Board Members and Volunteers

Julia Shea – Chair

Julia is a teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa.

Julia’s water broke at 24 weeks for no explicable reason.  After being put on bed rest, her son was born at 26 weeks, 6 days in June of 2013. After a 67 day stay in the NICU at the Ottawa General Hospital, Julia felt like there was a lack of support once at home. She is grateful for the creation of Parents of Preemies Association and is proud to be part of an organization that can benefit so many in the community.

Pamela Root - POPA SecretaryPamela Root – Secretary

Pamela Root is a mother of two, a daughter born full-term and a son born very suddenly at 25 weeks and 5 days due to unknown reasons. Her son spent 98 days in the NICU at the Ottawa General and arrived home happy and healthy. During their time in hospital, Pamela sought out anyone she could who had a similar experience and searched for resources to seek guidance and support, all of which was very limited in the Ottawa area. It was thanks to friends and family that their family got through the terrifying experience and she wanted to help make sure others in the community knew there was someone else who had  been through it all and could be of support.

Pamela is a full-time elementary school teacher with a BAH in Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, B.Ed, and an MA in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies. She explores her love of fitness teaching Group Exercise Classes and writes a blog on pre- and post-natal fitness.

Eric Bouliane – Treasurer


Krista Curtis – Director of Fundraising

Krista’s son, Charlie was born at 29 weeks weighing 2 lbs. 14 oz. Charlie’s 40 day NICU stay was fairly smooth and the experience was relatively positive.

“Bringing Charlie home was scary despite him being our second; we felt like we were in no man’s land.  Things I had never been worried about before were suddenly terrifying and it seemed as though no one understood what we were going through. Having the Parents of Preemies online support has been amazing. The simple idea that there are other parents who understand the unique challenges and joys of preemies and are open and willing to share with you has been an amazing support!”

Krista is a speech language pathologist, working both in the community and in a hospital setting.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa and a Master of Science in Communication Disorders from Syracuse University.  She has two children.

Rakhi Pujara-Radia – Director of Outreach and Mentorship

A mother of three preemies born at 33 weeks, 35 weeks and 34.5 weeks, Rakhi has a kind and, gentle heart and can often be seen visiting families at Ottawa hospitals while delivering the Packages for Preemies. She truly loves keeping up with the families and checking in. She hasa BSc in Biology and Masters in Health Admin and a scientist by profession.

Amélie Bisson – Director of External Communication

Amélie’s daughter was born unexpectedly at 27 weeks and 4 days. After their scary 86-day NICU journey, when their daughter was finally home, Amélie felt isolated and felt like she needed to give back to say thank you to the wonderful staff who helped get her daughter home. After speaking to the president of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation (CPBF) and learning about World Prematurity Day, Amélie decided to organize Ottawa’s first World Prematurity Day Event in 2013. An event where preemies, parents of preemies, and health professionals could gather and celebrate. Thanks to this event and through media coverage, awareness about premature birth was raised and the lack of support for parents in the area became apparent.

A few months after the event, she met Nicole Lyons, and loved her idea of a support group. She then joined forces with Nicole and the rest of the team to help build the POP Association.

Amélie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education both from the University of Ottawa. She has worked in museums as a guide, animator, and team leader and worked as a community organizer for a health centre. She is now a devoted art teacher for Le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO). Amélie is also a proud franco-ontarian and works hard to ensure the POP Association serves all of the communities in the Ottawa region including the French communities on either side of the Ottawa River.

Sara Chenier – Director of Internal Communications and Marketing

Sara Chenier is the mother of identical twin girls born at 32 weeks of gestation. With a high-risk monochorionic-diamnionic pregnancy, the chances were high that her daughters would be born prematurely but that still didn’t prepare her and her husband for the ups and downs of their daughters’ hospital stay. Since joining PoPA, she’s happier knowing that parents of premature children in Ottawa no longer need to experience the trials and celebrations alone.

She has a B.A. in communications and has worked in the Canadian not-for-profit sector for over 8 years. Her experience includes event planning, board management, fundraising, public and media relations, government relations and print and digital media production.

Bonnie Bouliane


Nicole LyonsNicole Lyons – Founder

Nicole is the mother of a 33-weeker born suddenly due to unknown reasons.  During her time at the Special Care Nursery (SCN), she realized there was a lack of resources and support for parents after discharge from hospital. This led to the start of a support group, packages being delivered to parents’ at the hospitals in Ottawa and the development of what is now the Parents of Preemies Association.

Nicole’s hope is to bring the community together to support parents during their hospital stay and long after through the development of a strong and established organization. Effective February 5th, 2015, Nicole has resigned from the Board of Directors for personal reasons. (Press Release)

Although Nicole Lyons is no longer a member of the board of directors she still remains an avid supporter of the Cause and we remain grateful for her efforts in founding this Association.


Sheena Leonard