Board of Directors

Sean Messing, Board Chair

A graduate of the University of British Columbia with a B.Sc., Sean began his career with CIBC Wood Gundy in 1995. He also holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation. Sean has provided wealth management through multiple market cycles with a team of advisors. He loves what he does and is deeply committed to every single individual that he works with. 

Spending time with family is extremely important to Sean. He also enjoys running marathons, cross country skiing and volunteering in the community.

Sean has been a long time supporter of MitoCanada and TEAMmito, devoting his time to raising awareness and funds for the organization.

Steen Hendry, Director and Treasurer

Steen graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2010 with a Bachelor of Management, specializing in Financing. 

In his 10 years at Enbridge, Steen has worked in various commercial, business development, operations and finance roles. He is currently the Director of Cash Management & Banking in the treasury department.

Outside of work Steen is dedicated to supporting others through his involvement as a mentor in the University of Calgary Scholars Academy and as an Ambassador for We Run the World Club (WRTWC) run club.

Zachary Seymour, Director and Secretary

Originally from the hamlet of Granum, Alberta, Zach holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Calgary and a Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria. A senior associate lawyer at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Zach’s practice focuses on complex corporate commercial litigation and arbitration, with an emphasis on construction and intellectual property disputes. As Secretary of the Board of Directors, Zach is custodian of all important records, including the organization’s by-laws and incorporation documents.

Zach joined MitoCanada as part of his commitment to help those suffering from rare, under-diagnosed medical conditions. Two of Zach’s immediate family members suffer from mitochondrial disease, and Zach himself is a brain tumour survivor. Zach hopes to use his platform as a litigation lawyer and his unique background to advocate for others.

In his downtime, Zach enjoys cooking, cycling, all things basketball, and walking his dog, Maisey.

Blaine Penny, Director and Co-Founder

Blaine’s commitment to MitoCanada is legendary. He is a co-founder of MitoCanada, chairing the Board from 2009 – 2015 and served as President and CEO from 2018-2020. In 2008, Blaine’s son, Evan, tragically suffered an unexplained brain injury and went from being a healthy typical 4-year-old boy to a spastic quadriplegic, who is non-verbal and tube fed as a result of mitochondrial disease. Blaine has poured thousands of hours into helping raise awareness and funds for mitochondrial disease research, and building a Mito community connecting patients, scientists, clinicians, and industry.

Outside of MitoCanada, Blaine has spent over a decade as an executive in the Engineering and Technology sectors in various leadership roles. Blaine is currently the CEO of Lumiio, a global digital health company that accelerates health outcomes through data and technology. Blaine has significant corporate governance experience through sitting on numerous Boards and is an Executive Advisor with Mito2i.

 

Claudia Aguirra, Director

Claudia has more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning and market research across different industries and countries and has been part of the executive teams guiding marketing and branding strategies for many flagship brands such as  Parks and Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels, Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, Walmart and Coca-Cola. 
She was VP Strategic Planning for Foote, Cone & Belding New York and Regional VP Strategic Planning for Leo Burnett in the Latin American, Caribbean and US Hispanic Market regions and special projects in Eastern Europe. 

Claudia was the first Mexican women speaker at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, she was also awarded as one of the 40 before 40 in Mexico in 2007 and was a member of the global strategic council for Procter & Gamble for more than 5 years. She has won several international awards in the creative and strategic areas. Claudia holds a Major in Marketing with a specialized degree in non-for-profit organizations and a diploma in statistics applied to marketing. 

She has lived in Calgary since 2007, where she opened Lemonade Strategy & Branding five years ago collaborating as a branding expert for several international, local and national brands and start-ups. 

David Mosher, Director 

David holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Management from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Dave’s beautiful daughter Victoria was diagnosed with Mito in 2003. Now, his goal is to do everything in his power to make sure that patients get the right diagnosis, treatment and ultimately a cure so they can lead long and fulfilling lives. As someone who has dedicated his career to healthcare, Dave says it is an honour to serve as Board Chair.

David is currently the Vice President of Sales for Logibec — a healthcare IT corporation specializing in the development of solutions that enable healthcare facilities to optimize, manage, and coordinate their care activities, leading to improved and impactful care practice.

