The individuals that make up the team at The Nightingale Centre have extensive experience in supporting children, youth, and their families through grief, death and dying. Coming from diverse backgrounds in psychology, organizational governance, thanatology and more, each member of The Nightingale Team shares a passion for supporting our community through significant and devastating loss.

Susan Lambden

Susan Lambden is an experienced sales professional who has lived and worked in the Guelph community for over 30 years. She holds an Honours Degree in Biochemistry and Nutrition along with a Bachelors of Education. Susan brings to the table experience in owning and running her own small business, which she operated for a number of years. Further, she has dedicated countless hours volunteering with the Upper Grand District School Board, sitting on various committees including health and safety, boundary realignments and principal designations. Susan was actively involved in her children’s school Parent Council, organizing extracurriculars, fundraising events and tutoring programs for the students and school community.

Susan suffered the personal tragic loss of her son, Nicholas Lambden, in 2007. She was successful in finding bereavement support for herself, but was made aware of the lack of programs available for her daughter throughout their bereavement journey. Since then, she has found fulfillment in providing peer support to those who have also lost their children. She is most passionate about giving back to the community through her son’s foundation, which serves to support less fortunate youth through sports, education, and the arts.

Susan looks forward to supporting The Nightingale Centre’s mission in ensuring that bereaved children and youth will have a safe space to access the support and counselling that they need.

Bill Allen

Bill Allen is currently Managing Director of WRA Management Group specializing in strategic and business planning, organizational governance and program review. He has the unique background of having worked within both government and industry. Following a 33-year career with the Ontario Public Service, Bill held several leadership roles in both the tourism and agriculture industries, including President and CEO of Tourism Toronto and the inaugural President of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. In his consulting role, he has assisted many not-for-profit boards in strategic repositioning, governance and program reviews.

Bill has volunteered on several not-for-profit and charity boards as a board member, committee chair and board chair. With the Ontario government, he held positions in six different ministries, culminating as Deputy-Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Bill holds a Bachelor and Master of Science from the University of Guelph and an MBA specializing in organizational development from Laurier University. He is an avid cyclist and downhill skier.

Jennifer Coupland

Jennifer is trusted business professional with over 25 years experience in Sales, Business Development, Finance and HR.  As the Director of Finance & HR, for Fill it Forward in Guelph her goal is to support her team in their career growth, and to grow the company by providing support in all aspects of Accounting, Operations, Finance and HR.

As part of the Cambridge Highland Games volunteer committee in the early 2000’s, and a volunteer board member and coach with Cambridge Scorpions volleyball and a team member with Drayton Entertainment Jennifer has learned the value of partnerships and their impact on fundraising to ensure financial wellbeing and sustainability of not for profits and charitable organizations. Jennifer hopes to use her volunteer and business experience to help ensure financial stability for The Nightingale Centre.  

After suffering tragic losses in 2018 Jennifer discovered that help specific for grieving families was available however the help was more geared for young adults and adults, not as much for younger children. In late 2021 Jennifer discovered The Nightingale Centre and was so fortunate to be chosen as a board member. One of her goals as a board member is to use her experiences with loss and grief can help other understand theirs.

Maria Vassiliou

Maria Vassiliou is an entrepreneur in the death literacy and grief advocacy space. Based on her lived experiences with death and grief, Maria has recognized a large hole in society's appreciation and understanding of mortality. As the founder of Philotimo Life, she works to influence social and educational policies around grief and bereavement as a way to modernize death policy and normalize these conversations.
She is a respected artist and photographer who is regularly invited to participate in artist's residencies around the world, with her work being featured internationally. She's previously served as the Vice Curator for the Toronto Global Shapers Hub, a member of the Board of Directors of the Panmessinian Association of Toronto, and is a social strategist in the pharmaceutical space.

