Board of Directors & Officers


Suzanne Jacobson/Founder

 Suzanne Jacobson

Suzanne is the grandmother of two young boys, Alexander and Nathan, both of whom have been diagnosed with autism.
Autism entered Suzanne’s world 15 years ago when her eldest grandson was flagged and eventually diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She discovered a complex and difficult system to navigate, long wait-times for help and the significant difference early intervention makes. This led to Suzanne founding the charity QuickStart Early Intervention for Autism which led to the creation of the QuickStart Early Intervention Program, helping children get help right away at the first signs of autism. This program was adopted by the government of Nova Scotia and offered as part of the Nova Scotia Autism Program.
She developed the Ottawa Roadmap for Autism to help guide parents/caregivers through the system step by step. Suzanne has supported hundreds of parents through sharing her knowledge and lived experience of actively supporting her grandsons, whom she adores.
Suzanne has been recognized for her work by CHEO, Andrew Fleck, and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre. She received The Senate of Canada medal and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
Her background includes attending the University of Ottawa and working for the federal government. Suzanne's husband served in the Canadian military for 29 years and they have 3 daughters. 

QuickStart Timeline

Jennifer Cruickshank - Director


Jennifer Cruickshank has worked with QuickStart in many capacities since our inception. These roles included corporate secretary, volunteer coordinator and event planner.  Jennifer is an Executive in the public service in the field of human resources.  Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Social Science, Honours, with course concentration in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa and an Executive Certificate in Conflict Management from the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law.

Steve Dore - Director


Steve Doré has been supporting the Annual Camelot QuickStart Charity Golf for Autism golf tournament since its inception in 2014 and now serves as the Tournament Chair since 2017.  Steve is a retired Royal Canadian Naval officer with 30 years of service and is also a former IBM Canada Business Development Executive on the Defence Account.  Steve has been working as an independent Business Development consultant since 2016 supporting MDA and most recently Seaspan. Steve and his wife, Julie, have two children Liz and Andy and a grandson Teddy and a yellow Labrador named Wrigley.

Ken Charbonneau, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D - Director


Ken has more than 40 years of business experience with a focus on risk management, governance, assurance, financial reporting, and accounting. He retired in June 2021 as Chair of Canada's Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. Prior to this role, Ken provided assurance, accounting, and advisory services to public and private organizations.

While a Partner with KPMG, Ken served several leadership roles in Ottawa and offices throughout Eastern Canada. As a community volunteer, he has been active on boards and committees of various charities and not-for-profit organizations. in 2016, Ken was awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, and in 2017, he received the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.


David (Jake) Jacobson - Vice President


Jake Jacobson has supported Suzanne and the QuickStart organization since its founding, serving in whatever business or events capacity has been needed. His background includes studies in physics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, a career in Naval engineering and shipbuilding, nearly 20 years in major program and executive positions in industry, and 5 years as a senior executive in government.
In addition to serving on the QuickStart Early Intervention for Autism Board, Jake is a Board Director at Babcock Canada, as well as Board Director and Senior Program Advisor at QuickStart Early Years. Jake is often found spending his leisure time with his eldest grandson, Alex, exploring OC Transpo buses and the LRT, or the Montreal Metro, or Toronto Transit...and escalators and elevators everywhere.

nicole dauz - Communications officer


Nicole founded Self-care Coaching in 2019. Nicole is a teacher, self-care advocate, caregiver coach, author, and speaker who chooses happiness despite her circumstances. Her mission is to change the story around caregiving and celebrate the journey. She honours the role of the caregiver by helping them recognize their worth and true gifts.

Complementing her passion for caregiver well-being is 23 years of government communications experience, including being a spokesperson, planning community outreach initiatives, organizing ministerial events, and coordinating and implementing the government-wide communications strategy to high-profile issues.

terry jamieson - Secretary

Terry Jamieson

Terry is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with over 40 years of experience working in the public safety industry, both within government and in the private sector. He has a strong background in business development with strengths in analysis, energy, risk management, government, and emergency management. Terry holds a Master of Applied Science degree and is a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada. In addition to volunteer with QuickStart Autism, he volunteers with several professional and educational associations.

anna varriano - Secretary

Ann Varriano

Anna is a Natural Health Practitioner (NHP), a Registered Nutrition Therapist (RNT), a GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology) Certified Practitioner, and the owner of Perfect Resonance Natural Health Counselling. For over 15 years, Anna has helped individuals of all ages maintain and improve their health through in-person, phone, or video one-on-one consults, as well as group presentations and Lunch & Learn sessions. Holding both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Natural Health Practitioner diploma, Anna understands how the body works and the importance of a holistic, customized approach to address the unique set of circumstances presented by each client. With knowledge and experience in several natural modalities, Anna is able to offer numerous avenues to maintain and promote health and well-being.

past Directors

A huge thank you to our past directors that have been integral to the amazing accomplishments we have been able to achieve.

Raymond Bourret, Director

Yolanda Korneluk, PH.D., C.Psych, Director

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