Board of Directors

In keeping with the philosophy of a community-driven organization, the by-laws of the Inuuqatigiit require that a majority of directors on the Board be parents of children enrolled in programs offered by the Inuuqatigiit, and a majority be Inuit. These measures ensure that all Inuuqatigiit programming is relevant to the community it serves. As such, our staff and Board of Directors are abreast of issues that Inuit families face in an urban setting.

The Inuuqatigiit Board made changes to the 2011 By-Laws due in response to new legislation.
To review the approved 2017 Inuuqatigiit’s By-Laws, click here.

Call for Nominations 2019

Interested in becoming an Inuuqatigiit Board of Directors member? All nominations must be received by 5:00pm Tuesday September 17, 2019.
Inuuqatigiit’s Board Nominations are open until Inuuqatigiit’s 2019 Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2019.

Download the 2019 Board Nomination Form by clicking here.

Email or call with questions, please contact Janice Mathewsie, 613-744-3133, ext 213, Email: info@inuuqatigiit.ca. Qujannamiik!


Our 2018-2019 Board of Directors:

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence, President
Tamara Takpannie, Vice President
Andrée Lacasse, Secretary/Treasurer

Mary Hutton, Director Jessie Kangok, Director
Dennis Nakoolak, Director Lynda Brown, Director
Stephanie Puetz, Ex-Officio David M. Zackrias, Ex-Officio


2018-2019 Board of Directors

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence is of Inuit and Cree decent. She is a Nunavut beneficiary and considers Ottawa, ON and Iqaluit, NU home. Alyssa Flaherty-Spence is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a degree in Political Science and Aboriginal Studies. Following her undergraduate studies, she successfully completed the Program of Legal Studies for Native Students at the University of Saskatchewan. Alyssa successfully completed her Juris Doctor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2016.
Alyssa has worked with a number of Inuit organizations such as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc. (NTI), Maliganiik Tukisiiniavik Legal Aid Services, Sivummut YWCA Women’s Shelter, and has experience as a Board Member for Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association of Canada. In her role with Pauktuutit she spoke in the House of Commons on behalf of the Pauktuutit Board of Directors on the impact of cut backs on Inuit women across Canada. Alyssa has travelled throughout Northern Canada and focuses her attention on Northern issues and law. Further, she spoke as a representative for Aboriginal woman and law students at the Ministers Roundtable for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Ottawa, Ontario.
Alyssa also volunteered with Level Justice in their Dare to Dream program in 2014-2015 during her legal studies and further continued on as the Director of Youth Outreach. Following her Juris Doctor she completed her 10-month Law Society of Upper Canada Articling Program with Dubuc-Osland Barristers and Solicitors where they focus on Inuit and First Nations Economic Development. Most recently, Alyssa completed her Law Society of Upper Canada Barrister and Solicitor licensing exams and will be Called to the Ontario Bar in January 2018 and will be a Ontario licensed lawyer.

Tamara Takpannie

Tamara Takpannie is a proud Urban Inuk that has been apart of the Ottawa Inuit community her whole life. Her mothers’ side of the family is from Iqaluit, Nunavut and her father is of Greek ancestry and she is the youngest of 5 children. Tamara is very thankful that her son Mason is able to grow up in a community that welcomes Inuit culture, language and traditions. He is currently in the kindergarten program at Inuuqatigiit. She is a single mother and attends Carleton University full time – majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Political Science & Neuroscience and Mental Health. Tamara is very ecstatic to be a part of the board of directors and input her knowledge has an urban Inuk to help strengthen the programs provided to Inuit who’ve relocated to Ottawa.

Andrée Lacasse

Andrée Lacasse was born in Ottawa. She completed her university studies (BA, BA and MA) in Child and Youth Care specializing in Indigenous Children and Youth, International Relations and Business Communications and started her career with the Government of Canada in 2001. In the years she has spent as a federal public servant, one thing that remains constant is her passion to work in Indigenous issues. Despite her different roles in Government, she has been drawn to wanting to improve the situations of Indigenous communities in Canada.
Her interest in working with Indigenous communities continues to be fulfilled through her non profit work. She co-founded the Isa Mundo Foundation, a small organization that supports education, children and youth and environmental health and is Chair of Children and Youth projects. She has had the opportunity to support projects that attempt to improve the situations of children in orphanages and child centred facilities by supporting basic needs, annual activities and developing life skill programs.
Her studies and interest in working with children and youth is what led her to Inuuqatigiit. As a past volunteer at Inuuqatigiit, she enjoyed her time tremendously and learned so many valuable lessons from Elders, staff, families and the kids themselves. She is forever grateful to her Inuit family for bringing her the most precious gift in her life, her son. Andrée feels her responsibility as the mother of an Inuk child is to ensure he grows up proud of his Inuit language and culture. She strives to provide this for him and for all Inuit children by supporting Inuuqatigiit to the best of her abilities.

