Jury Foreman: David Sweanor J.D.
David is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa and a special lecturer in epidemiology and public health at the University of Nottingham who has worked on global tobacco and health issues for more than 30 years. He has played a key role in a wide range of Canadian policies including taxation, advertising and marketing restrictions, smoke-free policies and litigation. He has also worked globally on such issues with organizations such as the International Union Against Cancer, World Health Organization, World Bank, Pan American Health Organization, and numerous governments and health agencies.
His primary area of work has been in the interaction of law and economics as a determinant of public health, and recently much of his time has been directed at practical ways of reducing the risks associated with nicotine use. David obtained his law degree from the University of Toronto and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Gay Cook was born in Ottawa, Ontario, where her family established Morrison Lamothe, one of Ottawa’s most memorable food businesses, in 1911. Gay wrote a popular weekly food column – Talk of the Town – in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper for many years, and is a former food editor of the Ottawa Sun newspaper. She has also written for such publications as Fifty-Five Plus and Food & Leisure Magazine. She regularly teaches demonstration cooking classes and is frequently engaged to speak about Canadian healthy eating issues. She is an honorary member of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks and winner of the Sandy Sanderson Award recognizing outstanding food journalists. She is on the Board of Governors of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, a member of Cuisine Canada and volunteers with the Caring and Sharing Exchange and the Debra Dynes Community House.
Mary-Martha completed a BSW and an MSW at the Carleton University School of Social Work. She joined the Anglican Diocese and Centre 454 in 1998. In her role as Executive Director of Centre 454, she provided exceptional leadership to deliver compassionate support services and social recreational activities for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Ottawa. Outside of Centre 454, Mary-Martha aligned herself with a number of causes and initiatives, including the Day Programs Coalition, the Sandy Hill Northwest Neighbourhood Improvement Group and the City of Ottawa Task Force on the Safe Streets Act and the Homeless. Mary-Martha also served as chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness in 2006/2007. In honour of her contributions, she was named Defender of the Public Good in 2007 by the Social Planning Council of Ottawa; one of Ten Canadians to Watch in 2008 by CanWest Media; the Social Justice Champion by the Community Ministries of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa; and received the United Way’s Community Builder Award in 2014. Mary-Martha retired as Executive Director of Centre 454 in June 2014.
In her role as Manager, Shared Value with Community Foundations of Canada, Erin is an explorer of the shared value practice while leading CFC’s development of strategic initiatives in food, sport and philanthropy, and natural spaces. She recently completely a Graduate Diploma of Social Innovation in Food Systems (focusing on Ontario) from the University of Waterloo. Erin is driven by her curiosity around how food intersects with so many elements of our society and has a passion for connecting people to their food and health. Erin also has extensive experience in facilitating collective approaches to solving complex issues and has led community development and engagement activities both across Canada and abroad.
Prior to a recent return to the University of Ottawa for post-graduate studies, Valerie was a Community Development Manager at the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation. Valerie’s choices in life have always been perfectly aligned with her passion for community development, including frontline work at the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, research at the International Development Research Centre and as Capacity Building Associate at World Review. As a volunteer, she has provided leadership as a member of the Board of the Somerset West Community Health Centre and as a Trustee of the Awesome Foundation Ottawa. In 2011, Valerie published Generation NGO, a collection of short stories capturing the first impressions of young Canadian development workers as they experience poverty, inequality, power and privilege.
Dr. Jozef Straus, Ph.D., D.Sc. (Hon.)
Dr. Straus brings a lifetime of extraordinary achievement in technology innovation and business success in the telecommunications industry. Dr. Straus co-founded JDS Fitel in 1981 and was instrumental in its merger with Uniphase Corporation in 1999 to create JDS Uniphase Corporation, a worldwide leader in fiber optic communications. Dr. Straus retired as CEO and Co-Chairman of JDS Uniphase Corporation in August 2003. Prior to JDS Fitel, he held various research and management positions related to fiber optic technology at Bell Northern Research Ltd. and Nortel.
His studies at the Czech Technical University in Prague were interrupted in 1968 by the Russian Invasion of Czechoslovakia. He immigrated to Canada in 1968 and completed his education at the University of Alberta where he received his BSc in 1969 and PhD degree in Physics in 1974. Dr. Straus holds Honorary Doctorates from the University of Alberta, Touro College, the University of Ottawa, and Carleton University. He is a current and past Board Member of several private and public High Tech Companies and Research Organizations. Dr. Straus has numerous patents, publications and other public honors to his credit. He is involved in several charitable organizations and is most proud of his past involvement as Co-Chairman of the successful Ottawa Hospital’s Legacy Campaign.
A professional Home Economist and certified culinary professional, Ellie Topp works mostly as a cookbook writer, having authored ten cookbooks on preserving and preparing simple, healthy meals at home. Recently a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the new Food Preservation Exhibit at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, she has also represented the Ontario Home Economics Association with the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety. Ellie is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and serves as treasurer of the Ottawa Home Economics Association. Her community work includes serving two terms on the Board of the Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Resource Centre and spending over ten years volunteering for the lunch program at Foster Farm Community Housing Centre. Ellie is currently compiling and editing a cookbook for the Multi-Faith Housing Initiative to use as a fundraiser.
Castille Troy is the recently retired Executive Director of Minwaashin Lodge. With her leadership and vision, this organization has evolved to provide essential programs and services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and children (regardless of status) who are survivors of domestic and other forms of violence, and who may also be suffering the effects of the residential school system. Castille has been an active member of the Ottawa Steering Committee of the Urban Aboriginal Strategy and a member of the Aboriginal-Inuit Liaison Group, Aboriginal Cultural Competency Project of the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society. As an activist and trusted intermediary, her voice has made a difference in the public discourse about violence against women.
Dianne Urquhart is the Executive Director for the Social Planning Council of Ottawa. The SPC works to improve quality of life in Ottawa by conducting research on a range of socio-economic and socio-demographic issues, assisting in community development and networking, and involving the community in social planning issues. Ms. Urquhart has been involved in initiatives to address poverty, food security, employment, inclusion for people with disabilities, community economic development, and inclusion for diverse communities. The Social Planning Council also works to enhance the capacity of the voluntary sector in Ottawa, including the ability of organizations to undertake and use data information and research.
Before joining the Social Planning Council, Dianne spent twenty years on the front lines as an advocate, legal representative, and community organizer with social assistance recipients, homeless and under-housed individuals, abused women, marginalized workers including the unemployed, and tenants.