Staff Bios

Executive Staff

Karen Baker-Anderson

Executive Director
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 215
Karen has been involved with the Ottawa Inuit community for twenty years. As the founder Executive Director for the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre she oversees all programs and services offered by the centre. Karen is a member of many child and community focused groups such as: The Ottawa Urban Aboriginal Coalition, The City of Ottawa Childcare Stakeholders Committee, The City of Ottawa Aboriginal Working Group The Ottawa Children’s Aid Aboriginal Service Providers Table, The Ministry of Children and Youths Provincial Technical Table, The Aboriginal Health Circle, Project North and The Aboriginal Education Committee. Karen is the recipient of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa‘s Service Providers Award, the Success by 6 Family Friendly Workplace Award, and a 2015 Community Builder Award. Under her leadership, the OICC was awarded the United Way Community Builder Award for the category – “Growing up Great”. She is often asked to speak at events about the work done at the OICC and the agency is often sited at a place that demonstrates best practices in the area of program development and delivery. She enjoys time with family and friends, reading and her garden. She is passionate about her work with the community and strives every day to make the OICC a place where people want to work and where parents want to send their children.

Bronwyn Rees

Director of Administrative and Financial Services
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 210
Bronwyn came to OICC in June 2011 after many years of working in the volunteer/non-profit sector. Her interest in working in the Inuit community began with “on-the-job” bookkeeping training at Inuit Broadcasting Corporation and from there, developing her financial and administrative skills at Atii Training and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada. Bronwyn has been Manager and now Director of Finance and Administration at OICC and loves the creative energy, the diversity of programs and activities and working with such a great team at the centre. In her spare time Bronwyn enjoys playing music, singing and attending concerts, cycling, skiing, gardening and reading and spending time with friends and her 3 beautiful daughters.

Sherry Metcalfe

Manager of Administration and Support Services
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 232
Email: [email protected]
Sherry is originally from Nain, Labrador and has lived in Main Brook and St. John’s, Newfoundland, and in Ottawa. She originally joined the OICC as the Literacy Program Coordinator in October 2009. She has since used her talents to excel in the admin aspects of OICC.

Ulayuk Komangapik

Office Administrative Assistant
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 213
Email: [email protected]
Ulayuk is originally from Pond Inlet, Nunavut. She has resided in Arctic Bay for a year, Clyde River for 4 years and 16 years in Iqaluit. She moved to Ottawa in July 2006. Ulayuk has two daughters who currently attend the Tumiralaat Daycare Centre. Ulayuk started working at the Tumiralaat Child Care in 2009, as Administration Assistant for a maternity leave replacement, and is now working for Sivummut Head Start. Her favorite thing to eat is country food, and she loves to spend time with her family. She believes that the best thing about working with kids is playing with them, as you get to use your imagination.

Tukimut Youth Program

Lynda Brown

Director of Youth Services
Phone: 613-746-5400, ext 223
Lynda Brown was born in Nunavut, her mother’s family originates from Pangnirtung, and her father is of Scottish descent. Upon graduating from Trent University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies and Psychology, she moved to the nation’s capital. In Ottawa, home to the largest southern Inuit community, Lynda and her husband Rob Nicholson, raise their three children. Lynda loves her work with the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre and is very involved with her community. She volunteers her time, primarily focussing on Inuit women and children and affordable housing. She is the President of Inuit Non-Profit Housing Incorporation, and has been serving on this board for 11 years. Lynda participated in the 2008 Governor General Leadership Conference, and was chosen based on her commitment to her community. Lynda is a traditional throat singer and drummer, and shares her cultural knowledge through demonstrations, information sessions and workshops. She performs locally, nationally and internationally.

Thomas Ill

Manager of Youth Services
Phone: 613-746-5400, ext 224
At Rideau High School’s Email: [email protected]

I was born in West Africa (Ghana), and as a child moved to Europe (Hungary). In my early teens I moved to Toronto, where I lived the rest of my life. I always knew I wanted to work with youth, so I graduated as a Child and Youth Worker from George Brown College. I have spent most of my career working with mental disorder youth and young offenders in secured treatment facilities. After working in that field for over 4 years, I have decided to move to Ottawa for something different. Moving to Ottawa has given the opportunity to work for OICC, and learn the great culture of the Inuit people. So far I have learned that there are lots of similarities between my African culture and the Inuit culture.

