About Shannex   |   Our Leadership Team

Our leadership team

Jason Shannon

Read bio for Jason Shannon

Jason Shannon

Jason Shannon is President of Shannex Incorporated. Under Jason’s leadership, Shannex has achieved significant growth over the past 20 years, while maintaining the organization’s focus and commitment to its values.

Jason provides thoughtful direction and maintains close connection with operational and organizational development activities. He is also engaged in the company’s business planning and development. Jason’s passion for innovation and delivering exceptional client service continues to inspire collaboration with stakeholders across Canada on ensuring the needs of seniors are being met in home care, retirement living and long term care.

Jason is a graduate of Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) and an L.L.B (1997). He is a member and chairs several public, and private company boards that service the real estate, technology, and health care fields. Over the years he has also volunteered on many educational, and not-for-profit boards that focus on education and advocacy for seniors’ wellness and aging.

Catherine MacPherson
Chief Operating Officer

Read bio for Catherine MacPherson

Catherine MacPherson

Catherine joined Shannex in 2010 to lead the development of our academic nursing home partnership with Dalhousie University and has since held operations leadership roles on both the Enhanced Care and Retirement Living teams. In her current role as Chief Operating Officer, Catherine supports Shannex and Parkland operations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. Prior to joining Shannex, Catherine held program and project management positions in Nova Scotia’s former district health authorities.

Catherine is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and an EXTRA Fellow with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (now Healthcare Excellence Canada). She holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences from McMaster University, a Master of Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University and has completed further executive education from Harvard Business School.

Catherine currently serves on the Dalhousie University Board of Governors. She has previously served on the IWK Health Centre Board of Directors; as Chair of the IWK’s Board Quality Committee; as Chair, Bluenose Chapter, of the Canadian College of Health Leaders; and as sessional faculty in Dalhousie’s School of Health Administration.


Heather Hanson
Vice President, Strategy and Brand

Read bio for Heather Hanson

Heather Hanson

As Vice President, Strategy and Brand, Heather manages the planning of our organization-wide growth strategy and is responsible for the Brand portfolio, which includes sales, corporate communications, marketing, creative services, brand integrity, and business development activities. Heather values building trusted partnerships with all stakeholders and advancing the organization’s social responsibilities – she wholeheartedly believes that Shannex is leading the way to better living and is proud to be part of this team.

Heather first joined Shannex in 2011, and has worked in agency as well as government, academic and financial sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Relations, both from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU). She also holds a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Dalhousie University and a certificate from the International Association of Public Participation.

Active in her community, she is a member of MSVU’s Board of Governors and chairs the Advancement and External Relations committee. She is also a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and the International Association of Public Participation.

Vanessa White

Vanessa White
Vice President of People and Culture

Read bio for Vanessa White

Vanessa White

Vanessa White is Vice President of People and Culture. She joined the organization in 2022, moving home to Nova Scotia to be part of a people-centered, family organization that aligns with her personal leadership style.

In her role, Vanessa works alongside our Great People, focusing on the team member experience, including workforce development, engagement and retention, recruitment (domestic and international) and learning and development.

Vanessa brings more than 25 years of experience in progressive Human Resource leadership. Prior to joining Shannex, Vanessa held positions with Coca-Cola Bottling, Maple Leaf Foods, Sodexo and Maple Lodge Farms. She holds a Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality from Mount Saint Vincent University and a certificate in Human Resources from St. Mary’s University.

Kim MacDonald
Vice President, Property and Support Services

Read bio for Kim MacDonald

Kim MacDonald

As Vice President of Property and Support Services, Kim is responsible for a portfolio that includes property and asset management, procurement and contracts, sustainability, new development and support services which includes housekeeping, laundry, waste and inventory management.

In 1991, Kim joined Shannex as the Director of Food Services at Arborstone Enhanced Care. Since that time, she has held a variety of management positions in the organization. In 1995, she moved to Truro  when Shannex purchased Hillcrest Manor, where she worked as the administrator. With the expansion in the Colchester Cumberland region,  as part of the Building for Better Living project, Kim became the Regional Manager for the Enhanced Care Division overseeing five nursing homes in the region. She then took on a similar role in the Halifax/Dartmouth area as the Director of Operations. More recently, Kim spent 3 years in the role of Director of Operations for new development and during that time she led the opening of 6 buildings in New Brunswick and Ontario. This included the relocation of residents from 2 existing buildings to newly constructed buildings in the Miramichi.


Dana Schiefer
Chief Culinary Officer

Read bio for Dana Schiefer

Dana Schiefer

Dana joined Shannex in 1998 as the Executive Chef of Parkland Clayton Park and is proud to have spent the last 20 years building on care and service excellence delivery for residents and their families. As Chief Culinary Officer, Dana oversees the company’s Culinary direction, and leading and supporting the Culinary teams to deliver an exceptional dining experience. Dana is also passionate about including locally sourced ingredients in residents’ dining experience.

Throughout his years with the company, Dana has held numerous management roles in both Culinary and Procurement divisions. He has been a part of opening every Shannex residence in operation today. Prior to joining Shannex, Dana worked with various upscale restaurant groups in Culinary management roles.

Dana graduated from the NSCC Culinary Art Program in 1993 and the Executive Leadership Program from the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University in 2015.


