Joan Highet

Joan Highet – Past Chair

Ms. Joan Highet is a senior executive with expertise in strategy and marketing, software development, operations and business transformation. Joan was Vice-President of Product Development and Management in BellCanada, Vice-President of Operations in Certen and a Client Business Executive Vice President in Amdocs. Her accountabilities have ranged from managing significant P&L’s, directing large management teams, delivery of strategic business transformation, process improvements and developing senior executive client relationships for large IT software development programs. Joan has international consultancy experience in Asia, Australia, Israel, India and North America. Joan joined United Way in June 2008 as Vice-President, Campaigns and manager of the GCWCC. As a member of the Senior Management team in United Way, Ms. Highet played a leadership role in setting the strategic direction of, and driving the campaign function of United Way/Centraide Ottawa and federal government. As Vice-President, Campaigns, she lead all campaign related strategies, including employee workplace campaigns, partnership/sponsorship ventures, new business development and community engagement for public and private sector as well as national support for the federal government. In 2010, Ms. Highet assumed responsibility for all areas of fundraising within United Way, including Strategic gifts, Targeted Community Investment, Planned Giving, Capital programs and Direct Response as Vice-President of Resource Development. Joan brings a personal commitment to the voluntary sector. She served as past Vice Chair of the Board of the Ottawa Humane Society, past Chair of the Board of Ottawa Interval House and currently is Chair of the Board of Candlelighters as well as participating in a number of other charities and women leadership initiatives.

Christopher Lawton

Chris Lawton – Board 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 & Treasurer

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.

Sherry Saunders

Sherry Saunders – Director

Sherry Saunders is responsible for overseeing all of Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Canadian opera- tions including the company’s overall management, client and supplier relationships, market- ing, branding and strategic partnerships. A member of the CWT Americas leadership team, she reports directly to Håkan Ericsson, President, CWT Americas. With more than 26 years of senior management experience in corporate travel, Sherry has a proven track record in providing clients with superior service by building strong operational teams capable of the highest degree of service fulfillment combined with a hands-on ap- proach to meeting customer needs. In her previous role at CWT as Vice President, Traveler & Transaction Services, Sherry was responsible for the overall operational strategy and execution within Canada. She managed all elements of operational fulfillment, including branch operations, operational segmentation, online fulfillment, operational automation and centralized functions, corporate training, after hours emergency and online fulfillment. In addition, she was part of the Canadian Executive team and worked closely with our Canadian-based clients, employees and suppliers.

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.

Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace – Director

Chris is a lawyer with expertise in commercial law and experience working with businesses and not-for-profit organizations. He provides full spectrum legal services in the areas of contracts, corporate governance, employment, privacy, intellectual property protection and dispute management. He currently practices at Outside Counsel, a business law firm that provides legal support to individuals and organizations. Previously, Chris worked as the assistant general counsel of a national charity. Outside of work, Chris enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and daughter, playing baseball, reading history books and biking.

Atallah Sadaka – Director


Caroline Joanisse – Director


Mark Gawargy – Director