FLARE Volunteer Awards - Committee


The Committee

Elissa Freeman Cohen
Elissa is the Director, Public Relations/Public Affairs at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. Her career includes more than 20 years’ experience in public relations, promotion and media relations in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Elissa is a founding member of the FLARE Magazine Volunteer Awards Committee. In addition to FLARE, she is also a Board Member of JAZZ.FM91, and Past-President, Board of Directors, Thornhill Nursery School & Kindergarten. She resides in Thornhill along with husband and young daughter.

Katherine Halpenny
Executive Director, WoodGreen Foundation

Hollis Hopkins
Market Research Consultant

Helen McLean
Helen McLean has been the executive director of the Donner Canadian Foundation for over five years, heading up a private philanthropic foundation providing funding to charitable organizations across Canada. She has also worked at the Toronto Community Foundation and in fundraising development for the arts. She has been involved in a number of community organizations. She is a graduate of the York University MBA program and of Queen’s University.

Zenia Wadhwani
Zenia Wadhwani is the Director of Program Development at – the only donation portal to Canada’s 82,000+ charities. She has volunteered her time and leadership to such organizations as the South Asian Professionals Networking Association, the Ontario Premier’s Council on Health, Well-being & Social Justice, the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, and the Canadian Centre for Political Leadership. She has published two literary anthologies, is currently pursuing a PhD in Communication and Culture at York University and is a recipient of the Action Canada Fellowship.


Hazel Picco
In publishing for over 22 years, 17 of which have been at FLARE Magazine; Hazel Picco has managed the FLARE Volunteer Awards (FVA’s) since their inception in 1996. Focusing on Marketing, Events and Media Relations at FLARE, she is genuinely honoured to oversee the FVA’s and their commitment to promoting and encouraging volunteerism in Canada.

Martina Stritesky
A part of the Flare Volunteer Awards for the past 6 years, Martina Stritesky has loved every minute of her involvement with the committee in helping promote volunteerism across Canada. She currently volunteers in Toronto with the Operation Herbie Foundation (The Hospital for Sick Children) and last summer traveled overseas to the Philippines to volunteer and live with children rescued from the sex trade, working with Nobel Peace Prize nominee Fr. Shay Cullen and the Preda Foundation.

Lauren Klostermann
Marketing Coordinator, FLARE
Coordinator, Awards


Sheila Robb
Sheila Robb is a communications consultant and writer with over 20 years’ experience. She specializes in helping individuals and organizations develop and implement communications strategies, particularly in change management situations. An original FLARE Volunteer Awards Advisory Committee member, Sheila moderates the final judging process every year – no easy task given the tremendously high caliber of nominations. She co-founded and chaired Into the Warmth, a grassroots charity that has helped create housing for people with mental illness who are homeless. She also volunteers at Out of the Cold and edits a newsletter for Gems of Hope, a non-profit micro lender to impoverished women in developing countries.


David L. Hamilton

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