We have heard the call for help. We are here to answer the call.

We are a peer-led organization established in 2018 across Canada, after a tremendous response from our first group in Ottawa. We are elevating mental wellness worldwide as of 2021.

We have received tremendous support from the media, including CTV, CBC, Maclean’s Magazine. People are talking about us. We want you to be a part of that talk.

We would like to change the way we look at mental health in our industry. We want it to be a positive experience for any individual requesting our help so we can keep good people in the industry.

Consider helping us make this happen.
Be part of that change!

Our Values

Funeral Professionals Peer Support Group is committed to providing support, healing, education and knowledge to funeral professionals. Support is the key to recovery.


Funeral Professionals Peer Support Group promotes wholeness and wellness by uniting funeral industry professionals through a nationwide network of regional organizations offering support, information and resources within their community.


Our Mission is to be the leader in providing resources for the wellness of funeral professionals; to share our personal experiences, educate and advocate; and to foster a network of peer support groups across the country.

Board of Directors

Joe Zacconi


Joseph’s career started in Real Estate in the Ottawa Region in 1984, which turned into a Banking career shortly afterwards. I grew throughout the banking network ranging from Bank Teller associate, then Securities and Investments associate, Lending officer, Financial Planner, General Manager, then Regional Manager with two leading Chartered Banks. 

In between, I moved to Vancouver with my wife and 2 children, July 1997.


By April 2013, I decided to become Independent and made one final move to a Leading Financial Planning firm.

Today, I continue to grow my business as a Certified Financial Planner and a Personal Financial Planner.
I also hold my Insurance License and enjoy helping clients with all their Financial Planning needs.
My hobbies are centered around the household: carpentry, automotive restorations and building homes in my spare time.

My children are now older, and we have been blessed with a grandchild.

Patrick Kelly


Patrick is a native of Ottawa, Ontario. A graduate of the University of Ottawa with a B.A. in Arts and Education and a Master in Education, he taught for the former Ottawa and Carleton Boards of Education and their successor, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB). He also taught for Algonquin College and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. Patrick retired in 2002 from the OCDSB after twenty years as an educator.

During a hiatus in education, Patrick pursued a career in the Hospitality and Tourism industry.
In 1999, Patrick was asked to join the Ottawa–Valley Critical Incident Stress Management Team (O-VCISM), as a volunteer Mental Health Professional.
Patrick is a Mental Health Trauma Responder for Ceridian Lifeworks, Morneau Shepell, Kenyon International, FEI Behavioural Health, and the Health Canada Psycho-Social Emergency Response Team. He has provided trauma service counselling for corporate clients whose staff were experiencing difficulties such as post-sudden death, robbery, suicide and downsizing.
As a volunteer Trauma Counsellor and C.I.S.M. Responder, Patrick has served as Lead and Co-Lead in conducting one-on-one and group diffusings and de-briefings. He has conducted these at the invitation of EMS, Fire, Police and Hospital Emergency staff as a result of automotive, fire or on-duty death occurences. He is an active Volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Management, Salvation Army Ballard Rehab Van, Ottawa Race Week, Army Run events and the Wreaths Across Canada / Maple Leaf Legacy projects.
Patrick is now retired from his role as Mental Health Professional for the Ottawa Fire Critical Incident Response Team (OFCIRT) and for the Ottawa Police Service Crisis Unit. He is a former Director of the Canadian Counselling Association, National Capital Regional Chapter, and is a member of the Canadian Trauma Stress Network, the Canadian Psychological Association (Disaster and Trauma Section) and the Canadian Federation of Chefs.
Patrick’s stress reducing interests include cooking, choral music, reading, walking, travel and playing blues harmonica.

Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith

Education and Wellness Director

Lisa C. Smith is an experienced NSCC Faculty member with 24 years of demonstrated history of working as an adult educator. She is skilled in Educational Technology, Team Building, Facilitation, Fundraising, and Leadership. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Honours from Mt. St. Vincent University, a Diploma focused in Funeral Service and Mortuary Science from Simmons Institute of Funeral Service Inc., and a Community College Adult Educator Certificate.

Lisa is a fourth generation licensed Nova Scotia Funeral Director and Embalmer who started her career serving families in the Parrsboro area where her family still operates a funeral home. In addition to her faculty role at the NSCC, she develops and facilitates seminars and workshops for licensed funeral professionals and allied health professionals in Atlantic Canada.

