The Secretariat Team

Carole BrosseauCarole Brosseau proudly comes from a French-Canadian background. Her father worked for the armed forces and as a result her family moved considerably in her formative years. Carole has one sister and is a proud aunt to three grown nieces. She is a seasoned Office Manager, has worked on several special projects and has broad experience in the public sector, both federal and provincial. Carole is very excited about being able to participate on this path into history, “I look forward to learning about Ontario’s current electoral system and others, and to work with the Assembly members as we all learn and grow with this newfound knowledge – what a unique opportunity!”

 

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Kelly BurkeKelly Burke is the Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Chair. She is originally from Cornwall but now lives in Toronto where she practised law with the Ministry of the Attorney General before joining the Secretariat. Kelly used to be a teacher in Ontario’s public school system and is fluent in both English and French. In her leisure time, Kelly enjoys travelling with her husband Michael and playing golf and tennis. Kelly says that “to be a part of this momentous event is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m thrilled to have been asked to provide support to the Chair of the Assembly from a legal perspective.”

 

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Karen CohlKaren Cohl, Executive Director of the Citizens’ Assembly Secretariat, has lived most of her life in Toronto. She originally trained as a lawyer, but soon discovered her true calling for public policy. She was an assistant deputy minister in the Ontario public service for eight years before branching out on her own as a private consultant. Karen sees the Citizens’ Assembly as an exciting new way to develop policy and is proud to be part of the team supporting this historic initiative. She will also be the recording secretary for Assembly meetings, making sure key decisions are recorded. Karen and her husband of 25 years have two daughters, 24 and 22. Karen has recently taken up jazz piano and does a cryptic crossword every day.

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Cora-Lee ConwayCora-Lee Conway, Assistant to Directors with the Secretariat, was born in Toronto but has lived in Northern Québec and Dubai. She loves to travel and counts Germany and Amsterdam among her favourite destinations. Cora enjoys singing, creative writing and is passionate about international development. She has a B.A. in global political studies and an M.A. in political science with a focus on democratic systems and international development. About the Assembly Cora says, “It’s an amazing project that has the potential to serve as a model for citizen engagement on an international level.”

 

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Carol Fleming comes to the Secretariat all the way from Vancouver where she was a member of the B.C. Citizens’ Assembly Secretariat. Handling Database Management and Administration, Carol says she “enjoys project work” and was happy to accept this challenge. A first-time Toronto resident, Carol is originally from Grenada. She’s travelled extensively and lists St. Martin and California as her favourite spots. One of six siblings, she says she currently has “no plants or animals” to care for. In her spare time, Carol enjoys the outdoors, live entertainment and dining out. She says “she loves to walk” and will be doing much of it as she explores Toronto this year.

 

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Jennifer GoughJennifer Gough was born in Barrie, grew up in London, lives in Toronto, and is a Senior Event Planner with the Secretariat. Jennifer is the second of six children, four girls and two boys. She’s been in the public sector for three years, most recently with the Ministry of Education, and before that spent time in the not-for-profit sector where she handled fundraising and special events. Jennifer believes “that voting is the most important responsibility citizens have,” and is excited to be part of an “exercise that is engaging citizens who feel their votes don’t count.” Jennifer loves to play soccer.

 

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Dahlia KlingerDahlia Klinger was born in Montreal, one of six children, and moved to Toronto in her teens. She studied just about everything in university in the days before you needed to have a major. Dahlia is Senior Policy Advisor with the Secretariat and has worked with the Ontario public service for 14 years in both policy and communications. When she first heard about the Citizens’ Assembly, she knew she had to be involved: “It completely captured my imagination... the idea of citizens recommending an electoral system to government, as opposed to the other way around.” Dahlia has taught English as a Second Language and adult literacy, and is passionate about reading and writing.

 

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Barry Koen-ButtBarry Koen-Butt, Executive Lead, Communications for the Secretariat leads the team responsible for the web site, media relations, and documenting the work of the Assembly. The father of two boys and two girls (and grandfather to fraternal twin girls), Barry was born and raised in the east end of Toronto - as were both his parents. An avid blues music lover and very amateur guitarist, Barry has been known to frequent the occasional golf course with his partner, Julie. He says he joined the Secretariat to “play a small role in supporting something as historic as the Citizens' Assembly.”