Sabrina Montague-Brewster

Youth Worker
Email: [email protected]
Sabrina Brewster Montague is the Tukimut Youth Worker. She recently graduated from the Urban Aboriginal Alternative High School. She also studied geneology at Algonquin College. Sabrina has been involved with the OICC since she was a toddler. At Head Start she learned to throat sing, and drum dancing. After preschool, she moved to Taloyoak and then Iqaluit. Growing up in Nunavut, she learned more traditional skills and cultural knowledge. She has been fortunate to have opportunities to perform these skills in different provinces and territories. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys sewing kamiks, beading, reading, and skateboarding.

Jasmine Doig

Youth Assistant
Email: [email protected]
Jasmine is the youngest of five girls and is of Inuit and Jamaican descent. “I have volunteered at soup kitchens, T.I and Inuit transit houses. I have worked with OICC as a summer student through the focus of youth. I am now a youth worker at the Tukimut Afterschool program. In my spare time I like to write, read and workout. Most of my time spent is with my family and friends. I am presently on my school’s volleyball team and my favorite snack would have to be my grandfather’s bran muffins. While I was growing up I truly believed I would go to university to get a degree in journalism. Since my experience with OICC, I have realized my true passion is to help children develop into confident and successful adults who will be leading the next generation. Being able to work with my Inuit culture, learning my language, expanding my beliefs, and helping the Inuit youth stay connected with their culture is a blessing. I now plan to enroll in Algonquin College to become an early childhood educator.”

Brandon Chin

Youth Worker, Summer Assistant
Brandon Chin is the eldest of three brothers and three sisters. He was born in Ottawa, Canada. His mothers’ family originates from Pangnirtung, and his father is of Chinese and Norwegian decent. Throughout his life, growing up in Ottawa, he has had the most influential people impact his life through the OICC’s programs and volunteering for Head Start and The Youth Steering Committee. He is now a Youth Worker Assistant at the after-school program, Tukimut. In Brandon’s free time, he enjoys playing sports, music, fishing, nature, and photography.

Jessica Peacock

Sports and Recreation Coordinator
Phone: 613-746-5400, ext. 228
Email: [email protected]
Originally from the greater Toronto area, I always knew I wanted to work with Children and Youth. So I attended the Child and Youth Work program at Humber College, where I started my career working in Group Homes. After graduation I began to work in Youth Justice assisting in treatment of Youth living with Mental Health. I began to look for new opportunities outside of Youth Justice. Which led me to doing some volunteering for the OICC. I immediately fell in love with the richness of tradition and sense of community. In my spare time I tend to be active working on my personal fitness, drawing, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Bridging The Gap Program

Rachel Quinn

Bridging the Gap Coordinator
Phone: 613-746-5400, ext 221
Email: [email protected]
Rachel has been working with the Aboriginal and Inuit community for over ten years, and has fallen in love with the work she gets to do and the people she gets to work with at the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre. She has a Social Service Worker diploma, completed her Teacher’s College and has also worked as a Supply Teacher within the Ottawa area. This is why the Bridging the Gap Coordinator position is the perfect fit with her education and experience. In her role, Rachel supports Inuit school-aged youth who are having difficulty with any aspect of the education system. She can also support parents with advocating for their child and navigating the education system. Rachel looks forward to continuing her work with the Inuit community, and raising her son Joshua to understand and have pride in his beautiful culture.

