Our Team

Michelle Nye, Chair

Michelle is a teacher, musician, mother of three children and founding member of Oasis. After receiving tremendous support following the death of her second daughter, Angelica, Michelle has been blessed to accompany others along their journeys down similar paths as a bereavement support group facilitator and birth and bereavement doula. She lives in Newmarket with her husband Jeff and her children Holly, Thijs and of course Angelica in her heart.

Tony Van Bynen, Honourary Chair

Tony Van Bynen is currently the Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora. He served three consecutive terms as Mayor of the Town of Newmarket and has served as an elected representative for the Town for 18 years. Prior to his work in public service, Mr. Van Bynen worked in the banking industry at RBC for more than thirty years. In addition to his involvement on the Southlake Regional Health Centre Board, Community Awareness Committee as well as a member of the Hospice Cabinet fundraising Committee, Mr. Van Bynen was a founding director of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce and Smart Commute Central York, as well as a founding member of the Belinda’s Place Women’s Shelter.

Christine Glenn, Treasurer

Christine is a previous 20 year employee with RBC and a founding member of Oasis. Currently she is self employed, a board member with the East Gwillimbury Friends of the Library, Vice-Chair of the North Union Community Group, a former member of the East Gwillimbury Environmental Advisory Committee and a volunteer for the food pantries in EG. She was educated at Western University and is a long-time resident of York Region. Having experienced loss herself and having helped families work through the estate settlement process in her time with the bank, she is excited to help establish a digital space that helps make everyone’s grief journey easier and personal to their needs.

Lisa Snow, Secretary

Lisa is Director of Strategy & Change Enablement at RBC. Over 25 years in the financial industry, Lisa has supported employees, clients, and leadership teams through varying degrees of change. She has a BA in English and Psychology and is a Prosci certified Change Management Professional and a Co-Active certified executive coach. Lisa was born and raised in Newmarket and has chosen to establish her own family in northern York Region. Lisa understands that each individual experiences grief differently and is pleased to be engaged in an organization that aims to connect people with the services they need to navigate their unique bereavement journey.

Juliet Irish, Director

Juliet is a retired nurse and the former Executive Director of Doane House Hospice. She has been fortunate to have lived and worked in many countries around the world, including: UK, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Indonesia and of course Canada. These lived experiences have taught Juliet to be inclusive, non-judgemental and humble. Through her 17 years with DHH, her leadership role involved; program development, staff – volunteer recruitment and education, community engagement, group facilitation, participating in working groups to better serve our communities, as well as fundraising, mentoring and advocacy. The most rewarding part of her job was the client interaction and being privy to individuals and families innermost fears and hopes on a journey they didn’t chose to take, but be able to offer a safe space for them to be. Her personal identity is as: a mother, a wife, a caregiver, a community member and a friend, and she hopes to be able to use these roles in supporting Oasis Centre for Bereavement and Healing be the hub for resource sharing for those who are bereaved.

Michelle Cowan, Ornament Artist

I have wandered this world for 58 years, starting in the south of England and ending up in the country of my soul Canada. Over the years I have done this and that, but never any thing that really spoke to me. I trained as a nurse and have worked for the Canadian Cancer Society, been a framer for Michaels but nothing seemed to fit. Then in my early 50s I finally found my passion, CLAY. I had fulfilled my promise to my Dad

Back in 1996 I received a call that changed my life, my father Tony Puttick had collapsed and was very sick. We bundled our kids (who were 4 and 8 months at the time) up and took the next flight to England. My Father was 64 and passed 6 weeks later from an aggressive brain tumor. He had planned everything for his retirement (his mortgage was paid up the week he died) but didn’t get to do any of the things he had yearned to do. From the day of his funeral I swore to him that I would try to live each day to its fullest and promised to find a passion.

Dad was always proud of the creative things I had done but I think he would be exceptionally pleased that I have discovered my clay work.

I hand roll my clay which normally takes about 30 minutes. Each piece is hand molded, fired, hand painted, dipped in glaze then fired again.

I hope you enjoy my pieces and know that they are all one of a kind.