Board & Advisors
Members of the Board
Robert G. Kearns, Chairman & Founder
Robert G. Kearns is President and Founder of Kearns Insurance Corporation and Kearns Investment Corporation. Robert is also a founding partner of Kearns Edgewater Financial Services Inc. Originally from Dublin, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Archaeology and Greek and Roman Civilizations from University College Dublin, Ireland, before immigrating to Canada in 1979. Since founding Kearns Insurance Corporation in 1983, Robert is recognized as a creative driving force in the customization of bespoke life and living benefit insurance solutions for successful Canadians.
Since his arrival in Canada, he has been continuously involved in Irish-Canadian business and cultural relations, making significant contributions to a number of Irish-Canadian organizations. These include his position as a member of the Board of the Ireland Fund of Canada from 1980-2004. He was Chairman of the Ireland Fund from 1989-1992, and a Director of the America Ireland Fund. He is also a Founding Director of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce. In 1997, he began work to establish Ireland Park Foundation as a volunteer board, which was formally incorporated in May of 2000. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Ireland Park Foundation since that time.
Between 1998 and 2008, Robert served as Chairman of the Campaign for Celtic Studies at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. Between 1996 and 2013, he served as a Director of the former Halifax Aircraft Association, a ten-year project with Canadian veterans to restore a Second World War Halifax bomber to commemorate the ten thousand Canadians who failed to return from their service in Bomber Command. From this project, he published Night Flight to Norway: A Canadian Memorial, on the history and restoration of Halifax Aircraft NA 337, under the banner of his own publishing firm, The Welland Press. Robert also served for nine years as a Member of the Board of Governors of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. He currently serves as a Member of the Board of the NATO Association of Canada.
In 2008, Robert was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Also in 2008, Robert and his brother Jonathan M. Kearns, Partner, Kearns Mancini Architects, were named joint Irish Persons of the Year for their role in creating and designing Ireland Park on Toronto’s Waterfront. In December of 2016, he was the Canadian recipient of the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad.
Robert believes passionately in the importance of contributing to all aspects of the vibrant arts community in Toronto and abroad. Much of his personal time is spent pursuing these interests.
Cormac Monaghan, Treasurer
Cormac hails from Balbriggan, Co. Dublin where he attended nearby Franciscan College, Gormanston. He graduated from University College Dublin with a B.Comm and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Ireland with PwC., before taking a ‘short term’ transfer to that firm’s Toronto office in 1994. He is Vice President Finance at Blue Ant Media. In addition to his involvement with the Ireland Park Foundation, Cormac is a Past President of both the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce (Toronto), and of the Toronto Gaelic Athletic Association. He also holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Schulich School of Business.
A. Scott Beckett, Director
Scott is an insurance marketing specialist and holds an MBA (1997) from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Science (1984) in Statistic and Actuarial Science from the University of Western Ontario.
He is a member of the Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU), the Financial Advisors Association of Canada (Advocis), and a past member of the Advocis CLU Education Committee. He is a frequent guest speaker at industry schools, continuous education events and meetings. He is also the president and co-founder of Foresight Health Incorporated, a firm specializing in unique proprietary wellness solutions for Canadian businesses and is co-founder of EESI Benefits, Canada’s first and only preferred provider paramedical group. He has strong links to the Irish community in Canada.
Thomas Daniel Burns, Director
A long time civil servant, Dan retired from the Ontario Public Service in 2002 from the position of Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Before holding that post he had been the Deputy Minister in the Ministries of Economic Development and International Trade, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Housing. During his 10 years with the provincial government he was also a member of the boards of several crown corporations.
A town planner by profession, he started his career at the City of Toronto where he worked in both the Planning and Housing departments. Active in the community he is a board member of a number of organizations including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Maytree Foundation. In the past he has been a trustee at Queens University and a board member of the United Way of Greater Toronto and of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada among others.
