Board of Directors

In keeping with the philosophy of a community-driven organization, the by-laws of the OICC require that a majority of directors on the Board be parents of children enrolled in programs offered by the OICC, and a majority be Inuit. These measures ensure that all OICC programming is relevant to the community it serves. As such, our staff and Board of Directors are abreast of issues that Inuit families face in an urban setting.

The OICC’s By-Laws were adopted by members on October 20, 2011.

Our current Board of Directors:
Alyssa Flaherty-Spence, President
Tamara Takpannie, Vice-President
Andree Lacasse, Secretary
Melinda Shambare, Treasurer
Jeannie Koonoo
Mary Hutton
Mary Shorten
Leila Mahoney

Carl Dobbin, Ex-Officio
Maria Healy, Ex-Officio
Trevor Gillis, Ex-Officio
Stephanie Puetz, Ex-Officio
Pam Stellick, Ex-Officio
David Zackrias, Ex-Officio

Interested in becoming an OICC Board of Directors member? Please contact Andree Lacasse at 613-261-5787.
OICC’s Board Nominations are still open as of November 21, 2016.

Download a 2016 Board Nomination Form by clicking here.


Download the latest Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre’s Annual Report, OICC Annual Report 2015-16.

OICC Annual Report 2014-15.

OICC Annual Report 2013-2014.
OICC Annual Report 2012-13 .
OICC Annual Report 2011-12 .

OICC Annual Report English 2010-11
OICC Annual Report Inuktitut 2010-11

OICC Annual Report English 2009-2010
OICC Annual Report Final Inuktitut 2009-2010

2015-2016 Board of Directors

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence

Alyssa Flaherty-Spence is of Inuit and Cree decent. She is a Nunavut beneficiary and considers Ottawa, ON and Iqaluit, NU home. Alyssa Flaherty-Spence is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a degree in Political Science and Aboriginal Studies. Following her undergraduate studies, she successfully completed the Program of Legal Studies for Native Students at the University of Saskatchewan. Alyssa recently successfully completed her Juris Doctor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa in 2016.

Alyssa has worked with a number of Inuit organizations such as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc. (NTI), Maliganiik Tukisiiniavik Legal Aid Services, Sivummut YWCA Women’s Shelter, and has experience as a Board Member for Pauktuutit Inuit Women’s Association of Canada. In her role with Pauktuutit she spoke in the House of Commons on behalf of the Pauktuutit Board of Directors on the impact of cut backs on Inuit women across Canada. Alyssa has travelled throughout Northern Canada and focuses her attention on Northern issues and law. Further, she spoke as a representative for Aboriginal woman and law students at the Ministers Roundtable for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Ottawa, Ontario.

Alyssa also volunteered with Level Justice in their the Dare to Dream program in 2014-2015 during her legal studies and further continued on as the Director of Youth Outreach. She currently is completing her 10-month Law Society of Upper Canada Articling Program with Dubuc-Osland Barristers and Solicitors where they focus on Inuit and First Nations Economic Development. She is completing her Ontario Bar Exams this 2017 and looks forward to being called to the bar in 2017.

Tamara Takpannie

Tamara Takpannie is a proud Urban Inuk that has been apart of the Ottawa Inuit community her whole life. Her mothers’ side of the family is from Iqaluit, Nunavut and her father is of Greek ancestry and she is the youngest of 5 children. Tamara is very thankful that her son Mason is able to grow up in a community that welcomes Inuit culture, language and traditions. He is currently in the kindergarten program at OICC. She is a single mother and attends Carleton University full time – majoring in Psychology with a double minor in Political Science & Neuroscience and Mental Health. Tamara is very ecstatic to be a part of the board of directors and input her knowledge has an urban Inuk to help strengthen the programs provided to Inuit who’ve relocated to Ottawa.

Melinda Shambare

I was born in Inuvik, NWT. I was adopted by an African woman who raised me in Ottawa. I have been working for the Mamisarvik Healing Centre since 2003; my current role is Operations Assistant. I first become involved with the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre in 2012 when I enrolled my son in the Tumiralaat Childcare Centre and now he is in Junior Kindergarten. I love that he spends his days in a safe and nurturing environment and that he is learning about the richness of his Inuit heritage. I joined the Board of Directors the same year and most recently became the Interim-President. I am now sharing the Vice-President role with 2 others. I am pleased to serve in this role because I truly feel that all Inuit children need to learn about our culture, language and heritage. I am proud of the work done by the Board and the staff at the OICC.

Andrée Lacasse

Andrée Lacasse was born in Ottawa. She completed her university studies (BA, BA and MA) in Child and Youth Care specializing in Indigenous Children and Youth, International Relations and Business Communications and started her career with the Government of Canada in 2001. In the years she has spent as a federal public servant, one thing that remains constant is her passion to work in Indigenous issues. Despite her different roles in Government, she has been drawn to wanting to improve the situations of Indigenous communities in Canada.
Her interest in working with Indigenous communities continues to be fulfilled through her non profit work. She co-founded the Isa Mundo Foundation, a small organization that supports education, children and youth and environmental health and is Chair of Children and Youth projects. She has had the opportunity to support projects that attempt to improve the situations of children in orphanages and child centred facilities by supporting basic needs, annual activities and developing life skill programs.
Her studies and interest in working with children and youth is what led her to OICC. As a past volunteer at OICC, she enjoyed her time tremendously and learned so many valuable lessons from Elders, staff, families and the kids themselves. She is forever grateful to her Inuit family for bringing her the most precious gift in her life, her son. Andrée feels her responsibility as the mother of an Inuk child is to ensure he grows up proud of his Inuit language and culture. She strives to provide this for him and for all Inuit children by supporting OICC to the best of her abilities.

