Teresa Marques is an accomplished fundraising executive with extensive experience leading development teams in the healthcare and post-secondary education sectors. She is interested in how giving patterns in Canada are changing, and is seeking to drive social change through philanthropy while strengthening the non-profit sector in Canada.

MELANIE BECHARD Senior Communications Officer

Mélanie Béchard is a communications professional with 15 years experience, including working for various non-profit organizations like the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Universities Canada. She also spent four years as a reporter/photographer at a community newspaper in Northwestern Ontario. In the summer she and her husband spend as much time as possible in their large backyard vegetable garden.


Originally from Hawkesbury in Eastern Ontario, Marie-France graduated from the public relations program at La Cité. Prior to joining the RHF, she worked as a legislative assistant for a member of Parliament, and as an organizer in many election campaigns. Marie-France spends her free time baking, enjoying the outdoors, travelling and planning for her next adventure. 613-914-2737

KELLY-ANN BENOIT Special Assistant

Kelly-Ann Benoit joined the Rideau Hall Foundation in October 2017. She brings over 25 years of federal public service experience in a variety of sectors: the Department of Justice, the Federal Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, Parliament of Canada, the Summits Management Office, and the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. Kelly-Ann is in her element when entertaining family and friends, and enjoys challenging outdoor activities.

Michèle Benoit
Michèle Benoit Manager Youth Programs and Partnerships

Michèle Benoit is accomplished at leading national initiatives, teams and networks in the charitable, private and public sectors. With over 20 years’ experience building meaningful relationships and mobilizing strategies into action in the areas of education, philanthropy, healthcare, recreation, and park planning, Michèle has harnessed the collective power of partnerships to advance program growth and capacity. Most recently, she worked in partnership with First Nations schools across the country to improve early childhood literacy achievement. Michèle has a passion to make a difference through social good and impact-driven movements. She loves the great outdoors, especially if it involves water!

KATIE BLASCO Manager, Operations Arctic Inspiration Prize

Katie Blasco has over 15 years of experience working in the fields of science, communications and administrative management, most recently with ArcticNet and the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. She developed a passion for the Arctic during her time spent in remote field camps and communities across the North. Her quest for adventure continues to be assuaged through travel, writing and parenting. 613-914-3034

JILL CLARK Manager Communications

Jill Clark is a communications professional who brings ten years of experience to her role at the Rideau Hall Foundation. For six years she lived and worked in south eastern France, heading up her own consulting firm for Swiss and French companies looking to expand into English-speaking markets. Jill believes in the power of strategic and thoughtful communication as an essential tool for meaningful engagement and valuable change. Jill spends her free time building her encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and enjoying the great outdoors.

ALICIA DOBSON Coordinator Arctic Inspiration Prize

Passionate about building community through connection, Alicia believes firmly in people and their capacity to come together and do amazing things. Having worked across sectors to support groups in advancing meaningful change, Alicia is always thinking of ways we can move the marker together. When she’s not collaborating on a new project, she will find any excuse to get outdoors for hiking, fishing, and fireside storytelling. 613.277.4074

RACHEL FANCY Director Operations

Rachel Fancy is an administration professional who has spent the majority of her career working in non-profit Canadian theatre. Originally from the East Coast, Rachel has lived and worked across Canada and Europe. An avid reader and traveler she enjoys exploring new cultures with her husband but also returning to her adopted home of Ottawa. 613-915-5749

Paola Gonzalez
Paola Gonzalez Manager, Partner Stewardship

Paola Gonzalez brings extensive program management and support experience in the not-for-profit sector, most recently as Fundraising Manager at Equal Voice. Prior to moving to Canada, Paola provided program support at the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela for the Global Affairs Canada team, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the RCMP. Paola dreams of making a Canada-wide road trip with her family to explore the country she now proudly calls home.

KATE KEENLEYSIDE Coordinator Development

Kate Keenleyside joined the Rideau Hall Foundation after spending most of her career with the Ottawa Humane Society. Kate is passionate about donor relations, and she loves helping people feel good about their decision to give. Having recently embarked on her biggest adventure yet when she entered the world of parenting, Kate’s greatest pleasure is spending time with her daughter, her husband, and their pets.

Currently on maternity leave.

ALLISON MACLACHLAN Director External Relations and Public Engagement

Allison MacLachlan is a communications professional with over 15 years of experience, most recently as Senior Director of Corporate Communications for CBC/Radio-Canada. She is passionate about storytelling and helping to make things happen. She loves working as part of a team to grow ideas, and considers optimism to be the most important tool in her arsenal.

