Staff Bios



Executive Director: Stephanie Mikki Adams, 613-744-3133, ext. 215
“Inuuqatigiit plays an important role in ensuring that urban Inuit children, youth and their families are still connected to our culture; to learn our language, eat traditional foods, learn Inuit games, and understand the Inuit societal values known as Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. I think it’s very important that urban Inuit still feel connected to our culture and people.”
Newly appointed in July 2019, Mikki’s position as Executive Director works with the direction of the Inuuqatigiit Board, strategic plan and funding deliverables. She is responsible for advancing the vision, mission, mandate which is guided by the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principles while advocating for the needs of Inuit children and their families. She also provide leadership and guidance to the staff, while directing all aspects of the Inuuqatigiit operations, programs and services. As well, Mikki supports and assists the Board of Directors in its governance role.
“Children and Youth are my passion,” says Mikki. She is excited to watch the children grow and to watch them develop their skills. She is also excited that she gets to be part of such a strong Inuit community.
Prior to joining Inuuqatigiit, Mikki worked at the Federal Government as a Data & Reporting Analyst with Employment & Social Development Canada in Ottawa. In Rankin Inlet, Mikki was employed with the Municipality of Rankin Inlet as Comptroller and also Acted as Senior Administrative Officer. Mikki has also worked at the Nunavut Trades Training Centre as Director of Finance & Administration and she has also worked at Atuqtuarvik Corporation as Comptroller Among her many credits are: a Management Certificate from the Nunavut Arctic College in 2002, Directors College in Toronto in 2008, Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager through AFOA Canada in 2009, and Leadership and Management through the Achievement Center – Winnipeg 2010.
In her free time, Mikki loves going for walks outdoors with her husband. She says, “Being new to Ottawa, there is so much for us to see, do and explore. I also love spending time with my two adult-aged children Dione and Tia, and with our Grand Daughter Bristol and her adoptive family the Mallinson’s.”

Director of Finance and Administration: Bronwyn Rees, 613-744-3133, ext. 210
“Providing a solid financial and administrative base to an agency is a very satisfying thing to be part of.”
As the Director of Finance and Administration at Inuuqatigiit, Bronwyn oversees a team that provides the fiscal and administrative foundation to support the Agency’s growth, services, plans, and processes. This includes meeting Inuuqatigiit’s funding agreements, ensuring programs spend their funds according to approved budgets, and providing regular financial updates.
Bronwyn joined Inuuqatigiit in June 2011 bringing many years of experience in senior financial management positions and in non-profit organizations to her role. She loves meeting with Inuuqatigiit program leads and providing a logical, grounded, financial framework for program delivery.
And then there’s the obvious pride she takes in her team. “They are fantastic people, not only skilled and capable, but going of their way to support one another and learn from one another.”
When she’s not balancing budgets and negotiating agreements, Bronwyn enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, spending time with family and friends, reading, playing or listening to music and meditating!

Director of Programs: Ulrike Komaksiutiksak, 613-744-3133, ext. 222
“Helping individuals and teams discover their unique skills, talents, and capabilities.”
Having lived in Nunavut, Ulrike understands the challenges that Inuit families face transitioning to a new life in an urban setting. She also saw firsthand how her own children benefited from Inuuqatigiit’s Youth programs and events. Those experiences ignited a passion for the Inuuqatigiit’s vision and mandate.
Today, as the Director of Programs at Inuuqatigiit, she is dedicated to expanding the Inuuqatigiit’s reach through innovative programs, services, and creative partnerships. More than anything she sees the Inuuqatigiit as an important way to help individuals discover their unique skills, talents and capabilities.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Ulrike was the Program Manager, Parent Lifelines of Eastern Ontario. She also worked as Manager for the Canadian Executive Service Organization and was the Director of Programs for Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.
When Ulrike is not working to support Inuit families she enjoys opportunities to reconnect with nature through walks, hikes, swimming and enjoys seeking out new places and life experiences.


Director of Early Years: Jennifer LaFreniere, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 253
“I am always seeking opportunities that make a difference in the lives of children and families.”
Jennifer comes to Inuuqatigiit with over 25 years of leadership experience in the early learning and care sector. As such, she understands that it takes a village to raise a child and the importance of that village. Jennifer has an inclusive philosophy and believes that every child belongs. She also has a strong knowledge of attachment theory and recognizes the importance of keeping families together and connected to their culture.
Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Developmental Studies from the University of Winnipeg (1990), and completed a Master’s of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Western Ontario (2015). She is registered with the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators. Jennifer has lived and worked internationally and brings a rich understanding of diversity and cultural sensitivity.
Jennifer’s experience includes managing licensed childcare centres including Headstart, EarlyON and resource programs, and developing inclusive programming for children with developmental challenges. Jennifer believes that learning is life long and has been a part-time professor in the Early Childhood Education diploma program at Algonquin College. She is excited to learn more about the Inuit people and culture.

Human Resources Manager: Shelley Watkin, 613-744-3133, ext 240
“I am delighted to be part of the Inuuqatigiit management team and to embrace and learn about Inuit culture.”
Shelley’s role is to provide support to the management team and employees and ensure we are practicing sound employment policies and procedures and the Employment Standards Act (ESA).
Shelley joined the team in September 2018 and comes to us with an extensive background in Human Resources. She has worked in health care, municipal government, not-for-profit and the private sector. She loves to stay abreast of changes in legislation and the HR field.
When not found at Inuuqatigiit she loves to read, spending time with friends and out on the trails on her roller blades.

Bookkeeper, Jane Truelove, 613-744-3133, ext. 232
“Bookkeeping is my profession… people are my passion.”
Jane has been working in Inuuqatigiit’s administrative office as a bookkeeper since 2016. As you would expect, she’s good with numbers. However, Jane is quick to point out: “Bookkeeping is my profession and the result of my education, but people are my passion.”
For Jane, passion for Inuuqatigiit and the Inuit community it serves runs deep. She has been involved with Inuuqatigiit in many ways since 2006 when her oldest son began Head Start. Since then, she has supported Inuuqatigiit in every way she could – from volunteering to sitting on the Board.
Prior to joining Inuuqatigiit, Jane ran a bookkeeping business doing books for Inuit owned companies across Nunavut, including contracts with Nunavut Business Credit Corporation. She has three Inuit Children and an Inuk partner who spent his entire life in the north. Their daily lives revolve around the Inuit community of Ottawa, friends, family, community service, events, meetings and visiting.

Administrative Assistant, Janice Mathewsie, 613-744-3133, ext. 242
“Working at Inuuqatigiit is important to me as I’m a strong advocate of culture and language retention. I grew up in a small Inuit community where Inuktitut is still the spoken language.”
Janice provides administrative support and assistance to Administration and Finance. She started working at Inuuqatigiit in August 2018 as an executive assistant. Janice believes that Inuuqatigiit has the opportunity to provide the tools, knowledge and skills for urban Inuit children in their critical developmental years which inevitably instills cultural pride and identity. She is proud to be part of the Inuuqatigiit team who are working towards the mandated goals and direction of Inuuqatigiit. Prior to pursuing post-secondary studies, Janice was the Assistant Director of Communications with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Director of Communications with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in Iqaluit, Nunavut from 2000-2004. Among her achievements, she has a Bachelor of Management Degree, Concordia University of Edmonton 2008, a Management Studies Diploma, MacEwan University, Edmonton 2006, and an Aboriginal Leadership and Management Development Certificate, The Banff Centre 2002. In her spare time, Janice enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Central Intake: Clara Noah, 613-744-3133, ext 248, or work cell 613-462-6066
“I am excited to witness growth in individuals, groups and Inuit families. I am passionate about mental health, addictions, self efficacy and building a strong pride in ones self, culture and environment.”
Clara believes that Inuuqatigiit is unique because it provides the community with culturally appropriate programming and services to the Inuit of Ottawa. It provides empowerment, growth and a sense of belonging. She appreciates how the sense of community is present when she works in an Inuit-specific organization. She began working at Inuuqatigiit in October 2018.
Clara says, “I am good at reading body language, introspection, holistic approaches to counselling. I have been told that I am good at making meals, baking buns, and dancing.”
Clara worked at Mamisarvik Healing Centre from Nov 2016 to March 2017 as an Intake Assessment Worker. She holds a Community Service Worker Diploma from Herzing College. She attended Nunavut Sivuniksavut in 1995.
In her spare time, Clara likes to listen to music, hike, spend time with the grandkids and bake!


