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Governance at the Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, a registered charitable organization, is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of community members, appointed representatives of four levels of government, and the Gardens’ volunteer group.

Governance is accomplished by ensuring that the Gardens fulfills its legislated mandate, and that its mission, policies and strategies are appropriate and current. The Board also ensures financial responsibility in asset management, future resources, and capital project spending. In addition, the Board approves the Gardens’ annual budget, paying close attention to serving the public’s interest and trust.

The Board advocates the Gardens’ interests to the political and corporate sectors, and the community. Each member of the Board is committed to contributing his or her time, energy, ideas and support to Royal Botanical Gardens.

RBG Board of Directors

Kevin Brady

Kevin Brady – Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Kevin Brady has been on RBG’s Board since 2013 and was appointed as an additional member in place of appointments by the Governor-General-in-Council. He is currently Chair of the Ad-hoc Campaign Committee in support of the recently approved RBG 25-year Master Plan. Kevin is Managing Partner, NFP Canada and Chairman and Founder. Advica Health. He is a leader in the health and benefits field. His vast experience includes holding a senior management position within one of Canada’s largest insurance companies as well as starting his own employee benefits company. ln addition he saw a need to help companies and employees with health solutions and therefore founded Advica Health. This organization assists companies and individuals by improving their health and providing health and wellness solutions. Kevin shares his expertise in the area of health and wellness through volunteering and giving back to his community. He has served on many boards in the health and wellness field including Board Chair for both the YMCA and his local hospital, where he led a multi-million $ campaign. He is also a sought-after speaker on the topic of how companies can improve their profits through employee health and wellness. Kevin holds a B.Com. (Hons) degree from Laurentian University. He has been recognized as Citizen of the Year in 2OO7 and Philanthropist of the year in 2010 for his philanthropic work in his city. He has also received the esteemed Queen’s Jubilee Medal that is awarded by the Queen in recognition for being an outstanding community member. Kevin leads a very active life and has qualified a number of times for the Triathlon World Championships representing Canada.

Campaign Sub-Committee – Chair.

Portrait of Maris Butcher smiling.

Marlis Butcher Member

Burlington, Ontario

Marlis Butcher joined the  Royal Botanical Gardens Board of Directors in 2021 as a Board appointee. She is an environmental conservationist, author, and photographer who has been published in various magazines and websites. She has visited all of Canada’s National Parks and has written a book on her experiences “Park Bagger – Adventures in the Canadian National Parks”. Marlis is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and sits on the Membership Committee of the International Explores Club promoting field research. She is a Chartered Director (McMaster University

2015) and CPA/CMA (Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada 1992).

Marlis holds a B.Comm (McGill University 1986) and an MBA (Concordia University 1986). She has served on the board of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, their Finance and Risk Committee, their Environment Committee, and as a Trail Maintenance Director. She enjoyed a 28 year career at TD Bank, including being the Finance Lead on many large, internal technology projects. She retired in 2013 as Manager, Financial Portfolio Management Office, Process Improvement. Marlis is currently Director and CEO of MB Management Consulting Inc., Burlington, Ontario.

Audit and Finance Committee Member

Cliff Carson

Cliff Carson – Chair of Board of Directors

Oakville, Ontario.

Cliff Carson has been on RBG’s Board since 2010 as a RBG Board appointee. He served as Vice Chair from 2016-2019 and became Chair in 2019 and is an active RBG member, volunteer and donor. Cliff is a retired Vice President of Canadian National Railway (CN) and is proud of having worked through the ranks from the position of office boy to Vice President. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in Montreal, Quebec and a Master of Business Administration from Concordia University. During his 43 years at CN he had a varied career serving as Vice President of Sales, Assistant Vice President of Forest Products, General Manager of Overseas Markets and General Manager Planning and Operations – CN Trucking and Intermodal. Cliff has served on the Boards of Halterm Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Intermodal Association of North America, in Calverton, Maryland. He also headed the CN Employee and Pensioner Community Fund for Eastern Canada for two years.

Governance Committee – Ex Officio Member.

Audit and Finance Committee – Ex Officio Member.

Campaign Sub-Committee – Ex Officio Member.

Strategic Planning Sub Committee – Ex Officio Member.

Dr David Conrath - Headshot

Dr. David W. Conrath – Chair Audit and Finance Committee

Burlington, Ontario.