Dion Metcalfe

Bridging the Gap Presenter
Dion was born in St. John’s, NL, but raised in Ottawa from 6 months of age. His mother is Dutch, and his father is from Hebron, Labrador. Dion has been a popular Cultural Speaker/Presenter and Games demonstrator since 2007. He was recognized by The United Way as a Community Builder in 2010. He also graduated High School through the ACE Program at Algonquin College in 2013. When not at work, Dion enjoys playing video games, carving, Inuit games, knitting (winter) and cycling (summer). Dion says that nothing beats a good BBQ with great food, and even better friends. He really enjoys walking through a school and having all the kids call him Stranger (his Inuk name). Whenever I am revisiting a school, all the students raise their hands anticipating a high five, because they know that’s my thing.

Trudy Metcalfe-Coe

Bridging the Gap Presenter
Trudy Metcalfe-Coe started in her position as a Bridging the Gap Presenter in April 2015. Originally from Nain, Nunatsiavut, Trudy moved to Ottawa in 1988. Trudy comes with years of experience working with/or for the Inuit community in Ottawa. Outside of work experience, Trudy also studied Aboriginal Studies at Algonquin College where she made the Dean’s Honor Roll. She also studied Restaurant and Hotel Management at Algonquin originally focusing on providing catering services only to events promoting Inuit Culture. Trudy has been a part of the OICC family since it started, as one of her two daughters, Arianna, was one of the first Head Start students almost 20 years ago! She also has a granddaughter. A part from cooking, Trudy enjoys spending time at her sewing machine creating quilts for family and friends, but hopes to learn how to make clothing too.
Trudy is excited to be a part of OICC and looks forward to spending time with the children and youth connected to OICC. “I love seeing the world I thought I knew, through the eyes of a child. It gives a whole new perspective on what I am seeing.”

Inuit Liaison Worker at CASO

Heidi Langille

CAS Inuit Liaison Worker, 613-747-7800 x 2963
Heidi enjoys working at the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre and has been involved with the organization since 2003. She participates in several committees including the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Health Nexus Advisory Committee Preventing Obesity in Aboriginal Children. She believes strongly in empowering parents and advocating for children and youth. While working at a National Inuit Organization Heidi gained experience and knowledge of issues affecting Inuit and the North. Heidi has four children who attend four different schools and is experienced in advocating for children within the school system. Originally from Nunatsiavut she has traveled across the North meeting new people and learning from them. Heidi has given many presentations and interactive demonstrations on Inuit culture, heritage, values and beliefs including traditional throat singing. On June 19th, 2010 Heidi had the extreme honour of being named one of 12 National Aboriginal Role Models for 2010-2011. The National Aboriginal Role Model Program celebrates the accomplishments of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth aged 13 to 30. She is currently working at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa as the Inuit Liaison Worker.

Child and Youth Mental Health Program

Christine Kudluk

Child and Youth Mental Health Worker
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 214
Christine has been involved with the Ottawa Inuit Community ever since she can remember. She remembers going to community Christmas parties, attending the stay in school program and during her high school years she worked at the Family Resource Centre. One summer she was the Inuktitut teacher for the Inuit community centre. She later graduated from Algonquin College in the field of Corrections and is now back where she began; working with the Inuit community and she couldn’t be happier. She loves working with children and has her entire life.

Director of Early Years and Community Initiatives

Natalie Lloyd

Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 211
Natalie is an urban Inuk who was born in Montreal and grew up in Chateauguay, QC. Her mom’s family is from Labrador and she has many fond memories of spending the summers in Labrador with her many cousins, aunties, uncles and her grandparents who were huge role models in her life. Natalie is the Director of Early Year’s and Community Initiatives and is proud to work with the staff, families, children here at OICC. Currently, she is OICC’s representative at the Ontario Aboriginal Head Start Association (OAHSA) and is their Treasurer and for OAHSA she is sitting on the Ontario Early Year’s Advisory Group with the Ministry of Education. At the local level she is our representative at the Ottawa Aboriginal Best Start Table and sits at the CAS Liaison Committee. Natalie takes her role of representing OICC seriously and will speak up when needed to ensure the Inuit perspective is heard. One of her passions is public speaking and doing training. She is also a proud mom to a young child and they have enjoyed taking Inuktitut classes together.