ECE Project Coordinator, Michelle McConkey, 613-761-0499
“The minute I walked through Inuuqatigiit’s doors, I knew this was a special place.”
Michelle joined the Inuuqatigiit family in June 2017 as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Project Coordinator and leads the development of Inuit specific ECE training.
Michelle brings an invaluable perspective to Inuuqatigiit having lived and worked extensively in Nunavut. She has deep respect and admiration for Inuit and sees her role to build on the important work and strengths of Inuuqatigiit. “The energy, passion and commitment of the team is incredible – there’s never a dull moment,” she says.
Michelle feels grateful to have called the North home for over 20 years. Her varied background includes work as an ECE instructor for Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) and Aurora College. She also worked as a Child Care Licensing Officer for the Government of Nunavut, a Coordinator for Community Programs for NAC, and an ECE consultant for northern communities, territorial and federal governments.

Seeing the Light Coordinator: Rachel Quinn,
“I love facilitating the education of non-indigenous service providers about Inuit culture and history.”
Rachel is the Special Events Coordinator and part of Inuuqatigiit’s ongoing community outreach initiatives. She works with external agencies to facilitate the education of non-indigenous service providers about Inuit culture and history. She sees her role as an important extension of Inuuqatigiit’s mission to provide culturally safe services.
Rachel joined Inuuqatigiit in 2011 as an Occasional Daycare Teacher and has enjoyed several roles since. Her real passion and strength is event planning; and a key reason behind her success as a Special Events Coordinator. More than anything, “I love working with the Inuit Community and being connected to my sons’ culture,” she says.
Before joining Inuuqatigiit, Rachel worked within the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as a supply teacher. Prior to that, she enjoyed several roles at the Wabano Centre and other Indigenous agencies in Ottawa and Northern Ontario.
In her spare time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her children and visiting Northern Ontario to spend time with family and go fishing and boating.

Inuit Lead, Inuit Well-Being: Support for Inuit and their Families Affected by Gender-Based Violence: Abigail Noah, 613-744-3133, ext 241,
“If anything is apparent, it is that Inuit cultural values are at the core, and self-determination is the main goal. Support is given to anybody that comes to access the services, which most importantly provides a sense of belonging and a sense of community.”
Abbygail is the Women’s Program Coordinator. She coordinates meetings with Inuit women and partners of Inuuqatigiit. She also works in the capacity of support work for the proposal development of the Inuit Well-Being: Support for Gender-based violence survivors and their families.
Abbygail first started working at Sananguaq studio at the youth building in January 2017 with the funded support of an Indigenous organization. (Kagita Mikam). Once the funded placement was complete, her role was extended as administrative support to the Bridging the Gap team and Early Years programs.
Abbygail feels that Inuuqatigiit is a great place where one feels welcome as an Inuk community member. Since taking part in the Afterschool program, her son has taken interest in learning more Inuktitut. Inuuqatigiit enables both staff and members to embrace their root culture in a positive and strengthened manner.
Prior to working at Inuuqatigiit, Abbygail has both worked and volunteered with the Community Laundry Co-operative as the program counselor’s administrative support. Abbygail has a small business diploma from Algonquin College, Microsoft Office specialist certificate from Willis College, as well as an Indigenous Community Service Worker diploma, and currently attends part-time in the Social Services Worker program at Algonquin College. Many of the programs provided training in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, First Aid CPR, and Non-violent Crisis Intervention.

Inuit Well-Being, Project Analyst: Roxane Bujold, 613-744-3133, ext 241,
“Supporting Inuit youth, children, and families while helping service providers learn more about our culture”
Roxane used to work as a Student Support Worker with our Silatuniq Youth Engagement Program. She provided educational support to Inuit youth, 14 to 24 years of age. She is now working with Abbygail for the Women’s Program.
Roxane joined the Inuuqatigiit team in September 2017 as a student intern where she excelled in our Youth Promotion Program. She’s excited about the Silatuniq Youth Engagement Program with its focus on school re-engagement. She sees this a “two-way street” with the opportunity to share her knowledge with youth while gaining “from their unique experiences to learn more about Inuit culture.”
Prior to joining Inuuqatigiit, Roxane studied at the University of Ottawa where she graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Social Work – in the French program. She enjoys exploring this inspiring land through a mix of hiking, camping and road trips.

Inuit Liaison, Ontario Indigenous Centre of Excellence for Early Years and Child Care, Bea Alvarez, RECE, B.Ed, 613-744-3133, ext. 219
“Inuit should have access to high-quality education that respects Inuit traditions.”
In 2019, Bea Alvarez was invited to join the Indigenous Centre of Excellence to help other early years and child care centres highlight their great work in support of Inuit families and in Ontario. She helps facilitate connections with Inuit traditional knowledge, provide resources to assist educators in their professional learning, and encourage centres to invite Inuit families to share and celebrate their own stories.
She is an Early Childhood Educator who has worked in the Toddler and Preschool programs which supports Inuit children’s development in a loving, caring, and holistic cultural environment. Working closely with other ECE and cultural colleagues, she helps incorporate the children’s interests and the Inuit culture into a highly-individualized program that is tailored to each child’s needs.
A longstanding and passionate member of the ECE team, Bea began working with the Inuuqatigiit when the full day childcare opened in 2008. She believes strongly that Inuit should have access to high-quality education that respects Inuit traditions – and that children have the best opportunities to learn about their past to strengthen their future.
A creative and tireless worker, Bea has volunteered Friday evenings for Roger Neilson House since 2006. She also manages the Inuuqatigiit website having learned these skills in her previous career as a graphic artist.
Bea is registered with the College of Early Childhood Educators and has a Bachelor of Education from Ottawa U. When she has spare time, she enjoys painting, reading, watching movies, and swimming at her aunt’s cottage.

Intern, Ulaaju Peter, 613-744-3133, ext 219
“In the very short time since joining Inuuqatigiit, I feel empowered and energized. I am excited to be in an environment that shares my values and celebrates cultural identity.”
Ulaaju is relatively new to Inuuqatigiit, having joined the agency as an Intern in Fall 2019.
Ulaaju values the well-being of her family and community. She is very passionate about taking her role in contributing to the Inuit community in moving forward and strengthening connections to culture. Among her many skills, Ulaaju can find a balance between traditional Inuit culture and modern concepts. She possesses knowledge in business management, culinary foundations, workshop facilitation, and community support worker. Through her experience, she knows what it’s like to struggle with cultural identity in the south, but also knows success by applying her cultural knowledge.
Prior to this Inuuqatigiit work, she was taking the Inuit Community Support Worker program offered by Tungasuvvingat Inuit in collaboration with Ilinniapaa Skills Development Centre. On her time away from her work, she enjoys spending time with family, community gatherings, and being outdoors.

All-Programs Support, Alethea Noah
I’m excited to be a part of the team, and to be able to contribute by providing support for the community.
I believe it’s very important to have a safe space for Inuit to access support and services as well have the sense of community, and connection to our culture. I am passionate about supporting Inuit youth in urban centres.

