Gazal Kukreja, Chair

Gazal was motivated to join BIST as a board member through her experience collaborating with the organization in her roles at the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA).  At ONF, Gazal was responsible for managing projects across the province that involved implementing evidence-based brain injury guidelines in practice with the aim of providing better services and care for persons living with brain injury.  Using the principles of Implementation Science, Gazal provided implementation and evaluation support for project leads.  At OBIA, Gazal was expanding Brain Injury Speaks, the Stakeholder Engagement Network of Ontario, to provide persons with lived experience with the opportunity to share their opinions, express their needs, and provide feedback about existing service and initiatives. Gazal holds a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from Western University where she focused on mental health and resilience research. She is a strong advocate for mental health and is looking forward to being involved with BIST to help improve the quality of life of those affected by brain injury.  In her downtime, Gazal is an avid traveler and loves to be active outdoors. She is adventurous in trying new foods and seeks the excitement of exploring new places.

Aaron Palmer, Vice Chair

Aaron is a registered Occupational Therapist and Clinical Director of Palmer Wellness & Rehab, a community-based company that provides rehabilitation services to individuals of all ages who are dealing with the effects of complex and serious injuries (e.g., orthopaedic, neurological, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries), have complex needs (physical, sensory, cognitive and/or emotional) as a result of injury/illness, and children who experience development, learning and behavioural challenges. He has developed a passion for working with individuals to live a life of purpose and meaning. As a BIST board member, Aaron brings  his personal and professional experience to contribute and create positive change for people living with the effects of brain injuries.

Andre Gadbois, Treasurer

Andre completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto specializing in Finance and Economics and received his CFA designation soon after. He currently works at KingSett Capital as an Associate Director. Andre found BIST through our Persistent Concussion Series, and used it as a resource to understand his symptoms and manage his new world following his concussions. Seeing the service that BIST provides to the community, Andre wanted to lend his experience, knowledge and talents to our organization.

Brandon Pedersen, Secretary

Brandon is a personal injury lawyer at McLeish Orlando LLP, where he represents victims and their loved ones who have been seriously or fatally injured. When he was a young boy, two of Brandon’s family members were unfortunately killed in a motor vehicle crash caused by a negligent driver. This motivated Brandon to pursue a career as a personal injury lawyer so that he could advocate on behalf of others. Brandon attended law school at Western University, where he served as a volunteer caseworker and student director at one of Western Law’s legal clinics and was heavily involved in the law school’s mentorship program. When he is not practicing law, Brandon enjoys playing golf and hockey, and being a loving cat-dad to his feline “daughter”, Cricket.

Tim Andrews

Tim Andrews is the Executive Vice President, Brand Experience, at Bridgepoint Financial. He is responsible for branding, marketing, product development and strategic initiatives. Before joining BridgePoint in 2020, Tim was Vice President at Emblem where he was the creative and strategic lead on brand, digital, social media, product development, packaging and marketing collateral. As member of the Senior Management Team, he contributed to strategies behind corporate operations, culture and vision. Tim has over 20 years of experience working with a diverse client roster including banking, finance, legal, aerospace, commercial and residential development, beer, wine, cannabis and the public sector. He studied at Queen’s University and Sheridan College, and he puts a strong emphasis on design thinking, meaningful strategies and thoughtful, business-minded work. Tim has chaired business development groups, founded successful not-for-profit campaigns and has helped with the launch of several startups.

Emily Doyle

Emily Doyle is currently a Senior Technology Recruiter at Rogers Communications. She has been working in the Human Resources field for the past three years. Prior to this, Emily worked in the social service and co-operative housing sector on special projects, specifically focusing on diversity and inclusion. She is very passionate about affordable housing and specifically housing co-operatives. If you ever want to talk co-ops, she is more than happy to! Emily lives in a housing co-operative in downtown Toronto where she served on the Board of Directors for three years as staff liaison. In this position, she supported the running of the office of about 5 staff members. Emily learned about BIST in 2020 when she experienced a concussion in the August of that year. The concussion ended up turning into post concussion syndrome and she was at a loss as to where to turn. She says, “Having a concussion completely humbles you and I was so happy to have access to the services at BIST. I knew I wanted to give back in some way and hopefully I can as a board member. I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the board and staff to help to support and continue BIST’s amazing services and initiatives!” Emily loves biking, hiking, and walking around the city. She also really loves baking and feeding people.

