Board of Directors
From left to right: John Gallinger - Past President (Meadowbrook Golf & Country Club), Jay Aspin (GO Public Player Program), Susan Vail - Vice President (Dunnville Golf Club), Howard Atkinson - President (Goodwood Golf Club), Barbara Beaudoin (Hamilton Golf & Country Club), Murray Blair (Granite Golf Club)
Not Present: Sheldon Chychrun (Beacon Hall Golf Club), Tony Dunn (The Marshes), Leslie Ferrari (Ladies Golf Club of Toronto), Mark Hayes (Rattlesnake Point), Don McKay (Muskoka Highlands Golf Links)
Howard Atkinson – President
Joining the Golf Ontario Board of Directors in 2016, Howard was appointed President in April 2019. Prior to that, he held the position of Vice-President for two years. Since joining the Board, Howard has actively served and continues to serve on the Finance & Audit Committee, Governance Committee, HR & Compensation Committee and Nominating Committee. He has also served as chair of the successful Junior Golf Drive and Gala.
Having begun playing golf at the age of 10, Howard competed in junior and high school events, including Golf Ontario events. He attended the University of New Orleans on a golf scholarship and competed at the NCAA Division I level for 4 years. He then went on and earned a CPGA tour card and competed on the Canadian Tour, New England and Florida mini tours for 4 seasons. Howard currently belongs to Goodwood Golf Club, Toronto Hunt Club, Rattlesnake Golf Club (ClubLink) and Redtail Golf Club.
Howard holds the CFA, CIMA and ICD.D designations, is a past President of Horizons ETFs Management Inc. and is also a past and founding Chairman of the Canadian ETF Association. Howard brings over 28 years of investment management industry experience to the board, including executive positions with Mackenzie Financial Corporation, CI Funds, and Barclays Global Investors Canada Ltd. Howard currently sits on several public, private and not-for-profit organization boards of directors.
Susan Vail – Vice President
Susan has served on the Golf Ontario Board of Directors since 2017 and in 2019 holds the position of Vice President. For the second consecutive year, she chairs the Governance Committee and sits on the Nominating Committee. She also sits on the strategic planning working group and chairs the Board working group addressing partner focused facility research.
Susan, recently retired, was employed by York University for 28 years. Her last post at York was as the Associate Vice President Teaching and Learning. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Kinesiology and Health Science from McMaster and the University of Western Ontario. Her doctorate was completed at the University of Ottawa in Education Administration, with a specialty in organizational effectiveness. Prior to joining York, Susan was a consultant with Sport Canada for eight years and worked with several National Sport Organizations. She has also served on the boards of such organizations as Tennis Canada and Parks and Recreation Ontario. Susan is a recreational golfer who values golf as a lifetime activity and who hopes to give back to the game some of what she has gleaned from it.
Jay Aspin, the public member of the Board since 2017, was introduced to golf during his participation as an executive member of the Pinewood Golf Club League in North Bay. He has been a board member for two years and is currently a member of the Human Resources and Compensation committee. Jay is a strong advocate of the expansion of public members participation in golf as well as Golf Ontario’s initiative to grow our footprint in Northern Ontario.
Jay is the owner/ President of Aspin International Development Inc. which provides business consulting assistance to companies committed to developing international business opportunities. Prior to developing his own business, Jay held executive positions in finance, strategic planning, and international consulting with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Ontario’s largest public transportation conglomerate. He is a director of numerous public and business boards in Canada and currently sits on the board of Ontario Health, the agency charged with transformation of Ontario’s Health system. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo (B. Math & B. Econ) and holds CMC, CITP, EcD and ICD.D designations. He has had an extensive municipal and school board experience culminating in 2011 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament representing the district of Nipissing-Timiskaming.
Barbara joined Golf Ontario’s Board in 2017 serving on the Finance & Audit Committee in 2016 – 17 and the Governance Committee 2017 - 19. A member of Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Barbara has served and chaired many committees at the Club including a long stint as chair of the Building Committee to successfully renovate the Clubhouse as well as Pro Shop, Greens, House and Membership chairs. Barbara served as Club President in 2007 and is a keen inter-club player and chairs an inter-club team in Florida.
Barbara was an automobile dealer in the Southwest Ontario and Niagara Region for 31 years and is a current member of the Joint Board of Governors, St Joseph’s Health Hamilton currently serving as Chair of the Quality Committee of the Hospital, Long Term Care facility as well as the Home Care division. She has served in various capacities on numerous Boards and Foundations in the Hamilton area for over 20 years, and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), and a graduate of the ICD.D program at Rotman School of Management. Barbara is a member at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Clublink and Copperleaf Golf Club in Florida.
