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LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT TEAM

To view our current Organizational Chart, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Leadership Team

Karen Hirstwood

Karen Hirstwood

Executive Director, Catulpa Community Support Services

Karen understands the important work that Catulpa does and values how her personal values align with those of the organization. She embodies the philosophy of the agency’s former Executive Director, Margaret Gallow, who would often say what a privilege it is that the families and individuals we support allow us into their lives. Karen believes this to be very true and even extends it further, to encompass all Catulpa staff members.

Karen first came to Catulpa as the Regional Complex Care Manager to implement the Central East Integrated Service Planning and Resource Allocation Model. This was a significant change for Catulpa as the agency began to provide service across an enhanced service area (York, Durham, City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, Haliburton, PTBO Counties. It brought with it staff position increases, budget increases and the addition of 4 satellite office locations.

Karen officially became the Executive Director of Catulpa Community Support Services in August 2015 and since then, has led the agency through increasingly complex services expansions. Today, there is rarely a day Karen doesn’t drive home feeling positive about her day and the impact the agency is making in the community

Mitchell Stewart

Mitchell Stewart

Manager of Financial Services

Mitchell has been an important part of Catulpa CSS for many years, but with a ten year hiatus in the middle.
After working with the organization for several years, Mitchell decided to retire.

In 2016 he was convinced by Karen Hirstwood that retirement could be put on the back burner again for awhile. Although he is working again, Mitchell still finds time to enjoy sports, outdoor activities and entertainment.

As the Manager of Financial Services, Mitchell is capping off his twenty-five year career in financial services and involvement in charitable organizations by ensuring that Catulpa CSS has sustainable financial resources so it can continue to deliver needed services.

Murray Hutchings

Murray Hutchings

Human Resources Consultant

Murry joined Catalpa Community Support Services in a Human Resources role in July 2001. Margaret Gallow, the Executive Director of the organization at that time, and had worked together in a Ministry for a number of years.

Murray came at a time of change and volatility, and along with Margaret, worked hard to build employee trust and confidence as the organization grew from twenty four staff members to close to one hundred today.

It has been an amazing journey for Murray, working with the Managers, Union Representatives, employees at all levels and the Board of Directors. With Murry’s help, Catulpa is now a well respected and thriving organization as it continues to grow. Murry is happy to say that he is honoured to be a part of this organization and to work with so many wonderful people.

Tami Clark

Tami Clark

Manager of Communications

Tami joined Catulpa Community Support Services in 2017 and has fully embraced the agency’s purpose within the community it serves. She understands the need to provide information to persons served in the way that best suits them.

With a background in health and community engagement as well as non-profit communications, Tami is proud to contribute to the growth of an inclusive and advocative community.

Lesley Watts

Lesley Watts

Manager of Community Action Program for Children and Canada Prenatal Nutrition Programs of Simcoe County

Lesley is a professional Social Worker and Early Childhood Educator with over 20 years experience working in a variety of settings. She currently manages the Community Action Program for Children and Canada Prenatal Nutrition Programs hosted by Catulpa Community Support Services. These programs are funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the County of Simcoe to provide essential supports to individuals and families who are considered “at increased risk” due to socio-economic factors such as poverty, low income, new to Canada and young/teen parents. Lesley manages a team of approximately 25 staff who work out of 5 different geographic sites and dozens of community locations.

Lesley has participated in and provided leadership to numerous community collaborative initiatives and is always excited to build new partnerships, brainstorm new possibilities and learn from other’s successes and ideas along the way. Lesley believes in a strengthbased approach and embraces the philosophy that “everyone has something valuable to contribute”.

In her spare time Lesley loves to paint, ski, go for long walks, work in her garden and spend time with her family.

Mahendra Patel

Mahendra Patel

Manager of Information Technology and Information Systems

As an experienced Information technology Manager & Microsoft Certified IT Solution Architect, Mahendra Patel provides leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust, and secure information technology environment thought the agency. As a Joint IT Department with a Partner agency, NPACIT provides support to staff, ensures the delivery of IT infrastructure and services, information systems and compliance, administrative systems and client support services.

Prior to joining Catulpa in 2011, Mahendra worked in various industries, including engineering and manufacturing, logistics and supply chain services. Mahendra has always believed in the quote, “In the joy of others, lies our own”, a quote that is a very personal match to Catulpa and its vision and one of the reasons he is part of Catulpa.

