CFI Canada Board of Directors
Centre For Inquiry Canada’s Board of Directors is elected by the CFIC Council at the Annual General Meeting.
CFIC Board of Directors March 2019-March 2020
Gus Lyn-Piluso – President firstname.lastname@example.org
Gus has served on CFI Canada’s board since 2016 and became president in 2018. While he has been a member of CFIC and other humanist organizations for many years, the majority of his board work has been with The John Howard Society of Toronto. He spent 15 years on JHT’s board including 8 years as president. In both these organizations he has been firmly committed to democratic values and practice and takes the vision of the organization’s members seriously, working toward actualizing it as expressed in the mission statement. Therefore, fostering “a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values” is not just a web slogan but an operational imperative.
He has been a college professor for 29 years teaching students to think critically, rationally, and to engage the world as active ethical citizens. He has been interested in Deweyan pragmatism for years and sees ‘truth’ not as something received but arrived at through the communal process of inquiry whereby ideas are tested in real-life situations. He seeks to bring this experience to CFI Canada and its public education endeavors. He is a member of the International Big History Association, the Heterodox Academy, and Humanist Canada. He is also a signatory of the Pro-Truth Pledge and is committed to telling the truth and is willing to stand up and publicly admit if and when he is wrong.
Seanna Watson – Vice-President, Branch Liaison, Education Chair email@example.com
Seanna was one of the founders of the Ottawa branch of CFI Canada in 2009. She grew up in Toronto, where her early religious upbringing was liberal/Reform Jewish (though her grandfather was a staunch atheist). Despite having skeptical and freethinking tendencies as a child and young teenager, she encountered some very convincing evangelists and converted to fundamentalist Christianity at the age of 15. However, continuing with a skeptical and free-thinking approach, she gradually abandoned various aspects of Christianity over the subsequent years, finally becoming an atheist around the turn of the century.
Seanna is a retired electrical engineer, currently dividing her (non-CFI) time among a variety of pursuits including model railroading, reading (philosophy, biology, and science fiction), and hiking.
As a member of the CFIC Board, Seanna has a special interest in education in science and skepticism as well as in building caring communities of non-believers. She is currently serving as Vice-President, Branch Liaison, Education Chair and IT Manager/Webmaster.
Diane trained in math/science at University but was enticed by computers, ending up with a career in real-time/embedded systems programming. For hobbies, Diane is a musician, photographer, and amateur radio operator. Diane lives in Ottawa with her partner of over 40 years and their calico cat, Nanook.
Diane has been involved with CFIC locally in Ottawa since roughly 2012, helping with Living Without Religion and other general events finally ending up as branch manager.
Critical thinking skills has been one of Diane’s strong interests for years. Diane asks: “What are the interactions between justified beliefs and emotional thinking? How can we reach more people?”
Zack is a hospital-based clinical pharmacist in Regina, Saskatchewan, with special interests in technology, leadership, and evidence-based clinical practice. Zack has been able to exercise his critical thinking skills while learning with and training pharmacists and physicians to analyze and apply scientific literature.
Zack is also a husband and father. He enjoys fitness, the outdoors, and handy-work. Zack usually spends any available downtime watching films or cheering on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Alex Kenjeev – Policy Officer
Alex Kenjeev is a venture capitalist in the City of Toronto. Alex attended law school, and although not a practicing lawyer, he is well prepared to identify policy issues that CFIC must be aware of. Alex is passionate about secularism and critical thinking.
Jason is located in Toronto and currently serves as the Human Rights Chair on CFIC’s Board of Directors. He has been a member of the Board since 2016. Jason’s main interests include human rights, secularism, blasphemy laws, and free speech and expression. Jason has a background in the ESL and settlement sector, where he currently works.
Jason serves on the CFIC Board of Directors to contribute to the continued growth and development of the organization. Human rights and secularism are core values of CFIC; Jason believes that relationship and connection between these two concepts offers a valuable framework for understanding human rights issues locally and internationally. As the Human Rights Chair, Jason wants to use his knowledge and interest in these areas to help CFIC continue to be active and promote these values.
Jason adds: “It is important for CFIC to not only promote human rights and maintain a sense of inquiry for human rights, human rights issues and secularism within our community, but to also build connections and collaborate with other organizations, especially (but not exclusively) when working towards shared goals. Members of the CFIC community are very keen and deeply interested in learning about human rights issues and contributing to human right causes affecting the secular community and in general.”
Rohit has been involved with CFI Canada since 2015. He has been the Toronto Branch Manager since 2017 and has recently been appointed as the Communication Liaison and the Partnership Chair.
In his day job he works as a Technology Strategist and Product Developer for an Engineering Company and his education background is in robotic engineering.He lives in Toronto with his wife and infant son and his interests include Technology, Astronomy, Physical fitness through boxing and ju-jitsu.
Rohit is passionate about the importance of critical thinking, reason and logic. Attaining these skills from a young age has shaped his ability to think clearly. By joining the CFIC Board of Directors he hopes to spread these skills to people and institutions. Holding the positions of Communication Liaison and Partnership Chair, Rohit will be a spokesperson for CFIC and responsible for sharing information between the CFIC Communications Committee and the Board of Directors.
Leslie joined CFI Canada shortly after its inception. He firmly believes that evidence-based public policy is the best foundation for laws and regulations, and that facts and their logical implications should form the foundation of discussions in society. Hence CFI Canada’s commitment to reason, science, and secular values appeal greatly to him and he hopes to increase their prevalence in Canada.
