Governance and Leadership

Sunbeam Community & Developmental Services is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors.

The Board of twelve is comprised of a diverse group of skilled, talented and experienced community leaders who give generously of their time to attend Committee and monthly Board meetings. The Chief Executive Officer, Directors and Senior Managers are responsible for the day to day operations of the organization and report regularly to the Board of Directors.

Leadership Team

Board of Directors

Brian Swainson, Chief Executive Officer

Brian SwainsonSunbeam welcomed Brian as our new organizational leader in January, 2020.   Brian has an extensive professional background in senior leadership positions across healthcare and long-term care, as well as in community services, government and other non-profit organizations. Having studied, lived, worked and volunteered in Waterloo Region for over 25 years, Brian has a deep understanding of, and appreciation for Sunbeam’s vital role in serving the needs of exceptional individuals and their families in the local community.

Brian earned his master’s degree from the University of Waterloo, bachelors degree from the University of Winnipeg, and is also a designated accountant. Having achieved certification as a healthcare administrator through the AdvantAge Ontario provincial association in 2012, he was the sole recipient of the association’s Long-Term Care Leadership Award in 2018.

Brian and his partner were fortunate to have been family home providers for an individual requiring intellectual, physical and emotional supports, and he also grew up experiencing his mother being the primary in-home caregiver to his grandmother with advanced dementia.  He credits these, and other life experiences, with driving his commitment to supporting the needs and desires of vulnerable persons in the community.

Susan Stark, Manager, Community Engagement

Susan21 years ago, Susan had the opportunity to switch careers and work in the charitable sector. Having the opportunity to raise awareness of, and funds for fantastic people and causes, has changed her view of the world. Her role at Sunbeam has been the most rewarding of her career and she feels privileged to work with such an amazing, dedicated, and passionate group of people. Susan has four grown children and 6 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling and Sunday dinners, that can get a little wild, but she enjoys a ‘bit of chaos’.

Mary Flynn-Carey, Executive Assistant

MaryMary has extensive experience in business and office administration, including 16-years as an Executive Assistant.

She chose to work at Sunbeam, because of its dedication to providing the best care possible to individuals with developmental, physical & emotional impairments.
Mary enjoys a healthy lifestyle and values her time with family and friends, both in Canada and overseas.

Laura Thies, Chief Operating Officer

LauraThis year, Laura will celebrate 40 years in Developmental Services.

She is appreciative of the opportunities and experiences that working for Sunbeam Community and Developmental Services has provided her.

Tracy Erb, Director, Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre

TracyTracy has worked in the Developmental Services Sector for the past 20 years, and has been with Sunbeam for the past 14 years.
Tracy fills the role of Director at Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre.

Neil Butler, Manager, Program Services

NeilNeil supervises clinical services, (speech, behaviour, autism behaviour, Applied Behaviour Analysis, health care and social work, in addition to intake and Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre administration. He is originally from St. John’s Newfoundland and is living in this area for 20-years, while working for Sunbeam.

Neil has over 40 years experience working with people with Intellectual Disabilities and ASD, and has a degree in Master of Education (Counselling) and Bachelor of Science (Psychology).

Deborah Gellatly, Manager, TAYs and CQA

DeborahDeborah says “I have had the honour of working in the Developmental Services sector since 1987”. She has always strived to advocate for individuals and ensure that the supports they receive are focusing on their wellbeing and hopes and dreams. She worked for Community Living Cambridge for 22 years supporting individuals to volunteer or work in the community; she also managed the Job Track program for 10-years and worked on the pilot project that introduced the new Application for Developmental Services and Supports, and became an Assessor for Developmental Services Ontario (DSO). She started working for Sunbeam Developmental resource Centre in 2017, and currently manages the Transitional Aged Youth Coordination Program, the Sunbeam Host Family Home Program, and the Continued Quality Assurance Department.

Lourdes Toro, Director, Community Living Services

Lourdes T.Lourdes is a foreign  trained physician with many years of experience working with people affected by HIV and AIDS in Mexico. As she settled in Canada with her family in 1998, her commitment to social causes brought her to the Developmental Services field; during the last 20 years she has worked passionately to promote social inclusion for people who have been labeled disabled. Her goal is to look for opportunities to build a community that values inclusion and recognizes that everyone has a contribution to make.

