Our Leadership Team

Strides Toronto has talented, passionate, committed staff supporting the diverse needs of our clients and their families. We employ experienced child and youth workers, child therapists, child and family therapists, speech and language pathologists, communicative disorders assistants, social workers, psychologists, behaviour therapists and family home visitors. Our staff are often able to provide services in languages other than English. If we don’t have someone that speaks your language, we will use interpreters to help us work with you and your family.

Janet McCrimmon

Chief Executive Officer 

Janet McCrimmon is a strategic, transformative leader with over 20 years of senior leadership experience in not-for-profits. Since 2016, she has served as Executive Director of Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, which amalgamated with East Metro Youth Services to form Strides Toronto in 2020. Previously, Janet was the founding Executive Director of Community Organizational Health Inc. (COHI), a provincial organization accrediting community health centres across Ontario. Janet was later part of a consulting team that completed a business feasibility study resulting in COHI transforming to become the Canadian Centre for Accreditation, a national non-profit that accredits nine different types of organizations today. Janet has also served as Director, Building Inclusive Communities at Family Service Toronto (FST), a department that provided developmental services to adults and children as well as a range of community development programs, and as FST’s Director, Research, Evaluation and Planning. Her prior roles include work in a community health centre, a violence against women shelter and two years volunteering in Africa as Non-Formal Learning Advisor with ActionAid Sierra Leone.

Erin Physick

Director of Mental Health Services 

Erin began at Strides Toronto in 2011 (then East Metro Youth Services) as a core staff in our What’s Up Walk-in clinic. Strides Toronto was fortunate that Erin brought prior experience with brief counselling, having worked at one of the first walk-in clinics in Calgary. Subsequently, she took on the role of a clinical youth outreach worker (YOW) in the community. In 2014 she joined our management team as the supervisor for the Strengthening Families Program. In 2016 Erin took on the role of Manager of the East Toronto YOW Program and then in 2017 assumed the position of Manager of Brief Services. She has served as Director of Clinical and Professionals services since 2019. Erin has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary.

Paul Van de Laar

Senior Director of  Service Excellence

Paul Van de Laar is a strategic and collaborative leader with more than 25 years of management experience in the healthcare and social services sectors, including 15 years of senior management experience.

As the Senior Director of Service Excellence at Strides Toronto, Paul is accountable for ensuring high quality services within the Mental Health Department, the Community Services Department and the Autism and Developmental Services Department.  Previously, Paul worked at Cota Health in several roles including Director of Developmental Services and Acquired Brain Injury Services, Senior Manager of Clinical Services, and Manager of Mental Health Services. Furthermore, he had also acted as Manager of Paediatric and Outpatient Mental Health Services at North York General Hospital, Manager of Community Services at Geneva Centre for Autism, and Director of Programs at Project Work.

Paul has a Master’s degree in Social Work, a BA in Sociology, and a certificate in Management of Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Sarah MacLeod

Director of Human Resources

Sarah MacLeod is a human resources leader with more than 15 years of experience and has been with Strides Toronto since June 2018. Before joining Aisling Discoveries, Sarah worked at Durham Mental Health Services, the Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Sarah holds an Honours BA in anthropology from the University of Waterloo and a certified human resources leader designation from the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario.

Darryl Nurse

Director of Autism and Developmental Services

Darryl Nurse joined Strides Toronto (then Aisling Discoveries) in January 2002. His first experiences with families living with autism were through summer jobs he held while completing his undergraduate degree. Since then he has lived and worked with children and families living with autism in Scarborough and East York for more than 15 years. He has held multiple board positions with the Ontario Association of Behaviour Analysis, including a term as president. He has also participated in multiple city-wide and community planning projects related to autism services.

Darryl holds a BA in psychology from Mount Allison University and has completed graduate coursework in applied behaviour analysis at the University of North Texas.

Tammie Orifa

Director of Community Services

A leadership professional with over 15 years of experience working in community-based organizations that support children, youth and adults, Tammie Orifa joined Strides Toronto in 2022. Before joining Strides, Tammie worked at Frontier College as the manager of their Toronto-based youth and adult literacy programs and trades-based academic upgrading. She previously worked at JVS Toronto as the Manager of their Jane Finch Employment Service program, overseeing operations for a large multi-service space. As part of her role at JVS, she also worked as a trainer and job developer for their Ontario Works program and ODSP Ability Works program in partnership with the Bank of Montreal.

Throughout her career, Tammie has strived to amplify the voices of those she works with and raise awareness about the needs of those without equitable access to health, education, employment, food and housing. She has lent her expertise and resources to support these populations through her paid and unpaid affiliations, including being the volunteer chair of two charity organizations.

Tammie holds an Honors B.A. in Anthropology, a B.Ed. in Primary Junior Education and a Certificate in Adult Training and Learning. She has also completed continuing education courses in human resources, HTML and e-learning, project management and change management.

Debra Williams

Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Debra Williams has implemented transformation projects and interventions for over 25 years as a performance strategist and empowerment coach. She specializes in leadership mentoring, process design, modernizing procedures, and leading teams of subject matter experts for measurable results. Her involvement with equity-seeking groups began in the environmental conservation field, where she focused on watershed protection of land designated for new construction in environmentally sensitive areas inhabited by underrepresented populations.

A certified auditor, fraud examiner, and cognitive-behavioural techniques practitioner, Debra applies established methods and designs the right approach to support specific projects and outcomes. She was drawn by the opportunity to work in an organization committed to serving mental health needs in a diverse, underserved community. Throughout her career, Debra has worked in public service agencies that focus on improving clients’ lives through programs designed to achieve equitable outcomes.

Catharine de Leeuw

Director, Strategy and Quality

With more than 30 years of experience and progressive leadership in the not-for-profit sector, Catharine de Leeuw brings Strides Toronto a depth of knowledge in strategic and operational planning, continuous quality improvement and community development.

Catharine joined Strides in 2018 initially to support organizational performance management and moved to provide leadership to the sector-wide system planning and management team. Before joining Strides Toronto, Catharine worked at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, progressing to senior management and introducing a balanced scorecard approach for strategy performance management. Earlier in her career, Catharine worked with community-based mental health and social support service providers and developed capacity building in evaluation, outcome measurement and social policy advocacy.

Catharine holds a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University in Community Development and Social Planning and a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto. She has completed additional courses in advanced analytics, leadership and change management.