Changes to leadership at Food Allergy Canada

Dear Food Allergy Community,

Laurie Harada

It is with bittersweet emotions that I write to you today to let you know that this will be my final year as the Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada.

I first got involved with the organization when I started the Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Group, a local parent group in 2000. My inspiration at that time was my young son, Julian, who had been diagnosed with food allergies. I wanted to make a difference by helping others.

Since I joined as the Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada in May 2003, I’ve had the honour of working alongside a dedicated team of staff, volunteers, and consultants. As I look back over 14+ years in this role, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished together as a community to improve the lives of more than 2.6 million Canadians affected by food allergy.

We’ve increased public awareness about food allergy, improved anaphylaxis management policies in schools, and pushed for easier to understand food labelling. We’ve come a long way, but there is still a lot more work to be done.

I’m thrilled to announce that Jennifer Gerdts will take over as the Executive Director of Food Allergy Canada as of January 1, 2018.

As a senior business leader who has provided strategy consulting services to companies for more than 15 years, Jennifer is well poised to lead the organization. The mother of three teens, two of whom have multiple food allergies, Jennifer certainly has a passion for the cause and wants to see more people with food allergies live confidently. Jennifer has been actively involved with Food Allergy Canada, having joined the Board of Directors in 2014, and taking the leadership role as the Board Chair in 2015.

As we wind down the year, Jennifer and I will work closely together, and I’ll continue to provide support to the organization on a consultancy basis next year to ensure a smooth transition.

Thank you for supporting Food Allergy Canada over the years. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of you, whether it be in person, over emails, through phone calls, and even over the Food Allergy Canada Facebook account. I’m honoured to have had your trust not only to lead this organization, but to also advocate on your behalf.

Although I am leaving my position, our shared passion for a safer world for those with food allergies will continue regardless of where my path may lead.

Stay tuned to hear more from Jennifer and the rest of the team in the coming months.


Laurie Harada