Meet the Team
Executive Director - Barry Patterson
Barry joined us first as a consultant then as our Director of Communications, Business Services, and Strategy working closely with all of our stakeholders to help build a new brand strategy for The Centre. He is very passionate about the important work that the Centre does to help individuals and communities nurture or regain their well-being. He has more than 20 years of experience working in leadership roles within the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Recently, as President of CMU College where he led the institution in creating a new strategic plan focused on a new curriculum, building a new campus and developing strategic partnerships. Previously, Barry worked at Emily Carr University, the Canadian Film Centre, CBC Television, Astral Media and Famous Players where he developed multi-award winning campaigns focused on launching and revitalizing brands, enhancing reputation and strategically building organizational success. He has volunteered with The Centre, ReBoot Canada, and the DemocracyXchange Summit.
Director of Community Services - Tita Ang-angco, M.Ed BA Psych.
Tita is the co-founder and Director of Community Services of The Centre for Mindfulness Studies. She worked with the Ontario Public sector for many years as a senior manager in several ministries, including the Health, Housing and Management Board. She has been an active volunteer in the area of social housing having organized the funding and development of two not-for-profit housing developments in the GTA. She was Chair of the Homes First Society from 1995 to 2001 where she stabilized the operational and financial standing of the organization and created the Homes First Foundation, a fund-raising agency arm of the Society. Since then, she has been involved in several volunteer start-up ventures. She has received extensive training in mindfulness, Buddhist psychology and yoga.
Director of Education and Clinical Services, Co-Founder - Patricia Rockman, MD CCFP FCFP
Patricia is a Family Physician with a focused practice in mental health. She is an associate professor at the University of Toronto, department of Family and Community Medicine, cross appointed to Psychiatry. She initiated and chaired the Ontario College of Family Physicians, Collaborative Mental Health Care Network for a decade and continues to act as a mentor to Family Physicians delivering mental health care. She has extensive experience training healthcare providers in Stress Reduction, CBT, Mindfulness-based practices and other related areas. She maintains a private clinical practice and runs Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy groups. She maintains both a personal meditation and yoga practice.
Managing Director - Laurie Arron, JD MBA B.Comm
Laurie is a former real estate developer and lawyer, was the Director of Advocacy for national LGBT advocacy group Egale Canada and National Director of Canadians for Equal Marriage, as well as the Executive Director of the Green Party of Canada and the Program Director for the Community Power Fund. He founded Discover Mindfulness, a non-profit supporting mindfulness in schools. Laurie is responsible for the Centre’s finance, corporate services and development.
Professional Development Manager - Karen Sutherland MSW RSW
Karen Sutherland is the Professional Development Manager with the Centre for Mindfulness Studies. Karen’s mindfulness practice began when she took an 8-week MBCT program at Carleton University while she was in graduate school in 2012. Her interest had been primarily professional – what happens in a program and would it be helpful in a clinical context? – and secondarily personal – how might it be beneficial? What she found, and it was transformationally helpful, was that the MBCT program and related home practice dramatically reduced her deep-rutted tendency to ruminate. Additionally, mindfulness practice seemed to add a depth of hue to life that she really appreciated. So, while she was intending on clinical practice when she went into social work, she found herself drawn deeply to contemplative traditions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Manager, Education & Clinical Services - Jennifer Jeffery
Jennifer plans and schedules all of the Centre’s personal and professional development program offerings and manages external retreats, intensives, and satellites. She coordinates with faculty on curriculum development, assists with course accreditation, and helps administer the Centre’s mentorship program. Mindfulness is a constant struggle for Jennifer, especially in the workplace setting, but she gets regular reminders from her furry friend Robbie (see Mindful Mascot below). In her free time, she’s playing trivia, trying to bake and knit, escaping the city, or rooting for her favourite football team – TFC!
Client Services Coordinator - Cassandra Cornacchia, MSW, RSW
Cassandra receives all first-time inquiries that arrive at the centre. She clearly communicates the process of embarking on any personal or professional development program, while providing connections to helpful information and resources. She coordinates the Bursary Program, which provides financial support to people in the community that have barriers to participating in Mindfulness-Based Programs.
Before joining the Centre, Cassandra completed a Master of Social Work at Ryerson University, researching the interconnection between holistic personal health and environmental health. Cassandra has been a dedicated practitioner of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness over the past 10 years, and she recognizes these practices as a central pillar of her mental health and wellbeing.
She believes that every person has the right to high quality, compassionate, integrative healthcare, that supports the blooming of peace in our mind, spirit, heart, and body. Cassandra loves being in nature, sitting with trees, flowers, and water, this is where she feels the most at home.
Community Engagement Coordinator - Jeremy Finkelstein RP
As Community Engagement Coordinator, Jeremy has dedicated himself to cultivating a mindfulness community both in-person and online. Jeremy believes a community can boost one’s practice while simultaneously supporting those around them.
Program Coordinator - Mylène Séguin
As Program Coordinator, Mylène is a front-line point of contact and support for clients and faculty. From addressing daily inquiries and preparing course material, to program registration and logistics, she strives to provide the best possible experience for all clients while keeping faculty well-informed. Her attention to detail coupled with passion for service helps to ensure effective program delivery and evaluation. She has a continued interest in the subject of the mind and body as it relates to stress and physical pain. Outside of work, she enjoys doing yoga, Pilates, reading and spending time with her husband and furry companions.
Education and Online Coordinator - Theo Amory
With a background in Communications and Event Planning, Theo also oversees the Centre’s various ventures and ensures that the scope and direction of each project is on track. Mindfulness is a central part of his life and he is currently in the process of becoming mindfulness facilitator.
Communications and Marketing Manager - Patricia S. Baron
Patricia manages communications and marketing initiatives, develops digital assets and videos, oversees media relations and social media, and designs core organizational materials. Mindfulness is the practice at the intersection of her mental, physical, and spiritual pursuits. Patricia is an avid reader, an ambitious runner, and an aspiring writer.
Finance Coordinator - Kat Estacio
Program Manager, Community Program - Marija D. Miskovic
Marija has over 10 years of international experience managing diverse cultural, community, and multimedia projects. She holds a MA in both project management and anthropology, and has spent most of her professional career working for non-profits immersed in varied fields such as minority rights, youth empowerment, community development, and social justice.
She believes in the power of community, the synergies of connection, and the potentials of collaboration to ignite social change. As Community Program Manager at The Centre, she is passionate about bringing mindfulness programs to marginalized communities in Toronto and beyond.
In her free time, Marija enjoys traveling the globe with her husband, going to concerts and theatre shows, riding her bike, and finding hidden treasures in thrift stores.
Contact for inquiries regarding: our community program offerings, non-profit program collaborations, and grant applications.
Partnership Lead, Community Program - Leysa Cerswell Kielburger
Leysa has the pleasure of working with our extraordinary Community Program partners to increase mental health capacity and access to community-based mental health care. Mindfulness is an important part of this work and supports a strengths-based approach in community mental health care. When not at work, Leysa can be found reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with family.
Community Program Coordinator - Christine Bilinski
Christine was drawn to the mission of The Centre for Mindfulness Studies and is excited to be a part of such important work at the intersection of mindfulness and mental health. As part of Community Program, she develops and delivers mindfulness-based programming to marginalized communities across the city of Toronto and beyond.
Mindfulness is at the core of Christine’s work, which is grounded in her longstanding personal journey as a meditator and her interest in the mind body connection. She comes to this work with a background in the human services and brings a passion for aiding the empowerment of individuals and interacting with diverse communities. In her free time, Christine is an outdoor enthusiast with a budding interest in sailing.