2020-2021 Board of Directors

Janet Cosier (Chair)

JanetCosierJanet is an accountant by training and is now retired from the Bank of Canada where she was advisor to the Governor on strategic planning and risk management. She has extensive Board experience, currently also serves on the Queensway Carleton Hospital Board and until recently on the SE LHIN Board. She lives on Highway 43 between Smiths Falls and Merrickville. Janet and her husband, Tony, enjoy attending local theatre productions, and hiking and canoeing in the Rideau River system region.

Robert Long (Vice Chair)

BobLong smBob has worked in business, Aboriginal business development and community economic development for over fifty years. During the last 15 years he has fulfilled the following roles; five years as deputy minister, Department of Economic Development and Transportation, Government of Nunavut; ten years as general manager, Baffin Business Development Corporation, a community futures organization; eight years as president of Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce; and leadership roles in various economic associations, boards, trade shows and conferences.

Bob and his wife Cheri are now retired at Carleys Corners, where they are rediscovering gardening, after 30 years in the Arctic, plan to continue spoiling their fifteen (and the number is growing) grandchildren and sail on the St Lawrence.

Terry Gilhen (Secretary)

TGilhen smBorn in the Ottawa Valley, Terry Gilhen spent his childhood years as a “military brat” moving every two to three years across the country and Europe before arriving in Ottawa where he attended university, got married and settled down.  His 38 year career was spent almost entirely within the local non-profit sector and was dedicated primarily to promoting access and inclusion for people with disabilities.   Terry was also actively involved on several committees and networks including the City of Ottawa’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Ottawa Community Support Coalition and the Province of Ontario’s AODA Transportation Standards Development Committee.  In 2013 Terry and his wife Dennise decided it was time to leave the City for the quieter life in Merrickville-Wolford.   As a newcomer, Terry sought out volunteer opportunities recognizing that by becoming involved he would more quickly feel “at home”.    He currently sits on several committees of Council including the Strategic Planning Committee.  Now “semi-retired” Terry takes on the occasional consulting contract but mostly enjoys the slower pace of country life and getting to know his new community.

Michèle LeBlanc (Treasurer)

PicUnavailMichèle holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She is currently Director of Operational Business in the Canadian Coast Guard and has held several senior positions in the Coast Guard and Transport Canada. Now approaching retirement, she wants to become involved community volunteer activities. She lives in Oxford Mills.


Terry Lee

TLee smBorn and raised in Smiths Falls, married, wife is Colette, I have 5 children, live in Rideau Lakes Township. Self-employed for over 30 years, in Perth and Smiths Falls. Served on the Parent Council at St James and St Francis Schools for over 10 years. Attended school in Smiths Falls at St James and St Francis Elementary Schools and St Francis High School, and a graduate of St Lawrence College in Brockville, in the business program.


Ian Donald

IDonald smIan and his wife Nina have lived in a heritage home in Merrickville since moving here from Almonte in 2000. Ian is a member of Merrickville’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee and led the development of the community’s 2010 and 2017 economic development strategies. Nina is past President and a volunteer with the Merrickville & District Historical Society. Together they have owned and operated several small businesses in Ottawa. Ian was educated in England and graduated from the London School of Economics in 1961. His subsequent employment experience spanned fifteen years with multinational corporations, and more than twenty years as a Federal Government executive, responsible latterly for direction of Canada’s small business development policy and one of its regional economic development agencies. Since 1997 he has been an independent consultant focusing on economic and business development with his primary clients being China’s State Economic & Trade Commission and Canada’s Aboriginal business and financial Institutions.

Deb McGuire

DMcGuirev2smDeb McGuire lives in rural Lanark County where she and her partner are raising their 2 children. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social work and focuses most of her professional time in the community mental health field. Deb is also a sessional instructor in the Social Service Worker Program at Algonquin College in Perth. She is passionate about social justice issues and is committed to discovering creative ways to support and build community.


Sandy Shaw

SShaw smSandy is a Registered Nurse of 32 years, having worked in Shawville Quebec, Cardiff Wales and mainly rural Ontario. Sandy was the Nurse Component with the Start Up Committee and went on to be the first Coordinator of Hospice Renfrew, first rural hospice in Ontario. Sandy then moved to Ottawa as the Residence Coordinator of Hospice at Maycourt. Currently, Sandy is the Palliative and Supportive Care Nurse for Perth Smiths Falls District Hospital. She lives in Perth and enjoys camping and kayaking. Sandy has three adult children and now a grandson.

Katie Weststrate

KWeststrate smKatie is a Naturopathic Doctor and yoga teacher, based out of her clinic Ahimsa Naturopathic in Merrickville. She holds a Master’s Degree in Community Health, Addictions and Mental Health and is passionate about empowering wellness at both the individual and community level. Katie lives with her partner and young son outside of Easton's Corners.


Don Palmer

PalmerD smDon Palmer has over 45 years of experience in the field of human services and business management, 35 of which have been in senior and middle management positions. His experience is very broad-based. He has managed programs and provided direct services to persons with a variety of disabilities. He has extensive experience working with and designing programs for persons with severe and multiple disabilities. Mr. Palmer has published numerous articles relating to program management, staff training, supported employment and equity employment for persons with a disability in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Palmer was the Executive Director of Causeway Work Centre (a community economic development agency serving eastern Ontario) from 1992 until 2019, and he has been a resident of Merrickville for 27 years. Now retired, his primary activities centre around cycling and reading.


Dorothy Thomson

ThompsonD smDorothy presently lives in Perth after retiring from a lengthy career in Cochrane. Her nursing career has encompassed acute care and long term care, home care and working in a physician office. She was a Patient Care Coordinator within the hospital and a Director of Nursing/ Assistant Administrator of a long term care facility within this hospital, which she helped to design and develop. While in Northern Ontario, she was an active member and chair of the Cochrane District Health Council, as well as District Long Term Care and Mental Health committees. She was a also a member of numerous local community committees in Cochrane including accessibility and health care resources. She is one of the founding members of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital Patient Family Advisory Council and currently serves as chair. She has also been involved in other volunteer organizations within Perth.