Our Executive Team

To reach our management team, please call 1-866-470-7111 or email info@strongestfamilies.com.

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie

President & CEO

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie is co-founder of the Strongest Families Institute (SFI) and SFI's proprietary digital health platform, IRIS.  She is President and CEO of SFI, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and a Scientist at the IWK Health Centre. Dr. Pottie has more than 30 years of pediatric nursing experience with expertise in research methods, scale development and the conduct of randomized clinical trials. The past 20 years have been focused on psychological research, specifically harnessing the advantages of technology to deliver accessible and timely distance, evidence-based interventions to children, youth, adults and families. Dr. Pottie has published 32 articles and editorials. As the leader of SFI and IRIS, Dr. Pottie has scaled SFI services successfully within Canada and in some regions internationally. She is the recipient of the Digital Health Canada 2020 Women Leaders In Digital Health Award, CAMIMH (Champions of Mental Health Award) 2019, Atlantic Canada Top 50 CEO 2018, and the co-recipient of the 2017 Governor General Innovation Award of Canada and the 2013 Ernest C. Manning Principal Encana Award for Social Innovation. Under her leadership, Strongest Families Institute has also received the 2012 Mental Health Commission of Canada Award for Social Innovation.


Kati LaVigne

VP Strategy and Engagement

Kati joined Strongest Families in 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology as well as an Executive Certificate in Leadership & Innovation from Dalhousie University. Kati oversees SFI’s strategic planning, funder contracts and stakeholder relations while providing daily leadership.

Jillian Kennedy

VP Operations

Jillian joined Strongest Families in 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from St.FX and an Executive Certificate in Leadership & Innovation from Dalhousie University. Jillian oversees operational growth and development for the company as well as leading our eHealth platform, IRIS.

Darcy Comeau

VP Finance

Darcy joined Strongest Families in Feb 2019 and leads the organization's risk and financial processes including strategies, budget, planning and forecasting. She holds a Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada designation.

Kimberly Woodford

Research, Innovation & Evaluation Specialist/Clinical lead

Kimberly recently returned to SFI (2006 to 2017) in her current role after having previous leadership positions within SFI.  She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with a Master of Arts degree in Child and Youth Study.  Her previous employment was with Nova Scotia Health as a Recreational Therapist in Mental Health and Addictions (as well as long term care), and most recently (since 2017) was the Program Director, course instructor and academic internship supervisor for the Dalhousie’s Therapeutic Recreation Program. She is also an active member of the Nova Scotia Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Elizabeth Hines

Director of Coaching Services

Elizabeth joined Strongest Families in July 2013 as a Coach.  She has a Bachelor of Education from MSVU and in her role as Director, she oversees our Coaches in the delivery of our programs ensuring quality delivery and strong outcomes.  She is a proud military spouse and works closely with our military and Veteran family agencies.

April Schwanz

Director of Program Development

April joined Strongest Families in 2007.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria and works on the strategic development of our programs and is currently developing the Stepped Care model approach beginning with our Parents Empowering Kids Program - The Early Years.


Theresa Cunningham

Director of Business Development

Theresa joined Strongest Families in 2011 and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from UNB and has evolved from many leadership roles to the Business Development Director. She is instrumental in helping Strongest Families achieve financial growth. She is a strategic thinking individual, who enthusiastically works alongside her teammates to help improve the lives of individuals.

Anne Marie Shannon

Director Communications and Fundraising

Anne Marie joined Strongest Families in April 2020.  She brings with her 25+ years experience in Communications and Fundraising in the Not for Profit sector. She holds a diploma in Business with a major in Marketing.  She focuses daily on our Digital Marketing Strategy, Internal and External Communications and Fund Development.

Katie Nickerson

Research and Project Director

Katie joined Strongest Families in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from MSVU. Katie provides oversight and expertise on research development and integration with SFI programming, works to enhance SFI’s user-centered products and programs, and manages our advisory committees.

Alyssa Blais

Director of Quality Assurance and Training

Alyssa joined Strongest Families in September 2020. She brings with her 10+ years experience in developing and overseeing new programs, systems and processes. She holds a degree in Psychology, a diploma in Administration and a certificate in Leadership from St. Francis Xavier. She monitors SFI’s services as well as training programs to improve employee performance and productivity.


Michael Hughes

Director of IT

Mike joined SFI in 2014 and has done an incredible job growing and leading the IT department for the past 7 years. In this role, he will continue to lead the IT team, as well as manage the design and implementation of SFI’s IT infrastructure, and eliminating security risks as it relates to information technology.

Mark Long

Director of Software Engineering

Mark joined Strongest Families as Director of Software Engineering in 2021, and has served as a strategic advisor to Strongest Families since 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Computing & Information Systems from the Sobey School of Business. Mark is an expert in Agile and Lean and has 10+ years of experience guiding software teams in the areas of development processes, technical best practices and continuous improvement. He oversees SFI's engineering team and our continued innovation via the IRIS platform.