After spending many years as a volunteer member of the Audit and Finance Committee, David joined RBG’s Board of Directors in 2015 as a RBG Board appointee and currently serves as Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. He retired as Dean of the College of Business at San José State University. David started his academic career at the University of California at Berkeley, and held permanent positions at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo (Canada). He has had extensive teaching and research relationships with the Université d’Aix-Marsaille III in France and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. Immediately prior to joining San Jose State, David was Professor of Management Science-Information Systems and Dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Canada. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. in economics and Ph.D. in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.Sc. from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. David has published over 100 articles in refereed academic journals and conference proceedings. He is also co-author of several books and book length manuscripts. His teaching and research interests include: the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of information/telecommunication systems; telemedicine; organizational structure and design; and electronic commerce. He has been active as a consultant in his areas of expertise and has served on a number of boards of directors, including three privately held telecommunication companies. Past clients include: A.T. & T., Bell Canada, Bell-Northern Research, Commission of the European Communities, Dept. of Communication (Canadian Gov’t), Gulf Oil, l’Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (French Gov’t), Ministry of Government Services (Ontario Gov’t), Motorola, Nortel, P.T. & T. (French Gov’t), Rome Air Development Center, U.S. Army Electronics Command.

Audit and Finance Committee – Chair.

David Farrar

Dr. David Farrar – Member

Hamilton, Ontario.

David H. Farrar joined RBG’s Board of Directors in 2019 Ex-Officio, appointed by virtue of Office. He is the President and Vice-Chancellor at McMaster University and a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. David took up the position of Acting President in July 2019, having served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) since October 2017, and was appointed President in December 2019. He joined McMaster from the University of British Columbia where he served as Provost from 2007 to 2015, and subsequently as Advisor to the Interim President and then as Interim President and Vice-Chancellor. Prior to that he served as Deputy-Provost and Vice-Provost Students at the University of Toronto, where he had responsibility for all central enrolment, student affairs and student service activities. David received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, and his doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge and then a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto for 26 years. During that time he also served as Chair of the Department. He has authored or co-authored over 80 technical papers, holds five patents, and has supervised more than 25 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Farrar has also served on several external Boards.

Larissa Fenn

Larissa Fenn – Chair of Governance Committee

Burlington, Ontario.

Larissa Fenn has been on RBG’s Board of Directors since 2015 appointed by Council, Regional Municipality of Halton. She served as Vice Chair of the Governance Committee from 2019 to 2020 and became Chair of the Governance Committee in 2020. Larissa is Director, Public Affairs & Corporate Secretary for the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority and previously held positions with Credit Valley Conservation, Canadian Bankers Association, and the Regional Municipality of Halton. She holds a B.A.(Hons) in Political Science from Queens University, completed the Senior Public Sector Leader program at the Ivey Business School at Western University, and holds the APR designation from the Canadian Public Relations Society. Larissa is an active member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Policy Council and Chamber of Marine Commerce. She is a past recipient of the American Association of Port Authorities Overall Award of Merit, CVC Innovation Award, Alberta Consumer Champion Award of Distinction, and the Canadian Public Relations Society Award of Merit. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications.

Governance Committee – Chair.

Lloyd Ferguson

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson – Member

Hamilton, Ontario.

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson has been on RBG’s Board since 2019 appointed by Council, City of Hamilton.  He is currently Councillor for Ward 12, City of Hamilton and has previously served as an Ancaster Town Councillor and on Wentworth County Board of Education. Lloyd is a life long Ancaster resident and has served his community in a variety of roles with not-for-profit groups and organizations: including Hamilton Regional Conservation Authority; Hamilton Utilities Corporation; and Hamilton Health Sciences. He spent 33 years with Dufferin Construction, the last 13 years as general manager with full profit and loss responsibilities. Lloyd has served on many corporate boards: including Canadian Highways International Corporation; TCG Asphalt and Construction Ltd.; Cayuga Materials & Construction Co. Limited; Labourers International Union – AGC Education and Training Fund; Total Roadway Engineering Corporation; Strabag Inc.; and Regional Sewer and Watermain Ltd.  He received a Canadian Construction Association Award of Excellence and held leadership positions in many other industry associations. Lloyd completed the Senior Management Program at McGill University, Montreal, graduated from a four-year C.I.M. Program at McMaster University, Hamilton, Graduated with an Industrial Management Diploma from Mohawk College, Hamilton; amongst many other courses.

