"Finding people that are going through similar situations is really helpful."

— Margaux

Margaux

Meet Our Team

Helping Grief Make Sense.

At Grief Stories, we passionately believe sharing stories and insights fosters connection, helping people to cope with grief.

Sean Danby

Sean Danby

Founder

Sean Danby has crafted numerous videos and multimedia commercial and corporate projects. Sean’s commercial client list includes ING Insurance, Leon’s, McDonald, Questrade, Reliance Home Energy and Sony BMG. He has also created and directed projects for Motorola, Randstad Canada and Scotiabank International. Executive Producer of “Basketball City,” a fast paced and youth oriented television series broadcasting basketball’s grassroots throughout Canada and starring two-time NBA MVP, Steve Nash. Sean views the grieving process as a personal experiential part of life, and that by sharing our stories we can better understand our own grief.

Rob Quartly

Rob Quartly

Founder

If you grew up watching Much Music in the 80’s, you already know Rob Quartly. Or at the very least, you know his work. As both a director and a producer, he gave birth to Canada’s music video production industry. It’s a role that has been recognized with JUNOs, CFTA personal achievement awards and his induction as the first member of the Much Music Hall of Fame.

His activity in the advertising industry has been equally successful with recognition at Cannes, Toronto and New York Art Directors Club, Bessies, Clios, One Show, Marketing Awards…

Television projects have seen him direct The Vacant Lot series, act as Co-Creator of the hit CBC show “The Triple Sensation”, and create/direct/executive produce the CHUM comedy series “And, Go!”

Grief Stories Board of Directors

Greg Burns

Greg Burns

Chair

Greg Burns worked as a community developer and senior municipal administrator for nineteen years, followed by a twenty-year career as a college professor. As a private consultant, Greg has provided training in fundraising and strategic planning to municipal, provincial, state and federal agencies in both Canada and the United States. He has founded several community-based organizations dealing with youth, the unemployed, food bank, and environmental sustainability.

Greg has personally dealt with grief – the death of a daughter and the tragic loss of a close friend due to ALS. He wants to help make a difference through his volunteer work with Grief Stories by applying his various skill sets to increase the visibility of the organization and its various programs and services.

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Lana Missen

Lana Missen (she/her) is an artist, photographer, and arts administrator. Born and raised in Northumberland County, she recently returned to the area after nearly a decade of studying and working in Toronto. She holds a BFA in Photography from OCADU and a post-graduate certificate in Arts Administration and Cultural Management from Humber College. 

Driven by the importance of community and collaboration, Lana is thrilled to join the Grief Stories board. She brings a background in donor stewardship, fundraising, capacity building, and a passion for good spreadsheets. She is fortunate to work with families at Habitat for Humanity Northumberland and in donor engagement with Green Wood Coalition. She has volunteered with Northumberland Players, Ten Thousand Villages, and is currently a board member of SONG (Sounds of the Next Generation). 

Lana is an advocate for social change, and believes in the power of sharing stories and human connection. She also has a love of coffee, cats, books, and desserts. When she is not working or volunteering with not for profits, you will find her on a hike or a patio.

Mary Schulz

Mary Schulz

Mary Schulz joined the Grief Stories board of directors in 2021.  A professional Social Worker for over 35 years, Mary has supported many people through life-limiting illnesses and loss. In learning to live with grief in her own life, Mary hopes that her lived experience will help Grief Stories continue to be an ever-evolving tool for those who are grieving.

Jodi Pereira

Jodi Pereira

Jodi Pereira wants to be remembered for helping to develop compassionate communities. She has
worked in, and with Community, not for profits for over 30 years. Jodi was a director at one of the
largest Community Hospice in Ontario for 9 years. She was the creator of HUUG (Help Us Understand
Grief) Program, a one to one/group support program for children and families living with illness, grief
and death: A program model which has been adopted by other hospices across the province. Jodi
initiated a regional grief collaborative called the Children and Youth Grief Network (CYGN) which
became the catalyst for the development a national partnership – the Canadian Alliance for Grieving
Children and Youth.

In her past and current roles, Jodi has seen the benefit that connection can have in grief. In one of her
current roles as the Director of Camp Erin Toronto, she frequently bears witness to the transformative
effects of children and youth meeting and connecting with others living with the death of a significant
person in their life.

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Jessica Coleman

Jessica Coleman (she/her) is an industrial automations and robotics specialist currently working at Durham College. With post secondary education from both Trent University and Durham College, she branches out from her STEM career by filling her spare time serving her community.

