Board of Directors


Paul Bent 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.

Jonathan Caldwell, CPA, CA is a Senior Manager with Grant Thornton LLP’s Halifax office and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia.

Jonathan graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2006, and obtained his Chartered Accountant’s designation in 2011. In his professional practice Jonathan works with small businesses, not-for-profit entities, pension and benefit plans and government agencies and provides advisory, assurance and consulting services on a wide range of accounting, management and taxation matters.

Jonathan became involved with Hospice Halifax in 2016, serving on the audit and finance committee prior to joining the Board. In addition to his involvement with Halifax Hospice, he also is a member of the Board of Directors of Tennis Nova Scotia. Jonathan hails from Kentville Nova Scotia, but has called Halifax home since 2012.

Margaret Chapman has worked as a consultant since 1999, specializing in market intelligence research, group facilitation, in-depth interviewing, marketing and communications.

Margaret has extensive international experience, having worked across 20 countries while based in London, England as a marketing, communications and media consultant. She began her career as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

Margaret holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Arts (Hons) with a major in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

A passionate volunteer, Margaret is a member of the board of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, past board chair of MetroWorks, a skills development agency that offers training and educational programs throughout Nova Scotia for those with barriers to employment, and past chair of 2b Theatre, a Halifax-based theatre company. She volunteers as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s power team in training and the QEII Foundation’s Ride for Cancer, and regularly performs as a violinist as part of Nova Sinfonia and the PEI Symphony. An avid runner and proud to have completed three full marathons, in 2018 she’ll be completing her twelfth half marathon in Iceland on the summer solstice.


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.

Keith Fraser graduated from Dalhousie University in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and from Nova Scotia Technical College in 1974 with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Industrial Engineering. In 1977, he earned his CA designation. Keith joined Ocean Contractors in 1981 as controller, advancing to Vice President, and responsible for all financial and administrative matters including long-term planning and forecasting for the Ocean group of companies. Currently, he is Vice President of Briar Group Incorporated.

Keith’s community involvement has included work with Junior Achievement, Sir Frederick Fraser School, Halifax and Dartmouth Senior Citizens Clubs, United Way, Dartmouth Chamber of Commerce, Hubbards Sailing Club and a number of committees of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. He has also served as treasurer and auditor for a church and related organizations.

Other experience has included assisting in the fundraising campaigns for the annual Bonny Lea Golf Tournament, Hubbards Sailing Club, Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, St. Andrew’s Church as well as Hospice Halifax.

Jack Flemming began his career in 1962 after graduating from Nova Scotia Technical College (subsequently Dal-Tech) with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working in the roadbuilding industry for twelve years he incorporated his own firm, Ocean Contractors Limited, which specializes in asphalt and ready mix concrete. In 2004, he purchased Thompson’s Moving Group, which includes Maritime Moving and Storage and Briar Transport.

After running his successful businesses for over thirty-five years, he initiated a succession plan which has resulted in his two sons assuming control of the operation of the businesses. Over the years, he has kept active in association work. He has served as president of the Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Roadbuilders Association. He was also chairman of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Construction Association.

He has served on many boards including Mount St. Vincent University, IWK, Maritime Heart Centre and Maritime Medical Care Inc. He is past chairman of the Dal-Tech board has served as a member of the Board of Governors of Dalhousie University. Also, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of Bonny Lea Farm and, for over twenty years, chaired the very successful Annual Bonny Lea Benefit Golf Tournament.

Jack has been very active with a number of organizations including the Halifax YMCA, Hope Cottage, Sisters of Charity and the Catholic Cemeteries Commission. He chaired the Building Committee for St. Benedicts Church in Halifax.

Jack is a great supporter of many charitable organizations, personally, corporately and though the Flemming Charitable Foundation. The Foundation, which is actively managed by Jack, Marion and all four of their children, has been helping local charities support women, men and families since 1999.

Over the years, he has received numerous awards and accolades for his corporate, association and charitable work, including Honorary Doctorates from St. Mary’s University and Dalhousie University. In 2003, he was appointed a Member of The Order of Canada.


A palliative care physician with the QEII Integrated Palliative Care Service and Associate Professor with the Division of Palliative Medicine, Dalhousie University, Dr. 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.


Bob MacKinnon is the President & CEO of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, 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.

Glenna Thornhill, BN, RN. Glenna retired in December 2016 as a Community Consult Nurse with the Palliative Care Service in Central Zone after 27 years working mostly with patients in the community. She volunteered with Hospice Halifax doing various events over the past years and has returned to the board after acting as the interim nurse manager in 2018. Previously, Glenna served 2 years as a board member.

