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Board Administration

Our Board is made up of 10-12 members from our community plus a past chair. The Board meets monthly (excepting July, August and December). Since 2001, our Board has used the Consensus Model of Decision Making – both at committee and board meetings.

Currently, our Board has seven standing committees. Terms of Reference for each committee are reviewed and approved annually – click on the links below to access the Terms of Reference for each committee.

Accountability to the Board

ConnectWell Community Health reports to the Board through:


  • Monthly reports from the Chief Executive Officer to the Board.
  • The development of annual workplans aligned with our strategic objectives and funding agreements.
  • Detailed team and/or program presentations to the Board on an 18-month cycle.

ConnectWell Community Health Board Minutes

Board Bios

Jean Dunning - Chair (Lanark Highlands)

Jean grew up in Montreal but moved to Ottawa in 1972 and began frequent visits to Lanark Highlands in the late 1970’s.  In 2005, she and her husband retired and moved to build their home in Watson’s Corners.

Jean is a nurse by training and practiced in paediatric critical care for 16 years before heading to the University of Ottawa to complete a BScN, followed by an MScN from the University of Toronto and finally a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.  The remainder of her career was as a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa.  Her main research focus was the impact of childhood illness on families.

Jean believes in volunteerism and the impact volunteers make to building community capacity.  She first served on the board of MERA and then joined the Board of Lanark Health and Community Services (LHCS) in 2007.  Most recently, she completed two terms, one as President, of the Perth and District Community Foundation.

Since first joining LHCS, she has witnessed many changes and a great deal of growth in the organization, which is now known as ConnectWell Community Health. She has served as Vice Chair, Chair, Past Chair and has continued her connection as a Community member of the Governance, Nominating, and Joint Planning Committees.  This is an important time of significant changes in health care service delivery in Ontario and she is delighted to be a part of the next phase of the organization.

Finally, on a personal note, she believes rural living is a wonderful experience that has provided her with easy access and opportunities to fill any spare moments following her cherished pursuits of painting, gardening, cycling and cross-country skiing.

Nick Dibdin - Vice Chair (Lanark Highlands)

Nick is currently the Associate Director of stem cells operations at Canadian Blood Services, overseeing a national portfolio of multiple programs and teams across the country. Nick has been with Canadian Blood Services for over 23 years in numerous leadership capacities and loves being able to have a positive impact on patients’ lives every day. He has over 25 years of experience in health care and is highly committed to working for solutions to improve equitable access to health care services in rural communities, especially with the challenges ahead.

Nick has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Windsor; he is a registered medical laboratory technologist and certified Project Management Professional. He lives in the Lanark Highlands and has always lived in and enjoyed rural life, including over four years in Nunavut. He enjoys soccer, hiking, fishing, camping and canoeing. He is married with two adult children.

Mary Lou Pratt - Secretary/Treasurer (Carleton Place)

Originally from Guelph and then Simcoe, Mary Lou graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Pharmacy.  

She moved to Carleton Place in 1978 and worked as the pharmacist at both the Perth and Carleton Place Hospitals. She changed course in 1999 and took a position as pharmacist and manager of the Rexall Drug Store in Perth until her retirement in 2019. 

Mary Lou has also been an active volunteer, serving on the board of directors of Open Doors for Lanark County Children and Youth for a total of 12 years. During this time, she was a member of several committees as well as board chair for three years. She also worked on the board and working committee of the Cancer Society Relay for Life in Smiths Falls for three years, focusing on finance and recruitment. 

She is a firm believer in the importance of community health care being vital to the future of our healthcare system. 

Now retired, she is happy to continue her work and interest in community health care as a volunteer. 

She also enjoys other activities, including golfing, gardening, yoga, playing bridge, and curling.

Tom Baumgartner - Past Chair (Drummond-North Elmsley Township)

Tom has been retired since 2005 after a career in the data communications and telecommunications industry and now spends his time at golf, tennis, curling, fishing, bridge, software programming, building websites and reading science fiction.

Tom worked in both Canada and the U.S.A. He started in Engineering and then moved into Marketing with leading vendors of telecommunications and information technology products. His experience ranges from start-ups to $100+ million companies and from individual contributor to manager of a 150-person department. His most noted accomplishment was being an editor of the original IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Standard (popularly called Wi-Fi).

His formal education was at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, BS EE with Honors, 1967 and Keller Graduate School of Management, Chicago, IL MBA with Distinction, 1992.

Stephen Bird (Perth)

Stephen Bird grew up in Perth with multi-generation roots in the Almonte and Pakenham area. Stephen served on the Board of the North Lanark County Community Health Centre when Lanark Community Programs joined to form Lanark Health and Community Services. When he returned to the Board in 2012, Whitewater Bromley CHC became part of Lanark Renfrew Health & Community Services (now ConnectWell Community Health). He has been Vice Chair, Chair, Secretary-Treasurer, and Past Chair of LRHCS. Now, with his return to the ConnectWell Board in 2024, he hopes to serve as Chair of the Governance Committee. 

