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Our Team

MEET OUR TEAM

Serena Joseph, Chief Executive Officer

Giizhigo Ikwe (Sky Woman), Pizhiw Dodem (Lynx Clan), is a proud Anishinaabekwe with strong roots and connection to her homelands at Iskatewizaagegan 39 Independent First Nation (Shoal Lake 39) where she was raised. Serena’s most rewarding learnings and achievements have come through her role as mom to Callie and Evan who remind her daily of what is truly important in life. Serena is happily married and living her best life with Calvin and their children. She enjoys participating in pow-wows, learning Anishinaabemowin, and sharing new experiences and road trips with her family and friends. Serena credits her mother for role-modeling a strong work ethic, strength, resilience, and living in kindness. Serena holds a diploma in Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention from Confederation College, a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Learning from Lakehead University, a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University, and will receive her Master of Arts in Leadership with a specialization in health from Royal Roads University later this year.
Waasegiizhig practices from a place of cultural safety. It’s a medical home for all. Waasegiizhig is that opportunity to receive care for the Mind, Body, Spirit and Heart all under one roof.
Her journey with Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig began 21 years ago, when she started as a Community Facilitator/Support Worker engaging with residential school survivors. Through them she became grounded in the huge impact the legacy of trauma has had on overall health and wellbeing. This grounding provided an excellent foundation for her next role as a Health Promoter. Taking on progressively more responsibility, Serena became a Team Lead, Acting Director of Client Services, and Program Manager before moving into the role of Acting Executive Director in 2021. Throughout her years with WNHAC, Serena has demonstrated leadership by example, and gained the respect of everyone she has encountered. She is committed to relationship-based, traditional governance and healing. Her goal is to achieve mino-bimaadiziwin through systems that are rooted in and reflect the resilience and resurgence of Anish.
serena joseph

Melissa Calder, Chief Operating Officer

Wabaankatok (rising cloud over the east), Migisi dodem (Eagle Clan), my english name is Melissa, and was born, raised and a member of Couchiching First Nations. She is a Registered Psychotherapist and holds a Master’s in Counselling Psychology. Currently, she is working towards her PhD in Organizational Leadership! She specializes in trauma work, and dual diagnosis and is a certified EMDR Therapist. Melissa was the first to take this role within Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig and loves developing programming and implementing new programs.

Paul Derouard, Chief Administrative Officer

Paul was born and raised in Kenora, Ontario and holds a Degree of Bachelor of Administration and is a Certified Management Accountant. Paul provides financial management to the organization, as well as infrastructure management and information on the organization’s technology. He takes pride in finding new and innovative ways to improve workflow, reduce paper waste, and bridge health care gaps for our clients using technology.

Mary McDonald, Director of Human Resources

“Boozhoo my English name is Mary McDonald, I am the Director of Human Resources here at Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig.

My Ojibway name is Peetwanamok (I was named by my grandfather), Makwa dotem. I am a member of Washagamis Bay First Nation, where I grew up and still live. As a child I fondly remember going out with my family to set up camp for rice and blueberry picking in the summer months. My grandparents, mom, aunties and uncles would fish, hunt and trap for sustenance. As a youth, my cousin and I would spend hours on the lake fishing and out on the land hunting for partridge. We would also spend hours playing team sports, baseball, sticks and tag.  I am a mother, grandmother, wife, sister, auntie, cousin. I enjoy kayaking, gardening, walks, spending time and sharing good stories and laughs with family and friends.”

Mary has worked for WNHAC since 2010, but her work career includes 30+ years working in different settings, such as Child Welfare, FN management, and more recently Healthcare. She has a variety of work experience that includes accounting, payroll, group benefit and pension management, recruitment, retention, compensation management, onboarding, orientation, policy development, research, complying with labour laws and regulations, occupational health and safety, labour management, collective bargaining, arbitrations, and supervision. Mary’s education is in Aboriginal Economic and Financial Management, along with many years’ professional development certificates. 

When I entered the workforce, I wanted to make a difference and work for an organization that helped people. I found my work fulfillment here, I enjoy being part of the WNHAC journey, and fully support our mission, vision and values.

Mary McDonald, Director of Human Resources

April Preisentanz, Director of Clinic Operations

Born and raised in Kenora, Ontario, I am an Indigenous nurse and am a member of Deer Lake First Nation. I graduated from Confederation College’s Practical Nursing Program in 2007, and immediately began work with Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’Iyewigamig Health Access Centre as a Clinic Nurse/Care Coordinator, where I provided direct nursing services to WNHAC clients for 13 years. I was granted many opportunities to obtain additional competencies throughout the years and have considered myself quite fortunate to work for an organization that is forward thinking and supportive of all nurses working to full scope.

