Turning Points | Spring 2021

Turning Points

Students walking on stage during convocation ceremony


Dr. Michael (Mike) Walton (HBOR’83) was appointed to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB), which helps protect the environmental and social integrity of the Yukon, in October 2020. Mike has over 35 years of experience in land use and conservation issues. He’s worked for the forest industry in Ontario and Alberta, as well as for the federal government and provincial, municipal, and First Nation governments in Ontario, British Columbia, and Yukon, addressing development, conservation, and Indigenous relations. Mike is also an independent consultant based in Whitehorse, Yukon, and an adjunct Lakehead University professor.



Kate Boyd (BA/HBOR’95) became the first woman to take the reins of Nordiq Canada’s high-performance program in September 2020. Kate is focusing on getting Canadian cross-country skiers back on the Olympic podium and continuing the tradition of medal-winning performances in the national Para-Nordic program. Since 2015, she’s been Nordiq Canada’s NextGen coach and program coordinator, and in 2018, she began sharing high-performance manager duties with Joel Jaques. Kate is a registered professional coach and a member of Canada’s COVID-19 Return To Sport Task Force. She currently lives in Canmore, Alberta.

Dr. Rhonda Crocker Ellacott (HBScN’91) became the president & CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute in November 2020. Rhonda is a health care leader and a champion of patients and families. During her over 30-year career, she’s served as CEO of the North West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), CEO of the North East LHIN, Transitional Regional Lead for Ontario Health in the North Region, and CEO of the Nipigon District Memorial Hospital. In her new role, Rhonda will develop a strategic plan and lead health system transformation.

Chantal Moore (BA/BEd'94), a school principal in Ignace, Ontario, was named the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board’s interim superintendent of education in November 2020. Chantal will hold this position for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year. She is a guidance and special education specialist who has a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University and a master’s degree from the University of Toronto. Chantal began her teaching career in Pickle Lake, Ontario, in 1994 and she has 19 years of experience at the board’s Wabigoon, Ignace, and Upsala schools, including in professional development, eLearning and ConnectEd.

Yolanda Wanakamik (HBA’98/MEd’20) was appointed director of Indigenous Affairs at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in October 2020. Yolanda has an HBA in Political Science and an MA in Education and is a member of the Whitesand First Nation. She’s held several positions at Lakehead University’s Aboriginal Initiatives Office and served as a band councillor for her First Nation. Most recently, she was an integrated policy officer at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care in Thunder Bay where she acquired expertise in policies and programs affecting the health and welfare of Aboriginal children, families, and elders.



David Blanchard (HBA’09/MA’11) has expertise in the insurance and resource recovery industries including roles at one of Canada’s largest insurance intermediaries, Toronto-based Totten Insurance Group, where he worked from 2015 to 2021. At Totten, David progressed from technical assistant to business analyst to part-time business consulting, and finally, to head of compliance and strategic projects. From September 2017 to May 2019, David was the coordinator of strategic initiatives with Emterra Group – a national recycling association of companies. In February 2021, David became the compliance and underwriting operations VP with APOLLO Insurance Solutions.

Greg Chomut (BA/BEd’08) was recognized with a Certificate of Achievement from the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence program. Award recipients are honoured for remarkable achievements in education and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy. Greg teaches art, history, and media to students at Thunder Bay’s Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School. The award citation describes Greg as a compassionate educator who builds multiple bridges between his Indigenous students and the wider community, and who helps those students find their voices. 

Matthew Gollat (HBCom'04) was announced as a member of Premier Gold Mines Limited’s anticipated management team for i-80 Gold Corp in February 2021. Matthew has more than 12 years of experience in many aspects of the mine development cycle, has participated in multiple corporate and strategic development projects, and is currently Premier Gold Mines’ vice-president of business development. In addition to holding an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Lakehead University, he has a Certificate of Mining Studies from the University of British Columbia. Matthew is also an independent director of Nomad Royalty Company Ltd.

Sean Speer (HBA’05) made The Power List released by Maclean’s magazine in January 2021. Maclean’s canvassed Canadians about the qualities they think represent power in a time of transformative change and came up with a list of 50 Canadians they believe are shaping how we think and live. Sean is an assistant public policy professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He is also the co-director of the Ontario 360 research project at the Munk School, a Prime Minister of Canada Fellow at the Public Policy Forum, and a past senior economic adviser to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

David Bruno (HBA‘98), the founder and CEO of a global cyber security firm that specializes in anti-fraud and anti-corporate espionage systems, has recently written a white paper on Canada’s new Digital Charter Bill C-11 that is slated to pass into law soon. For 20 years, David has provided security protections to the general public and he is a contributor and member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for digital civil liberties. In addition, he’s a tech policy analyst for the Washington, DC-based Global Foundation For Cyber Studies & Research. You can access David’s The Digital Charter Bill C-11 white paper here.

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