Board of Directors

(In alphabetical order by first name)


Allison Sohanlal

Allison is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. Allison leads the clinical education program in the Masters of Science in Child Life & Pediatric Psychosocial Care program.  For the past 12 years, Allison has also been a certified child life specialist advocating for the emotional and psychosocial needs of children and adolescents facing stressful or traumatic life events.  An advocate for family centered care, Allison’s career has involved working in early intervention services in the community, within the hospital sector and volunteering overseas with Operation Smile.  Most recently, Allison is the National Program Manager for an online social support network called Upopolis, helping to connect youth aged 10-18 years living with a chronic illness to one another across Canada in a safe and secure online forum.  Having benefitted from Hospice services as a teenager, Allison is honoured to serve as a Director on the Hospice Toronto Board.   Allison joined the Board in November 2013 and was elected Secretary in December 2014.


Anneli LeGault

A Partner at Dentons Canada LLP, Anneli’s employment law practice is focused on human resources policy issues, including employment agreements, human rights, pay equity, employment equity, accessibility, reorganizations, outsourcing and terms and conditions of employment. Anneli also advises and represents a wide range of both federally and provincially regulated clients on labour relations and employment law issues before various administrative tribunals, and advises clients on the administration of collective agreements, hiring and termination procedures and other related areas.

She also educates organizations with respect to the SODA, and compliance with privacy laws and has experience in privacy audits, preparation of privacy policies and advising on revisions to documents and procedures to comply with personal data protection legislation, including issues arising under U.S. and Canadian legislation in the case of cross-border data transfers. Anneli was elected to the board of Hospice Toronto in December 2014.


Carolyn Williams

Carolyn is an accredited music therapist who holds an Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from the University of Windsor and a Master of Music Therapy degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Carolyn has worked with various populations including; children with developmental delays, Down’s syndrome, autism, and adolescents recovering from trauma.  Her experience with adults encompassed those with aphasia, acquired brain injury and seniors in long term care.   She assumed a full time music therapy position at SickKids Hospital in January 2012 as part of the newly formed Creative Arts Therapies Program.  Her inpatient caseload is comprised of patients from the Multi Organ Transplant, Paediatric Advanced Care Team, General Paediatric and Infectious Disease units. Her role has also expanded to involve weekly individual counseling and group sessions in the Substance Abuse Day treatment program through the Division of Adolescent Medicine.

Carolyn is also a professional singer and sang with the 22 voice Toronto based ensemble: “The Nathaniel Dett Chorale” for over 10 years.  She is a member in good standing with the Canadian Association for Music Therapy and served as a board member of the Music Therapy Association of Ontario from 2011-2013.  Carolyn has given several conference presentations and workshops throughout Ontario and some cities in the US over her professional career.

Carolyn is an active member of her local church congregation and serves as a Pastor of her local assembly.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dining out and travelling.  Carolyn was elected as a director to the board of Hospice Toronto in December 2014.

Elizabeth Hall

Elizabeth is the daughter of Elaine Hall, one of the founding members of Hospice Toronto as detailed in June Callwood’s book Twelve Weeks in Spring. For the past several years Elizabeth and her sister Sarah have presented the Elaine Hall Volunteer award in her honour to a hospice volunteer.

Currently Elizabeth works for a boutique research group within Rogers Media, the only strategic insights group of its kind in North America. Working in market research and specialising on hard-to-reach audiences and industries, insights are developed and frequently disseminated through the communities established by Rogers’ award winning properties that serve most verticals in the Canadian marketplace including properties such as: Maclean’s, Canadian Business, The Medical Post, Today’s Parent, Advisor’s Edge, Benefits Canada, Canadian Business etc. In 2015 she was awarded an MRIA (Market Research and Intelligence Association) Research Excellence Award.

Elizabeth is Bilingual in English and French, with a BA in History and French from University of Victoria College, University of Toronto.  Her interests include reading literature, social justice and textile art.  Elizabeth was elected to the board of Hospice Toronto in December 2014.

Mark Walsh

Mark Walsh retired in June 2015 after a career that included 30 years in financial management and executive positions at Imperial Oil Limited and 12 years with the Canadian Accounting Standards Board. Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant and was subsequently made a Fellow of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants in recognition of his professional and community contributions. He has a B.Sc. (Econ) from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Mark has served on several not-for profit boards, including as Board Chair of Kinark Child and Family Services. He is currently Vice-Chair of Kerry’s Place Autism Services. Mark is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Mary Jane Esplen

Dr. Esplen is a Clinician-Scientist, University Health Network in Toronto and a Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, as well as the inaugural Director of the de Souza Institute, a Canadian knowledge translation center focusing on educating health professionals in oncology.   She has held prior career scientist awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Cancer Institute of Canada for her research program in the field of psychosocial oncology and conducts research on the psychosocial impact of genetic testing and as well as with other cancer populations. In particular, she is has led work in developing and validating new screening tools and psychological instruments for the field of cancer genetics, as well as designs and tests psychotherapeutic interventions to address coping challenges, and survivorship issues, such as those related to body image or sexuality, or in addressing grief and loss. Dr. Esplen also provides clinical consultation and therapy for individuals with cancer or who carry cancer mutations. She has provided consultation to the Ministry of Health and Long term Care in Ontario, in the areas of cancer genetics and palliative care, and led a working group to ensure the integration of psychosocial care into genetic testing services. She has particular expertise applying specific scales or techniques used in women’s mental health, as well as in the development, standardization and testing of various models of group psychotherapy.  More recently, she has conducted workshops to assist health care providers to manage compassion fatigue and the impacts of encountering grief and loss in their work, and provides training programs for health care professionals to better address the psychological needs of patients.

