Board of Directors
Keith Gordon PhD, Chair
Dr. Keith Gordon is currently the Senior Research Officer of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). He was Vice President Research of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind from 2007 to 2017 where he was responsible for directing all research activities of the organization. Prior to that he spent more than 30 years in the ophthalmic industry, where he was responsible for a wide range of research and scientific activities. He is a past Research Director of Blind and Low Vision New Zealand and has been a Board member of, and worked with, a number of national and international organizations associated with vision. Dr. Gordon’s primary research interests lie in the area of ophthalmic epidemiology. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto.
Robin Dafoe, Vice-Chair
Robin Dafoe is the Chief Executive Officer & Registrar of the Condominium Authority of Ontario. Robin has been in the Ontario Public Service, including with several government agency boards, for most of her career. She is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to best practices in governance. Robin has obtained the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and has served on the BALANCE Board for over 5 years. She was Board Secretary from 2018-2021 and is currently Vice-Chair to the BALANCE Board.
Michelle McQuigge, Past Chair
Michelle McQuigge is a reporter with the Canadian Press, Canada’s national wire service. She holds degrees in English Literature and Journalism from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, respectively. She is accompanied on all professional and personal adventures by Reva, her much-loved guide dog.
Virginia Duff, M.D., FRCPC, Secretary
Martin Courcelles, Board Member
Martin currently works at CIBC on the accessibility team as a User Experience Accessibility consultant. He brings over 15 years of expertise in the realm of screen reading technology. As a person with lived experience having to use access technology every day, Martin explains how to improve web properties and smartphone apps to ensure accessibility for all. He’s a subject matter expert at using JAWS, NVDA and Narrator on the PC, and Voiceover and Talkback on smartphones. In his downtime, Martin enjoys running, hiking, tandem cycling and other outdoor activities.
Gillian ‘Gilly’ Davis is a professional writer and communicator. Her unique life journey and challenges have shaped her into a formidable creative force. Growing up in a nomadic family, she developed a deep love for storytelling, films, and books. Despite facing the diagnosis of a degenerative eye disease early in life, Gillian’s resilience and determination to overcome drove her to pursue her dreams, inspire others and remain steadfast in the pursuit of personal and professional growth.
Gillian’s unwavering passion for story led her to ghostwrite various genres, publish several books, and fearlessly share her experiences with retinitis pigmentosa through her blog. She has also co-hosted and has been a guest on numerous podcasts spanning a variety of topics.
Inspired by a filmmaker acquaintance, Gillian’s love for film was rekindled in recent years. She began taking on roles in script and pitch writing, co-producing short films, documentaries, and enjoyed a brief stint as press manager for a small film company. Her resilience, creativity, and unwavering spirit have made Gillian an extraordinary, distinct voice in the communications industry.
Lizna Husnani- Puchta, Board Member
Lizna Husnani-Puchta brings a wealth of experience and a personal passion to her dual roles as Senior Manager for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the newly appointed Accessibility Lead at Coast Capital Savings. With a foundational career as an occupational therapist specializing in disability management, accommodations, and accessibility, Lizna’s expertise is not just professional but deeply personal. As a mother to a child with a disability, she embodies a unique and empathetic understanding of accessibility challenges. Her career trajectory took a transformative turn during the pandemic, marking a shift to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion with a laser focus on employment equity and accessibility. This pivot was driven by Lizna’s profound commitment to dismantling systemic barriers faced by marginalized groups. As a South Asian woman living with a hidden disability, she interweaves her personal identity with her professional pursuits, offering an intersectional lens that fuels her drive for transformative change. Within Coast Capital Savings and in broader societal frameworks, Lizna is a vocal advocate and a beacon of progress, championing inclusive and accessible environments for all.
Bob Stark, Board Member
Bob Stark is a Strategy Consultant and Disability Advocate. Prior to this, he was Deputy Minister and CEO of Service Ontario and an executive at Rogers and Scotiabank. He is married with four children and seven grandchildren. His youngest adult daughter is blind and has received services from BALANCE for many years. Bob has served as BALANCE Board Chair, and is currently Chair of the Nominating Committee.
Stephen Ricci, Board Member
Stephen Ricci works for the CNIB in the Social Enterprise Division as the National Portfolio Manager- Accessibility Solutions, supporting the CNIB Smartlife brand. Stephen is a person with ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Stephen is an active member of the blind and partially sighted community volunteering and is always willing to lend a hand. Stephen is driven by the knowledge that he can help make a difference in his community and change what it means to be blind or partially sighted in Canada. Stephen is happily married with three adult children and resides in Toronto. When Stephen is not advocating for accessibility, universal design or talking about the benefits and features of accessible products, he’s likely reading, listening to comedy, cheering on his Maple Leafs or vacuuming.
Meenakshi Venkatesan, Board Member
Meenakshi Venkatesan was the Chair of the Board from 2015-2017. Meena has several years of experience as a Research Scientist in cancer biology and antibiotic resistance research across hospitals in Toronto and currently working at a drug discovery company as a Scientific lead. She holds a PhD degree in Biochemistry from University of Cambridge. She has extensive experience in grant writing, Policy and governance. She also holds a certification in Project Management. She enjoys classical music, is an avid outdoor enthusiast and loves everything about nature and wilderness.
Wayne Yeung, Board Member
Wayne is currently a Senior Consultant in KPMG’s National Healthcare and Life Sciences Management Consulting practice. Primarily focused on Public Health related clients, Wayne has been a dedicated partner to organizations as they respond to the pandemic and working with leaders in Southwestern Ontario and North York Toronto to launch the region’s COVID-19 immunization campaigns. Having experience working with rural, urban and suburban populations in Ontario, Wayne has a robust understanding of the importance in involving the community to achieve quality health outcomes. Known for his ability to work with senior leaders and also frontline staff, he empowers organizations to be innovative and embrace change. Prior to his current role, he led matters pertaining to enterprise risk management in KPMG Canada’s National Quality and Risk Management office.
As an active volunteer and ambassador with the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, Wayne has been pivotal to many of the Foundation’s various initiatives for the past 11 years. Currently serving his third term as Chair of the Holiday Season Committee, Wayne brings a wealth of non-profit philanthropic and governance experience to BALANCE.