Meet The Rethinkers

Our Team


MJ DeCoteau

MJ is the Founder + Executive Director at Rethink Breast Cancer where she is responsible for the overall direction, management, fundraising strategy and creative vision of an increasingly bigger and bolder Rethink. Before recruiting her small but mighty Rethink dream team, MJ completed a Master’s Degree in Literary and Cultural studies and then worked for a speaker’s bureau where she was inspired by the many original thinkers, writers, and doers that the agency represented. While she’s won numerous “trailblazer” awards for her work at Rethink and is known for modernizing the breast cancer campaign, MJ also has a cat-loving, Jane Austen-reading, ’40s musical-watching side. She loves winter snuggled up at home with her husband and daughter, but always the adventurer, has an Arctic expedition on her bucket list.

Twitter: @MJDeCoteau


Alison Lawler-Dean

Alison is the Marketing + Communications VP at Rethink Breast Cancer where she works to help educate and uplift young women affected by breast cancer through thought-provoking campaigns and resources. Before joining the awesome team at Rethink, Alison managed communications at top Canadian fashion-brand Joe Fresh and worked in fashion editorial at FASHION Magazine and the short-lived, but much loved Wish. In 5 years, she plans to be running Rethink’s global marketing from a balcony in Paris with her boyfriend and baby (both of whom speak better French than her), working off daily pain au chocolats with long runs along the Seine, and writing her gift idea blog Gifted.

Twitter/Instagram: @AllieLD


Maura Young

Maura is the Finance + HR Director where she keeps the finances on track and manages all things internal for Rethink Breast Cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 Maura first became aware of Rethink through its Support Saturday program and when a vacancy arose happily joined the staff in 2007. Prior to this, Maura worked in finance at Accenture and CGI. When not at the office, Maura is likely to be found at a swimming pool volunteering with her son’s school team or cheering on her daughter’s synchro team. She also spends a lot of time with sequins, glitter, and waterproof glue.


Shawna Ginsberg

Shawna is the Senior Education + Support Manager at Rethink Breast Cancer working to develop and run innovative programs and educational content for young people concerned about and affected by breast cancer. Since 2011, Shawna has developed and managed creative projects for young women with breast cancer that have a national reach and global interest – including programs that address the needs of the young metastatic community. She has also presented at international conferences and loves public speaking. Pre-Rethink, Shawna worked in outreach and advocacy at Kids Help Phone and Bereaved Families of Ontario. In her previous life, Shawna was a florist and jeweller, and maintains a passion for all things stylish, vintage and unique.


Ashley Mac Isaac-Butler

Ashley is the Senior Advocacy Manager at Rethink Breast Cancer and has spearheaded the development and execution of Rethink’s advocacy program that puts young women at center of driving change for all women. Before joining the Rethink team, Ashley spent much of her career in federal politics and the non-profit sector. This has enabled her to gain insight and understanding in aligning unique interests to create successful strategic advocacy campaigns. In 5 years, she plans to be jet-setting around the globe empowering young women and demonstrating that one size does not fit all when it comes to a breast cancer diagnosis.

Twitter: @MacIsaacButler


Alexandra Blasioli

Ali is the Events Manager for Rethink Breast Cancer where she plans really awesome parties, for a really awesome cause. Before joining the Rethink team, she contemplated being a retail buyer (who wouldn’t want to shop for a living?!) and after completing her degree at Ryerson, started working at the buying office for HomeSense. Turns out she’s more of a social butterfly than analyst, so after making the move to marketing at Holt Renfrew, she fell in love with events and joined Rethink. Ali comprises the other half of Rethink’s Taylor Swift fan club, and uses her creative flare to keep our events ahead of the curve. When not at the office, you’ll either find her cuddling with her cat, Ms. Kitty Purry, or enjoying a Suits marathon swooning over Harvey Specter.

Twitter: @ablasioli


Paulina Perzynska

Paulina is the Designer at Rethink Breast Cancer where she uses her design skills to bring visual life to Rethink’s one-of-a-kind resources. She comes from an editorial design background & has designed everything from fashion & youth magazines to horse racing publications (for real). An animal fanatic, she spends her free time with her bossy dachshund Sofie – and Sofie’s boyfriend Bryan (who’s actually Paulina’s fiancé, but don’t tell Sofie that). In 5 years she plans to be managing Rethink’s global branding & designing award-winning awareness & advocacy campaigns… perhaps from a cliff-side house in Cape Town where the sun (almost always) shines.

