MLPD Board Members and Staff

MLPD Board Members and Staff

MLPD Provincial Council

Sherry Ritchot

Current: Chairperson of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities as of June 2019. Board member of Helping Hands for Manitobans with Breast Cancer Inc., Development Committee Member of the Main Street Project, and Volunteer for Siloam Mission, along with numerous previous community experiences on various Committees and Boards.

I became interested in accessibility issues as I have lived experience with it involving three car accidents and have since become increasingly aware of accessibility issues and discrimination of people with disabilities.  I am an experienced litigation lawyer with a strong and dedicated work ethic.  I have advocated successfully for clients in all levels of Courts of Manitoba, the Court of Appeal, in the Federal Court, in the Court of Queen’s Bench and in the Provincial Court, with my call to the Manitoba Bar in 2000.  I have appeared and presented cases for clients before Administrative Tribunals in civil and criminal venues.  I have sound business reasoning, drafting and filing of documents for resolution of legal matters for clients with governmental agencies, opposing parties, and the Judiciary.  I have excellent verbal and written communication, presentation skills, demonstrated analytical and investigative qualities, and  provider of reasoned solutions.  I have the training and ability to mediate, collaborate, negotiate, and resolve disputes ethically, efficiently, and effectively promoting cooperation and positive productive group interactions.  I am committed to continue to expand knowledge and ability through professional development training through various organizations, via mentors, fellow colleagues, and administrative support, promoting a positive team attitude.

Whitney Hodgins

Current: First Vice-Chair of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, elected to the Council in 2020, a 2020 graduate of Brandon University with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Anthropology and the 2020 Future Leaders of Manitoba Award Recipient (20-26 years).

Whitney is an in-demand public speaker advocating for mental health and autism acceptance across central Canada. Over the last year and a half she has primarily been speaking with youth about becoming mental health advocates in their communities, however she also does guest lectures in universities. She has also spent four years with the Brandon University Students’ Union where she became the first disabled executive in their 50 year history, as well as served as the Disability Justice Commissioner for two years at the Canadian Federation of Students Manitoba. She also has been published both academically and non-academically. From all this experience, she is well versed in community outreach strategies, conflict resolution, board governance, project management, and political campaigning. When not being a dedicated activist, she hosts weekly videogame streams where she plays videogames live.

Joelle Robinson

Current: Second Vice-Chair or the Manitoba League for People with disabilities elected August 2020.

Joelle graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba in 1993 and received her Call to The Bar in 1994. She was a lawyer at Irwin Law Office in Dauphin, Manitoba until retiring from the practice of law in 2018. Joelle was active in the community serving as a director of Dauphin’s Countryfest, The Law Society of Manitoba, the Dauphin Skating Club, the Parkland Humane Society and the Parkland Crisis Center.  Joelle has lived with Multiple Sclerosis since 1997 and faces mobility challenges. She uses a scooter and walker and has limited use of her hands.

Following their retirement, Joelle and her husband Brad Collett launched the consulting firm “BC Advisory Group”. Joelle advises both private and public sector organizations on accessibility issues focusing on practical improvements to the built environment.

Joelle is working to make our world a more accessible place for disabled people by identifying physical barriers and proposing practical, cost-conscious solutions.

Ryan Doyle

Current: Treasurer of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities. Elected August 2020.  Currently works for Macdonald Youth Services as an Accountant.

Ryan Doyle has volunteered and worked for various not-for-profits since 2008. In 2012 Ryan graduated from Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario with a Diploma in Accounting. In 2017 Ryan completed the Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance from CPA Manitoba. From 2012 to 2017 Ryan worked at ImagineAbility first as an Accounting Coordinator then as the Accounting Manager.

As a volunteer Ryan served on the Board of Directors for an organization in Hamilton, Ontario for one year. He was also Treasurer for the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties from 2018 to 2020.

An avid reader, Ryan enjoys travelling when he can and golfing in the summer months. As a person with Cerebral Palsy, Ryan understands the need for better accessibility in the community so that everybody has the ability to lead a barrier free life.

