OPDI Board of Directors
OPDI has a governance type board whose activities include
- establishing long term strategic plans, based on member identified needs,
- identifying annual goals and objectives for the organization,
- overseeing fiscal accountabilities to membership and funder(s) and reporting of same
- engaging/evaluating an Executive Director who is accountable to the Board, and who in turn is responsible engages/evaluates staff who are accountable to the ED
- bringing forward information about members needs and interests to inform OPDI positions
Directors are not involved in day to day operations and management of the organization.
OPDI’s board model focuses on being “skills-based” as opposed to “representative”. We use a Skills and Diversity Matrix to identify experiences that contribute to the interests of the organization and its members and to assess our bench strength for the nomination process. Although the directors’ role is not to represent specific groups or regions, we aim to reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of our member groups – groups which may operate in urban, rural or remote settings and whose levels of empowerment range from complete independence, through various degrees of autonomy, to being small programs within mainstream mental health service organizations or institutions.
OPDI has nine directors who are elected to two-year terms of office and may be re-elected for up to three terms. The exception to this is when vacant positions are appointed mid-term by the Board. We attach expiry dates to positions in an attempt to facilitate succession and achieve balance between newer and longer serving directors.
Board applicants must be members in good standing of an OPDI member organization. One director may come from the Associate membership. Director applications are considered by a nominating committee which invites applications, conducts interviews, and recommends a slate to the Board which is in turn moved to members at the Annual General Meeting. The Executive (President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary) are elected by the Board just after the AGM.
The Board’s current meeting schedule includes two day face to face “retreats” on a quarterly basis, usually at weekends, plus teleconferences as needed. For timely handling of issues we also use email discussion threads and electronic voting where appropriate and possible, with any e-votes ratified at the next board meeting.
We welcome and encourage our members to bring good candidates to the attention of the nominating committee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by speaking to a member of the Board.
Aubrey Andrus / President (Whitby)
An adventure lover at heart who loves to spend time with her family and friends Aubrey believes that when humans experience life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. Aubrey’s great passion is helping people find ways to bring healthy coping into their lives so they can live the life they want. Through her own lived experience she knows that there is no single approach to this process and helping individuals navigate what it looks like for them is so important to the healing process.
Aubrey Andrus has worked in the Mental Health and Addictions for 8 years in various programs including, Youth Residential Support, Harm Reduction outreach worker and a Peer Support Specialist. Aubrey is currently working for Durham Mental Health Services as a Program Manager for the Peer Support Team. Aubrey is a facilitator as well as an Advanced Level Facilitator for WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan), and also is an instructor for Mental Health First Aid - Basic & Youth. Aubrey is a lover of the outdoors, animals and spending time with her family and friends.
Alise de Bie / Vice-President (Hamilton)
Alise lives with wonderful neighbours in the east end of Hamilton and has been actively involved in peer support in post-secondary institutions over the last decade: establishing and facilitating a peer support group for Mad students, a peer/advocacy network for employees with disabilities, and teaching courses about Mad/consumer/survivor/peer movements. They completed their PhD in Mad(ness) Studies in 2019 and are now a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation, and Excellence in Teaching at McMaster University. Alise’s current research projects include inquiry into the use of (Mad/mental illness) personal narratives as a teaching strategy in Mad and mainstream classrooms, approaches to advancing accessibility in teaching and learning on campus, and the pedagogical possibilities (and tensions/limits) of ‘partnership’ approaches to education. (That is, students and staff/faculty, service users and providers, and communities and universities working together to design and deliver curriculum, experiential learning, and teaching scholarship). Their work on OPDI’s board has involved exploring connections between academic research and the peer movement, and between Mad/Disability Studies education and peer support training. Alise has a terrible time managing the regular washing of dishes. They are grateful for their network of lunatikin/crazykin.