Stephen has been on the Boards of Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital, The Legal Clinic, and Lanark CAS/FCS. He is currently on the Boards of Leeds Grenville Lanark District Health Unit and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He has acted as an accreditation reviewer for the Canadian Centre for Accreditation and Imagine Canada. 

Stephen is a retired lawyer, having practiced administrative law for many years with the Lanark, Leeds & Grenville Legal Clinic (now The Legal Clinic) which serves low income residents of Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, and North Frontenac counties. In addition to his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, he has a Master’s degree in recreation from the University of Waterloo. He co-authored Recreation and The Law (Carswell), and he is an avid sea kayak paddler and all-season cyclist.

Bruce Brough (Lanark Highlands)

Bruce was born and educated in Toronto, attending York University. After spending nine years in the private sector as a computer analyst, he joined the Ontario Public Service, where he spent the next 32 years working in a variety of positions in the Ontario Courts, primarily designing and developing computer applications to administer justice and financial accountability in all levels of the court system. For the final five years of his career, he was appointed as a Regional Assessment Officer in the Superior Court; although now “retired,” he has agreed to continue to perform this function on a part-time basis.

When Bruce and his wife retired, they wanted to be closer to their son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, who live in Beckwith. They found a home in the Lanark area that they both loved and made the move to rural life. They believe being on the edge of the village provides the perfect combination of access to community and country.

Having been an active volunteer in a variety of organizations such as Scouts Canada, church youth groups, Fanshawe Pioneer Village, and most recently, the Lanark Highlands Food Pantry, volunteering is in Bruce’s blood. He is excited to be joining the Board and looks forward to actively supporting the ConnectWell team as we move forward, continuing to deliver the excellent whole health services he has had the pleasure of observing firsthand.

Carole Devine (Eganville)

Carole Devine is a nurse by training who spent the majority of her career at Algonquin College as a professor and then at a variety of healthcare settings in the Ottawa Valley, including RVH, Bonnechere Manor, and most recently at Supples Landing as the Executive Director. Carole believes strongly in inclusive and upstream models of health and wellness and is committed to building communities where everyone belongs.

She lives in the Ottawa Valley with her husband and most recently has supported the growth and expansion of their family business, Conway’s Pharmacy.

Carole has made long-term commitments to supporting a number of organizations, including the Eganville Rotary Club, and she recently chaired the Bonnechere Valley Health Committee. She is an avid bridge player, enjoys walking and biking, and believes in the importance of prevention as a key determinant of health and wellness.

Miriam Hunt (Cobden)

Miriam grew up in Read, a rural hamlet northeast of Belleville, Ontario, where she helped with the family general store and service station, Miriam worked the bulk of her professional career as a civil servant at Canada Revenue Agency, Finance & Administration. She worked in management at the operational level and later on at the headquarters’ Administration Directorate, where she was part of a team that provided advice and guidance to regional operations across Canada, and also reviewed overall services and efficiencies.

Miriam and her husband, John, have had a residence in the Cobden area for over 25 years. They were seasonal residents up until 2016 when they retired there full time.

At that time, Miriam joined the Cobden Civitan Club to get more involved in the community. She has been the Club’s secretary for the past three years. Miriam also participates in various Club committees and fundraising events, the proceeds of which go to local health and community services as well as to area individuals in need. In September 2021, Miriam became a community member of the ConnectWell Healthier Community Committee.

Miriam feels very fortunate to live in the Ottawa Valley and to enjoy all that it offers. She wants to contribute to the growth of a healthy, vibrant community, one that strives to meet the diverse needs of all age groups.

Jan Paul-Barr (Beckwith)

Jan grew up on a Dairy farm outside of Almonte. While pursuing her degree in Behavioural Sciences, Jan started her involvement with ConnectWell as one of LCP’s initial summer students in 1981.

With a love of horses and certification in Therapeutic riding, Jan knew that this type of program had to be available to individuals in her community. So, she got busy training horses, organizing volunteers, and ordering equipment. In 1982 the Therapeutic Riding Program was established with one instructor, two horses, 19 riders and 25 volunteers!

After graduating in 1983, Jan remained with the Therapeutic Riding Program and also worked as a speech assistant with the Language Development Program. In 1988 she made a move to the Behaviour Development Program where she was a Behavioural Consultant for 18 years. In 2006 Jan took on the role of Worker Recruitment and Caseworker with the Family Relief Program – Respite Services. During her 11 years with Respite Services, before retiring in May of 2022, Jan developed and supervised four Social Recreation Day Programs for youth graduating from school that did not have a day/occupational program.

