The Toronto Botanical Garden Board of Directors is composed of talented professionals, each one a committed volunteer. The entire board meets regularly; board members develop policy and oversee and participate in many committees on an ongoing basis.
Gino Scapillati, FCPA, FCA
President and Board Chair, Governance Committee Chair
Gino currently serves as Vice Chair, Strategy and Innovation at Bennett Jones, one of Canada's premier business law firms. He advises the firm's leadership team and lawyers in strategic growth and delivering innovative services to clients. Gino was previously Vice Chair of PwC Canada, one of the firm's National Managing Partners and a member of the Global Board of the PwC Network, where he advised global companies on strategic, financial and governance matters.
Gino is currently a member of the C.D. Howe Institute's National Council. He is a past member of the Council of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and in 2009 was elected as a Fellow. Gino is also a United States CPA (Illinois).
Gino is a graduate of the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University (BComm, Summa Cum Laude) and a recipient of School's Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award (2015). He has been a frequent presenter in the Directors Education Program of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors.
Vice President, Development Committee Chair
Cynthia has been an active member of the TBG board of directors for 4 years as a member of TBG's signature fundraising event committee, Woman to Woman/The Blossom Party, chairing the committee for 2 years, and currently is the chair of the Development Committee and Vice President of the board. Cynthia was a senior fundraising executive who, as President and CEO of Bridgepoint Health Foundation, raised funds for the capital campaign for the new hospital. Cynthia spends her time volunteering with other Not for Profit organizations including Face the Future Foundation. She is a graduate of McGill University with a M.Sc (applied) degree and practiced as a Speech Language Pathologist for over 20 years.
Janice Winton, CPA, CGA
Treasurer, Finance & Audit Committee Chair
Janice Winton is the Chair of the TBG’s Finance and Audit Committee. With over 35 years of senior finance, accounting and administration experience in the public sector, her most recent position was as Vice President Administration and Finance at Ryerson University. In that role she oversaw the University’s finances, computing, human resources, physical plant, security and ancillary operations. Prior to that she held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Ryerson for 24 years.
Janice is currently a member of the board at a number of not-for-profit organizations including Woodgreen Community Services and The Life Institute.
She is a chartered professional accountant (CPA, CGA), a Ryerson business graduate and holds a Master of Education (Higher Education) from the University of Toronto. Before joining Ryerson, Janice held a number of finance and accounting positions including Vice President Finance at York Finch General Hospital.
Born in Calgary, Alberta, Janice was raised in the Bahamas and her first career was as a registered nurse.
Government Relations Committee Chair
Gordon is an experienced public affairs consultant that owns his own company that specializes in strategic communications. He has held senior positions in the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario working in the Prime Minister’s and Premier’s offices. He has been involved in strategic planning, communications, and government relations for a wide range of public and private companies and has served on the boards of companies listed on the TSX and others that are privately held. He is currently a municipal appointee on the North Toronto Memorial Arena board. A graduate of UBC he has participated in gardening courses at UBC and George Brown. Gordon is Chair of the Government Relations Committee at TBG and is also a member of the Expansion Committee.
Deb Cross, MBA, CAE
Deb Cross is a nonprofit executive with extensive experience in the member-based association sector. She has held leadership roles in a wide range of national and international nonprofit associations.
Deb was most recently Director, Strategic Partnerships with the Institute of Corporate Directors, and previously was Chief Operating Officer of the World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts, in London, UK. Her prior roles in Ottawa included Director, Communications & Member Services with the Transportation Association of Canada, as well as both Executive Vice President, Canada, and Executive Director, Ottawa, for the Building Owners and Managers Association.
As an event management consultant in Ottawa, she orchestrated numerous major community and cultural events, including Canada Post’s Promenade for the Arts, Ottawa Tourism’s Mission Incredible and the Canada Agriculture Museum’s Fall Harvest Festival.
Deb holds an Executive MBA from the University of Ottawa, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE).
She serves on the Governance Committee of the Toronto Botanical Garden and the Trillium Membership Committee of the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
Sara D’Elia is a Senior Director on the Human Resources team at CIBC. In her role, she is focused on supporting the Product, Business Banking, Strategy & Transformation and Delivery and Operations teams. Prior to her current role, Sara has a breadth of experience across a number of different businesses (Securities, Wealth and Canadian Banking) and within Human Resources. She is known for maintaining a keen focus on customers, colleagues and her community, while playing a key role in growing businesses during times of transformation and change.
Outside of work, Sara is on the Board of Directors at the Toronto Botanical Garden, the Civic Garden Centre Foundation and the Ryerson Business Alumni Association. As a result of her community involvement, she was named one of Ted Rogers School of Management’s Top 10 From the Past 10 in 2018 and one of the Top 150 Volunteers at TD in 2017.
Elizabeth Calvin Esson, RN, BSc.N., BSc.
Elizabeth is currently Center Director at Mathnasium (operated by Temple Ventures), a leading provider of customized in-person and live, face to face online math tutoring for elementary and high school aged children. She was also the COO and a co-owner of Boardsports and had a 10-year career in nursing including various Clinical Nurse Leaders positions at The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto) and Public Health for the City of Toronto.
Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Western University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing also from Western University, where she graduated with Sigma Theta Tau academic distinction by the International Nursing Honour Society. She has also earned a Certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’ (MIT) Sloan School of Management and MIT Computer Science focused on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) for Business.
Elizabeth is a member of the Board of Directors of Project Sunshine Canada and an Executive Committee Member of Project Sunshine’s Annual Gala. She is also an Executive Member of the Branksome Hall Parents’ Association (BHPA), one of Canada’s leading independent schools.
