Shauna MacLeod- Founder/Executive Director- Ex-Officio
Shauna is the founder and Executive Director of The Willow Community, a non-profit arts organization where individuals with lived experience of mental health and/or addictions are encouraged to explore their creative potential. Members are presented with a variety of artistic pursuits and hands-on learning experiences while being provided opportunities to integrate with professionals from St. Catharines’ vibrant arts community.
Shauna, who has a compelling recovery story, is a passionate advocate that aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness and addiction. The Willow Community is the direct result of her first-hand experience of the need for a supportive creative community for people to heal and grow.
Drawing on her volunteer experiences as a Martial Arts Instructor for over 20 years and her previous academic successes at both Niagara College and Brock University, Shauna has recruited and led a team of volunteers, established cross-sector relationships, and raised the funds to make her vision a reality.
Thomas Keenan- Chair
Thomas is Professor of Psychology at Niagara College and an adjunct member of the Department of Psychology at Brock University. He received his PhD. in psychology in 1995 and has been teaching psychology to undergraduate, graduate, and college students since 1993. He is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reviews and is the author of An Introduction to Child Development 3rd Edition (2016, Sage Publishers). His main interests include developmental psychology, mental health & well-being, and playing music with his band The Throwbacks.
Shawn Mason- Vice-Chair
Shawn, a partner with Swords Law LLP, is an honors graduate from both a paralegal certification program and small business management. He brings 13 years of legal experience with a focus on worker’s compensation, personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, human rights and privacy legislation. He has 10 years of experience advocating with a grass roots organization involving traumatic brain injury. Shawn was an integral part of a successful Canadian Human Rights complaint resulting in a policy being implemented at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for the accommodation of disability to ensure equal treatment without prejudice to all persons.
Joanie Vanbreda- Secretary
Joanie has served with the Niagara Regional Police Service for 30 years and is a passionate advocate for those in need. Joanie continues to volunteer at many different community agencies including: Big Brothers and Sisters, Animal Assistance, Community Care of Thorold, Out of the Cold, Start Me Up Niagara, and now The Willow Community. She is also an active member at Westminster United Church. Joanie enjoys working with animals and sharing good food, music, and lots of laughs with friends. Joanie is a lifetime learner of healing, languages, and arts.
Lucia Capparelli- Treasurer
Lucia is a first generation Canadian with strong familial ties to Italy. She has worked in sales and the tourism industry for over 20 years. Her real is passion is for numbers and has extensive work experience in bookkeeping, payroll, and budgets. Lucia is preparing herself to return to college for Social Work in the new year and has done volunteer work for the Food Bank in Toronto and at various churches. She enjoys comic book art and bad movies. She is a proud and passionate supporter of The Willow Community and looks forward to maintaining their fiscal responsibilities as her role as Treasurer.
Farrow Mascoe- Member Support
Farrow was a Senior Accountant at Niagara Casinos before suffering a mild traumatic brain injury while cycling in 2012. She is now an artist that enjoys card making, playing with watercolour, markers, and many other mediums. Farrow has participated in art therapy groups while in hospital as well as through the Brain Injury Community Re-Entry program and strongly believes in the therapeutic value of art but also the importance of creating a “community” where members can come out and socialize instead of isolating themselves, as is often the case with mental health/addiction sufferers. Farrow is looking forward to her role as Member Support, acting as the go-to person for members of The Willow Community for feedback and ideas. She is also a volunteer at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre.
Julia is a professional creative with over 30 years in the visual arts, publishing, graphic design, education and social activism. Her interest in mindfulness practices and recent studies in Psychology/Addiction Education inspire her diverse cultural activities— to promote the creative impulse that is fundamental to personal health and well-being within community.
Heather is an Occupational Therapist who has worked in the mental health field for more than 30 years. She has also experienced depression and has family members who live with anxiety. Heather appreciates the beauty of the natural world and has dabbled in watercolour painting, loves photography and and is in the process of writing her memoir about walking the Camino in 2012. Heather has served on a number of non-profit boards including United Way Simcoe County, CMHA Barrie-Simcoe Branch and David Busby Street Centre.
Holding degrees in both Business Administration and Visual Art from Brock University as well as a certificate in Interactive Multimedia from Niagara College, Liz has worked and studied in a variety of fields. As an artist, Liz works primarily as a painter and a potter. A passionate supporter of the arts, Liz believes it plays a role both in community building and personal development. She volunteers with the Rodman Hall Coalition and the Niagara Artists Centre.
Peter has for the past 20 years occupied a variety of senior management positions in the for profit and not for profit health care sectors. His primary responsibilities were to develop national rehabilitation programs focusing on accessibility and mobility, home care, long term care and acute care. He has been a Board member and Board President for the Brain Injury Association of Niagara. Peter is also avid runner. He has also served as Board member and President of the St. Catharines Road Runners, an organization which runs four major fundraising events each year.
Raymond has been an educator for the past 25 years including the last 16 years as a special needs teacher with the District School Board of Niagara. In addition to obtaining his Bachelor of Education at Nipissing University he completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Laurentian University. Since residing in St. Catharines for the past 20 years, Raymond has served as a director on several boards including 2 local churches and on the Grenadier Place Condominium Board. He initially became involved with The Willow Community in 2015 after meeting with Shauna and learning about her plans to create a safe, non-clinical community for consumers of mental health.