Manager of Early Years

Janice Messam (on maternity leave)

Born in Victoria, BC, Janice spent her days as a child living on a farm and dancing. She enjoyed many wonderful years in Winnipeg MB dancing and teaching professionally with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, often traveling to far off places around the world. Janice moved to Ottawa in 2004 to get married and now lives with her husband Troy, and daughters, Vivian and Amelia Grace. Janice spent 6 weeks with the OICC as an ECE student and knew it was a special place. In 2007, she felt privileged to be given the opportunity to work with the families she has grown to think of as her community too. Janice has worked as the Family Literacy Coordinator, ECE Preschool Teacher and now is the Coordinator at Sivummut Head Start.

Tara Matte, Interim Manager

Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 228
Email: [email protected]
My name is Tara Matte and I am excited to be replacing Janice Messam as the Early Years Manager during her maternity leave. My previous experience includes overseeing Best Start preschool programs in the Timiskaming District and coordinating Early Years Programs through Norwest Community Health Center in Thunder Bay. Both of these positions involved working closely with Aboriginal families and Aboriginal community partners. I moved recently to Ottawa with my husband, two teenagers and our dog and we are enjoying getting to know the area and meeting new people. The staff, children and families have been warm and welcoming and I look forward to meeting everyone and working with you over the next year.

Early Years’ Teaching Team

Ina Zakal

Toddler and Preschool Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 224
Ina is the Cultural Teacher for the Sivummut Head Start Program. Ina originally from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, has been living in Ottawa for over 20 years. Ina has an E.C.E equivalency and is bilingual in Inuktitut and English. Ina has been teaching her culture to children for over 30 years. In 2004, she was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Her expertise in delivering Inuktitut programming within the Sivummut Head Start is recognized by other Inuit Early Learning and Child Care programs in Canada. Ina also helped to create the Uqausivut Language Resources, and gave her knowledge in the DVD created to share Inuit culture.

Fred Simpson

Preschool Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 224
Fred has been teaching with the Inuit Head Start since 2002. Fred grew up in southern Ontario and after university he spent three years working across the country with mining exploration. His decision to change careers to early childhood education brought him to Algonquin College here in Ottawa in 1985. Fred has two grown stepchildren living in Calgary and Montreal while he and his wife, Suzanne and his 15 year old son live in Old Ottawa East in a house with lots of trees. He enjoys sharing his love of the natural world with the children and his commitment to preparing the Head Start children for Kindergarten and Grade one is evident.

Natasha DaSilva

Toddler Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 220
Natasha obtained her Early Childhood Education Diploma from Algonquin College in 2008. She started her journey with OICC in the Sivummut Head Start Program while on placement for her ECE diploma. Upon graduation, she was hired as a teacher for HS, and eventually took on administration duties as well as teaching. Natasha now works with the toddlers of Tumiralaat Inuit Child Care Centre, and has some administration duties. She believes the best thing about working with kids is seeing them every day. She enjoys watching hockey, especially the Chicago Blackhawks, watching TV, reading books and shopping. Natasha has roots in Ottawa, Portugal and Italy.

Sarah Proctor

Toddler Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 220
Email: [email protected]
Sarah was born in Iqaluit and moved to Ottawa in 2000. She graduated from Osgoode Township High School in 2006. Sarah began volunteering in the Head Start Program and was hired as a Teacher’s Assistant in 2007. Sarah is learning more about her Inuit culture and heritage through the Head Start program. She loves listening to music, quoting funny things said by the kids and eating muktuk.

Bea Alvarez

Preschool Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 217
Email: [email protected]
Bea was born in Bogota, Colombia, South America. Her family immigrated to Ottawa when she was very young. Bea has also lived in Montreal and Toronto, but is very happy to be in Ottawa with her family. After a career in graphic arts, she completed her ECE at Algonquin, and BEd at Ottawa U. Bea began with the OICC as the teacher in the Toddler room, has been a Coordinator of the Tumiralaat Child Care Centre and is now a Preschool Teacher. Bea enjoys reading, swimming, knitting, drawing, painting and watching movies. She is a volunteer at Roger’s House. She believes that her creativity has led her to this important role. Bea’s favourite thing about kids is that they keep her in the moment with surprise, laughter and curiosity.

