Our Directors

The following individuals are the Directors of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa. Their principal goal is to ensure that the SWCSO members have a broad, stimulating and enjoyable series of programs available throughout the year. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of any help.


Stephen Adler, a Certified Bookkeeper, has served as Assistant Accountant, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation, from 1990. Prior to that, he was Eastern District Sales Administration Manager, Digital Equipment, Kanata from 1977-1990. Born in London, England just after the War, he lived there during Churchill's second term as Prime Minister, immigrating with his family to Montreal in October 1957. He also spent three years living on Kibbutz K'far Hanassi, Israel, after which he returned to Montreal and earned a Diploma in Agriculture at McGill University. Stephen has also served as Vice-Chairman, Ottawa-Carleton Regional Housing Authority, a Returning Officer for Elections Ontario for the riding of Ottawa-Vanier from 1998-2011, Chief Financial Officer for Elections Canada for that riding since 2005, and as Treasurer for the Gloucester Arts Council (1980-1985), Community Arts Ontario (1985-2004) and Carleton Condominium Corporation #271 (2003-2013). As a child, Stephen's two heroes were Admiral Horatio Nelson and Sir Winston Churchill. He inherited his interest in the Prime Minister from his parents who, although not Tories, strongly supported Churchill from the mid-30s, when he was in his "Wilderness Years". Having survived the Blitz in London, they admired his staunch resolve to see the end of Hitler, Mosley and their ilk. As Stephen, a member of the SWCSO from its early days, says, "I have continued to explore his many attributes that made him such a dynamic leader, orator and statesman."


Andrew Z. Cohen is a journalist, author and professor. A native of Montreal, he attended The Choate School, Carleton University, McGill University, and the University of Cambridge. Among his bestselling books are A Deal Undone: The Making and Breaking of the Meech Lake Accord; Trudeau’s Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (with J.L. Granatstein); and The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are. While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award; in 2011 the Writer’s Trust of Canada named it one of the top 12 Canadian political books of the last 25 years. His most recent books are Lost beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator (2013) and Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson (2008). Two Days in June, his chronicle of the high noon of John F. Kennedy's presidency, will appear in 2014. A former foreign correspondent and editorialist with The Globe and Mail, he has worked for United Press International, Saturday Night Magazine, and the Financial Post in London, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, and Berlin. He writes a nationally-syndicated column for the Ottawa Citizen and appears regularly as a commentator on television and radio. In a career of 35 years, He has won three National Magazine Awards, two National Newspaper Awards and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. The founding president of the Historica-Dominion Institute, he serves on the boards of the Trudeau Centre and the Writers' Trust. Since 2001 he has been a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.


Ronald I. Cohen, President and one of the three co-founders of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, attended Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral in January 1965, not by invitation but by standing with the crowds in Parliament Square as the funeral procession made its way up Whitehall and thence to St. Paul’s Cathedral. That interest grew into a collection of Churchill’s writings and ultimately led to Cohen’s authorship 40 years later of the definitive Bibliography of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill (3 vols., London and New York: Continuum, 2006), for which he was honoured by The Churchill Centre (Chicago and London) by the grant of the Farrow Award for Excellence in Churchill Studies "for his magisterial three-volume Bibliography." In addition, Mr. Cohen has published many articles and notes over nearly 20 years in Finest Hour, the quarterly publication of The Churchill Centre and he speaks regularly on aspects of Churchill’s life to organizations and societies in Canada and the United States. He is also a recognized expert in broadcast standards and self-regulatory procedures, having spent nearly 19 years as National Chair and CEO of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. His recent book, Regulating Screens: Issues in Broadcasting and Internet Governance for Children (co-authored with André Caron), was published in September 2013 by McGill Queen's University Press. He was also a film producer, the founding Chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and Senior Counsel to the Quebec Inquiry into Organized Crime (la CECO) in the 1970s. He won the Genie Award for Best Picture for Ticket to Heaven (starring Kim Cattrall and Nick Mancuso) as well as the 125th Anniversary of Confederation Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. A native of Montreal, Mr. Cohen holds an A.B. (cum laude) (Harvard) and a B.C.L. (McGill) and is now a Senior Fellow of the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton University.