Lourdes’ focus in her role as the Director of Community Living Services, is to continue with Sunbeam’s long history of providing high standards of support to the important people who use our services, and to raise awareness so they can be seen as the contributing, valuable and important fellow citizens they are.

Kanika Kohli, Manager, Clinical Quality & Professional Practice

Kanika K.Kanika has worked in the healthcare sector in various front-line and leadership positions. She is a master’s prepared registered nurse (BScN MN RN). As a manager in clinical quality & professional practice, she supports the oversight of health services, clinical direction and professional practice direction within the Community Living Services team.
She is proud to be part of the Sunbeam team, which has such a positive and long standing reputation in the community and the developmental and healthcare sector.

Beverley Clark, Nurse Manager


As an RN Beverley has worked in developmental services since 1974, working as frontline staff, Agency supervisor and Nurse Manager of our group homes serving our medically fragile population.  Beverley is a strong believer in life-long learning and providing care for our individuals served and their families in a compassionate and best practices way.  She enjoys promoting and encouraging growth in staff to be their best for our individuals served.  When Beverley is not at work, she enjoys using her nursing skills in other areas such as Parish Nursing, foot care and spending time with her 14 grandchildren.

Heather Leisegang, Nurse Manager

Heather As an RN and supervisor at Sunbeam, Heather provides support to our medically-fragile homes and to those who live and work there while engaging in agency-wide health services. She has worked in developmental services since 2008, and spent two years nursing in South Africa running a pediatric HIV/AIDS health clinic. She is a strong believer in holistic, evidence-based, person-centred care performed in a climate of care continuity. When Heather is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, going camping and hiking.

Nancy Plater, Director, Developmental Services Ontario

NancyPrior to coming to work at Sunbeam Nancy worked as Director of Community Services with Kerry’s Place Autism Services and Director of Residential Services with Niagara Support Services.  Her focus at Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) is to ensure a fair and equitable process is maintained for people applying for and receiving adult developmental services.  She is passionate about inclusion and participation for all which has led to her work at Sunbeam.  She is the proud mom of 2 young boys and enjoys spending lots of time being active outdoors!

Nancy Gilchrist, Manager, Developmental Services Ontario

NancyNancy has been working almost 35 years in the Developmental Services and Mental Health sector in both front line and management capacities.  In her current role as Manager of Developmental Services Ontario Central West Region, her goal at the end of each day is to ensure that she and her team have provided the families, the individuals that they support and the service agencies, with the best possible service. In her spare time, she and her family enjoy travelling, spending time at their cottage, playing board games and enjoying their 2 pug dogs.

Tim Wilson, Chief Administrative Officer

TimPrior to joining Sunbeam in 1989 Tim worked in retail banking and productivity improvement consulting. The focus of his role is supporting and coordinating Sunbeam’s administrative departments in meeting the needs of the people we serve and our associated community.

Tim says ‘Participating in the growth of our services and continually improving our organizational performance, continues to motivate our work’. Married to Laurie, they have a daughter in Calgary and a son in Waterloo. Outside of work Tim enjoys coaching Lacrosse, running, reading and going to their old family cottage.

Sana Ali, Manager, Finance Services

Sana AliSana Ali joined Sunbeam as a Manager, Financial Services in 2019. She is a CPA, CMA graduate with over 12 years of experience in the finance field. Sana helps senior management and Board of Directors in decision making, by providing them with accurate and up to date financial information and analysis.

She enjoys working at Sunbeam because of the great cause the organization works for. During her spare times, Sana enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Natalie Perna, Manager, People & Culture

NatalieNatalie Perna is a graduate of McMaster University and Conestoga College and holds her CHRL designation from the HRPA. With over 10 years of broad-based Human Resources experience, her goal is to continuously improve the workplace for staff and for clients. Natalie loves what Sunbeam Community and Developmental Services does for individuals and families and is proud to be part of an organization with such a long standing reputation in the community in which she lives.

Dan Derruyter, Manager, Plant Operations

DanDan has over 30 years experience in Building operation and Maintenance and Construction. He is a

Licensed plumber and holds designations in Building Environment System Maintenance and Operation as well as a designation from PEMAC. Before joining Sunbeam’s team, he worked in the Facility Management field in the Financial and Public/Private sectors. Dan is the father of 3 boys and two girls and a grandfather of 5 boys.

