BMN board hopefuls make their case

The Beach Metro News annual general meeting will take place Thursday, June 8 at 2196 Gerrard St. E. at 7 p.m. Current members of the newspaper are eligible to attend the meeting and vote for officers of the volunteer board of directors.

Following are bios for the candidates running for election on the Beach Metro News board of directors:


Doug Black has volunteered on the Board of Directors at Beach Metro News since 2013, currently serving as treasurer.

He is a retired architect and former Bell Canada employee, where he worked in the real estate department. His 26-year Bell career started in Ottawa, followed by London, and culminated in Toronto.

He currently works part-time at The Home Depot, and is a volunteer at the Beach Metro News as a carrier and a route captain. He is a regular volunteer at Tuesday morning bundling sessions on publication days.

Doug grew up in the West Island of Montreal and graduated from Carleton University School of Architecture.  He has lived in the Beach for the last 24 years, but also relishes relaxing (and renovating) at his cottage in the Haliburton Highlands.

Doug enjoyed six years as volunteer Treasurer for the St. John Catholic School Advisory Council (parent/teacher organization). He coached in the Beaches Community Soccer League for three years, as well as one year in the East Toronto Baseball Association (Rookie ball). Doug has been a long-time blood donor and recently reached the 100 mark.

Desmond Brown is a lifelong resident of the Beach area. He grew up in the Coxwell-Dundas area and attended Bowmore Road, Fairmount Park, and Monarch Park Secondary School.

He attended Ryerson’s School of Journalism and worked for major news organizations such as the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Global News, and CTV News Toronto (CFTO).

Desmond has sat on the volunteer boards of the Herb Carnegie Future Aces Foundation and the Ted Reeve Community Arena.

He is currently a real estate agent with Royal LePage Estate at Glen Manor and Queen.

Bill Burrows is a long time Beach resident with a keen interest in contributing to the local community. He lives in the Beach with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Natalie and their two Boxers; Bobby and Oliver.

Bill has been part of the Beach fabric for more than 19 years and has been involved with a number of local groups and organizations. In addition to his work in the community, Bill has also worked in the Technology sector for more than 20 years. His experience in technology, and as a business owner bring a valuable perspective to the Beach Metro Board.

Bill’s past experience includes being President of the Kew Beach Daycare, where he served on their board for more than 5 years. He is also a Co-Founder and past President of the Kew Beach Neighbourhood Association (KBNA). Bill currently serves as Secretary on the Beach Metro News Board of Directors and as Co-Chair of the Flemingdon Health Centre and has been a member of that board for more than 5 years.

Brian Graff: I am running for the Board of the Beach Metro because I am worried about the financial future of the newspaper and its overall viability, plus I want to see it become more representative of the viewpoints of Beach residents on important issues, and not just represent the views of the paper’s staff, incumbent politicians and advertisers. The Beach Metro should reflect the views of the community, and hold politicians and governments accountable.

My background includes degrees in Architecture and Environmental Studies, and an MBA in Finance/Real Property. I hope that my experience in business will be invaluable to the Board overseeing the management of this paper.

In 2009, I chose to move to The Beach from Don Mills, where I grew up. I have been active in local politics and even ran for City Council in 2014 because I care deeply about our community. I send out emails on local matters to about 600 people periodically to help keep people informed.

Since 2011 I have been very active as a volunteer in urban planning matters including the Lick’s and Shell Station condo fights, and in the Queen Street planning Visioning Study. I am a believer that physical changes to our community need to be appropriate and should protect and preserve what is best about what we already have – this would also be my approach to the management of the Beach Metro.

But I think it is time for some changes and reforms and I would like to see more of the content of the paper written by local residents as well, so as to better reflect variety of knowledge and opinion within our community. For example I would like to see a wider range of people getting an “In My Opinion” column.

I appreciate the time, effort and dedication of the volunteers who deliver the newspaper, and of the staff too. We are lucky to have such a fine publication serving the community, and I want to ensure it has a plan to ensure it is sustainable in an era when many print publications can no longer compete and are forced to close.

Stanley Hartt is a lawyer and businessman, with strong academic credentials and public service experience. He currently serves as Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and as Special Advisor at Macquarie North America Limited.

He previously served as Deputy Minister of Finance (Canada) and Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister.  His business roles include Chairman, President and CEO of Campeau Corporation and Chairman of Citigroup Global Markets Canada Inc.

Stanley has had significant experience in journalism, having been a regular contributor to “Policy Options”, the journal of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, and authored various commentaries for the CD Howe Institute. He currently writes for “Inside Policy” the magazine of the Macdonald Laurier Institute.

During the first Quebec Referendum on sovereignty, Stanley was host of a weekly program called “Decision” on CBC television, and later hosted a public affairs interview program on Montreal radio station CJAD. He is a former director of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

Catherine McCormack is an experienced marketing and communications professional, a breast cancer survivor and advocate, a mother of two young boys who battles Multiple Sclerosis. She began her professional career in Ottawa in 1996.

Over the course of her career, she has worked for Canada Trust, TD Bank Financial Group, McDonnell Haynes Advertising and Keller Williams Advantage Realty. A breast cancer survivor and avid kickboxer, she has a long history of volunteerism and, in addition to her advocacy and spokesperson work for Breast Cancer, she has served as an Ambassador for the MS Society of Canada for a number of years.Her professional skill set ranges from her foundation in marketing and communications, to fundraising, event management and planning, business development, and public relations. Catherine has been an involved resident of the Beach for almost two decades. She was an instrumental member of the BBPA, which evolved into the BIA. She served for several years on parents council at her children’s school.

Debbie Visconti has been on the Beach Metro News board since 2014. She was born and raised in the community, growing up in the Main and Gerrard area and attending Kimberley Public School, Bowmore Public School, and Monarch Park Collegiate Institute. After obtaining her bachelor of commerce, she worked for Scotiabank for 29 years in management.

Five years ago, Debbie took on the position of Executive Director at Community Centre 55. She is responsible for community service delivery through Centre 55, including a daycare, seniors’ programs, the Share A Christmas program among a very long list of services, programs and special events. She had previously been on the Board of Management at Centre 55.

Debbie has served on the Toronto East General Hospital board. Her current volunteer duties include treasurer of a dog rescue organization, and president of her residents’ association.

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