Elizabeth grew up in New York and Toronto and is an avid gardener and birder.
Ex Officio, City of Toronto
Christina is the Manager of Partnerships and Business Services for Parks, Forestry and Recreation at the City of Toronto. There she helps City partners, like the TBG, to navigate their relationships with the City, helping to realise their collective vision. She also oversees the negotiation and management of PFR contracts.
Prior to joining the City, Christina was the Manager of Asset Commercialization for Metrolinx where she was responsible for generating non-fare revenue and managing promotional partnerships, focused on revenue and ridership.
Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts (Architectural Design) degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Environmental Design (Industrial Design and Design Management) degree from the University of Calgary.
Andrew is a partner at the law firm Bennett Jones LLP. He assists clients with all stages of real estate development, including land use planning approvals, construction and strategic analysis. His practice includes regular appearances before municipal councils and committees of adjustments, as well as representing his clients in legal proceedings at all levels of Court and administrative tribunals, with a focus on matters before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the City of Toronto’s Local Appeal Body.
Andrew’s educational background includes a bachelor of arts from Dalhousie University, an LL.B from the University of Victoria, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management. Andrew was awarded the Osgoode Hall Legal History Prize upon his call to the Bar in 2002 and while at Rotman was named a Bregman Scholar, added to the Dean’s List and received a Rotman Citizenship Award for his contributions outside of class.
With 30+ years as a tourism marketer for the province of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as a degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, Nicole is a respected leader with expertise in communications, brand development and creative services. She has extensive experience in the trade and tourism sector, developing and implementing successful consumer marketing brand strategies, campaigns and programs including the Ontario Signature Experiences program.
Catherine Meade is the Vice President – Community & Social Responsibility with the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG), having previously served as OLG’s Director of Land Based & Charitable Gaming Compliance and as Director of Governance & Relationship Management for Lottery. Prior to that she was Director, Pan Am Games Capital Projects & Legacy for the City of Toronto. As such, she oversaw the delivery of more than $350 million worth of 2015 Pan Am Games related City capital projects.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Physical Education degree from McMaster University; an M.A. degree focused on sport management and sociology of sport from the University of Alberta; an LL.B. degree, cum laude, from the University of Ottawa; and an M.B.A. from St. Mary’s University in Halifax.
Catherine has practiced Law (both privately and in-house) in Nova Scotia and in Ontario. Before commencing her Law degree, Catherine worked as a diversity & inclusion professional for eight years with organizations such as: the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Acadia University and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.
Through the years, Catherine has volunteered with numerous equality-seeking and community organizations while living in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario. She is currently on the boards of the Toronto Botanical Gardens and Friends of Ruby (Canada’s only exclusively LGBTQ2+ youth shelter).
Penny has been very involved with the Garden Club of Toronto as her primary interest is flower arranging and has been active in Canada Blooms for many years. She has been a passionate board member with the TBG for 10 years, primarily focused in development and fundraising initiatives. She was born in Winnipeg but has called Toronto home for over 50 years. Now retired, her professional life included working in both social work then fundraising with The Kidney Foundation. She is married with two daughters and three grandchildren.
Michael Schreiner, BLArch
Expansion Committee Chair
Michael is a Landscape Architect with over 35 years of park and public realm design and development experience who has recently retired from the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division as Director of the Parks Development & Capital Projects branch.
He has worked with residents, City Councillors, Provincial and Federal stakeholders, donors, and partners to contribute to the life of neighbourhoods and the fabric of the city.
Michael led a team of professional staff in the development and delivery of a $1.1 billion 10 Year Capital Plan including parkland acquisition and recreational facility construction.
Mission Committee Chair
Melanie Sifton currently sits on the board expansion planning committee, as well as the mission committee. Melanie Sifton is a horticulturist with a background in public garden and landscape management. As the former director of Humber Arboretum and Centre for Urban Ecology in Toronto, and the former Vice President of Horticulture & Facilities for Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York City, Melanie seeks to explore and promote the intersection between science, education, landscape, and art. She is now pursuing doctoral studies in urban forestry at University of Toronto to investigate urban plant-soil interactions and landscape remediation strategies.
Melanie obtained her Masters in Public Garden Leadership at Cornell University, her BA at McGill University, and her horticulture training at Humber College and Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture.
Ex Officio, Milne House Garden Club
Ingrid grew up in Ireland and developed her love of gardens from her mother who was known to garden into the early hours of the morning! Gardening in Ireland was almost a year round activity, and all siblings had their garden chores. Ingrid emigrated to Canada in 1969, and brought up her children within walking distance of the Toronto Botanical Garden. Her children spent many happy hours running free in the gardens. After retirement from an administrative position at Mount Sinai Hospital, when asked by a friend how she was going to spend her time, and what made her happy, the answer was easy…gardening.
She joined Milne House Garden Club in 2010, and was President from 2016 – 2019. She is excited about the future of TBG and to be a small part of the expansion.
Ex Officio, Garden Club of Toronto
Originally from the UK, Marg settled in Canada after marrying. She has lived in Toronto ever since, apart from two separate stints in New Zealand where her youngest son was born. She has three children and eight grandchildren, at the last count. She studied Field Biology at college in the UK and later completed a BA in English at U of T. Marg is a passionate gardener and joined the Garden Club of Toronto when she retired. Before becoming Vice President she was Chair of the Projects Committee and worked to establish new gardens in the city and develop environmental projects.