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Speaker Spotlight


Intangible Cultural Heritage Researcher, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Terra holds a BA in Folklore and a MA in Public Folklore from Memorial University as well as a Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College. She is currently documenting untold histories, traditional skills, and the associated narratives of Newfoundland and Labrador. Previously for Heritage NL, Terra conducted fieldwork in several communities, and worked with the Collective Memories Project and the Oral History Roadshow. She volunteers as the chair of Mummers Festival, and has experience working with MUNFLA, Them Days Inc., The Rooms, and Mummers Festival.


Director, Strategic Alliances and Initiatives, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada

Daniel has more than 20 years of philanthropic management and stakeholder relations experience with non-profit organizations, as both an employee and volunteer. He has served, and continues to serve, on numerous charitable and non-profit boards and committees, including as the current Chair of Outaouais Philanthropy and a current member of the board for the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives (CEARC) and of the CoopZone Developers’ Network Co-operative. Daniel was awarded the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in 1996 and a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award in 2015. He is a proud husband and father of two.


Director of Living Heritage, Heritage Saskatchewan

Kristin Catherwood, (M.A. Folklore) is the Director of Living Heritage at the non-profit organization Heritage Saskatchewan. A trained folklorist specializing in ethnography and community engagement, Kristin takes the principles of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and living heritage from theory to practice, using established ethnographic methodological frameworks which she adapts to the unique cultural context of each community she works. To date, Kristin has worked with more than 100 diverse communities across Saskatchewan. Born and raised on a century family farm on Treaty 4 Territory, Kristin is a Director of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation, a member of the CCUNESCO Memory of the World Advisory Committee, and a filmmaker (her body of work includes two documentaries produced by the National Film Board of Canada and another funded by the Canada Council for the Arts). She believes in empowering communities to interpret and safeguard their own living heritage and is a fierce advocate for the native prairie ecosystem and its natural and cultural landscapes.


Professor, Political Science, Brock University

Mr. Conteh’s research and teaching interests are in Canadian and comparative public policy, political economy, and multilevel governance. He currently investigates how small and midsized regions in Canada are reinventing themselves in the face of seismic global economic and ecological changes. His broader research focuses on governance structures and processes in complex, dynamic, and multitiered policy systems.


Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo

Dr. Heather Hall is an Assistant Professor and the Academic Director of the Master of Economic Development and Innovation Program, in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo. She received a PhD. in Geography from Queen’s University, an M.A. in Planning from the University of Waterloo, and a B.A. in Geography from Laurentian University. Heather grew up in Northern Ontario and has a professional and personal interest in researching issues that are important to rural and Northern communities, including: innovation and economic development policy, planning and practice; the impacts of new technologies on the future of work; and the community impacts of mobile work and large-scale industrial projects. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally, and has informed government policy in Canada, Northern Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Sweden. Heather is currently leading a project called Remote Controlled, exploring the impacts of new technologies in the mining and agricultural sectors. She is also recently led a project in partnership with the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation examining Rural Canada & COVID-19 to understand the impacts and responses for economic recovery. Heather is a member of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation and the Chair of the Research Advisory Board for the Northern Policy Institute. She is also the co-author of Planning Canadian Regions, 2nd Edition.


Mitacs Elevate Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Guelph

Lissel Hernandez-Gongora has worked as a researcher and practitioner in rural development for the past 12 years. She is currently a Mitacs Elevate Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph, in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute.  Lissel has a PhD in Rural Studies from the University of Guelph, where she conducted research assessing the quality of governance in a climate change mitigation mechanism in the forest sector. Her work experience as an official of the state and municipal governments in Quintana Roo (Mexico) includes developing rural policy, managing programs for sustainable use of natural resources and promoting capacity development in rural communities.


Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Rural Economic Development
Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation

Stéphane Lauzon was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation in 2015.

Mr. Lauzon previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

After working at the Canadian International Paper Company in the 1980s, Mr. Lauzon returned to school in 1992 to complete a teaching certificate. He then worked in the field of vocational training for over 20 years.