Lara Fitzgerald-Husek

Lara is a lawyer from Oatley Vigmond, representing seriously injured individuals and their loved ones.  Lara’s practice focuses solely on personal injury law, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, occupier’s liability, and product liability cases.  Lara completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. She obtained her Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration at Queen’s University and also completed the International Business Law program at the Bader International Study Centre in England.  When Lara is not practicing law, she enjoys hiking with her dog and tending to her balcony garden.

Alison Foo

Alison has been a member of BIST since 2013. She was previously on the Special Events Committee and currently writes for the “Mind Yourself with Alison” column on the BIST Blog. She’s dedicated to using her unique perspective, research and experience to help other brain injury survivors and their caregivers. She has a B.Sc.H. from Queen’s University, a M.Sc. from University of Toronto and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 10 years and created the brand, Cooking with Alison, which offers social media marketing services. Her other interests include dogs, new experiences, and psychology. Her current daily mantras are, “good enough is good enough” and “I didn’t come this far to only come this far”.

Dr. Carolyn Lemsky 

Dr. Carolyn Lemsky is a neuropsychologist with over 25 years of experience working in rehabilitation settings in the U.S. and Canada and has been the Clinical Director at CHIRS since 1998.  She is also the director of the Substance Use and Brain Injury Bridging Project (SUBI), a research and knowledge transfer initiative funded by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Carolyn supervises an active clinical research program related to co-morbid mental health and problematic substance use and is a regular presenter at national and international conferences on brain injury.  She is hoping to bring her skills and expertise to the BIST board to help further awareness and advocacy efforts.Carolyn has a passion for working with people and loves the outdoors.  In her spare time, she volunteers with the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing, plays soccer and baseball and is an expert ‘green thumb.’

Samantha Shatz
Samantha completed her Bachelor of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University and went on to obtain her J.D. from the University of Western Ontario. Following her call to the bar, she practiced both plaintiff side personal injury and insurance defence. However, her passion was to practice exclusively on behalf of plaintiffs, particularly in medical negligence cases.  At present, she is a lawyer at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice, helping victims and their families who have suffered as a result of medical and hospital negligence. A large portion of the cases she assists on are obstetrical negligence cases. She works with young children who suffered severe brain injuries at or around the time of their birth. Through her work, she sees first-hand the impact that a brain injury can have on an individual and their family and how important community supports are.  In her spare time, she loves going to concerts; watching live music is one of her favorite things to do! She also loves spending time outdoors (in the summer!), going to movies and spending time with friends and family.

Dr. Milan Unarket

Dr Unarket is duly qualified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation and licensed to practice medicine by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario. He has a a fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  He is currently in community practice after almost 15 years combined experience of being a consultant physiatrist at Bridgepoint hospital and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, as a subspecialist in neurological rehabilitation, musculoskeletal rehabilitation and electromyography. His clinical work does and has involved the assessment and treatment of patients with various neurological and musculoskeletal injuries from the initial inpatient rehabilitation stay to the latter stages of rehabilitation.  He has assisted in publishing in vocational rehab and was involved in the U of T with an academic appointment at the University of Toronto as a lecturer and has have taught students and residents over time. He successfully obtained certification and proficiency in electromyography from the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences. He has completed on certification training in performing catastrophic impairment based on the 4th Edition AMA Guides on Permanent Impairment. He also has completed certification in non-economic loss impairment assessments through the WSIB.

He has a special interest in Acquired Brain Injury rehabilitation including the medical complications of Acquired brain injury and their functional implications. He is married to a pharmacist with two young children ages 2 and 4.