Audit and Finance Committee – Member.

kevin galbraith

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith – Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Kelvin Galbraith has been on the RBG’s Board since 2018 appointed by Council, Regional Municipality of Halton. He was sworn in to Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council in December 2018 and currently serves as Ward/Regional Councillor of Ward 1, comprised of the Aldershot, Tyandaga and Maple Communities. Kelvin was born and raised in the Aldershot community and currently lives and works within the boundaries of the Aldershot mobility hub. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) from Brock University. Applying his business training, hard work and a passion for serving people, Kelvin has successfully owned and managed several businesses in Aldershot including a property holding company and The Fitness Firm Inc., for the past 20 years. He has volunteered and served as Chairman of the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Association for the past 11 years and was a founding member. Kelvin assists in coaching several of his children’s hockey teams and is a committed player on several teams throughout the year and the family cottage is his favourite getaway.

Audit and Finance Committee – Member.

Ingrid Hann

Ingrid Hann – Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Ingrid Hann was appointed to RBG’s Board in 2020 as a Board appointed member. She is a driven, committed and highly respected Executive Human Resources leader with extensive multi-industry experience creating value-add through organizational development and executing on strategic human resource initiatives that enable business excellence. Ingrid retired from De Beers Canada as Vice President, Human Resources after spending 10 years in that position. She has also held senior positions within manufacturing, facilities management and service, aerospace and electrical distribution industries. A graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Relations and Counselling Studies, having earned the designation of Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE). She received the University of Waterloo Alumni Achievement Award in 2010. Ingrid has extensive Board experience having served on the Boards of Sheridan College (Chair HR Committee), Hydro (Chair HR Committee), Blue Hills Family Services (Vice Chair) in Aurora, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (Chair), Ontario Mining Association (Chair Education Committee), Living Arts Centre (Chair HR Committee), Mississauga, Oakville Senior Citizens’ Residence (Vice Chair), and Crime Stoppers of Halton, Oakville.  In addition to RBG’s Board she currently serves on the Board of Nucleus Independent Living, Oakville. In addition to RBG’s Board, she currently serves on the Halton Regional Police Services Board through a Regional Council re-appointment, and the Board of Nucleus Independent Living, Oakville.

Governance Committee – Member
Strategic Planning Sub-Commitee – Member

Portrait of Deb smiling

Deborah Harasym – Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Deborah Harasym was appointed to RBG’s Board of Directors in 2021 as an RBG Appointee.  She previously served a one year term in 2018 on RBG’s Board and has also served on numerous board committees in addition to her past role as President of RBG’s  Volunteer Council.  Deborah is an innovative, results oriented business leader with 36 years of experience managing operations, business turnarounds and strategic change initiatives.  Senior positions held include Vice President Business Transformation for Pitney Bowes Canada, Vice President Organization Effectiveness for MDS Inc., and Vice President Operations for Denco. She is a graduate of Western’s Ivey School of Business.  A committed volunteer, Deborah has served the community in a variety of positions including Regional Director, President and Scholarship Foundation chair for CFUW Burlington, President and District Interact Chair for the Burlington North Rotary Club and Board Member and Allocations Chair for the United Way of Oakville.

Governance Committee – Member
Strategic Planning Sub Committee – Member

alex lawson

Alexandra Lawson – Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Alexandra Lawson has been a member of RBG’s Board of Directors since 2020 appointed by the Lieutenant- Governor-in-Council, Province of Ontario.  Alexandra has over two decades of experience in public affairs.  She joined McMaster University in August 2011 as Executive Advisor Public Affairs.  Before joining McMaster she worked for almost twelve years advising both not-for-profit clients and businesses in strategic communications and public affairs.  At McMaster she leads a public affairs team who work across the university to develop and enhance external relationships in support of the University’s mission and vision.  Alexandra was elected by her peers to serve on the volunteer board for university government relations officers for the past several years.  The group focuses on key issues impacting the sector across the country, and professional development for all members.  Alexandra received her undergraduate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Masters Degree from McMaster University.

Governance Committee – Member

fiona morrison

Fiona Morrison – Member

Hamilton, Ontario.

Fiona Morrison has been on RBG’s Board of Directors since 2020 representing RBG Volunteers. Fiona joined the RBG Auxiliary in 2015 and in 2016 became Director of the newly formed Natural Lands volunteer team. When the Auxiliary was disbanded and the Volunteer council formed in its place, she continued to represent Natural Lands Volunteers, a position she still holds. During this time the Natural Lands pool of volunteers has increased substantially. Fiona also enjoys her time spent at RBG as a Trail Watcher, a Memorial Watcher, a Tour Guide, and a Volunteer Gardener as well as participating in special events such as Holiday Traditions and the Pumpkin Trail.  Fiona holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Podiatry and a Masters of Science degree in Psychology and Health from university in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her 30-year long career was spent within the health care system in various roles both in Canada and the UK. She has recently pursued post graduate studies in Clinical Behavioural Science and various online MOOC courses relating health psychology.

