Board of Directors

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Paul Bent, Acting Board Chair

Paul is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with over 37 years’ experience delivering professional services to a wide variety of businesses, charitable organizations and individuals. Paul obtained an Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D) from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business to supplement his professional practice expertise and leadership responsibilities. Outside of Grant Thornton Paul has a served in a number of charitable capacities beginning in the early 1980s.

Paul is an active member of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce where he has chaired the Provincial Relations committee and he currently heads up the Taxation sub-committee. Paul became affiliated with the Hospice Halifax Steering Committee in February 2015 and joined the Board in September 2015.

Paul is married to Margaret and they have three grown children and a growing list of grandchildren. Paul and Margaret live alternately between their home in Dartmouth and seasonal property in Cavendish. Paul announced his retirement from Grant Thornton in 2015.

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Cynthia Dorrington

Cynthia Dorrington is the owner of Vale & Associates Human Resource Management and Consulting Inc. Established in 2004, Vale & Associates is a boutique consulting firm specializing in providing strategy and advisory services as well as training and development for organizations. As President Cynthia does consulting work with small to medium-sized organizations across various industry sectors with companies experiencing such things as challenges with mergers/acquisitions, business growth, culture change and/or succession planning. Working in areas such as organizational strategy, people strategy, diversity and inclusion, change management, governance, organizational assessments, supplier diversity, performance management, project management, HR advisory services, training and development as well as team building and effectiveness, Vale & Associates has been able to provide consulting services to a number of clients locally, nationally and internationally.

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Marilyn Hicks

Marilyn was born in rural Nova Scotia but spent most of her early working years as a registered nurse in various hospitals across the country, primarily working with children. She returned to Nova Scotia in the early 1980s and received an MBA from Dalhousie University.

After graduating from Dal, Marilyn started a new career in Human Resources and has over 16 years of experience at all levels and in all areas of HR. Marilyn took early retirement in 2007 and has been volunteering with not-for-profit organizations since. She started volunteering with Feed Nova Scotia late in 2007 and also volunteered on the HR committee of the Red Cross’ Disaster Response Team for two years. Marilyn joined the board of directors for SHYM (Supportive Housing for Young Mothers) in 2009 and chaired the board during its 2013 transition to a program of the YWCA.

Hospice is important to Marilyn because she lost a loved one to cancer a few years ago. It would have made his last days so much better to be in a place “like home” rather than a hospital bed in an acute care facility. She became a member of the HR committee of Hospice Halifax in 2014 and is looking forward to the exciting times ahead as the Hospice dream becomes a reality.

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Dr. Rob Horton

A palliative care physician with the QEII Integrated Palliative Care Service and Associate Professor with the Division of Palliative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Rob Horton has 20 years’ experience as a front-line provider of hospice and palliative care in hospitals and in people’s homes.

Upon graduating from Dalhousie medical school in 1992, he worked as a rural family doctor prior to completing additional training in palliative medicine in 2003. A member of the Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine, he has introduced palliative care content throughout the medical education curriculum and continues to teach palliative care to medical students, resident doctors and other health professionals. He served previously on the board of directors from 2008-2013.

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Peter MacDougall

Peter MacDougall is currently the Health Services Director for Clinical Services in the Central Zone of the Nova Scotia. Prior to this appointment Peter was the Health Services Manager for the district palliative care program and thoracic surgery at the QEII. Peter graduated from the city’s Victoria General Hospital school of nursing in 1984. He holds a bachelor of science in nursing from Saint Francis Xavier University and a Master’s in Health Studies from Athabasca University. Having completed many clinical, leadership and managerial courses, he has been able to achieve a high level of excellence within primary and acute care as a staff nurse, educator, supervisor, manager, and Director. His commitment to nursing spans a broad spectrum, from practice to senior administration, as well as regulatory involvement. Peter is a role model to his nursing colleagues and advocates for nurses to advance in clinical and leadership roles. Peter completed his term as President of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia in June 2014. His continued commitment to the nursing profession is still clearly evident.

