Alexandra Piotti, Chair
Alexandra Piotti is a private Case Manager/ Rehabilitation Consultant working with the catastrophically injured. Her areas of expertise include working with individuals who have sustained an acquired brain injury, have complex medical needs, mental health issues, dual diagnosis and the behaviourally challenged. Alex is an advocate for her clients, dedicated to helping to ensure the best environment for maximal recovery. Alex has been a member of BIST since 2012 and currently is the Chair of the Awareness Committee. As a member of the BIST Board, Alex hopes to bring her passion for people and service and hopes to find new ways cast a wider net to increase the presence of the Brain Injury Society of Toronto in our city.
Dr. Hiten Lad, Vice Chair
Dr. Lad is a registered Clinical Psychologist with specialization in the practice of Clinical Neuropsychology for adults and seniors. He is listed with the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and is the Practice Director and Owner at Lad & Associates. Dr. Lad previously held positions as a Clinical Neuropsychologist with the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Program at Hamilton Health Sciences and as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. He is also involved in research and has co-authored journal articles as well as a book chapter related to acquired brain injury. Dr. Lad also held a position as a clinical coordinator and training supervisor for the Canadian Psychology Association Accredited Neuropsychology Internship program at Hamilton Health Sciences. Furthermore, he worked as the clinical supervisor for rehabilitation therapists at the Acquired Brain Injury Community Services program at Hamilton Health Sciences. Prior to working with Hamilton Health Sciences, Dr. Lad worked in a multidisciplinary team at Toronto Western Hospital providing cognitive behavioural rehabilitation services for the treatment of chronic pain patients.
Darrell Booker, Secretary
Darrell began volunteering for BIST so that he could be involved with helping survivors from the ground up. As the owner of DH Group Inc. Darrell works daily to assist those in their homes who have acquired an injury, either physically or mentally. He has a passion for designing and building, and has worked in this space for over 10 years. Darrell believes providing people with a new home or renovation is a rewarding feeling. In his free time he enjoys living an active lifestyle. You can usually find him after work biking along the lake or playing baseball. Darrell began his involvement with BIST in 2016 as committee member assisting with the annual golf tournament. He enjoys being part of the committee and working together with the other volunteers. He wanted to join the board to assist with growing the society and developing new ideas to raise awareness and funds for its many programs and services. One of his favourite quotes is ” Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison
Andre Gadbois, Treasurer
Andre completed his undergraduate degree in BComm specializing in finance and accounting at the University of Toronto. He currently works as a Bilingual Junior Analyst at First National LLP. During his time at the University of Toronto, he was the director of finance at CivicSpark. 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 concussion. Seeing the benefit that BIST provides, he wants to lend his experience, knowledge and talents to our organization.
Jenn is a social worker with more than 12 years experience working with adolescents and adults with acquired brain injuries and their families. She currently works as a clinical leader at Markham Stouffville Hospital where she is responsible for providing day-to-day supervision and operational support to over 100 staff members. Prior to this role, Jenn worked for 11 years full-time at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre with the majority of those years working in the Trauma Program, and she still works at Sunnybrook in a casual social work capacity. While full-time at Sunnybrook, Jenn was a member of the ABI Network Transitions Committee for several years. She has also been a regular promoter of BIST services/supports with her patients, families, and colleagues including being a volunteer on the 5K Run, Walk, and Roll Committee since 2017. Based on Jenn’s experiences supporting ABI affected individuals and families in their hospital journeys and community transitions, she hopes that she can provide insights and advocate for support during the early phases of ABI. She is also passionate about ABI education and prevention and looks forward to promoting awareness and safety strategies.Jenn spends her free time travelling, watching movies, playing tennis, and enjoying the Toronto restaurant scene.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
Shalini Hernandez is a Forensic Account working in the Criminal Investigations Division at the Canada Revenue Agency. She has actively been a part of organizations that assist individuals who have mental health issues, behavioural issues, and drug addiction. She also worked with at-risk youth by hosting outreach programs to help them achieve healthier and more responsible lifestyles and relationships. Through various employers, Shalini has also volunteered as an ambassador to represent organizations that focus on individuals with mental health issues, drug addiction, vulnerable persons, and individuals that require assistance with housing. Shalini is very passionate about helping individuals who are in need. By joining the BIST board, she hopes to fulfill her passion by assisting the existing members and by creating awareness to reach out to more individuals who may need BIST’s support. Shalini is a professionally trained classical dancer and was a part of the Asylum Theatre group. She enjoys all types of performing arts and loves to travel.