The Team

True systemic change requires commitment from people in all walks of life, not just those who are most affected by the issue. For this reason, The Winnipeg Boldness Project has built a collaborative and diverse team that is community-driven and includes a broad spectrum of staff, partners, and stakeholders.

The staff team is based in the Point Douglas neighbourhood of Winnipeg and is responsible for organizing and completing the day-to-day research and development activities of the project.

Diane Roussin – Project Director

Diane is a dedicated community leader and a proud member of the Skownan First Nation. Diane has worked tirelessly for over two decades with organizations and projects that respect the ability and the rights of Indigenous families, children and individuals to care for themselves and thrive. Diane holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work degrees. She is a cherished member of a large extended family and a loving mother of two daughters whom she adores.

Taylor Wilson- Project Coordinator

Taylor is a skilled researcher who was born in Winnipeg and raised in Fisher River Cree Nation. She moved back to Winnipeg in 2009 and is of Ojibwe and Filipino decent. Taylor has worked on various research projects at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, and Red River College. Her diligent work-ethic and ambitious nature qualified her for a four-month internship at The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide Australia. Taylor holds a Master’s Degree in Development Practice with a focus on Indigenous Development, a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the University of Winnipeg.

Lisa Wlasichuk – Research & Project Manager

Lisa was born and raised in Winnipeg and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Indigenous Studies. She completed a Master’s of Development Practice – Indigenous Development Degree and spent time during the program working at Blue Quills First Nations College in northern Alberta and with the Saami in northern Finland.

Allison Dyck – Project Coordinator

Allison grew up in the Elmwood area of Winnipeg and has lived in Point Douglas for the last several years. Ever curious about why people do what they do, she completed a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in Psychology. Her research background is neurodevelopment, uncovering adaptive and maladaptive brain change both pre- and post-natally. Allison is fiercely passionate about people, community, animals, and nature.

Guide Groups

Acting as our compass throughout this journey, we work with four guide groups comprised of local residents, volunteers, workers, executives, researchers, and knowledge keepers. These guide groups meet on a regular basis to provide community-based insight and feedback around our research and prototypes, while helping to maintain a strong community voice in all aspects of the project.

Traditional Knowledge Keepers Guide Group

Mae Louise Campbell
Billie Schibler
Mary Wilson
Margaret Lavallee
Astrid MacNeill

Parent Guide Group

Currently 15 participating community parents/caregivers 

Community Leadership Guide Group

Bobbette Shoffner (Mount Carmel Clinic)
Carinna Rosales (SEED Winnipeg)
Carolyn Young (Manidoo Gi Miini Gonaan)
Cynthia Drebot (North End Women’s Centre)
Dana Arabe (Wahbung Abinoonjiiag)
Darlene Klyne (Community Education Development Association)
Debra Diubaldo (University of Manitoba – Inner City Social Work Campus)
Dilly Knol (Andrews Street Family Centre)
Heather Leeman (The Laurel Centre)
Jessica Floresco (Mother Earth Recycling)
Jessie Leigh (North End Community Renewal Corporation)
Josie Hill (Blue Thunderbird Family Care)
Kalen Taylor (Purpose Construction)
Tara Zajac (North Point Douglas Women’s Centre)
Tyler Pearce (Local Investment Towards Employment)

Research Guide Group

Dr. Shauna MacKinnon (University of Winnipeg/Manitoba Research Alliance)
Dr. Susan Prentice (University of Manitoba)
Dr. Jamie Cidro (University of Winnipeg)
Vanessa Tait (First Nations Health & Social Secreteriat of Manitoba)
Dr. Jon McGavock (University of Manitoba)

Partners & Stakeholders

The Winnipeg Boldness Project works with an extensive list of community partners who support and contribute to the work of the project in many important ways.