A member of the Board since 2018, Murray is a passionate, innovative and experienced leader who has made golf his passion and his career. Murray grew up in Calgary where he learned to play golf at Earl Grey Golf Club. He played collegiate golf in the United States for two years at Arizona Western College before transferring to Ferris State University in Michigan for his final two years. Upon graduation from University, Murray began his career in the golf industry where he worked as a Golf Professional at a number of high profile golf courses in the United States and Canada.
Following his time as a golf professional, Murray has held senior management roles within the golf industry including Executive Director of Fairmont Golf, Fairmont Hotels Golf Division; Vice President of Member Services for ClubLink; Consultant with Global Golf Advisors; and his current role, General Manager of Granite Golf Club. Murray has regained his amateur status and looks forward to playing in senior amateur events in the coming years. Murray and his family live in Port Perry, Ontario.
Sheldon has served on the Board since 2018 and is a member of the Finance & Audit Committee and Nominating Committee. An avid golfer since he was 6 years old, Sheldon was Junior and Men’s Club Champion many times at his home course in Saskatchewan. He is currently a member at Beacon Hall Golf Club. Prior to joining Beacon Hall, Sheldon was a member at the Briars Golf Club where he was Men’s Captain.
Sheldon Chychrun is the Head of Equity Canada at Bank of American Merrill Lynch (‘BAML’). He is responsible for Global Cash Equities, Stock Lending and Equity Derivatives for Canadian clients. Sheldon rejoined BAML in January 2017 from Deutsche Bank where he was Head of Equity Canada (Cash Equities and Derivatives) from June 2009. Prior to Deutsche Bank, he held Senior Equity Derivative Roles with Merrill Lynch and CIBC in Canada. Sheldon started his career in the Canadian Insurance Industry and set-up an off-shore Life and Annuity Company in Bermuda.
In 1999, Sheldon became a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI). In 2002, Sheldon received an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business (University of Western Ontario) and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University in 1992. From 1990 to 1996, Sheldon coached the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Team and became an active member of the Board.
Sheldon is happily married with two teenage daughters and resides in Aurora, Ontario.
Tony’s commitment to the Board at Golf Ontario, where he has served since 2014, is to help in any way possible with his years of experience in the industry and to forward the evolution of the sport to ensure advancements and a broader appeal in the game to all. Tony serves on the Governance Committee and Nominating Committee.
He has a long family history in the game of golf in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario. His father was a Member of the PGA of Canada 65-plus years and himself since 1980. Player, Teacher and General Manager, Tony has been a student of the game all his Life. His desire to give back to the sport on numerous Boards within the industry has taken him to Golf Ontario.
Tony is currently the COO at the WesleyClover Parks located in Ottawa, the Nation’s Capital, at a 500 acre community hub being developed by The WesleyClover Foundation funded by tech titan Sir Terry Matthews & his family.
Tony is happily married to Dr. Sonia Bedard and has 3 beautiful daughters who he loves to spend all his spare time with travelling and enjoying life. He is also a Social member at The Royal Ottawa Golf Club located in Aylmer QC.
Leslie joined the Board in 2018 and is a member of the HR & Compensation Committee and Governance Committee. During the mid-1980’s, Leslie tried her hand at professional golf, playing on the Futures Golf Tour in the US for 5 years. She remains an avid recreational golfer to this day and is a member of Ladies Golf Club of Toronto.
Leslie Ferrari is a multi-dimensional business leader with a proven track record of delivering year over year growth within the North American manufacturing and consumer goods sectors. She is known as a strategist, change agent, and collaborative partner in making things happen within complex and competitive settings. She has taken on and successfully met challenges in senior positions spanning Sales, Operations, General Management and Human Resources – culminating in the role of CEO for ABM Canada. Most recently, Leslie is now a certified executive coach and an Executive Advisor with President’s of Enterprising Organizations (PEO). PEO cultivates and accelerates members’ leadership excellence to achieve great impact through the organizations they lead, the communities they serve and the lives they live.
Leslie attended Queen’s University and earned a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree. She then joined the Conference Board of Canada as a Research Associate to Dr. James Nininger, working with him to launch the Compensation Research Center. After two years, she returned to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations at the University of Toronto.