Appa Mark

Preschool Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 217

Akwe:go Urban Aboriginal Program

Nikkutai Folger (on maternity leave)

Akwe:go Urban Aboriginal Children’s Program Coordinator
Originally from Apex, just outside Iqaluit, Nikkutai loves working in Ottawa with OICC’s kids. She especially finds the laughter of the kids most enjoyable. Nikkutai has now been working for OICC since May of 2009. She loves vegetarian dishes, watching movies, reading, working out, listening to hip hop and attending hip hop concerts. One of Nikkutai’s fondest memories of northern life is playing outside while enjoying the beauty of the Northern Lights. Nikkutai has established a great loving connection with the OICC’s children.

Courtney Henderson

Akwe:go Urban Aboriginal Children’s Program Interim Coordinator
Phone: 613-746-5400, ext 222
Email: [email protected]
Courtney is originally from Avonmore, a small town outside of Ottawa. From there she moved to Peterborough to complete her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and History at Trent University. Courtney developed a love for travelling when she was living in South Korea teaching English as a second language. When Courtney returned from her travels she started at Algonquin College in the Child and Youth Work program which once completed led her to start her career in Iqaluit, Nunavut. In Iqaluit Courtney created strong ties to community and its members where she worked non-for profit organizations, the City of Iqaluit and the Government of Nunavut. Courtney developed a love for the Arctic and the Inuit community. Upon returning to Ottawa, Courtney found a great spot at OICC as the Akwe:go Program Coordinator. Courtney is currently continuing her education in the goal of becoming a Play Therapist for children, youth and their families. In her free time, Courtney enjoys playing sports, reading, live music and playing with her dog.

Junior and Senior Kindergarten Program

Bruce Kigutaq

Kindergarten Cultural Teacher
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 225
Email: [email protected]
Bruce a.k.a. Jane was born in Montreal but was raised in Arctic Bay and Nanisivik, Nunavut. Both of her parents are Inuk, and she has ten brothers and sisters and has been around children her whole life. Two of her children attend the Tukimut Afterschool Program. Bruce has been part of the OICC family in many different capacities for several years. She was the first Cultural Teacher in the Kindergarten program when it started in 2010 so she understands the expectations and knows many of the children very well. Bruce is passionate about passing on her culture and language, speaks Inuktitut fluently and ensures that the classroom represents culture and is rich in language. For the past several years Bruce has also been the lead teacher for the language classes offered through the Uqausivut program.

Michelle Hogan

Kindergarten Teacher – Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Krista Thomas

Registered Early Childhood Educator – Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 225
Krista is a graduate from the Early Childhood Education Diploma program at Loyalist College in Belleville Ontario in 1997. She had the opportunity to be a Health and Safety Representative at a previous childcare facility while working within a program. Krista enjoys to help set up a safe and nurturing environment for all who entered a centre. “Most of my training to get me where I am now has been from hands on experience within a variety of childcare locations. My joy of working with children and their families has stemmed from my early years. Even as a child I could be found guiding children that were younger than me through play.” Now, she works for the Ottawa-Carleton District School board and helps run the Kindergarten program within the OICC. Krista loves to read books and watch movies during her spare time. Her family has a tradition where each pick out one night a week to cook. This allows for her step children to learn how to cook and gives everyone a chance to bond as a family. “I look forward to many years at this location learning about the programs given and the culture.”

Barb Cayer

Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 221
Email: [email protected]
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 OICC programming. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her grandchildren, researching her family history and drumming and singing.

Shaun Pepin

Phone: 613-744-3133, ext 217
Email: [email protected]
Shaun joined the OICC in 2010. Shaun is from the Ottawa area and has previously worked in construction and the moving industry. His enjoyment of cooking can be traced back to his childhood where he has fond memories of watching his mom in the kitchen. A father to four children, Shaun loves to play and read to children. On his down time Shaun enjoys hockey and football but nothing makes him happier than hearing his kids say “Daddy, I love you”.