A member of the Rotary Club of Port Hope, a volunteer for Be My Eyes, and now a Director of Grief Stories, she is driven by helping her community through stories, compassion, and humour.

Jessica lives in Port Hope with her husband. Born and raised in Northumberland County, you will find her either enjoying a drink where her and husband met, or on a walk near the Ganaraska River or Lake Ontario.

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Susan Kesper

Susan Kesper is a Regional Secretary with a Canadian public sector union.She is a labour rights and human rights activist, visual artist, avid animal lover, friend/daughter/sister/aunt, and cat mom to her three cats, Archie, Linus, and Beans.

Susan’s professional role is to work alongside Staff Negotiators to support members of unionized workplaces as they engage in contract negotiations, contract enforcement, and day to day operations of their Union Locals. While her priority is to service the Union membership, an extremely important part of her job is building and maintaining a healthy working relationship with Employers. In addition to labour relations, grief support is a cause close to Susan’s heart.

Susan is a 31 year old white, queer, disabled woman who lives with her cat babies on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, which is covered by Treaty 13 (also known as Toronto).

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Allie Bell

Allie Bell is the Director of Operations serving a 2 year term on the board of directors with
Grief Stories. She comes from a unique background as an arts and culture generalist with a focus on theatre; she is a published short story writer and an award winning playwright, in a past life. More recently, she returned to school when the pandemic decimated her industry and found the path to project management with a focus on process analysis and improvement utilizing agile and six sigma methodologies. She is now a Certified Associate Project Manager
(CAPM) and holds a yellow belt in Six Sigma.

Beyond the technical skills Allie Bell will bring to the role, she also proudly has extensive lived experience with grief, and traumatic loss, so her leadership style is grounded in compassion and consideration for the process that comes along with becoming a new person after losing someone, or sometimes something. Just
because our world stops, does not mean the world stops. We are often only given moments to become a new form of ourselves.

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Paul Simard

Paul Simard is the father of three beautiful girls, a consultant, speaker and writer, a certified death doula, and a trained mental health and wellness guide.

He is the founder of several social impact organisations, including huMENity, Human Impact Lab and The Canoe. Prior to those projects, Paul spent more than 15 years fundraising in the nonprofit sector.

Paul believes that it is our relationship to events - divorce, career changes, death - that is a key factor driving so much unease today, within ourselves and in society.  With a goal of reclaiming the whole life experience, he is committed to helping those he works with to develop fuller, more nourishing and grounded lives.

He has written multiple articles on mental wellness, death and dying, masculinity/femininity, decolonization /repaganization, and leadership, has been a guest on multiple podcasts, and is a TEDx Speaker (The Mythical Man).

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Emeka Ukogo

Emeka Okugo is a seasoned chartered accountant with more than 12 years’ experience in the finance industry. He has a community facing orientation and brings forth experience in a variety of issues.

Emeka is a co-founder of Project One Foundation, a grassroot initiative that caters to the needs of internally displaced persons. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Canadian Association of
Urban Financial Professionals.

He enjoys the purpose, the values and the conversations that take place in community-based organizations and values conversations and actions around making a difference in the lives of people. His education and experience in finance allows him to work in organizations with a special focus on creating safer and healthier support system for communities.

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Lubna Forzley

Lubna Forzley is the CEO & Founder of Stories, a coaching portal that supports founders
and corporate leaders to tell the world the right stories and most importantly shift the
stories they tell themselves.

Lubna has worked for more than 20 years in leadership roles within International blue-
chip organizations including Coca-Cola and the UNDP. She then became an ICF certified
coach and completed Dr. Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry Program.

A believer in the power of Stories, Lubna connected with the name & cause of
Griefstories.org. She is a Global speaker and has addressed grief in her TEDx talk, which
focuses on purpose.

Lubna has witnessed grief throughout her childhood, as she
watched a war take over her country of origin – Lebanon. This made her very aware of
the power of purpose and leaving a Story behind.

 

 

 

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Stephanie Darroch

 

Stephanie has spent much of her career working in the not-profit-sector and feels passionately about leading a life in service to others.

Stephanie worked in the world of organ and tissue donation and transplantation for six years where she able to support bereaved loved ones, connecting them grief resources in the Ontario. It was here that she saw grief as part of the life cycle and felt passionately about supporting others through the most difficult times in their lives.

 

 

Get Involved

Grief Stories is growing and looking for people who are passionate about our mission and have the skills and experience to make a difference.

