PSSO enhances the quality of life and care for people living with Parkinson’s in Southwestern Ontario.


To reach every person in Southwestern Ontario affected by Parkinson’s.

Hope is Close to Home

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the first question often asked is “where do I go?” Our answer is simple: home. Parkinson’s Society Southwestern Ontario is home. Home for all those living with Parkinson’s Disease in Southwestern Ontario.

Home for you to find services, workshops, and groups dedicated to growing the support and community around Parkinson’s Disease. Home for education and research initiatives built on spreading the awareness, care, and support for Parkinson’s Disease.

But most importantly, home for You.

At Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, we’re dedicated to providing the best, most supportive, and most valuable community for all those with Parkinson’s. We understand the importance of togetherness, and bring that understanding into all of the work we do.

Our team of supportive, kind, and knowledgeable staff are dedicated to the community and providing the resources that are needed and valued by all of the amazing people we aim to help. We are committed to providing the utmost care and support to all of those whose lives are touched by Parkinson’s Disease.

Our unwavering goal is, was, and always will be to create the very best community for everyone living with Parkinson’s in Southwestern Ontario.

Shelley Rivard

Chief Executive Officer

Shelley joined PSSO in 2009 as Coordinator of Special Events, and has been in the role of CEO for the last 8 years.  She has 20+ years in the not-for-profit sector beginning working for Minor Hockey, The Kidney Foundation of Canada, and now Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario. Shelley has a passion for people, and enjoys the opportunity to build a supportive community for those living with PD throughout Southwestern Ontario.  

In her spare time, Shelley enjoys her family, 4 adult children and 7 wonderful grandchildren.  Shelley loves being outdoors, and enjoys the beach in the summer.  Recently, she has taken on some home renovations and enjoys doing these DIY projects.

Joanne Bernard

Manager, Finance & Administration

Joanne first came to Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario as a volunteer after her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She worked on the Cut-A-Thon and Tulip Benefit committees helping with marketing and media.  Joanne was then hired full-time as Coordinator of Special Events and Marketing in 1998.

Joanne has had various roles within the organization and currently enjoys her position as Manager of Administration.  

Joanne has continued to be active in the community with her daughters’ hockey (trainer, assistant coach), children’s ministry, Regional Mental Health Care (placement) and more recently at Anova.  In her spare time, she likes to walk, garden, paint and most importantly, spend time with her amazing daughters.

Justine Travnicek 

Manager, Data Operations

Justine has been involved with the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. She began volunteering by raising and training an assistance dog while living in Alberta. When she relocated to Ontario, she began working with the local hospital foundation, and experienced various roles within a nonprofit. Throughout her career she has consistently worked with data and understands that it is essential for maintaining the health of organizations and plays a central role in everything from strategy to daily logistics. When away from work, you’ll find her enjoying time with her family and probably surrounded by animals.

Kevin Blondin

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Kevin brings a diverse skill set to his role at PSSO, having ventured through various sectors with an eye for innovation and creativity. His journey began in the fast-paced agency environment, where he navigated the dynamic world of marketing and public relations, managing accounts for entertainment giants like Cirque du Soleil and ShowSpan. After the pandemic Kevin transitioned into communications in the nonprofit realm, where he honed his ability to craft compelling narratives for impactful causes.

His commitment to lifelong learning led him to the International College Program at Walt Disney World, where he immersed himself in the intricacies of marketing and sales at Disney University while contributing behind the scenes to the magic of the Magic Kingdom. Driven by a passion for education, Kevin also ventured into academia, teaching marketing courses at his alma mater, and continues to participate on the Professional Advisory Committee for the PR program at St. Clair College.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Kevin remains engaged in his community through event photography and the publication of his monthly fanzine. With a blend of hands-on experience and a dedication to creativity, Kevin brings a unique perspective to the table, enriching the endeavors of PSSO and beyond.

Michele Bucholtz

Executive Assistant to the CEO
Michele has spent most of her career in telecommunications and the School Board in an Administrative Role.
Michele is a life long learner in anything that peaks her interest. From completing an HR certification from Fanshawe College to a Registered Yoga Instructor, sound healer and many other healing modalities.
In her spare time she loves to be creative and hands on with baking and making jewellery and CNC products. Spending quality time with family and friends and taking Long walks with her furbaby Cooper is absolutely her favourite thing to do.

Mandy McDonagh (On Leave)

Programs & Services Coordinator

Mandy comes to PSSO with extensive experience in the non-profit sector, supporting and assisting clients through various programs and linking them to other community agency services. Mandy’s work experience has given her a strong understanding of the Social Determinants of Health, and how important it is to have community connections with those walking similar journeys. Although Mandy has only been with PSSO for a short time, she is thrilled to have joined an organization that shares values similar to hers, and looks forward to getting to know all of you. 

