Robert joined the Board in 2013 and has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2015, becoming president in June 2018.
Born and raised in Kingsville, Robert remains a resident of Kingsville.
At the University of Windsor he obtained his Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Law degrees. He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and is practicing with McTague Law Firm. His emphasis is on Estate Administration, Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney.
Robert’s community involvement and volunteerism has always been an important part of his life.
Sue Desjarlais - 1st Vice President Elected Councilor, LaSalle
Sue joined the Board of Directors in 2014.
Sue is a resident of LaSalle and is currently an elected Councilor for the Town of LaSalle.
As a retired Bell Canada employee from the Sales and Client Care Department, Sue has outstanding customer service and communication skills.
In addition to her volunteer work at Community Living Essex County, numerous other agencies and fundraising events benefit from Sue’s energy, enthusiasm and expertise.
Chad Sutherland - 2nd Vice President Applied Learning Coordinator, University of Windsor
Chad joined the Board of Directors in 2014.
Chad and his family live in Belle River.
As an Applied Learning Coordinator at the University of Windsor’s Department of Kinesiology Chad was first connected to Community Living Essex County through research projects. The initial project focused on health promotion priorities for people who have an intellectual disability. Chad has participated at numerous conferences highlighting this project – and has increased his involvement by co-chairing the Research Day at the OADD Conference for several years.
He is a strong, enthusiastic advocate and volunteer.
Gillian Heisz - Treasurer Chartered Professional Accountant
Gillian joined the Board of Directors in June 2019 and as Treasurer sits on the Executive Committee.
She is a resident of Amherstburg.
Gillian is a CPA, CA and holds an HBA from the Ivey Business School (Western University)
Gillian has ten year’s experience in financial accounting, audit and financial reporting practices and has been employed at the University of Windsor since 2015. She has been in the position of Controller & Executive Director, Financial Accounting and Reporting since 2018.
Gillian also has extensive experience providing assurance and financial consulting services to dozens of not-for-profit organizations in Ontario. She also has exceptional insights in the financial challenges and risk management encountered by not-for-profit organizations.
Gillian is a life long learner, very active in her community and is a frequent volunteer.
Ron Giofu - Past President Journalist
Ron joined the Board of Directors in 2012
He has held positions on the Executive Committee since 2013 and served as President for three years.
As a local journalist, Ron’s involvement with Community Living Essex County predates his work on the Board given his long standing media coverage of local events.
Ron is a member of our Social Media Committee and has helped to cover many of our stories and events.
Born and raised in Essex County Ron has lived in Amherstburg since 1995.
Nika Laurin - Director Community Manager | Coach, Libro Credit Union
Nika joined the Board of Directors in July, 2020
She is a resident of Belle River and mother of two.
The majority of Nika’s career has been in the Financial Services Industry where she has held mainly leadership roles.
Since 2017 Nika has held of the position of Community Manager at Libro Credit Union. Prior to this her employers included CIBC, Statistics Canada and Caesars Windsor
Nika is very active in the local community and is the current President of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. Her other active and ongoing involvement includes Amherstburg Rotary, United Way, WE Care for Kids, Humane Society, Windsor Essex Children’s Aid Society, Downtown Mission, Miracle League and Amherstburg Community Services.
Nika believes in making a positive impact and real difference and with her credentials and passion she will do that at Community Living Essex County
Diane Bourbeau, Director Parent/Retired Educator
Diane joined the Board of Directors in 1999
She has held numerous positions on the Executive Committee.
As the parent of an adult daughter with an intellectual disability, Diane is keenly aware of the challenges and joys that accompany being a primary caregiver.
Diane is a retired educator and continues to advocate for changes and inclusion in the education system.
Diane has been involved in many agency and community committees and projects including: Rights Review Committee, Nominating Committee, Windsor Essex Developmental Services Reference Group, SEAC Support Group, Together One Dream Project and many more.
Originally from Ottawa, Diane and her family have been residents of Tecumseh for many years.
Michelle Mastellotto, Director Parent/Retired Business Professional
Michelle joined the Board of Directors in June, 2017
She is a lifelong resident of Tecumseh and recently retired after over 27 years at Green Shield Canada as a Systems Engineer with a specialty in IT security, privacy and governance.
One of Michelle’s three children has an intellectual disability with a dual diagnosis and has been receiving supports and services from Community Living Essex County since May 2009
Michelle is an active fundraiser and volunteer and has supported many organizations, including Community Living Essex County.
She was on Board of Directors at the Windsor Essex Down Syndrome Association for over 20 years and is a current Board member for a local cycling organization.
Michelle has a wealth of valuable experience both professionally and personally that will be a great asset to the agency.
Dan Gemus - Director Broker/Owner |CEO of The Dan Gemus Real Estate Team Ltd
Dan joined the Board of Directors in July, 2020
Dan and his family are residents of Amherstburg
Community involvement has always been a top priority for Dan.
He is Broker/Owner and CEO of the Dan Gemus Real Estate Team Ltd along with Duby’s Home Centre Ltd, Gemus Homes Ltd., Goldmar Property Management Ltd. And emus Holdings Ltd.
Dan is currently the Vice President of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Chamber as a Director in 2015. For the past year Dan has been a Director on the Board of the Amherstburg Community Foundation.
Professional recognitions include Professional of the Year Award in 2018 by the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Growth & Expansion Award in 2014 from the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce and numerous years of recognition as a top real estate team by the Real Estate Professional Magazine.
Since 2015 Dan has hosted twice weekly “The Dan Gemus Real Estate Show” on AM800 CKLW.
Dan’s experience, expertise and energy will be of great benefit to the agency.
Ray Renaud, Director Advocate
Ray joined the Board of Directors in June, 2017.
He was born and raised in Tecumseh and currently lives in Essex with his wife, Beth.
Ray joined New Day, Leaders of Today in 2010 and since then has worked very hard to be a good role model, enhance others’ lives and ensure peoples’ voices are heard. Ray is currently on the Working Group of New Day.
Ray has represented New Day and Community Living Essex County at many events. In particular, he was part of the group presenting “Together One Dream”. In this role he travelled to conferences in Hamilton and Vancouver.
Ray is an active volunteer at the Knights of Columbus and also attends and volunteers at Holy Name church in Essex.
As a member of New Day and active member of his community Ray will play a significant role on the Board of Directors.
Jason Conrad - Director Correctional Services
Jason joined the Board of Directors in July, 2020
Jason and his wife live in the Town of LaSalle and have three children one of whom has Down Syndrome.
For over 15 years Jason has been employed with the Ministry of the Solicitor General as a Parole Officer. He assists people with rehabilitation while balancing the needs of victims and community safety.
Jason takes pride in sharing his working knowledge with aspiring professionals by teaching part time at St. Clair College in the Community Justice Program. His curriculum has a focus on Ethics in Law Enforcement as well as Criminology.
Jason continues to advance his knowledge by participating in many training opportunities. He is also active as a community volunteer.
In additional to his professional experience, as a parent of a child with an intellectual disability Jason has a meaningful perspective that will benefit Community Living Essex County.