Enriching the lives of individuals and families living with autism in British Columbia
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Board of Directors

Clara Aquilini

clara aquilini, founder

Clara, along with her husband Paolo, is the Founder of the Canucks Autism Network. She is the mother of four, including a young adult with autism. She dedicates much of her free time to promoting the Canucks Autism Network and spending time with her family.

Charmaine Crooks-web 


charmaine crooks, C.M.

Charmaine is an articulate, high-energy business professional, recognized for her expertise in sports management, strategic consulting, policy development, governance, corporate directorships and the Olympic Movement. During an international competitive sports career, became a five-time Olympian, Olympic Silver Medalist (LA 84), and an eleven-time national champion, representing Canada in Athletics (400m/800m) from 1980 to 1997. As the first Canadian woman to run under two minutes over 800 metres, she has won gold medals at the Pan American, Commonwealth, World Cup and World Student Games. She had the honour of being named Flag Bearer at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Since 1994, Charmaine is President of NGU Consultants Inc. a global sports consultancy providing strategic counsel to major corporations and sport entities. She has been a director on several private and public sector Boards including Aim-Trimark Mutual Funds (Governance and Nominations Committee), University of Northern BC (Chair, Athletics Committee), Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games (Governance, Ethics and Strategic Communications Committees) and the Canadian Museum of Natural History. An elected Member of the (IOC) International Olympic Committee (1996 re-elected IOC Member 2000-2004), she continues to serve on several key IOC Commissions such as the IOC Athletes Commission and the IOC Press Commission. She was also a member of the inaugural IOC Ethics Committee, the IOC Culture and Education Commission, the inaugural World Anti-Doping Agency Foundation Board, Athens 2004 Athlete working group and the IOC 2000 Reform Commission. She is the longest standing and one of the founding Board members of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, having served as a member from the initial Bid phase through to the end of Games on Vanoc ( Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Organising Committee 2010).

Norah Flaherty  Norah Flaherty
Norah Flaherty is a Business Consultant with expertise in disability related issues. She is the chair of the Provincial RDSP Action Group. She has served on the Board of Directors of Community Living BC and chaired the Quality and Service Committee since 2010. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of Canadian Business SenseAbility. A former Lecturer at Concordia University in Montreal, Ms. Flaherty has also served on several education-related boards including that of the École Française Internationale de Vancouver. She founded the West Point Grey Ball Hockey Team for young men with developmental disabilities. Ms. Flaherty holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of Science in Renewable Resources from McGill University, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Concordia University, Montreal.

Jim Gallagher


Jim Gallagher

Jim Gallagher is Head, Special Accounts Management Group for BMO Financial Group.  He has 30 years of commercial and corporate banking experience.  He has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia and has completed an Advanced Leadership Program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.  He resides in Tsawwassen with his wife and three sons.


Katy Harandi, CEO 

Katy Harandi, Chair of the Board of Directors

Katy is the mother of two, one of whom has autism. Since 1995, she has devoted her time toward helping her daughter overcome many of the challenges with this condition. She has investigated educational and biomedical treatments for autism and has researched the field extensively. Katy supervised and actively participated in her daughter’s home-based ABA program, receiving many hours of training from educational and behavioural specialists, as well as experts in the fields of speech and occupational therapy. She was the YWCA 2012 Women of Distinction nominee for her contributions to our community and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. Katy Harandi is the co-founder and  Chair of the Board at PALS Autism Society, a specialized educational program for children and young adults with autism. Katy is a member of the Vancouver Board of Trade Women’s Leadership Circle and a member of the Sauder School of Business Women’s Leadership Council. She is also a director of the board of the Stanford University Alumni Club in BC. She received her B.A. degree from Stanford University in Computer Science and holds an MBA from the Sauder School of Business.

Bill Macdonald Web 

William Macdonald

Mr. Macdonald is a founder and principal of Macdonald Tuskey, Corporate and Securities Lawyers, a boutique securities and corporate finance firm located in Vancouver, British Columbia established in April 2008. Prior thereto, from February 1998 to April 2008, Mr. Macdonald was a partner with Clark Wilson LLP and a member of the firm's Corporate Finance / Securities Practice Group. Since May 2008 Mr. Macdonald has also been the President and a director of Blackbird Energy Inc., an oil and gas company listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and since April 2008, a director of First Americas Gold Corporation, formerly Pannonia Ventures Corp., a mining exploration issuer listed on the Exchange.  Mr. Macdonald is also a director of Black Springs Capital Corp., and Faith Spring Ventures Corp., both capital pool companies listed on the Exchange and Benz Capital Corp., a former CPC which recently completed its Qualifying Transaction.  Mr. Macdonald has been a member of the Law Society of British Columbia since February 1998 and a member of the New York State Bar since February 2002. Mr. Macdonald obtained his Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1997 and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University in 1993.

Robert Standerwick,Q.C.-jpeg 

Robert Standerwick, Q.C.

Robert Standerwick was born and raised in Vancouver. He graduated from UBC with a BA and an LLB. Bob has been a lawyer for more than 30 years and has been a partner in a national firm. He recently set up his own firm. He has been active in a number of community organizations and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the West Point Grey Academy since 1999 and its Chair since 2000. He has been a Director of PALS Autism School since 2007.

Julia Ward, OT 


Julia Ward, OT

In 2002 Julia started her private practice, Practical Solutions, Occupational Therapy. Since then she has developed a strong interest in supporting children with autism and their families bringing her knowledge of sensory integration, gross and fine motor development to the child’s team regardless of the type of intervention the family has chosen. Julia trained as an occupational therapist in Liverpool, England and graduated in 1981. In 1987 she moved to Vancouver with her husband. She has worked in pediatrics in UK Australia, USA and Canada. Julia lives in North Vancouver with her husband and two teenage sons.

 Marie Westby  

Marie Westby, Chair of the Program Committee

Marie has a son with autism and is a strong advocate for children with differing abilities. She’s practiced as a physical therapist since 1988, has a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from UBC and is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, UBC. Her research includes rehabilitation and exercise interventions for individuals with arthritis and joint replacement surgery to enable active lifestyles and safe sports participation. Marie has a long history of volunteering with children with disabilities and amateur sports in BC and served as a physiotherapist for the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.

 Mark Zastre-Treasurer-Jpeg

Mark Zastre, Treasurer

Mark is the partner in charge of Deloitte's Business Assurance and Advisory group.  He is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in the accounting field for over 20 years.  He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia and the Illinois CPA Society. Mark lives in North Vancouver with his wife and three children.