Previously, David was a Director with McKesson Canada responsible for RelayHealth, a solution which facilitates virtual patient-physician clinic visits and allows patients to access their health information. David was also a Global Consulting Manager for Hewlett-Packard and responsible for directing their Canadian healthcare strategy.

Dr Neal Sondheimer, Director 

Dr Neal Sondheimer is a physician-scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children and The University of Toronto. He is Section Head for metabolic disease and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Molecular Genetics.

Dr Sondheimer earned his M.D. and Ph.D at the University of Chicago, completing post-graduate training in paediatrics, medical genetics and metabolic at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Since 2015, Dr Sondheimer has provided care for children with metabolic diseases including mitochondrial disorders. His research focuses on the regulation of mitochondrial gene expression and the impact of mitochondrial mutations in common and rare disease.

In his spare time, Dr. Sondheimer enjoys poker, golf and trying to keep his mitochondria in good working order.

Dilek Dag, Director 

Dilek is a values based leader having spent the last 20 years in operations and engineering in highly regulated pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods companies.  She is committed to building relationships to continuously improve and drive innovation. 

When not at work, she likes to spend as much time outdoors as possible. She lives in Toronto with her husband, three children and their golden retriever.

Staff

Kate Murray, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President

Kate Murray is no stranger to MitoCanada. As past Director of Program Development and interim CEO, Kate is passionately motivated and inspired by the strength of the mito community and driven to build capacity to impact the lives of those living with mitochondrial diseases.

Kate has extensive not-for-profit experience working for small charities and Foundations, founding her own children’s charity, Robbie’s Rainbow with her son. Previous to not-for-profit life, Kate’s career began in the food and beverage industry, working for one of the largest brands in the world, Coca-Cola. As one of just three women to hold a distribution management position within Coca-Cola Canada, Kate turned one of the country’s poorest-performing locations into one of the top five in North America.

Kate’s passion is being outdoors! Her pride is being a mom of three energetic teenagers; a traveller, a swimmer and a budding artist. Kate and her family are no strangers to the complexities of chronic illness, as her eldest was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the tender age of six. Kate volunteers her time as a member of the SickKids Family Advisory Network (FAN). She is a steering committee member of CIDsCANN: Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Network and the IBD Project.

Catherine Mulvale, Chief Development Officer (CDO)

Catherine believes that individual comments, people and deeds can change the world. A confident, articulate and experienced innovator with extensive marketing, communications, public relations and fundraising expertise, she drives collaboration with passion and purpose to bring about remarkable outcomes. Catherine is respected for her ability to develop innovative programs which attract funding, provide meaningful benefits to recipients and supporters, and improve quality of life.  After being given a 10% chance of surviving a life-threatening illness in 1996, Catherine began investing her efforts and experience as a patient, educator, philanthropist and entrepreneur to help others. She has supported the advancement of small businesses, national corporations and global charitable foundations; developed countless educational programs across multiple mediums for the public, businesses and health care professionals; founded and transformed several national charitable organizations; and, raised over $27 million.

Catherine is the founder of Dynamite Design, Strategies for Life, and the Global Friends Foundation; has been executive director for the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation and the Canadian Foundation for Infectious Diseases; is the recipient of the YMCA Peace Medal Award and Leading Women Community Award; and, along with her husband, Tom, is the proud parent of two joyful, socially-conscious 20-something humans.

Nella Perri, Finance Manager

Nella began her career at Export Development Corporation in Ottawa.  She later relocated to Toronto where she joined Baxter Canada as a Marketing Analyst holding various positions over a 15 year period. 

As a mother of two, she volunteered in their various activities.  She joined the board of a local not for profit offering recreational and competitive programs for children where she held numerous positions including Treasurer for over ten years.    

Nella joined MitoCanada in 2017 and continues to support various local charities.

Emily Ing, Events and Community Awareness Coordinator

Emily is a recent graduate from McMaster University earning an Honours B.A. in history.

As our summer Events and Community Awareness Coordinator, Emily will be helping us plan and promote special events, activities and fundraisers. She says she’s looking forward to bringing awareness to MitoCanada and mitochondrial health.⁠

Tania Amardeil, Social Media Coordinator

Tania is the driving force behind all of our social media activities.

An English Language & Literature graduate with a background in marketing and a degree in holistic nutrition, she has a love of storytelling, health and wellness, and connecting people.