Board of Directors

Lise Gotell, Chair (Edmonton, AB)

Lise Gotell is Professor and Chair of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta.  She completed her PhD 1993 in Political Science at York University (1993) and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School (1992-1994).  Her research expertise is in the area of gender and law she has published widely on such topics as equality litigation, constitutional jurisprudence, obscenity law and sexual assault.  She is a co-author of Bad Attitude/s on Trial: Feminism, Pornography and the Butler Decision (1997) and a co-editor (together with Barbara Crow) of Open Boundaries: A Canadian Women’s Studies Reader (2009).  She has won many teaching awards and is committed to community-engaged learning.  Lise teaches a unique Women’s and Gender Studies course entitled “Feminism and Sexual Assault” in which students focus on rethinking prevention through working with Edmonton community agencies. Her current research program focuses on the legal standard of consent in Canadian law and on new forms of antiviolence activism in a context of neoliberalism. Lise is committed to policy and community work that contributes to the prevention of sexual violence.  Her research has been cited in law reform initiatives in Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.  She is a member of Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton, a community-police-academic collaboration that uses social marketing to educate about consent and to change attitudes that contribute to sexual assault.

Mary Lou Maher, FCPA, FCA, Treasurer (Toronto, ON)

Mary Lou is currently the Partner in Charge of the Toronto Audit Practice at KPMG LLP.

Mary Lou, who holds a Fellow Chartered Accountant designation, is deeply committed to her profession and has represented the firm on our Profession Council in the past. She has a focus on giving back and just recently concluded her six-year term at Women’s College Hospital where she was Chair of the Board for two of those years.

She was named a Trail Blazer for Women CAs by CA Magazine in 2005 and, as a five time award winner, was also placed in to the Hall of Fame for the WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.

Mary Lou has received the Life time Achievement Award from Standing Proud, a business networking organization for LGBT professionals.  She has also received the Senior Leadership Award for Diversity from Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

During her time as Chief Human Resources Officer she introduced several key programs and initiatives that have had a lasting affect within the firm, including: a leadership development strategy; several diversity initiatives including the creation of the National Diversity Council and the launch of the LGBT network; and a flexible benefit programs to meet the varying needs of our current workforce. 

Mary Lou is the executive sponsor of pride@kpmg, the firm’s People Network for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-identified people.  Mary Lou’s commitment to diversity in all its forms has helped KPMG be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers three years in a row, specifically for our work in LGBT inclusion.

Susan B. Boyd (Vancouver, BC)

Susan B. Boyd is Professor Emerita at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, where she held the Chair in Feminist Legal Studies from 1992-2015. She is also a Visiting Professorial Fellow with the Legal Intersections Research Centre at the University of Wollongong in Australia, where she presented “W(h)ither Legal Feminism?” In March 2017. Professor Boyd researches and publishes on feminist legal theory, and gender and sexuality issues in the fields of family law, especially child custody and parenthood law. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters, and several book length projects. Her edited collection Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law, and Public Policy was published in 1997. Her second co-edited annotated bibliography, Canadian Feminist Literature on Law: An Annotated Bibliography, appeared in 1999. In 2007, she co-edited Reaction and Resistance: Feminism, Law, and Social Change and Poverty: Rights, Social Citizenship and Legal Activism. The collection Law and Families appeared in 2006 (with H Rhoades). Her book Child Custody, Law, and Women’s Work was published in 2003. Her latest co-authored book (2015) is Autonomous Motherhood? A Socio-Legal Study of Choice and Constraint, which addresses legal parenthood and the possibilities for “autonomous”motherhood. Professor Boyd is a long-standing member of the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law. She recently joined the Board of LEAF and co-chairs LEAF’s Legal Practice Committee. In 2012, Professor Boyd was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of her international reputation as a leading socio-legal scholar who has made exceptional contributions to family law and feminist legal studies.

Donna Dasko (Toronto, ON)

Donna Dasko is currently Fellow, School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, and teaches in the Master’s program. She is one of this country’s best known pollsters. During her career as Senior Vice-President of Environics Research Group, she played a crucial role in building the firm into one of Canada’s leading research organizations. She is co-founder and Past National Chair of Equal Voice, a national non-partisan organization dedicated to electing more women to public office in Canada. In December 2015 she founded the Campaign for an Equal Senate for Canada, pressing for a gender-equal Senate.  She has served as president of St. Stephen’s Community House, director of the United Way of Greater Toronto, director of the Canadian Youth Foundation, and Governor of the Canadian Unity Council. She is a member of the Statistics Canada Advisory Committee on Social Conditions and provides ongoing advice on the Canadian census and all of its social surveys.

Donna holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Toronto. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, and lives in Toronto.

Dee Dooley (Halifax, NS)

Dee Dooley is a feminist socio-legal researcher and community development worker. She is currently the Regional Capacity Coordinator at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, where she works with organizations, service providers, and governments to develop trauma informed responses, policy, and address systemic advocacy issues related to supporting survivors of sexualized violence. Dee has over ten years of experience with crime prevention and leadership development programs for women, youth, and LGBTQ populations who have experienced violence. She holds degrees in sociology, gender studies, and criminology where her research focused on the criminalization of women survivors of intimate partner violence. Dee is passionate about social justice, advocacy, and supporting young feminists to become changemakers in their communities. In 2015, Dee was a recipient of the Governor Generals Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.