Alethea is a Program Support Worker starting Fall 2019. Her primary role is to support program facilitators for preparation of materials and attend program sessions. She assists in preparations for the Family Christmas Party, Family Well-Being camp, and supports Intake and Early Years with parent communications.
Inuuqatigiit is an important place to Alethea because it’s a safe space for Inuit children and herself to connect with her people and culture. She enjoys technology and working on computers.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Alethea worked as a Project Support Officer at Pauktuutit supporting the Project Manager and other team members, as well as managing administrative tasks.
After high school at the Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School Program in 2017, she attended Willis College and got her Business Administration – Admin Assistant. She is currently in the Inuit CSW program.
She likes spending time with her children, family and friends. You’ll can spot Alethea going out on walks and sharing an ice cream, or enjoying the indoors with beading or cooking!

Youth Programs

Manager of Youth Programs: Daniel Fyfe, 613-746-5400, ext. 223
“I understand the concepts of building trust with community members and meeting youth where they are at in their journey.”
Daniel is the Manager of the Youth programs. He comes to us with a good combination of education, work and life experience. He has over 12 years experience in the field, working in frontline positions and then moving up into supervisory and management positions. He has a very strength-based orientation. He demonstrates initiative, passion, purpose, and the ability to learn other cultures.
Daniel is keen to learn about the Inuit culture – he has not worked with Inuit population. He draws from his experience of working in a small isolated Metis community of 600, and with vulnerable inner-city youth.
Daniel’s extensive experience includes organizing camps and afterschool programs and he is well-versed in administrative processes. He comes to Inuuqatigiit with experience with proposal writing to various government and community sources and technical experience with portals and data bases. He is certified in High Five. He is a role model and is one of the first of his family to graduate from university.

Tukimut Program

Coordinator: Lindsay Walsh, 613-746-5400, ext. 224
“Inuuqatigiit is a place that understands the holistic picture and works to deliver exemplary services.”
Lindsay is a Tukimut Afterschool Program Coordinator and helps Inuit in grades 1 to 8. She works with a team that includes youth workers, volunteers, and placement students to provide culturally relevant, one-on-one afterschool support.
Lindsay discovered Inuuqatigiit while on a placement for Algonquin College’s Child and Youth Care advanced diploma program. She saw a presentation on Inuit Games from an Inuuqatigiit representative and knew instantly that she wanted to complete her second placement at Inuuqatigiit. Nine months later, she joined the Inuuqatigiit family in February 2018 after completing the requirements for her advanced diploma.
Lindsay believes strongly in the adage, “it takes a community to raise a child.” For Lindsay, Inuuqatigiit provides that community with opportunities for children and youth to establish healthy connections that will enhance their life and overall wellbeing. She believes that one of her most important skills is the ability to connect with children and help them feel love and valued.
In her spare time, Lindsay loves to be active by lifting weights, biking in the summer, and playing various sports.

Assistant Coordinator: Celeste Ferguson, 613-746-5400, ext. 224
“Working here is important to me because I am a part of an organization that brings support, guidance and positivity into their clients into their everyday lives.”
Celeste started at Inuuqatigiit in September 2017 when she was hired to facilitate the summer camp 2018.
Since September 2018, Celeste’s primary role is being the Tukimut Afterschool Assistant Coordinator. She works with the Tukimut team to ensure that it is a positive environment for all children. Within her role, she helps organize and plan activities. Celeste is also the Summer Camp Coordinator. As such, she helps organize all the summer camp activities, arrange for transportation, plan healthy meals, as well as, support staff.
Celeste feels passionate about her job because it gives her the opportunity to be a positive role model. She is really good at dancing and teaching dance. She strongly believes in the value of making strong connections with children and youth.
She draws from her past experiences of working for the City of Ottawa as a Child and Youth Worker for Special Needs where she worked one-on-one with individuals at camps and after-school programs.
Celeste counts among her achievements graduating with an Advanced Diploma in Child and Youth Care from Algonquin College. In her free time, she performs as a dancer for a non-profit organization called Culture Shock Ottawa that trains professional dancers.

Youth Program Assistant: Brandon Chin,
“I’m part of an amazing support team and family that provides the resources Inuit children need.”
Brandon is a Youth Worker and Cook for Inuuqatigiit’s Tukimut Afterschool program. He supports a talented team of workers dedicated to providing cultural, educational, and recreational activities for Inuit children ages 1 to 8. In this role, he also prepares healthy snacks and meals as part of Inuuqatigiit’s complete support program throughout the school year.
Brandon joined the Inuuqatigiit family in 2014, starting in a maintenance role before transitioning to the Tukimut program in 2015. The Centre has always been an important part of his life and enabled him to stay connected to Inuit culture while growing up. What excites him is the ability to now play a similar role as a Youth Worker. “Seeing the enjoyment and satisfaction on the kids’ faces everyday as they leave to go home brings huge satisfaction,” he says.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Brandon worked as an Administrative Assistant & Technical Support. He has also worked in a landscaping and demolition role for local companies.

Tukimut Assistant: Emily Qitsualik
“Being part of a community like Inuuqatigiit gives me so much hope for the future!”
Emily is an assistant with Inuuqatigiit’s Tukimut Afterschool Program. She supports a wide range of activities designed to help Inuit youth in grades 1 to 8 discover their unique talents, achieve academic excellence, and embrace their culture. Emily has deep roots with Inuuqatigiit and a powerful sense of belonging. She participated as a youth in Tukimut for many years and knows firsthand how this program inspires, nurtures, and helps Inuit achieve their potential. She was quick to take advantage of an opportunity to work with Inuuqatigiit in the summer of 2017 before joining Tukimut in the Fall of 2018. For Emily, Tukiumt is a way to be part of a dynamic team that inspires Inuit youth, motivates them to make healthy life choices, and to feel as proud of their culture as she is. Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Emily worked for a summer at Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada as a communications coordinator. A go-getter with heart, Emily is currently working to complete her high school education and wants to earn a university degree in Psychology.

Tukimut Assistant: Saelym Degrandpre
“I want to give our students the same incredible experience I enjoyed as a child!”
Saelym is a Youth Worker Assistant with the Tukimut Afterschool Program where she supports many activities designed to help Inuit youth. This includes homework, recreation that incorporates Inuit games, language support, and opportunities to learn about traditional foods such as tuktu or muktuk.
Saelym joined the Tukimut team in March 2018 and brings invaluable insights having participated in Inuuqatigiit programs as a child. She has seen firsthand how these programs create a safe environment that nurtures personal and academic growth; and is excited by the opportunity to help a new generation of Inuit youth. She takes advantage of strengths in art to show her views and feelings on being Inuit. However, she sees working at Inuuqatigiit as a two-way street with the opportunity to learn about her own culture by working with and from the kids! Saelym is currently in her last year of high school and has completed First Aid, Food Handlers and Workplace Safety certification. In her free time, she enjoys practicing her art skills including sewing, drawing, beading, and traditional tatooing.

Akwe:go Program

Coordinator: Jasmine Doig, 613-746-5400, ext. 222
“Inuuqatigiit connects me to my culture, my community, my language – and I love working here.”
Jasmine is a Youth Worker for our Right to Play Program. Using play-based learning, this program helps children and youth ages 4 to 21, develop skills they can apply to various situations in their life. This includes promoting a healthy lifestyle, building relationships between Inuit Elders and Youth, connecting children to their culture, and other initiatives. She also runs the We Belong Program for Inuit Youth 13-21 Preparing, enabling and empowering urban Inuit, to access available education, employment and skills development activities and services.
Jasmine sees Inuuqatigiit as a home-away-from-home and a place where her ideas are valued. She’s grateful for the mentoring role that Inuuqatigiit enables her to play – to be the person she needed when she was young.
When she’s not working or volunteering, Jasmine enjoys writing, painting, and hanging out with her dog!

Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Program

Coordinator: Thomas Ill, 613-746-5400, ext. 222
“My job is exciting because I get to work one on one with youth and help them achieve their goals.”
Thomas is a coordinator for Inuuqatigiit’s Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Program; a self-development program for at-risk Inuit youth ages 13 to 18. He provides one-on-one culturally appropriate support to help youth learn goal setting, develop leadership skills, make healthy meals, and ultimately to lead a healthier lifestyle and achieve personal success.
Thomas started at Inuuqatigiit 2013 and is grateful for the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people who share his passion. In addition to learning more about Inuit culture, he gains huge satisfaction and joy from supporting youth while also learning from them.
Before joining Inuuqatigiit, Thomas worked at Syl-Apps Youth Centre in Toronto where he developed physical activities for youth. His educational background includes a Child and Youth Worker Diploma Program, Mental Health First Aid Certificate, and Mental Health First Aid Inuit Trainer. When he’s not working with youth, Thomas enjoys playing sports – or watching sports – and listening to music with friends.

Youth Life Promotion

Coordinator: Sabrina Allam, 613-746-5400, ext. 228
“If I can contribute to a youth’s life, then I’m all in – kids are our future”
Sabrina joined the Inuuqatigiit team in April 2018 as the Youth Life Promotion Coordinator. In this important role, she helps youth between the ages of 13 and 24 develop the employment, education, and life skills they need for a positive, rewarding future. This includes homework help, assessing secondary school options, goal setting, job search techniques, providing one-on-one support, and many other areas of support.
Sabrina was attracted to Inuuqatigiit by the opportunity to give back to the Inuit community, which in her experience is often overlooked. She’s particularly passionate about working with youth – and views them as the foundation for our society’s future.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit Sabrina was a frontline worker at the Shepherds of Good Hope, working specifically with managed alcohol clients at the Oaks Residence. She comes to Inuuqatigiit with a Bachelor in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Sociology from Carleton University. An avid traveler, Sabrina embraces new cultures and loves being surrounded by Inuit.

Program Assistant: Colleen Sanguya
“Inuuqatigiit is very close to both of us as it allows us to feel a sense of home, as the culture is everywhere.”
Colleen is the Youth Life Promotions Assistant. She assists the YLP Coordinator during drop-in hours. She began working at Inuuqatigiit in November 2018. She has been attending Inuuqatigiit programs since she was 11 years old. Colleen’s daughter attends as well. Colleen loves having the opportunity to give back to the community and this organization that she believes has done so much for her.
She enjoys being exposed to new experiences everyday. She also enjoys working with others who are like her age. She laughingly elaborates, “It’s youth working with youth!”
Colleen believes her quality of patience helps her to take care of her daughter. It also helps her to take the initiative to prevent problems and to problem solve.
Colleen is working towards completing her high school diploma. She holds certificates in Food Handling, First Aid ad CPR, and Safe Talk.
She loves spending time with her daughter, watching movies, drinking bubble tea, and hanging with her friends.

We Belong/Right to Play Programs

Coordinator: Sabrina Brewster-Montague, 613-746-5400, ext. 228
“I really like that we [Inuuqatigiit] create safe and positive environments so that Inuit youth have fun and learn new things.”
Sabrina, as a RTP Coordinator, provides programming and homework help to Inuit youth in various Inuuqatigiit programs that are designed to improve a student’s academics, life and social skills.
Sabrina has enjoyed a long history with Inuuqatigiit, starting as a toddler in our Head Start Program before volunteering and completing a co-op placement with Inuuqatigiit during high school. Working with Inuit youth is extremely important to her, having come from a northern community that lacked the kind of programs and support provided by Inuuqatigiit. Her experience in Nunavut and being part of the Inuuqatigiit family while growing up enables her to quickly relate to Inuit youth and provide invaluable, relevant help.
Following her graduation from the Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School, Sabrina moved back to Nunavut where she worked for the Oral Health Department. She later moved onto a project with NTI and the federal government where she helped create three marine protected areas in Nunavut.
In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys traditional cooking and sewing.

Silatuniq Youth Engagement

Coordinator: Billy Brown, 613-744-3133, ext. 239
“Excited to be someone that youth turn to for help and honored to have this important responsibility.”
Billy provides various types support to help Inuit youth complete high school and engage in post-secondary education. Support includes tutoring, mentorship, life skills, youth leadership, and all forms of advocacy. These and many other Inuit-specific initiatives are explicitly designed to break cycles of poverty and enable youth to gain meaningful employment. Billy joined Inuuqatigiit in April 2018, driven by the desire to help Inuit youth create better futures for themselves. He brings an important mix of respect for the Inuit community and the ability to empower youth to strengthen their connection to themselves, their families, and ultimately their community. Prior to joining the Inuuqatigiit team, Billy was a Housing Based Case Manager for the Housing First Program at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health. His academic background includes an undergraduate Honours degree in Public Administration and Public Policy with a double minor in Human Resource Management and Non-Profit Sector Management. In his free time, Billy enjoys staying fit with a regular exercise regime. He also loves playing with computers and any leading-edge electronic gadgets.

Student Support Services Coordinator: Inini McHugh, C: 613-697-5129
Nopiming Inini Chip McHugh, Inini for short, feels that working at Inuuqatigiit is important as he is interested in dedicating the next chapter of his life to support Indigenous children, youth and families.
Being from a First Nations background, Inini is excited to expand his understanding of Inuit culture and traditions in his new role. He is enthusiastic to be working back in the school system, supporting young people to do the best that they can and connecting with others where they are at in any given situation of their lives. Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Inini worked in a variety of roles supporting youth in settings such as the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa and the Upper Canada District School Board.

Makkuktukuvik Art Studio

Makkuktukuvik Coordinator: William Komaksiutiksak, 613-746-5400, ext. 228,
Makkuktukuvik Youth Worker Assistants: David Panioyak, Brandon Chin

Sivuliuqtiksavut — Making of Future Leaders

Sivuliuqtiksavut Coordinator: Arianna Metcalfe-Coe, 613-746-5400, ext. 228
“Inuuqatigiit allows me to be closer to the Inuit community and connects me to my culture.”
Arianna enjoys a very special relationship with Inuuqatigiit having participated as a student in the Head Start program 20-years ago. That direct user experience gives her important insight to the needs of Inuit students while seeing how the Inuuqatigiit uniquely works with students and parents to nurture Inuit culture and traditions. In summer 2017, Arianna came full circle and returned to Inuuqatigiit as a childcare support worker. An excellent listener and communicator, Arianna comes to Inuuqatigiit following a position at Larga Baffin Ltd. There she worked closely with staff and clients to ensure the needs of residents from the Oikiqtani region of Nunavut were fully met. After graduating from High School, Arianna attended College where she completed 10 programs under the Crisis Intervention and Human Psychology Certificate.

