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 is the Acting Artistic Director of Thinking Rock Community Arts. She grew up in Blind River, where she first met Robin Sutherland as a classmate. A love of the arts and of sharing them with others emerged early in Miranda’s childhood, and has directed her personally and professionally since. A co-operative education placement at the White Mountain Academy of the Arts in Elliot Lake cemented her desire to pursue these passions full-time. Miranda has worked as an arts administrator in various capacities in gallery and museum settings including the Art Gallery of Algoma and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (Sault Ste. Marie), the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (Guelph) and YYZ Artists Outlet (Toronto). Miranda holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree with distinction from the University of Guelph, with a double major in Studio Art and Art History. During her time at the School of Fine Art and Music, she also attended a studio-intensive semester of exchange studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Finland). Currently pursuing a certification in Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Management through Ryerson University, Miranda relishes time spent in community and at home, in her Sylvan Valley studio and garden.
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.
Lisa Meschino, Board Member
Bio Coming Soon!