, Vice President

Lauren Cole joined SHRC as a board director in 2012; she became Vice President in 2015. She has her CPA designation and currently holds the position of Senior Manager at Crowe Soberman LLP, which is Canada’s largest independent accounting firm.

In addition to these roles and responsibilities, Lauren is passionate about traveling, cooking, animals, and leading an active lifestyle. Lauren has participated in multiple Rides to Conquer Cancer: biking over 200 kilometers to raise money for cancer research, and running in other various fundraising initiatives. She is an active member in SHRC’s Funding Development Committee of the Board.

Lauren hopes to continue giving back to the several communities she is passionate about, offering her experience in finance and fundraising to advance SHRC’s mission of making peer support accessible for all.

Lynn Hansen Hornacek, Director & Past President

Lynn is a strong advocate for peer support and community building. As a former social worker, she has supported peer support initiatives in a variety of settings such as shelters and transitional housing. She has worked both as front line staff and as Manager in shelters for abused women, and also with newcomers, youth and children. She “retired” from social work when she became a mother and has since remained a stay at home parent.

She holds a MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University (1996) and both a BA (1989) and BSc (1987) from Dalhousie University. She is a competitive swimmer with the North York Maters Aquatic Club.

Michelle Westin, President

Michelle has over 10 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector, and has a passion for community development and health promotion. She firmly believes that if there is an issue in the community, the community has a powerful voice in the shaping of a solution.

As Manager of the Diabetes Education Program and COPD – Lung Health Program at Black Creek Community Health Centre, Michelle first started working with the SHRC as part of the  “Live, Learn and Share – Diabetes Peer Support Project, in 2010. She has always been keenly aware of the power of peer support in engaging individuals who may feel isolated, and as a means of creating opportunities for learning, and developing strategies for coping.

She has been with the Black Creek CHC since 2007, where she started as the Community Health Worker with the Diabetes Education Program. BCCHC offers a variety of primary care and health promotion services for the Black Creek community in the northwest part of Toronto. Prior to working at BCCHC, Michelle was a Public Programs and Services Coordinator at the Canadian Diabetes Association, where she worked with various sectors, including corporate, educational and health institutions in order to raise awareness and build capacity for supporting individuals with diabetes.

Michelle joined the Self Help Resource Centre Board in 2012, bringing with her experience in Health Promotion, Community Development, Strategic Planning, Volunteer Management and  Grant Development. Michelle also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Healthcare Interpretation Network.

Norm Smyth, Director

Norm smith is the chair of the Funding Development committee at SHRC, and has been on the Board since 2015. Norm Smyth is the Ontario Senior Manager at Kids Help Phone, working out of his Toronto office. He has been in the non-profit sector for his entire 18 year career. Norm has worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, The Easter Seal Society, and the Canadian Diabetes Association before coming to the Kids Help Phone team in 2007.

Norm has an extensive history of fundraising through events: He has managed telethons, golf tournaments, galas, and other high-profile events.  Norm has managed many of Kids Help Phone’s signature events and has raised over $60 million in support of Kids Help Phone.  He has been very successful in building strong relationships with donors/participants to ensure future success for Kids Help Phone events.

An avid sports fan, Norm lives in Toronto with his wife, Carm, and their  10 and 5 year old boys.

Somya Sood, Director

Somya is a Lawyer by profession. She found the Self-Help Resource Centre when she was looking to volunteer in the non-profit sector, and has been a board member since 2011. She has since become well-acquainted with peer support groups and is consistently impressed by their positive impact on people’s lives. She is committed to spreading the message and reach of the Self-Help Resource Centre to as many people as possible.


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