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MEET THE TEAM

The founding members of SILA have significant experience in witnessing the power and effectiveness of the skills taught in the workshops.  
Rosanna Ruppert
Board Member
President

Rosanna Ruppert is a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills practitioner, DBT skills coach for youth and adults and workshop developer for teachers, education assistants, guidance counsellors and child and youth counsellors.  She implemented a pilot project bringing DBT based skills to 5 GTA schools, training and coaching teachers, educating parents and tailoring curriculum to accommodate specific needs of schools.  Her teaching style and responsiveness make her highly regarded and sought after by schools.  Rosanna ran the first-ever DBT-focused conference for educators in the Toronto area attended by 50 teachers and school board staff.  Rosanna is committed to teaching these essential skills through the SILA Skills Workshops.

Dr. Lynn Swanson
Board Member

Dr. Swanson completed her doctoral level training in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Waterloo and is a registered member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. Her clinical training has included work with children, adolescents and adults presenting with a range of socio-emotional and behavioural concerns.  Dr. Swanson's clinical training included a pre-doctoral internship at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary, where she provided assessment and treatment services to children, adolescents, and adults.  Prior to focusing on full-time private practice, Dr. Swanson was employed as a psychologist on the Preschool Diagnostic Team and the Child and Family Centre at Grand River Hospital.  Subsequently, she worked as the Assistant Director of the Psychology Clinic of the University of Waterloo, where she provided clinical training and supervision of graduate students and as an Assistant Professor, teaching graduate level courses in the psychological assessment of children and adults.  Dr. Swanson has done extensive consultation with teachers and school personnel regarding the academic, socio-emotional and behavioural needs of students. Her current work involves assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, adults, couples and  families using a variety of treatment modalities, including DBT informed treatment.

Kelly Maxwell
Board Member
Technology

Kelly Maxwell (B.Ed ‘89, M.Ed ‘16) is an elementary school teacher in rural Alberta.  After 30-plus years of teaching, her passion for educating continues.  She has been, and continues to be involved with professional development within her school district and at local Teachers' Conventions.  In the last several years she acquired DBT based skills that transformed her life and her classroom. These skills helped her through challenging interactions with her son who struggled with his mental health.  These skills not only transformed her home life, they also transformed her classroom interactions.  She is passionate about sharing these transformational skills with other educators through the SILA Skills Workshops.

Karen Black
Board Chair
Marketing & Media

Karen is a journalist who specializes in youth mental health and in providing contemporary context to historical issues. After experiencing the power of DBT Skills as a parent of a youth struggling with mental health, Karen has devoted her time to bringing the skills to youth and their families.  Through her writing she has brought awareness to the power of DBT based skills.  Karen is well positioned to use her skills to spearhead and develop the communications strategy promoting SILA Skills.

Catherine Needham
Board Member
Controller

Catherine is a volunteer who has focused her passion and support on organizations helping youth and their families. She is a proud member of WAV at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she has been involved in a range of services supporting kids and their families for many years.  She has co-ordinated many fundraisers helping Camp Oochigeas, Families for Children and The Sashbear Foundation.  In 2017 and 2018, Catherine coordinated two major fundraising walks for youth mental health raising over $200,000, doubling the previous year’s results while building a sustainable, repeatable and scalable model for future years. Catherine is committed to supporting SILA initiatives.

Heather Rider
Board Member
Treasurer

Heather Rider is a passionate supporter of youth mental health.  She first witnessed the power of DBT skills at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.  Heather led a pilot project bringing DBT based skills to Greater Toronto Area schools. One hundred percent of the teachers indicated that the skills were useful for their students and the vast majority of the students said they would use the skills now and/or in the future. Heather has co-ordinated many fundraisers helping Camp Oochigeas, Families for Children and The Sashbear Foundation.  In 2017 and 2018, she coordinated two major fundraising walks for youth mental health raising over $200,000, doubling the previous year’s results while building a sustainable, repeatable and scalable model for future years.  She is committed to helping youth build resilience by working towards making the skills available and accessible to all through SILA Skills.