Mr. Lauzon became a municipal councillor for the City of Gatineau in 2009. In addition to serving as councillor, he managed construction projects at a company that he started himself.

He is the father of three children.


President, Eeyou Communications Network

Alfred Loon is a member of the Cree Nation of Mistissini. He graduated from Concordia University (Economics) and Sir Sandford Fleming College (Economic Development and Business Development). He is President and a founding member of the Eeyou Communications Network where he directs day-to-day operations of the inter-community fibre-optic broadband facility.


He began his career in economic development with the Cree Nation of Mistissini, Mistco Ventures and CreeCo. In 1995, he was responsible for the Economic Development at the Cree Nation Government and remained as a Director, until 2015.
Mr. Loon was the founding member and President of the first Youth Council of Mistissini, a position he held until 1988.  During his University studies, Mr. Loon participated actively in the First Nations Student Association, Montreal Native Friendship Centre, and Concordia First Nation Education organization.


As Economic Development Director for the Cree Nation Government, Mr. Loon assisted countless Cree start-ups and businesses through their planning and development phases, in tourism, arts and crafts, training development, program administration, advising and organizing various types of conferences and symposiums.

He served as national President of the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (CANDO) and was Quebec Director. He is a founding board member of Cree Outfitting & Tourism Association (COTA), Cree Native Arts & Crafts Association as well as founding member of the Quebec Labrador Economic Development Commission. He is also an Executive Board Member of the Secretariat to the Cree Nation Abitibi-Témiscamingue Economic Alliance.


Programs Director, Phelps Helps

A native to the Eastern Townships, Katie returned to live in Stanstead in 2011 after completing her Bachelor of Education at the University of Ottawa and teaching internationally for five years.  A self-proclaimed non-traditional educator, Katie jumped at the chance to develop an alternative approach to support student success in the Stanstead area. Always community minded, Katie's goal is to continue to offer programs that help foster strong partnerships between schools, community resources, and local employers and families.


Visiting Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto; Senior Advisor, BCG Global Public Sector Practice

Matthew Mendelsohn is a public policy entrepreneur, researcher, strategic advisor and public sector executive. He has been using public policy to deliver economic and social impact and positive returns for 25 years.

He is currently leading a research and convening project for Canada 2020 on community and rural economic development in Canada in light of changes that have occurred during the pandemic.

From 2016-2020 he served as Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in the Privy Council Office, where he led the Prime Minister’s Results & Delivery Unit, overseeing implementation of the Government’s agenda. During his time in Ottawa, he also led the Government’s Impact & Innovation Unit, which developed outcomes-based funding and behavioural science initiatives, and led the Government of Canada data strategy and the digital governance team.
Prior to his role in the Privy Council Office, Matthew was the founding Director of the Mowat Centre, a public policy think tank in the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto. During that time, he published and spoke about government transformation, democratic institutions, social and economic policy and federalism.
Matthew is a former Deputy Minister and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet with the Ontario government and a former Senior Advisor in the federal government’s Privy Council Office where he led the polling unit.


He was a chief architect of the 2015 Liberal election platform and a member of Prime Minister Trudeau’s transition team.

Matthew received his B.A. from McGill University and Ph.D. from the l’Université de Montréal, and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University for 10 years and has been an active board member for many not-for-profit and charitable organizations that support community well-being, healthy democracy, and economic and social inclusion, including serving as Board Chair for the Council of the Great Lakes Region.


Director of Advancement & Communications, Phelps Helps

Sophie was born and raised in the United Kingdom and moved to Canada in 2008. Her family made Stanstead their home in the summer of 2019 where she is an active member of the community.


As a Marketing Management and French BA graduate from Oxford Brookes University in the UK, Sophie has a particular interest in marketing for the non-profit world which has served her well in her role as Advancement and Communications Director at Phelps Helps.

Terra Barrett
Daniel Brunette
Kristin Catherwood
Katie Lowry
Sophie Nagle
Charles Conteh
Matthew Mendelsohn
Lissel Hernandez-Gongora
Heather Hall
Stephane Lauzon
Alfred Loon
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