The MUHC Foundation’s Le Bal Rouge gala is roaring into the twenties in support of respiratory medicine

Le Bal Rouge 2023 will be led by a team of four women co-chairs, a first for the event.

Lisa Giannone was 8-months pregnant with twins when her 2-year-old son contracted RSV.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common virus that in some cases can cause severe illness. Lisa watched her little boy get sicker and sicker, and finally called an ambulance. He was put on oxygen, and Lisa had no idea if he would survive.

“It was the scariest 24 hours of my life,” says Lisa.

Fifteen years later, Lisa’s son is a thriving 17-year-old and her twins are 15. Though it was many years ago, Lisa acutely remembers the horror of that day, and the expert care that saved her child’s life. Since then, respiratory medicine has been close to her heart and inspired her to co-chair the MUHC Foundation’s Le Bal Rouge gala for 2023. This year’s event is supporting respiratory medicine at the Montreal Chest Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).

“Improving our health care system is incredibly important to me. I’m very excited to be a part of Le Bal Rouge,” says Lisa.

This year’s Le Bal Rouge gala is harkening back a century to the Roaring Twenties. The Great Gatsby-themed event will bring the allure of 1920s speakeasies to Windsor Station. The glamorous event will honour Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the Division of Respiratory Medicine at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and all proceeds will support breathtaking research and breath-giving care at the MUHC.

Taking place on May 26, 2023, guests will be treated to fabulous food by celebrated caterer Armando Arruda and sizzling entertainment. The art deco theme will bring an upscale, luxury feel to the grandeur of the historic Windsor Station.

The MUHC Foundation is proud to introduce this year’s Le Bal Rouge co-chairs. For the first time, the event will be led by four remarkable women from Montreal’s business community. Joining Lisa Giannone are three members of the MUHC Foundation’s distinguished Board of Directors: Maria Della Posta, President of Pratt & Whitney Canada; Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada; and Sacha Haque, Partner, General Counsel and Secretary at Sagard. These incredibly accomplished co-chairs represent a breadth of expertise and business acumen, and are certain to make Le Bal Rouge a resounding success.

Maria Della Posta joined Pratt & Whitney Canada in 1985 and has spent her entire career there, becoming president of the aerospace company in 2019. She recently joined the MUHC Foundation’s Board of Directors, serving as Co-Vice Chair, and is thrilled to co-chair Le Bal Rouge.

“I want to do my part to support the evolution of medical care at the MUHC. As a beneficiary of a McGill education and a proud member of the Montreal community, I see this as a way to benefit our city and the world at large,” says Maria.

Lucie Guillemette began her career at Air Canada in customer service in 1987 and joined the company’s executive team in 2008. Today, she is Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer with the airline. Co-chairing this year’s Le Bal Rouge is particularly meaningful for Lucie, who currently has a close friend receiving care at the MUHC. She recalls the excitement of last year’s event, and strives to make this year just as inspirational.

“I attended Le Bal Rouge for the first time last year, and I was so inspired by the sense of camaraderie in the room. Here were companies from across Montreal—some of them competitors—coming together for a common cause. And to see the doctors we were supporting speak with such pride and conviction was so inspiring,” says Lucie.

Lucie is thrilled to co-chair alongside three other women in leadership, recalling the first time Air Canada flew with an all-woman crew.

“It was a proud moment to see a flight crewed by women, and I am honoured to be part of the first Le Bal Rouge chaired entirely by women,” says Lucie.

Sacha Haque is a Partner, General Counsel and Secretary at Sagard, a global alternative asset management firm, where she oversees all aspects of legal affairs. She has been with the group of companies for over 15 years and, prior to that, began her career in private practice. The MUHC is particularly dear to Sacha, who gave birth to her twin boys there in 2019. She has been a member of the MUHC Foundation’s Board of Directors for years, and sees co-chairing Le Bal Rouge as a natural extension of that work.

“I’ve spent more than seven years on the MUHC Foundation board overseeing the important work the foundation enables. Accepting the offer to co-chair the foundation’s signature gala was a no-brainer for me. The opportunity to work alongside three incredible, accomplished women to make a difference in health care is a very compelling proposition,” says Sacha.

Lisa Giannone has many years of experience in insurance brokerage and risk management. She joined BFL CANADA in 2009 and was previously Regional Vice-President Eastern Region. In January 2023, she became President and Chief Operating Officer of BFL CANADA, the largest employee-owned and operated risk management, insurance brokerage, and employee benefits consulting services firms in Canada. The company was founded by Barry F. Lorenzetti in 1987.

Lisa manages a team of over 1,200 professionals located in twenty-four cities across the country and because BFL is a founding Partner of Lockton Global LLP, she collaborates with partners in over 140 countries around the world.

“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to co-chair Le Bal Rouge. Respiratory medicine is very close to my heart, and I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with my fellow co-chairs—three successful, inspirational women—to raise funds for this important cause,” says Lisa.

Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, this year’s honouree, played a key role in the MUHC’s pandemic response. He redeployed health care staff at the MCI and the MUHC to treat more patients suffering from COVID-19. Under his leadership, the MUHC’s staff courageously stepped out of their comfort zone and converted part of the Centre for Innovative Medicine at the Glen site, a space normally reserved for research, into C4—the MUHC’s first COVID unit. Dr. Schwartzman is also a pioneer in the prevention and care of tuberculosis.

All proceeds from Le Bal Rouge will support the MUHC Foundation’s Dream Big. Breathe Easier campaign, which is supporting top-quality care and ground-breaking research for respiratory diseases. The MCI’s talented personnel are at the forefront of their field, and the support of Le Bal Rouge will help them continue the MCI’s reputation as a world-leader in respiratory research and care.

Le Bal Rouge takes place on May 26, 2023, at Windsor Station. To learn more and to buy your ticket, visit

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