Board of Directors

Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre is currently seeking Board and Committee Members

2019-2020 Board of Directors 

The Board of Directors is elected to provide overall governance and leadership on behalf of the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC). As a diverse group of volunteers who provide leadership and direction to the organization and accountability to the community, the Board is responsible to:

  • Establish and implement the organization’s mission;
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan to meet its’ mission;
  • Ensure that services and programs are relevant, and that the organization meets its’ legal and financial responsibilities and;
  • Engage KDCHC in the community.

The Board of Directors played a key role when in 2017, KDCHC received a four-year accreditation and in 2015, was awarded the Board of Excellence Award from Manulife.

The Board of Directors bios are listed below:

Jason Spencer, Board Chairperson, is part of the vibrant Kitchener downtown area and works with Community Justice Initiatives (CJI). By walking with people on their journeys, Jason has seen firsthand the implications of the social determinants of health on the people he has supported and the importance of having accessible services for all. Jason is an active volunteer in his community and brings this spirit of volunteerism and past Board experience to KDCHC. Jason chairs the Governance and Executive Committees and sits on the Quality and Safety Committee.

Mike McDonald, Board Vice-Chairperson, is the CEO and founder of Recess Guardians, a registered charity that works with various schools to engage children in fun, unstructured play to encourage activity, creativity and leadership on the playground. Mike is looking to expand Recess Guardians across Canada, into the USA and Sweden. Having arrived from Saskatoon in 2019, Mike now lives in downtown Kitchener. Mike has been on several boards in the past, is a very capable individual and was the first non-Indigenous person to be involved in an Indigenous program. Mike joined the Board in April 2019 and sits on the Governance and Executive Committees.

Julia Alemayehu, Secretary has a diverse background, having worked for one of Canada’s largest insurance companies, has taught English in Korea and Russia and, most recently, works in the agricultural sector with a government agency. Julia is working on her Chartered Professional Accountant designation and will support the finance committee. Because of the example set by her family, Julia has strong ties with the community through volunteer work with a range of agencies. Julia believes that a strong community is an involved community. Julia also sits on the Executive and Governance Committees.

Dennis Watson, Treasurer, was an auditor for the Canada Revenue Agency for 35 years until his retirement in 2009. Prior to joining the Board in March 2019, Dennis was the community member on the KDCHC Finance Committee for almost eight years. As a member of the Board of Directors, Dennis is very interested in learning more about the CHC and primary health care in the Region. Dennis has served his church for over 30 years in various volunteer capacities, including helping to settle new Canadians and ensuring that the homeless receive food, shelter and other necessities during the winter months. As Treasurer for the KDCHC, Dennis sits on the Executive Committee and chairs the Audit Committee.

Jamie Gaulton, AVP, Business Intelligence Corporate Service at the Co-operators. The Co-operators has grown into a national, co-operative insurer that reaches the coasts of Canada. We began as farmers and social pioneers; today, we continue to be a socially conscious and sustainable organization that meets its business goals without forgetting what’s most important — the Canadian people. By investing in our communities, we live our mission and far exceed the requirements to be an Imagine Canada Caring Company. Our Community Investment Vision outlines three areas of impact: Environmental Sustainability, Economic, and Social Sustainability.

Jamie joined the KDCHC Board of Directors in April 2019 and has a strong desire to serve his community and make a difference to ensure everyone has equal access to healthcare. Jamie sits on the Quality and Safety Committee.

Rosemary McCrie, retired, has thirty years plus experience in Business Finance Management and Controllership. Rosemary currently chairs the Food Banks Canada Finance and Audit Committee and is a Board member on the Pepsico Canada Foundation.  Rosemary is a Chartered Director (The Director’s College, 2016) and is a Certified Management Accountant. Rosemary joined the Board in April 2019 and sits on the Governance Committee.

Mike Nowakowski, MMSc, CRM, CRISC, Manager of Information Systems Security, University of Toronto. Mike sits on the St. Mary’s General Hospital Volunteer Association Board, which provides oversight of the small businesses operating within the hospital. Mike’s background in risk management and cyber security make him a welcomed addition to the Board, joined April 2019. Mike sits on the Quality and Safety Committee.

Martha Knowlton is a retired elementary school principal from the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). As an educator, Martha has always displayed an interest in improving the lives of those most vulnerable with whom she has worked. Through breakfast programs, food and clothing drives, finding accommodation, meeting the needs of students and parents and making schools welcoming places to be, Martha has reached out to the various communities where she has worked. For three years, Martha was the volunteer coordinator for the Minds In Motion Walk for Mental Health, sponsored by Waterloo Regional Homes and is now interested in channeling her energy and skills towards being a member of the Board of Directors for KDCHC, which she joined in April 2019.

Jennifer Bechtel, ex officio, is the Quality Lead with the Canadian Mental Health Association. Jennifer has a master’s degree in health administration and brings a lot of mental health experience to the Board. Jennifer has a broad depth of knowledge related to health care services and applies these strategically to provide great added value to the Board. Jennifer chairs the Quality and Safety Committee.