Board of Directors
The Niagara Falls Community Health Centre is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of Niagara Region community members. With the board’s leadership, experience, & expertise, the NFCHC continues to move forward towards achieving its vision of empowering individuals, creating a stronger community through quality health care in the City of Niagara Falls.
Franco Piscitelli - Chair
Franco has lived in Niagara Falls for nearly 40 years where he and his wife, Renni raised their 4 children. Franco has worked his entire career in the field of Law Enforcement (retiring as an Immigration Intelligence Officer after 35 years and following with an 8 year career as Municipal Law Enforcement Manager). Franco has a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration. He has sat as Director and Chair on several local boards. Franco hopes to serve the Board by following in the footsteps of his wife, Renni who was the First Chair of the NFCHC.
Carol Stewart-Kirkby - Director
Born in Manchester, England, Carol came to Niagara Falls with her parents and brother in 1970. She attended Westlane Secondary School and graduated with a journalism degree from Ryerson in 1980. After several roles in newspapers, she moved to a position with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food to edit magazines for rural organizations. It was at this workplace that she first became involved in the United Way as a volunteer. Since then, she served in various capacities with the United Way, culminating in her current role as Executive Director of the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie. Carol lives in Niagara Falls with her husband and family dog, Jackson. She is the proud mom of three sons. She likes to read and from time to time attempts to play golf!
Susie Tombs - Vice Chair
Susie was born in Montreal, Quebec and moved to Ontario in 1978. She has been employed at the Niagara Parks Commission for 36 years, over the years working in various departments, presently in the horticulture department in an administration/logistics position. Susie also has a small side business that caters mostly to seniors. She teaches people about computers in their homes, assists with their taxes, helps them downsize when moving, and she also drives them to appointments. Susie says that her greatest gift is her son Brandon, who she is very proud of. Brandon is completing his second diploma at Niagara College in Gaming and Animation, and he is on the honour roll. The remainder of Susie's spare time is spent with friends, family, and her dog Maggee Mae; a 90 pound Mastiff/American-Bulldog that is gentle by nature and full of love.
Susie helps out community charities, such as the United Way, which she had the privilege of sitting on the board for two terms. "I learned so much about our community and myself during the time on the United Way board, I always felt that my voice was heard and taken seriously" Susie says, "When I was approached about being part of the Niagara Falls Community Health Centre as a Board Member, I was thrilled. The dedication and commitment of the NFCHC team is fascinating. Kudos to Henri-Louis and his team. I am looking forward to the day when we finally move into our new location. Hopefully I will still be part of the NFCHC team."
John Armstrong - Director
John Armstrong is president of Armstrong Strategy Group, a strategic communications and public affairs firm he started in 2011. John began his career as a public liaison officer for former Ontario premier William Davis and completed his bachelor's degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in political science and his Masters of Arts degree in political science.
John has worked in the private sector as manager of a cable advertising channel and has taught current affairs and the media to Niagara College journalism students and lectured in Canadian Studies at Brock University. His commitment to leadership also took him to Ottawa and the office of former Reform Party of Canada leader Preston Manning, as a strategist, speech-writer and communications specialist and has also served on the staff of Labour Minister Jim Flaherty.
Since becoming a consultant in 1998, John has delivered strategies to clients in all sectors including large multinational corporations to various levels of government, the broader sector, industry associations and not-for-profits. The depth of and breadth of his regional understanding reaches into healthcare, tourism, agri-food, manufacturing, municipal and electricity sectors.
John is also Chair of the Bi-national War of 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council, and founder of the Lou Cahill Society, John has also been on the Board of the Niagara Community Foundation, is past chair of Niagara College's Public Relation's Program Advisry group, has been on numerous fundraising campaigns and a judge for the Canadian Healthcare Public Relations Awards.
Irene Duford - Director
Irene Duford has been a resident of Niagara Falls all of her life, and says she has seen many changes in the community over the years. Irene worked for the Niagara Parks Commission for over 30 years and has worked with a great many people and thoroughly enjoys getting to know and helping others. Irene joined the NFCHC as a client in 2011 and has participated in nearly all the wonderful groups that are offered (some more than once)! Irene likes to help out with different groups here at NFCHC, such as Gentle Fit, Coffee Club, Peer support and many others. Come a visit her in one of our groups today!
"I became a Board Member because the staff at NFCHC literally gave me my life back." she says, "So I really wanted to help in any way that I could to serve others in the community."
Jaelynne Sonke - Director
My name is Jaelynne Sonke (Jae for short) I am a Registered Nurse currently employed by Niagara Health; I have been fortunate to work within the healthcare setting in the Niagara Region for over 27 years. Over the many years at Niagara Health I have demonstrated my skills and gained extensive experience and knowledge at many levels, I am currently the clinical nurse manager for the perioperative program, a position I have held for approximately 9 years.
I originally graduated as a registered nurse from a community college, eventually earning my Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Brock University and most recently an MBA from the University of Fredericton.
I was involved at great length with the Niagara Health System’s development and plan for the new hospital build and its eventual move to its current site. As a clinical nurse manager and a health care leader I have been involved in strategic planning and development as well as being instrumental in initiating and sustaining many quality and patient safety initiatives. I have participated in many accreditation processes, through these processes I have assisted with developing many step-by-step pathways, leading Niagara Health towards continuous quality improvement.
I am excited to say this is my first year as a member of the board of directors, a position I take great pride in. I look forward to my new position and value the opportunity of working collaboratively with many community partners and healthcare providers to ensure quality healthcare is accessible and available to all who require assistance; this is something I consider very important to me and the community we live and work in.
Diane Vanecko - Treasurer
Born and raised in Niagara, Diane Vanecko is a first-time board member. Diane is inspired by the Niagara Falls Community Health Centre’s achievements, and is eager to bring her health background and experience to take the organization’s vision further and make it a reality through sound strategy development. Diane strives to improve the residents’ quality of life, one person at a time.
Diane is the Director of Organizational and Foundational Standards division at Niagara Region Public Health, overseeing communications, research and evaluation, and continuous quality improvement and education. She has been employed with Niagara Region for 19 years, beginning her career as a Public Health Nurse, and has held a variety of positions in the organization. Diane is currently leading the development of a new Public Health office in Niagara Falls.
Diane graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996 and completed her Masters of Business Administration in 2007. Diane is married to her high school sweetheart Darren, and they have two teenaged children. Diane loves watching her son play hockey and her daughter play basketball. In her spare time, she enjoys running the Niagara escarpment trails and hiking with her family.
Madelyn Law - Director
Madelyn Law was born and raised in Niagara and has ties to community and business organizations across the region. After completing an undergraduate degree in Sports Management at Brock University, she went on to complete a masters in Sport Psychology at Queen's and a PhD at the University of Toronto in Health Service Management. Madelyn is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University and is passionate about research and applied projects that help to improve the health of the population. Her research focuses on the development of high quality innovative health services. She has experience on numerous committees and Boards in higher education, community and health organizations. As a Board Member, Madelyn brings a wealth of knowledge in quality improvement across health settings tgether with the ability to provide vision related to health system trends.