Peel HIV/AIDS Network 2016/17 Board of Directors

Rob Gearing – Chair

Rob Gearing has served on the PHAN board for the past four years and currently works for the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation in a Human Resources role. Rob is a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association and holds the CHRL (Certified Human Resources Leader) designation. Rob was one of the founding members of the Pride Committee of Peel and has been involved in the planning of Peel Pride from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2009 to the present. He has also participated in a number of AIDS Walks in both Toronto and Peel since 1994. Rob attended both the University of Toronto and Humber College, and he currently resides in Brampton with his partner.

Carly Beamish

Carly is a recent Public Health graduate from Queen’s University, with her interests laying in harm reduction and social determinants of health. During her time at Queen’s she worked with organizations to create engagement programs that targeted the needs of participants, by reviewing best practices, and outlining the barriers to engagement.  In doing so, she has learned about the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs.  Carly also volunteers with the Learning Disabilities Association of Peel Region, where she teaches youth with learning disabilities and ADHD about conflict resolution and self-control.  Carly is beyond excited to be apart of the board of directors and strategic planning committee, and hopes to positively affect those living with and affected by HIV/ AIDS

Lindsay Deefholts

Lindsay is seasoned communications strategist with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare public relations. As a trusted advisor, she has led numerous campaigns in various capacities, including scientific communications, advocacy and stakeholder engagement, regulatory milestones, issues management and internal communications.

She has advanced therapeutic experience in virology (HIV/AIDS, HCV), oncology (breast, prostate, stomach, bone, kidney cancers), endocrinology (diabetes, metabolic disorders), CNS (epilepsy), and CVD (coronary artery disease, cholesterol) to name a few. She has also worked with nearly 50 advocacy groups to elevate disease awareness, unmet need and human rights issues through award-winning campaigns. Lindsay is passionate about global health issues and motivated by the opportunity to help improve the lives of people around the world.

Lindsay currently resides in Toronto, Canada with her husband and yellow lab, Daisy. As a food enthusiast, she often spends her spare time in the kitchen flexing her creative culinary muscles. She currently serves on the Peel HIV/AIDS Network board of directors as vice-chair and lead of the communications committee.

She is a graduate of Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications.

Letitia Francis

Letitia Francis has been a volunteer at PHAN for the past 10 years in many capacities including with the AIDS Walk for Life, fundraising and education programs. Letitia is a Registered Practical Nurse currently working at Seaton House, Toronto’s largest shelter. Being the only “wet” shelter in Toronto, Letitia works from a harm reduction perspective to administer regulated alcohol amounts to men experiencing homelessness and chronic alcoholism as well as supporting their health care and needs. Letitia also has experience in the travel and tourism and financial industries. Letitia loves meeting new people and learns a lot from the clients and fellow volunteers at PHAN. She prides herself on her ability to connect with people and her friendly, outgoing and compassionate nature. Letitia would like to move beyond her current volunteer roles and give back to PHAN in a new capacity as a Board member, using her knowledge and skills to benefit the agency and bring greater attention to the HIV/AIDS cause.

Vinod Sharma

Vinod Sharma brings over 15 years management experience in accounting, finance, purchasing and operations in the private sector as well as 15 years in social housing. He has served for five years as a Board member and Treasurer at the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women and has received training in board governance, fundraising and financial management from the Maytree Foundation. Vinod has attended workshops on HIV/AIDS at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, participated in the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, conducted HIV awareness workshops with the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention in Toronto and Peel regions and worked as a committee member with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to publish a report on Making Housing a Priority for People Living with HIV/AIDS. Vinod holds a Master of Arts in Economics and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation.


To contact the board, please email