A Valley Women’s Business Network member, Lisa is the founder of the Atlantic Network of Women in Funeral Service, Vice-Chair of the Nova Scotia Board of Registration of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, Chair of the Inglis Education Foundation Board for King’s-Edgehill School, King’s-Edgehill School Board Member, FSAC Education Committee member; Past President of the Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley VON Community Corporation Board. She has served as Vice President for Professional Development for the former Community College Local of the NSTU and Chair of the planning committee for the Atlantic Provinces Funeral Directors and Service Convention and the NSCC Faculty and Professional Support Conference.

Lisa is a life long learner whose interests include health and wellness, networking and supporting student success.

Laura Fleseru


Marketing Specialist with a Master’s degree in Communication and Political marketing, a solid project management background, 5 years of experience in public affairs and communications as an Advisor for The Chamber of Deputies in Romania and over 6 years of experience in marketing.

Recently gained my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and wrapped-up 3 years of Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy training.

For more than 5 years, while serving as a Communications Advisor for the Romanian Parliament, I led the delivery of strategic communications, handling media relations, planning national and international events and drafting speeches, news releases and articles. During this time, I have worked closely with political stakeholders and not-for-profit organizations to promote gender equality, help recent graduates enter the workforce and support mandatory screening and covered therapy for autism spectrum disorder patients. 

While working in advertising, I spearheaded campaigns for a various industries: from retail, to beauty and banking. I coordinated tailored campaigns using social media, blogging, website redesign, outdoor marketing materials, video & radio commercials and in-store branding. Within my team, I have always made it a priority to encourage individual strengths, innovative ideas, diversity and open communication.

Throughout my career, the projects I was most passionate about were social responsibility campaigns. Personally, I feel there is no greater satisfaction than bringing communities closer together and helping them get their message across.

Meet The Team

Michael Dixon

Michael Dixon

Executive Director / Founder

Mike was born in Transconia, Manitoba and moved to Ottawa in 1976. He attended St Pius X High School, then Algonquin College. He has worked in the funeral service industry for 26 years as a Funeral Director’s Assistant and will be attending Humber College in the Fall of 2019 to become a licensed Funeral Director.

Part of “Proud To Be Me”, a youth charity that deals with bullying in our communities. He also initiated Reach Up Ottawa, a local mental health charity focusing on teenagers and young adults.

Involved with Partners for Mental Health, a national charity where he served as the Ottawa chapter Chairperson.
Michael has addressed the House of Commons and Provincial legislative committees concerning mental health issues in our country. He also underlined the need for governments to treat mental health issues as a rising problem in our schools, workplaces, cities and towns.
Michael is currently a member of the volunteer events board of the Royal Ottawa hospital.

Tracey Dixon

Tracey Dixon

Operations Manager

Tracey has more than 15 years of management experience in the Health Care and Hospitality field. articularly effective in assessing and resolving operational and organizational problems to increase efficiencies and productivity, while reducing operating costs. With a background in sales and marketing, Tracey is working to get the word out about Canadian Funeral Peer Support. With many years devoted to volunteering Tracey has sat on numerous boards including the Rotary Club of Kanata Sunrise, Kanata Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Society of the National Capital Region.
With her devotion to the community Tracey won the United Way Community Builder Award in 2016.
Tracey is devoted to making mental health care for employees a part of the decision making in every organization in the funeral industry


Rachele DiBartolo

Rachele DiBartolo

Directors at Large

Rachele is a University of Ottawa graduate with a degree in history and communications in French Immersion. She is currently a change management advisor in the federal government working on the workplace modernization. In her spare time, she has volunteered in many capacities, such as serving as the Co-Chairperson of the Ottawa chapter of Partners For Mental Health.

More recently, she has carried out the role as the Ottawa administrator of the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Funeral Peer Support group.

Glenda Cole

Glenda Cole

Directors at Large

Glenda Cole, CFSP. Funeral Director with Atlantic Funeral Homes (Halifax Chapel). Glenda is a graduate of the Funeral Service Program at NSCC Kingstec Campus, class of 2012. Glenda started working in Funeral Service in 2006 at McArthur Bros. & MacNeil Funeral Home in Cornwall, Ontario, first as a Funeral Director Assistant, then as a Funeral Director Apprentice to F.X. Curry. In 2010 Glenda and her husband (late Don 2018), returned to Nova Scotia where she continued her apprenticeship. A Licensed Funeral Director since 2011, she is employed with Atlantic Funeral Homes (Arbor Memorial) in their Halifax Chapel. Glenda joined the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice in December 2012 and has successfully earned her Certified Funeral Service Practitioner designation in November 2013. Glenda is a past president and Vice President of Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia (President 2016 – 2017) (Vice President 2015-2016 and 2017-2019). An active member of Atlantic Network of Women in Funeral Service. She was a member of the Life Bundling Project Bereavement Advisory Group with Nova Scotia Dept. of Vital Statistics. Glenda has 4 sons, 4 grandchildren and is involved in her community.