Bunmi Aregbesola

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities elected June 2019.

Bunmi Aregbesola is a social entrepreneur with experience supporting the inclusion of people living with physical and intellectual disabilities in the community.  Bunmi is a supply chain and event logistics professional who is very passionate about equity fairness and inclusion.  He is currently on the LSC Program Advisory Board for Robertson College and is Vice President of the Waverley West Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba riding Association.

Nancy Cooke

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities elected June  2019. Managing Partner, Elm Park Dental; Partner, Curiata Ltd.; Candidate for the PC Party of Manitoba, Fort Garry.

Nancy has an extensive background working in professional healthcare environments in both the public and private sector.  She has been the co-owner and managing partner of a successful Dental office since 2000.

Nancy is an entrepreneur who started an information technology company with her partner in 2018.  Nancy is familiar with managing corporate finances as well as human resources and account management issues in the private sector.

Nancy gained valuable experience in senior levels of government as the Special Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure from 2016-2018.

Nancy has a history of fundraising for Charities including Co-chair of the Gala Auction Committees for Special Olympics Manitoba and Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Chapter.  she is currently the member of Equal Voice, Manitoba Chapter and 100 Women Who Care and was successful in raising thousands of dollars for the ALS Society, Brummit-Feasby House in December 2017.

In 2019, Nancy became a member of the Winnipeg Food Council and the Provincial Council of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities.  Nancy is a firm supporter of accessibility for all Manitobans.

Nancy is currently the candidate for the PC Party of Manitoba in Fort Garry where she plans to extend her service to the community into governance and legislation.

Olivia Doerksen

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities (Elected August 2020) and Executive Director of the Movement Centre of Manitoba.

I’m passionate about building communities, advocating for individuals living with physical disabilities and those in need, as I have done my whole life for my Mother and Grandfather who both live with Multiple Sclerosis. It was fate that brought me to the Movement Centre of Manitoba, now advocating for individuals living with neuro-motor disabilities in Manitoba and in North America. I currently sit on the Board of Directors for ACENA (Association for Conductive Education in North America) as the Director of Advocacy.

Previously, I was the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba, a non-profit trade association who represents and advocates for over 3,000 Property & Casualty Insurance Brokers in Manitoba.  And prior to that was an Accountant in public practice.

Born and raised in Manitoba, I graduated from Red River College with a diploma in Business Administration – Accounting (Honours). A believer in life-long learning, I am currently enrolled in the MBA program at Royal Roads University. In my youth, I had wanted to either become a family or human rights lawyer or councillor as I have always been passionate about advocating for individuals in need.

Currently, I reside just outside of Winnipeg, with my partner Chris & stepson Benjamin. I’m an animal lover, golfer and when I’m not studying or working, I love spending time with friends and family in the great outdoors.

Robert P. (Phil) Graham

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities appointed December 2019 and subsequently elected August 2020.

Phil Graham has a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Minnesota. After completing his research for his thesis, he worked for the University’s horticulture department as a research assistant where he travelled to Bogota, Columbia to assist in setting up a research facility to develop frost tolerant potatoes to grow at high altitudes in the Andes.

In 1969, Phil was told he had a serious eye disease, later diagnosed as Retinitis Pigmentosa, and would eventually lose his eyesight. In preparation for the eventual loss of useful vision, Phil completed his BA in Psychology so he could apply his horticulture training in horticulture therapy.

Applying horticulture as a facilitator for community development, Phil created a Gardening program to serve elderly clients for Klinic Inc. He also managed the R. B. Russell Children’s Garden as well as other greenhouse and horticulture activities for the school division.

Phil became involved with the University of Minnesota ‘gay liberation’ movement in 1969 and introduced this movement to Manitoba in 1972. Along with others, he lobbied the Manitoba government until sexual orientation was included in the provincial human rights act.  Phil was a board member of the Broadway Community Centre for nearly 10 years and in 1991 was presented the Volunteer of the Year award by Mayor Glen Murray. In his spare time, Phil has written gardening articles for various publications and answered plant questions on radio for CBW.