Leslie has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics (Computer Science) from the University of Waterloo and an MBA in Science and Technology from Queen’s University. Leslie has performed in countless plays and improvisational comedy nights, ran one marathon, and has worked in multiple roles across numerous industries in several countries. He has four children and lives in Toronto. He writes about secularism, religion, politics, ethics, free speech, and other topics at opinionsquestions.blogspot.com (opinions there are his own, not CFIC’s).
Edan Tasca – Mental Health Chair
Edan has been a member of the Centre for Inquiry Canada since 2014, and volunteering in various capacities since early 2016. He spent 15 years as a writer/editor, and went back to school in 2012 to re-train for a career in mental health. He now works as a psychotherapist in multiple venues in and around Toronto.
Edan belongs to CFIC because he loves the mission of spreading science, secularism, and critical thinking. Edan is honored to participate on the Board of Directors as CFIC’s Mental Health Chair. “Society has been making strides toward de-stigmatizing mental health issues, but there’s much work to be done. I look forward to offering my expertise to CFIC as we work through these and other challenges.”
CFIC Leadership Team
Sandra has consulted with CFIC since November of 2017. As someone concerned with separating rhetoric from reality, Sandra is passionate about CFIC’s mission. Along with her work in creating a sustainable and vibrant future for CFIC, Sandra is a frequent volunteer writer for Critical Links.
Sandra has spent her career working in a variety of non-profit organizations and currently provides consulting to non-profits. When she’s not working, Sandra is an active sports and outdoor enthusiast and community volunteer. She lives in Central Ontario and enjoys traveling to both coasts where she has family members.
Mark has been a volunteer with CFIC since 2012 helping with the local branch in Ottawa, Ontario which is where he resides. He is a computer programmer with varying interests in other subjects such as ethics, theology, philosophy, effective altruism, psychology, scientific skepticism, ethical veganism and critical thinking. He is an avid hiker and enjoys the outdoors.
Kevin Brown – Treasurer
Kevin Brown has been a member of CFIC Ottawa for over 8 years. He sees volunteering at the National level as a natural extension of this work. Kevin is a civil servant. He will apply his past experience as president, treasurer and chief steward of his local union to his role of treasurer at CFIC. In addition to ensuring that CFIC’s bills are paid and records organized, Kevin will oversee the work of the bookkeeper to ensure that records are accurate and the organization remains fiscally responsible.
John McKay understands that the better angels of our human nature will win out over the nasty devils of dogma, ideology, nationalism and ignorance. He understands that the best way to build a better world of thoughtfulness and compassion is to lift the principles of the Enlightenment rather than attack the institutions of ignorance and fear. In the same way that peace is not simply the absence of war, a better world consists of purposefully built positives rather than the mere absence of negatives. John applies these lessons to his professional career as the president of a communications and public relations company that focuses on clarity, honesty and authenticity over spin, phoniness and obfuscation. As a communicator and educator, he works with scientists and other experts to build ideas and generate a common understanding with others. He is passionate about shining the bright light of critical thinking on the dark shadows of rigid thought systems, regardless of whether they are political, economic, religious or social. John lives in Ottawa and his company works out of Ottawa, Toronto and London, Ontario.
David Simmons is a prospect researcher for the March of Dimes Canada. He has been a member of CFIC since 2014 and has volunteered with the Toronto branch since that time. He is currently a member of the Toronto Branch Leadership team as well as the Manager of Records and Recording Secretary for the CFIC nationally. David’s excellent organizational skills ensure that CFIC’s virtual records are organized and maintained in a secure environment. David prepares the monthly board meeting package and records the minutes of each meeting.
David values CFIC’s role in expanding rationality and critical thinking in society.
Michelle is a single mother of one, and a Law student at Algonquin College; having recently completed the Law Clerk Program, she plans to move on to the Paralegal Program with the aspiration of opening her own Paralegal Practice. She hopes to provide affordable services to Refugee Claimants, Animal Rights Activists, and to other individuals within the field of Human and Animal Rights.
Michelle is an ethical vegan and advocates for the rights of sentient, non-human animals through her love for cooking and baking, taking every opportunity to prove that a vegan diet is not only salad and tofu. She is currently working on a vegan cookbook & 365 day meal plan and anticipates its release in Summer of 2019; she hopes that this will assist more people to adopt “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals”. She plans to donate the majority of the proceeds from her book to animal rights organizations in Canada.
Michelle took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator in 2018, after falling in love with the community at her branch in Ottawa. CFIC was the first community she felt she could truly be a part of, and it was primarily her sense of belonging that made her want to become more involved nationally. In 2019 she was voted in as a council member and would like to express her gratitude to Diane Bruce and Seanna Watson for believing in her ability to contribute in such a significant way.
In her spare time, Michelle enjoys reading, knitting, and spending time with her 5-year-old daughter, Zina.
CFIC Past Board Members
CFIC is proud to recognize the service of Board Members since our formal founding in 2007.
- S. Wynton Semple
- Debora Del Monte
- Paul Zammit
- Carol Parlow
- Richard Thain
- Jack Wallas
- Zak Fiddes
- Lorne Trottier
- Ron Lindsay
- Thomas Flynn
- Derek Rodgers
- Barry Karr
- Ian McQuaig
- Michael Gardiner
- Kathryn Calder
- Iain Martel
- William Cranor
- Gary Fitzgibbon
- Dorothy Hays
- Veronica Abbass
- Mike Gray
- Joanna Nguyen-Truong
- Genessa Radke
- Pat O-Brien
- Wil McDowall
- Danielle Russell
- Kevin Smith
- Blythe Nilsson
- Christopher Myrick
- Sarah Pekeles