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NEADS Membership Report 2010-2012

Reports from the Board of Directors

Diane Bergeron

Alberta Director
Serving 2011-2012

  • Participated as a member of the Governance Committee
  • Assisted with the development of the NEADS operational plan
  • Assisted with the changes to the constitution
  • Provided assistance with organizing Board leadership training
  • Participated as a member of the Executive Committee as Vice-Chair internal
  • Acted on behalf of the Chair in his absence
  • Made a presentation at the Edmonton Employment forum
  • Presented at the Services to Students with Disabilities Provincial Committee on NEADS activities
  • Participated on the HR Committee

Diane recently completed a Master of Arts in Leadership through Royal Roads University while working full-time. Her volunteer work includes being founder and Past-President of the Edmonton Guide Dog Users Group and past member of the board for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Diane worked alongside the CNIB, Alberta NWT Division Executive Director to meet with provincial government representatives to advocate and help draft amendments to the Blind Persons Rights Act. She has also been a vocal critic of the failure of some Edmonton taxi companies to accept guide dogs in their vehicles. This issue, and the lack of wheelchair accessible taxis, led Diane to apply for, and be appointed to the City of Edmonton Vehicle for Hire Commission.

Diane demonstrates her commitment to lifelong learning, as she is an alumnus of both the Management Studies diploma and the Rehabilitation Practitioner diploma programs at Grant MacEwan University. Diane has also graduated from MacEwan’s Bachelor of Applied Human Services Administration program, despite working full-time and raising a family. Diane also volunteered her time as the graduate student representative on the Royal Roads University Academic Council. Diane currently serves as the National Director for Government Relations for the CNIB.


Emily Duffett

Nova Scotia Director
Serving 2012

  • During my term I have attended the monthly Board teleconferences as well as the Board retreat in Toronto in May.
  • I have really enjoyed seeing how these meetings take place and all that gets done in the span of them.
  • Through the Board retreat we were able to learn a lot about leadership development which will hopefully make us more effective working as a team.
  • During my term I have also sat on a number of committees, including the Membership committee, the Graduate Student Experience Project committee and most recently helping out with the AGM committee.
  • I have truly enjoyed my experience with each committee but I would have to say that it is the Graduate Experience Project Committee that has been the one I have enjoyed the most.
  • Through this committee we are developing a full project that is looking at the experience of graduate students within Canada, a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
  • One of my proudest accomplishments thus far has been helping to figure out how to hold a forum in Halifax with a lack of adequate funding.
  • Because of my suggestion we will be partnering in the 5th Annual Inclusive Education and Employment Symposium in Halifax in December – Ability Starts Here: Join The Conversation.

Emily is currently completing her Masters Degree at Acadia University. She was born with spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair for the past 10 years. She has always had fantastic support from family and friends and would not be where she is today without them. Emily has always been very interested in disability issues, and has done many public speaking engagements around the topic. She has been very active within the University community in an attempt to help the campus become more accessible. Most recently, she joined the Community INC Board which is an organization which helps people with disabilities enter the workforce.

Emily completed her honours thesis on the barriers within the post secondary education system for someone with a physical disability. She is currently completing her Masters thesis examining the disability policies at post secondary institutions from across Canada.


Debbie Ellis

British Columbia Director
Serving 2011-2012

Debbie attends the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia and is currently working on her Degree in General Studies with a minor in Communications. Currently she is in her sixth year on the Student Union Board as the Disability Representative. She has been an active volunteer in her community and University. She sits on the Advocacy and Events committee and has been involved in many other committees. She has attended the University’s Leadership conference for students, from which she has acquired many skills. She looks forward to serving on the NEADS board, and invites members to be in touch with her if they have any concerns they wish addressed.