Mark Pirozek

Mark Pirozek

Directors at Large

Mark was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attended Kildonan East Collegiate. Mark was trained as a Mental Health Worker with the Province of Manitoba and served as mental health worker for a couple mental health self-help organizations. He also served as a board of director for the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba and later as Chairperson. He later worked for the City of Winnipeg as a bus operator for Winnipeg Transit until 2014.

After leaving Winnipeg Transit Mark pursued his lifelong dream of working in the funeral industry. Mark enter the training program with the Canadian College of Funeral Service and graduated in May, 2017.

Kim Zavrotny

Kim Zavrotny

Directors at Large

Kim is currently a licensed funeral director working in Harford County, Maryland with the McComas Funeral Homes. Kim was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She is a 1988 graduate of Dallas High School, attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and received her AAS in Mortuary Science from Simmons Institute of Mortuary Science in Syracuse, NY in 1991.

After graduation, Kim served her apprenticeship in Norristown, PA and obtained her Pennsylvania funeral directors license in March 1993. After moving to Maryland in 2001, she fulfilled the requirements to secure her Maryland funeral directors license.  In 2014, she received her AA from Harford Community College in Paralegal Studies.

Kim is active in the Harford County, Maryland community currently serving as Vice President for the Chesapeake Professional Women’s Network (CPWN), and an at-large member of both the Welcome One Emergency Shelter and Citizens Care Center.  She had previously served on the board of the Geriatric Assistance and Information Network (GAIN) and also served on the CPWN fashion show committee and served as its chairperson in 2011 and 2012. She is a former member of the Mason-Dixon Business Association, BNI, and the planning committee for the ARC Northern Chesapeake Region’s annual After D’Arc event.  Currently, she is heading the End of Life Caregiver’s Group, which is a group designed to  bring together people who represent various organizations that work with people during each stage of the later segment of one’s life to share experiences and educate one another.

Kim lives in Abingdon with her husband, Jeff and her children, John and Zoe.  She has 2 dogs, Sadie and Dollie.

Christina Walton

Directors at Large

Christina Walton is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and is a Registered Psychotherapist with The College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. She holds a B.A. from McMaster University, and a Master’s degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Christina has been a licensed Funeral Director for 34 years and has as a private counselling practice.  She is the President of the “Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada”.

Also www.childrensgrieffoundation.org

Petite Mukami

Directors at Large

Petite Ng’ang’a is a certified Mortician from the University of Nairobi Chiromo campus and works at Muriranjas Sub-County Hospital in Murang’a County, Central part of Kenya. I’m also a National Executive Committee official and member of Morticians and Allied Professionals Association of Kenya and Co-ordinator of Peer Support group MAPAKe in partnership with Funeral Professionals Peer Support from Ottawa, Canada.

Stefanie Doucett

Directors at Large

Stefanie is a licensed funeral director/embalmer of 19 years and a 911 dispatcher for EMS and fire for 11 years. She completed her studies at Humber College and went on to work for Arbor Memorial in the GTA and later in Ottawa.

In 2010 she went into 911 dispatching but remained an active funeral director working part-time in the industry.

Stefanie spent some time in New Zealand as a trade embalmer, which was an eye-opening experience, bearing witness to the outcome of one of the world’s highest youth suicide rates in developed countries. Upon returning to Canada, she attended the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills, Missouri, USA, completing hands-on training in Advanced Post Mortem Reconstructive Surgery.

She has completed courses in First Responder Trauma Prevention and Recovery at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, received certification from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in Nutrition and Mental Health and completed courses in economics and behavioural science at Carleton University. She has also completed a course on Advanced Communications Techniques at the Ontario Police College, ASIST Suicide Intervention Training, and the Preceptor Training Program through the BAO.

Following many years of exposure to traumatic events, she was struggling with her own mental health and somatic responses to stress. In 2021 she created a fundraising event called “Inline For The Mind” to raise awareness of the link between mental health, exercise and nutrition, to shine a light on first responder mental stress injuries, and in recognition of funeral directors as last responders.

Most recently she has returned to Humber College and is working towards a degree in health sciences with a focus on workplace health and wellness.


Directors at Large

Katie has been in funeral services for over 20 years and licensed as a Director and Embalmer in Ontario, Canada for over 15 years. 

She is devoted to her husband, two young sons and a crazy cat.

She has been with FPPS since their early days and enjoys her current position assisting with fundraising. Katie is passionate about facilitating healthy avenues for both employers and employees to keep funeral professionals in the industry and focusing on what they do best – guiding families on the hardest days of their lives.”

Get in touch with us

Feel free to reach out to us! We are here for you.