Cayla Wierstra
Senior Executive Assistant

Read bio for Cayla Wierstra

Cayla Wierstra

As the Senior Executive Assistant at Shannex Cayla is directly responsible for the day to day operations of the office of the President and Chief Operating Officer. Cayla also works closely with the rest of the Senior and Executive Leadership teams and is responsible for oversight over the corporate office as well as the corporate administration team.

Cayla joined Shannex in 2017 and holds a Paralegal diploma from Nova Scotia Community College. Her previous experience was primarily as a legal assistant in the areas of both Corporate and Real Estate Law before moving into a role in marketing and event planning at two of Atlantic Canada’s top law firms.


Derek Green
Vice President, New Brunswick Operations

Read bio for Derek Green

Derek Green

Derek joined Shannex in late 2018 as Vice President, New Brunswick Operations, where he supports Parkland Retirement Living Campuses and Shannex Enhanced Care facilities throughout the province. Derek’s focus is to support the company’s current and expanding operations in New Brunswick to ensure residents continue to receive top quality accommodations and services from engaged employees.

Prior to joining Shannex, Derek had a 20-year career as a senior leader with Medavie Blue Cross, accountable for implementation and management of their federal government contracts with Veterans Affairs Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.  Prior to that, he served as an Artillery Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces for eight years, stationed in Quebec, Ontario, and Chatham, NB.

Derek holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the Royal Military College of Canada and holds several financial services industry designations including Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI). He has gained the respect of the New Brunswick business community and has also found the time to support amateur sports through volunteering as a coach in hockey, soccer, football and lacrosse over the past 25 years. He is currently Assistant Coach for the Riverview Royals, playing in the NBIAA high school hockey league.

Elliot Kavanagh
Regional Director of Operations, Ontario

Read bio for Elliot Kavanagh

Elliot Kavanagh

As Regional Director of Operations for Ontario, Elliot oversees our Ontario campuses along with the growth and development of new communities in the province.

Elliot joined Shannex in 2013 as part of the opening team at Parkland at The Gardens. Over the past 10 years, he has held various roles within operations in culinary, hospitality services, recreation, sales, and marketing. Elliot spent time working at Home Office in the Human Resources department as the Manager of Employee Engagement and on the Brand Team as the Manager of Brand Integrity, where he helped develop our organizational Guiding Principles and Brand Standards.

As part of these roles, he helped open the organization’s first purpose-built campus in Ontario, Parkland on Eglinton West, where he later became General Manager.

Elliot is a six sigma Green Belt and a current student in the Executive Leadership program at Dalhousie University. Elliot is passionate about service excellence and quality improvement. 


Dana Power
Vice President Operations, Nova Scotia Enhanced Care

Read bio for Dana Power

Dana Power

Dana joined the Shannex team in 1998 as a Clinical Dietitian and has progressed through a variety of leadership roles in both Shannex Enhanced Care and Parkland Retirement Living divisions.  Currently serving as Vice President Operations, Nova Scotia Enhanced Care, Dana leads the operational teams of the 16 licensed long-term care sites in the province.

Dana has participated in and led many successful projects to advance the organization’s strategic goals including: the Shannex Culinary Production Centre; retirement living governance and policy structure; the opening of Caritas Residence for the Sisters of Charity Halifax; and a large campus revitalization and construction project at Parkland Clayton Park.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition and Masters of Adult Education from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), as well as certificates in Foodservice and Hospitality Management from the Canadian Tourism and Human Resource Council, and Executive Leadership from the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University.  Dana maintains a connected relationship with MSVU serving as sessional faculty and guest lecturer in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition.

Eric MacRae
General Counsel

Read bio for Eric MacRae

Eric MacRae

As General Counsel, Eric provides strategic legal and business advice to Shannex’s management team. Eric is responsible for legal operations and risk management throughout Shannex, including overseeing the health, wellness and safety team.

Eric has extensive experience in private practice and as in-house counsel, advising on corporate transactions, financing arrangements, complex commercial agreements, business disputes, and general corporate and commercial matters. He began his legal career with Atlantic Canada’s largest regional law firm, and immediately before joining Shannex, was Senior Counsel at a publicly traded energy and services company headquartered in Halifax with investments throughout Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Eric holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Certificate in Human Resource Management from Saint Mary’s University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick, and a Master’s in Law and Finance from the University of Oxford.

Greg Heard
Vice President, Innovation & Technology

Read bio for Greg Heard

Greg Heard

As Vice President of Innovation and Technology, Greg brings over 24 years of experience in global and international experience information, technology and computing to Shannex.  

His expertise includes strategic negotiations, project management, risk assessments, privacy reviews, process improvements, capital planning, and leveraging technology to improve service operations.  

Greg is dedicated to helping seniors live happier, healthier and safer through technological innovation. 

Brianna Higgins
Vice President, Finance

Read bio for Brianna Higgins

Brianna Higgins

As Vice President of Finance, Brianna Higgins brings 18 years of senior management and advisory experience from across many industries to Shannex.

Specializing in senior property development and operations, Brianna supports corporate strategy and corporate finance, playing a crucial role in risk management, funding initiatives, financial reporting, budgeting, and building relationships with industry and government.