Kari Sterling / Secretary (North Bay)
Regional Director of LERN, Kari comes to us from Temagami where she resides with her husband Rick and youngest son Harrison. As a person with personal & family lived experience, Kari has worked with CMHA in New Liskeard as a Consumer/Family Support Worker and holds two certificates in Peer Support, one from OPDI. Kari is also a Holistic Health Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Health Coach, Laughter Yoga Teacher and Anger Solutions Facilitator. She is upbeat, friendly, positive and enthusiastically and passionately shares her mission to empower, support and inspire others along their journey of well being andrecovery. Kari enjoys spending time in nature boating & camping on Lake Temagami, travelling, hiking, biking, and laughing with friends and family. She is driven, passionate and excited for the opportunity to learn from and work with OPDI's Board of Directors.
Tyrone Gamble / Treasurer (Ottawa)
Tyrone Gamble is a peer support worker and mental health and addictions advocate in Ottawa. He provides peer support in both the community and in several hospitals. Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa is his community and source of support and guidance. His passion revolves around supporting people living with voices and/or parallel realities. Part of his interest and passion for hearing voices and parallel realities comes from his own lived experience and the expertise he has gained supporting others who share these and similar experiences.
This is Tyrone’s second go around on the OPDI Board of Directors. He was first time on the OPDI Board of Directors was from 2010-2016. He values the organization, its mission and vision so much that he was eager to sit on the Board again and be of service to it in a way that makes the best use of his gifts and strengths.
Richard Adair / Director (Brampton)
After coming out of retirement from life at age 30, Richard found recovery through acquiring a passion for learning in which has given birth to two diplomas in the areas of: Advertising and Social Service Worker, at the college level. Richard finds accreditation standards, quality improvement and legislation/policy very interesting. Richard believes that the voice of the consumer should be present at all areas of the health care system in Canada. Richard currently holds the position of Community Engagement Coordinator at the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support.
When Richard is not working he invests his time into his family. Richard fosters the model that “Hockey is Life” to his partner and children. They don’t necessarily agree with this model, so Richard is thus forced to work on his art, video gaming, and ball hockey hobbies when he can’t have the T.V.
Richard can be known to be overly serious, but once comfortable has a very good sense of humor. Richard holds very firm commitment to the belief that experiential knowledge is indispensable.
Calvin Prowse / Director (Hamilton)
Calvin is a resident of West Hamilton and a social work student at McMaster University, where they use the frameworks of Mad Studies, Critical Disability Studies, and Disability Justice to inform their work. They are a community organizer (and peer supporter!) within mental health, disability, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. They believe we should be able to access the supports we want / need in a caring environment that is free of violence and that supports our dignity and autonomy.
In addition, they also work with in/accessibility, in/equity, and dis/ableism, especially within post-secondary education. They enjoy exploring alternate ways of knowing / learning / meaning-making, and the intersections between disability, madness/mental health, and 2SLGBTQIA+ identities.
In their free time, Calvin enjoys eating depression pizza with friends during the solstice, hanging out with their family of cats and plants, chatting with others about our experiences of disability / disablement / psychiatry / psychiatrization, and thinking about madgic and time-travel.
They are passionate about leveraging the strengths of lived experience, peer support, storytelling, Madvocacy, and consumer/survivor community/ies through the lens of epistemic justice and as an entry point for building transformative futures.
Brooke Chambers / Director (Whitby)
Brooke Chambers is a mental health advocate, consultant and volunteers as a peer support specialist with Durham Mental Health Services. She is member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Mental Health, appointed by the Honourable Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas and consults for the Public Health Agency of Canada, as a working group member for the Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund. In 1989 she was the youngest police officer ever hired by the Ontario Provincial Police at the age of nineteen and the only black female at the time. In this role Ms. Chambers served in traffic enforcement, accident investigation, officer training, community engagement, strategic policy and planning and fraud investigation. After 9 years she left policing to pursue a career as a Financial Advisor where she managed assets of over $60 million. She serves on the board of directors of the Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, a community organization founded by her late grandfather Dr. Herbert H. Carnegie, Canadian Hockey Icon and her mother Bernice Carnegie co-authour of the book, “A Fly in a Pail of Milk, The Herbert H. Carnegie Story.” After 8 years as a financial advisor Ms. Chambers could no longer work due to her bipolar diagnosis. She holds an Advanced Certificate in Policing from the Ontario Police College and Professional Financial Planning Designation from the Canadian Securities Institute. Brooke believes, having hope and being of service especially to others with lived and living experience with mental illness is a must for recovery.