Women of DIVA


Grace V. Betts, Chair and President

Grace_smGrace V. Betts has a remarkable track record as an accomplished public sector employee and community leader. Over an eclectic career of increasing responsibility, she has become the consummate health promotion professional and community volunteer. Grace is a qualified health promoter, adult educator, mental health and addictions cessation specialist, group facilitator, and public policy analyst. Grace has worked in English, French, and German throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. Grace graduated from the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital School of Nursing. She is also a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she focused her academic attention on how the individual is to be understood within a greater economic, political and social framework, and of Carleton University where she completed a Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPA) with a focus on health and social public policy.

As Chair and President of the DIVA Foundation, Grace operationalizes her steadfast and passionate commitment to making a positive difference in the health and quality of life of women. She comes to the DIVA Foundation via the Department of National Defence (DND) and The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) where she was a senior manager in the area of health promotion, personnel and family support and change management. She served as a member of a number of key DND committees including: the Family Violence Advisory Committee, the Employee Assistance Program Working Group and the Rx 2000 Mental Health Reform Working Group. Currently, Grace is co-owner and Vice President Operations of Shipley Canada Corp. – a Canadian training and consulting company that helps other companies win business using cutting-edge best practices in business development.

Grace is a member of The International Association of Feminist Economists, The Institute of Public Administration of Canada, The World Economic Association, and The Association of Proposal Management Professionals.

Grace has always been a diversified athlete and fitness enthusiast and above all else, enjoys and values people and relationships – her family, friends, co-workers and associates.

Allyne Thomson, Vice President

Allyne_smPrior to her retirement in 2009, Allyne Thomson was an international partner in the Advocacy Department of one of Canada’s leading law firms, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. She practiced law for more than 36 years in Toronto and Ottawa, in the areas of real estate, estate administration and litigation, criminal law, administrative law, general civil litigation, and family law.

Allyne served for nine years as senior instructor in family law for the Ontario Bar admission course at Ottawa. She was the first woman to serve in this role.

Allyne received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University and a Law degree from the University of Ottawa. She practiced primarily in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Family Court, as well as the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Allyne was also trained in advanced mediation.

Allyne was an active participant in numerous programs offered by the Law Society of Upper Canada, the County of Carleton Law Association, and a variety of other organizations. She served as chairperson, panelist and speaker in the general area of family law at presentations for lawyers and the public. She was also a member of the Judicial Appointments Committee for the Canadian Bar Association, and was involved with the Gender Equality Committee of Gowlings, and served as a principal for articling students. Allyne was an instructor for the European legal interns program in Canada—a program instituted by the Department of Foreign Affairs, and was a participant in the Moot Court seminars at the University of Ottawa.

Allyne has been involved in her community as Chair of the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation Board for 3 years, and before becoming a board member of the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation Board, she served on a fundraising committee for the Health Centre. She was also chair of the lawyers’ division for the Red Shield Appeal, a long-standing board member of the Ottawa Distress Centre, area captain for the Cancer Society, a board member and auction committee member for the Resource, Education and Advocacy Centre for the Handicapped, a committee member and Thousand Dollar Rider for Le Tour de Quickie Bike-a-thon, a board member of Le Groupe de la Place Royale, a Red Feather and CNIB worker, and a speaker for the United Way. Allyne was also a board member of Ronald McDonald House for many years.

Presently, Allyne sits as Vice-President of the DIVA Foundation Board of Directors.

Ms. Thomson was awarded the YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Ottawa Citizen Community Volunteer award in 2001, and a certificate of recognition for her mentorship of Ottawa University law students. She was recognized in 2009 by the United Nations Association in Canada as an honoured champion for transforming Canadian society through leadership and service. In 2010, she was also presented with the President’s Award by the Women’s Law Association of Ontario for outstanding service within the legal community and leadership in advancing the position of women lawyers.

Catherine Bastedo-Boileau, Director

CatherineCatherine Bastedo-Boileau specialises in adult learning, holistic retreats, and facilitating transitions and emotional healing. She is the President/Owner of Vision Reiki. Catherine teaches online and mentors students, through Wise Woman University, from across the U.S.A. and Canada. She also teaches Reiki in Ottawa, gives individual sessions, and holds summertime nature retreats for women. She offers Reiki on a regular basis to members of the Maplesoft Cancer Survivorship Centre. Catherine is the author of Bird Vibes, a deck of 50 cards with spiritual messages, and of the book, Les oiseaux, nos guides spirituels.

Catherine has held executive positions in a number of organisations in the Canadian federal public sector, primarily in the fields of official languages, privacy, and employment equity. She specialised in leadership, managing transitions, planning, performance and evaluation frameworks, and conference and project management. From 2001 to 2005, Catherine was Executive Director of the International Council for Canadian Studies, where she dealt with member associations in 39 countries. In the course of her leadership roles, Catherine has written and presented papers in Canada and internationally, and has planned and organised Canadian and international conferences.

Catherine Bastedo holds a M.A. in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. She resides in Gatineau, Québec.