Kim Latour

Kim Latour

Manager of Quality Assurance

After starting with Catulpa in 1993 as a Mediator, working directly families and their children in a variety of community settings, Kim took on another role as an Integration Facilitator for the Early Intervention Program. In this role, she worked within child care settings, supporting the inclusion of children with special needs.

After working within the Early Intervention Program as an Early Intervention Worker for several years, Kim left the agency to pursue alternate learning and professional growth. She returned in 2008, assuming the role of Manager of the Early Intervention/Resource Teacher Program and lead for Quality Assurance.

Currently the Manager of Quality Assurance, Kim values the culture of support, ongoing growth, reflection and learning. It is an environment which applies principles from the Vision, Mission and Values to the people we serve and to the staff, and it is these qualities that she values and strives to model in her own work.

Management Team

Brigette Saniga

Brigette Saniga

Site Coordinator, Community Action Program for Children (CAPC)

Brigette feels strongly that in order to effectively support families, it is crucial to understand our cultural differences, reasons for immigration and what families have left behind to start a new life here in Canada. She is passionate about that way in which we support newcomer families through acculturation.

Part of the Community Action Program for Children (CAPC ) since 1993, Brigette started her journey as an Outreach Worker in the Bradford area with a focus on outreach to the Portuguese population/newcomers.

Today she is the CAPC Site Coordinator in the Bradford and Alliston areas and the facilitator of The Integration to Canadian Society Program, a program delivered in partnership with Bradford Immigrant & Community Services (BICS) and CAPC Bradford. This program provides individuals with culturally welcoming programming that allows families to adopt practices and values of Canadian culture, while still retaining their own distinct culture.

Vicky Merilees

Vicky Merilees

Regional Service Resolution Coordinator

Originally starting with the Regional Complex Care team as the Coordinator for Complex  Care in July 2009, Vicky supported the regional complex care case managers in clinical client supports. She is now the Regional Service Resolution Coordinator and the staff lead at the Central East Regional Service Resolution Committee for Children and Youth.

Vicky supervises and provides the clinical supports to the Intensive Service Coordinators. Also the lead for Catulpa for Simcoe County Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Initiative, Vicky oversees the Project Coordinator and is the Co-chair of the Simcoe County FASD Initiative. Recently she also began supervising the Ontario Autism Program Family Service Coordinators in Catulpa.

Vicky likes working with Catulpa due to the organization’s client centred approach and culture of collaboration. Vicky feels that Catulpa really focuses on what is in the best interest of the people served and always strives to improve the lives of the people in our service

Nicole Hamilton

Nicole Hamilton

Adult Program Supervisor

Nicole began her career with Catulpa in April of 2013 as the Crisis Response Network Coordinator. Over the next couple of years she worked closely with partner agencies in Simcoe County to provide crisis supports to individuals. In the fall of 2017 she transitioned to the role of Community Resources Services Supervisor where she has been enjoying the challenge of this new role at Catulpa.

She feels extremely grateful to be an employee of Catulpa and help continue to provide outstanding support to individuals in our community.

Carolyn Walsh

Carolyn Walsh

Children's Services Program Supervisor

Carolyn began her career with Catulpa as a Family Resource Worker in 2005 and since then has worn many hats. Now the Children’s Services Program Supervisor and involved with the WrapAround, Family Resource and Children’s Respite Programs, Carolyn’s dedication to both persons served and the organization is obvious to all.

Carolyn is a busy member of the community support services group, with a leading role on many committees, including being Co-Chair of the Transitional Age Youth System of Support and a Compass Co-Management member, Local Service Resolution panelist and a Francophone Compass Committee member.

Christa Sage-Harris

Christa Sage-Harris

Regional Complex Care Program Supervisor

Christa has worked with Catulpa Community Support Services since July 2006 and over those years, has had three different roles. Starting as the TAY Coordinator, Christa assisted young adults transitioning from Child Services into Adult Developmental Services for eight and a half years.

In April 2015, she became an Intensive Service Coordinator with Simcoe County, providing case coordination services for children and youth 0-19 years of age with complex special needs and their families. This program is hosted by Catulpa Community Support Services.

In August 2016 Christa joined the Regional Complex Care Program in a supervisory role. Christa is grateful for the multitude of experiences working with children, adults and families in a variety of roles and responsibilities and for the opportunity to continue to  learn and grow as an individual, professional and a member of Catulpa’s team.

Christa believes the ability to develop strong partnership within our agency and with community
partner is what strengthens agencies, community, family and individuals.