Natalie Fougere

New Brunswick Director
Serving 2007-2012

  • Reached out to individual students, campuses and community organizations in my province in order to talk to them about the association’s work.
  • Attended many conferences and events related to persons with disabilities, in and outside my province, on behalf of NEADS.
  • Represented NEADS on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)
  • Chaired the membership committee, finding ways to better identify our members in various categories.
  • AGM committee, helping out with the planning of the Annual General Meeting, as well as the Financial Literacy Event.
  • Sat on each Board Teleconference, Executive call, as well as an in person Board meeting in which took the minutes from each call and wrote up reports to track the work of the association.
  • In regular contact with other Board members to assure the work in all aspects of the association was accomplished effectively.
  • Edited the NEADS E-Newsletters and helped with writing a few press releases.

Natalie is a first year student in the accelerated bachelor in Translation at Université de Moncton. In April 2010, she graduated from a multidisciplinary program in Arts with concentrations in Psychology, Information Communications and French Studies. Beside her academic work, she is part of many organizations for persons with disabilities, such as the Southeastern Blind Sports Association and the participants planning committee at the Angus Macdonald Centre. The rest of her work consists of being an active NEADS board member. Having been involved with the association since 2006, she is part of a number of committees, which helps her develop my leadership skills. Aside from her work, she has many leisure interests, such as listening to music, going to movies and music concerts, reading and writing. Her future goals are to work in the Translation or oral Interpretation fields. Braille teaching and motivational speaking are career options she has in mind on the side.


Daniella Levy-Pinto

Ontario Director
Serving 2012

  • Member of Graduate Experience Project Committee and National Graduate Experience Taskforce
  • Member of Governance Committee.
  • Equity through Education Awards’ selection committee member.
  • Skills for Success (Ontario): In conjunction with Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, I am in charge of the design of the Skills for Success Project.
  • The goal of the project is to provide students with disabilities skill sets (including self-advocacy, time management, goal setting, critical thinking, among others) to enable their full participation in post-secondary education and the community.
  • Member, Post-Secondary Alternative Format Committee in Ontario. The committee’s mandate is to provide a mechanism through which access to accessible multi-media can be discussed and addressed in a strategic and coordinated manner amongst relevant stakeholders in Ontario.

Daniella Levy-Pinto is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Toronto, specializing in Comparative Politics. Her research interests are the link between politics and the media, democratization processes, and political institutions. Her dissertation explores the role of the press in the Mexican transition to democracy.

Daniella began advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities since the 1990s. Currently, she also serves on the Board of Directors of Students for Barrier Free Access (SBA), a student-run organization at the University of Toronto that seeks the elimination of barriers faced by students with disabilities on campus. She has worked to improve accessibility of university buildings and university resources. She is actively engaged with the university community to increase awareness and has contributed to the implementation of specific initiatives to improve access to print content in alternative formats, to benefit students with print disabilities.

She has a B.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Iberoamericana and an M.A. in Pacific International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego. She has several years of work experience as a political analyst and policy advisor, and has worked for both, the private and public sectors.


Tim McIsaac

Manitoba Director
Serving 2007-2012

  • Attended monthly teleconference board meetings through entire board term.
  • Attended scheduled teleconferences for membership and governance committees throughout term
  • Attended 2 face-to-face board meetings in Toronto during board term.
  • Assisted with the development of revised bylaws and constitution to be placed on the floor for consideration and ratification at the 2012 Annual General Meeting in Vancouver.

Tim was born in Winnipeg where he attended St. Paul’s high school and graduated from the university of Winnipeg. He is a former paralympic swimmer who competed in numerous National and international competitions including 4 paralympic games. He was chosen as Canadian junior male athlete of the year, Manitoba athlete of the year, and is a member of the Manitoba sports hall of fame.

Tim completed a Master’s degree in Disability Studies at the university of Manitoba. He hopes to go on to a Master’s in public administration and complete his Canadian human Resources Practitioner designation. Tim currently works for the Manitoba Government at the council on post-secondary education as a policy analyst.


