Award Recipients


Mike Ashar

Mike Ashar is the President of Irving Oil Ltd, a family-owned and privately-held regional energy processing, transporting, and marketing company headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick, with U.S. marketing operations in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Since July 2008, Mike has led the operations of our Refining, Commercial, and Marketing businesses.

With senior executive experience in all aspects of the energy industry, Mike has overseen refining and marketing operations throughout Canada and the US. As the former executive vice-president of Suncor Energy Inc., he managed operations and major capital growth projects in the oil sands and held many senior operating and corporate roles.

Mike holds a BA (Philosophy and Economics), BASc (Chemical Engineering), and MBA (Engineering) from the University of Toronto. He continues to serve as an Independent Director of Teck Resources Limited. Mike also serves as a Director of the National Petroleum Refiners Association and Regional Secretary for the Canadian Association of World Petroleum council.

A committed member of the communities in which he has lived and worked, Mike is particularly devoted to education, athletics and wellness. He was instrumental in establishing an eMBA program for Irving Oil employees in partnership with the University of New Brunswick. Mike also initiated health and wellness programs for Irving Oil employees and served as Co-Chair of the 2004 Arctic Winter Games.

Mike and his wife Mary Alice have four children.


Zorianna Hyworon

Zorianna Hyworon has been involved in creating new and innovative technological advancements to support informed decision-making in the area of corporate wellness for over 40 years.

From a background in technical, management, consultant and senior corporate positions related to IT, in 1990, she developed and launched Wellness Checkpoint®, an online, interactive, multicultural, and multilingual health risk assessment with comprehensive reporting abilities to help users track and improve their overall health status.

Zorianna’s impact on workplace wellness has been significant and global. Wellness Checkpoint features adjustments for cultural preferences and clinical metrics in the participant’s country of residence, while meeting international standards, and all privacy and security regulations. She works with multinational corporations, as well as regional employers, health plans and health professionals in assessing risk, implementing change and evaluating opportunities for action using Wellness Checkpoint. Her personal mission has always been to “connect the dots”, showing the relationship between individual health risk, employee productivity and business value. She is now using Wellness Checkpoint’s global benchmark data from over 500,000 participants in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, to develop a global model for prospectively evaluating opportunities to reduce risk, support action and track the flow of risk and impact over time.

Zorianna is currently working on the launch of a new platform for Wellness Checkpoint and the configuration of two to three more languages for 2010 to add to the product’s 17-language capability.

Zorianna recently celebrated 25 years as the President & CEO of InfoTech, which today is an international company operating in over 85 countries from its headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In early February 2010, Zorianna hosted her 4th Annual Executive User Forum in Paris, France. Many of InfoTech’s global clients such as DuPont, CIBC, PPG Industries, Procter & Gamble and Aetna Global Benefits, participated. Zorianna hosts these events so users can share best practices and demonstrate to others how the information and insight gained from Wellness Checkpoint supports informed business decisions in health and productivity risk management within their organizations.

In addition to these accomplishments, Zorianna is a published author and an international presenter on corporate wellness at numerous international conventions on an annual basis.


Ed Buffett

President & CEO
Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc.

Ed Buffett is the President & CEO of Buffett & Company Worksite Wellness Inc. Ed has been at the forefront of worksite wellness since a heart attack in 1994 demanded he change his life and inspired him to change his business. Only months after his heart attack, Ed launched the worksite wellness division of his business with the goal of helping employers to recognize the link between health promotion and worker performance and productivity. Since that day, Ed has worked to improve the health of Canadians. Under Ed’s leadership, Buffett & Company offers a number of evidence-based services ranging from preliminary health assessments to strategic on-site support for both private and public organizations. Ed also founded The National Wellness Survey, the authoritative voice on Canadian workplace wellness activity. In 2005 Ed was awarded an Honorary Doctors of Law Degree by McMaster University. His work in Wellness was cited as one of the primary reasons for this honour.