Jan was involved in many aspects and programs at ConnectWell over the years and devoted her career in Developmental Services supporting families with children/adults with intellectual disabilities.

Recently retired, Jan and her husband have built a home on Mississippi Lake where they enjoy many activities with their three adult children and grandson. Jan enjoys boating, reading, felting, crafts, travel, volunteering and hopes to be riding again soon! She is honoured to serve as a member of the ConnectWell board and looks forward to continuing her work to ensure the most vulnerable individuals in our communities have the services and supports they need.

Lesley Scharf (McDonald's Corners)

Lesley spent her childhood in Ottawa cottaging with her parents on Crosby Lake. She went to Guelph University and interned at Sunnybrook Medical Centre to become a registered dietitian. After several years working at Chedoke/McMaster Hospitals she started her own consulting business teaching and promoting evidenced-based nutrition information to the public.

After a move back to Ottawa, she worked for a multi-national food company (pharmaceutical division) in senior management and as head of medical and scientific affairs. While there, she built strategic alliances and partnerships with health organizations to design and deliver programs to healthcare professionals and their clients.

Following this, Lesley worked as a senior business analyst in the development of provincial and national electronic health records and then as a clinical educator for an umbilical cord blood stem cell company.

Lesley and her family bought a piece of lake front property near Lanark in 1997 and proceeded to slowly develop the land and build a cottage. In 2016 the cottage became their home! Since retiring. Lesley has become a busy gramma and volunteers on the Carebridge board of directors. She learned a lot through chairing governance (revising by-laws and policies), participating in a small working group to form an Alliance with Community Living Association Lanark and subsequently developing a new strategic plan and yet another new set of by-laws and policies.

Lesley is looking forward to continuing her board work with the dedicated individuals at ConnectWell, while learning more about the primary care aspect of this impressive multiservice organization as it faces significant changes in our provincial health care delivery services.

Lesley has been a lifelong Masters and lake swimmer and enjoys most sports, including kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and even playing golf poorly!

Wayne Stryde (Lanark Highlands)

Wayne Stryde lives near Clydesville in Lanark Highlands with his partner Maryse Desrochers, who is a certified fitness instructor with the ConnectWell health promotion program, and their wonderful Golden Retriever, Lola.  

Wayne is a retired public servant, having spent forty-plus years working at the federal level in a number of different ministries, including the Treasury Board and the Privy Council Office. Most of this career he worked for programs with social development mandates, most particularly in public health/health promotion and crime prevention. These work experiences gave him a good appreciation of the world of non-profit community-based organizations and of the important nexus where the volunteer non-profit sector meets government.  

Wayne is a fan and avid supporter of any effort that tries to make our community stronger, healthier, and more resilient. In his view, ConnectWell is surely an outstanding example of such an effort. 

Now retired, Wayne and Maryse spend their days in outdoor sports activities, gardening, tending to their still-growing family, volunteering in the community and generally trying to make the most of their glorious and ample leisure time. 

Gerry van Loon (Perth)

Gerry has a BBA from Trent University and is currently a supervisor for a multinational company. Throughout the last five years he has supervised teams ranging from 10 skilled tradesman to 100+ production staff. He is a certified green belt in Six Sigma with a keen interest in optimizing processes and systems.   

While he looks forward to continuing to progress in his career, he takes an interest in supporting local not for profits in whatever capacity he can. From being a Board member and eventually President of LAWS (Lanark Animal Welfare Society) four years ago, he has joined Connectwell’s board to volunteer his time to help aid those who are supporting his community. 

Originally from the Cornwall area, Gerry moved to Perth after finishing school, where he lives with his wife of 10 years. They have an 80-acre farm with four dogs (Shenron, Artemis, Cruiser, Vitani), three cats (Luxury, Kratos, Luna), four horses (Trademark, Rolex, Rory, Rebel), and two rats (Algernon, Skinner). In his free time, he enjoys working on farm renovations, playing video games and supporting his wife at her horse lessons and shows.

Michel Vermette (Lanark Highlands)

Michel G. Vermette has spent nearly 40 years working for Canadians, of which 20 were as an executive in the Canadian Federal Public Service. Today, he lends his assistance to charities and not-for-profits (and sometimes for-profits) when he is not tending to his farm in Lanark Highlands. 

From 2015 to June 2019, Michel was Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the professional needs of its members, the senior leadership of the federal public service.  He also worked in the Canadian Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, other federal organizations, the Canadian Blood Agency and Canadian Blood Services.  

Michel is a Director of the Mississippi River Health Alliance, is past chair of the Lanark Highlands Police Services Board, and has sat on the Boards of Directors of other charitable organizations.   

Michel holds Bachelor and Master of Science (Biology) degrees from the University of Ottawa, and a Master of Business Administration from Western University. He was a Parliamentary Intern in 1987-1988. 

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