CFI Canada Board of Directors & Leadership Team
Centre For Inquiry Canada’s Board of Directors is elected by the CFIC Council at the Annual General Meeting.
CFIC Board of Directors March 2021-March 2022
Gus Lyn-Piluso – President email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is motivated by a lifelong commitment to open-mindedness, curiosity, and evidence. As a venture capital and startup professional, Alex invests in, oversees and mentors a portfolio of rapidly growing businesses across many industries. He is a public speaker, author and media contributor on matters of economics and personal finance. He is also a father of two.
John Varghese – Communications Liaison
John Varghese is committed to the scientific method, tempered with large doses of kindness, as a means to start understanding anything. Born in India into a multicultural, cosmopolitan and secular setting, he honed both an artistic and a scientific temperament on his way to getting his Bachelor’s degree in Literature and then a Master’s degree in Communication Studies – an educational journey grounded in a blend of right-brain creativity structured in left-brain rigor. He worked for the Educational Media Research Centre and the Children’s Film Society of India as a Scriptwriter, Assistant Director and Editor before migrating to Canada in 2000.
Ironically, it was in Canada that John got roped into the religio-cultural moorings of his heritage as he settled into the Canadian landscape enfolded by the Indian Orthodox Christian diaspora. Though areligious, his skills as an organizer and joy of working with people found an outlet as he volunteered as Secretary of his church in Mississauga, Ontario. Fundraising, event organizing, charity drives and youth development activities kept him busily shielded from the real questions of human value and flourishing of all life even as he settled into his role as husband, eventual father to 3 kids and into a new career as a Business Advisor for an Insurance company.
As he grew increasingly away and finally broke away from dogma, doctrine and religiosity, John joined CFIC in 2020 to support the cause of reason, science and compassion in the planet’s overall healing, well-being and flourishing. As a member of the CFIC Board and Chair of the Communications Committee, John intends to create opportunities for increased dialog toward the CFIC vision of creating a world where we value evidence and critical thinking, where superstition and prejudice are eliminated and where science and compassion guide public policy.
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.”
Onur is a 37 years-old atheist refugee currently living in Victoria, BC. He has studied Political Science at St. Thomas Uni., Gov’t and Int’l Politics at George Mason Uni., Int’l Relations at Istanbul Bilgi Uni. and is pursuing an M.A. degree on Global Leadership at Royal Roads Uni.
He established multiple atheist organizations in the Republics of Turkey, and Georgia from 2012 to 2016. He states his life-long mission as; to create a network of atheist/secular/humanist NGOs in the Middle East region. Onur has previously served as President of Atheist Alliance International in 2016-2017. Onur has been a member of CFI and CFIC since 2015. He has been a co-director of the Victoria branch since 2018, and manager of Virtual branch since 2019. He produces an annual ‘Protecting Blasphemers’ Panel Discussion event in Victoria, BC. In 2020, Onur has created the Atheist Refugee Assistance Program for the non-believer asylum-seekers in Turkey.
As a victim of false allegations Onur spent a total of three years imprisoned in Turkey. He was forced to fight tens of bogus charges brought by the Pro-Islamic Turkish prosecutors. He was slandered and crucified by the media outlets. The charges he was once acquitted were reversed to ‘Guilty’ from ‘Not Guilty’ by higher courts after his atheist activism madeits peak. He is now an asylum seeker in Canada since 2017.
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.
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.
Position Open – Volunteer Coordinator
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