Ed is not only a creative leader in Canadian workplace health. He devotes himself wholeheartedly to improving the overall wellness of his various communities – locally, provincially and nationally. Ed is a member and former chair of the Board of Governors of McMaster University. He is a former chair of the board of the Whitby General Hospital and former vice-chair of the Whitby General Hospital Foundation. Ed was also a member of the federal government’s Action Research Roundtable on Workplace Wellbeing and from 1999 to 2001, and was a Board member of HealNet, a federally established network of centres of excellence for research in the areas of health, social and applied sciences.

Ed lives in Whitby with his wife Nadera, and is the proud father of three daughters, Sami, Tedi and Sarah.


Coreen Flemming

Coordinator, Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion Program
Centennial College

Coreen Flemming is a life-time contributor to the organizational health care and educational sectors. A persevering workplace and community wellness professor and college coordinator, her vision has manifested itself in 20 years of post-graduate instruction in “Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion” at Toronto’s Centennial College.

In 1986, Coreen sat in the audience at the Wellness in Action Conference and listened to Don Ardell, Bill Hettler and Marc Lalonde’s keynote panel, “The History and Future of Wellness” during which, she says, “a light went on.” Working with her team at the College, Coreen surveyed the offerings of Canadian colleges and sought to bridge the gap between business administration, leisure/physical education studies, and health studies. The emerging concept was “Workplace Wellness.”

The program to which Coreen has dedicated her life has taught countless would-be pioneers the methodology to impact workplace and community health. To many, she has been a beacon in an industry that is oftentimes blurred. Her graduates gain the clarity necessary to go on to exponentially impact our wellness industry.

The scope of Coreen’s influence is grand, yet her demeanour remains forever unassuming – the quintessential wellness profile. Constantly cognizant of the bottom-line and savvy enough to achieve tight fiscal imperatives, she remains the “approachable east-coaster” gently going through her days with time for all, inspiration for most, and balanced modelling for many.

From stroke-survival and hemiplegic recovery, to marathon running and beachcombing, from careful and constant data analysis to defend the need for workplace wellness training, to spiritual signpost – her wheel is well-rounded.


Nora Spinks

President, CEO & Founder
Work-Life Harmony Enterprises

With more than 20 years experience behind her, Nora Spinks has become an icon on work/life consulting in Canada. Whether she’s talking to corporations, governments, community organizations or conference delegates, what she has to say is heeded. Nora’s words carry weight in Canada and around the world.

She founded Work-Life Harmony Enterprises as a consulting, training and research firm with four focus areas: employers, employees, communities and government. Nora has worked with hundreds of organizations in the private, public and voluntary sectors, sharing her expertise in workshops, seminars and lectures at workplaces, conferences and universities including Queens School of Business, the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, Shulich School of Business at York University and Richard Ivey at the University of Western Ontario. As a recognized authority on work/life issues, Nora’s articles have appeared widely in specialist human resources publications. She is a regular guest on radio and television and is frequently quoted in the mainstream press in Canada and abroad.

Nora manages her own multiple work and family responsibilities with her husband. They are responsible for two children; a 25 year old and another who is 12, three family elders over 70, and one 50 year old family member with a disability.


C. Derrick Thompson, MD, FRCP (C), FRACP

1944 – 2004
Founder, Foothills Health Consultants

Dr. Derrick Thompson was a champion of preventive healthcare in the 1970s, at a time when workplace health revolved around occupational health and long before prevention gained support in the corporate workplace arena. Dr. Thompson believed so strongly in the link between lifestyle and health on both the individual and corporate levels that in 1978, he established his own company to pursue his dream of treating patients holistically. He built Foothills Health Consultants (FHC) believing that good health and well-being starts with the individual and all the programs and services he designed reflect that belief. He also strongly believed in the need to invest in prevention and health promotion at the individual, workplace and community level. The programs he designed focused on preventive measures, early detection of potential problems, education for lifelong wellness, interventions for “at risk” clients, and continued follow-up and assessment of the environment in which clients worked and lived. Dr. Thompson was a brilliant, compassionate and highly respected physician. His legacy lives on through FHC and the newly established Dr. Derrick Thompson Foundation for Wellness Leadership.