Bill Fitzpatrick, Director
Bill Fitzpatrick is a professional planner with experience in the public and private sectors. Working with the Ontario Government he acted as senior policy advisor with SuperBuild Corporation, Public Infrastructure Renewal and Municipal Affairs and Housing. At the Federal Government he worked with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. His work with City of Toronto , Metro Toronto Planning Department focussed on the area of land use, planning and land development. His volunteer activities include co-ordination of the United Way Campaign and Federal Health Campaign for an Ontario Government Ministry. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Leaside Gate seniors housing project. He volunteers for Second Harvest and a number of committees for Leaside United Church . He is also a volunteer coach at the Leaside Hockey Association.
Katherine Lochnan, Director
Katharine is a fifth-generation Canadian of Irish descent. Her paternal ancestor, Simon Laughnane settled in the Ottawa Valley in 1834. In 2005 Katharine attended the O’Lochlainn clan reunion in Ballyvaughan on the Burren in Co. Clare. She has been involved with clan projects ever since. She is studying Irish, publishing on Burren archaeology and writing a book on her search for her roots.
An art historian and author of books and exhibition catalogues, she is Senior Curator, Special Exhibitions and the R. Fraser Elliott Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is also a Senior Associate Fellow and member of the Corporation of Massey College, University of Toronto.
Karen Carter, Director
Karen Carter is the Executive Director of the Myseum of Toronto, an innovative approach to the museum experience and a new way to experience Toronto’s natural spaces, cultures, history, archaeology and architecture.
She has over 20 years experience working and volunteering in a variety of cultural and educational settings in Toronto. She is the co-founder and Chair of Black Artists’ Networks Dialogue (BAND), an organization dedicated to the promotion of Black arts and culture in Canada and abroad. Karen is also the Program Coordinator and faculty member for the Culture and Heritage Site Management program at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre.
Mark Purdy, Director
Mr. Purdy serves as Chair of the Investment Committee at Arrow Capital Management Inc. and has over 15 years experience in the investment industry. Mr. Purdy shares responsibility for the hedge fund manager selection and asset allocation process and has served on the Investment Committee at Arrow Capital Management since inception. Mr. Purdy held senior roles at BPI Financial Corporation and IBM Canada Ltd. Mr. Purdy graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics degree. He holds the CFA designation. Mr. Purdy is also actively involved in the Varsity Blues alumni fundraising projects at the University of Toronto.
John Kissick, Director
Known primarily as a painter and writer, John Kissick’s exhibition record includes over 30 solo exhibitions in Canada, the USA and Germany. His work has been included in a number of important survey exhibitions and held in numerous public collections. A mid-career survey entitled John Kissick: A Nervous Decade, toured Canada from 2010 to 2012 and was accompanied by a major publication. The current survey exhibition John Kissick: The Boom Bits tours Canada through 2018. He is also the author of the book Art: Context and Criticism (1992-96) and has written numerous catalogue essays and articles for periodicals. As a curator, he was the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Association of Art Galleries Award for Curatorial Writing, and two recent essays: “Elephants in the Room” for Canadian Art Magazine and “Disco and the Death Switch: Tales from Contemporary Abstraction” for Border Crossings were recently nominated for National Magazine Awards. John Kissick has held numerous academic post, including Head of Critical Studies in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University, Dean of the Faculty of Art at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and most recently as Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph where he is currently Professor of Art.
Dr. Peter Vronsky, Director
Peter Vronsky (born 1956) is a Canadian author, filmmaker and investigative historian. He holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice history and espionage in international relations from the University of Toronto. He is the author of the bestseller true crime history Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters (2004) and the the director of several feature films including Bad Company (Fast Company) (1978) and Mondo Moscow (1992). He is the creator of a substantial body of formal video and electronic art works and new media. He has also worked professionally in the motion picture and television industry as a producer and cinematographer in the field of documentary production and news broadcasting with CNN, CTV, CBC, RAI and other global television networks in North America and overseas. His most recent book was published in 2011 by Penguin Allen Lane Books, Ridgeway: The American Fenian Invasion and the 1866 Battle That Made Canada, a controversial new history of Canada’s first modern battle fought against Irish-American Fenian insurgents who invaded Canada from the United States on the eve of its Confederation.
