Turning Points | Fall 2023

Turning Points

Five Orillia grads in convocation robes jump up in the air


Heather Harris (HBA'99/BEd'04/MEd'20) has left her position as principal of École Elsie MacGill Public School in Thunder Bay to become a superintendent of education with the Lakehead District School Board. In her new role, which she assumed in August 2023, Heather is responsible for the Early Years Education portfolio, and she is looking forward to creating academic programs, initiatives, and supports to foster high levels of personal and academic excellence among students. During Heather's previous career with Lakehead Public Schools, she served as the vice-principal of McKellar Park Central Public School, principal of Kakabeka Falls Public School, and a capital planning officer.

Robert (Rob) Ritchie (BAdm'91, Marketing) was named Ingredion Incorporated's senior vice -president, food and industrial ingredients, Americas in May 2023. Ingredion is a leading global provider of ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry. Rob will lead the company's North American and South American food and industrial ingredients businesses and serve on Ingredion's executive leadership team. He joined the company in 1996 as an area director in Canada and has held roles of increasing responsibility within the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2018, Rob was appointed president and general director of Mexico. In addition to his Bachelor of Administration degree from Lakehead, Rob has a Master of Business Administration from Loyola University in Chicago.

Kate Wannan (BA'98, Anthropology) lives in Elliot Lake, Ontario, where she is the coach of the girls' wrestling team at Elliot Lake Secondary School. In February 2023, Kate's skills helped send three students to the Ontario Winter Games in Renfrew County. Kate began wrestling in 1993 and was a member of Elliot Lake's first girls' team. She wrestled throughout high school and at Lakehead University where she was part of the 1999-2000 Lakehead team that won the Ontario University Athletic Championships. Kate is also a sustainable tourism consultant and the CEO of Ecolibrium Adventures—an adventure tourism company dedicated to bringing new worlds and cultures to clients in a sustainable and harmonious manner.


Terry-Lynn Johnson (HBA'06/BEd'07/MEd'12) has released her second collection of poetry entitled Driftwood Tones: Nature Poetry of Beauty & Presence, published by Waterside Productions, in June 2023. Terry-Lynn is a modern romantic poet who, as a mature student, graduated from Lakehead with an English degree in 2006 before earning Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees. Driftwood Tones includes a foreword by Lakehead Professor Emeritus Philip Allingham who says, "simple diction, unrhymed verse, natural scenes enshrined in simple yet moving language—that is what Terry-Lynn Johnson's slender volume is all about." She started writing poetry at the age of 12, and she and her husband, a professional musician, perform acoustic music and poetry together. Find out more about Terry-Lynn's work at www.lakeheadpoet.com and be sure to attend the Friday, September 29 launch of Driftwood Tones happening at 7 pm at the Howl at the Moon coffee bar in Thunder Bay.

Holly Prince (HBSW'03/MSW'05) received the 2023 Inclusion Vanguard Award from the Women's Executive Network (WXN) at WXN's annual Canadian Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Award Summit. Holly is an Anishinaabekwe and a member of Opwaaganisiniing in Northwestern Ontario. She leads the Indigenous Peoples' Health and Aging Division at Lakehead University's Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health, where she has spent 20 years advancing the right of Indigenous Peoples to access culturally appropriate and equitable palliative care. Holly is also the project lead of the Canadian Virtual Hospice and a national champion of human rights and dignity for people at the end of life, as well as an Educational Studies PhD student at Lakehead.


Zahid (Zee) Javed (HBCom'14) is a human resources and finance professional based in Orillia, Ontario. He was hired as a regional financial coordinator with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in November 2021. In this role, he's responsible for managing a $135-million budget, coordinating procurement plans, and ensuring that the OPP's service delivery model is followed by detachment staff and clerks. While completing his commerce degree, Zee was an international student advisor with Lakehead University International and a young professionals engagement coordinator with SHIFT—Thunder Bay's Young Professionals Network.