Uqausivut Revitalization Project



Uqausivut Language Assistant: Ruth Gustaw, 613-744-3133, ext. 224
“As a parent, whose child attends the daycare here, I want to ensure that the language and culture are available for all the children at Inuuqatigiit who attend now and in the future.”
Ruth is the language project assistant for the Language Revitalization Project. Her role is to assist in collaborating with colleagues/elders and other language advisors to see what works best to revitalizing Inuktitut by organizing resources and creating language kits that we will be distributing to parents/families.
She began working here November 2019. Working at Inuuqatigiit is vitally important to her because it allows for ways to contribute back to the Inuit community. Ruth is passionate about learning new things and then sharing this knowledge with others, as well.
Before working at Inuuqatigiit, Ruth was working as an anti-human trafficking youth and transition worker and outreach worker in the Alluriarniq program at Tungasuvvingat Inuit.
Ruth was born and raised in Iqaluit and has experience working there in after-school programs, daycares, and the library as a summer student reading club coordinator. Graduating from the Inuksuk High School where she received many awards and got to experience things like the Leadership and Citizenship Program with the Rotary Club, Encounters with Canada for Social Sciences and the YOUCAN Youth Conference She then attended the Nunavut Arctic College in partnership with the University of Regina for the Nunavut Teacher Education Program where I completed three out of the four years. She has additional training from Tungasuvvingat Inuit through Algonquin College and through private Instructors.
Ruth enjoys any chance to eat inutsiut (country food), cooking and enjoy doing all types of art. She loves spending time with her daughter, shopping, visiting friends and relaxing at the end of the day.

Bridging the Gap Program


Kayla Power, c: 343-996-3782 –
“Helping students overcome challenges, celebrate their Inuit culture, and find a path with heart”.
Kayla is a Student Support Coordinator for Inuuqatigiit’s Bridging the Gap Program where she works one-on-one with Inuit children from Kindergarten to grade 12 to help improve their academic or social skills. She also works collaboratively with schools, helping them bring cultural resources in their own unique and meaningful way, to make their environments more welcoming for Inuit students.
Kayla is of Mi’kmaq ancestry – and passionate about working with children and fostering Indigenous wellbeing and pride in Inuit traditions. She joined Inuuqatigiit in September 2013 where she worked in the Tukimut Afterschool Program. She quickly demonstrated a talent for building relationships and helping Inuit students celebrate their strengths. She has thrived in the Bridging the Gap Student since April 2016.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit she was the Executive Assistant at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Her educational background includes a BA Honors in Sociology and Bachelor of Social Work. In her spare time she enjoys crochet, gardening and hiking with her dog.

BTG Senior Presenter: Dion Metcalfe, 613-744-3133, ext 218
“It makes my heart sing to see how proud Inuit students are after I’ve done a presentation to their class.”
Dion has enjoyed many different jobs in an extraordinarily varied career. Get him talking and he’ll tell you about his time driving 18-wheelers across North America for Schneider National Carriers – a job he loved.
That’s a far cry from his current position: educating students in the Ottawa area about Inuit culture as a Bridging the Gap Presenter. He presents to students from kindergarten to Grade 12; and to teachers on PD days.
Dion sees this as incredibly important work. “Most people don’t understand who we [Inuit] are or why we are the way we are,” he says. His heart “sings” when he sees how proud Inuit students are after a presentation he makes to their class. He loves his job and is fantastic at making a connection with students and teachers alike.
What makes Dion such an insightful presenter and an ideal ambassador for Inuit culture is his determination to have “tons of fun” and sharing the extensive teachings he has received from elders and other Inuit.
When he’s not dispelling misconceptions about Inuit living in Igloos, Dion likes to bead, knit, crochet, play video games – and ride his bicycle.

BTG Presenter: Simon Coady
“Working at Inuuqatigiit is important to me because it connects me to my community.”
Simon is a presenter for Inuuqatigiit’s Bridging the Gap Program and the Youth Worker Assistant for the Tukimut Afterschool Program. He relishes both roles because they connect him to the Inuit community while helping to celebrate Inuit culture and traditions.
Simon joined Inuuqatigiit as a summer student following graduation from the Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School Program. This experience has proven invaluable – enabling him to relate directly to Inuuqatigiit students, and help them reconnect with their Inuit roots.
Words that best describe Simon are “artistic” and “creative.” Whatever he does, Simon always gives one hundred percent. “I try my best, whether it be painting and sketching, poetry, or sewing and beadwork,” he says.
When he has free time, Simon likes to bead, listen to music and admits that he is keen on “streetwear and sneaker culture!”

Family Well-Being Program

Manager: Janice Messam, 613-744-3133, ext. 211
“If parents do well, then children do even better.”
Janice is the Manager of Family Well-Being for Inuuqatigiit. Her team works with parents, children, and youth to provide Inuit specific support that’s tailored to each family’s unique needs.
Janice has deep experience with Inuuqatigiit. She started as an Early Childhood Education (ECE) student in 2006 and joined full time in 2007. Prior roles include Manager of Early Years and the Preschool Teacher/Supervisor for Tumiralaat, Inuuqatigiit’s Child Care Centre.
Janice sees her role at Inuuqatigiit as an important opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Inuit families. She recognizes that parents are their child’s first and best teacher. “If parents do well, then children do even better,” she says.
Janice’s varied background includes fourteen years with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She holds a Diploma in ECE. When she’s not working with Inuit families, Janice enjoys spending time with her children, family camping, and occasionally fits in a dance class or two!


Program Assistant: Michayle Hay-Amarolik, 613-744-3133, ext. 259
“I’m excited to come to work and play with the kids that come to our Family Well-Being program. I am learning different things like cooking and beading/sewing techniques by being here.”
Michayle is a program assistant in the Family Well-Being Program. She assists the program team to help support the families. She enjoys helping people. She began working here as a student at the end of July 2018 and was offered a contract position in November of that same year. Michayle feels that it is important to welcome people into the Ottawa community. She appreciates that she has opportunities to Inuktitut in this position.
Michayle has discovered that she has a real flair for cooking and she often prepares the meal that are provided to our visiting families.
Before coming to the Inuuqatigiit, Michayle was a student at Willis College funded through Minwaashin Lodge’s Courage to Soar program. While attending the Willis program, she learned a lot of her administrative skills there that she has happily put her skills to the test here. Michayle has a certificate through Algonquin College’s Personal Support Worker program, and a Diploma through Willis College’s Business Administration program.
She enjoys visiting friends and family in her spare time.

Family Services

Family Support Worker: Wendy Dehler, On Leave
“My passion is to work in and for community.”
Wendy works with families or individuals who are facing difficult life situations such as CAS matters, criminal court, domestic violence, and housing issues. With her clients, she advocates for the best possible outcome. She began working at Inuuqatigiit in January 2018.
Wendy has worked in the FNIM community for the last 18 years in the role of frontline worker and advocate. She believes that she is good at identifying the needs of her clients and ensuring they are receiving the appropriate services and supports.
Prior to working at Inuuqatigiit, Wendy has worked at Tungasuvvingat Inuit and Makonsak Aboriginal Head Start. Among her accomplishments, Wendy’s educational background is an Aboriginal Social Service Worker. And in her free time, she loves to garden and cook.

Interim Family Support Worker: Trudy Metcalfe-Coe, 613-744-3133, ext. 247
“I love to see people succeed!”
Trudy works closely with the Family Well-Being team to build on the strengths of Inuit children, youth, and their families through a holistic approach that is tailored to individual needs based on the IQ principles.
Trudy joined OICC in April 2015, starting with the Bridging the Gap Program before moving to the Status of Women File and eventually in the Parenting Program. She is a natural caregiver and helping others is in her blood. She enjoys working with community members and discovering new ways to enrich their lives. “I love to see people succeed,” she says.
Prior to OICC Trudy was the General Manager at Larga Baffin. Her educational background includes Aboriginal Studies and Restaurant and Hotel Management. In her spare time, she relishes spending time with her “precious granddaughters”, quilting, sewing and trying new foods with friends, family, and the community she adores.