In their spare time,  Mandy and her husband  are busy raising their head strong young daughter to be a “world changer.” They love animals and have three fur children who make life a little more fun: Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are the family’s beloved kitties, and Rosco, the retired therapy dog. Mandy and her family are homebodies by nature, but fortunately have an oversized backyard that sits next to forest, so there are plenty of creatures to explore and learn about.

Chris McHale

Special Events & Volunteer Coordinator

Chris has had a diverse range of roles in small business, academic research, corporate Canada and the non-profit sector in positions for sales, customer service, research and fundraising. His last posting was with Teen Challenge where he held fundraising capacities which helped those afflicted by addiction and often mental health challenges. From Chris’ standpoint it comes down to forging lasting relationships with clients, donors and stakeholders. Chris is a positive, jovial, committed and compassionate soul who has always served others in many positions.

In his new assignment as Events and Volunteer Coordinator at PSSO, Chris is uniquely placed to continue to build relationships, foster a team ethos and plan and execute on special events in London and surrounding area as well as support both volunteers and CEC’s with their work.

Chris is an avid reader and focuses on history, political science, economics, biographies and books on personal development. He received his glider pilot’s license and wings in Air Cadets and wants to return to the skies sometime soon. Apart from reading, he relaxes in his spare time by listening to podcasts and keeps up on current events both nationally and internationally. Chris loves this community and has volunteered for multiple organizations and causes and he sees it as a way of giving back by investing his time and effort for others.

Stephen Owen

Community Engagement Coordinator, Central Region

Stephen has a diverse background that spans from years with Community Living, Restorative Justice, and Church Ministry to Continuing Education programming/provision. His rich and varied experiences have uniquely positioned him for his current role as the Community Engagement Coordinator PSSO.

In his capacity as the Community Engagement Coordinator in our Central Region, Stephen will be in all communities within London/Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk, and Perth Counties. He is genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity to cultivate meaningful relationships with our outstanding Support program facilitators, donors, and our valued clientele.

His insatiable passion for lifelong learning often leads Stephen to immerse himself in education podcasts and literature, staying informed and inspired. Outside of the professional realm, you can find him exploring the roads and trails of Oxford County or engrossed in compelling books on a wide range of topics. His creative side shines through in his woodwork projects and graphic design (his heart beats faster when talking about typography) and he’s known to indulge in an eclectic assortment of shows and docuseries on Netflix. An enthusiast of rhythm, Stephen enjoys expertly playing air drums on his steering wheel during long drives.

Heather Galloway

Community Engagement Coordinator, North Region

Heather has joined the team as a Community Engagement Coordinator in the Grey Bruce area. She organizes programs and events and fosters partnerships in this region. Heather has a Master of Public Health from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph.

In her free time, Heather loves to explore the national and provincial parks with her partner and dog. She enjoys knitting, baking, swimming, and training for triathlons. She is very excited to work with the PSSO community and contribute to their meaningful work.

Robin Arnott

Community Engagement Coordinator, East Region

Robin has spent over a decade working in the field of disability advocacy and support services, and has a degree in Disability Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University. Robin joined Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario as a Community Engagement Coordinator in the fall of 2023.

Robin is a lifelong learner with a passion for creating community and connecting with marginalized groups. She is excited to be on the ground interacting with people affected by Parkinson’s disease and finding new ways to help our community thrive.

Outside of work, you’ll find Robin writing stories, drawing pictures and exploring the outdoors.

Samantha Grant

Community Engagement Coordinator, West Region

Samantha (Sam) joined Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario as a volunteer in 2017. She has assisted with the Walk for Parkinson’s in Windsor as a committee member and in 2022 began volunteering as co-facilitator for the Leamington Support Group. Samantha graduated from the Social Service Worker program at St. Clair College in 2016, where she specialized in Parkinson’s and Dementia Studies. After completing her schooling, she was privileged to become a member of the Ontario College of Social Work and Social Service Work as a Registered Social Service Worker. Prior to joining PSSO Samantha worked in a Long-Term Care Facility assisting with Recreation and Leisure Services. She is joining the PSSO team as the Community Engagement Coordinator for our West Region, where she will be working in the community assisting with support groups, gaining funding for programs and services as well as engaging with clients in Windsor, Leamington, Chatham, Sarnia and surrounding areas.

Samantha practices self-care by knitting and homecrafts, drawing and listening to classic country and oldies music in the evenings. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.

Corporate Board, Executive Members

Brad Richards


Alysia Christiaen 


Matthew Mitchell

Treasurer & Secretary

Shelley Rivard

Chief Executive Officer

Board Members

Anthony Bender

Board Member

Chris Curry (On Leave of Absence)

Board Member

Dr. Jeff Holmes

Board Member

Gary Pullam

Board Member

Kurt Berger

Board Member

Bev Zaifman

Board Member

Dr. Mandar Jog

Honorary Board Member