Our Team

Meet NIED’s Steering Committee

 

Wendy Preskow, Founder, president & chief advocate of the National Initiative for Eating Disorders, NIED.
Wendy is the passionate voice and driving force behind NIED. She was driven by the severe nature of her own daughter’s illness to create Awareness, Understanding and Action to counter the desperate situation facing Eating Disorder individuals and their families in Canada.

Wendy was one of 25 people to receive Volunteer Toronto’s 2017 Legacy Award for outstanding contributions to the community. In 2017, she was also a recipient of York Centre’s 15 for 150 Award, and was honoured as a CAMH Difference Maker – one of 150 Leading Canadians in Mental Health.

 

Patti Perry, RN, MSN. Co-Founder, Clinical Advisor.

Patti is the Founder (1980) and Director of the Eating Disorders Clinic Incorporated. She brings over 40 years’ experience working with Eating Disorders in both Canada and the United States.

Patti is educated at the level of Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Child Psychiatric Nursing with two sub-specialties of Developmental Psychology and Psychiatric Nursing, with degrees from Wayne State University (1972 and 1974), in Detroit Michigan. As well, she is trained as an educator, consultant and therapist in the area of treatment of sexual dysfunction and crisis intervention.

In addition to her work in Eating Disorders, she was an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Nursing for six years (1975-1981) as well as a Field Clinical Advisor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine (1992 – 1998) and a Clinical Associate in Graduate Studies of the University of New Brunswick (1996 – 2002). In 1993, was designated an “Expert Witness in the treatment of Sexual Abuse” by the Ontario Courts. She is the author of the chapter, Sexual Abuse in Eating Disorders in the text, Group Therapy For Treatment of Eating Disorders, eds. Harper-Guiffre and MacKenzie (1992).

Patti has been a facilitator of groups at Sheena’s Place, Toronto Ontario, a support centre for individuals with Eating Disorders. She has created the “Expression Bean Bags”, “Inner Child Doll Packet” and other tools for use in therapy. She is the author, co-producer and co-host of the six, half-hour television shows called The Weight Craze (1989). She has written several monographs and has produced numerous experiential, therapeutic techniques for use in therapy. She has also created Self Esteem Booklets, Strong Woman Affirmations, and Relaxation Meditations for use in groups. She is currently facilitating to support groups for individuals with Eating Disorders who also suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma and addictions.

Patti is a member in good standing of the College of Nurses of Ontario, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, the American Academy of Eating Disorders, Binge Eating Disorders Association, National Eating Disorders Association and a founding member of National Initiatives for Eating Disorders.


Lynne Honey Koss. Co-Founder, Communications & PR.

Lynne truly believes in Gandhi’s quote: “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” With her friend and business partner, Wendy, struggling daily to help her daughter cope with anorexia and bulimia, she encouraged Wendy to gather the troops and take action.

Lynne has honed her marketing, administrative and leadership skills over the course of a 25-year career serving companies such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, The Hospital for Sick Children, The Career Foundation, Shropshire Communications and her own charity, Seeds For Change, that grows healthy neighbourhoods through school and community gardens.

Her work with charities has enabled her to master the intricacies involved in the direct relationship between the private and not-for-profit sectors.

 

Mark Ferdinand, B.A. (Hon.), LL.B., Executive Director (part-time), Public Policy Volunteer.

Mark is a former federal public servant and association executive. He currently works as a public policy and strategic design consultant based in Ottawa. Mark is passionate about mental health policy and social activism. Over the last 30 years, he has volunteered on a number of community Boards as well as national and international advisory committees, including serving as President of the Board of a community legal aid clinic in Ottawa, a member of the Quebec Education Mathematics and Science Alignment Project (QEMSAP), a member of the Advisory Council to the third Annual Canadian Science Policy Conference, and Chair of the Governance Committee of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC).

 

Hilary Allen, B.A. (Combined Hons. Political Science and Law), M.P.A.

Hilary applies her extensive background as a former federal policy and program manager to advocate for mental health.  She brings a personal lens to issues having supported a daughter who recovered from an eating disorder following intensive treatment and a sister who struggled for decades without treatment.