Maura Kolb (MSc'11, Geology) became president of Dryden Gold Corp. in April 2023, and, in this role, is responsible for leading all exploration efforts. Dryden Gold is a privately held company with extensive property holdings in the Dryden District of Northwestern Ontario. Maura is a professional geologist with 15 years of experience in mining and exploration and a member of the board of the Northwestern Ontario chapter of Women in Mining. Before joining Dryden Gold, she was Treasury Metals' director of exploration. She also spent eight years with Goldcorp, Newmont, Evaluation, and Battle North leading geology and exploration for mine sites and regional exploration work.

Rebecca Luck (BEd'15) was appointed director of library services by the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) Library Board in June 2023. SDG is an Ontario municipality near the Quebec border. Rebecca, who is from Glengarry, worked in the Greater Toronto Area and taught in the United Kingdom before assuming her new role. In addition to a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University, she has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from McGill University. The library board was attracted to Rebecca's diverse background in engineering, teaching, and international experience. As the director of library services, Rebecca will increase engagement, build innovative partnerships, and enhance the library experience of all patrons.

Michele Solomon (BA'17, Indigenous) has been elected the chief of the Fort William First Nation (FWFN), located on the edge of Lake Superior near Thunder Bay. Prior to becoming chief in May 2023, Michele served as a FWFN councillor. In addition to her role as chief, she is the community development manager of the Ontario Native Women's Association. Michele has a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies from Lakehead and a Social Service Worker diploma from Confederation College. Her main areas of expertise are mental health and addictions, acquired through her work as a team leader and manager with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and manager of the White Cedar Health Centre in Thunder Bay.


Shivam Khurania (HBCom'21, Accounting) is a full-time financial analyst with the First Nations Financial Management Board in Vancouver and a certified public accountant (CPA) candidate who has completed forensic accounting, anti-money laundering, and financial crime training through the TWELVE Financial Crime Program. Shivam is also a part-time instructor at Canadian College, Bodwell High School, and ILAC College, where he provides insights and guidance to aspiring accounting and finance professionals. In addition, Shivam is a growth, governance, and expansion advisor at Xinerva Technologies, a Dallas-based fintech startup.

Tiffany Reynolds (HBK'21) is a guard with the Nova Scotia basketball team Windsor Edge, which is part of the Maritime Women's Basketball League (MWBA). Tiffany was recruited to the MWBA in 2022, the league's inaugural season, after a stellar career with Lakehead's varsity women's basketball team where she served as team captain. The MWBA has more than one Lakehead connection—one of Tiffany's Windsor Edge teammates during the first season was fellow Lakehead alumna Karissa Kajorinne and the MWBA's commissioner is Tasia McKenna, another Lakehead alumna and former basketball player. Tiffany is enjoying the large crowds and enthusiastic fans that the Windsor Edge's games have been drawing.

In Memoriam

Steven (Steve) Lankin (BSc'90/HBSc'90/BEd'91) passed away on April 27, 2023, at the age of 63. Steve was an adventurer who travelled the world—including Egypt, Germany, Italy, England, and Israel. To finance his trips, he took jobs overseas and worked at chemical plants in southern Ontario. He also planted trees in Northwestern Ontario, which led him to attend Lakehead where he earned a Bachelor of Science and an Honours Bachelor of Science in Chemistry as well as a Bachelor of Education. Steve enjoyed the people he met in the University's science and engineering departments, especially Professor Declan Barry. After graduation, Steve worked as a chemist at Ogilvie Mills and as a teacher with Lakehead Public Schools in Thunder Bay. Steve is remembered as a man with a strong back and an open mind who never felt out of place in the world.

Marianne (née Evetts) Wahl (BA'77, English) passed away on June 1, 2023, at the age of 90. Marianne was born in England and received a National Diploma in Design and a Master of Art Design from the Rylands Memorial School of Art in West Bromwich. In 1957, Marianne married Karl Wahl and the couple moved near Beardmore, Ontario. While there, Marianne and her art group designed Beardmore's iconic 35-foot-tall snowman. Later, she worked as an art teacher at the Fort William Collegiate Institute high school in Thunder Bay and as a cartographer in Lakehead University's geography department. In 1977, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English at Lakehead. Marianne was an active member of the Cambrian Players theatre company and a gifted author and illustrator who published several books.

Back to Fall 2023