Board of Directors

When you choose to be a part of an organization that is making a difference in our community, you are choosing to do the exact same.

Board of Directors President, Peter Donnelly, speaking at the 11th annual Chocolate Affair Gala

In operation since 1969, the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region is well recognized within the social services circle. In return for being on the leadership team and helping to steer and direct the Distress Centre, you will get the chance to network with others and be exposed to new ideas and feel empowered knowing that you are making a contribution to your community. Whatever your background, you will be able to use your expertise in governing and promoting the Distress Centre. At the same time, you will learn new skills and gain valuable new experiences.

Board Member Position Description

Directors are expected to serve with no financial compensation for at least one 2-year term, with the option of remaining in their position for two additional 2-year terms.

All new Directors must attend an Orientation Session at the beginning of their 2-year term. They are also expected to:

  • Attend monthly Board of Directors’ meetings from September-June of each year
  • Attend an annual Board of Directors’ retreat
  • Participate in the activities of the Board
  • Attend the Annual General Meeting
  • Support any fundraising events organized by the Distress Centre (i.e. Chocolate Affair Gala, Mindful Ink) and be willing to support and champion the Distress Centre within the community.

Although the amount of time Board Members spend monthly on Board activities can vary widely, on average, a Board Member can be expected to spend 5-10 hours per month on related Distress Centre activities.

Board FAQ

Can you tell me about the Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region?

The Distress Centre provides a free and confidential active listening service, offering suicide prevention, crisis intervention, emotional support, information and referrals to the citizens of Ottawa, the Renfrew County, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and Akwesasne Territory, the Counties of Grey and Bruce, West Québec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

Who funds the Distress Centre?

The Centre maintains excellent relationships with its funders, either through traditional funding contributions or through purchase of service agreements. Our funding partners include the Canadian Mental Health Association (Grey Bruce), Centraide Outaouais, the City of Ottawa, the Cornwall Community Hospital, Grey Bruce Health Services, Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, Hôpital Montfort, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line, the Ottawa Hospital, the Pembroke Regional Hospital and United Way/Centraide East Ontario.

What do I need to do to apply to become a Member of the Board of Directors?

If you are interested in applying, please submit a cover letter, your resume, and the names and contact information of three references to the Executive Director.

What happens after I submit my application to the Executive Director?

After submitting your application, the Executive Director will contact you by e-mail to confirm receipt of your application which will be forwarded to the President of the Board.  The President will contact you promptly by phone to explain the application process and timelines in more details.

What is the expected timeline?

It is difficult to provide a definitive timeline, as it depends on the time of year you apply.  Where possible, the Distress Centre prefers to add new Board members only at the Annual General Meeting which is held in June of each year, as new Board members must be voted in by the Distress Centre's general assembly.

Who reviews my application and what are the next steps?

The Board of Directors reviews all applications.  Some applicants are then invited to participate in an interview.  After the interviews are conducted, reference checks will be completed.  The Board of Directors then makes its decision about which successful applicant(s) should be invited to join the Board of Directors.  After receiving Board approval, the applicant’s name is then submitted to the general assembly of the Distress Centre for a vote. Before joining the Board, the applicant must obtain a police records check, if they have not already done so through the Distress Centre's volunteer Crisis Line Responder program.

2020-2021 Board of Directors

Allow us to introduce our 2020-2021 Board of Directors.  These individuals are an integral part of what we do, as they dedicate their time and effort in assisting the Distress Centre stay true to its goals and objectives.

Board PositionName of Board MemberExternal Profession
PresidentPeter DonnellyBusiness & IT Executive
Vice PresidentDavid de LaunayMedical Student (MD 2022), ASoc President, University of Ottawa
SecretaryShannel RajanLawyer, Private Practice in Ottawa
TreasurerFrank CestnikDirector, Investment Advisor, Wealth Management
Richardson GMP Limited
DirectorFatymah DidoInternal Auditor with Environment and Climate Change Canada
DirectorGordon HillLawyer with the Department of Justice Canada
DirectorElie C. LabakyLawyer, Provincial Private Practice
DirectorJaime MorseEducator at the National Gallery of Canada
DirectorCésar Ndéma-MoussaEastern Ontario's Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity in Child Welfare
DirectorSusan PadmosRetired Public Service Executive
DirectorNitika RewariManager, Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Commission of Canada