Mary Hutton

Mary has been working with the Inuit community in Ottawa since 1995. She worked as the pre-postnatal coordinator at TI, starting in 1995 until 2011. After this time, she began working as a staff nurse with the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team.
Before working with the Inuit community, Mary worked with a psychologist here in Ottawa and did psychometric testing and play therapy. Mary also has experience working with developmentally handicapped adults, both in Ottawa and in Toronto. She has a certificate in Fine Art and has worked as the head finisher with a company named Pre-confederation Furniture. In Mary’s early years as an RN, she worked in Case Room and Delivery in Kingston and in Moose Factory, Ontario. In her many capacities, Mary also spent a year as head nurse at Island Lodge, caring for adults with dementia.
Mary has two great kids and lives in Chelsea, Quebec with her partner.

Lynda Brown

Prior to being on the Board, Lynda was Youth Manager for Inuuqatigiit where she worked with a dedicated team to deliver a broad range of programs that promote traditional Inuit values, discovery, and growth.
Lynda has deep roots with Inuuqatigiit having been part of the original Board that started the multi-service Inuit organization in 2005. She brought a lifelong interest in and a passion for Inuit youth. “They are really inspiring.” “Working at the Inuuqatigiit allowed me to be part of something bigger.” She was able to learn more about her culture and grow while making community connections. She is an excellent presenter, particularly on throat singing and drum dancing.
Among Lynda’s vast experiences, Lynda did a two-year stint in 2006-08 for the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada on Maternal Health.
In her spare time, she enjoys being with her kids, reading, traveling and performing.

Dennis Nakoolak

Bio to come.

Jessie Kangok

Jessie Kangok was born and raised in Igloolik, Nunavut. At the age of 16, she and her family moved to Ottawa. Jessie has been serving the Ottawa Inuit Community since 1997. She first started working with Tungasuvvingat Inuit. SInce 2006, she has played various roles with Inuuqatigiit.
As a mother of three Inuit children, she believes that Inuuqatigiit plays a vital role in the lives of all children by demonstrating the importance and value of Inuit culture. Inuuqatigiit’s commitment to preserving and passing on the Inuit ways and knowledge by educating Inuit children is important to her as a mother.
Jessie felt a sense of belonging while growing up in a small community. She also understands the challenges of raising Inuit children in the city and wants to ensure that same sense of belonging for others.
Jessie has joined the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families Board of Directors so that she can continue to serve the Inuit community.


David Zacharias, Ex-officio

Staff Sgt. David ZACKRIAS, a veteran of the Toronto and Ottawa Police Services (OPS), was born and raised in India. He immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 15 and completed his secondary school education in Ottawa.
David holds a diploma in Law and Security Administration from Algonquin College in Ottawa, a bachelor’s degree in Policing Studies, and a master’s degree in Terrorism Safety and Security from Charles Stuart University in New South Wales, Australia. In addition, he completed a certificate program in Leadership and Inclusion from Centennial College in Toronto, and the Third-Party Neutral Accredited Mediation program with the Canadian Institute of Conflict Resolution in Ottawa.
David has more than 18 years of frontline police work in his career, including extensive investigative and supervisory experience. Currently, David is in charge of the Ottawa Police Diversity and Race Relations Section.
David is a highly motivated police officer who is actively involved in the community. His unique style of leadership encompasses a strong commitment to community policing and an ability to bring diverse groups together.
David received the 2014 Gold Medal of Excellence award by the Human Rights and Race Relations Centre of Toronto for his “outstanding leadership, problem-solving abilities and communications skills with Ottawa’s diverse groups.” He is also the recipient of Crime Prevention Ottawa 2015 Enforcement Award. David’s personal philosophy is that “for police Members to succeed in their work, they must work effectively in partnership with the community”, therefore as a leader in the OPS, he plays an integral role in ensuring that the teams he leads approach problems to build a culture of inclusion, both internally and externally.

Stephanie Puetz, Ex-officio

Stephanie Puetz was born and raised in Newfoundland, and moved to Ottawa 8 year ago. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and currently works with the Government of Canada as a federal public servant in the field of conflict resolution. As a facilitator, mediator, coach, and trainer who is passionate about serving others, Stephanie brings a collaborative and creative lens to all new opportunities. She is also a community volunteer with several local organizations. She lives in the city with her husband and son, and they enjoy hiking, canoeing and camping together.