Soraya Farha (Toronto, ON)

Soraya Farha is a lawyer and adjudicator. She has been a Member and Vice-Chair of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board since 2004, and in 2009 was cross-appointed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. Before her appointment to the Health Boards, Ms Farha practiced civil litigation, and employment and administrative law. Ms Farha has taught decision-writing and topics in administrative law at the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators and the Osgoode Professional Development Program, and is a frequent speaker on the work of the Health Boards, both in-house and at outside organizations. As a woman of Arab origin, Ms Farha has a particular interest in the intersectionality of discrimination. She is a long-time supporter of LEAF and other feminist and social justice organizations. She has been an active volunteer in the community including in the areas of youth sport, adult literacy, and refugee sponsorship, and serves as a mentor to undergraduate students at the University of Toronto. Ms Farha received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1990.

Elaine Harris (Toronto, ON)

Elaine Harris is a retired lawyer who practised law for over twenty-five years as a partner in a small firm in downtown Toronto specializing in commercial real estate and finance for both institutional and private clients. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A. in French) and Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Elaine has always been an active volunteer in the community and education areas. She sat on the boards of The Leo Baeck Day School and Jessie’s, the June Callwood Centre for Young Women for several years and was president of both organizations for two years. For the past six years she has been involved in a research project at the Baycrest Geriatric Centre in Toronto studying the links between volunteering and healthy aging. In 2013 Elaine received the Volunteer Service Award from the Government of Ontario. She is a fervent advocate for lifelong learning and is looking forward to her new role at LEAF.

Gillian Hnatiw (Toronto, ON)

Gillian Hnatiw is a litigation partner at Lerners LLP in Toronto. Her broad civil litigation practice focuses on health law, professional liability and regulation, and administrative law.  In particular, Gillian specializes in claims for sexual assault, abuse, exploitation and violence, including forms of on-line and digital violence involving the non-consensual taking and/or sharing of intimate images.  She has argued cases before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.  She has also been involved in numerous administrative proceedings, most notably the Coroner’s Inquests into the deaths of Ashley Smith and Katelynn Sampson. Gillian writes and speaks on wide spectrum of subjects, including judicial diversity, parental leave, the Charter rights of complainants in sexual assault trials, and alternatives to justice for sexual assault survivors.  In 2015, Gillian was named to Lexpert’s annual list of “Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers under 40”.  She is currently recognized in Best Lawyers and Lexpert in the fields of medical negligence and health care law.

Suzanne Lacroix (Ottawa, ON)

Suzanne Lacroix has spent most her career being involved in advancing women’s equality issues first in the non-profit sector in Québec followed by over two decades in the federal and provincial (Alberta) public service, developing programs and policies on equality rights for women. She most recently served as a Director for the ministries of Status of Women and Human Services with the Government of Alberta. She was responsible for leading government-wide implementation of institutional and policy mechanisms to promote and advance the status of women and girls in Alberta including the establishment of a Women’s Equality and Advancement Unit and the development and launch of the Government of Alberta’s Gender-Based Analysis+ strategy. Ms. Lacroix was also the senior government official responsible for negotiating federal-provincial-territorial agreements on key women’s equality issues on behalf of the government of Alberta and supporting the Government of Alberta’s participation at the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) yearly meetings. 

Previously, Ms. Lacroix was the Western Regional Director with Status of Women Canada, Women’s Program and worked closely with women’s organizations to support them in advancing their gender equality work. She also spent a decade working in the non-profit sector including at a shelter for abused women and as a regular contributor for French and English feminist grassroots publications on pro-choice issues.

Ms. Lacroix has pursued a non-linear educational path across several disciplines including social work, international development, law and business administration. 

Originally from Québec, Ms. Lacroix recently moved to Ottawa after spending 32 years in Alberta.

Geeta Sehgal (Toronto, ON)

Geeta Sehgal holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto, and an LL.B. from the University of Alberta. She has expertise in public agency and post-secondary institution governance, with almost ten years of experience working with the University of Alberta and the Government of Alberta. Geeta has been involved with LEAF since 2008, as an active member of LEAF Edmonton’s Executive Committee.  She has a strong commitment to feminism, anti-racism, social justice and human rights, and has worked to bring awareness and attention to emerging equality issues.

Elizabeth Shilton (Toronto, ON)

Elizabeth Shilton is a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace at Queen’s University and an Adjunct Professor at Queen’s Law.  Prior to returning to school to complete her doctorate in law, she was the long-time managing partner of the Toronto law firm of Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntrye & Cornish, where she practiced labour/employment and equality law. While in practice, she represented LEAF and other equality-seeking organizations before the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of cases.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s she served as a board member of both LEAF and the LEAF Foundation, and twice co-chaired LEAF’s National Legal Committee. In 2010, she was among the “lawyers who have made a difference” honoured by LEAF as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations.

Pamela Sloan (Montréal, QC)

Pamela Sloan is Adjunct Professor of Management and Co-director of “e3 Hub: Expertise in Energy and Environment”, a business-academic partnership at HEC Montréal. She teaches course in leadership, management and sustainability in the MBA, executive development and international programs. Her Ph.D. from HEC Montréal specialized in corporate strategy. She holds an M.A. in Economics from Cambridge University, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Prior to pursuing an academic career, Pamela Sloan gained extensive practical experience as an executive and consultant. She is a former Vice-President of The Toronto Stock Exchange, and founder of an economics and management consulting company with corporate and government clients in Canada, the United States and Australia. Her research interests focus on relations between corporations and their stakeholders, and on corporate sustainability practices. She has a particular expertise relations between corporations and indigenous peoples.