MDAM Board Members
The Nominating Committee of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba (MDAM) is currently seeking applications to fill positions on its Board of Directors. It is expected that successful candidate(s) will be appointed to sit on the Board of Directors on an interim basis until such time their names will be put forward at the election held at the Annual General meeting in September 2022. If you are interested, please visit the Careers section of our website and download the application form.
We are a self-help organization whose purpose is helping others to help themselves through peer support, education and advocacy. We seek to increase public awareness about mood disorders and other co-occurring disorders and empower people to develop and manage mental wellness.
Mario Lebar - Chair and President of the Board
Mario is a life-long Winnipegger, married, with 3 adult children, a chocolate Lab and a family cottage at Twin Lakes Beach. Mario is employed as the Chief Information Officer at the University of Manitoba, a role he has held since November 2015.
Mario has varied work experience across several sectors. At CN Rail for 5 years, The Canadian Wheat Board for 12 years, and for the past 8 years at the University of Manitoba. While he has worked on the business side, Mario has spent most of the past 20 years in information technology.
As a volunteer, Mario currently serves as a board member for the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers and has served on the Winnipeg Public Library Board.
Mario believes people’s mental health need to be understood, supported and funded in the same manner as their physical health needs because the impacts on individuals, families and society are just as profound.
Mario holds a Bachelors of Arts (Economics, 86), Bachelor of Laws (89) and an MBA (93), all from the University of Manitoba.
Marilyn Sidhu - Vice Chair
Marilyn came to Canada over 30 years ago, was eager to learn the language and culture and volunteer her time to worthy causes. She soon volunteered with the White Guild at the Health Sciences Center as a candy striper and muffin shop clerk. Today Marilyn is a community Pharmacist with over 20 years of experience.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Winnipeg in 1994, and her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Manitoba in 1998. That same year, she began her career in retail Pharmacy with Shoppers Drug Mart in the Polo Park Mall. Over the next 7 years, she built her practice, and developed her business skills by taking on the Pharmacy Manager role at the Polo Park location, while volunteering with both the College of Pharmacist's Standards of Practice Committee, and The Manitoba Addictions Awareness Week Committee. She is passionate about supporting her community, and has made it her mission to bring awareness and support to organizations devoting their efforts to mental health, especially in support of women's mental health.
Jeremy Ruban - Past Chair
Jeremy works as an associate investment advisor at Richardson GMP advising clients on a variety of wealth management issues. A board member since 2016, he came to know the organization through the gala and his interest in improving community health and wellness.
Jeremy says it is a privilege to serve on the board and support the great work our staff and volunteers do on a daily basis. He also serves on the board and is actively involved in Grace Point church in Point Douglas. Married to a school psychologist and father of three young girls, which doesn't leave as much time for golf and hockey with friends, but he wouldn't trade it if he could.
Elizabeth Huynh - Secretary
Elizabeth was born and raised in Winnipeg. She is a master's graduate whose thesis focused on exploring the meaning of social support for youth with type 2 diabetes. Participants emphasized a great need for mental health support when managing this illness. Through this work, she has published a peer-review article advocating for health care professionals to also consider mental health in diabetes management. Her career has focused on listening to and working with marginalized populations to create social change. She has worked in healthcare, academic institutions, and community organizations. Currently at CancerCare Manitoba she works with underserved populations to improve access to equitable, culturally appropriate, and timely care and support. As a woman of colour, a daughter of parents who were refugees, and a mother, she is passionate and committed to working towards Manitoba being a place where all families have the opportunities, they need to reach their full potential. Being a person who lives with a mood disorder who has benefited from accessing supports, she is excited to contribute to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba’s board and mission to provide support, education, and advocacy for others also living with a mood disorder.
Cris Curtis - Treasurer
I earned an HBA from the Ivey Business School in 2005 and began my professional career as an accountant in public practice. After obtaining a CPA, CA designation in 2008 I attended law school at Robson Hall where I earned my JD in 2011. I was called to the bar in Manitoba in 2012 and spent several years working as in house counsel with Canada Life, practicing primarily in the areas of regulatory, corporate, and securities law, and corporate governance. I subsequently transitioned to working with financial/investment advisors and their clients in 2018, providing guidance on trust, tax, estate and business succession planning, and obtained a TEP designation in 2021. I currently work as a VP, Tax & Estate Planning with Richardson Wealth.
Shania Pruden - Director
Shania Pruden is an award-winning public speaker, blogger, and mental health advocate. Passionate about indigenous rights, mental health, and youth empowerment. In May 2014, Shania lost her older sister Emerald to suicide. Inspired to keep her sister’s legacy alive, Shania launched her blog [www.shaniapruden.ca] to raise awareness on indigenous rights and mental health. She soon turned her written work into action, by becoming a Youth Motivational Speaker–speaking to thousands across Canada and even speaking at the Canada Youth Summit hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Shania’s goal is to inspire and empower youth by sharing her story and by encouraging them to continue being leaders of today.
Nicole Vuignier - Director
Nicole holds a B.Sc. in Food Science from the University of Manitoba and a master's Certificate in Project Management. She has worked in many facets of the food industry from global corporations to start ups mainly in quality assurance and food safety. She currently works for a local coffee roaster. Nicole has volunteered her time in the past at volunteering events, studies, held a spot as a committee member, fundraising volunteer activities and helped at the local soup kitchen. She is excited to serve as a board member to support mental health initiatives as this is a cause close to her. She is passionate to help end the stigmatism of living with a mental health illness and help those within that community not only survive but thrive!
Max Koltek - Director
Max is a Professional Engineer, having practiced in Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia and New York. As an Engineer, Max has worked for small, and medium sized local businesses, as well as in the corporate tech industry. Professionally, he focuses on developing systems to help businesses improve operational efficiency.
Max’s goal in life is to help those who struggle with mental health and adversity overcome the challenges they face, and find ways to heal. He has volunteered with a variety of organizations that focus on outdoor adventure, homelessness, food insecurity, addiction and mental health. He has interests in executive coaching, consciousness development, and guiding people to find happiness through personal growth and self love. In his down time, Max pursues a life of adventure. He finds that time with friends, and time spent in nature to be some of the best parts of life. He is a yogi, pilot, musician and outdoor enthusiast. Max currently lives in Winnipeg with his dog Piper
Jill Duncan - Director
Jill is a lawyer and has spent her entire professional career working in the area of criminal law, both as a defense lawyer and as a crown prosecutor. In addition to her law degree, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Psychology) and a Master of Laws. In addition to her legal career, Jill has consistently championed the rights of the disenfranchised, especially those living with mental health issues, and has served as a board director for various not-for-profit organizations for the last two decades.