The Rick Hansen Institute is pleased to announce it has appointed four new members to its Board of Directors. The four are international leaders who come from diverse backgrounds including a retired high-ranking Canadian public servant, a former Paralympian, a successful entrepreneur and venture philanthropist and a chartered professional accountant with extensive experience in both the financial and not-for-profit sectors.
“RHI remains as focused as ever on its goal of accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries. I have no doubt that our newest members will provide invaluable strategic input moving forward”, said Dr. Bernie Bressler, Chair of RHI’s Board of Directors.
RHI also wishes to thank Madame Marie Trudeau, who retires from RHI’s board after five years of service. Living with a SCI since 1967, Madame Trudeau came to RHI with a broad range of experience in disability- and community-based organizations and provided input on the board’s Governance Committee. She was also a board representative on RHI’s Translational Research Advisory Committee, which provides independent recommendations on RHI’s translational research projects.
“Marie’s 40 years of experience across the field of disability, rehabilitation and integration as a consumer, activist and peer counselor added a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors” remarked Dr. Bressler. “We are grateful for the outstanding service Marie provided as strategic advisor during her time on the board.”
New Board Director Biographies
Dr. Maria Barrados is a long-standing public servant having recently retired as President and Chair of the Public Service Commission of Canada in 2011 after serving eight years. Prior to her appointment at the Commission, she was Assistant Auditor General at the Office of the Auditor General. She worked at the Office of the Auditor General for 18 years with varying audit responsibilities. Educated as a sociologist, Dr. Barrados has a wealth of knowledge and a solid background in audit, evaluation and statistical analysis.
Dr. Barrados obtained a bachelor of arts with high honours in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan, a masters of arts in Sociology from McGill University and a PhD in Sociology from Carleton University. Currently, Dr. Barrados is the Chair of Accreditation Canada International.
Mr. Dean Bergeron is passionate about sports and hockey in particular. At the age of 17, with brilliant future prospects, he joined the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. But a year later, his life was turned upside-down when a serious accident during practice left him a paraplegic.
Since then, he has taken part in many world championships and international competitions. He has participated in four Paralympic Games earning an impressive total of 11 medals in track and field. Mr. Bergeron holds Canadian records in four distances and was also the first paraplegic to complete the 400 meters in under one minute (58.54 seconds).
Currently, Mr. Bergeron is Vice-President Administration and Customer Relations for La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services Inc. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of 12 Radar Squadron at Bagotville, Quebec, in September 2011. Mr. Bergeron holds a bachelor's degree in Actuarial Sciences from Laval University.
Mr. Ross Mason is the founder of HINRI and HealthTrain Ventures. Originally from Madison, Georgia, Mr. Mason became passionate about healthcare after volunteering at an AIDS hospital in Zambia and after a bicycle accident left him paralyzed from the collarbones down.
As an entrepreneur, investor, and strategic advisor, Mr. Mason worked for Volkswagen’s Healthcare Venture Accelerator Fund in Germany, was an Associate in Private Banking at Morgan Stanley, and created a real estate investment and development company in Moscow, Russia that he owned and operated for 12 years.
Mr. Mason holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters of business administration in finance from The Wharton School.
Mr. Eric Watt is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Financial Planner, and an ICD.D of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Most recently, he worked at KPMG LLP as a Senior Audit Partner, providing financial expertise to many clients and representing the firm in the community, including at various industry associations.
In addition to his significant professional accomplishments, Eric is greatly committed to effecting change through volunteer work in the community. He is currently a Trustee and Treasurer of the Children's Arts Umbrella Foundation; a member of the Council and Audit Committee Chair of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia; a Director and Finance Committee Chair of the VSO School of Music; a Director of the Knowledge Network Corporation; and has previously served as a Director, Chair and Treasurer of the Children's Arts Umbrella Association, Director and Board Chair of the Canadian Captive Insurance Corporation, Director of the Vancouver Opera Association, Trustee of the Vancouver Opera Foundation, and as a Member of the City of Vancouver Property Task Force. Mr. Watt currently serves as Treasurer on the Rick Hansen Foundation Board of Directors.