Andrews Street Family Centre
Business Council of Manitoba
Cause+Effect (early partner)
Clan Mothers Healing Village
Community Education Development Association
Kisik Inc.
Manidoo Gi Miini Gonaan
MaRS Solutions Lab
Metis Child, Family and Community Services
Mount Carmel Clinic
MTS Future First
National Association of Friendship Centres
National Leasing
Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad
North End Business Development Centre
North End Community Renewal Corporation
North End Family Centre
North End Women’s Centre
North Forge Technology Exchange
North Point Douglas Women’s Centre
Relish New Brand Experience
SEED Winnipeg, Inc.
Social Innovation Generation
The Boldness Project™ (early partner)
Thunderwing Project
University of Manitoba
University of Manitoba – Inner City Social Work Program
University of Winnipeg
Wahbung Abinoonjiiag
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Stewardship Group

Rather than governance through a conventional board of directors, a Stewardship Group was formed to act as a guiding body for the project. It provides direction and accountability while encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing from some of Winnipeg’s most experienced members of the non-profit and business communities.

Dave Johnston – Chair

Dave Johnston is the CEO and owner of Johnston Group Inc., a Winnipeg based administrator of group insurance benefits and a partner in Payworks Inc. a Winnipeg based payroll service provider. Johnston Group has been named as one of Canada’s Best Managed Private companies for the past 19 years.

Mr. Johnston has been personally involved with many aspects of the community and served on a number of boards. He was president of the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg Foundation for 3 years, a founding Director of the Foundations for Health campaign for what is now the John Buhler Research Center, the Campaign Chair for the 2001 United Way of Winnipeg Campaign and a board member and cabinet member of the Imagine a Place campaign for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. In 2019 Mr. Johnston was awarded the André Mailhot award which is United Way Canada’s highest honor, given each year to one volunteer in Canada.

Susan Lewis – Vice-Chair

Susan is the outgoing President and CEO of United Way of Winnipeg and a visionary leader whose work has included leading the formation of the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council (WPRC) to address in real and measurable ways some of Winnipeg’s toughest issues.

Ovide Mercredi

Highly respected advocate of Indigenous rights, Ovide is the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and former Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Manitoba. As an accomplished lawyer specializing in constitutional law, he has and continues to be an integral leader in First Nations issues in Canada.

Kathy Knudsen

Kathy is the Vice President, Community Investment for United Way of Winnipeg. In this role, Kathy, together with the community investment team, collaborates with senior volunteers and staff to achieve the greatest impact possible on social issues in our community. Including numerous courses in leadership, change management, and project management, Kathy has attained a Bachelor of Nursing degree, a Master’s of Public Administration degree, as well as a Master’s Certificate in Municipal Leadership.

Dilly Knol

Dilly is the Executive Director of Andrews Street Family Centre and a strong advocate for Indigenous families. A woman of Metis decent, she was born and raised near Richer, Manitoba. She began her career in community development in her late 20s through volunteerism, and soon after made the decision to go back to school to obtain her degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. Dilly lives in the North End of Winnipeg and dedicates her life to making a difference in her community.

Gregg Hanson

Gregg was formerly the president and CEO of Wawanesa Mutual. Now retired, he remains active in Manitoba’s business community on several company boards, and has taken an active interest in the well-being of Winnipeg’s Indigenous citizens in particular.

Jan Sanderson

Jan graduated with her Master’s degree in Public Affairs in 1980. The first ten years of her career were spent in Saskatchewan working for first for the Federal government and subsequently for the Province. In 1989 she returned to her roots in Manitoba and began a 27-year career with the Province of Manitoba, spanning a range of progressive assignments in human resources, labour relations, and program management. In 2001, Jan became the CEO of Healthy Child Manitoba, reporting to the Healthy Child Committee of Cabinet.  In 2009, this role was merged with her new assignment as Deputy Minister of Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors. In 2012, while retaining her CEO role, Jan was appointed Deputy Minister of the newly created Department of Children and Youth Opportunities. In 2016, Jan left the Province of Manitoba and became a Research Chair at Red River College.

Bobbette Shoffner

Bobbette is the Executive Director of Mount Carmel Clinic, a unique community health centre that exists to work together with people, families and communities to enhance lifelong health and wellbeing. She grew up in the North End and graduated from St. Johns High School. She spent many years as an Early Childhood Educator working with children and families and taught Early Childhood Education at Red River College for several years. Adding to her focus with a Bachelor’s of Human Ecology degree and Certificate in Health Leadership and Management, she works hard on affecting change at the community and systems level for the improvement of all families.  