Jim TOrbert

In addition to a degree in architecture from Auburn University, Jim Torbert 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

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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. Gordon joined the Hospice Halifax team as CEO in January 2018.


Dr. Stephanie Connidis, Medical Director
Stephanie is a Family Physician (CCFP, RACGP) with dual certification in Health Care of the Elderly (COE) and Palliative Care (PC) from Dalhousie University. A strong advocate for improving palliative care for all Canadians, Stephanie is an active member of the National Advance Care Planning Task Group, a Palliative Care Committee member with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and an executive board member (Secretary) of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP).

Stephanie has been a volunteer and member- both on the Board of Directors and a general member- with Hospice Halifax since 2008 and is honoured to be the first Medical Director.

If Stephanie is not at the Hospice or engaged in activities to build capacity for palliative care in Nova Scotia, she can be found hiking in the woods or hanging out with her husband Mark or one of their 3 sons.


Marilyn Hicks, Manager, Human Resources
Marilyn has more than 18 years’ experience in all aspects of Human Resources in both private and public sectors. She graduated from Dalhousie with a MBA after working for several years as an RN in hospitals across the country. She was a volunteer on the HR Committee at Hospice Halifax for 4 years and a member of the Board of Directors for 2 of those years until becoming Manager, Human Resources in the spring of 2018. Marilyn lives in Halifax with her three furry rescue adoptees.


Linden Hardie, Social Work Coordinator
Linden joined Hospice Halifax in 2018 after working for many years in the housing and homelessness field. She obtained her Masters of Social Work from the University of Victoria. Originally from New Brunswick, Linden has been calling Nova Scotia home since 2009. She enjoys volunteering with a few local organizations and spends as much time as possible outdoors.


Beth Tupala, Nurse Manager
Beth brings diverse experience to her role at Hospice Halifax. Since completing her nursing degree in 2007, she’s worked in hospice and palliative care as a staff nurse, educator, consultant, and research nurse. She has worked both in hospitals and in the community. Most recently, she’s worked as the Project Lead for Palliative Care for the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Beth has lived in Halifax since 2016. She enjoys coffee and good books, spending time with her young kids, and exploring new parts of Nova Scotia.


Michael Kelly, Events Manager
After volunteering for two years, Michael joined the Hospice Halifax staff in 2018 to the newly created position of Event Manager.  Michael spent his formative years in Nova Scotia as the Director of a Scout Canada Summer camp, which lead to a lifelong passion for outdoor recreation and youth programming. Graduating from the Dalhousie University Recreation Management program (BSc/BMgt), Michael has been working in the field of events since 2012, planning, implementing and evaluating special events. The majority of Michael’s special event experience comes in the form of large scale public sector events such as the Halifax-Dartmouth Natal Day program, Canada Day, Wolfville’s Mud Creek Days, and many more. Michael has also worked on not-for-profit initiatives such as the Magic Wine Bus and for-profit events like the Halifax Oyster Festival. Michael is passionate about culture, events and helping bring people together to highlight the fun side of life. Outside of work, Michael attends special events, rock climbs, eats exotic foods, plays video games, and tells lots of jokes.

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Melissa Carroll, Social Enterprise Coordinator
Melissa joined Hospice Halifax in July 2018. She has a BA in Kinesiology and Psychology from St. FX. She has worked for over 5 years within private physical therapy clinics throughout HRM and has over 5 years of extensive customer service management in large scale operations. She was born and raised in Pictou County with a large extend family with Cape Breton roots. Melissa has lived in Halifax for over 10 years, enjoys thrift shopping and traveling as much as possible.

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Aroon Thakkar, Food Services Coordinator
Aroon has 10 years of food service experience, most of which is in healthcare food service. He has worked in a variety of restaurants, the IWK, and long term care kitchens. Aroon moved to Halifax in 2009 from Fredericton with a year long working holiday in Europe in between. Originally moved he to Halifax to complete his BSc in Applied Human Nutrition at MSVU and has loved the city ever since. Food is a passion both at work and at home and he is always looking for exciting dishes and techniques to try. Outside of food and work, Aroon enjoys watching and playing sports, travelling, video games and board games. Aroon and his wife are expecting their first son in February 2019.


Dean Angers, Facilities Manager
Dean has worked in the long term care nursing home sector as a Maintenance Coordinator and Environmental Services Manager for more than 8 years. He has a long list of experience in preventative maintenance, inspections, and safety training. He is passionate about providing a comfortable and safe environment for residents and staff. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering as a coach on different competitive sports teams. He also enjoys the outdoors, going on hikes and many adventures with his family and their dog, Remington.