North West LHIN Senior Team

laura kokocinski


Laura Kokocinski, CEO

(Term End: April 30, 2018)

Laura was appointed CEO on September 1, 2010. She previously served as the Senior Director, Planning, Integration and Community Engagement since January 2006. In her current role, she is chairing and leading several provincial initiatives.

Laura’s extensive background in the integrated delivery of health services in Northwestern Ontario has given her a solid understanding of our region. In addition to having held the positions of Vice President, Health Services at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, the Executive Director of the Community Care Access Centre of the District of Thunder Bay and the Director of Continuing Education with Confederation College, she brings a strong background in leadership, education, policy development and research.

Laura holds the degrees of Doctorate of Education, Master of Education and Bachelor of Science of Nursing from Lakehead.

In addition, Laura has been actively engaged as a community volunteer serving as Vice Chair and Chair, Education and Training with St. John Ambulance, Thunder Bay branch; and on the Board of Northern Ontario Medical Education Award Fund, Advisory to the Boards of Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Canadian Nurses Association. Laura was also the inaugural Chair and President of the Canadian Nurse Education Association and held the position for four years. She is also the recipient of the Order of St. John and the Nursing Leadership Dorothy Wylie Award.

susan pilatzke

Susan Pilatzke, Senior Director, Health System Transformation

Health systems everywhere are undergoing dramatic transformation, shifting focus and adapting policy to better reflect and respond to patient needs. As Senior Director, Health System Transformation for the North West LHIN, Susan Pilatzke is responsible for creating an integrated health care delivery system that keeps pace with these changes.  Her portfolio includes identifying and addressing local health system planning priorities, promoting leading practices in business and health care management, and providing leadership in devising measurable, results-driven improvement strategies.

"My job is to work with health care leaders and stakeholders across the region to design and implement better care delivery systems," she says. "The idea is to make them efficient, responsive, and above all make them person-centred."

Susan has been involved in the design and development of health care delivery systems throughout her entire career. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration from the University of Minnesota, a certificate in Executive Management from Carlson School of Management, and an Honours Bachelor Degree in Nursing from Lakehead University. Prior to joining the LHIN in 2007, she was Director of Clinical Oncology for the Integrated Cancer Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

"I am passionate about the need for better public health leadership, and building a system that is better able to improve outcomes for patients," she says. "So from my point of view, this is my dream job."


Brian Ktytor


Brian Ktytor, Senior Director, Health System Performance

Brian Ktytor is Senior Director, Health System Performance for the North West LHIN. He provides strategic leadership in system performance, funding, community engagement, eHealth, enterprise projects and change management. Put more simply, he works to optimize the performance of the health system in Northwestern Ontario in order to obtain the most value for the people who use the system and for the taxpayers of Ontario who fund the system.

Brian received his Master’s in Business Administration from Dalhousie after graduating from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce. Prior to joining the LHIN, he was the Dean of the School of Aviation and Director of Marketing, Communication and External Relations at Confederation College and was a senior commercial banking account manager with RBC Royal Bank.

Brian says his experiences within the business and education sectors were the perfect preparation for the job he now holds. He works closely with team members and stakeholders across the region, bringing a decidedly business and systems point of view to a critical health care function – making the system high-performing and sustainable.

"I love this job because of the purpose that I have," he says. "I can't think of a higher contribution I could make than helping my fellow Ontarians be healthy, and helping sustain the health system for future generations."

byron ball


Byron Ball, Director, Performance, Contract and Allocations

Byron Ball was appointed to the position of Director of Performance, Contracts and Allocation in September, 2013. In his role, Byron is accountable for providing strategic leadership in the areas of health system performance management and resource allocation.

“I’m passionate about finding ways to apply the skills and personal experiences I have to make a difference in the care experienced by people of the North West LHIN. I am passionate about making the health care system in the Northwest the best it can be for all who live in the place my family and I call home.”

Before assuming his current role, between 2008 and 2013, Byron was a Senior Performance Consultant with the North West LHIN. Prior to this, Byron spent four years working in the field of public accounting where he gained valuable experience working with clients in various industries and sectors including for profit, not for profit and health care related agencies.

In 2006, Byron attained his Chartered Accounting designation (now referred to as CPA-CA). In addition to his CPA-CA designation, Byron received a Master’s of Science in Management from Lakehead University as well as an Honors’ Bachelors of Commerce Degree.

cori watson


Cori Watson, Acting Co-Director, Health System Design & Development

Cori Watson was appointed to the position of Acting Co-Director of Health System Design and Development on May 9, 2016.  In her current role, Cori provides leadership and strategic direction for the overall results and performance of the Health System Design and Development team. This team is accountable for the assessment and analysis of local health care system design to identify gaps and determine strategies/priorities for action that address provincial and local planning priorities.