Ilagiinut Kativvik / EarlyON Child and Family Centre

Coordinator: Trish Beadle, 613-744-3133, ext 259
Trish works with children and their families as a Coordinator at Inuuqatigiit’s new EarlyON Centre with her teammates. She began working at Inuuqatigiit in May 2018. She enjoys working with families and getting to know the Inuit community. She is excited by giving the community a fun and safe place to be with their families. One of the ways she does this is with her fabulous cooking!
Trish has worked at many other organizations, including being a Director in mainstream Head Start for 18 years and then 2 years at Makonsag Aboriginal Head Start. She holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education and a degree in life’s lessons.
She likes to spend time with her family at the country cabin, travel, hike and scuba dive.

Najijulirijut Pregnancy Circle / Baby and Me

Pre/Post-Natal Worker, Facilitator: Jessica Johnson, 613-744-3133, ext 259
“Working here allows me to combine my passion for supporting families, child development, pregnancy and prenatal education, as well as, my desire to learn more about the Inuit culture.”
Jessica started working here in March 2019. She believes that how a mom-to-be and family experience the pregnancy impacts their bond with the child. Working as the pre/post-natal worker in this Inuit community gives Jessica the opportunity to support families and assist them in having a positive pregnancy experience.
Jessica comes to us after working as a Program Coordinator at the Old Ottawa South Community Association. She has been a supply educator in the Ottawa Catholic Child Care Corporation. She volunteers her time at Mothercraft Ottawa as a birth companion and wishes to become a doula.
Jessica is currently completing a Bachelors in Indigenous Social work through the Laurentian University.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, biking, reading, baking, and taking walks with her dog.

Parent and Child Drop-In

Ilagiinut CF Cultural Lead: Janice Oolayou, 613-744-3133, ext 259
“I love that I get to interact with everyone. I get to know more Inuit as the arrive. I love working with Inuit and would love to see Inuit succeed away from home.”
Janice began working with Inuuqatigiit as the Makkuktukuvik Coordinator in April 2018, then as Intake Coordinator starting in August 2018. She enjoys working at Inuuqatigiit because she can interact with all ages of the Inuit community in Ottawa. She feels that it is important for all Inuit to be connected with an Inuit organization while living away from homeland.
Janice is a talented throat singer and public speaker.
Prior to working here, Janice worked at Tungasuvvingat Inuit as a Crisis Support and Housing Educator. Among her credits she counts her high school diploma, First Aid, CPR and AED certificate, safeTALK, mental health first aid certification.
In her spare time, she likes to listen to music, spend time with her family and friends, especially to go downtown and be a tourist.

Program Assistant: Julia Nauyuk, 613-744-3133, ext 259
“It excites me to keep our Inuktitut language alive in order to preserve and celebrate our wonderful culture.”
Julia currently works assisting in the Ilagiinut Kativvik Program. She started working at the Inuuqatigiit in April,2018. She enjoys seeing people happy and being around kids. She is proud to be able to speak “my own Inuktitut uqausiq”. Among her past experiences, Julia has worked with Children and Family Services as a Case Aid. In her traditional way of being, she has been working with Inuit people her entire life. She holds an ECE Certificate HR diploma from Nunavut Arctic College. In her spare time, Julia sewing, knitting, sleeping, and spending time with family.

FBW Childcare Lead: Shannon Hamilton, 613-744-3133, ext. 217

“Inuuqatigiit is my happy place. I love being a part of such a wonderful agency that offers invaluable support to the Inuit community. We are the village!”
Shannon has worked with the Inuit community for 14 years. She’s lived in Iqaluit and in Cape Dorset, Nunavut where she worked with daycares, schools, youth centers and recreation. She has a background in social work and community studies, studying at Algonquin College and Carleton University. She worked for 4 years at Mamisarvik Healing Center, Canada’s only Inuit specific trauma and addictions Center here in Ottawa. She joined the team at Inuuqatigiit in December 2017.
Shannon is the evening childcare team lead for the Family Well-Being program and also works with the Early Years program as a substitute daycare teacher and cook. With her team of evening childcare staff, she works to create fun and educational activities for children while their parents attend evening programs.
She loves to witness the growth of the children who attend Inuuqatigiit’s programs and the beautiful pride and connection they have to their Inuit culture.
In her free time, Shannon creates botanical jewelry and home decor pieces for her business, Wild Things Jewelry and Decor and enjoys being outdoors!

Inuutiarnirmut Katujjiqatigiit



Youth Mental Health Counsellor: Natasha Penny, 613-746-5400, ext.228
“The best part about my role with Inuuqatigiit is helping youth discover their own goals, name their needs, and to explore their strengths from a collaborative, strengths-based approach.”
Natasha’s role as Youth Counsellor began in November of 2019. It is one of her goals to help youth navigate their way towards a successful, happy, and healthy adulthood. Her educational pathway began as a Child and Youth Counsellor (CYC Cert.), and as an Early Childhood Educator (RECE). After completing her BA in Psychology from Carleton University, she began her master’s in counselling.
In addition to her work with Inuuqatigiit, Natasha volunteers with two Ottawa organizations in crisis services and in supporting newcomers to Canada.
Her free time is best spent with her family, canoeing, photography, art, and exploring new foods.


Youth Mental Health Transition: Michele Benson, 343-996-3908
Michele began her journey with Inuuqatigiit in November 2019. Michele brings over 25 years experience working in the mental health field. Michele is currently working on her B.A. in Social Development studies through the University of Waterloo and is a certified Life Coach.
Michele has lived and worked in Nunavut delivering pre-employment courses in; Pond Inlet, Pangnirtung and Cape Dorset. During her time up north Michele created many friendships and fell in love with the different communities and the Inuit culture.
Michele strives to create a safe environment where individuals see their potential to follow a path to fulfill their goals. “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step in your life”!

Youth Mental Health Systems Navigator


Coordinator: Bethany Donnelly, On Maternity Leave
“Everyone does better with supportive people in their lives. It’s well worth the effort if I can be that person for someone in need.”
Bethany is a Systems Navigator helping Inuit youth experiencing addictions or mental health challenges. She provides individualized support to help youth and their families negotiate the health care system, overcome barriers, and ensure continuity from one service to another.
Bethany joined Inuuqatigiit in September 2018, excited by the opportunity to help make life easier for youth and their families. She believes passionately that the culturally relevant services and support provided by Inuuqatigiit are essential for helping families achieve the highest levels of well-being and success. A superb memory and terrific attention to detail helps her ensure nothing falls between the cracks as youth transition from one caregiver to the next in our, often complicated, health care system.
Before joining the Inuuqatigiit team, Bethany worked at a resource centre providing social work administration support and community programming for young parents. Her academic background includes a Masters in Social Work from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Carleton University.

Interim Coordinator

Lisa Ballard, c: 343-550-4676
“I am passionate about helping others, and supporting individuals and families in navigating the complex systems and processes needed to access various government and community services best suited to their needs.”
Lisa feels privileged to be working as part of this community. She feels excited to learn more about Inuit culture and practices, too. She has worked as an educator for many years. She says amongst her best qualities that she is an attentive listener and a strong communicator. She was an elementary teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, and she enjoyed tutoring students part-time in literacy and mathematics.
Lisa holds a Masters in Counselling Psychology and a Bachelor of Education for Primary and Junior grades.
In her free time, she is an outdoor enthusiast and avid gardener. With her family, she spends her summers hiking and winters snowshoeing.