Dr. Esplen is a scientist, educator, therapist and scholar and has received several awards, given numerous workshops and keynotes in psychosocial oncology- from prevention to palliative care. Dr. Esplen is a past President of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) and recently received the CAPO’s lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the field of Psycho-oncology.  Dr. Esplen was elected to the board of Hospice Toronto in December 2014.


Nazir Valani

Nazir is a Partner and National Leader of the Actuarial Practice at KPMG. He is responsible for providing actuarial services to audit and advisory clients. Actuarial services include Life Insurance, Pensions, and Property & Casualty.

Nazir is also the North American Leader for AXIS Implementation at KPMG. Nazir works with the US team to leverage the tremendous opportunities for end to end actuarial and finance transformation initiatives. Nazir was recognized as one of the Global Leading Actuaries 2015 by Acquisition International.

Nazir began his career in the life insurance industry in 1980. Prior to establishing Valani Consulting in 1998, he held various actuarial positions with three major Canadian life insurance companies including management roles in product development, reinsurance and corporate actuarial. He also spent five years with GGY, the developers and distributors of the AXIS actuarial software system. Valani Consulting Inc merged with KPMG in August 2012 when it was the 2nd largest Life Actuarial Practice in Canada.

During his career, Nazir has participated in a number of industry activities including serving as a member of the Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting (CLIFR), a member of the CLHIA Committee on Policyholder Taxation, a member of the Annuity Reserve Working Group (ARWG) and a member of the Life Practice Committee in the Caribbean. Nazir is also a frequent presenter at various insurance industry conferences.

Nazir has considerable volunteering experience including Co-lead Poverty Alleviation in the Community, a past Vice-Chair of the Community Education Board and he continues to be an active member and leader serving his community on various organizational ventures and charitable initiatives. He is also a Founding Member of the Aga Khan Museum and the Society of Actuaries Modeling Section.

Patty Holk

Patty worked in the Financial Services industry for 25 years and was most recently Vice President and Director, Payment Operations, TD Securities and Associate Vice President, TD Bank Group.   She is an experienced people leader with proven success in building strong relationships, leveraging partnerships to ensure the success of both day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives.  Prior to this, she spent over 15 years in TD’s Finance and Treasury departments overseeing the Bank’s global liquidity risk strategy and cash accounts.  She brings strong financial, risk and operational management experience and has considerable risk management, policy development, project management and business transformation expertise.

Patty became a member of the Governance Committee in May 2013 and was elected to the board of Hospice Toronto in June 2014.   She was elected Chair of the Governance Committee in December 2014.

Steve Nardi
Board President

Steve is currently consulting to SME’s and Not-for-Profits on management and digital marketing strategies. Steve’s expertise in organizational management & operations has seen him in senior management positions with Farelogix, Travel Success Group and Peragis; technology companies deploying graphical productivity enhancing tools to the travel industry across North America. Prior to entering the consulting world Steve was COO of A Couple of Chicks© Digital Marketing, with a niche focus on the travel and tourism industry. Having experienced Hospice Toronto services first hand, he welcomes any opportunity to support the organization and raise awareness of the choice hospice offers. Steve previously served on the board for 9 years and after a 3-year hiatus rejoined in 2011.

Taylor Teasdale

Taylor practices law in the Non-Profit and Charities Group at Gardiner Roberts LLP in Toronto, which he joined in June 2015.  For five-and-a-half years immediately prior to his current position, Taylor was General Counsel & COO of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, a publicly-supported charity in Detroit, Michigan that raises funds to provide programs for DPS students.  He oversaw the foundation’s day-to-day operations, including HR, regulatory/tax compliance, accounting/financial reporting/audit, and donor relations.

Prior to his time at the DPS Foundation, Taylor practiced corporate law in the Detroit area for many years, and his clients included a wide range of charitable and non-profit organizations.  He also worked as a program officer in the Detroit office of a non-profit organization that supports local community development initiatives across the United States, and taught non-profit and charity law at the University of Michigan Law School and Wayne State University Law School.  Taylor has extensive experience working with volunteer boards and community outreach organizations.

Taylor is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Detroit College of Law, and the London School of Economics.  He also studied at the University of Windsor Law School.  He is admitted to practice law in Ontario and Michigan.