Hilary represents NIED on the National Collaborative on Suicide Prevention; an organization co-chaired by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and is a member of the Steering Committee for the Canadian Eating Disorders Priority Setting Partnership.  She also chairs the Family Advisory Committee and sits on the Knowledge Mobilization Committee for Frayme, a Canadian-based international network to transform youth mental health systems.

 

Michelle D’Amico, BA Arts (Economics), Volunteer.

Michelle is an employee of the federal public service and has spent the majority of her career focusing on policy and strategy development. Michelle has a daughter who is recovering from an Eating Disorder and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of those suffering with this severe mental illness, and in the lives of those who care for them.

Michelle is a long-time community volunteer and, as a member of the federal public service’s Mental Health Speaker’s Bureau, she actively pursues opportunities to reduce the stigma around Eating Disorders through speaking to groups about the illness and ways that we can support both sufferers and those who care for them.

 

Annamaria McAndrew, MA, PhD Candidate. 

Annamaria is a PhD student in the Child Clinical Psychology program at the University of Windsor. She conducts research on disordered eating, help-seeking, and social media use among young women and girls.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with friends and family. She loves her cats.

 

Alexandra Macri, BBA. Social Media Strategist.

Alex is a Marketing professional with a specialization in Internet communications and digital innovation.

She is a dedicated advocate for those suffering from Eating Disorders, as well as their families and friends supporting them. Her ambitions are driven by a strong belief that full recovery can be a reality for all sufferers – when given the adequate public awareness, support and access to treatment that’s missing in Canada’s health care system.

Alex is committed to building a strong network of Eating Disorder advocates to make a difference for millions of sufferers and transform the way our culture marginalizes Eating Disorders.

She hopes to channel her tenacity to develop ways of promoting healthy self-esteem and help Eating Disorder sufferers find their true voices and identities in health.

 

Arielle Mayer, BA (Hons), Master of Public Policy (MPP). Volunteer Coordinator.

Arielle is a passionate advocate and public policy professional. She is dedicated to raising awareness and creating a community of care and support for those suffering with Eating Disorders and their families.

As a long time volunteer with NIED, Arielle is eager to cultivate and support and strong and active network or volunteers and advocates across the country.

 

Leslie McCallum, B. Comm, MSW, RSW, PhD Candidate. Clinical Advisory Co-Lead.

Leslie is a PhD Candidate at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Her research is on understanding the experiences of adults in midlife living with anorexia nervosa. She is a Group Facilitator at Sheena’s Place; was a member of Binge Eating Disorder Association’s Board of Directors, a national organization in the US; and was a contributor to the Weight Discrimination Stakeholders’ Group that provided direction to the White House on the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative.

Leslie is a PhD Candidate at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Her research is on understanding the experiences of adults in midlife living with anorexia nervosa. She is a Group Facilitator at Sheena’s Place; was a member of Binge Eating Disorder Association’s Board of Directors, a national organization in the US; and was a contributor to the Weight Discrimination Stakeholders’ Group that provided direction to the White House on the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative.

Prior to pursuing a career in mental health, Leslie built her career in advertising, ultimately founding and running her own full-service agency in Toronto for 12 years.

Leslie is a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, the Ontario Association of Social Workers, the Eating Disorder Association of Canada, and the International Academy of Eating Disorders.

 

Marlene Sachs, M.S.W., B.S.W., R.S.W. Volunteer Coordinator.

Marlene enthusiastically provides a wealth of relevant and all-encompassing experience to the Steering Committee through her current work at LOFT Community Services, and previous work at Sheena’s Place and CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) and as Vice President, Board of Directors for North York Women’s Shelter.

Marlene has worked with youth and adults with a range of mental health and addiction issues, has practical experience with client engagement, psychosocial assessments, counselling, case management, crisis management and group work using solution-focused brief coaching and CBT.

Her extensive network with other organizations specializing in mental illnesses, superb organizational skills and outgoing personality are incredible assets to NIED’s mission of generating awareness about Eating Disorders and propelling action and change.