Volunteer Board of Directors

African mom and her children

The management of Amref Health Africa in Canada is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors who meet quarterly.

Globally, Amref Health Africa is governed by an International Board of Directors that includes representatives from Africa, Europe and North America.

Mary Ann MacKenzie, Chair

Mary Ann is the Vice President, Relationship Management at CIBC Mellon. She is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for a team of Relationship Managers who support clients such as Pension Plans and Investment Companies. Prior to this, Mary Ann was Vice President, Strategic Account Management North America for Franklin Templeton Investments and led a team across Canada and the U.S. She also worked in the past as an Investment Advisor.

She attended Ryerson University in Business Administration and holds several Investment Industry designations including the Chartered Financial Planner (CFP). She volunteers for many causes but has developed a strong love of Africa after climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2003. Mary Ann also served on a board for Autistic children.

Peter Bak, PhD

Peter Bak is the Chief Information Officer at Humber River Hospital. He is responsible for the digital vision and on-going operations of that vision. In addition to the CIO role, Peter owns a medical software company that provides solutions to health care organizations in Asia and the North American veterinary market. With over 25 years of experience in health care software development, product commercialization, consulting and executive leadership, Peter has gained extensive expertise in diagnostic imaging, electronic health records, health record sharing and collaboration, and hospital IT in general.

Peter has a PhD in applied engineering from Imperial College, London and has published various papers on health care-related topics. Peter has a vested interest in Africa, having been born in the Congo, lived in Nairobi and Kampala for a number of years, and worked for De Beers Corporation in South Africa before moving to health care.

Melanie Barwick, PhD, CPsych

Melanie Barwick, PhD, CPsych is a Senior Scientist in the Child Evaluative Sciences Program of the Research Institute, and Head of the Child and Youth Mental Health Research Unit (CYMHRU) in the Department of Psychiatry at SickKids (The Hospital for Sick Children).  She is affiliated with the SickKids’ Learning Institute where she conducts professional development in knowledge translation, and with the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, as a scientist and member of the leadership.  

At the University of Toronto, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.  She chairs the Creative Professional Activity Committee for the Department of Psychiatry, and is a member of the Departmental Promotions Committee. 

She is a Director on the governing boards of  the Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CCYC) Network Centre of Excellence, the Global Implementation Initiative (GII), and Amref Health Africa, and an Associate Editor for the journal, Evidence & Policy. Dr. Barwick consults to government and service providers in the child and youth mental health, health and education sectors, and extends her impact via a varied social media presence.

René Beaudoin

René Beaudoin is a seasoned health and employee benefits leader. He’s devoted his career to transforming organizations to achieve their full potential by designing strategies that enhance capabilities, drive customer focus, scale operations and maximize efficiencies. A technology enthusiast, René uses his knowledge of various plans, such as defined benefits and contribution, health and welfare, disability and employee assistance, to develop industry leading solutions that create the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

René has held an array of leadership positions across healthcare and employee benefits consulting companies, including CTO overseeing an HR consulting company’s technology strategy and benefits platform and US Market Leader growing outsourcing practices across North America to nearly $100M in revenue through product innovation, partnerships and acquisitions. He’s currently leading a global health delivery division for Mercer, a worldwide leading benefits consulting company. The range of roles gives him the unique ability to view a business from all sides and help it innovate and transform. René is also passionate about developing talent; he’s lead global teams of more than 1000 people and believes in having the right people in the right places to sustain growth. René is also an Associate of the Society of Actuaries, a member of the Project Management Institute and bilingual in French and English.

René is committed to improving healthcare around the world. He’s an active board member of the Canadian Branch of the Amref Health Africa, an organization focusing on healthcare for women and children. Recently, René co-led an initiative to build a school for girls in Northern Kenya.