SABRINA MARQUES Coordinator Innovation

Originally from Montreal, Sabrina Marques moved to Ottawa to complete her master’s degree in English literature. Since finishing school, Sabrina has worked for the government of Canada and a private government relations firm, and along the way discovered her passion for philanthropy, joining the Rideau Hall Foundation in April 2018. Sabrina is an avid photographer and practices yoga in her spare time.

CHARLES MCCULLOCH Director Development

Charles McCulloch brings 25 years’ broad functional experience in both not-for-profit and private sectors, most recently as a vice-president with the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation and previously as director with a leading boutique search firm. Charles enjoys building strong and rewarding relationships with boards, philanthropists, business leaders and partner organizations, Canada-wide. He’s in his element near a Canadian lake.


AMY MIFFLIN-SILLS Director Innovation and Skills

Amy brings nearly 20 years’ experience as a federal public servant, including 8 years at the executive level. Amy has led policy analysis and framework development, program design and delivery, stakeholder relations and partnership development across a broad range of issues related to skills and the labour market. She has also served on the Board of Directors for non-for-profit organizations. Amy and her husband have two daughters, making them figure skating, hockey and soccer parents. 613.914.2925

Kristen Mineault
Kristen Mineault Manager Indigenous Partnerships

Kristen Mineault is a Cree First Nation from Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan. She received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and has nine years of experience working as an educator. She facilitated professional development for educators. Her pedagogy in Indigenous education is formed knowing that sustainable education must always strive to connect with our Elders, and to teach our students about our shared history, and connection to the land.


BILL MINTRAM Director Indigenous and Northern Relations

Bill Mintram is Métis and a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to joining the RHF, he held the position of Senior Manager, Indigenous Relations with the Canadian Red Cross. He has also served as Executive Director for the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre, and held many board, adjudication, and advisory positions including two terms as an executive board member for the National Association of Friendship Centres. Bill recognizes that working to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people across Canada is not possible without the love and support of his wife Marylou and son Ethan.

INGRID MORRIN Program Manager Innovation

Ingrid has spent the majority of her professional life in the financial services industry, both in management and advisory roles.  After completing her MBA she had the opportunity to work in health policy development for the Government of the Northwest Territories.  She escaped the cold for a three-year adventure sailing in the Caribbean with her family before returning to Ottawa. In her spare time, Ingrid skis, sails, tours with the family on two tandem bicycles, and acts as a professional taxi driver for two volleyball daughters. 613.857.2114

LÉANDRE NAWEJ Manager Programs and Partnerships

Léandre has worked on projects in West Africa, Scandinavia and Canada advancing education equity, youth employment, gender inclusion, and corporate sustainability through governments and NGOs. Léandre first joined the RHF as an intern primarily supporting learning programs before heading to Sweden to further develop her own learning experience. After a year abroad, Léandre has happily returned to the RHF to fortify partnerships and programs that best serve Canadians. In her leisure time Léandre enjoys creating and consuming art in the comfort of her Montreal home and on her globetrotting adventures.



IKEM OPARA Director National Learning Partnerships

Ikem Opara has spent the last 20 years engaging public and private sector partners in Canada, Tanzania, Kenya and Cuba, to build relationships and strengthen connections across national, linguistic, cultural and other borders. Following progressive roles at Pathways to Education, Canada World Youth, and Canadian Jesuits International over the years, Ikem most recently led Ontario Trillium Foundation’s strategy, grant-making and capacity building work with a focus on inclusion, and improved outcomes for Black and Indigenous youth. Ikem lives in the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Treaty area known as Toronto, from where he supports the work of the Rideau Hall Foundation.


PRIYA PANDIT Manager Programs and Partnerships

Priya has over eight years of experience building strategic partnerships with industry associations, government, academia and SMEs, and in supporting government-funded labour market programs and initiatives for different sectors. Recently, Priya moved from the West Coast to the National Capital and enjoys being outdoors, reading and skiing.

CLAUDIA VERGARA Coordinator Finance

Claudia recently returned to Ottawa to join the RHF in the Finance Department. She came to accounting the long way: she studied at Algonquin College, worked as an electrical draftsperson in Saskatchewan and South Africa, as an accounts payable clerk in Oakville, ON, and as an office manager/bookkeeper in Melbourne, AU and San Diego, CA. Claudia’s children remain in California, her daughter having recently graduated from Whittier College and her son studying at the University of Redlands. There is still much more traveling in Claudia’s future. 613-914-7651

Our Team