Jean-Pierre Brun, PhD

Professor, Business Administration Faculty
Director, Chaire en gestion de la santé et dela sécurité du travail dans les organisations
Laval University

Jean-Pierre Brun is a professor in the Management Department of the Faculty of Business Administration at Université Laval in Québec City. He is the Director of the Chair in Occupational Health and Safety Management as well as of the MBA program in OHS Management. He is also the Director of the Québec Health and Safety Research Network. His interests include management systems for occupational prevention, OHS in small- and medium-sized firms, stress and violence at work and youth and safety. Dr. Brun is a leading expert in the field of mental health in Canada. He devotes himself to the prevention of mental health problems associated with work and the promotion of healthy workers.


Deborah Connors, MPE

President, Well-Advised Consulting Inc.

Deborah Connors has been in the workplace health business for over 15 years. In 1991 she founded Well-Advised Consulting Inc., to provide companies with the thinking and tools to improve organizational well-being.

Based on her work as a consultant and her understanding of the need for people in the field of organizational health to share experiences, Deb founded the Health, Work & Wellness Conference in 1997. Now in its tenth year, the Health, Work & Wellness Conference is the largest national event focusing on strategies to improve workplace health and productivity.

To read Deb’s remarks on receiving her award, click here.

Graham S. Lowe, PhD

President, The Graham Lowe Group

Dr. Graham Lowe is a leading international expert on work. He is President of The Graham Lowe Group Inc. and one of the founding partners of Great Place to Work® Institute Canada. He has been a Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta since 1979 and a Research Associate at Canadian Policy Research Networks. His numerous publications include the acclaimed book, The Quality of Work: A People-Centered Agenda (Oxford University Press, 2000). He has given hundreds of talks and workshops on creating healthier, higher quality and more productive workplaces.

To read Graham’s remarks on receiving his award, click here.


Joan Burton

Manager, Healthy Strategy
Industrial Accident Prevention Association (IAPA)

Joan Burton is the Manager, Health Strategy for IAPA, (Industrial Accident Prevention Association). She began her career with the IAPA in 1994, bringing increased emphasis on health and wellness within IAPA itself, and within its programs, products and services. She was responsible for developing and establishing IAPA’s internal health and wellness program, which was recognized as part of the reason that IAPA was named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for four years in a row. Joan has developed a specialization in leadership issues and psychosocial risk management, and has been given responsibility for establishing national and international partnerships to promote workplace health. In 2003, she was honoured to receive
the Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award.


Linda Duxbury PhD

Linda Duxbury is one of the nation’s leading workplace health researchers and advocates for change. She has influenced government policy-making and significantly advanced the practices and attitudes toward work-life balance, flexible work arrangements and the development of supportive managers and work environments in Canada. Linda is a Professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. She received an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo. Within the past decade she has completed major studies on Balancing Work and Family in the public, private and not for profit sectors; HR and Work-Family Issues in the small business sector; Management Support; Career Development in the Public and High Tech Sectors; and generational differences in work values. Dr. Duxbury also conducts research which evaluates the organizational and individual impacts of E-mail, portable offices, cellular telephones, telework, flexible work arrangements, shiftwork, regular part-time work, on-site day care programs, and change management. She has recently completed a major follow-up study on work-life balance in which 32,800 Canadian employees participated.


Sue Hills


Originally trained as a Registered nurse and midwife, in the early 1970?s Sue joined West Vancouver Parks and Recreation and pioneered the establishment of the first exercise to music classes in the province. She then became a leader in the area of pre-natal exercise, and eventually established the Fitness Leadership Program at Capilano College.

Sue established her own business in 1979 providing 38 fitness classes a week, personal wellness consultations, and a variety of educational seminars. This work led to widespread recognition which put her in demand as a consultant to Fitness Canada, the BC ministry of Health, the Recreation and Sport Division, the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, and ParticipACTION.