The Honourable David Collenette, PC, FCILT was born in London, England in 1946 and emigrated to Canada with his family in 1957.  He grew up and was educated in Toronto.  A Member of the House of Commons for 21 years, Mr. Collenette served in the Cabinets of Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chretien for 11 years, variously as Minister of State (Multiculturalism), Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, Minister of Transport and Minister of Crown Corporations.  While at Transport, he oversaw Canada’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the closing of Canada’s skies and the emergency landing of 226 wide-bodied jets at Canadian airports.  In the subsequent months he worked tirelessly with colleagues and his American counterpart Norman Minetta to redesign transportation security in North America.  He has also worked in a volunteer capacity for the Washington-based National Democratic Institute, and is a member of the advisory board of Parsons Brinkerhoff; the board of Harbourfront Corporation (Toronto); the board of the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation and is Chair of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (North America).  He served earlier as Chancellor of the Royal Military College of Canada, as a member of the International Advisory Committee of Stanford University, California and currently is Distinguished Fellow at Glendon College, York University.  Mr. Collenette holds a B.A. (Honours) and an M.A. in political science from York University, and is a Fellow of the CILT.


Charlotte Gray, C.M., FRSC, Vice-President of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, is one of Canada’s best-known writers, and author of nine acclaimed books of literary non-fiction. Her most recent book, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and a Trial that Shocked a Country, was published in September 2013, and immediately entered best-seller lists in most Canadian newspapers, including the Globe & Mail's general non-fiction list. It was Number One on the Macleans non-fiction list for three weeks, and an Editors' choice in the Globe. Her previous book, Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike, is currently in production as a television mini-series. Her previous seven books, which include Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell, and Sisters in the Wilderness, The Lives of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, were all award-winning bestsellers. Born in Sheffield, and educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, Charlotte came to Canada in 1979. She worked as a political commentator, book reviewer and magazine columnist before turning to biography and popular history. Charlotte is past chair of Canada’s National History Society, which publishes the magazine Canada’s History (formerly The Beaver.) Charlotte is a member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds honorary degrees from five Canadian universities.


Kyle McRobie has enjoyed a career in both the private and public sectors. Following a year in France on a Rotary Fellowship, she received her B.A. (magna cum laude) from Dartmouth College and her MBA from the Harvard Business School.  She worked for Goldman Sachs in New York and Merrill Lynch in Toronto prior to joining the Executive Interchange Program with the Federal Government of Canada.  Since then, she has held senior positions with Investment Canada and the Privy Council Office and launched her own consulting firm in 1993 to provide advisory services to the Federal Government of Canada in trade and investment development.  Pursuing her strong interest in education, Kyle was elected Treasurer, then President of the Harvard University Club of Ottawa in 1991 and President of the Harvard Business School Club in 2012.  She has served on the Board of MacDonald-Cartier Academy and as a long-time volunteer for Ashbury College. A passionate photographer and painter, she is intrigued by the critical role which art played in Churchill’s life. And as a parent of three university students, she hopes to promote an appreciation for Churchill’s values and leadership skills amongst young adults.


Bob Plamondon, is a consultant, historian, and author.  His three bestselling books on Canada’s political history, including his recent The Truth about Trudeau, have been critically acclaimed and have made an enduring contribution to our national understanding. Bob’s passion for Canada was evident in the 2002 nation-wide “Hay West” relief effort in aid of drought-stricken western farmers, where he had financial and operational responsibilities. Bob wrote a bestselling book about the experience to inspire others to pursue nation-building initiatives.  Bob also led the initiative that led to the renaming of the Ottawa River Parkway in honour of Sir John A. Macdonald. His belief in conversation and sustainability was pursued while serving on the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club of Canada for five years.  In 2012 Bob was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his contributions to the country.  A frequent media commentator, speaker, writer and op-ed contributor on national and local issues, Bob is active in his community having served numerous community organizations and boards. He ran for Parliament as a Progressive conservative in the 1988 General Election. The father of four children, Bob has also completed 11 marathons and two Ironman competitions. He has two degrees from Carleton University, including a Masters of Management Studies.  He obtained the designation of Chartered Accountant in 1983. In recognition of a distinguished career, the Institute of Chartered Accountants awarded Bob the designation of FCA.


Pamela "Pam" Reynolds, one of the three co-founders of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, is a retired administrator who recently moved to the nation’s capital from Vancouver Island. Born and raised in Great Britain, she and her husband Peter and young family emigrated to Canada in 1966. Prior to her relocation from Nanaimo to Ottawa, Pam was active in the Vancouver Island chapter of the Sir Winston Churchill Society, of which she and her late husband were founding members (in 2004). Since that time, Pam has been an avid member, including participation at the International Society meetings in Vancouver, Boston, San Francisco and London, England (2011). Even before relocating to Ottawa, Pam knew our nation’s capital should have, indeed even needed, a local chapter - not least of all because of Sir Winston’s fondness for our country - and Pam is excited to play a part in this endeavour. Not to date her (too much), Pam retains vivid memories of Churchill on V-E Day! Towards the end of Churchill's life, his daughter, the late Lady Soames (the Patron of the SWCSO), wrote her father a note in which she stated, "I owe you what every Englishman, woman and child does, Liberty itself." This is Pam Reynolds' strong belief and why she is a Churchillian.