Ben Spengen, President

BenBen joined the Sunbeam Board of Directors in 2015 and was appointed to the role of President in 2019 after serving two years as the Vice President and Chair of the Governance Committee.
Ben brings a deep understanding of the needs of the people served, the staff and the Sunbeam community as a whole. His eldest daughter Rebecca has an intractable seizure disorder and has lived at Sunbeam’s Sims House since the home was built in 2004. Ben, Paula and their youngest daughter Anna, with the assistance of friends and family, have been active Sunbeam supporters.
Ben is passionate about quality of care, improving the life of others, and shares the organizational commitment to strategic growth.
Retiring in 2015 after a long career in management at a local RV manufacturer he now spends much of his time with his beloved daughters. His other interests include gym workouts, cycling, kayaking and mastering the game of golf.
Ben also happens to be well connected to the Big Elf from the North Pole, so should you visit Sunbeam for the annual Lighting of the Green Celebration, look closely….

Jeremy Legg, Vice President

JeremyJeremy joined the Sunbeam Board of Directors in June 2018 after being informed by a friend that there was an opening on the Board. The timing fit with a decision he had made to begin giving back to the community. His motivation to remain part of Sunbeam has been the passion he has witnessed of everyone involved in the organization.
Jeremy’s background in consumer packaged goods with experience in sales strategy and category development at SC Johnson and Dare Foods has brought a forward-thinking perspective to the Board and an awareness of new community opportunities. Jeremy is currently on faculty at Conestoga College.
As opportunities presented themselves, Jeremy found himself involved with community organizations such as Woodstock Soccer Club, Crossing All Bridges day camp and Habitat for Humanity.
Although much of his spare time is spent with his wife and two young children, when Jeremy is able to grab a few moments to himself he settles down with a cup of tea and a book. He also enjoys running, resistance training and biking, sometimes with his son on his back.

Shamendree Naidoo, Treasurer

female silhouetteWhen Shamendree emigrated to Canada from South Africa, her goals included establishing a career, setting up a home, and social networking.  Having accomplished these, she felt something was missing.  Before coming to Canada, she volunteered to help support others in the community.  It gave her insight into the challenges people experience and helped shape her life.  In her own words “I feel good when I help others”. When she heard about the work that Sunbeam does, she knew immediately she wanted to be part of it.

Shamendree is a Senior Accountant and brings vast accounting and auditing experience to the Board of Directors.  She is also Chair of the Finance Committee. She says, “Having volunteer experience from a country which has far less resources, helps me focus not only on what makes the most financial sense, but also how decisions we make affect the people we serve”.

She trys to combine experience with compassion when difficult decisions need to be made and believes that a balanced approach is needed for the success of the Board and the Organization.

Shamendree and her husband have a very special 1-year old boy, and when she is not working or volunteering at Sunbeam, her little toddler keeps her occupied with the remainder of her free time.  She also has a passion for cooking and baking, and especially in decorating cakes.

When she first joined the Board of Directors, she did not realize the extent of work Sunbeam does, and the people it serves.  She is very proud to be part of something that is so special and rewarding.  She has met amazing staff, dedicated Board members, and the remarkable clients that Sunbeam Community & Developmental Services, serves.



Deb Pickles, Secretary

DebDeb joined the Sunbeam Board of Directors in 2015. As the parent of a (former) Sunbeam resident, Deb was thrilled to be approached by the Interim Executive Director about joining the Board, as a way to give back to the organization that contributed so much to her family over the years.
Deb’s daughter Mary received respite care as an infant and then lived full time at Sunbeam from the age of 11 until her death at the age of 28 in 2011.
As an advocate for those under the Sunbeam umbrella, especially full-time residents and their families, Deb strives to ensure the decisions made by the Board are in their best interests.
Deb began her career over 40 years ago as an X-Ray Technologist and worked in the Medical Imaging field until her retirement in 2016. Her career included performing clinical risk management for a global software developer.
Deb has been married to her husband David for 44 years. She has a son who lives in Yokohama, Japan. In her free time she enjoys travelling, knitting, and entertaining.