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Bob MacKinnon

Bob MacKinnon is the President & CEO of the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation (NSPLCC), and serves on the board of directors of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) and the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation (ILC). Over his career, Bob has held a variety of roles in operations management, finance, accounting and sales that have positioned him as a strategic and innovative leader, and to become NSPLCC’s CEO in November 2011.

Bob is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA), holds a Bachelor of Commerce (B. Comm.) degree and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Saint Mary’s University, completed the Directors Education Program (DEP) through the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the Institute of Corporate Directors, and is an Institute Certified Director (ICD.D). Outside of the office, Bob is active with his young family and in the community.

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Tena Taylor

Tena is a graduate of Dalhousie with a degree in pharmacy and has been a practicing community pharmacist for over 25 years. She is also a certified diabetes educator. Currently Tena owns the Shoppers Drug Mart on Mumford Road in Halifax where she regularly works in the pharmacy. In this environment, she has much experience providing support for families and clients dealing with end of life. In 2016 she experienced the loss of her mother and the challenges of palliative care from a personal perspective. This experience has strengthened her interest in being involved in Halifax Hospice.

Tena has extensive board experience at the national level, as a director and officer of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada. She sits on a multidisciplinary committee with ISANS, who work to break down barriers for internationally trained Pharmacists. She also has a special interest in facilitating quality pharmaceutical care for refugees.

Tena lives in Dartmouth with her husband Greg and has two boys in University.

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Glenna Thornhill

Glenna has been a long-time supporter of Hospice Halifax. She has been coordinator of the Angel’s in Memory campaign and the Hike for Hospice in addition to other volunteer roles.

Since 1994 Glenna has been a Community Consult Nurse with the Palliative Care Service in Halifax. In this role she has seen many patients and families who would have benefited from residency in a hospice for their end of life care. Glenna looks forward to being part of the team to move the vision of residential hospice in Halifax to reality.

Glenna graduated from the VGH School of Nursing and later in her career did a post-RN Bachelor of Nursing at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has worked as an RN for over 35 years. Before beginning work on the Palliative Care Unit when it opened in 1989, she worked in both Intensive Care and Labour and Delivery.

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Jim Torbert

In addition to a degree in architecture from Auburn University, Jim holds a Masters of Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University. Jim has worked with architectural firms across North America and has been working specifically in the area of health services since the 1980s. He specializes in master programming, master planning, functional programming, role studies, feasibility studies, program interpretation, site selection and post occupancy evaluations.

Jim has developed master programs, master plans and functional programs for over 75 facilities across the Atlantic Provinces and in Trinidad. He has worked with hospitals, community health centres, collaborative emergency centres and collaborative practice centres. Jim developed the facility programming for the Hospice in Kentville, NS and just completed a feasibility study for the Hospice proposed for Amherst, NS.

Jim is the former chair of the Canadian College of Health Services Executives, Bluenose Chapter and has been a guest lecturer at Dalhousie University (School of Health Care Services Administration), Mount Saint Vincent University (Facility Management), and The Technical University of Nova Scotia (School of Architecture)

Staff members

Gordon Neal, CEO
Gordon first became a volunteer with Hospice Halifax in the spring of 2012, serving on the board for two years and on a number of committees and fundraising events. Gordon’s personal experience with the death of his mother in late summer of 2012 at Bobby’s Hospice in Saint John helped him understand the importance of hospice care. Gordon has managed companies in many industries in Canada, the United States, and in Europe. Gordon is the father of four adult children and grandfather of two boys.

Robyn McPhee, Administrative Assistant
Before joining Hospice Halifax in July 2017, Robyn graduated in 2013 from the Business Administration program at Nova Scotia Community College where she earned a concentration in Accounting. Robyn is a leader and mentor for young girls and has been involved with Girl Guides of Canada for 20 years. Robyn grew up in Dartmouth.

Kyla Friel, Manager, Communications and Program Services
Kyla worked in marketing and government communications for 10 years before completing a Master of Education in Counselling degree at Acadia University in 2013. As a Registered Counselling Therapist-Candidate, she practices in the areas of grief and multiple losses. Kyla volunteered with Hospice Halifax for four years before becoming a staff member in January 2017. Hot yoga is on her weekly to-do list. She lives in Halifax with her husband and daughter.