Skip to main content











Applaud is a Membership Association that recognizes its member’s contribution in the service to the public. We build pride of service through recognition events, showcasing member profiles, and revealing the positive contributions that public services have made for people, communities and within our province.

Our membership is made up of those who work or are retired from the Ontario Public Service and the Broader Public Service.

Applaud is committed to delivering value with programs and services that engage its membership. Applaud offers access to recognition events, learning workshops and seminars, community gatherings, group travel and discounted products and services. We are transforming ourselves; building on 75 years of experience, while taking an entrepreneurial look to the future to become a modern, robust and valuable member organization.





Paul Byron


Paul is semi-retired after a 34-year career with one of Canada’s largest cooperative insurers. Part of his responsibilities included leading teams that built value-added affinity insurance programs for some of Canada’s largest cooperative, voluntary nonprofit and federative organizations.

In addition to his insurance industry designations, Paul’s Masters of Management (St. Mary’s) has a specialty in coops and credit unions.

Paul is convinced that well governed and mission focused voluntary nonprofit and cooperatively owned organizations are a cornerstone of healthy, stable, caring communities. He is actively using much of his time to help organizations provide their essential services to members and the
broader community.

Paul is an active volunteer including giving time as a national board director of one of Canada’s largest youth serving organizations. He also has a reputation of being easy to convince to “roll up his sleeves” to contribute to any endeavour that makes his community safer and healthier.

Paul and his wife Lise have two grown sons. They enjoy spending time at their cottage in northern Ontario, wood working and wintering in the south.


Bernadette De Souza

Vice Chair

With over 30 years as a senior leader in the Ontario Public Service (OPS), the not-for-profit sector and international agencies, Bernadette’s career has focused on leading and implementing major transformational initiatives, with a focus on people impacts.

As Director of the OSS 5-year Strategic Blueprint, she leads a team of professionals who provide strategic advice and support that will propel OSS forward as it evolves to become the best provider of business solutions to the OPS.

Prior to this role, as Director of the Transformation Consulting Services Branch (TCSB), she was responsible for building transformation capacity across the OPS and promoting the use of best practice and shared learning in alignment with enterprise goals.

Pat Dunwoody

Governance Officer, Secretary

Position: Pat is a client and relationship-focused executive with an in-depth background in all aspects of the investment fund industry. She brings a strategic perspective and demonstrates a clear grasp of the drivers behind client satisfaction and the
impact on the bottom-line. She has spent over 35 years in the Financial Services industry and is currently the Executive Director of the Canadian ETF Association. She has been an active member on many industry committees including: Co-chair of the first Industry Standards Committees, Participation on Fundserv committees, and CCMA Committees,
Pat is also actively involved in her community, serving as the Immediate Past Board Chair for Community Living Dufferin and a Board member with Prosper Canada.
She lives in East Garafraxa, Ontario with her husband and dog Otis.

Eric Adelson


Position: Eric has over 20 years experience as a corporate and securities lawyer, including over 10 years as the General Counsel for large mutual fund companies. His practice and experience includes change management, risk management, corporate governance, and human resources management, in addition to the typical duties of a corporate counsel.

He has frequently commented on legislative and regulatory proposals relating to investment management and enjoys strong relationships with regulators. He is a member of the board of TanenbaumCHAT, a high school in Toronto.

Ed Buller


Position: Ed is a member of the Mistawasis First Nation in
Saskatchewan but has spent his career in Ottawa. He has worked as the Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centres in Ottawa and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, respectively. Joining the federal Department of the Solicitor General of Canada (later Public Safety Canada) in 1984, Ed led an Aboriginal Policy Unit responsible for community corrections, crime prevention and community safety planning, including a focus on Aboriginal street gangs and missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Ed spearheaded approaches to healing, using communities’ traditional cultural and spiritual approaches. For his work, Ed was awarded the 2002 APEX Award for Leadership within the Executive cadre of the federal public service. Ed is also a proud father and grandfather.

Robert Ceh

Vice Chair / Secretary / Treasurer

Position: Business Manager and Comptroller (Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services).

Robert is currently a manager in Regional Service Delivery with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Robert has been working for the OPS for more than 20 years in program and financial capacities primarily supporting the delivery of social services to adults and children in Ontario. Prior to joining the OPS, Robert worked for many years in sales and marketing capacities in the construction industry. Robert joined Applaud Board in 2016 and is currently Vice Chair and Treasurer. He volunteers with Applaud to assist in the development of programs to support members, and to help bring awareness of Applaud to active members.

Angelin Soosaipillai


Position: As the Vice President of EDI at Mitacs, Angelin has provided the organization with expert leadership and strategies on EDI to promote inclusive innovation. Angelin was the Director of Consulting at the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion where she advised a wide range of employers across Canada. She previously served as Professional Development Lawyer at the Ontario Bar Association where she designed and launched the Inclusive Leader Series certificate program to address systemic obstacles present in the legal profession and justice system. She holds an LLB from the University of Birmingham Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.

Will Stratton


Position: Will has extensive expertise in leading large transformations, developing revenue generation and growth strategies, and process improvement. He places a strong emphasis on customer experience with a special ability to develop creative solutions to complex problems. Formerly Will was with the Department of National Defence, and volunteers for the ‘Right to Play’ youth- to-youth program as well as initiating a program to give Syrian refugees a camp experience.