Ian Murley

Newfoundland and Labrador Director
Serving 2007-2012

  • Played an important role in voicing the concern from a student’s perspective sitting on the provincial advisory council for the status of persons with disabilities for the provincial government. As the youngest member of the group I represent the demographic of the student population and the post-secondary graduates that are looking for work.
  • I also promote the programs and projects that NEADS promotes and administers to other key stakeholders in the disability community so their membership can take advantage of what NEADS has to offer.
  • As President of NEADS I have worked with my counterparts on the board of directors to execute our long term strategic plan to ensure that the organization stays on course and meets the objectives that the board of directors set out.
  • As a recognized aboriginal Canadian, I am currently researching new ways that we can reach out to the aboriginal disabled student demographic. It is an area of real interest to me and to find ways that our organization can provide services and resources that can target this demographic of the student population. Over the coming months I plan to research and meet with people in the aboriginal community to explore opportunities to make this a reality.

Ian Murley has served as Newfoundland and Labrador Director on the NEADS Board since 2007, and has held the executive offices of Vice-President Internal (2009-2010) and President (2010-present).


Christine Nieder

Director-At-Large
Serving 2012

  • National Treasurer
  • Sits on the membership committee, assisted with determining recruitment strategies and member benefits
  • Graduate Experience committee; distributes information to the task force members, one of the developers of the online survey, assisted in the project proposal
  • Involved with organizing and consulting on the Strategies to Employment events in British Columbia, held from October, 2012 to March, 2013.
  • Chaired and took the lead in organizing the Financial Literacy/AGM event held in Burnaby, British Columbia in November, 2012.1
  • Assisted in suggestions with changes to the current bylaws to ensure accountability of board to its members
  • Collaborating with a board member to revitalize the NEADS newsletter in the upcoming year

Christine Nieder was appointed to serve on NEADS’ board of directors in February of 2012 to fill the vacancy of the position of Director-at-Large. She has since then taken on the role of national treasurer and is actively involved on several committees and projects. She is a full-time student at Simon Fraser University studying in a Masters of Educational Leadership program with a thesis focus on issues surrounding employment and people with disabilities. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Adult Education along with a Teaching English as a Second Language certification, Special Education diploma with a specialization in Behaviour Intervention for kids with Autism, and Business certificate. Christine also works full-time as an Assistive Technology Specialist and is actively involved with many other initiatives in her local community; several which include an appointment to a City Hall committee and Access Transit. In her free time, Christine enjoys traveling to parts unknown, attending the theatre, reading a good book, and striving to find the perfect cup of coffee. In the future she plans to pursue her doctrine and move on to do more research in various areas of interest.


Julie Tee

Quebec Director
Serving 2009-2012

  • Participated in monthly board teleconferences and in-person board meetings
  • Contributed to the Human Resources Committee
  • Led the initial development of the 2012 AGM and the November 2012 Financial Literacy Event
  • Represented NEADS at disability-related events in both Quebec (such as the “Together we $ucceed/Ensemble nous Réunisson$” hosted by the Canadian Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators – CASFAA) and New York State (DisAbled and Proud: A Call to Lead hosted by the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, Syracuse University)
  • Liaised on behalf of NEADS with members of the International Disability Rights advisory group to the U.S. Department of State
  • Presented NEADS as a case study on not-for-profit organizations at Concordia University in a law course
  • Assisted in proofreading translated NEADS French documents

Julie completed a college degree in modern languages (Spanish and German), and is currently finishing a degree in Psychology at Concordia University. Julie works as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at eConcordia in criminal and discrimination law. Since an injury in 2005 and having acquired a couple of systemic autoimmune diseases the following year, she realized how much work still needs to be done to improve the situation for persons with disabilities. Julie’s goal is to pursue a combined LL.B/B.C.L. degree to become a lawyer specializing in human rights and disability rights law. Julie has had the honor of being the NEADS Quebec Director since January 2008 and serving a two-year term as Treasurer for the Association.


Agnes Tomkow

Territories Director
Serving 2007-2012

Agnes graduated from the University of Alberta with degrees in Education and a BA in Native studies. She has currently a student at arctic College in Yellowknife studying Computers. She taught in Northern Alberta for many years before returning to university to obtain her second degree. After graduating, she spent one year teaching in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. she now teaches on an Indian reserve just south of the territories boarder. She loves the North and she loves working in Native communities.


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