Strategic Advisory Board

Helps the Institute in achieving its vision and mission. The Board is an advisory to the Cumming School of Medicine and the University of Calgary and guides the Director and Leadership Team of the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute.


Ms. Gail O’Brien

Ms. Gail O’Brien, Chair

Born in Montreal, and with a Bachelors Degree in English and Fine Arts from McGill University, Ms. O’Brien moved to Calgary with her husband David and 3 children in 1978.   Her career in fashion spanned the next 30 years including the last 10 as General Manager of Holt Renfrew in Calgary.

During that time Ms. O’Brien began her deep commitment to community involvement (Glenbow Museum and Y.W.C.A Calgary)  and since her retirement in 2000, she has devoted herself full time to the Not-for-Profit sector focusing largely on Children, Medicine and the Arts in organizations across Canada.

Ms. O’Brien is currently a Director of SickKids Foundation with a cross appointment as Trustee of the Hospital.  She is also the Chair of Children First Canada, and a Director of Business /Arts.

She chairs the Dean’s Advisory Board, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the Charbonneau Cancer Institute Advisory Board.  As well she serves on the Advisory Boards of the O’Brien Institute of Public Health and the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences.

Past Board positions include Chair of the National Arts Centre Foundation, Trustee of the NAC, Trustee of the Ontario Science Centre and Co-Chair of the Council for Canadian American Relations in New York.

Ms. O’Brien has received the Women of Distinction Award for Business and Entrepreneurs, an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Calgary as well as the Eric Harvey Award recognizing her contribution to the Arts from the Glenbow Museum.  In September 2011, Gail received the Alberta Medical Association Award of Honor (for a non medical person) for her contribution to Health Quality in Alberta.

Ms. O’Brien is married to David O’Brien.  They have 3 children and 10 grandchildren all residing in Toronto.


Ms. Heather Culbert

Ms. Heather Culbert

With over 27 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, Ms. Culbert has held senior positions and was formerly the Senior Vice President of Corporate Services at Enerplus, a mid-sized oil and gas company.

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Mr. Keith MacPhail

Mr. Keith MacPhail

Mr. MacPhail is a director and Chairman of Bonavista Energy Corporation (“Bonavista”), a publicly traded oil and gas company; a director and Chairman of NuVista Energy Ltd., a publicly traded oil and gas company; and serves on the board of directors of a private company. 

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Mr. Marvin Romanow

Mr. Marvin Romanow

Mr. Romanow is a Corporate Director, Executive in Residence at the University of Saskatchewan, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexen Inc. 

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Mr. Allan Ross

Mr. Allan Ross

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Ms. Sharon Siebens

Ms. Sharon Siebens

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Mr. Tony Smith

Mr. Tony Smith

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Ms. Janelle Wakaruk

Ms. Janelle Wakaruk

Janelle Wakaruk is Director of Development, Fund Development in the Cumming School of Medicine, where an important part of her portfolio is the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. Janelle has worked in both communications and fund development for over 14 years.

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Dr. Gerald Zamponi

Dr. Gerald Zamponi

Dr. Zamponi’s broad research focus has been on the roles of voltage gated calcium channels in controlling the electrical activities of neurons, how they are compromised in various neurological disorders and, more specifically, how they can be targeted for the development of new therapeutics for pain.

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