Christopher Lawton

Chris Lawton – Chair

Chris Lawton is currently an international policy analyst with a federal government agency. He has previously served as a policy advisor to the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities, and conducted research for two Washington DC think tanks, the Stimson Center and Global Financial Integrity, on topics related to international security and development. Chris has ten years experience as a volunteer with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, including placements in Child Life and on several wards. He served in a number of positions on the CHEO Volunteer Association Board of Directors, including two years as Chair, and represented CHEO volunteers on the board of the CHEO Foundation. He has also volunteered for the past four years as an organizer and facilitator of the March of Remembrance and Hope, a Holocaust education program in Germany and Poland for Canadian student leaders. Chris holds a Bachelors of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University, and a Masters in International Relations from George Washington University.

Jeff Black

Jeff Black – Vice Chair

Jeff joined Candlelighters because he experienced firsthand what families go through when their child has cancer. He experienced what it is like trying to make the best of a bad situation when his own daughter, Lael, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 while living in Calgary at the time. When Jeff moved to Ottawa and heard about the numerous social programs and support provided by Candlelighters he knew that he had to get involved and provide his time and experience to make Candlelighters as good as it can be and life for the kids with cancer and their families as enjoyable as possible.

Jeff is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA) and a tax partner with Deloitte LLP here in Ottawa. He has significant experience working with companies of all sizes and has been extensively involved in leading various business units within Deloitte. Originally from Winnipeg Jeff has been extremely mobile during his professional career living for nineteen years in Vancouver, five years in Calgary, two years overseas in Central Europe before ending up in Ottawa in the fall of 2010.

An ardent supporter of childhood cancer initiatives, Jeff joined the Candlelighters board of directors in January 2013, bringing with him passion and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children with cancer and their families here in the national capital region.

Mark Gawargy – Treasurer

Mark is a Wealth Advisor at ScotiaMcLeod, where he assists clients with developing comprehensive financial strategies and ongoing investment management. Working with a team of specialists across Scotia Wealth management his team specializes in a broad range of financial matters including, but not limited to estate, tax-efficiency and insurance planning for corporate and retail clients. He has been in the industry for 16 years. He also sits on the board of WCWFE (Why Can’t We Feed Everyone), an organization helping reduce food waste while feeding less fortunate local families. Mark’s off-hours are spent outdoors with his wife and dog, playing basketball, mountain-biking or swimming in the Madawaska River in the few months a year that will allow it.

Shaun Powell – Secretary

Shaun joined the board this year coming from Charity Golf Tournament Plowing Fore a Cure where he was acting as Chair/Co-Chair raising close to $100,000 for local charities including Candlelighters. He is currently working as the Federal Government Program Manager with Data Management company NetApp and has been working in the IT world for the past 20 year in Ottawa. In his spare time he enjoys playing competitive volleyball and working around the garden and in the woodworking shop.

Caroline Joanisse – Director

Caroline has been developing successful and innovative communications and marketing strategies for the past 18 years. With a proven track record in delivering campaigns that align with business goals and objectives she is driven to transform visions into high performing results. Caroline is currently the Manager of Digital Engagement at CMHC where she provides overall direction for the development and management of CMHC’s social media strategy, policies and online presence to drive programs and brand awareness.

Aside from her work duties, Caroline considers herself a wanna-be fashion stylist, make-up artist, photographer and horticulturist!

Caroline joined the Candlelighters board of directors in 2017 to help make a real difference in the lives of children with cancer

Atallah Sadaka – Director