Board of Directors
Honourary Board Members
Roger Neilson House would like to recognize the tremendous support of our Honourary Board Members:
- Gary Cardiff
- Roy Mlakar
- Dave Ready
The Board is responsible for the overall governance of the affairs of Roger Neilson House.
Click on any Board Member’s name to view their bio.
- Les Bell – Chair
- Mike Lupiano – Vice Chair
- Ruth Hartanto – Past Chair
- Jeff Polowin – Secretary
- Ian Hendry – Treasurer
- Susan Richardson – Director
- Dr. Pranesh Chakraborty – Director
- Robert Houston – Director
- Alexa Brewer – Director
- Megan Wright – Ex-officio Director
- Jacqueline Belsito – Ex-officio Director
- Danielle Robinson – Ex-officio Director
Les Bell is a lifetime Ottawa Resident, a graduate of Brookfield High, Carleton University (BComm ’81) and earned his Chartered Accountant designation in 1984. Les owns and operates Lincoln Heights Ford and has been the Dealer Principal of the dealership since 1998. Les is inspired by the community spirit that is very prevalent in all corners of the Ottawa region and he is active in his many roles to contribute to that community spirit.
Les is happily married to Sheila who also a lifetime Ottawa resident and they are both very proud of their four children, Brendan, Evan, Ben and Emma. Les is a sports enthusiast. Les was first introduced to Roger Neilson House in 2008 as a member of RNH’s Finance and Audit Committee. Les was appointed to the Board June 2010.
Mike Lupiano is an Ottawa native who attended both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and graduated in 1977. Mike spent the first 30 years of his career in Human Resources leadership roles at Mitel, Cognos, Lumonics and Tundra Semiconductor and is currently a Partner in a boutique executive search firm. Always appreciative of the fabulous city we live in here in Ottawa, a sense of community and “giving back” has always been a priority for Mike. He has served on the Board of Directors at St. Patrick’s Home and is presently on the Boards of the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County and Serenity House a substance abuse treatment organization. Mike is married to Kathleen, a retired high school science teacher and is blessed with two grown daughters and a grand-daughter, who keep him young.
Previous to joining the Board in 2006 Ruth Hartanto was a member of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Family Forum and participated in the planning phase of Roger Neilson House as a family representative. She has been involved in children’s health care since the birth of her daughter, Sydney who was “medically fragile and technology dependent.” A CHEO “frequent flyer,” Sydney also visited Roger Neilson House many times before she passed away in April 2009. Sydney’s star now hangs in the Roger Neilson House playroom.
Ruth has presented the family perspective on health and home care to many groups including medical staff, community health care teams and medical students, speaking on the need for family centered care and continuity of care. She previously chaired the Roger Neilson House Family Advisory Committee and sits as a director in the Canadian Family Advisory Network Steering Committee.
After working on the political side of City Hall for many years, Ruth now works in the Communications Department at the City of Ottawa.
Jeff Polowin was born, raised and educated in Ottawa graduating from Glebe Collegiate and Carleton University. He is currently a senior vice president with Hill and Knowlton Canada after a career in the media and 6 years in the Mayor’s Office with Jim Durrell. As a lifelong resident of Ottawa, he has combined his work experience with a commitment to put something back into the community. This includes a 2 year stint as the Chair of the Queensway Carleton Hospital Board of Directors and his current membership on the Regional Cancer Foundation’s Courage Cabinet.
Jeff and Angie have three children and eight grandchildren – 11 additional reasons for his involvement in Roger Neilson House. He was appointed to the Board in June 2011.
Ian is a partner of Hendry Warren LLP Chartered Accountants. A graduate of the Queen’s University School of Business in 1977 and was admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1979. Ian is also a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practicioners and a Certified Financial Planner.
Ian has been involved with many community organisations including the CHEO Foundation, The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa and is a past chair of the Roger Neilson House Board of Directors.
Ian was reappointed to the Board in June of 2014 and is a member of the Finance Committee.
Susan Richardson is Vice President, Child Development and Community Services at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). She completed her Bachelor of Science, Occupational Therapy at Queen’s University and a Master’s of Business Administration at the University of British Columbia. She has also completed a fellowship program in Executive Training for Research Application (EXTRA) through the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF).