Ian Brenner, CPA, CA

Ian Brenner is a partner with the Interim Management practice and is a key member of the Performance Improvement practice at Farber Financial Group. As leader of these practices, Ian’s group bridges or supplements gaps in the financial resources of a company, and works with companies to optimize the performance of the finance function to uncover sustainable profit enhancement opportunities. Prior to joining Farber, Ian was a fund manager for a Toronto-based private equity firm. Ian was responsible for sourcing investments in midmarket businesses that were underperforming, in a turnaround or distressed position or which required restructuring.

Ian trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa in 1989.

Jette James

After 38 years with Marsh Canada Limited, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor, Jette retired as a Managing Director and a member of the Executive Management Committee. Jette’s responsibilities included being the national manager of, the advanced risk solutions group providing advisory and risk transfer solutions for: Political Risk, Trade Credit, Alternative Risk Solutions, Residual Value Risk Transfer, M&A practice and the Business Risk Assessment practice. In this role, Jette’s responsibilities expanded to include the Marsh Risk Consulting Practice which expanded the responsibility to include 10 practice managers, a total of 160 employees.  Today, Jette works part-time as a consultant to Marsh Canada Limited in the role of Senior Relationship Officer, providing mentoring to senior level individuals in the Professional Liability practice and providing strategic advice on growth of the national practice.

Jette has been married for 40 years and resides in Oakville with her husband Peter.

Jeff Pentland

Jeff is the Managing Director of Northleaf Capital Partners. He serves on the advisory boards of several partnerships within Northleaf’s portfolio. Prior to joining Northleaf’s predecessor, TD Capital Private Equity Investors, in 2005, Mr. Pentland was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company where he specialized in corporate strategy, finance and organizational behaviour, advising companies in financial services and other sectors. Previously, Mr. Pentland was a corporate/securities lawyer with Stikeman Elliott in Toronto, and Hamada Matsumoto in Tokyo, where he advised clients on private equity, infrastructure, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions transactions. Prior to that, Mr. Pentland worked with the United Nations Development Programme in Togo, West Africa.

Mr. Pentland received a B.A. (First Class Honours) from the University of British Columbia, an M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford University and an LL.B. (Dean’s Honours List) from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.

Muriel Truter

Muriel is the founder and principal of Askari Travel and grew up in Zimbabwe. She has also lived in England, Israel and now resides in Toronto. Over a lifetime of travel and a career in tourism, Muriel has journeyed extensively, personally visiting over 50 countries. Perhaps even more, it has made her want to share what she has seen – the privilege and joy of travel – with others. 

Muriel’s career as a travel professional began at Butterfield & Robinson, a highly-esteemed luxury active travel company based in Toronto. There, Muriel was a Bespoke Trip Planner, a guide, a researcher and director of the By Sea program.

Karen Wensley 

Karen is a private consultant, providing HR related services including executive coaching and facilitation, as well as consulting services to the federal government on R&D policy. She is also a Lecturer on Business Ethics at the University of Waterloo, and a Volunteer mentor with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

Before her retirement, Karen was a Partner at Ernst & Young with overall responsibility for the HR functions of Ernst & Young Canada, and previously as a tax partner, specializing in the health care, biotechnology and IT industries. Her clients included several major research hospitals, and she also worked with the Boards of Directors and Audit Committees of her large public company clients.

Karen has served on the board of several organizations, including the Information Technology Association of Canada, and the Association for Bright Children.

Dr. Ryan Wiley

Dr. Ryan Wiley is President of Shift Health (formerly SHI Consulting). With extensive experience in strategy, economic development, opportunity evaluation, implementation planning and public-private partnerships, Ryan has successfully worked with industry, governments, academic institutions and non-profit organizations around the world.

In addition to his work with Shift Health, Ryan is an Assistant Professor at McMaster University, past Chair of New Leaders of Sunnybrook Foundation, Director of Women’s College Hospital Foundation, founding Co-chair of neWCHapter at Women’s College Hospital Foundation and Advisor to the Ontario Brain Institute. Ryan holds a PhD in immunology from McMaster University and has published in the areas of asthma/allergy, immunology, pharmacology and gene therapy.