Meet Our CEO: Dr. Claudine Cousins

Dr. Claudine CousinsA scholar, practitioner and community changemaker, Dr. Claudine Cousins is the Chief Executive Officer of Empower Simcoe with over twenty-five years of leadership experience with various Ministries within the Ontario Public Service and the not-for-profit and profit sectors, including banking and financial services. As a sessional instructor at Georgian College since 2012, Dr. Cousins considers learning and development to be critical to organizational success. She has held leadership roles at Christian Horizons, including Executive Director Central District and Director, Ontario Operations where she left a legacy of valuing and engaging employees. Dr. Cousins brings outstanding knowledge and expertise from an operations and human resources leadership lens within unionized and non-unionized organizations with a drive and passion for the achievement of business outcomes. 

As a strategic and big-picture thinker, Dr. Cousins’ extensive academic training, acquired through a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management – Human Resources from Ryerson University, a Masters of Arts Degree in Leadership from Central Michigan University, Post Graduate Certificate in Public Relations, a PhD. in Health Care Administration and a broad array of executive leadership certifications, has propelled her to continue to advocate for those who are marginalized and struggle to be included. 

Claudine is also a member of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors, a Rotarian, champion for the Sandbox’s HR CNNX Peer Group, and volunteers on the Human Resource Professionals Association’s Regulatory Committee.  In her role of advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, Claudine participates on a number of committees, councils and task groups, and is a very sought after speaker and panelist.   Dr. Cousins was the recipient of the 2020 Woman of the Year Visionary Award at the Barrie Chamber of Commerce’s Business Awards.  In 2022, she was the recipient of the RBC Women of Influence Social Change Award: Regional Impact.  In 2023, Dr. Cousins was also honoured to be named the recipient of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce Leadership in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award.

Meet Our Executive Team

Gerald Nganjue

Gerald Nganjue
Director of Clinical and Strategic Initiatives

Gerald Nganjue is a transformational leader with 22 years of experience in developmental services. Gerald Joined Empower Simcoe in 2022 as the Director of Clinical and Strategic Initiatives, overseeing the specialized accommodation programs and quality and innovations department. Gerald’s passion and dedication to transforming services have led to designing and implementing innovative treatment housing programs to support complex individuals with dual diagnoses transitioning from the hospital and the correctional facilities to the community.

Gerald has combined his education and passion for leveraging technology and data-driven solutions to bring a strategic approach to streamline internal systems and processes to enhance operational efficiency across the organization.

John Jiang
Finance and Operations Director

John has been with Empower Simcoe since 2017, overseeing the agency’s finance, information technology, property, and procurement departments. His role involves thorough analysis of financial data and effective communication of these analyses to stakeholders, facilitating informed decision-making. He is committed to providing meaningful context and detailed insights to end users of this data, aiming to enhance the overall value delivered to both the agency and the broader community. In his leadership capacity, John fosters a culture of creativity and accountability within his team, emphasizing open dialogue and collective goal-setting. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto, followed by an articling period with PricewaterhouseCoopers, leading to his attainment of a Chartered Accountant designation.

John Jiang
Kim Stephens

Kim Stephens
People and Culture Director

Kim brings over 22 years of experience to the developmental services sector and 9 years leading People and Culture at Empower Simcoe.   Kim is a results-oriented leader who leads with curiosity to build strategies and initiatives focused on solving business and people challenges.  With a passion for relationships and people, Kim believes in fostering positive workplace culture where employees can thrive, engage with their work and feel supported.

Kim has earned a Developmental Services Worker Diploma from Georgian College, and her management career also includes over 16 years as a Franchisee owner/operator, leading a successful restaurant team and maintaining strong customer service relationships.

Luke Lynn
Supports and Services Director

Luke has a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a specialization in coaching. He started his career in rehabilitation of adolescents with criminal offenses and has since spent 19 years working with adults with dual diagnosis in varying capacities.

Luke is committed to fostering growth, inclusion, and empowerment for individuals with diverse needs and abilities. With a collaborative approach and visionary mindset, he focuses on creating innovative programs that maximize the potential of every individual we serve. Luke brings a wealth of diverse experience that allows him to lead a team towards creating a positive impact and shaping a community where everyone can thrive.

Luke Lynn

Dr. Claudine A. Cousins, CEO

Societal attitudes are slow to change. Policies that outlined the framework for the operating procedures within organizations such as the Huronia Regional Center (HRC), however, started to evolve, leading to more of an alignment with the broader human services sector which was promoting person-centered (taking the time to connect with the person on an individual level) support. Click the link above to read more.

Congregate care organizations employ workers across various environments from shelters, group homes, long-term care homes, and correctional facilities. Congregate care workers in the developmental services sector face numerous risks that affect their quality of life due to workplace stress from daily interactions with individuals with intellectual disabilities and organizational demands. Workers’ perception of the support received from their organization may further impact their quality of life. Click the link above to read more.