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Leadership change at Food Allergy Canada

November 16, 2017

Leadership change at Food Allergy Canada: Laurie Harada hands Executive Director baton to Jennifer Gerdts to continue advocacy for families with food allergies

TORONTO, ON – November 16, 2017 – After more than 14 years leading Food Allergy Canada, Laurie Harada will be stepping down as Executive Director as of December 31, 2017.

Ms. Harada has been at the forefront of public policy changes that have improved the safety and quality of life for Canadians with food allergies and their caregivers. From the internationally groundbreaking Sabrina’s Law to instrumental changes in federal food labelling regulations, Ms. Harada has been a tireless advocate on behalf of more than 2.6 million Canadians with food allergies. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her services.

“Laurie is gifting a tremendous legacy for which the food allergy community is thankful,” said past and incoming Board Chair Philip Haid. “It has been a privilege to work alongside Laurie and observe her dedication, tenacity, skills, and her ability to galvanize stakeholders from all sectors around important causes. We are pleased that Laurie will be staying on in a consultant capacity to ensure a seamless transition as we begin an exciting new chapter in our organization.”

Having served on the Board of Directors for Food Allergy Canada, departing Board Chair and senior business leader, Jennifer Gerdts will step into the role as Executive Director on January 1, 2018. Jennifer is intimately familiar with the organization, its history, and philosophy.

“We are very fortunate to have Jennifer assume the mantle of leadership”, said Mr. Haid. “Her thoughtfulness, professional and community experience, and her compassion are tremendous assets as Food Allergy Canada continues to grow and advocate for Canadians with food allergies.”

While building on Laurie’s accomplishments, Jennifer arrives with clear priorities to maintain and grow the organization’s solid foundation. “I am excited to lead the organization as we continue to enhance our programs, services, and advocacy efforts so that more people affected by food allergies can live confidently,” said Ms. Gerdts. “I am grateful that I will be able to rely on a strong, experienced team of staff and volunteers and that Laurie will remain as an invaluable resource.”

Reflecting on her tenure, Ms. Harada noted the depth of talent in the organization. “It has been a great privilege to be a part of an incredible team at Food Allergy Canada and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” said Ms. Harada. “By continuing to pursue a path of patience, empathy, and respect, I am convinced the food allergy landscape in Canada will only get better and I look forward to continued progress under Jennifer’s leadership.”

About Food Allergy Canada
Food Allergy Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians live more confidently with food allergies. The organization is committed to creating a safer world for people with potentially life-threatening allergies through education, advocacy, and research. The organization’s approach to reducing the risk of allergic reactions in both children and adults is focused on self-management, community engagement, understanding, and respect. For more information, please visit foodallergycanada.ca.


For more information please contact:

Christopher Holcroft
Empower Consulting, for Food Allergy Canada
416-996-0767/ 514-844-0664