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 20 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 and 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!

Polina Bergman
Polina Bergman Coordinator Programs and Partnerships

Polina is a dynamic program and partnership coordinator who thrives in the non-profit sector. With a varied education—Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Communication—from Queen’s University and the University of Ottawa, she’s armed with the knowledge to make a difference. Polina excels at driving innovation forward, using her sharp communication skills and creative direction to conquer challenges with gusto. In her free time she likes to read, watch an abundance of tv shows and movies, and hang out with her cats.

KATIE BLASCO Manager, Grants and Partnerships

Katie Blasco has over 15 years of experience working in the fields of science, communications and management, most recently as Manager, Operations for the Arctic Inspiration Prize. Her early work in geophysics took her across Canada, with significant time spent in the North. In recent years she has been focused on project management and communications for both science and social projects. She hails from Nova Scotia, but is currently based in Quebec City. Her constant quest for adventure is assuaged through travel, writing and parenting.


Lana Bodorik
Lana Bodorik Manager Programs and Partnerships

Lana has worked across various sectors and industries including education, business development and aerospace here in Canada as well as Europe and the Middle East. Since moving to Ottawa from the east coast, her work has primarily focused on operations and executive-level support. When not working, Lana is happiest discovering local food, and exploring the outdoors hiking, biking or kayaking.

Catherine Boivin
Catherine Boivin Manager Partner Stewardship

Catherine believes life is best lived when trying to make the world a better place, whether in little ways or big ways, at home or at work. With that in mind, she got into fundraising and donor stewardship in 2012 at the Canadian Museum of History and later at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Catherine also loves to write and bake, hike and bike…and explore islands of all shapes and sizes!

Tyler Bruce
Tyler Bruce Coordinator Programs and Partnerships

Tyler Bruce joins the Rideau Hall Foundation from a background in the sports industry that ignited a passion of growing communities and serving the next generation. His experience in the safe sport movement has taught him the importance that youth have safe and welcoming environments where they can help strengthen themselves and their communities.  Tyler’s passion is soccer and he spends his free time either playing the beautiful game or coaching it.

JILL CLARK Manager Communications and media relations

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.

Brenda Dashney
Brenda Dashney Chief Financial Officer

Brenda is a CPA, CMA with over 25 years senior management experience in the not-for-profit / charitable sector, having been with a variety of organizations including Amnesty International Canada, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and most recently the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Born and raised in Ottawa, and a die-hard hockey fan, Brenda shares her home with her husband, two children and rescue dog.


ALICIA DOBSON Manager 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

Anique Lacoursiere
Anique Lacoursiere Coordinator Programs and Partnerships

Anique Lacoursiere joins the Rideau Hall Foundation after having worked in administration and membership coordination at Soldier On. Following their experience providing support programs to Canada’s ill and injured veterans, Anique is well versed in the nuances and challenges relevant to providing support to marginalized communities. They are passionate about destigmatizing support needs and creating space for individualized support. Anique is a hobby-artist who spends the weekends creating paintings and embroidery artwork.

JOANNA MACDONALD Manager Knowledge Mobilization

Joanna is a passionate communicator, organizer, and ally with a decade of experience working with Indigenous Peoples at local, regional, national, and international levels. She has led collaborative research initiatives, training opportunities, policy development, and advocacy activities related to topics such as climate change, health and well-being, food security, and Indigenous Knowledge. She has a particular interest in creative approaches to enhance connections between siloed spaces and support youth leadership.

Taylor Mackey
Taylor Mackey Coordinator Programs and Partnerships

Taylor has a background in education, outreach, and program administration. He is passionate about education and making it more accessible for everyone. He is an adventurer at heart and takes every opportunity he can to get into the forest or on the water.  He has had the opportunity to see Canada by bike and spend time working with remote communities in the Northwest Territories.

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 Manager Programs and Partnerships

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.

Rachel Mishenene
Rachel Mishenene Director Indigenous Teacher Education Initiative

Rachel Mishenene is Anishinaabe and French originally from Mishkeegogamang First Nation and is a member of Eabametoong First Nation through adoption. Rachel’s education journey includes teaching in elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and teaching classroom teachers. She is an author, scholar and a curriculum and program developer. She has her Masters of Education and has done research in parent engagement and best approaches to engaging Indigenous learners. A recipient of the 2018 Indspire Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award, Rachel is recognized for her achievements in leading positive systemic change to education. She worked at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario for six years and designed Indigenous education programming and resources for classroom teachers. Rachel has been working in education for 16 years and has created many learning engagement opportunities, including developing a leadership program for Indigenous women educators. She was also Executive Director for Right To Play Canada and worked with a team across Canada to delivering child & youth play-based programming with Indigenous community partners. Her most recent written piece can be found in My Best Idea: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Rubicon Publishing, 2022). Rachel enjoys spending time with her son, mother, and friends.

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.


BRIANNE PAQUETTE Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

Brianne brings over 10 years of experience in client focused roles. Most recently working in the real estate industry, and previously in hospitality, she offers expertise in event planning and easily adapts to fast paced environments. On her free time, Brianne enjoys exploring her culinary skills, trying new food & restaurants, as well as spend time with friends and family!

NATE TYSDAL Manager People and Culture

Nate is a Certified HR Professional (CHRP) with over 10 years of experience in the higher education sector. His areas of focus have included labour relations, compensation, employee recognition, and pension and benefits. Nate is passionate about delivering high-quality, effective, and consistent HR consultation and providing support aligned with business objectives and corporate strategy. Nate is also a big film buff and enjoys going to the movies as much as he can.


CLAUDIA VERGARA Senior Officer 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

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