Heidi Wurmann

Heidi Wurmann is the Acting Assistant Deputy Minister of the Corporate Services Division in the Department of Families.  She is responsible for providing leadership and direction on all departmental legislation as well as program support and policy advice on issues that affect the department. She is also responsible for the Disability Issues Office, implementation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and oversight of the arms-length Social Services Appeal Board and Office of the Vulnerable Persons Commissioner.

She has been with the Government of Manitoba since 2008 when she joined as a policy analyst.  Before joining the civil service, Heidi worked in British Columbia as the Executive Director of a women’s centre and shelter.  Heidi has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria, and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Manitoba.  She lives in the West End of Winnipeg with her partner and daughter.

Dana Arabe

Dana Arabe is a proud Indigenous woman of mixed ancestry, a mother of two, and carries with her over a decade of executive management experience in the not-for-profit sector. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dana has dedicated her professional and volunteer activities to strengthening and supporting Indigenous children, youth and families in Winnipeg’s Inner City. She is passionate about empowering families and working from a collective strengths-based perspective to address the root causes of violence and social inequity in our community. Dana is currently the Executive Director of Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, a domestic violence prevention,crisis and healing centre for children and their families.

Present & Past Funders

The following funders have supported or currently support the project through monetary contributions and organizational support.

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Province of Manitoba

United Way of Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Foundation

The Richardson Foundation

Investors Group

Public Health Agency of Canada

Anonymous Funder

Government of Canada – ESDC

The Funders Table

The Funders Table serves as a strategic team to develop broad partnerships with stakeholders and look at potential finance models to fund the project on an ongoing basis.

Connie Walker (United Way of Winnipeg)

Jayne Engle (The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)

Gregg Hanson (The Winnipeg Boldness Project)

Kathy Knudsen (United Way of Winnipeg)

Diane Roussin (The Winnipeg Boldness Project)

Heidi Wurmann (Corporate Services Division in the Department of Families)

Dave Johnston (Stewardship Group Chair)

Land Acknowledgement

The Winnipeg Boldness Project resides in and works on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), Anishinabewaki (Oji-Cree), Dené, Michif Piyii (Métis), Nêhiyawak (Cree), and Očhéthi Sakowin (Dakota). We recognize that we have benefited from and continue to benefit from colonization on the Treaty 1, Treaty 3, and Treaty 5 Territories.

It is important to also acknowledge how we benefit in this territory at the cost to Indigenous Peoples. Winnipeg has been drinking clean water for over a century via an aqueduct from Shoal Lake. In 1917, 3000 acres of Treaty 3 was declared property of the city of Winnipeg to build the aqueduct. This aqueduct was built over ancestral burial ground, to build these structures, the ancestors were disinterred and reburied. Construction of the aqueduct changed the waters significantly, causing the peninsula to become a man-made island. This now isolated Nation faced many challenges as a direct result from this aqueduct; Necessities like water, groceries, schools, and mail were only accessible via the dangerous trek to the mainland. Lives of adults and children were lost crossing to and from the mainland. Freedom Road, an all-weather road access finally opened summer 2019, over a century after displacement. This road, a testament to the success of Indigenous-led solutions, helps bring materials to build schools and a water treatment plant.

“I always think of it, even when I turn on the tap I’m like this comes from our community and this water probably contains our ancestors and the spirits of our ancestor. I think about the hardships of the people from Shoal Lake 40 who have gone through so many things for the benefit of Winnipeg’s drinking water,” says Angelina McLeod.1

Another benefit we reap in Winnipeg at a cost to Indigenous Peoples and land is the Hydro Electricity Development in Treaty 5. To optimize water movement for greatest power production the Province of Manitoba increased waterflow by creating the Churchill River Diversion in 1976. The modification of the waterflow caused flooding, shoreline erosion, and changes to water quality. This destruction of habitat has caused disruption to waterway travel, fishing, and hunting.