As a tireless volunteer, Sue was instrumental in founding the Alliance for Health and Fitness an interdisciplinary network group of Health and Fitness professionals.

Sue has the good fortune to live close to her three children, and now enjoys the precious time she can spend with her five grandchildren.

Sue Pridham, BP&HE, MEd.

Owner, Tri Fit

Sue is co-owner of Tri Fit, a consulting company specializing in the development and management of fitness and wellness programs for the workplace. In business for over 20 years Sue’s leadership has influenced the health, energy and performance of dozens of Canada’s leading companies and impacted the health and well-being of thousands of employees. Today her business boasts over 30 corporate clients and a staff team of over 40 employees. Sue is also on the steering committee for Canada’s Healthy Workplace Week, providing resource development and expertise on building healthy workplaces. She has published numerous articles for industry journals and often speaks of the topic of building a business case for workplace wellness. She also facilitates Tri Fit’s comprehensive stress management courses, based on the StressMap.


Jack Santa-Barbara

Jack Santa-Barbara was founder and Chief Executive Officer of CHC-Working Well™ from 1981 – until 1999. Under his leadership, CHC was name one of the “50 Best Managed Private Companies in Canada” in 1997 by Arthur Andersen and the Financial Post. CHC was formed to meet a need for high quality Employee Assistance Program Services across Canada, and later began providing additional behavioural health services. Jack was instrumental in the formation of the Canadian EAP Association (CEAPA) and served as the first Chairperson of the Employee Assistance Program Association of Toronto’s Public Relations Committee. In addition to Jack’s pioneering role in the EAP and mental health communities, he is an active contributor to global society, having traveled internationally, advocating for peace and social justice.

Doug Cowan

CEO, Health Systems Group

Doug is the original founder, and current CEO of Health Systems Group (HSG). Since 1978, he has worked with over 150 organizations; in every province of Canada; and, in all industry sectors, to set up fitness and wellness programs. Doug received his Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Physical Health & Education with distinction from Queen’s University and completed his M.A. in Physical Education at University of Alberta. In 1986, he was acknowledged for “Consulting Achievement” by the Ontario Fitness Council. In 2000, Doug received the Canadian Workplace Health Pioneer Award from the Health, Work & Wellness Conference for his “pioneering efforts, creativity, innovation and leadership” in the field of Organizational Health.


Veronica Marsden

President, Tri Fit Inc.

In 1978, Veronica founded Tri Fit Inc., after being involved in a federally funded study to evaluate the ROI of workplace wellness programs. Veronica’s role in the project was to design a model Canadian employee fitness program at the experimental company – The Canada Life Assurance Company in Toronto. Twenty-eight years later, organizations are still looking at the Canada Life program as a successful workplace model. Canada Life (now Great West Life) remains one of Tri Fit’s clients.

Since 1978 Veronica, has consulted with numerous organizations to develop a healthy workplace strategy. She has worked with many of these organizations right through to successful project implementation and management. Veronica also plays a key role in new business development.

Veronica is a frequent speaker at conferences for both business leaders and professionals in the field of workplace health. She has sat on numerous task forces and published in a variety of international journals.

Art Salmon

Team Leader, Policy Unit
Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion

Dr. Art Salmon is the Team Leader in the Policy Unit in the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion – the department responsible for the development of Sport, Fitness and Recreation policy in Ontario. He has an undergraduate degree in physical education, a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a Doctorate in Health Promotion and Exercise Science.

Prior to joining the Ontario Government he was the National Director of ParticipACTION for over 10 years and taught in the faculty of Kinesiology and Health Sciences at York University. He is a member of several international advisory boards including the RAFA-PANA, the Physical Activity Network of the Americas and works with the Centers for Disease Control on strategies to promote physical activity in Latin America. He is also a member of the group hosting the 2007 International Conference on Physical Activity and Obesity in Children in Toronto.