Shane Hjarte

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities appointed July 2020.

I started running businesses when I was fifteen, creating a successful company constructing and selling cedar furniture.  In 1997 a partner and I opened Blaze Internet Services in Oakbank MB.   It was a successful dial-up internet service provider and web hosting company, with 700 customers, that eventually got sold to a company that was a partner with MTS.

We subsequently opened another business in Winnipeg called Clear Concepts that provided website design, hosting and network management.  Over the next 12 years we built this up to over $2.5 million annually, employing 15 – 20 people.  It is now one of the leading IT companies in Winnipeg.  During this time, we joined with other partners to launch Internet Merchants International, a company that still exists.

In 2012 CompleteMy was born.  In the fourth year of this company, at the age of 41, I crashed a dirt bike on a racetrack and sustained a complete spinal cord injury.  I use a manual wheelchair for mobility.

Following my discharge from the rehabilitation hospital after three months and much research I was able to purchase a license in July 2018 to open a not-for-profit recovery centre in Winnipeg called First Steps Wellness Centre.

Pat Locken

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities elected June 2018.

Pat is a former Business Education Instructor and Work Experience Coordinator with Red River College. Her interest in disability issues stems from experience trying to access services for family members. She has served on the SSCY (Special Services for Children and Youth) working group and RCC board, and helped to establish the Movement Centre of Manitoba (MCMI), working on fundraising and serving three terms as Board Chair.

Pat’s main concerns are currently about public accessibility, including education, and access to supports for adults with physical disabilities who are mentally and socially capable of independent living but do not qualify for funding to make this possible.

Samantha Rayburn-Trubyk

Current: Provincial Council Member of the Manitoba League of Persons of Disabilities appointed November 2019 and subsequently elected August 2020.

Samantha Rayburn-Trubyk is a graduate from the University of Manitoba and is a Human Resource Advisor and Accessibility Manager for Price Industries Limited.  She is President of Little People of Manitoba and had success implementing various initiatives throughout the Province specifically relating to Little People in Manitoba.

In October 2017, the Provincial Government passed a Private Members Bill acknowledging that October 25 of every year would be declared as Dwarfism Awareness Day in the Province of Manitoba.  Manitoba was the first province to recognize such a day in Canada.  In January 2019, Little People of Manitoba worked with several sports organizations within the Province to remove the term midget from sports classifications, in the fall of 2019, Hockey Canada recognized the need for this change and has committed to removing this offense term from Hockey classifications in Canada starting in 2021/2022 season.

Samantha spends much of her free time advocating for Little People of Manitoba and is working with the federal government on some exciting changes!

MLPD Staff

Kaye Grant, B.Ed. MBA

Current: Part-time staff at MLPD – Operations Manager.

Kaye is an experienced business consultant, project manager, researcher and trainer. Kaye is the Principle Consultant with Reconnaissance Management Consulting Group Inc. Kaye combines her background in education with her business experience to assist non-profit organizations to acquire knowledge and enhance their skills in order to develop their capacity. During her practice, she has managed consulting projects of varying size and scale.

Kaye Grant has related experience in conducting feasibility studies, business planning, marketing research and she has worked directly within a local social enterprise. Kaye has provided non-profit consulting services that involved conducting feasibility studies for social purpose enterprises, researching and applying measurement tools related to social enterprises, providing input and information regarding the development of social oriented businesses, and developing business plans for triple bottom line enterprises.

Rosalie Best, B.A.

Current: Part-time staff at MLPD – Accessibility Services Coordinator

Rosalie started her career in disability related organizations providing services to the community after graduating from the University of Manitoba in 2013. Rosalie is a certified career counselor who helped people with disabilities join the workforce for 5 years, first at Premier Choix where she worked in the French community, then at the CNIB as a Vision Loss Rehabilitation Specialist.  In addition to this, Rosalie has experience advocating for disability rights and accessibility through the media and has appeared in CBC and Radio Canada news stories over the last six years. She is excited to be able to use her experience at MLPD to help further disability rights.