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Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance

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Krista Vriend - President

Krista is a CHD patient, with over 15 years of marketing experience in the financial industry. She is currently the Director of Global Marketing for Insurance at Scotiabank. She has also run her own event management company, and has served on the Board of Directors, Chaired the Special Events Fundraising Committee, and been a Ski School Director, for the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association. She lives in Toronto and is married with children.


Jennifer Graham - Vice President

Jennifer Graham is a CHD patient with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (ccTGA) and has been a part of CCHA since 2006.  She graduated from Carleton University with a B.Sc Hon in Biology and Psychology.  During her career she has held various positions including Project Manager, Computer System designer and developer, Process Re-engineering Analyst and National Trainer in the Insurance and Pharmaceutical industry.

While part of the CCHA team, she has helped organize events such as the Fund a Fellow Film night fundraiser; social events;  as well as, representing CCHA at CCS congress, the Sick Kids Family Education Days, Sick Kids Transition Nights and ISACHD symposium.

In 2010, Jennifer initiated the partnership between CCHA and the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada in their annual Walk of Life fundraiser, to raise funds for CCHA programs and cardiac rehabilitation programs across Canada, programs often used by CHD patients.  Since then Jennifer has organized CCHA’s team each May and to date they have raised almost $46,000.  In 2012 she was invited by the Cardiac Health Foundation to join their Walk of Life’s organizing committee.

Personally, Jennifer enjoys travelling around the world, cottaging and spending time with her family and friends.


Eric Gonneau - Past President

Eric Gonneau, MBA, P.Eng. was the president of CCHA in 2015 & 2016 during which time our first paid executive director was hired, the eastern Ontario chapter was formed and CCHA received the two largest donations to date.

Eric is a CHD patient and a Professional Engineer.  He is a graduate of Queen’s University (BSc) and Laurentian University (MBA).  Throughout his career he has held management positions with various international consulting engineering firms.  He currently owns and operates an Engineering, Design, & Building firm.

Eric has been actively involved over the years volunteering in the community as a soccer and a minor hockey coach, Director of Big Brothers of Sudbury, Director of a Condominium Corporation, Director and then President of the Kiwanis Club of Barrie from 2012-2014, and most recently the Lieutenant for Division 8 of Kiwanis.

He enjoys playing hockey, canoeing, and has a 3rd dan black belt in martial arts.  Eric is married with 3 children and currently splits his time between Barrie and Muskoka, Ontario.


Saad Minhas - Chair, Advocacy & Awareness Committee

Saad is a CHD patient and works as a Contracts and Commerical Specialist at Lakeland Consulting in Oakville, ON. He has a law degree from the University of Westminster in the UK and certificate in Construction Law from Osgoode Hall. He was the President of the Law Society at the University of Westminster and the editor-in-chief of the Westminster Law Review. He is involved in CivicAction's Emerging Leader Network and is a committee member of RICS Matrics, a youth recruitment and mentorship initiative. Saad lives in Toronto, ON.


Stella Cockett


Stella is a nurse clinician at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) where she has worked in cardiac sciences for over 20 years.  As well as nursing on the cardiac unit, she has held positions as cardiac nurse educator and clinical instructor for the University of British Columbia.  She currently coordinates the BCCH Cardiology Partnership
Program which provides traveling pediatric cardiology clinics to 10 communities throughout BC and the Yukon.  For the past several years her special interest has been improving the process of transitioning teens from BC Children’s Hospital to the adult medical system.  She is one of the cardiac science representatives on the Specialist Services Committee Youth Transition Project, and is a past board member of the Children’s Heart Network.


Joanna Hunt

Joanna Hunt is a lawyer working in family practice at Epstein Cole LLP. Joanna received her Honours Bachelor of Arts (Economics & Global Development Studies), Masters of Public Administration and Juris Doctor from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Prior to entering private legal practice, Joanna held student positions at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Federal Department of Justice. Before joining CCHA, Joanna served for three years on the Board of Directors of the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston.

Joanna lives in Toronto with her partner Dan, who was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. Joanna and Dan enjoy hiking, distance running, cycling and travel.


Jordan Hier

Jordan is a CHD patient. Moreover, he is a project manager for Trois Prime, which is digital communication agency that services the pharmaceutical and health care industries. He graduated with a B.B.A. in both marketing andfinance from Bishop’s University. Jordan previously was an organizer of the Coeur-a-Coeur Congenital Camp arranged by the Maude Unit. He enjoys following the stock market, exercising, playing sports, playing cards. Jordan currently lives in Montreal.




Sandra Mahoney


Sandra’s third daughter was born with congenital heart disease in 2014. Since her daughter’s open heart surgery on St. Patrick’s Day, 2015 she has been learning and advocating about a disease that is common, yet relatively unknown nor discussed among many. She holds a Honours Degree in Psychology and a Baccalaureate of Education with extra qualifications in the field of Special Education. She resides with her spouse and 3 young daughters and works as an Elementary Public School Teacher in Ottawa, Ontario.




Robbyn McLellan

Robbyn is a CHD patient with Tetralogy of Fallot and a Human Resources Professional. She is a graduate of Sheridan College and Lakehead University (BA). She has over 20 years’ experience in various roles within Human Resources but has spent much of her career as a Compensation Consultant. Currently, she is taking a break from the corporate world to spend time with her family and get more involved with organization’s that are making a difference.

Robbyn has been actively involved in the community by volunteering for the United Way, The Children’s Foundation, School Parent Council, and Treasurer of the girls’ softball rep team.

She lives in Guelph, enjoys reading, travel, weight training and bootcamp classes. Robbyn is married with two children.






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Check out how congenital heart disease stacks up against better recognized diseases in Canada! So many affected and so little awareness and funding! Get involved with CCHA, donate, and spread the word about the growing population of of "survivors" so that we can get the care and support we need to live long, healthy lives!


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