Strategic Planning Sub-Committee – Member

dan muys

Dan Muys – Member

Hamilton, Ontario.

Dan Muys has been a member of RBG’s Board of Directors since 2020 appointed by the Lieutenant- Governor-in-Council, Province of Ontario. Dan has his own communications and public relations practice, Dan Muys Communications and PR, and is also Chief of Staff to Hamilton area Member of Parliament David Sweet. He is proficient in both French and English. Dan is an active member of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce. He has served CPRS as Chair of its National Governance Committee and President of both the Hamilton and Calgary chapters. Over the course of his career, Dan has lived and worked in southern Ontario, Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal and North Carolina. He holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Sir Wilfred Laurier University and a Public Relations Certificate from Humber College and is Accredited in Public Relations by the Canadian Public Relations Society Inc.

Governance Committee – Vice Chair
Campaign Sub-Committee – Member

Headshot of Nancy Rowland, wearing red blazer

Nancy Rowland – Chief Executive Officer

Toronto, Ontario.

Nancy Rowland was appointed by RBG’s Board as Chief Executive Officer effective 1 January 2021. She joins RBG after serving as General Manager of Ontario Place Corporation for four years, where she was responsible for leading the provincial landmark through a period of transition and increased public use of a key public space. Prior to working at Ontario Place, Nancy’s past roles have included Chief Operating Officer & Vice President Corporate Services and Operations at Ontario Science Centre, Director of Cultural Agencies for Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and Director, Corporate Services at Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. Nancy grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. Her goal is to continue to build on the RBG’s successes to ensure that it continues to be a place that inspires, connects, restores and amazes people for years to come.

Keith Scott

Keith Scott – Vice Chair of Board of Directors

Hamilton, Ontario.

Keith Scott has been on RBG’s Board of Directors since 2015 appointed by Council, City of Hamilton. He was appointed Vice Chair in 2019. During his career, Keith excelled by providing strategic leadership in public accounting as well as in the financial services, real estate, zoo and aquarium, tourism and animal welfare industries. As a retired not-for-profit professional with 40 years of experience he has held numerous senior executive positions which includes Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, Vice President Strategic Alliance and Planning for Tourism Calgary, Interim Managing Director for Travel Alberta International, and Director Business Operations for the Calgary Zoo. He has volunteered extensively throughout his career including stints as vice chair of the American Zoo Association Business Operations Committee, Chair and Director of Tourism Calgary, Director and treasurer of the Calgary Mental Health Involvement Society, a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and many more.

Audit and Finance Committee – Vice Chair.

Governance Committee – Member.

Ad-Hoc Strategic Planning Committee – Chair.

Portrait of Guy Sheppard smiling

Gavin (Guy) Sheppard, Member

Burlington, Ontario.

Guy was reappointed to RBG’s Board of Directors in 2021 as a Board appointed member.  He was previously a RBG Board member from February 2011 to June 1=2019.  He was Chair of the Capital and Master Planning Committee (later the Master Plan Report Committee), and at various times a member of the Governance, Biodiversity, and Marketing Committees. Guy retired from (ArcelorMittal) Dofacso Inc, Hamilton, Ontario in 2013 as Manager Corporate Projects and brought his considerable skills in project management to RBG by providing Board project oversite to the Rock Garden Rejuvenation Project and many other RBG capital projects. He holds an MBA (McMaster University), CPA/CMA (Society of Management Accountants), CFA (Association for Investment Management and Research) and attended Director’s College (McMaster University). He has served a number of professional and community groups: CMA Ontario as a member of their Board of Directors, Finance and Audit Committee, and Marketing and Communications Committee; CMA Canada as a member of their Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee; Chair of Burlington Sustainable Development Committee and Chair of the Awareness and Policy & Development Sub-Committee; Member of the Region of Halton Inter-Municipal Advisory Committee on Sustainability; Vice Chair and Project Manager of his Church Building Committee; and Member of the Board of Directors of Queens University Book Store.

Strategic Planning Sub-Committee – Member.