Chair: Marjie Zacks
Bob Kuhn, JD
Marjie Zacks (Canada) is the former National Director, Communications & Marketing for Parkinson Society Canada where for over five years she led strategic and innovative communications initiatives including public awareness campaigns, media relations, issues management, crisis communication, special events, internal and external communications and currently a re-branding exercise.
As a poster presenter at the World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow, Scotland in 2010, Marjie was able to experience first-hand the energy, depth and breadth the WPC event.
Marjie has worked in communications for over 30 years, in both the corporate and not for profit sectors, with a particular interest in the field of health care. She has held senior positions with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (where she was involved in the World Conference on Breast Cancer), Community Foundations of Canada’s millennium project, and two major Toronto teaching hospitals.
Marjie holds an MA in Education from Central Michigan University, a BA in Sociology from York University, Toronto, and is accredited (APR) with the Canadian Public Relations Society. A Life Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society, she has been an examiner for the CPRS Accreditation Program.
Jean Burns (USA) is a former web developer and software trainer. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003 and soon after became an active Parkinson’s advocate. She has received both the Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award and the Milly Kondracke Award for her service to the Parkinson’s community. Jean speaks to college students and community groups about the importance of participating in clinical trials. She herself has participated in the PRECEPT and POSTCEPT clinical trials as well as many other studies. Jean is the co-founder of pdplan4life.com (with Sheryl Jedlinski) with Jean as web developer and graphic designer. She and Sheryl speak at conferences around the US about living well with Parkinson’s. Jean also shares her knowledge of social media and website analytics with other members of the Parkinson’s community.
Marian Emr (USA) is the Director of the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. As the NINDS' senior manager for public communications, she plans and directs the Institute's program of media relations, community relations, public education, and scientific information. Before joining the NINDS in 1990, Ms. Emr served as the Deputy Information Officer for the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. Prior to that, she was a medical and science writer specializing in the areas of mental health and aging.
Ms. Emr received her bachelor of arts degree summa cum laude in journalism and political science from Syracuse University in 1976. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Brain Attack Coalition; the NIH MEDLINEplus Advisory Group: the National Stroke Association Professional Advisory Committee and Prevention Advisory Board; the PDTrials Steering Committee and she is a founder of the Alzheimer's Association, a national voluntary health organization with more than 200 chapters worldwide. She was on the Steering Committee for the inaugural WPC in 2006 and chaired the Communications Committee for that event. She has received numerous awards for public service and is active in community affairs.
Christiana Evers, MPA (USA) is the Director of Communications at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) in New York City. In this role, she manages PDF’s program of public education and media relations. Before joining PDF in 2004, Ms. Evers served as the Director of Special Projects at the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO) in New York City. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director of the Evergreen Network, Inc., a grassroots organization in Bridgeport, CT serving families impacted by HIV/ AIDS.
Ms. Evers was a member of the Communications Committee for the First World Parkinson Congress and authored two posters that were presented at the Second World Parkinson Congress.
Ms. Evers received her master's degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Public and Nonprofit Management from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and her bachelors’ degree in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross. She has received several awards for public service and is active in community affairs.
Alexandra Graveline (Canada) is a PR and social media professional. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) and has a strong understanding of the media scene in Montréal. Alexandra currently work as Corporate public relations manager for Tourisme Montréal. Curious and enthusiastic, she is passionate about travels and urban life. She is bilingual, French and English.
Emily Hughes (UK)
Marina Joseph (Canada) joined Parkinson Society Canada in 2009 with 20+ years experience in private sector and not-for-profit Marketing and Communications for healthcare, hospitality and technology organizations. Marina's communications expertise includes investor relations, internal communications, change management and public relations. While at IMAX Corporation, she was actively involved in liaising with its employees, stakeholders and network of affiliated theatres to bring that organization’s new global brand identity to life.