Tasiuqatigiit Program

Systems Navigator: Heather Murray, 613-744-3133, ext. 249
“What excites me about my job is seeing happy children and families – this is proof that organizations like Inuuqatigiit really do make a huge impact on peoples’ lives.”
Heather began working as a Systems Navigator for Inuuqatigiit in April 2018 for the Tasiuqatigiit Program. These services include care mapping and coaching, assessment and referral to appropriate health and social services and support with advocacy and public education.
Heather originally worked as an educator for the Sivummut Head Start Preschool Program here at Inuuqatigiit in 2010. She has always maintained a connection to the Centre after moving back to Iqaluit, Nunavut, in 2012, making a point of stopping by whenever she was in Ottawa to visit the staff and kids at the Centre.
She has learned about Inuit culture and resiliency and was driven to do her very best as an educator. Working for Inuuqatigiit allows her to maintain her strong connection to the North and to continue working in a field that is very important to her.
Heather has worked in numerous roles throughout her educational career. Most notable are her times working for the Baffin Correctional Centre and the Makigiarvik Healing Centre as the Institutional Instructor. Heather worked to deliver life skills educational programs and individualized education plans for clients who wished to continue their education upon release.
Heather graduated from Dalhousie University in 2004 with a Degree in Arts and Social Science. She went on to study at the University of Maine where she obtained her Bachelor of Education Degree.
During free time Heather likes to spend time exploring Ottawa with her son, Rey, and their two silly dogs. She enjoys being outside in nature, reading, playing guitar and learning about art and interior design.

Social Systems Navigator: Christine Kudluk, 613-744-3133, ext 227 or cell 613-323-1630,
A proud Inuk, Christine has been part of the Ottawa Inuit community since coming to Ottawa in 1992.
She started at Inuuqatigiit in 2008 as the Toddler Teacher’s Assistant and has since thrived in various Inuuqatigiit positions that support and celebrate Inuit traditions in an urban setting.
Today, Christine works as the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Inuuqatigiit’s Youth Team, a position that affirms her true passion: working with youth. “I love their perseverance and creativity,” she says unabashedly. While she likes all aspects of her job she is most enthusiastic about the opportunity it provides to get in-kind donations that support Inuuqatigiit youth initiatives and building a strong rapport with her clients.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit Christine worked in closed custody and residential treatment programs for at risk youth. She graduated from Algonquin College in the field of Corrections and has since received several professional designations.
When she’s not busy helping Inuit youth, Christine likes to spend time with family and friends and BEAD!

Early Years’ Programs — Sivummut AHS and Tumiralaat Child Care:

Early Years Manager: Natasha Barroso, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 228
“Taking pride and satisfaction from seeing her kids develop and grow.”
Natasha is an Early Childhood Educator in Inuuqatigiit’s EY programs. She supervises the EY teaching team and is also the assistant to the Early Years Director.
Natasha collaborates with other colleagues to lovingly introduce the children to being away from home and motivate them to begin to explore their world. A key to her success is the ability to establish a trusting relationship with the children in her care. She takes huge pride and satisfaction from seeing how her work with kids enables them to develop and grow.
Natasha graduated from Algonquin College’s ECE program in 2008. Inuuqatigiit recognized her talents during her college placement and was quick to bring her into the Inuuqatigiit community. In her free time, she enjoys watching hockey, especially the Chicago Blackhawks; watching TV, reading books and shopping. Natasha has roots in Ottawa, Portugal and Italy.

EY Teaching Team

Sarah Proctor, 613-744-3133, ext. 220
“Helping young children discover their unique strengths and capabilities.”
Sarah is a Cultural Teacher in the Inuuqatigiit Tumiralaat Toddler Program where she provides early learning based on Inuit values and traditions. She joined Inuuqatigiit in 2007 as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Head Start Program and joined the Toddler’s Program in 2010.
Sarah leads children through a broad range of activities including Inuktitut languages, cultural storytelling, fair play, painting, and cultural performances. She is a strong advocate of letting children learn at their own pace and giving each the time that they need to complete tasks with confidence. She also believes children should be able to take safe risks and challenge themselves in a contained setting to discover their unique strengths and capabilities.
In addition to helping toddlers discover Inuit values and grow, Sarah is also very good at singing in the classroom. Humor is important and in her spare time, she likes to paint and laugh with family and friends.

Natalie Chenier, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext 220
“I’m excited to work and belong in a community that allows me to grow and learn.”
Natalie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) with Inuuqatigiit Tumiralaat Toddler Program. She engages Inuit children, ages 18 months to 3 years old, in a broad range of activities that include culture and language development, social support, nutrition, health promotion and much more.
Natalie joined Inuuqatigiit in April 2017. Her partner and child are Inuit and she sees Inuuqatigiit as an important opportunity to make a difference while learning more about Inuit culture. She brings strong creative, listening, and team work skills to her role. “I not only want to engage children, I want to be part of their play to help identify and nurture each child’s special talents,” she says.
Prior to joining Inuuqatigiit, Natalie was a RECE supervisor at Centre éducatif La Clémentine. Her educational background includes an Early Childhood diploma in French. She enjoys spending free time with family and friends, connecting spiritually, and having adventurous fun!

Tanya Wabie, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
“To me, it is very important for children to understand who they are, and to be proud of who they are.”
Kwe kwe / Hello. Tanya is Algonquin from Timiskaming First Nation, Quebec. She works as the RECE in the Sivummut Head Start program. She joined the Inuuqatigiit team at the beginning of July 2018, feeling welcomed right away.
Tanya moved to Ottawa at the beginning of 2014 to attend Algonquin College. She graduated from the Early Childhood Education program in the fall of 2015. She has been working as an ECE ever since.
A few things she loves doing are beading, cooking/baking, biking/running and being with her family and friends. She loves watching how the children learn, grow and play. Indigenous people have been through so much, and it starts with the children and youth to make a difference in the future!
Tanya feels honoured to be part of the Inuuqatigiit EY’s team, growing and learning about the Inuit Culture with the children. She believes it is so exciting and she can’t wait to see what the future holds for the children and herself.

Amanda Padluq, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
As a cultural educator in the Early Years’ program, Amanda loves to teach the children about the culture and language, Inuktitut. She loves sharing what she knows about her heritage with the kids. She enjoys listening to what children have to say.
Prior to this educator position, Amanda assisted in the evening childcare for almost two years. She also has experience at West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, working there as a cashier for five years.
When away for this teaching role, Amanda likes to spend time with her family and friends, listen to music and go for walks.

Geeteeta Tikivik, On Maternity Leave
“What excited me about my job is seeing the children learning new things!”
Geeteeta is a Cultural Educator who works with preschool Inuit children in Inuuqatigiit’s nationally celebrated Sivummut Head Start Program. In this important role, she supports the program’s cultural and language activities by teaching children in Inuktitut.
Geeteeta joined Inuuqatigiit in September, and is part of a team that’s dedicated to giving children, ages 18 months to 6-years of age a strong, values-based foundation for learning and growth. This includes health awareness, social support, and parental involvement.
Geeteeta is passionate about what Inuuqatigiit and the Head Start Program does for children. Her daughter also attends the toddler program and Geeteeta has seen firsthand how Inuuqatigiit’s approach and the creation of a safe learning environment have helped her daughter gain greater confidence and flower. Working with other children every day is not only an enriching and rewarding experience, she believes it is helping her to be a better mother.
A graduate of Inuksut High School, Geeteeta is simply passionate about life, loves new restaurants and shopping!

Sheba Kasarnak, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
Sheba is a cultural teacher working with Inuuqatigiit’s Head Start program. She’s part of a team that provides a broad range of educational activities to Inuit children, ages 18 months to 6 years old. These include cultural and language training in Inuktitut, health promotion, school readiness, and many others.
Sheba joined Inuuqatigiit in an official working role in September 2017. Prior to that she was a full-time mom and had her daughter enrolled at Inuuqatigiit for two years. That exposure to the Inuuqatigiit family, and way of working with children and youth, fueled a desire to be directly involved. What excites her is being with children and having the opportunity to be part of the many activities that nurture and promote traditional Inuit values.
Sheba joined Inuuqatigiit as a cultural educator for school year 2017 and rejoined the EY team in July 2019. Prior to that she was a full-time mom and had her daughter enrolled at Inuuqatigiit for two years. That exposure to the Inuuqatigiit family, and way of working with children and youth, fueled a desire to be directly involved. What excites her is being with children and having the opportunity to be part of the many activities at Inuuqatigiit that nurture and promote traditional Inuit values. Although she plans to return to school part-time in the near future, for the moment she is content to support Head Start’s many activities that foster and promote Inuit traditions.