Madison Lambden

Madison Lambden is a Public Relations, Operations, and Marketing Strategy professional whose passion lies in creating meaningful human connections wherever she goes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Business Specialization) degree in the Creative Industries with a focus on Professional Communications from Ryerson University. As a student leader, Madison was involved in extracurriculars related to public relations, marketing, communications, events and peer mentoring.

In 2007, Madison suffered the personal tragic loss of her younger brother, Nicholas Lambden. As a bereaved adolescent, Madison quickly realized the lack of both peer and professional support that was available to her. Throughout her grief journey, she has found healing in providing peer support to others and assisting in the development of her brother’s foundation, which serves to support less fortunate youth in the community through sports, education, and the arts. Madison’s personal experience coping with a significant loss at such a vulnerable age has fuelled her desire to give back to the grieving and bereaved individuals of the Guelph community through The Nightingale Centre.

As a Guelph native, Madison holds the community extremely close to her heart. She hopes to be able to spark a sense of hope among youth experiencing similar journeys with her story and the insight she has gained. More importantly, she wants to ensure that bereaved children, youth and their families in the Guelph community never have to feel as isolated as she once did.

John Shearer

John has had a professional career that closely intersects with the work that The Nightingale Centre does in the local community. Working with one of Canada’s largest bereavement sector employers,  John spent 8 years as a senior manager and Regional Director of more than 10 cemeteries and funeral homes in Ontario. Having spent years working closely with grief John understands the unique impact it has on children and youth.

More recently, John made the decision to give back to his own community of Guelph in a more meaningful way and began the process of becoming a Social Worker and Psychotherapist. John has experience working with youth mental health, addictions, and housing, and is thrilled to be able to combine his bereavement and grief leadership experience in conjunction with his mental health training to ensure that The Nightingale Centre achieves its mission of ensuring bereaved children and youth will have the help and support that they need. 

Ryan Vielma

Ryan Vielma is a Senior Account Manager at Intrigue in Guelph. His goal is to live and breathe the company’s purpose - to empower leaders to strengthen communities. Everywhere Ryan goes, and everything he does is geared around the word “Community”, which is why The Nightingale Centre in Guelph is so important to him.

After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA), he joined the Laurier Alumni Relations department as a Communications Officer for the Annual Giving team. Ryan fell in love with the Laurier community and working with the Annual Giving team to raise funds to support the University, the students and the faculty was a perfect fit.

Born and raised in Guelph, Ryan feels a sense of pride and responsibility to see his community grow and flourish. Ryan is passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives and is thrilled to be able to help The Nightingale Centre reach those who are grieving.

Madison Parson

Madison Parson is an Associate Consultant with Parson & Associates Private Wealth Management in Guelph. She receives professional fulfillment assisting clients with complex financial planning and being a resource during life’s milestones. Madison’s long-term professional goal is to empower and educate Canadians to be financially proficient, especially those in vulnerable communities.

Madison is a mom to a beautiful 4 year old son and a sheepadoodle pup. She and her family are avid philanthropists through sponsorship of multiple local sports associations, the Canadian Cancer Society, The Princess Margaret Charity Organization, World Wildlife Foundation, The Heart & Stroke Foundation, and The Nightingale Centre.

After completing her degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2013, Madison returned to Guelph to join the family business. She now has the pleasure of raising her son in the beautiful township of Woolwich. Her hobbies include listening to self-development podcasts, reading fantasy novels, hiking, and travelling.

Madison takes great pride in being able to be involved with The Nightingale Centre.

Ed Sluga

Ed Sluga is President, Managing Consultant and founding partner of PGgrowth – one of Canada’s largest fundraising consulting firms. Ed is one of Canada’s most experienced professionals in the field of planned giving and a thought leader to the fundraising community. Throughout his career, Ed has led and operated organizations and programs of many sizes that have focused on local, regional and national causes.


Ed is a Professor in the Humber College Fundraising Management Course, the co-author of the fundraising manual Worthy & Prepared, the host of PGgrowth’s Planned Giving Podcast and regularly speaks to associated professional groups on establishing fundraising programs.