Sandy Keir

Sandy Keir played an important role in the evolution of workplace wellness in Canada. He organized the 1974 National Conference on Employee Fitness, which was the first of its kind in Canada. Sandy Keir was largely responsible for setting up the National Conference of Health and Fitness and worked with the Federal Government on the internationally influential New
Perspectives on the Health of Canadians (“The Lalonde Report”). Other workplace initiatives included training programs with occupational health nurses, public health nurses, air traffic controllers, RCMP, physicians.


Martin Shain B.A., M.A., S.J.D

Dr. Shain is a leading contributor to research in Canada on the impact of the organization and the design of work on employee health and productivity. He has published several books and journals on topics including Employee Assistance Programs, Drug Testing, Health Promotion Programs and approaches to health in the workplace. Dr. Shain holds a B.A., M.A. and S.J.D. in Jurisprudence. He is Senior Scientist for the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario and Head of the Workplace Program, Centre for Health Promotion for University of Toronto. Dr. Shain sits on a number of advisory committees to government and was a significant contributor to Health Canada’s workplace health system model. Dr. Shain has played a significant role in developing valid and reliable survey and measurement protocols and Canadian data to support the business case for corporate health and wellness.

Murray Martin

President & CEO
Hamilton Health Sciences

Murray T. Martin joined Hamilton Health Sciences in 2001 as President and CEO. Since his arrival, Mr. Martin has used his expertise as a leader in health care to help re-energize a post-merger organization into a widely recognized and respected family of hospitals known as Hamilton Health Sciences. Through its five unique hospitals and a cancer centre, Hamilton Health Sciences provides high quality, acute and often specialized healthcare services to more than 2.3 million people in Hamilton and Central South Ontario. As an academic health sciences centre, Hamilton Health Sciences enjoys a fruitful and dynamic relationship with McMaster University. With an annual budget of more than $1 billion and an employee roster in excess of 10,000, Hamilton Health Sciences is the largest employer in the region.

Mr. Martin’s long and distinguished career has been a rich training ground for the many and varied challenges of working in Canada’s healthcare system. In addition to serving for close to 10 years as the President and CEO of Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre, Mr. Martin has held a number of senior management positions including Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto; Administrator, Pasqua Hospital, Regina, Saskatchewan and Assistant Administrator, Swift Current Union Hospital, Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Helping to shape and influence healthcare at both the provincial and national level is important to Mr. Martin. He recently served as Chair of an Ontario Hospital Association Committee that advised on the creation of a Wait Time Strategy for Ontario and is a past Chair of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, a member-based provincial organization representing 22 academic hospitals. He also worked on a steering committee of the federal Ministry of Health that created the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a federal agency responsible for funding health research in Canada and served as president of the Association of Canadian Academic Hospitals.

At Hamilton Health Sciences, Mr. Martin has led a number of important and influential initiatives. Most recently, he has applied his leadership ability and personal passion to improving patient safety across the organization. By engaging staff at every level to understand the issues and come up with solutions, Mr. Martin is dedicated to creating a culture of patient safety that will result in safer patient care now and in the future.

Mr. Martin is a graduate of the Health Administration Program at the University of Toronto and holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

Roy Shephard

Dr. Roy Shephard is Professor Emeritus of Applied Physiology, School of Physical & Health education and the Department of Preventative Medicine and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. He has worked in the field of workplace health promotion since 1961, starting in England and continuing in Canada since 1964. Dr. Shephard became interested in the workplace as a way of reaching people with the health promotion message and in doing so, became one of the early opinion leaders in Canada in the field of employee fitness and well-being. He is Canadian Tire Acceptance Limited Resident Scholar in Health Studies at Brock University, St. Catherines, Ontario, Visiting Scientist at the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine and has been a consultant to many government and private organizations. Dr. Shephard has published over 1200 articles and 50 books on exercise physiology, fitness and ergonomics. He sees the field of workplace health promotion moving increasingly toward integrated programs that take into account the individual, the organization, and the environment.