In 2020, I was given the opportunity to use my nursing skills in a different capacity, taking on the role of Inter-Professional Team Coordinator where I lead primary care teams and coordinated our service delivery at the community and urban locations. Most recently, I have moved into the new Director of Clinic Operations role, overseeing all clinic-based functions, processes, and workflows necessary to ensure consistent services for our clients.

Outside of work, I am married with 3 children. As a family we enjoy hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling, and are fortunate to do so right outside our front door. In the summer I enjoy my own downtime playing softball with the ladies from work – GO WNHAC WRECKERS!

Janice Spencer, Director of Health Promotion

Miigwan (White Feather) Migisi DoDem (Eagle Clan), Janice Spencer whom was born and raised in Kenora is our new Director of Health Promotion. She is by trade a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) of twenty plus years and been with Waasegiizhig Nanaadawe’iyewigamig for the last fourteen. Janice has worn many hats as a front-line service provider, Inter-Professional Team Lead and as the Infection Control Professional lead for our organization. Her current role involves the planning and evaluation of our programs and services that promote Mino Bimaadiziwin. Outside of work, Janice enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling, and taking in the great outdoors.

Natasha Tom, Director of Clinical Services

As a classroom teacher for sixteen years, Natasha is  familiar with ensuring that a workspace is positive, inclusive, and welcoming. She feels it is important to encourage questions and dialogue and to view curiosity and differences as part of the learning process. Her main role is to lead planning, implementation and evaluation of clinical programs and services within a wholistic model of care. 

She is the the mother of Journey, Serenity, & Wakiza. They  keep busy with sports, travelling, spending time outdoors, dancing at pow-wows, and visiting with family. Natasha loves to learn and feels it is important to balance our academic knowledge and growth with who we are as Anishinaabeg. Our language, culture, and history are rich and she thinks it is imperative that we honour who we are, where we come from, and the strength of our family before us and those who continue to work diligently everyday to ensure our language and teachings continue to be shared.

It is important to remember who we are as Anishinaabeg and to honour the land and water that we have lived on since time immemorial. Learning from one another is a vital aspect of team building that helps to form partnerships and creates accountability with one another and to those around us.

Natasha Tom, Director of Clinical Services

Jason Cortvriendt, Director of Healing Services

Jason Cortvriendt is an RSW and started with WNHAC in 2019 working as an Emotional Wellness Therapist. Jason then went on to supporting and developing the Agichi’giizhigoonsag Youth Wellness Program located at the Washkootsi Healing Lodge in Washagamis Bay. Whether working with individuals one-to-one or providing group services, the focus of my work as a helper has been to support others in mobilizing their strengths to achieve a sense of balance wholistically, between the mind, body, heart and spirit. This aligned so well with the Vision and Mission of WNHAC’s strategic direction, and I wanted to be a part of the organizations work towards providing a wholistic health care model as envisioned by the communities it serves. I have been fortunate to work with multidisciplinary, directional service teams in providing wrap around services as well as working with various community members and services to build capacity among the youth. My greatest gift has been the opportunity to work alongside various elders, knowledge keepers, traditional practitioners, healers and youth who have helped me better understand how I can respectfully be a part of this meaningful work. They have graciously shown me love and acceptance and continue to teach me honesty through humility and bravery. I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue this meaningful work in the role of Director of Healing Services, with the promise of upholding the standards of care that reflect the expressed needs of the communities served. Outside of my role at WNHAC, I try to spend time taking care of myself by exercising, eating well and spending time outdoors. I enjoy quiet moments where I can clear my mind and do some self-reflective work and balance that out by spending time with family and friends, enjoying music, laughter and the company of others.

Cathy Bowman, Director of Supportive Services

Cathy has 30 years of experience working in the Human Services field and has gained extensive skills and knowledge in areas such as Crisis Prevention Intervention Facilitation, Case Management, Program Development, Management and Supervision, Residential and Supported Independent Living, Supportive Housing, Health and Safety Program Coordination, Core Knowledge-Addictions, Dual Diagnosis Level 1-4 Certificate and multiple certificates and training in Addiction and Trauma.

I am looking forward to continuing to support individuals to make meaningful changes along their journey, advocate for their rights and assist them through any challenges they may face. It is my hope to continue my own journey and experience life lessons, pursue my learning goals and develop many more meaningful relationships with others along the way.

Cathy Bowman, Director of Supportive Services

Craig Debbo, Director of Information Services​​

Craig is the Director of Information Services . He has lived in Kenora since 2009. Before that, he lived in Florida/Georgia, southern Ontario, and South Africa. He holds an undergraduate degree in Science and a Master of Business Administration. Craig is responsible for information technology, security, privacy, and data management. He also works with local healthcare organizations and the government to coordinate digital services. He enjoys woodworking, hockey, and projects around the house and stays active – skating, swimming, and cycling. In his spare time, he coaches sledge hockey and volunteers with the city.

Interested in joining WNHAC's team?
Check our Careers' page and find your new path.

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