Instagram: @mynameispea


Stephanie Gilman

Steph is the Community Manager at Rethink Breast Cancer where she spends her days tweeting, writing blogs, and keeping on top of the latest and greatest in the ever-evolving world of breast cancer news. As a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 28 years old, Steph brings with her a unique ability to understand the young women we serve and speak to them in a voice they can relate to. During her experience with cancer, Steph started her blog Pass Me Another Cupcake that has now become a popular resource for newly diagnosed women and has been featured in various media outlets. Prior to her unexpected foray into ‘Cancerland’, Steph worked in television and film production, most recently at MTV Canada. When not working, she likes spending time with her husband, watching trashy TV and exploring new restaurants in Toronto.

Twitter: @steph_rebecca


Jen Lagzdins

Jen is the Development Specialist at Rethink Breast Cancer, where she focuses on nurturing and expanding the relationships with all of the fabulous people who support Rethink. Bringing a unique fusion of organization and creativity to her role, she works to ensure that our supportive networks and educational content remain relevant, impactful and sustainable. An “inclusivity expert” with a passion for learning, she thrives on the inspirational energy of the people she works with and for and adores the constant opportunities to think big and drive for change. Prior to joining team Rethink, Jen worked as an ESL teacher both locally and abroad and at TIFF focusing on visitor experience and programming for kids. Jen loves exploring her Toronto Beaches neighbourhood with her fiery toddler, and when she can score a few sweet moments to herself you will find her SUPping Lake Ontario, taking in a delicious yoga class, or – her absolute favourite – shaking it up on the dance floor.

Instagram: @oohletmesee


Alexandra Clarke

Alex is the Events & Public Relations Coordinator for Rethink Breast Cancer where she helps plan our amazing events for this important cause. Before joining Rethink, she worked in Holt Renfrew’s marketing department and helped launch little sister brand hr2. Finding herself getting involved with anything event-related she could, both at work and at play, she decided to make the switch from marketing and join the Rethink events team. Alex is always on the hunt for the perfect sangria on Toronto’s sunny patios and travels the world as much as possible…trying to beat her record of 10 countries in one year!

Board of Directors

Dr. Sunil Verma, Medical Oncologist, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre

Debbie James, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology)

Alex Wigington, RGD, President, Modern Kind

Else Grech, CA, Instructor at Ryerson University and University of Toronto

John Tobin, LLB, Partner at Torys LLP

Alison Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer, WMD Ventures

Scientific Advisory Committee

Dr. Sunil Verma, Associate Professor, University of Toronto and a Medical Oncologist at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre.

Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley, Medical Oncologist and the Division Head of Hematology / Oncology at St. Michael’s Hospital and Head of the Oncology Clinical Research

Dr. Jory Simpson, Division of General Surgery, assistant Medical Director of the CIBC Breast Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital and a lecturer in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto

Dr. Daniel Rayson, Associate Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine. Director, Atlantic Clinical Cancer Research Unit (ACCRU). Medical Oncologist, QEII Cancer Care Program. Vice-Chair of the Development Board, Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute

Dr. Anil Abraham Joy, Associate Professor, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta. Medical Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute. Medical Director (Edmonton), Alberta Cancer Research/CBCF Tumor Bank. Provincial Chair, Alberta Breast Cancer Program

Dr. Katia Tonkin, Professor, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta. Medical Oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta

Dr. Stephen Chia, Medical Oncologist and chair – Provincial Breast Tumour Group, BC Cancer Agency

R3 National Advisory Board (Rethinkers, Redefiners, Reshapers)

The R3 is a dynamic group of young professionals dedicated to volunteering their time, talents, and energy. As a group of motivated, community-minded, and philanthropic young professionals, the R3 members help raise Rethink’s visibility as well as identify and connect resources to the organization. They are passionate leaders, supporting young women dealing with breast cancer.

Emma Stainton, Associate Director, Client Relations, Black Creek Investment Management

Adrienne Love, Corporate Lawyer, Torys LLP

Shelly Walia, Brand Manager, Diet Coke

AJ Goodman, Owner/Founder, Doing-Well Consulting

Christina Walters-Arseneau, Senior Account Manager, Rock-It Promotions

Randi Bergman, Executive Digital Editor, FASHION Magazine

Laura Carinci, Account Director, American Express Premium Portfolio

Jordana Wolch, Account Director, Environics Communications

Fotini Iconomopoulos, Management Consultant & Performance Coach

David Leonard, Director of Events, Walrus Foundation

Stephanie Applin, General Manager, Metro Youth Opera