]Krista Rabjohn, B.Ed, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
“Every day brings new experiences and opportunities to grow. Working in the Early Years is the most fulfilling job for me.”
Krista began working here in February 2019. She loves working with children and educating future leaders of the community. She is excited to learn more about the Inuit community in Ottawa. Starting each day with a smile is important to Krista. Her passion for literature is something she hopes to pass on to the children in her care.
Krista comes with the experience of teaching on a Metis settlement in Gift Lake, Alberta (Pop. 600). She did her undergrad in Communication at University of Toronto, and got her teaching certificate from Nipissing University. She has acquired additional qualifications in teaching primary Mathematics and Kindergarten.
Travel, movies, cross-stitching and musical theatre are some of the ways that Krista enjoys her time away from work.

Sarah Johnson, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
“I love watching children learn and discover new things about themselves and the world around them.”
Sarah has been wanting to work at Inuuqatigiit from the first time she walked into the building. She became fascinated by how the team worked together to teach Inuit culture and values to the community’s future generation. As a preschool teacher, she enjoys planning the art and sensory activities.
Before Inuuqatigiit, Sarah worked in other early years centres in the Ottawa area and in Iqaluit. She worked in the north for five years. She holds a diploma in Early Childhood Education.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys cooking. Particularly, she explores the cuisine of the Middle East. Then, as a finishing touch, she photographs her plates in the hopes of one day producing her own cookbook.

Resource Teacher: Alissa Leering, RECE, 613-744-3133, ext. 255
“I am happy to be joining the proud and vibrant Inuit Community of Ottawa.”
Alissa was very excited to join the Inuuqatigiit to serve the Early Years programs as the new Resource Teacher. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and she feels lucky to have work with young children for the past 15 yrs. Her experience has taken her to many agencies, including the military and school board.
Alissa was born and raised on the west coast of Canada and southern Ontario. She has chosen to make Ottawa her hometown in her adult life.
Alissa is the mother of two beautiful young children, an avid scrap booker, traveler, and potter.

OCDSB Kindergarten Program

Bruce Kigutaq, 613-744-3133, ext. 225
“I love when I see my students learn something new.”
Jane is an Inuuqatigiit Kindergarten Cultural teacher. She’s part of an incredible team that includes a kindergarten teacher and Early Childhood Educator – all dedicated to integrating Inuit values and culture with the Ontario school curriculum. A diversified instructor, Jane also teaches Inuktitut classes for adults.
Jane has been involved with Inuuqatigiit since 2014. She was drawn to Inuuqatigiit’s approach, small class sizes that foster intimacy and skill building; and simply “loves teaching Inuit culture” to children and adults alike. A passionate, engaged instructor, Jane often gets emotional when she sees an Inuit child learning to read for the first time or overcome an obstacle. This passion and deep respect for Inuit traditions makes her an exceptional cultural teacher and ambassador for Inuit values.
Prior to Inuuqatigiit, Jane worked at Carleton University where she participated in research on all Inuktitut dialects in Canada. A devoted mum, Jane enjoys spending time with family and taking her kids to various events in Ottawa.

Colette Wright, OCT, 613-744-3133, ext. 225
Colette has been a teacher in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board for several years. She is thrilled to be part of the Kindergarten team at Inuuqatigiit. Colette has a passion for teaching Kindergarten and watching children develop through the two-year Inquiry-Based Program. She is excited to be working with an Early Childhood Educator and Inuit Cultural Teacher. It is amazing for her to see the children at Inuuqatigiit embrace their culture and develop a sense of identity and a positive self-image. Her goal is to help foster a life-long love of learning within the students that she has the privilege to work with on a daily basis. In her spare time, Colette enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and reading.

Valerie Lacelle, RECE 613-744-3133, ext. 225
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful organization through our partnership.”
Valerie is part of an amazing team that brings Inuit values and culture into the Ontario school systems ABCs of student success. An Early Childhood Educator with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, she works side-by-side with a kindergarten teacher and Inuit cultural teacher to help strengthen a commitment to strong Inuit identity, culture and values.
Valerie started working with Inuuqatigiit in 2014. She’s passionate about her job and the opportunity to be part of the Inuit community through the Inuuqatigiit-OCDSB partnership. More than anything, she loves observing the children and their play. “Each year, I’m blessed to work with a different group of resilient children – it’s great seeing the growth they make over two years,” she says.
Prior to OCDSB and Inuuqatigiit, Valerie worked at a preschool with kindergarten and school aged children. Constantly learning, her educational background includes a diploma in Early Childhood Education, BA with a degree in Psychology, and Developmental Services Worker diploma. In her free-time she enjoys the outdoors at her cottage with husband and children.

Support Staff

Barbara Cayer, EY cook, 613-744-3133, ext. 221
Barbara is First Nations, Algonquin descent, from Kitigan Zibi. Her work as a cook has been a rewarding experience and has given her a chance to expand her knowledge of Inuit culture and language. Two of her grandchildren attend Inuuqatigiit programming. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, researching her family history and drumming and singing.

Glen Boyer, EY cook, 613-744-3133, ext. 217
Glen is the father of three beautiful children and his connection to the Inuuqatigiit began when his oldest, Jayden, started attending our programs when he was just 18 months. Nine years later, Glen is still involved as both a proud father and a valued member of the Inuuqatigiit staff. Since 2012, Glen has been working in our kitchen preparing delicious meals for the kids. Glen’s favorite meal is spaghetti and, after tasting his sauce, it easy to understand why! When Glen isn’t cooking for a small army, he stays busy by playing sports. He loves hockey and continues to play once a week. His love for hockey began when he was just a kid and he would spend his winters playing on the outdoor rinks. The only thing that would bring him home was supper. It was clear even then that he would either become a hockey star or a cook. From the smiles on the children’s faces after lunch, I’m sure the kids are glad he chose to become a cook.

Kelly Adams, Maintenance,
“I enjoy working with my hands and knowing I’m able to help.”
Kelly comes from Rankin Inlet, and since April 2019 has joined the team as Maintenance worker and handyman. He says he enjoys the opportunity of being able to work around Inuit.
Kelly’s experiences range widely, including working with health-craft products, building fall-prevention devices, and being an operator of a water plant for the Nunavut government in Rankin. He went to high school in Winnipeg. While in Red Deer, Alberta, he took on plumbing skills. At Red River College, he completed a Water Plant Operator course.
Kelly enjoys taking walks with his wife. He has fun with photography and counts carpentry and woodworking amongst his hobbies.

Nowdlak Giles, Maintenance,
”Working here is important to me because it helps me keep linked to the Inuit community. It has given me a sense of belonging to a group that does amazing things for this community.”
Nowdlak joined the agency in a maintenance position in the Fall of 2019. He sees himself as a jack-of-all-trades. He enjoys look forward into coming into work each day to be surrounded by kind and caring people.
Before moving to Ottawa, Nowdlak worked for the Energy Corporation in Iqaluit. He helped to maintain the power plant, and prepared materials for shipping. He has experience in house construction and completed two years of college as well.
In his free time, he enjoys reading and learning about new things. While up north, he enjoyed hunting, hiking and boating. He hopes to be able to discover and enjoy what this urban centre has to offer with his daughter.