A former Canadian diplomat, Colin Robertson is Senior Strategic Advisor for McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP working with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. He is Vice President and Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.He is an Honorary Captain (Royal Canadian Navy) assigned to the Strategic Communications Directorate. Living in Ottawa, Robertson writes and speaks on international affairs. He is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail. Embassy Magazine named him totheir “Top Eighty Influencing Canadian foreign policy” in 2012 and 2013. Robertson sits on the boards of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute and North American Research Partnership. He is vice chair of Canada World Youth. He is a past president of the Canadian International Council’s National Capital Branch. Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University, Robertson is a former member of Carleton’s President’s Advisory Council and a current member of the NPSIA Advisory Council. He is honorary chair of the Canada Arizona Business Council. He is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Retired Heads of Mission Association, and the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa. A career foreign service officer from 1977-2010, he served as first Head of the Advocacy Secretary and Minister at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and Consul General in Los Angeles, with previous assignments as Consul and Counsellor in Hong Kong and in New York at the UN and Consulate General. In his final assignment he directed a project at Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law with the support of the Federal and Provincial Governments and the private sector on Canada-US Engagement.A member of the team that negotiated the Canada-US FTA and NAFTA, he is co-author of Decision at Midnight: The Inside Story of the Canada-US FTA (1996). He is co-editor of Diplomacy in the Digital Age: Essays in honour of Ambassador Allan Gotlieb (2011). He has taught at Carleton University, Queen’s University Public Executive Program and the Canada School of Public Service. He served as president of the Historica Foundation. He was editor of bout de papier: Canada’s Journal of Foreign Service and Diplomacy and president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. Robertson was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Alberta Centennial Medal (2005), the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2006), the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association ‘Friend of the Industry’ (2004), and the distinguished alumnus award from the University of Manitoba (2004). He and his wife Maureen Boyd, a Vancouverite, former journalist and communications consultant, have three children, Allison, Sean and Conor. Robertson reads voraciously, runs, swims, cycles, cross-country skis. A series of what Lemony Snicket would describe as ‘unfortunate circumstances’ have left him with low vision. This has obliged him to give up tennis,a sport he enjoyed but played badly.


Colin Smith's first awareness of the great man had a contrarian twist  -  "We'll make Winston Churchill smoke a Woodbine every day." That was the chorus refrain of a rendition of the "The Red Flag" at The Beacon folk club on Tyneside, England in 1964. At the time, the Woodbine was the English working man's cigarette and the jubilation that night was in celebration of the general election victory of Harold Wilson's Labour party. A few months later Colin watched the funeral service of Sir Winston on a small black and white TV and, with a scant knowledge of Churchill, couldn't help but notice the mental tsunami of piety and reverence that engulfed all, irrespective of political stripe or creed. Not being a student of history, Colin embarked on an Engineering career which eventually led to an interest in military technology and its origins/supply and inevitably back to Churchill! His current position is Director of Business Development for U.S. programs at General Dynamics Canada. At the community level, Colin has been President of both the West Carleton Soccer Association and Fitzroy Harbour Soccer Club. Currently, as Secretary of the Fitzroy Harbour Soccer Club, he is heading the initiative for field development activities. Colin joined the SWSCO two years ago, has an entrenched amazement at the popularity of Churchill in North America vis-à-vis the UK, and is now seriously worried about his reading backlog.

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Ian Smillie, C.M., Secretary of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, has lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Bangladesh. He was a founder of the Canadian NGO, Inter Pares, and served as Executive Director of CUSO. He has worked at Tufts and Tulane Universities and as a development consultant with many Canadian, American and European organizations. He is the author of several books, including The Charity of Nations and Freedom from Want. His most recent book, Diamonds, was published in 2014. Ian Smillie helped to design the Kimberley Process certification system for rough diamonds and was the first witness at the war crimes trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. He chairs the Diamond Development Initiative and was awarded the Order of Canada in 2003. His connection with Sir Winston Churchill dates back to, and was inspired by, a March 1964 note from Churchill’s private secretary in response to a fan letter Ian wrote, and a failed attempt that summer to gain entrance to the Strangers’ Gallery for Churchill’s last appearance in the House of Commons.