Meet Our Team

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

— Margaux

Margaux

Grief Stories Board of Directors

Suzanne Lawson

Suzanne Lawson

Suzanne Lawson has been a well-known leader in the Canadian voluntary sector.  She held senior staff positions in several voluntary health organizations (ALS, Arthritis, Heart and Stroke), and The Anglican Church of Canada.  A member of both the federal Voluntary Sector Roundtable and the Voluntary Sector Initiative, she focused on building awareness of the voluntary sector in Canada. 

In recent years, she has been a consultant in the voluntary sector specializing in governance, strategic planning, and organizational development.  Suzanne just concluded being Chair of the Board of the Community Health Centres of Northumberland.

Now an active volunteer leader in both church and secular organizations, Suzanne looks forward to taking on the role of Chair of Grief Stories.  She became deeply familiar with grief related to chronic progressive disease when her spouse was diagnosed far too early with Parkinson’s.  Suzanne has co-led small group workshops on Living Through Loss and knows the complexity of trying to live fully even with grief sitting on one’s shoulder. 

Greg Burns

Greg Burns

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.

Rob Quartly

Rob Quartly

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!”

Most recently, Rob's labour of love has included capturing stories for his YouTube channel Interesting is Everywhere, for his love of food chefproject.ca, and his socially conscious self has been busy creating griefstories.org.

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Kara Besson

Kara had a long career as a registered nurse before retiring. Twenty-five of those years were spent at the old Cobourg District Hospital where she worked on the maternity ward. Since 2012 she has been actively involved with the Northumberland Players community theatre both on the stage but more often found behind the lights, often as Stage Manager. Currently she can be found on Friday afternoons at Ten Thousand Villages, Cobourg, where she volunteers each week. Her involvement with Grief Stories started three years ago when she was interviewed about the loss of her partner. She came to understand how in trying to help others by sharing her story, she found it to be a healing experience for her own journey through the grief process.

Maureen Pollard

Maureen Pollard

Healthcare Expert

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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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.

Doug Bates

Doug Bates

Doug Bates is a former banker and current co-owner of Brown Bag Co. and ComGo. He also drums and does many musical events for various charities in his community.

He also the founder of the Kaitlyn Bates Initiative which is an organization dedicated to his daughter who he lost in a tragic car accident. It focuses on self esteem issues. Doug runs ABRAutism dedicated to helping individuals with Autism.

Doug is actively involved in his community and was given the 2011 Northumberland YMCA Peace Medal and was the winner of the Toyota Wishgiver Contest in 2015 for his contributions to the community.

Doug lives with his wife and 2 kids in Northumberland County.

Doug became involved in Grief Stories to share his loss of his daughter and in turn he hopes to help others find ways to heal.

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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.

Jenna Kring

Jenna Kring

Jenna has a background in Social Service work, along with a Bachelors in Indigenous Studies from Trent University. Jenna is Two Spirit from Kenhtè:ke and describes herself as a “lifelong learner”. She has been involved in a number of grassroots programs. Currently she is a Curriculum and Evaluation consultant for a program, which was formed to promote truth and reconciliation. In order to honour the legacy of Residential School Survivors along with providing education and awareness related to Residential Schools and their intergenerational impacts. Jenna is passionate about learning her traditional Haudensaunee culture and language to heal from loss. When she is not working you can find her beading or practicing her pronunciation of Kanienʼkéha. Jenna was drawn to Grief Stories as their message of hope and healing through spoken word has helped in her own journey through loss and grief.

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

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 & Executive Director

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!”

Maureen Pollard

Maureen Pollard

Healthcare Expert

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.

Arielle

Arielle Astroff

Communications Manager

Arielle has been volunteering in customer service and communication roles for over three years. She is currently going into her third year as a Professional Communication student at Ryerson University with hopes of working in communications, advertising or marketing after she graduates. Arielle is most excited to support Grief Stories mission and vision by helping build connections that will foster a community between individuals in times of grief.

Aimee

Aimee Tedford

Volunteer

Aimee Tedford joins Grief Stories as a member of the communications team. Aimee has 14 years experience in marketing, communications & project management. She traded the hustle and bustle of the agency world in downtown Toronto for a slower paced life in Port Hope 8 years ago. 

She is currently a Marketing Consultant & is embarking on a permanent role at Habitat For Humanity Northumberland as Communications Coordinator. She is passionate about working alongside nonprofits to help them to achieve their goals. She has recently volunteered her communications expertise for Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank, Five Counties Children's Charities and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario - Port Hope branch.

When Aimee isn't thinking about communications, she is probably swimming or cycling with her family. Aimee is currently crushing her goals participating in the #greatcyclechallenge, with her 7 year old, in support of Sick Kids Foundation.