Connor Turnbull, Director
Connor Ishiguro Turnbull was born in San Francisco, CA and raised between Northern California and Caracas, Prague and New York. She received her BA in History from Brown University and a Master of Architecture from the University of California Berkeley with a focus on the complex relationship between preservation and contemporary architecture. Prior to moving to Toronto, Connor was with Carey & Co., a preservation architecture firm with projects throughout the Western United States. There she worked both as an architectural historian and on architectural design. She also served as a Site Committee Member of San Francisco’s Headlands Center for the Arts. Connor is a member of the North York Community Preservation Panel, a community volunteer group that advises the Toronto Preservation Board on local historic resources. She is a founding member and Co-Chair of Leaside Matters, a community organization that endeavours to foster stewardship of Leaside’s future through raising awareness of the community’s history and its significance as a Frederick Todd designed neighbourhood. Connor is also a Member of the Executive Council of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.
David Clarke, Director
David Clarke is currently the Executive Director of the Ontario Liberal Party, where he oversees the day-to- day operations and election preparations for Liberal Party candidates in 122 electoral districts across the province.
A lawyer by training, David received a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from the University of Ottawa before attending Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. David was called to the bar of Ontario in 2013 and remains a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada. After a brief stint as a litigator David began a career in politics, where he has since worked on election campaigns in four provinces, from Toronto to the Rocky Mountains.
Prior to assuming his current role David served in the Office of the Premier of Ontario, and as Director of Operations and Stakeholder Relations to the Hon. Charles Sousa, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, where he helped bring in Budget 2017 – Ontario’s first balanced budget in nearly a decade.
David has been a supporter and volunteer with the Ireland Park Foundation since 2015, working to expand the Foundation’s visibility within Toronto’s young professional community. He lives in Toronto’s west end with his partner Vanessa, also an IPF volunteer, and their dog Winston.
Damien McCotter , Director
Damien McCotter is Vice President, Legal and General Counsel at Think Research, a Canadian digital healthcare company. Damien completed a degree in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at Queen’s University and his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Windsor. As an engineer, he worked at the Optoelectronics Research Centre in Finland and the National Microelectronics Research Centre in Ireland. His experience as a lawyer includes seven years at Torys LLP, working with clients in healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Think Research, Damien was a founding partner at a specialty law firm in Toronto with a focus on clients in technology, arts and culture. Damien was also Legal Counsel, Intellectual Property and Manager of Legal Services at the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children, responsible for all legal matters relating to research, intellectual property and commercialization.
See Members of the Board
See Members of the Board
Deborah Wilson is Vice President Communications and Public Affairs for the Toronto Port Authority. An accomplished business strategist and communications executive with more than 18 years experience, Ms. Wilson has worked in a range of industries including broadcasting, banking, professional services and technology for such companies as Astral Media, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Scotiabank and American Express. Ms. Wilson holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Western Ontario and a Master of Arts degree in Communications, Culture and Public Policy from York University. She is a past IABC Gold Quill recipient for Excellence in Communications Management and a former board member of the AV Preservation Trust, Canadian Women in Communications and Youth Media Alliance.
His Excellency Jim Kelly
Irish Ambassador to Canada
His Excellency Kevin Vickers
Canadian Ambassador to Ireland
Mrs. Norma Smurfit
Chair & Founder, The Famine Commemoration Fund Dublin, Ireland
Jonathan M. Kearns
Partner, Kearns Mancini Architects
Dr. Jason King
Head, Irish Famine Archive
Katherine Hull PhD
Director, Cultural Heritage Division,
Partner, Archaeology Services Inc.
Park Constructions Committee
Jonathan M. Kearns
Kearns Mancini Architects
John J. Quinn
Quinn Design Associates, Inc.
Construction Management Services
Shamrock Garden & Landscaping
Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd.
O’Rourke TH Structural Consultants
Colin J. Kelleher
Nelson & Garrett Inc.