“I’m passionate about transformational leadership, self-management and minimally disruptive care, in particular strategies that optimize the well-being of the constituents we serve,” says Cori. “Working at the LHIN gives me a great opportunity to engage with stakeholders in the collaborative co-design of value based health care.”

Before joining the North West LHIN, Cori was a Professional Practice Leader at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). Between 2002-2009, she was at Saint Elizabeth Health Care in various clinical and nursing management roles.

In addition to her Master’s of Nursing from Athabasca University, Cori also holds a Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Victoria, BC.

alex vistorino


Alex Vistorino, Acting Co-Director, Health System Design & Development 

Alex Vistorino was assigned the position of acting Co-Director of the Health System Design and Development (HSDD) Team in August, 2016. In his current role, Alex shares the responsibility of providing leadership and strategic direction to the HSDD team.

“I feel privileged to be working alongside my LHIN and stakeholder colleagues towards achieving the vision of a health care system that helps people stay healthy, delivers good care when they need it, and will be there for their children and grandchildren,” says Alex. “It is exciting to be involved in the complex efforts required to transform our health care system in order to maintain universality and sustainability, while improving access and equitability.”

Before joining the North West LHIN in 2012, Alex was the Executive Director of the Smiles Foundation, a charitable organization based in the Dominican Republic which provided a comprehensive range of dental health services to low income children and families across the country.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering, as well as a Master’s of Public Health degree from Lakehead University.

david newman


David Newman, Director, Project Management Office and Change Management

David Newman is Director, Project Management and Change Management for the North West LHIN. David, who joined the LHIN in 2010, provides leadership to region on enterprise project management and change management and adoption with focus on eHealth transformational initiatives. David works in collaboration with regional and provincial stakeholders to help ensure strategic eHealth initiatives within the region are planned, implemented and benefits are realized.

“My passion for helping make a difference in health care within Northwestern Ontario led me to the North West LHIN and continues to motivate my work.”

David is a PMI certified project management professional. He received his Master’s Certificate in project management from Villanova University and his Bachelor of Administration from Lakehead University. Previous to joining the North West LHIN, David worked in the private sector in several roles including Professional Services Director, Project Manager and Enterprise Technology Architect.


petronilla ndebele


Petronilla Ndebele, Director, Corporate Communications and Community Engagement

Petronilla Ndebele was appointed to the position of Director of Corporate Communications and Community Engagement on February 25, 2015. In her current role, Petronilla provides strategic leadership in communications and community engagement to ensure the people of Northwestern Ontario share their views and advice on health system delivery and transformation to better serve their needs.

“I’m passionate about a storytelling approach to communications,” says Petronilla. “In particular, stories that make a difference to the socio-economic well-being of the constituents we serve.”

Before joining the North West LHIN, Petronilla was Director of Communications for kidsLINK, a children’s mental health agency. Between 2012 - 2014, she was at the City of Guelph as the Public Affairs Officer in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and Communications Assistant in the Office of the Mayor. And before joining the North West LHIN, Petronilla was the Communications and Media Relations Lead at the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network.

In addition to her Master’s in International Communications and Development, City University, UK, Petronilla holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Communications from the Graduate School of Marketing, Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa. In 2014, Petronilla was Accredited in Public Relations by the Canadian Public Relations Society.

chris wcislo


Chris Wcislo, Manager, Corporate Services/Controller

Chris Wcislo is the North West LHIN’s Manager of Corporate Services. His previous experience in public auditing includes time as an employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers Bermuda, as well as Ernst and Young in Thunder Bay, where Chris completed his articling and received his Chartered Accounting designation. 

Chris received his Honors Bachelor of Commerce from Lakehead University.

As Controller and Corporate Services Manager, Chris is responsible for managing the day-to-day financial affairs and operations of the North West LHIN. He oversees human resource functions, Information technology (IT) functions, and procurement functions. 

“I am proud to be part of an organization that is committed to improving the health services for the population of Northwestern Ontario,” says Chris, who started working at the North West LHIN in 2007.

Rhonda Ferguson


Rhonda Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and Board Liaison (Interim)

Rhonda Ferguson has worked with the North West LHIN for the past 6 years. In her previous role of Administrative Assistant to the Senior Director of Health System Transformation, she has been involved with many committees and program implementations. In previous years, Rhonda has worked in various types of administrative roles, such as Legal Assistant (family law, estate planning, litigation, real estate) and Engineering Office Manager. She enjoys reading, hiking and biking, but her true passion is her love for animals.