As a member of the Executive Team at CHEO, Susan is responsible for Diagnostic Imaging, Genetics, Newborn Screening Ontario, Laboratories, Pharmacy, Autism, Rehabilitation and Palliative Care as well as allied health professional practice. Susan is providing leadership for the development of a Maternal/Newborn Centre in collaboration with the Regional Maternal Newborn Program Leadership. She is also Executive Lead for BORN Ontario.
Susan is a strong advocate for patient and family-centered care; her interests include patient safety and continuity of care. Currently, she is the Chair of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres. Susan has memberships in the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and the Canadian College of Health Services Executives.
Dr. Chakraborty is a physician certified by the Royal College in Medical Biochemistry and Pediatrics, with a subspecialty in Biochemical Genetics. He joined CHEO in 2003 as a clinician seeing patients with Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM). In 2006, he led the transition of Ontario’s Newborn Screening Program to Ottawa leading to the establishment of Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) at CHEO. In 2008, he was instrumental in the founding of the Better Outcomes Registry and Network (BORN Ontario) at CHEO as a prescribed registry in Ontario. Finally, he is a Principal Investigator for the Canadian Inherited Metabolic Disease Research Network which recently was awarded a $1.5M CIHR Emerging Teams grant for rare disease research. Throughout his career, he has been involved in clinical and translational research related to IEM.
Robert Edward Houston, Q.C.
Robert has been practicing with Burke-Robertson since 1992 and was with Soloway Wright from 1969—1992. His areas of practice include Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation and Supreme Court of Canada Agency.
Robert has been active in a number of professional associations and committees including: the County of Carleton Law Association – Trustee from 1979 – 1987; President 1986 – 1987; the Canadian Bar Association – Member of Council from 1982 – 1984; and 1986 – 1987; the Advocates’ Society – Director from 1977 – 1979; the Chief Justice’s Committee of the Bench and Bar (Province of Ontario) from 1984 – 1990; the Ontario Court Management Advisory Committee (Province of Ontario) from September 1990 to 1996; the Supreme Court of Canada Liaison Committee; (Canadian Bar Association from 1985 to 1990); the Registrar’s Ottawa Agents Practice and Procedures Committee (Supreme Court of Canada) from 1991 – present; Lecturer – University of Ottawa Law School – Trial Advocacy from 1982 – 1989; Lecturer – Bar Admission Course (Ottawa) – Criminal Procedure from 1979 to 1999; and Fellow American College of Trial Lawyers.
Alexa Brewer brings extensive knowledge related to health systems and health policy to the Roger Neilson House Board. Alexa has significant governance experience within the healthcare sector, and has most recently completed two 3-year terms as a director on the Board of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network.
A nurse by background, her career also includes senior roles in the federal government, and she has significant expertise in the areas of health systems integration, governance and health policy as well as information management and technology. Alexa has a Bachelor of Nursing from McGill University and an MBA from the University of Ottawa.
Megan Wright is the Executive Director of Roger Neilson House and the Director of Palliative Care at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Megan started as the ED at Roger Neilson House in 2014 and has been a valued member of the CHEO Management team since 2003.
Megan received her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Ryerson University; she also has her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Toronto, and graduated from the Champlain LHIN Senior Leadership Program, among many other courses and achievements.
Prior to obtaining her position at CHEO, Megan worked at both the Credit Valley Hospital and at the Bloorview MacMillan Centre, where she was a nursing manager. She has 20 years of leadership experience in the health care environment.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Jacqueline Belsito is a fundraising and marketing professional with over 28 years of experience. After graduating from Algonquin College, Jacqueline began her career in the high tech sector with marquee companies such as Corel, Cognos and Mitel. A career shift into philanthropy saw her providing leadership for hospitals, universities, and social organizations for over 17 years. In her current position as VP of Philanthropy at the CHEO Foundation, Jacqueline feels privileged to support our areas most vulnerable population, our children and youth. She is an aunt of five nephews, a hands on godmother and proud to be part of the lives of three beautiful step children. As an active advocate for CHEO and Roger Neilson House, Jacqueline’s proudest moments come when she finds donors who are interested in making a difference in the lives of children and youth and helps them start and build meaningful relationships through philanthropy.
Danielle Robinson is the President & CEO of the Ottawa Senators Foundation.