Subagini Sivapatham


Subagini Sivapatham has spent over 15 years in non-profit organizations management, leading and developing strategic aims through brand building, integrated marketing, client experience and business development. Her past adventures included, promoting stories of entrepreneurial innovations and success, connecting Canadian achievements and sparking ideas with leading edge change makers across the country. Currently, she is currently enabling creatives thrive through inclusive economic enablement and fostering creative placemaking, as the Director, Marketing and Communications with Artscape Inc. In addition to being the co-founder of PR, eh?, a Canadian Public Relations Company that represents the underrepresented in the music and entertainment industry. Her passion for community engagement and growth is further reflected in her previous volunteer board posts, including Access Entrepreneurship Connections, Women’s Economic Council and Moorelands Kids.

Allan Scott


Allan has over three decades of public service experience, retiring after his third Director role. He began his professional career as a police officer before going into the Ontario Public Service as a provincial prosecutor in the Ministry of the Attorney General. After working at several ministries in policy, operations and regulatory roles in Toronto and Kingston, he retired from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in 2023.

As Superintendent of Private Career Colleges, Allan served on the province’s Training Completion Assurance Fund board, managing a $25 million fund to ensure vocational students could receive training completions should a registered school cease operations. He also serves on his Cathedral’s board, overseeing an $800 thousand budget and long-term capital planning.

Javier Ibanez


Javier Ibáñez is a senior business leader whose professional practice focuses on creating and embedding high-performance sales cultures. Mr. Ibáñez is an expert in leading enterprise-level business development strategy and has worked for several of Canada’s largest insurers. He is a highly sought-after advisor in the area of B2B marketing, sales and communications. Mr. Ibáñez is a passionate educator and keynote speaker at industry events. He is a skilled communicator and is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Mr. Ibáñez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University and a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Saint Francis Xavier University. His research Graduate degree research focused on Organizational Learning Mechanisms; analyzing how organizations create, share and leverage knowledge to achieve competitive advantage in the marketplace. He has completed post-graduate work in Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business. He is currently completing an LLM in corporate law at Osgoode Hall Law School.

He and his wife are the proud parents of four boys and are active in outdoor sports including hiking, canoeing and fly fishing. They make their home outside of Toronto.

Lesley Brown

Executive Director

My favourite quote is: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust. I find this particularly fitting for the transformation that Applaud is going through. As we re-imagine Applaud, we are recognizing the traditions upon which this organization was built, while also seeing the possibilities for the future of the organization.

My Go-to Karaoke song is: The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Originally recorded by Solomon Linda with the Evening Birds, this song has been adapted by many artists including the Weavers and Jimmy Dorsey, and most notably played in the Lion King. It’s not my favourite song, but I sang it so often to put my daughter to sleep when she was a baby, that I know the lyrics fairly well.

The best piece of advice I've ever been given is: Stay calm and carry on. It has served me well many times.

My favorite word in the English language is: Interlocutor (a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation). I used it so many times when I was working at Essential Skills Ontario that I was ordered to pay $1.00 every time I said it. It’s still my favourite word, just a bit expensive to use too often.

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous? No one famous that I know of, but there was a chimney sweep, a suffragette, and a female bar owner in the 1800’s, how cool is that?

My first job was: working for the CNE on the games. I worked at the one where people used a spray gun to hit a target to make their car reach the top, and one night all the players thought it was really funny to turn their spray guns on me!

Darlene Nakamura

Manager, Governance & Business

Stephany Borrero Morales

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications

Megan Collier-Bansil

Manager, Member Services & Programming (Acting)

Olex Katsenelson

Manager, Member Services & Programming (Mat Leave)

Sia Carr

Coordinator, Member Services & Programming

Lisa Zhang

Specialist, Marketing & Communications



Click on thumbnail images to view Annual Reports

LOGIN to access other Annual Reports and Audited Financial Statements

Click on thumbnail images to view Annual Reports

The Quarter Century Club (QCC) is changing its name to Applaud because it no longer reflects its new strategic direction. Instead, it is rooted in its history of recognizing 25 years of work in public service when the organization was part of the government. This change to Applaud officially marks a new stage where the organization is evolving its programming away from long service recognition to focus on a more comprehensive approach to acknowledging its members at every career stage and into retirement.

QCC expands its membership requirements beyond the Ontario Public Service to those in the Broader Public Service and Nonprofit at all stages of their life and career to recognize pride of service of the membership.  Developed a three year Strategic plan that honours the past while moving into the future.

Membership with the QCC is no longer automatic for those in the OPS and BPS upon reaching a service milestone, but rather those eligible can opt-in to become members.

The OPS/QCC Transfer Payment Agreement was restructured to strengthen the OPS/QCC, relationship with the QCC administering the long-service recognition program, on behalf of the Ontario Public Service to OPS employees who have achieved 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of continuous and cumulative service.

The QCC extended recognition to OPS employees to 15-year service members.

The OPS extended their recognition program to employees with 20, 30 and 35 plus years of service at each 5-year service milestone, adding to recognition for 25 years of service.

The Ontario Government dedicated funding to the Long Service Recognition Programming for Ontario Public Service employees. QCC invested in its membership programs by raising revenue through its Affinity programs and by voluntary participation of its members.

The QCC became an incorporated not-for-profit association.

Ontario Public Service (OPS) commissioned the Quarter Century Club (QCC) as a dedicated program within the Ontario Government to recognize OPS workers with many years of service.