Deborah Gold, Chief Executive Officer

(416) 236-1796 ext. 222

With a Ph.D. in special education from Syracuse University, Dr. Gold has spent her career advocating for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. She is a skilled and experienced leader with extensive successful practice engaging partners and collaborators, developing and leading staff teams, coaching staff and volunteers, and managing multiple strategic projects. Before joining BALANCE, she worked for 16 years at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in progressively advanced roles, most recently as their National Director of Research and Program Development. Dr. Gold has spear-headed multiple knowledge development and generation projects (such as books and manuals for clients, parents and caregivers within the field of visual disabilities) funded through successful government and foundation grants. At CNIB, she sustained her department for many years on the success of her grant-writing. Dr. Gold has worked in the field of accessibility and community inclusion of people with disabilities, for over 40 years. Prior to her work in the field of visual disability/rehabilitation, Dr. Gold used her leadership positions in post-secondary education to expose health care students to practice opportunities with persons with disabilities. Her early career and first post-graduate degree were in inclusive recreation and leisure for children and youth. In her non-working time, Dr. Gold enjoys being a chorister in her community choir, volunteering at her local community theatre, practicing yoga and taking long hikes in the woods.

Ronashelle Coro, Communications Coordinator

(416) 236-1796 ext. 0

“I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from York University. My background includes substantial experience in customer service, a solid understanding of administrative and communications protocols, and involvement in community-based healthcare delivery during COVID-19 pandemic. Working in the healthcare sector has enabled me to cultivate my passion for assisting others.

What truly stands out to me about BALANCE is the remarkable impact a small team can have on the community. Furthermore, the organization encourages me to embrace fresh and challenging opportunities.

Cristina Lopes, Program Coordinator and Community Engagement Specialist

(416) 236-1796 ext. 229

“I was first introduced to BALANCE for Blind Adults in 2017 while working with Mood Disorders Society of Canada as a facilitator and program coordinator of a personal and professional skills development program for Veterans and former RCMP members. As we opened the program up to all persons with disabilities, we knew we wanted to provide inclusive and accessible programming to all who participated. That’s where BALANCE came in. As a Registered Social Service Worker, I was immediately drawn to the values and mission of BALANCE for Blind Adults.

Since joining the BALANCE team in the summer of 2019, I have worked with pre-existing employment support programs to provide inclusive programming to persons who are blind or living with sight loss. Since the completion of the project I have stayed on as staff with BALANCE and have witnessed this small organization take huge strides in providing access to adults living with sight loss.”

Christina Peruzzi, Pre-Employment Program Coordinator

(416) 236-1796 ext. 225

“Having most recently worked on a skills development program with Mood Disorders Society of Canada, I come to BALANCE with 10+ years of project management and communications experience. I have worked with clients across a wide range of industries, and believe that organizations can benefit by pivoting towards a more flexible work environment. I have a firm belief that removing barriers for people with disabilities benefits everyone. By using a combination of creative thinking and pragmatism, I hope to increase employment opportunities for people who have disabilities, and help build a more inclusive future.”

Bill Phung, Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist and Data Quality Specialist

(416) 236-1796 ext. 226

“When I was a student at Mohawk College at the orientation mobility instructor program, I was first introduced to BALANCE for Blind Adults when specialists came in to present to the class. After graduating from my program, I applied and BALANCE was my first job out of college. The rest is history. Seven years have flown by, I’m still on the BALANCE team and loving every second of it, so much so that I didn’t even realize this much time had passed. Every day is different and each client has their own unique challenges and goals. I’m passionate about helping others achieve their goals regardless of what they may be.

Something that really validates the work I do is connecting individuals who have been isolated for the majority of their lives. Whether they are newly visually impaired or have been for many years,  providing them with the knowledge and resources to be able to decrease their isolation and be more independent in the community is why I do what I do. Regardless of the client’s needs, learning a new skill offers a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.”

Olivia Pietrzyk, Adaptive Daily Living Skills Instructor

“I joined Balance for Blind Adults in January 2023 as the Adaptive Daily Living Instructor. I graduated from Humber College with a diploma in Occupational and Physiotherapy Assistance. I was and continue to be inspired to work in this field because I enjoy helping others progress in their rehabilitation and daily life.”

Doug Poirier, Assistive Technology Instructor and Information Technology Coordinator

(416) 236-1796 ext. 224

“I’ve been working for BALANCE since 2001 and at the time I was hired as a contract worker to run a 6 week program to help their clients learn a new, state-of-the-art technology. This was the beginning of the adaptive technology program and 17 years later it’s still going strong. I like to think that BALANCE is a leader in assistive technology training/instruction. BALANCE gives blind and visually impaired individuals a choice. We are equipped to meet the needs of a more diverse population and we always do our best to help everyone who comes our way.

One of the challenges that I enjoy while teaching is creating the course material and having the know-how to adapt it to student needs. I also enjoy teaching office skills. It’s not only about dealing with inaccessibility in the workplace, being work ready with the proper social skills, right attitude and confidence is just as important.

Around 10 to 20 years ago, technology was reserved for a small group of individuals who could afford the adaptive technology and had the skill to use it properly. Often times you had to spend an extra $400 worth of adaptive technology just to make the device accessible. Times have changed and companies, like Apple, have focused on making out of the box technology completely accessible with built in tools for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. This makes technology much more affordable and people are more willing to try. Its rewarding when you can teach some who has the technological knowledge and skills but doesn’t know how to integrate this knowledge into their own life as an independent person. There will always be challenges and I’m here to fill in the gaps where I can, or at least provide people with the lasting tools to do so themselves.”

Kiana Raeesdana, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

(416) 236- 1796 ext. 228

“I am an Orientation and Mobility specialist who recently graduated from the University of Montreal with a Master’s degree in Vision Science – Orientation & Mobility concentration. I hold a bachelor’s degree in optometry and have two years of work experience as a certified optometrist in Iran. I started working at BALANCE in January 2023. I am dedicated in serving visually impaired and blind individuals and helping them integrate into society- be independent and achieve their personal goals by travelling confidently, safely and independently in their environment. Outside my work, I enjoy listening to music and spending time with my family and friends