Grief Stories Operations Team

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Alyssa Warmland

Executive Director

Alyssa Warmland is an interdisciplinary artist and activist. Her work utilizes elements of radical vulnerability, restorative justice, mindfulness, compassion, performance, and direct action.

She is a mother, La Leche League Leader, Board member of La Leche League Canada, writer, podcaster, producer, director, performer, content creator, not-for-profit administrator, and abstract visual artist. Lyss is a strong advocate for fumbling towards an ethic of care, especially when it comes to the topics of birth, matresence, and grief. Most of all, she’s interested in the way people choose to tell their stories and how that keeps them well.

Lyss is currently pursuing her Masters of Counselling Psychology and plans to specialize in perinatal mental health. In her spare time, you can find her in the forest.

Lyss is a 33 year old white, queer, disabled woman who lives with her partner and their son on Robinson-Huron (Treaty 61, 1850) land stolen from Omàmìwininìwag (Algonquin) and Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ Cree peoples.

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Jessica Milette

Healthcare Consultant

Jessica Milette is a registered social worker, practicing since 2018.

Jessica has experience working at a Hospice co-creating meaningful legacy projects with families, providing support to those at end of life and their families, as well as creating individual and group supports for anyone grieving in the
community.

Jessica is the owner and of Cultivating Connections. Her expertise includes helping individuals and
families facing anticipatory grief, ambiguous loss, disenfranchised losses, and sudden deaths.

Jessica believes in the power of connection; within ourselves, with those who have died, those we are in
relationship with, and with our greater communities. Through sharing our stories of grief and loss, we
tend to our connection with those who have died and creating connections with others.

Jessica is a white woman living on the traditional territory of the Anishnabek, the Haudenosaunee, the
Attiwonderonk, and the Mississaugas of the Credit peoples, also known as Guelph, ON.

Maureen Pollard

Maureen Pollard

Healthcare Consultant/ Podcast Host

Maureen Pollard is a Registered Social Worker who has worked in the field of social work since 1991. In private practice since 2011, Maureen is a specialist in traumatic bereavement, helping individuals, families and groups navigate life after losses, including pregnancy and infant loss, child death, suicide loss, homicide loss and sudden or accidental death. Maureen is a certified Compassionate Bereavement Care provider, and she is trained in RTS (Resolve Through Sharing) Bereavement Care.

Maureen’s practice areas also include work as a certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Educator, supporting front line professionals in building the resilience necessary to survive and thrive in high-stress, trauma-exposed work.

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Matt Kowalyk

Chief Analyst

Matt Kowalyk tries to use both sides of his brain as much as he can. An interdisciplinary artist focusing on storytelling through music, lyric, drama, and poetry, he spends his days as a Data Analyst for a major telecom.  Matt has served on multiple boards for nonprofits and volunteers in the community teaching music with groups like SONG and Rebound.

Using his two decades of analytical and data mining experience, Matt is looking forward to diving into the information and providing clear examples on how Grief Stories can continue its journey to being a reliable and trusted resource for so many in need.

Matt came to Grief Stories as a person in need of help and GS did indeed help.  From content to consume, to contributing content, Grief Stories continues to be a place that shows we are not alone, and that we are strong enough.

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Ellen Torrie

Music Therapy Consultant

Ellen Torrie is an Ontario-born soprano, singer-songwriter, and performance curator living in Montreal. They first became involved with Grief Stories in 2016 when they were interviewed about the loss of their grandmother. Now Ellen is using their background in music therapy to help generate new ways for this resource to reach individuals and heal communities. As a queer non-binary artist, Ellen is guided by the knowledge of their queer elders and ancestors in the research and performance of radically inclusive stories as they continue to develop musical languages to explore that which is most richly human.

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Sondra Marcon

Social Media Manager/Healthcare Consultant

Sondra is a counsellor, birth & postpartum doula and educator who supports families and individuals by meeting them where they are.

Sondra been a certified doula and childbirth educator for over 12 years and have served over 200 families in this role. She developed the Infant and Pregnancy Loss Support Program for doulas with Doula Training Canada and continues to support families in her role as a loss doula.

She has also been a counsellor in various settings for over 20 years offering grief counselling, crisis management support, and individual and family counselling both in nonprofit and private practice settings.

Sondra is currently pursuing her Masters in Counselling Psychology to best serve her counselling clients in the future.

When she's not working you can find her listening to a true crime podcast or feeding her 2 tiny humans.