Meet the Team
Robin Sutherland, Founding Artistic Director
(On Maternity Leave until April 2020)
Robin was raised in the remote community of Chub Lake in the beautiful Mississaugi River Valley. After graduating with a degree in Theatre and Arts Management at the University of Toronto, she worked in administrative roles in Toronto’s arts and non profit sector for five years, specializing in marketing, communications, community outreach and project and event management. In 2012 she managed the country’s first ever National Youth Arts Week in 2012 as the General Manager of ANCY (Arts Network for Children and Youth). In 2013 she apprenticed with Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre in community-engaged art practice while incubating Thinking Rock through the Youth Agent of Change program at the Centre for Social Innovation. She returned to Algoma to start Thinking Rock Community Arts in August 2013. Robin holds an MSc in Health, Community and Development program at the London School of Economics and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about creating spaces for cross-cultural collaboration and youth-led community change to happen through the arts. In addition to running Thinking Rock, Robin also co-owns and manages Northern Skies Enterprises, an agri-innovation and eco-tourism startup.
Miranda Bouchard, Acting Artistic Director
Miranda Bouchard is a visual/community artist, artistic director, arts manager and independent curator. Early community involvement in her hometown of Blind River and a semester of co-operative education at the White Mountain Academy of the Arts (Elliot Lake) led her to study studio art and art history at the University of Guelph (Ontario) and at Lahti University of Applied Sciences’ Institute of Fine Arts (Finland). Her work and volunteer experiences with several arts and culture organizations – including AlgomaTrad, 180 Projects, the Art Gallery of Algoma, the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma); the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (Guelph); Jumblies Theatre and offshoots, and YYZ Artists Outlet (Toronto) – have given her a unique understanding of the nonprofit cultural sector.
Miranda has supported Thinking Rock Community Arts since its early days, serving as Curatorial Advisor for the Changes and Perspectives PhotoVoice project; as General Manager; as Lead Designer for the highly acclaimed Rivers Speak Community Play; and currently, as the organization’s Acting Artistic Director, as well as Artistic Director of the Social Fabric project. Recipient of the 2019 Algoma Visionary Award for Arts & Culture, Miranda is currently pursuing certificate studies in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Management (Ryerson University), and mentorship in Artistic Direction with Ruth Howard of Jumblies Theatre.
Lisa Meschino, Project Coordinator
The Story of our Stories Community-Engaged Research Project
Lisa is a community-engaged artist and researcher living in Sault Ste. Marie whose work is guided by her three passions – the arts, social wellness, and education. Born and raised in Toronto, she honed her creative skills over 30 years, studying at York University (BFA candidate), Toronto School of Art, and learning through mentorship with local artists. She completed her B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy at York University and University of Toronto respectively. In 2007, she left a 10-year career in educational publishing to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (University of Waterloo). She quickly became involved in multiple research projects related to arts, health, and leisure with University of Waterloo, The Royal Conservatory, University Health Network, and the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
Since moving to the Sault in 2016, she has worked as Manager of Operations and Communications at NORDIK Institute; as co-facilitator of the Art Speaks ArtHives; and served as a Board member at 180 Projects and Thinking Rock Community Arts. She contributed to Thinking Rock’s inaugural community-play project, The Rivers Speak, as a maker and performer. She has loved learning about and sharing in the special spirit of community in Northern Ontario with local residents and artists.
Board of Directors
Katie Elliott, Chair
Katie is currently the Communications Coordinator for the Northern Policy Institute. Prior to this she worked as the Project Coordinator of Social Entrepreneurship Evolution (SEE), an emergent collaborative based out of the NORDIK Institute, whose goal is to develop and connect sustainable infrastructure to support Youth Social Entrepreneurship (YSE) in Northern Ontario. Katie’s interest in pairing youth engagement with social economic development in Northern Ontario is reflected in her past experiences, both professionally and personally.
Prior to joining NORDIK, Katie served as Parliamentary Advisor to a Member of Parliament whose role also included Federal Critic for Agriculture & Agri-Food. This work provided her an avenue to support community initiatives while also developing policy based on community resilience and long-term sustainability. Katie also spent time as a Communications Officer with Natural Resources Canada, where she worked alongside researchers to transfer knowledge into industry action and policy decisions.
