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Southlake Foundation announces the appointment of Barbara Bellissimo as Chair of the Board

Friday July 16, 2021

  • Foundation
  • News & Media

Southlake Foundation Board Chair Barbara Bellissimo

Newmarket, ON (July 13, 2021): Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation, the fundraising partner of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, has announced the appointment of Barbara Bellissimo as Chair of its Board of Directors. Bellissimo, who joined the Foundation Board in 2018, succeeds David Wattling, who served as Chair since 2015.

Barbara is an experienced executive with over 30 years in the insurance and financial services industries and has held several influential senior executive roles in Canada and the United States. As Chief Agent and Senior Vice President, Barbara led State Farm Insurance Canada from 2009 to 2015. She was instrumental in the integration and transition into Desjardins and continued to lead the organization until 2020.

“I’m pleased to welcome Barbara Bellissimo as our new Board Chair,” says Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, President and CEO of Southlake Foundation. “Barbara has been an outstanding member of the Foundation Board and we are excited about the unique expertise that she brings as we continue to evolve and lead the organization forward in support of our hospital.”

Barbara’s expertise extends beyond the boardroom; she is passionate about mentoring individuals and teams, helping them reach their full potential. Dedicated to the advancement of women in business, Barbara has been a member and global board member of the International Women’s Forum (IWF) and developed and led the State Farm Insurance Women’s network.

A resident of York Region, Barbara actively engages in the community. In addition to her tenure on the Southlake Foundation Board, she has served on the United Way Campaign Cabinet Committee and was awarded the Ontario Volunteer Service Award for her years of dedicated service to the community.

“I am deeply honoured to have been appointed as the Chair of the Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation Board of Directors,” says Bellissimo. “At Southlake Foundation, we fundraise with a singular purpose: to support our leading edge hospital and the communities it serves. I look forward to developing strong partnerships with our committed network of donors and volunteers who – along with our team – are all united in the desire to build healthy communities and help shape the future of health care. I also look forward to working closely with Jennifer Klotz-Ritter, our visionary President and CEO, as well as our experienced and dedicated Board of Directors.”

The Southlake Foundation Board of Directors includes leading executives from top global corporations and professional firms and distinguished members of our communities.

About Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation
Since the inception of Southlake Foundation in 1980, more than $200.5 million dollars has been raised in support of Southlake Regional Health Centre. Working with members of the community, hundreds of volunteers, the Southlake Family and our incredible donors, Southlake Foundation will continue to support life-saving medical equipment, infrastructure upgrades and expansions, patient programs and staff education, all for the goal of providing leading-edge care for patients and families, close to home.