Ella Forbes-Chilibeck, Director

EllaElla Forbes-Chilibeck is a member of the Employment and Labour Law groups at Nelligan O’Brien Payne.  She works primarily out of the Ottawa office but also spends a couple of days each month at the Kingston office serving her clients in all employment-related matters.

Ella joined Nelligan O’Brien Payne in 2007, after articling in employment and labour law with a boutique firm in the Ottawa area and working with the Federal Government on the implementation of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA) under the Federal Accountability Act.  Ella’s work on the PSDPA focused on the development of the Federal Public Sector Code of Conduct and the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal, an independent body intended to address allegations of reprisal against whistleblowers.

Before pursuing a career in law, Ella enjoyed a successful career as a behavioural consultant; mediating conflict and developing successful coping strategies with young offenders and individuals with cognitive, physical, and emotional challenges.

Anne Marie Giannetti, Director

AnneMarieAnne Marie Giannetti comes to The DIVA Foundation following a successful career as a senior Director in the Federal Government of Canada where she was a highly regarded specialist in the Human Resources field of several government departments. She managed programs at both the operational and corporate levels. Her strongest talent rests in the innovative and creative development and delivery of national and international programs promoting learning. She works now as a Human Resources Consultant offering a wide variety of services.

The mother of three, Anne Marie has demonstrated mentorship, coaching, and teamwork not only in her professional life but also in her family life and in her continuous support of friends and colleagues. She believes that if one leads and promotes continuous and lifelong learning programs, one must model their underlying values. She is active in various physical fitness classes and programs and is well known for her energetic and dynamic development both professionally and privately. She has entered several races in support of many causes. Anne Marie knows only too well that the finish line is just the beginning and setting and establishing new creative goals is vital to growing and learning.

Nominated by her colleagues, Anne Marie is the recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. She has also been recognised for her work in promoting employment equity, employee assistance programs, and awards and recognition. Fluently bilingual, she holds a degree from Carleton University in Ottawa. She brings her strong sense of vision, a wealth of academic and practical experience, and a knack for seeing things through in a cooperative, supportive, creative, and team-focused manner.


Rosa de Vermette, Director

RosaRosa joins the DIVA Foundation as a leader and health professional who has dedicated her career to improving patient care and health systems. She obtained her medical degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City where she was born and raised before moving to Canada 35 years ago. Rosa was one of the pioneers in the development of diagnostic ultrasound as a non-invasive diagnostic technology and contributed significantly to advances in the field through research which she conducted at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital, presented nationally and internationally and, published in prestigious peer reviewed journals. She is certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Canadian Association of Registered Ultrasound Professionals and is a senior member of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Rosa was promoted into management at the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital in 1998; she graduated from the Management Development Program for Women at Carleton University in 2000. She effectively co-spearheaded the establishment of the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre (SEGWHC) of the Ottawa Hospital and played a leading role in shaping the Centre to be one of the most innovative women’s health programs in the country. Rosa was the very first clinical manager at the Ottawa hospital to successfully direct the implementation of three new models of care that will positively affect healthcare in Canada.

Rosa is widely recognized as a proven leader with vision who can attract talent and optimize team performance as evidenced by her receiving the COMPASS award for outstanding leadership at the Ottawa Hospital on the nomination and recommendation of her staff. She has a deep understanding of healthcare management, first-hand knowledge of many of the gaps within healthcare, and creative ideas to reduce the gaps. Rosa is a strong advocate of the patient within the health care system. She is recognized as a leader who creates positive work environments and has successfully led cultural change initiatives. Her style is characterized by her collaborative approach, her gift for mentoring and coaching, and for her passion and dedication to continuous learning.

Rosa recently retired from the Ottawa Hospital and is currently Vice-President of V3 Consultants Inc., a company dedicated to providing strategic advice and coaching to senior executives.


Candace Dressler

Candace_Dressler1Candace is an Information Technology (IT) team leader with The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada. She has been working in IT since 1989, and uses her technical skills in analyzing computer networks, designing software applications, deploying complex server hardware. Candace has also had a parallel career as an active volunteer in a variety of organizations. She drove historic streetcars as a member of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society from 1992 to 2002. Candace is a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women where she mentors students and alumnae members throughout Canada and the USA, and served as a regional director for three years. She currently serves as an assistant regional director for the Ontario Horticultural Society. Candace brings to the DIVA Foundation her skills as an IT professional as well as her extensive experience as a servant leader and mentor.


Allison Spence

Allison Spence photoAllison brings to the DIVA Board many years of experience in administration. She began her career with the federal government in the Department of Finance/Treasury Board, and then moved on to lend her administrative expertise to a local law firm, where she as worked for the past 27 years. She has served on numerous fundraising committees, events, and charitable organizations and does so with tireless energy and enthusiasm.

Allison has her Conference and Event Planning certification. She is also an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified personal trainer and will soon begin working towards a specialization in training people with mobility and orthopaedic issues. Allison enjoys going to the gym, riding dressage, and attempting to play golf.