Board of Directors

Board Members

  • Gillian Martin, Chair
  • Kerry O’Reilly Wilks
  • Jackie Yau
  • Joseph Robert
  • Shelagh Lemke
  • Van Malkhassian
  • Lauren Dade
  • Vanessa Wade

Founder: William (Harry) H. Giles

Advisor to the Board

Barbara Smith, Principal


Gillian Martin, Chair of the Board of Directors

Gillian has been ‘born and raised’ in the independent school world, growing up on the campus of Ridley College in St. Catharines, and working first at Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby (as an English Teacher, Department Head and Vice Principal),  and then as the Head of Senior School at Havergal College in Toronto. Gillian has now joyfully returned to the classroom, teaching English at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill. Gillian holds a Masters Degree from OISE/University of Toronto in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and has earned her Principals’ Qualifications (Private Schools Stream) from York University.

Experienced in building and nurturing school culture, supporting students through health and wellness initiatives, practicing progressive discipline, and engaging the parent and alumni community, Gillian brings a depth of practical know-how and pedagogical expertise to the Board of Directors at the Giles School.

Gillian also brings a history of collaboration and innovation with other independent schools, through her work with the CIS (Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario) as a Conference Committee member and frequent presenter, and with CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools), particularly the CAIS “Project 2051”, a national initiative which explored the financial and educational sustainability of independent schools across Canada.

Gillian is honoured to serve as the Chair of the Board of Directors, and looks forward to engaging with, and supporting, the Giles School community.

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks is the Chief Legal & Compliance Officer with TransAlta Corporation where her portfolio spans legal, communications, government relations, stakeholder engagement, indigenous affairs, communications, regulatory and market policy, corporate secretarial, governance and compliance, including trading compliance.

Prior to this position, Kerry was Head of Legal, North Atlantic & UK, for Vale. In this role, Kerry oversaw all issues of the business arising in North America and the UK. Kerry also sat as the Head of Legal, Corporate & Marketing, as well as the Global Chief IT Counsel for Vale globally across all business lines. In addition, Kerry occupied a senior strategic advisory role with Vale’s Asia-Pacific affiliates, as Head of Legal, Asia Pacific, where she faced all the challenges relating to being the legal representative of a publicly traded multinational dealing with foreign governments, regulators and significant business partners. Prior to joining Vale, Kerry worked as a partner with one of the leading business law firms in Canada.

Kerry is also the Founder and Chairperson of Malachy’s Soiree, an annual gala and auction in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Previously, Kerry sat on the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Hospital and currently sits on the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Foundation.

Kerry was named as one of Lexpert’s Rising Stars – Top 40 under 40 lawyers in Canada in 2012, as well as UNB’s Alumni of Distinction in 2015 for her significant contributions to her profession on a global scale, as well as to communities, globally. In 2017, Kerry was awarded a 2017 Zenith Award as one of the leading female lawyers in Canada and a significant change agent for women in law and society. She whas also been noted as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada.

Jackie Yau

Jackie is the Vice President, Accounting, Controls and Compliance at Dream Unlimited Corp., a real estate company with approximately $14 billion in assets under management, with businesses including residential land, condominium and housing development; asset management services, and commercial property ownership. Jackie is a parent at the Giles School. Jackie spent 14 years practicing public accounting in the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, in a variety of industries including real estate, technology and non-for-profit clients. Jackie is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds both the Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant designations.

Joseph Robert

Joe has been selling real estate in the central core of Toronto for over 7 years,  the last 5 partnered with his wife, Gillian to form OxleyRobert Real Estate. Prior to that, he spent many years in sales and marketing and sponsorship sales for various companies including his own.

He comes from a family that has been in Toronto for many generations and has watched it grow, expand and change. He is the proud father of 2 adult children and 2 teenage stepchildren.When not spending time with his family, Joe can be found (less than he would like) on the golf course or enjoying his passion for boating and the open water.

Joe is an avid collector of Canadian art and a supporter of various causes close to his heart, from Casey House to the RLP Shelter Foundation.

Shelagh Lemke

Shelagh is the Managing Director & Head of Credit Research at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, an independent wealth management firm. She has over 20 years of experience in fixed income asset management and credit research. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Political Science from Glendon College, York University and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Queen’s University.

Shelagh has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a former Chair of the Fixed Income Committee for the Toronto CFA Society.

Van Malkhassian

Van Malkhassian joined the Board in February 2019. He has also been a proud parent at the Giles School since 2012, with both his children in attendance from the Pre-Kindergarten 1 grades.  With over 30 years of experience, he is a senior leader and executive in the retail automotive industry, with a successful track record in implementing high performance cultures and helping companies expand their leadership position in the marketplace. Van has previously served on boards in both the Automotive and Athletic verticals and is also fluent in English, French and Armenian. Van holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Lauren Dade

Lauren Dade joined the Board in February 2019. She received her Doctorate in Psychology from McGill University and has specialized training in Clinical Neuropsychology, and Paediatric Health, Clinical, and School Psychology. She has carried out research at the Rotman Research Institute, worked in the Chronic Pain Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children, as well as on the Developmental and Brain Injury Rehabilitation teams at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. She now applies all her skills in her current work as a Psychologist for the Toronto District School Board. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring others, and over the past few years has been involved in the teaching and supervision of Doctoral Psychology Candidates at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Finally, she is also on the Board of Directors for Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, an agency focused on supporting children, youth and families coping with mental health challenges and developmental issues.

Lauren has close ties with the Giles School, having been connected with the school since her eldest child started in Kindergarten and is now in the Grade Eight Graduating class! Watching how her two children have grown and developed socially, personally, and intellectually within the academically strong and developmentally nurturing Giles environment has made her a dedicated and long time supporter of the School.

Vanessa Wade

Vanessa Wade is the Academic Director at Holy Trinity School in Richmond Hill.  She has also been a member of Guidance and Student Life Departments for numerous years, both at Havergal College and St. Clement’s School. Vanessa’s passion for leadership and wellbeing has been demonstrated throughout her career.  She completed her Masters of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.  She also holds her Guidance and Career Education Specialist and Building School Culture certificate.  She has been involved in many teams and committees over the years, with a vested interested in bettering the student and faculty experience at the schools she has been involved in. As a proud graduate of the Toronto French School, also founded by Harry Giles, Vanessa is thrilled to be part of the Giles School’s Board of Directors.