French embassy opens its doors to organizers, sponsors of The Ottawa Hospital Gala

Pre-gala VIP reception recognizes business, community support behind world-class research at hospital

It won’t be long until some 700 corporate and community leaders come together under one big, beautiful roof for The Ottawa Hospital Gala and its celebration of the life-changing medical research happening in our community.

On Wednesday, Ambassador Kareen Rispal hosted a pre-gala VIP reception for 340 guests at the stylish French embassy on Sussex Drive. The excitement over the upcoming gala filled the Grand Salon, much like the room's massive trademark tapestry, the Triumph of Constantine.

“Every day I am reminded that Ottawa is a very unique city,” Rispal told her guests. “Ottawa is a very special place because of you — its citizens — who are so dedicated to so many causes, to helping those in need.”

Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Whitney Fox, co-chair of The Ottawa Hospital Gala, with French Ambassador Kareen Rispal and gala committee member Micheline McElligott at the pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

The sold-out, black-tie hospital gala returns Saturday, Oct. 27, to the Westin hotel, with former governor general David Johnston and his wife Sharon Johnston serving as honourary gala co-chairs.

“It’s all about celebrating science and recognizing the amazing contributions that researchers are doing every day, and letting them know how much their work is appreciated by the hospital and by the community,” explained Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and scientific director of The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), and executive vice-president of research at The Ottawa Hospital.

The Ottawa Hospital is one of the top research hospitals in Canada. Its work has gained national and international recognition. Its people are collaborating with some of the best around the world.

“Our scientists are at the cutting edge and they are pushing back the boundaries of science,” said Stewart. “They are making discoveries that are impacting on patients with serious life-threatening diseases.”

Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Lydia Leeder, Maria Bassi, John Bassi, president of JB Holdings, and Cyril Leeder, CEO of Myers Automotive Group, at the pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 for The Ottawa Hospital. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

Present were Tim Kluke, president and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation; the gala’s long-time co-chairs, community volunteer Whitney Fox and Greg Kane (Dentons Canada LLP); and OHRI board chair Patricia Kosseim (Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP).

Guests included Myers Automotive Group's new CEOCyril Leeder, who co-chaired with RBC Wealth Management's Janet McKeage The Ottawa Hospital Foundation's successful President's Breakfast last month.  The foundation's board chair is Jim Harmon, managing partner of Boyden Canada.

Representing the reception co-sponsors were Fox’s husband, Telesat Canada president and CEO Dan Goldberg, and RBC’s new regional president Marjolaine Hudon. She and her family arrived in Ottawa from Calgary in early September after her predecessor, Tina Sarellas, got a promotion that took her back to Toronto.

Goldberg gave a special shout out to the ambassador, who's been so charitable since arriving in Ottawa a year ago.

“You have been extremely gracious and generous with your time and your beautiful home,” Goldberg told her. “You are a wonderful addition to our community and you are a great representative of France.”

Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Whitney Fox with Denise Carruthers, Antonia Moquette Betts, Ambassador Kareen Rispal, Jennifer Toby and Micheline McElligott at a pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in support of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Dr. Duncan Stewart with Susan St. Amand (Sirius Financial Services), Marjolaine Hudon (RBC) and Janet McKeage at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Adrian Burns at a pre-gala VIP reception with Ottawa philanthropist Michael Potter and his partner, Diane Cramphin, and Burns's husband, Greg Kane, who is the long-time co-chair of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Ottawa Hospital VIP
Dan Goldberg (Telesat) with his wife Whitney Fox at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The gala's new title sponsor is First Avenue Investment Counsel, represented at the reception by CEO Kash Pashootan and CFO and director Nicholas Allaham, the latter of whom is on the gala committee, as well.

Also sighted from the organizing committee were: Hugues Boisvert (HazloLaw), Roxanne Anderson (March Advisory Inc.), Randy Marusyk (MBM Intellectual Property Law) and Micheline McElligott (Brickland Timberlay Corp.).

Every year, the hospital gala presents awards to three Ottawa researchers who, while in different stages of their careers, are each making important discoveries in medicine. This year’s recipients are: Kristin Danko, William (Bill) Stanford and Fraser Scott.

“Each of these individuals brings incredible passion and dedication to their individual fields of research,” said Stewart. “They are each leaders and innovators, and we can’t wait to publicly celebrate them.”

Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Nicholas Allaham (First Avenue Investment Counsel), Tim Kluke, and Kash Pashootan (First Avenue Investment Counsel) at the pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Francis Pomerleau, CEO of construction company Pomerleau Inc., with his wife, Sophie Dagenais, along with David Renfroe, owner at Renfroe Land Management Inc., and his wife, Rebecca Renfroe, with Ottawa Hospital Foundation board chair Jim Harmon (Boyden Canada). Photo by Caroline Phillips
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, BLG law partner Marc Jolicoeur with Dr. Duncan Stewart at the pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in support of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
Senior vice president Victor Pellegrino (BMO) and his wife, Stefania Ianni, at the pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in support of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Tegan Owen with her fiancé, Hugues Boisvert, Frank McArdle, Randy Marusyk and his fiancée, Dr. Hilary Phenix, at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in support of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Ottawa Hospital VIP
From left, Katie Lafferty with gala committee member Roxanne Anderson at a pre-gala VIP reception held at the Embassy of France on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in support of The Ottawa Hospital Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

— caroline@obj.ca