John is in his sixth year as a Director of Golf Ontario finishing two years as President, before handing the position over to Howard Atkinson in April 2019. John has been an active member of the Board, taking on many roles and committee responsibilities. As past- President, John Chairs our Nominating Committee. In 2016, John was: Vice President, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, member of the Nominating Committee. In previous years on the Board, John has served on the following committees: Finance and Audit, Governance, Nominating, and Junior Golf Drive. John also represented Golf Ontario on the Golf Canada Provincial Council for 3 years.
John is active in the golf community outside of Golf Ontario. He was a board member for the Golf Canada Foundation from 2010 to 2013, where he also served on the Finance, and Scholarship and Grant Committees. He is a past Men’s Captain at Meadowbrook Golf and Country Club, and has served on his club’s men’s committee from 2013 to 2017.
Professionally, John is the Head of IT for Bentall Green Oak, a global real estate investment firm and provider of globally-recognized real estate services. John also brings a wealth of Not-For-Profit experience to Golf Ontario. John served as President and CEO of the national harness racing association and breed registry, Standardbred Canada, from 2010 to 2015. He has also served on several not-for-profit boards including: The Canadian National Exhibition Association (Director 3 years); Ontario Equine Centre (Director – 2 years); Equine Guelph (Director 4 years); and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (Tax Committee Member 3 years). John is a Chartered Professional Accountant, and has a Master of Accounting degree from the University of Waterloo. While at school, John was a member of the Waterloo Warriors golf team.
A member of the Board since 2015, Mark has served on the HR & Compensation Committee and Governance Committee. He has been an avid golfer since he was 14, and, although his handicap has never fully reflected his enthusiasm for the game, he has somehow managed to score two holes in one and has enjoyed playing golf all over the world. Mark is currently a member of Rattlesnake Point Golf Club in Milton.
Mark is one of Canada’s best known technology, copyright and privacy lawyers. Since 1984, he has had a diverse practice involving litigation, commercial and administrative matters for a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to small Internet start-ups and from struggling artists and performers to more established celebrities like the late Oscar Peterson. Mark has been certified by the Law Society as a specialist in both Civil Litigation and Intellectual Property (Copyright) and has appeared before all levels of Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has written and lectured in Canada and abroad on issues relating to copyright, entertainment law, technology and the Internet. Mark has been ranked for many years in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Lexpert/Amlaw’s Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, the International Who’s Who of Internet and E-commerce Lawyers, the Mondaq Professional Survey, The Expert Guide to Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers and other publications. After 25 years with some of Canada’s largest Bay Street law firms, Mark founded Hayes eLaw LLP in 2009.
Don joined the Golf Ontario Board in 2018 and serves as chair of the Finance & Audit Committee. In 1993, Don and his wife Joyce, built Muskoka Highlands Golf Links, opening the first 9 holes in July 1994 and the second 9 in 2001. The Highlands is a member of Golf Muskoka, Golf Ontario, Golf Canada and the National Golf Course Owner’s Association.
Don attended the University of Waterloo, receiving a Bachelor of Mathematics with CA – Cooperative Option (1970-75) becoming a Chartered Accountant in 1976. Following University, Don worked in Deloitte’s computer and statistical analysis group, then worked at McEwan Tougard, and was CFO of Evanco Group of Companies responsible for developing oversight and reporting for more than 40 companies in various fields of business from 1984 to 1993. Don was also awarded the designation Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant in 2011 for his outstanding achievements including community leadership, bringing distinction to the accounting profession and serving as a role model to others.
Don is a Rotarian, Director – Explorer’s Edge, Director – Muskoka Airport Board and Member – Golf Canada Public Player Task Force. He is a Past Director of Golf Canada and served as chair of the Membership Committee and Governor’s Council. Don is also past chair of NGCOA Canada and has been a member of a number of other national, regional and local organizations.
Don and Joyce have lived in Muskoka since 1980 and have 3 sons, Andrew, Scott and Russell. The MacKays foster Dog Guide puppies for their first year, until they can be properly trained and can usually be seen with a dog in a green coat wherever they go.
2019 Committees Of The Board
Chair – Susan Vail, Barbara Beaudoin, Anthony Dunn, Leslie Ferrari, Mark Hayes, Howard Atkinson*
Finance and Audit Committee:
Chair – Donald MacKay, Jay Aspin, Sheldon Chychrun, Jim Bristow, Tom Forestell, Howard Atkinson*
Human Resources and Compensation Committee:
Chair – Howard Atkinson, Jay Aspin, Murray Blair, Leslie Ferrari, Mark Hayes
Chair – John Gallinger, Sheldon Chychrun, Anthony Dunn, Susan Vail, Howard Atkinson*
* President is an ex officio member