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November 25, 2020

Welcoming new Board directors for a new decade of building future ready students

by Debra D. Kerby, President & CEO
We’re delighted to announce a new group of volunteers has joined our Board of Directors, expanding our complement from 12 to 15 members and enabling The Learning Partnership to reinforce our commitment to good governance, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
At our second quarter 2020 (November) Annual General Meeting, we bid farewell to Steve Wolff, President and Chief Executive Officer of CIBC Mellon, who has served as Chair of the Board since 2018. During his six-year term, Steve has been an insightful, committed and strategic leader.
We also said goodbye to director Jordan Tinney, CEO of Surrey District School Board, the largest school district in British Columbia and one of the largest in Canada. Jordan has consistently asked the tough questions and stretched our learning with his tremendous expertise in the education sector.
Deb Craven, CFO of Longo Brothers Fruit Markets, is our new Chair. Ted Fransen, Superintendent/CEO of Pembina Trails School Division in Manitoba, has stepped into the vice-chair role.
While both Steve and Jordan will be missed, we have taken this opportunity to expand our Board complement to 15 which has enabled us to recruit a diverse mix of volunteers with specialized expertise in key areas (education, leadership/strategy, financial management) from across the country.
As we turn the corner into The Learning Partnership’s 27th year and a new decade, we welcome:

DARCIE JAMES-MAXWELL:  As Lead Architect, Client Data Solutions for BNY Mellon and CIBC Mellon, Darcie works with clients to analyze their strategy, business requirements, current environments and technology choices to develop creative, effective solutions. Prior to joining BNY Mellon and CIBC Mellon, she spent 14 years in senior leadership roles at Eagle Investment Systems, the last four as Head of Canadian Operations. She will bring that same broad vision, problem-solving capacity, and strategic mindset to support The Learning Partnership’s organizational priorities and governance. 

HEATHER CAMPBELL:  Heather began her career in 1996 as an English teacher at Fort Frances High School. She became Superintendent of Education at Rainy River District School Board in 2006 and, in 2010, Director of Education. She is also an instructor at Lakehead University. Over her career, Heather has held several portfolios, including parent engagement, leadership development, new teacher induction, and Indigenous education. Her breadth of knowledge in education administration and depth of work with Indigenous students will support The Learning Partnership as we develop new approaches to programming and focus on outreach to First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners.

:  Erin has been Director of Education at Greater Essex County District School Board since 2013, spending nine years prior to that as Superintendent of the Upper Grand District School Board. With her deep roots in the community, experience in the sector, enthusiasm, leadership skills, and commitment to serving staff, students and families, Erin brings a keen eye and professional discernment to her governance role at The Learning Partnership.
JIMMY MUI:  Jimmy is Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services, Chief Operating Officer and CFO at Canadian Medical Association. As a Chartered Professional Accountant, he brings broad executive-level experience from publicly-traded organizations, non-profit/charities and government agencies. His skills and knowledge extend beyond effective financial management to providing strategic operational advice and leadership to CEOs and governing Boards.

NOAH AIKEN-KLAR: Noah is a relationship builder, grant maker, director, lawyer, volunteer and artist skilled in strategic analysis, program development, change management, non-profit leadership and advocacy, and, perhaps most of all, passionate about making change that matters to communities. As Director, Youth Social Impact at RBC, Noah developed RBC Future Launch to deliver RBC's strategies for helping young people build their skills, expand their networks, gain experience, and access mental health care. He recently moved into the role of Director, T&O (Technology & Operations) Academic and Strategic Relationships, Early Talent at RBC, where he collaborates with partners across the organization and in the community to develop and deepen programs that inspire and engage emerging tech professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Enacting our commitment to DEI from the top

As we are doing in so many areas of our organization, this year we looked at our Board recruitment protocols to uncover and act on systemic sources of bias within The Learning Partnership. This work is an ongoing journey. A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion was embedded in our outreach and networking strategies, and was an explicit criterion for selection of new Board members.

We’re pleased to report that we have reached parity in terms of women on our board which includes Deb Craven taking on the role of chair. We’ve also increased our representation of people of colour from 8% to 20%, with two of three BIPOC members of our board women.
I am thrilled and looking forward to continued progress on this front, and – most importantly – ensuring that we view our programs, operations and governance through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. We know that diversity drives innovation, and that innovation, creativity, collaboration and courageous decision-making will be the keys to the achievement of our mission: to inspire and equip today’s students to become tomorrow’s problem solvers and change makers.
I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work side by side with our Board – both new and existing members – our staff, and our partners in the corporate, education and public sectors to build future-ready students. Together.
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