Sharron Spencer

Sharron Spencer

Social Service Worker

Sharron Spencer is a Registered Social Service Worker with experience working in the Mental Health & Addictions field, before working at a Community Hospice for the past 3 years. Sharron currently works as the Grief & Bereavement Coordinator, providing Grief education and support to those who are palliative, their Caregivers and families, as well as the bereaved. Sharron is also studying part-time at Western University of Ontario towards a degree in the Thanatology program, the study of death and bereavement.

She has completed the certification in Child & Youth Grief & Bereavement through Sick Kids Mental Health SickKids CCMH Learning Institute. Sharron also works as a designated Funeral Celebrant and is very passionate about supporting people through their grief journey.

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Charles Solomon

Songs of Solace Curator

Charles has always been passionate about music, and sharing that passion with others has taken him on an interesting and rewarding journey. 

It began as a teenage DJ in Cape Town, continued as a music program producer/editor with the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s pop radio station Reshet Gimmel, and led eventually to a number of positions in the music industry.  

He subsequently became head of the International Music department at Hed Arzi, Israel’s largest record company, and after he moved with his family to Toronto, he worked as the jazz, classical and world music marketing coordinator with Warner Music Canada.   

By far the most rewarding part of this journey has been his volunteer work at a number of long term care homes in Toronto. 

Music and memory is one area with which Charles has been fascinated, so over the past five years he has been visiting residents in three long term care homes – these weekly visits include one-on-one music sessions. Every resident has his or her own music tastes, so he selects and plays songs with which they are familiar. There are times when they literally come alive singing along with their favourite tunes.  

Charles now facilitates a twice weekly music appreciation group at a day program for seniors who still live in the community. 

Always open to discovering new music, it’s now mainly his children who expose him to new music. 

The journey continues!     

Kaye Torrie

Kaye Torrie

Volunteer

Kaye has been a Child Witness Advocate for the past 12 years. For the past 4 years her work with child victims has included the help of an accredited facility dog. Kaye has volunteered with several organizations that have child welfare and social justice at their core including the Thrive Northumberland, Northumberland Children’s Aid Society (now Highland Shores), and The Green Wood Coalition. She is also an active member of the Northumberland Players through which she enjoys producing and stage-managing community theatre productions. Kaye is a lifelong resident of Northumberland County where her two children were born and raised. Kaye has watched and been inspired by the way Grief Stories has grown and touched so many people

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Adrienne Pringle MMT, RP, MTA

Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO), Certified Music Therapist (MTA, CAMT)

Adrienne brings 20 years of clinical experience in end of life care and bereavement care in sharing her perspectives with grief stories. She believes strongly in the power of music and creative expression to heal, and has experienced this first hand in her work with clients she supports.

She is a past President of the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (CAMT) and Music Therapist at Carpenter Hospice and CHM Therapy. Adrienne is co-founder and Director of Beyond the Studio and Sing it Girls!®.

Adrienne created the Singing Well bereavement program, her research conducted in collaboration with Dr. Laurel Young and Concordia University is published in Bereavement Care. Adrienne is a proud east coaster, growing up in Halifax, these days she lives in Burlington, Ontario, she and husband Travis stay active keeping up with their teenagers, Bailey & Alec.

Ellen Torrie

Ellen Torrie

Musician / Songwriter

Ellen first became involved with Grief Stories in 2016 when she was interviewed about her grandmother. Now Ellen is using her background in music therapy to help generate new ways for this resource to reach individuals and heal communities. Ellen is based in Montreal, Canada where she is completing her graduate studies at McGill University. She is also an active singer-songwriter and church musician.

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Laurel Young PHD

Certified Music Therapist (MTA), Psychotherapist (Québec), Fellow of the Association for Music & Imagery (FAMI)

 

Laurel is also an Associate Professor of Music Therapy at Concordia University (Montréal). Prior to joining Concordia in 2011, she was the Professional Leader of Creative Arts Therapies at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Toronto). Dr. Young has received awards from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo) and Temple University (Philadelphia) for outstanding contributions to her field.

In 2014, she received the Canadian Association of Music Therapists’ (CAMT) Research & Publications award. She has over 25 years of diverse clinical experience, authored several publications, presented internationally, and served on the CAMT and Canadian Music Therapy Fund Boards. She is a research member of Concordia’s PERFORM Centre, Concordia’s Arts in Health Research Collective (AHRC), and the Centre for Research and Expertise in Social Gerontology (CREGÉS).

She currently serves as the Associate Director of engAGE: Concordia’s Centre for Research on Aging. In her spare time, Laurel pursues her own musical interests and hangs out in the country with her partner James (artist and art therapist) and their two cats Gladys and Mont

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