Katie graduated from McGill University with a BA (Honours) in Political Science and is currently pursuing a post graduate certificate in Public Relations at Ryerson University.
Jessica Bolduc, Vice Chair
Jessica is the Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement, a collaboration between YMCA Canada and thirteen national organizations, who are working with youth to create capacities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people to come together to cultivate understanding and action in support of a better Canada. Jessica is of mixed Anishinaabe-European heritage from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada, and is from the Indigenous community of Batchewana First Nation. She is a Board member of Community Foundations of Canada and is the National Youth Representative for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. She is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her volunteer contributions to the advancement of Aboriginal people across Canada.
In her community, Jessica is working with other young leaders to foster arts-based economies, social infrastructure and hub spaces for change makers. In the future she is hoping these initiatives will be a catalyst in the development of a more sustainable place to call home by strengthening inclusion and capacity of under-appreciated communities of people such as youth and Indigenous nations. In her spare time Jess enjoys hosting and promoting live music shows, and being out on the land, taking care to appreciate the richness of the area she lives in.
Crystal Bossio, Treasurer
Crystal is an independent built and cultural resource consultant based along the North Shore. She is the former Executive Director of Willowbank, which is also her alma mater, though she also attended Carleton University for Humanities and Huron University College for Theological Studies. Crystal started her career in heritage conservation in Ottawa on the adaptive reuse of the Horticulture Building. In addition to her work with the Board of Thinking Rock, Crystal sits on the Advisory Council of Willowbank.
Kimberly Pelletier, Secretary
Kimberly is an Anishinaabekwe from Thessalon First Nation but currently lives in Sault Ste. Marie. She is the Career Development & Outreach Officer for Algoma University and is an alternative care parent for Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a BA in Modern Languages (French) from Algoma University. She is currently working towards her MSW through Wilfrid Laurier. She is actively involved with the local 2SLGBTQ community as well as Sault Pride. She currently volunteers to facilitate Building Allies and Nopawagun Meedunan (Rainbow Road) to provide the community with information and resources for and about the 2SLGBTQ community. Kimberly was also a presenter for Indigenous Cultural Competency developed by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC). She also hosts Super WOW (Work on Whatever) Sundays where community members work on traditional handcrafts with the opportunity to learn from each other and build a thriving community. Kimberly is enthusiastic about doing work that builds a growing and thriving community.
Jae Mahmutova, Youth Board Member
Jae is the Youth Board Member for Thinking Rock Community Arts. Prior to this Jae worked with Thinking Rock as Programming and Outreach Assistant during the summer of 2018. He grew up in Kitchener where the arts became and continued to be a prominent part of his life, be it through music, dance, or visual arts. He took part in choir throughout elementary school and during his first years of highschool, Jae became part of two choirs, a jazz singing group, and Jr. band. Moving to Wharncliffe in June 2017 brought many new opportunities, the most notable being taking part of the Rivers Speak production, where he was first introduced to Thinking Rock. Jae currently attends Central Algoma Secondary School.
Jon Cada, Board Member
Jon Cada is from Mississauga First Nation and works as a Community Economic Development Officer in his home community. Jon has previous experience working with Thinking Rock Community Arts as a project coordinator, volunteer and supporter for several of the organization’s project endeavours. Jon’s professional background allows him to develop and support relationships between organizations and communities across the North Shore. His passions include developing innovative solutions that offer collaborative opportunities and learning experiences for all communities in the northern regions of Ontario. In his spare time, Jon enjoys following sports and tracking the latest news in pop culture media, particularly through memes.
Laura Mayer, Board Member
Laura Mayer is a member of Mississauga First Nation, and is the current Chi-Naakinagewin Manager and an elected Councillor. She completed a Bachelor of Arts from Nipissing University in 2011 and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2015. During law school, she was concerned with the principles of Anishinaabe law and enrolled in courses that examined the practice of Indigenous legal traditions. Since starting as the Chi-Naakinagewin Manager in 2015 her work has continued on from the classroom to the community. In 2017 she completed a project between the Mississauga Nations concerning Anishinaabe practices of governance and dispute resolution. Her current project entails folding those teachings into a dispute resolution circle for her community. She enjoys crafting, sewing, beading in her spare time along with watching movies and playing video game with her boys. Laura lives in the traditional territory of Mississauga FN with her husband Bryan and their two young sons Leland and Theodore.