 

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Mark Lyons was born in Nova Scotia and grew up in Manitoba. He’s lived in five provinces and three countries. Mark moved from Kingston to Toronto to take the job of Policy Analyst/Researcher with the Secretariat. He says the Assembly is “a great exercise in democracy that is new and cutting edge.” A self-described film buff, Mark lists “Rushmore” and “ Mulholland Drive” as his favourites. He has also written and directed two films of his own. He volunteers with his family at a food bank in New Brunswick every Christmas. Mark has an older brother who is working on his PhD.

 

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Michael MacKenzie was born in Vancouver and grew up in Winnipeg. He moved from Montreal to Toronto to join the Secretariat as a Policy Analyst/Researcher. Michael says he is “interested in contributions that citizens make to democracy” and is “looking forward to being part of this hands-on approach.” The younger of two siblings, Michael enjoys cycling, skiing and reading. He plays bass guitar and hopes to have the time to join a new band in the near future. Michael’s been involved with a number of research initiatives including a study on Aboriginal politics in Winnipeg and media content in Montreal.

 

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Huma PabaniHuma Pabani was born in Karachi, Pakistan but her family immigrated to Canada when she was just six months old. Senior Communications Officer for the Secretariat, Huma is a teacher by training and spent time working in both the private and public sectors prior to joining the Secretariat. She says she seized this opportunity “for the chance to be a part of history in the making.” Huma is an avid reader and tries to travel to a new destination every year. In her spare time, Huma is a member of the speakers bureau Words on Work, and the board of directors for A Cappella Services for Young Women.

 

 

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Susan PigottSusan Pigott who is the Executive Lead, Citizen Engagement at the Secretariat, was born in Toronto and continues to live there. Susan is a nurse and a social worker by training. She comes to the Secretariat from St. Christopher House, a social service agency in Toronto, where she is the Executive Director. Susan is married to Tony Pigott and has two sons in their early twenties. She has spent her career working in community-based not-for-profit organizations and is deeply committed to building a society where all feel included. "For this reason I am very pleased to be part of the team which will support the important work of the Citizens’ Assembly."

 

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Tiana PollariTiana Pollari, who was born and raised in Toronto, has a degree from York University in Political Science and Law and Society. She loves to travel and recently visited Italy which she says is beautiful. Tiana, Administrative Coordinator with the Secretariat, was most recently with the Ministry of Education where she was a Project Assistant. She joined the Secretariat because it was “an exciting opportunity to be involved in the process of electoral reform.” Tiana is fluent in both English and French and often tutors students in French and Science. A self-described fitness freak, Tiana loves to run and recently completed her first half-marathon in Mississauga. She also enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her five-year-old sister.

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Jonathan Rose shares a 150-year-old home in Kingston with his partner and two sons, Denzil and Nathaniel. The Academic Director for the Secretariat, Jonathan has taught at universities in Kingston, Japan, England, Whitehorse and New York. One of his goals is to learn to ride a unicycle. Jonathan enjoys photography and is determined to travel to every continent at least once. He loves the architecture of Russia, the people of Cuba and the pubs of the U.K. Jonathan says watching his five-year-old learn to function in a Japanese kindergarten class taught him “the ease with which motivated people learn.” He joined the Secretariat because, “the prospect of teaching and learning with such a diverse group of people was too tantalizing to turn down.”

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Rick Yee grew up in Nanaimo, B.C. and spent some time in Vancouver before moving to Toronto in 2002. He’s travelled to Germany, France, Hong Kong and Japan and says Japan was “an amazing combination of metropolitan and Asian culture.” Rick’s background is in project management and marketing, and he’s spent the last four years working for the provincial government, most recently the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Rick is fluent in English and has “a strong grasp of Cantonese.” He joins the Secretariat as a Project Specialist and says he is "honoured to be a part of such an historic process that will shape Ontario's electoral system." In his spare time, Rick enjoys playing basketball and badminton, and writing poetry.

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