Russ Kisby, MA

Russ Kisby’s professional career included four years with the National Council of YMCAs of Canada and with the national ParticipACTION program since its inception in 1972 (serving as President and CEO 1978-2001). He has an undergraduate degree in Physical Education; a master’s degree in Community Development (emphasis on positive behaviour change at the individual and community level); and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (University of Saskatchewan).

For over three decades he traveled extensively across Canada and internationally. His work kept him in close contact with governments, the mass media, private sector corporations and volunteer organizations at the senior levels. He presented over 150 keynote addresses throughout North America and in fifteen European, Asian and African countries, while also assisting some 25 countries to adopt Canada’s ParticipACTION program to their culture. ParticipACTION was considered a pioneer and one of the most innovative and best know health promotion and social marketing organizations in the world. The development and distribution of workplace wellness resources was a major component of the organization’s communication strategies.

Ron Labonte

Ron Labonte is Canada Research Chair in Globalization & Health Equity, Institute of Population Health, founding member of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research, and a past board member of provincial and national public health associations in Canada. Recently, Ron worked with international colleagues to prepare The Global Health Watch, an ?alternative world health report,’ which was released in July, 2005. Prior to joining academia in 1999, Ron worked for 10 years as an international health promotion and public health consultant and for 15 years with provincial and local governments and NGOs in community health development.

Kendrith Bentley BScNursing, RN

Kendy Bentley is the president and owner of KBAgroup. Celebrating 20 years in business in 2005, KBAgroup is a management and consulting firm in the field of corporate health promotion, fitness and wellness. KBAgroup develops and facilitates wellness strategies and health promotion initiatives in the workplace and has extensive experience in the design and management of corporate fitness facilities including development of operational policies, safety signage, risk management policies, user guidelines, equipment selection and program design. KBAgroup also offers a variety of services to corporations: personal training services; energy breaks; and instructors for group exercise classes including yoga, Pilates, learn to run, walking and aerobics.

Kendy has an extensive public speaking background and provides presentations on a variety of health, wellness and fitness related topics. She also teaches Worklife Integration and Workplace Wellness for the University of Calgary. Kendy is very active herself and recently completed the Icebreaker 10km run and the Alberta Wilderness Association Calgary Tower Climb. She enjoys backpacking, hiking, running, skiing and playing badminton and tennis. In 2005 she and her daughter trekked around Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain followed by ten days of backpack traveling in Italy. She plans to tackle the seven-day-long West Coast trail in the summer of 2006 along with a trip to the Kokanee Glacier Chalet.

Martin Collis PhD

Dr. Martin Collis’ lifetime achievements are vast and varied. At present he is a very highly sought after professional speaker on the topics of personal and professional health and wellness and stress resiliency. Dr. Collis draws information from all aspects of his widespread knowledge. He coaches Olympic gold medalists in swimming. He writes and records many original songs on vinyl, tapes and a CD ‘Beaten Tracks.’. He wrote the Canadian government’s weight management book, “The Phacts of Life,” which has been translated into five languages and serialized in one of Britain’s national daily papers “The Daily Express.” He developed the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) which is used throughout North America as a screening device for people entering an exercise program. He wrote the first North American book on employee fitness and editing a workplace wellness text. He consults with numerous business, non-profit and government organizations and is the only Canadian on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. He developed the science of cold water survival with patented survival products sold worldwide. He publishes an online magazine ‘Well.’

Dr. Collis tells his audiences he, “wants a piece of the rest of their life” and uses music and humour to help get his message across. His message is a simple one, take care of your body/mind, love and laugh a lot, and true happiness will always be in reach. He believes that trying to manage your stress, extend your life and prevent a major disease is aiming too low. If you move towards high-level wellness you will get those benefits as positive side effects and not become a part of the “worried well” who are always trying to find the latest machine, vitamin or guru. Albert Schweitzer said that, “we move from naïve simplicity to profound simplicity.” Dr. Martin Collis talks about the profound simplicities of lifestyle artistry and high-level wellness and does so in an entertaining, inspiring and life changing manner. For further information about Dr. Collis, visit