Senator Vernon White – Honorary Chair
Vernon White was sworn in as Chief of Police of the Ottawa Police Service in May 2007. Prior to this, he led the Regional Police Service in Durham, Ontario, and spent over 20 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, leaving as an Assistant Commissioner.
Mr. White holds a Diploma in Business Administration from the College of Cape Breton, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Psychology from Acadia University, and a Masters Degree from Royal Roads University in British Columbia in Conflict Analysis and Management. He is currently a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Police Leadership at the Australian Graduate School of Policing. Mr. White has been honoured with a number of awards and commendations over the years, including a Commissioners Commendation, a Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and a United Way Community Builder of the Year Award.
Katherine Dines – Emcee
You can hear Katherine navigating MAJIC 100.3 radio airwaves, hosting Experts On Call on NewsTalk 580 CFRA and adding her thoughts to the Mom or Parenting Panels on CTV Morning Live. She is also a former TV anchor, reporter, and producer with a passion for telling the stories of the people we so often call ‘underdogs’. You will find Katherine hosting various community events in support of causes close to her heart. Katherine has struggled with mental health challenges since childhood, in and out of hospital due to eating disorders, anxiety & depression. Her weight would often drop to 80 pounds. Katherine has publicly spoken about some of her darkest moments and failed attempts to permanently end the pain which included several miscarriages. Katherine and her two daughters, Sydney & Grace, were all diagnosed with a genetic heart condition in 2002. She credits CHEO with saving their lives and gives back in many ways. She credits her daughters with saving her life as they give her new purpose and inspire her to speak out to help others who struggle.
Katherine is passionate about the healing power of music and helping everyone find their voice and their song.
Raija Hilska – Chair, Bows for Butterflies and Founding Member
Raija is a founding member of Bows For Butterflies and a source of inspiration for everyone who works with her on this important event. Struggling with mental illness all her life, she was diagnosed Bipolar in 2003. Since then, both her children have also been diagnosed with similar conditions. Personally living with mental illness and seeing what her children went through has deeply affected Raija. She has experienced first hand the challenges of recognizing that things were not right, finding help, getting a diagnosis and treatment. She deeply understands how lost someone with mental illness can feel, the difficulties with diagnosis and treatment, and the stigma that still exists around mental illness. This life experience steeled her resolve to do something about it and is an important reason for being so involved with Bows For Butterflies. Raija is very active in Ottawa’s Finnish community. She teaches Finnish to children at the Ottawa International School and adults at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board evening program.