Board of Directors

The Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO) is a non-profit charitable organization formed in 1987 by representatives of the adoption community

Our Board of Directors and general membership represent all aspects of adoption: birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents, and adoption professionals from Ontario. Our adoption resource centre is supported through memberships, donations and program fees.

The ACO has board committees that support planning:

  • Fund Development Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Governance Committee

Click on the name to learn more about each member:

Lisette is a marketing strategist with 25 years experience working with businesses ranging from small new businesses to global brands such as Kraft, IBM and Ford. She has extensive experience helping organizations develop long term customer relationships, new product launches, customer acquisition, retention and win back strategies.  For the past 5 years, she has also been teaching an online marketing course for the Canadian Marketing Association.

Lisette is currently working on the development of an economic development model for how to leverage impact investing in small and rural communities to attract outside investment and help create an entrepreneurial environment that supports risk taking and encourages innovative business growth.
Lisette has been on the board of directors of the Open Arms Children’s Foundation for 10 years and is currently serving as chair. Open Arms works with volunteers, government, and institutions to help abandoned and orphaned Chinese babies and children to improve their prospects through education and health.

Lily is currently the treasurer of the board.  She joined the board because she is a firm believer of the significant roles that families play and the impact that they have in a person’s life. She is committed to support Ontario families by her using her experience and skills to help ACO achieve its mission.

Lily Yang is a Vice-President in the consulting and deals practice in Toronto, focused on providing valuation advisory services. Lily joined PwC in 2007 and initially qualified as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) working in the audit and assurance group at PwC, and continues to work in our valuation practice where she qualified as a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV). Lily provides business and asset valuation advice in a variety of contexts that include strategic business decision support, corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, tax and estate planning, and shareholder transactions for public and private companies.

Lily received a Bachelor’s (Accounting and Financial Management) as well as a Master’s (Accounting) degree from the University of Waterloo.

Through her work and her life experiences in various countries, Lily has learned many valuable lessons and skills, which have supported her professional and personal development.  Lily will bring this skill set as part of the ACO board of directors.

Karen joined the board in September 2016. She has her Masters of Business Administration (MBA), with a focus on board governance and corporate social responsibility, and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP). Karen is currently the Health, Safety and Organizational Development Manager for the Electrical Safety Authority where she enthusiastically works towards creating and sustaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Over the last several years she has led the building and execution of the Leadership Development programs, and chairing the Centre of Excellence team tasked with embedding Change Management practices.

As an adoptee, she is passionate about ensuring every child and youth not only finds their “Forever Family”, but that families and adoptees have ongoing support systems. Karen’s supportive husband and two energetic children inspire her to be grateful for every day and live her life’s purpose.

Hilary is a registered social worker with a specialization in healthcare.  Her experience includes adolescent drug abuse prevention research, clinical therapy for eating disorders and hospital operations and strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Colgate University, a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto.  Hilary recognizes the social value of secure family environments and is eager to contribute to the work of the ACO.

Harry is a provincial civil servant with in-depth knowledge of government and 15+ years of strategy, policy and issues management experience. Currently, he is the Director of Corporate Affairs and Governance at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, where he is responsible for government relations, Board governance and overseeing the agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, among other things. Harry is a lawyer by training, and prior to joining the Ontario government, he practiced corporate law with Torys LLP and within the legal aid department of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Harry is committed to giving back to his community and to supporting the mission and mandate of the ACO.  He was first appointed to the Board in September 2020.

Jhonel has an extensive background in education and the not-for-profit sector. He has worked as a provincial mathematics leader, a passionate advocate of equity in STEAM education, and as a leader of international education projects in fragile contexts with broad experience in all aspects of strategic leadership and management, organizational development, and educational consulting.

Since 2009, Jhonel has been working at the Ontario Ministry of Education after multiple experiences at different school boards. He is currently a Curriculum Manager at the Ministry where he is providing strategic leadership to a team of about 20 people. He holds a Masters degree in Educational Administration and is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. His research interest focuses on equity in mathematics, inclusion, mathematics achievement of racialized students, school leadership, and teachers’ expectations.

Jhonel joined the ACO board in June 2020. As a father of 4 wonderful black kids, he is passionate about the success and well-being of racialized children, youth, and families. He hopes to contribute his knowledge, skills and experience to the ACO as it endeavours to better serve all members of its constituencies.

Peter and his wife, Joanne, are parents to three adoptive children.  Our lives have been touched and enriched through adoption and permanency and we are thankful for the opportunity to raise a family.  Peter decided to serve on the board to give back to the adoption and permanency community.  Peter holds a MBA from INSEAD, a B. Math (Honours) from the University of Waterloo and a Canadian Investment Manager (CIM) designation. Peter is currently enrolled in the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Directors Education Program (DEP). Professionally, Peter spent 25 years in investment management building expertise in global financial markets, public and private equities, investment research and decision making.

Karen is a operations executive with 25+ years of progressive business experience in strategic transformation, process improvement and technology innovation. Karen is currently the VP, Strategy and Operations at Teladoc Health, Canada. Karen has her MBA in Global Leadership and supported global product and service building prior to that for Teladoc as a VP of Global Product Development. Her participation in non-profit groups along with her global work is the reason for her to continue to want to work with organisations like the ACO to help others and deliver on their mission. As an adoptee Karen has seen the positive impact that adoption can have on peoples’ lives. She was first appointed to the Board in June 2021.