Mary Shorten

Mary Shorten was born and raised in Ottawa and, after studying in Montreal for 6 years, happily returned after meeting her husband here. Their son now attends the Head Start program at OICC. Mary holds a Master’s degree in Education and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, specializing in teacher and student well-being, mental health, and the creation of safe and inclusive classroom spaces. She believes that one of the most important ways that we can take care of children and youth is to take care of their teachers! Mary has been practicing yoga and meditation since she was 4 years old, and has taught many stress and wellness workshops to both adults and children over the past 14 years. Her youngest student ever was 2 years old. She also loves to cook, especially for large groups at community events and celebrations, and for her own family every evening—which is good, because they love to eat. Their other favourite activities are camping, hiking, and generally being outside, together.

Jeannie Koonoo

Bio to come.

Mary Hutton

Bio to come.

Leila Mahoney

I came from Iqaluit and Inuvik. I have strong connections to my culture. I am learning Inuktitut. I am almost a registered nurse. I have a good friend, as well as many other people I’ve met along the way, to thank for my entering school to become an RN. My first job was at a hairdressing salon as a hairdresser’s assistant. Then I worked at the Government of Nunavut, Department of Health and Social Services in various administrative positions. I came to Ottawa in 2008 and met my husband and we now have an addition to the family–our son. I plan on listening to my mother because she gives good advice. I have a plan to also return to the north and strengthen my ties to my family who I miss very much and who are in Inuvik. I like to write short stories and draw. I used to be in choir and acting groups.


Carl Dobbin, Ex-officio

Vice-Principal, Ottawa Technical Secondary School

Carl is dedicated school administrator to the well-being of students. Throughout his career he has taught in Alberta, Quebec and Ontario. He is currently Vice-Principal at Ottawa Technical Secondary School. He has always been an active community member wherever he resided. Since coming to Ottawa in 1999 he remains an active in service to his community. He has been a Kiwanian with the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa-Vanier and past president, past chair of the youth committee for the ‘National Capital Crime Stoppers’ and a community volunteer with many local organizations.

Carl has worked in Education since he graduated from Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec, in 1982. He grew up in a small remote fishing village on the Lower North Shore of Québec. Like most of the youth from the Lower North Shore Regions he left his native village in 1972, at the age of thirteen to further his education in Lennoxville, Quebec. He completed his high school at Alexander Galt, graduated from Champlain College and then Bishop’s University with a B.A. in History, a Post-Graduate Degree in Education and a Master’s of Education in Educational Administration. He has been employed with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board since arriving in Ottawa in 1999. He presently resides in Gatineau, Quebec with his wife Odette and his daughter Julie. He shares with them his enthusiasm for travel, culture and the outdoors.

As school administrator, he is proud to be able to serve the students and the Ottawa community in various volunteer capacities. He attests that the OCDSB is doing an outstanding job educating our students for the 21 Century. Their achievements are a testament to the fact that his school district and community value education highly and understand the worth of providing opportunities for our young people. He feels that it is an honor and privilege to serve as vice-principal at various high schools for the OCDSB, participate as a volunteer in the Ottawa community and share his leadership with the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre as an honorary member of the Board of Directors. He looks forward to all of the challenges and successes to come.

David Zacharias, Ex-officio


Staff/Sgt. David ZACKRIAS, a veteran of the Toronto and Ottawa Police Services (OPS), was born and raised in India. He immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of 15 and completed his secondary school education in Ottawa.
David holds a diploma in Law and Security Administration from Algonquin College in Ottawa, a bachelor’s degree in Policing Studies, and a master’s degree in Terrorism Safety and Security from Charles Stuart University in New South Wales, Australia. In addition, he completed a certificate program in Leadership and Inclusion from Centennial College in Toronto, and the Third-Party Neutral Accredited Mediation program with the Canadian Institute of Conflict Resolution in Ottawa.
David has more than 18 years of frontline police work in his career, including extensive investigative and supervisory experience. Currently, David is in charge of the Ottawa Police Diversity and Race Relations Section.
David is a highly motivated police officer who is actively involved in the community. His unique style of leadership encompasses a strong commitment to community policing and an ability to bring diverse groups together.
David received the 2014 Gold Medal of Excellence award by the Human Rights and Race Relations Centre of Toronto for his “outstanding leadership, problem-solving abilities and communications skills with Ottawa’s diverse groups.” He is also the recipient of Crime Prevention Ottawa 2015 Enforcement Award. David’s personal philosophy is that “for police Members to succeed in their work, they must work effectively in partnership with the community”, therefore as a leader in the OPS, he plays an integral role in ensuring that the teams he leads approach problems to build a culture of inclusion, both internally and externally.

Stephanie Puetz, Ex-officio

Stephanie Puetz was born and raised in Newfoundland, and moved to Ottawa 8 year ago. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and currently works with the Government of Canada as a federal public servant in the field of conflict resolution. As a facilitator, mediator, coach, and trainer who is passionate about serving others, Stephanie brings a collaborative and creative lens to all new opportunities. She is also a community volunteer with several local organizations. She lives in the city with her husband and son, and they enjoy hiking, canoeing and camping together.

Ex-officios: Maria Healy, Trevor Gillis, Pam Stellick