Bob Kuhn (Canada) is the founding partner of Kuhn LLP, a medium-sized law firm in Vancouver and Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. With over 30 years of experience, Bob is passionate about serving clients as a trusted problem solver both inside and outside of the courtroom. He has acted as lead counsel on a number of high profile cases, including appearing at the Supreme Court of Canada. Bob also gives his time to charity work, including serving as chair or director of numerous non-profit entities, as well as writing and speaking. Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in early 2006 at the age of 53. His father died several years later from complications related to this cruel disease. It is Bob's passionate commitment to live positively despite the challenges. He continues to work full-time in his law practice, write a blog, "Positively Parkinson's" (www.positivelyparkinsons.com) and speaks on that topic whenever possible. He has been married to his wife, Renae, for over 37 years, has 3 grown children and takes great joy in his grandson, PJ. Finally, Bob loves to ride his motorcycle as long and as far as time permit. He has crossed Canada (ocean to ocean) and back in 2008, ridden his 2 wheels to touch the 4 corners of the continental United States in 2009, and traveled all of the Western United States in 2010 and 2011, for a total of over 50,000 km. He is determined, through writing, speaking and just living "out loud", to encourage others battling with Parkinson's disease.
Sandra McPherson, PhD (Canada) is the Communications Manager for the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Dr. McPherson provides leadership in establishing the strategic direction of the External Affairs office and oversees implementation of short- and long-term plans to raise the Neuro’s visibility and support fundraising efforts through its publications, communications and public relations, and ensure Neuro brand integrity.
Dr. McPherson has a scientific background, obtaining her B.Sc. (Hons, 1986) and M.Sc. (Zoology, 1989) from the University of Manitoba and her Ph.D. (Anatomy) from the University of Iowa in 1993. Dr. McPherson conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Biology at Yale University.
Dr. McPherson joined the Neuro's Office of External Affairs in March 2000 to coordinate the Canadian Brain Tumour Network – a network of clinicians, researchers and patient support groups, and to assist in Communications activities. She became Communications Officer in the fall of 2000.
In addition to her communications role, Dr. McPherson is also actively involved in special events including Neuro Convocation and the Neuro’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations as well as special projects and development activities.
Margaret Mullarney (Ireland) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in January 2004 when she was 47 years old. Since being diagnosed, Mags has been researching and educating herself to better understand Parkinson’s and to improve her quality of life through taking a multidisciplinary , self management participatory approach. Mags has realized the benefits of regular exercise and good nutrition and has developed a 5 elements model of care to support the self management . She is a solicitor by profession and a Life and Business coach. She is the founder of Move4Parkinson’s which is a charity set up to empower and inspire people with Parkinson’s to have a better quality of life.
Deirdre O’Sullivan (New Zealand) is the Chief Executive of Parkinson’s New Zealand and has been in the role for over seven years. Prior to this she worked for Parkinson’s UK as their Events and Corporate Manager.
Parkinson’s New Zealand has a National Office based in the capital city of Wellington and has 20 Divisions (branches) across the country. They employ over 50 staff including 33 Field Officers, health professionals who provide one to one home visits and support for people living with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s NZ is the only organization in New Zealand providing education, information and support services to people living with, affected by and treating Parkinson’s.
In addition Deirdre is a member of the executive of the Neurological Alliance of New Zealand and the Access to Medicines Coalition. She also holds positions with the Disability Sector CEO Group and the NZ Carers Alliance.
Diane Robinson (Canada) was born and raised in Montreal and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Montreal. In 1971, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to pursue a career in public relations and communications. Diane chose the tourism industry and worked in marketing and advertising for an airline, a national hotel chain, a major Vancouver attraction and Tourism British Columbia. She then moved on to join non-profit organizations. Her professional career spans more than 30 years at senior management levels in the areas of fundraising, marketing, and communications. Diane has worked with large charitable organizations such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Variety Club, the Canadian Council for Business and the Arts, the Vancouver Symphony and the Vancouver Art Gallery. At Parkinson Society British Columbia, Diane is involved in all facets of the Society including strategic planning, finance, fundraising, support services, education, advocacy, and marketing and communications. She is bilingual, French and English.
Annie Turcot (Canada) Annie works with the Parkinson Society Quebec.