David Otto, Director

DavidDavid joined the board in June 1992 and is a member of the Finance Committee. He was previously the Treasurer of the Board, Chair of the Finance Committee and from June 1998 to June 2000 held the role of President.
As a CPA David brings a strong background in finance to the board that helps ensure the financial strength of Sunbeam.
A desire to support those less fortunate and learn from people in other disciplines brought him to our board. He enjoys the opportunity to learn from other members as they work as a team to tackle issues that make the organization better.
David was previously a Board Member and the Chair of Finance Committee at Fellowship Christian School and has volunteered in the community with United Way, the Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, and his church.
Before retiring on January 1, 2020 he spent 8 years at Ernst & Young (EY) and 26 years at Manulife Financial.
David lives in Kitchener with his wife Lorraine and his four children. He enjoys traveling, gardening, cooking and going to the gym.

Sandra Roxborough, Director

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Susan Russell, Director

SusanSusan joined the board in September 2019. She was looking for an opportunity to give back to her community and Sunbeam was a good fit. Susan is a member of the Finance Committee and brings over 10 years experience in conducting audits in the not for profit sector.

She has a wealth of knowledge to share and here insights will be beneficial in our quest to better serve our community.
Susan is currently the Senior Manager of Accounting & Assurance at BDO Canada LLP in Waterloo.

She is married with 2 sons ages 6 & 9.
In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Mark Schneider, Director

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Krista Trow, Director

KristaKrista joined the Sunbeam Board of Directors in 2019 as Sunbeam’s Vision, Mission and Values resonated with her when she was looking for a community opportunity that fit with her personal values in the areas of innovation and supporting individuals with disabilities.
Krista has been involved in fundraising activities for Heart and Stroke, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Hamilton Health Sciences as well as volunteering for the Healthy Snack program at her local school and children’s ministry at her church.
She is currently the Integrated Manager of Discharge Planning for Grand River Hospital (GRH) and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), a role she has held since April 2018. Prior to that she worked at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for 16 years. She was a Speech-Language Pathologist in the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program for 10 years, a supervisor in the ABI Program, and the Clinical Manager of the Integrated Stroke Program.
When not working Krista enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, ages 10 and 13. They enjoy the outdoors and spend time camping, hiking or biking. For some time of solitude, she enjoys reading a good mystery novel and gardening.

Lynn Woodbeck, Director

LynnLynn joined the Sunbeam Board of Directors in 2017. Through her work in the education sector, she had the opportunity to see the good work Sunbeam does to support children and adults with special needs, and their families.
With over 30 years in Education, as a teacher, Vice-Principal and Principal, Lynn recently retired. She has been involved with the Waterloo Minor Hockey Association, her daughter’s dance studio, and the Waterloo Region Air Show, helping at the Veterans’ tent.
She and her husband David are proud parents of two grown children and have one four-legged child. Lynn and her family love to travel and in the summer, spend a lot of time gardening and on their sailboat. Family meals and get togethers are a joy and celebration.
As both a parent and an educator, Lynn believes we need to celebrate the efforts and programmes we have at Sunbeam, in the importance of advocating for those who may not have a voice. Lynn also recognizes the importance of Board members asking the tough questions and looking at things from many perspectives.
Lynn views Sunbeam as a hidden gem in our community; one which needs to be honoured, celebrated and appreciated, and she feels privileged to give back to the community in her position as a Board member of Sunbeam



Mandi Sweiger, Committee Volunteer

Mandi joined Sunbeam as a Committee Volunteer in September 2020, as she was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community she has called home for the last 20 years. Sunbeam, being a long-standing and prominent figure in the Waterloo Region, seemed like a great fit and a rewarding opportunity. Mandi’s expertise in areas such as planning & forecasting, and audit & compliance, made the Governance Committee a natural choice to be a part of to share her expertise and insights to achieve the shared goals.

Mandi is currently the Senior Manager of Human Resources at Skyline Group of Companies in Guelph.

She is married with one daughter who is 2. In her spare time, Mandi is an avid reader, traveller, yogi, and runner, continuously training for her next Half-Marathon race!

Committee Volunteer, TBD

Visiting our office