Welcome to Ability First Ottawa

A resource for those with disabilities and special needs.

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Board of Directors

Christina Ranieri, Executive Director & President

BA.Soc., SSW, DSW & OAMHP-affiliate Cert

Christina has a long history of involvement within the persons with disabilities community. She is a graduate of Algonquin College in the General Arts and Science program, as well as the Crisis Management/Human psychology program. She has also obtained accreditation as a Social Service worker and Developmental Service Worker. She then continued her education at Carleton University, completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. At Algonquin College, Christina was on the Dean’s Honors list for Developmental Service Workers, and at Carleton University she received awards including the John Teuscher award, Giovanni Caboto Scholarship, a finalist for Celebration of People award for advocacy award (2014), winner Faces Magazine: Faces Awards (2016 & 2019): Ottawa Favourite Social Service Worker and nominated by West Ottawa Board of Trade’s: West Ottawa Business Excellence Awards (BEA’s) for Community Support/Non-Profit Business of the Year Award (2016) . Christina served for 3 years as a  board member of Citizens with Disabilities Ontario (CWDO). Additionally, she volunteers her time within the community, and has been a tireless volunteer for initiatives such as  Make the Cut program, SliceWalk N Roll fundraiser, All hands on Braille camp for kids, and Jewish Family Services as a program assistant in the past. She proudly serves as the first Executive Director, and President of the Board of Ability First Ottawa.

Tanys Coughlan, Vice President


Tanys is a Certified Human Resources professional with over 20 years experience in the Home Healthcare Field including 5 years of management experience. She has over 10 years experience as an adult trainer/facilitator and a proven ability to work with staff, management and other stakeholders to sustain and improve key performance indicators. Tanys works diligently with businesses to increase their productivity by putting the human in human resources. Tanys has a Bachelor of Social Science and is also a Ceritfied Human Resources Professional (CHRP) with a Certificate in Human Resources and a Certificate in Applied Management.

Leonard Leeks, Treasurer


Leonard has a long history working with charities over the years. Some of those charities are Rideauwood Addiction, Ottawa Humane Society and Family Services.  Len has been working  30 years in finance.  While volunteering has time to different boards across, Ottawa, and wanted to give back to Ability First Ottawa by becoming our treasurer.

Cathy Aldrich, Secretary & Executive Assistant

As an experienced Executive Assistant, with close to 30 years of experience, she has a diversified background in administration, communication, event/conference planning, document preparation and Board Governance in the Non-Profit Sector. After graduating from the Secretarial Studies program at Algonquin College, she was hired at Statistics Canada as the Secretary to the Assistant Director in the Informatics Division. That is when she moved on to a fulfilling 20 year career as the Executive Coordinator to the CEO at Skate Canada, the National Sport Governing Body for figure skating in Canada.  While there, she worked for two CEOs and about 10 volunteer Presidents (Board Chairs).  She has also participated in International and National Events, being responsible for VIP Hosting, including being Barbara Ann Scott’s (1948 Olympic Champion) host among others.  After a short contract at Health Canada, she moved on to the Executive Assistant position at Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services for just over 3 years.

Currently, she has her own Virtual Assistant business called Precision Executive Services, where she can help people who need administrative assistance to keep their company organized.  Now Cathy is on the Board of Directors for Ability First Ottawa.

Teresa Scrivens, Director

Teresa has been working as an entrepreneur for over a decade helping companies of all sizes both locally and internationally grow their businesses.  She is the owner of Dynaverse Group, a company dedicated to helping small businesses, entrepreneurs and corporations with client relations, corporate networking and strategic growth.  Teresa’s experience includes working in Canada and abroad, and in 2012, she was invited to teach a networking course to a University in Dubai, teaching students how to market, plan and implement their brilliant company idea in the real market.

Teresa is also the founder for Runway Networking, a business matchmaking and referral club that mentors professionals and entrepreneurs and helps propel their business forward through.

Emma Wicks, Director

Emma Scotchmer is one half of Hyperion Electrical Industries. Managed with Shane Wicks, partners in business and life, Shane and Emma are exposing Hyperion and their family to the world of business networking and involving the company in many charity and volunteer organizations. Shane and Emma are passionate that Hyperion gives back to the community in which it has established its success. There is not much down time for these guys!

Shane and Emma are active gym goes, with Shane a former body builder and Emma an active Ironman competitor, they believe strongly in living a healthy lifestyle and impart this into their family. Other interests are musical theatre, acting, digital art, reading, travel, volunteering and charity work. They are both very passionate about self development growth and business leadership. This is an area that Shane and Emma have great experience and exposure in, both in Canada and Internationally.

Shane and Emma are passing their business mind set onto the family. Clark and avid song writer and musician who plays guitar and Corbyn who has just received bronze at Provincial Gymnastics and plays the violin. The children are involved equally in the charity work done by Hyperion, whether this is a charity run, talent show or helping out others when preparing for events, they can be found there as a family.

Emma completed her studies in English and the Arts in London, UK before transferring her private industry business skill set to Canada. With career exposure Internationally before the move, her extensive experience in Employment law and labour relations has allowed her to continue in this field in Ottawa. As an ADR Practitioner and Certified Conflict Resolution mediator, her negotiation skills and business mind set is extensive. She is currently in continued education in Law, and plans to sit the Bar very soon.

Shane is Ottawa born and raised, as a Certified Red Seal Trade and Master Electrician and actor there are many skills he holds. Shane has experience at project management and teaches Electrical Maintenance and Construction and Electrical Engineering at Algonquin College.

Together, Shane and Emma are committed to the growth and expansion of Hyperion Electrical and the work that is done by the company within the community. Their passion for charity and helping others is evident in their communication and work done daily, Emma and Shane are proud to be part of the Ability First Ottawa family.

Dylan Black, Honourary Board Member

Originally from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Dylan has been a long time friend and supporter of Ability First Ottawa.  In addition to his support of Ability First Ottawa, Dylan is a huge supporter of The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, The Children’s Wish Foundation and The Max Keeping Fund at C.H.E.O.

Dylan also believes in the gift of life and is an advocate for Canadian Blood Services, encouraging people to give blood.

For his outstanding commitment to the Ottawa community, Dylan has been nominated for “Ottawa Humanitarian of the Year” and “Best Community Builder”. In 2015, Dylan was awarded a United Way “Community Builder Award”.

In the past 5 years, Dylan has personally collected $15,000 through the Movember campaign and will also serve as the 2016 Honorary Chair for the “TELUS Walk for the Cure!”.

Dylan is an on air personality on BOOM 99.7 and a host of Rogers Daytime.  For 20 years, Dylan was mentored by Canadian Broadcasting Legend Max Keeping.