Board of Directors

Michaëlle Jean
Co-chair
Michaëlle Jean
Co-chair
Michaëlle Jean is the 27th Governor General, Commander-in-Chief of Canada, sworn in 2005, for a five-year mandate. As soon as the mandate ended, in 2010, the United Nations immediately called on her to become UNESCO Special Envoy to support reconstruction efforts in Haiti. From 2011 to 2014, Michaëlle Jean also served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, where her offices as UNESCO Special Envoy were hosted. In 2014, Michaëlle Jean then becomes the 3rd Secretary General of La Francophonie.

Starting in her 20s and for over 10 years, Michaëlle Jean is active within the Quebec women’s movement, working tirelessly to help build a vast network with hundreds of emergency shelters for battered women and their children. The network will spread throughout Quebec into other Canadian provinces.

From 1988 to 2005, Michaëlle Jean enjoys an outstanding career as a journalist, presenter and news anchor on Canadian public television, both French and English networks. Her accomplishments in journalism earn her numerous awards, including from the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie, which highlights her outstanding merit by naming her to the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade. She also takes part in documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker, essayist and philosopher Jean-Daniel Lafond: “A State of Blackness: Aimé Césaire’s Way,” “Tropic North,” “Haiti in All Our Dreams,” “Last Call for Cuba,” and “A Woman of Purpose.”
Jean-Daniel Lafond
Co-chair
Jean-Daniel Lafond
Co-chair
Jean-Daniel Lafond was born in France, where he was a professor of philosophy and a researcher in educational sciences. Visiting Professor at the Université de Montréal in 1974, he opted for exile in Canada and became a Canadian citizen in 1981. He has since devoted his life to filmmaking and writing, with occasional forays into radio broadcasting and theatre.

In 2010, Jean-Daniel Lafond became Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at Carleton University in Ottawa, and the founder of Le pouvoir des arts/ Power of the Arts National Forum. Mr. Lafond is also co-chair and Executive Director of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.
Michelle Douglas
Treasurer
Michelle Douglas
Treasurer
Michelle is a veteran, a survivor of Canada’s “LGBT Purge” and a human rights activist.
Michelle served as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite a distinguished service record, she was dismissed by the military as part of the LGBT Purge.
Michelle’s landmark legal challenge in 1992 ended Canada’s formalized discriminatory policy against LGBT members of the military.
Professionally, Michelle had a 30-year career in public service and retired from the Department of Justice in 2019, where she held the position of Director of International Relations.
Michelle currently serves as the Executive Director of the LGBT Purge Fund.
Michelle is a graduate of Carleton University. She is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
John M. Beck
Vice-Chair
John M. Beck
Vice-Chair
John M. Beck is founder and Chairman of Aecon Group Inc. A graduate in Civil Engineering from McGill University, Mr. Beck has more than 50 years of experience in the construction industry in Canada and internationally. His background includes corporate leadership in numerous construction activities including heavy civil projects and public-private partnerships for the development of infrastructure, such as airports, toll roads and transit systems.

Mr. Beck is currently a member of the Business Council of Canada and he is a Council member of the Chartered Public Accountants of Ontario. He was previously Chairman of the Board of the Ontario Power Authority, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Financing Authority. His previous board memberships were the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Advisory Council for the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. He has also been Co-Chair of the Infrastructure & Urban Development Industries at the World Economic Forum.


He was awarded the 2019 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year, Construction. In recognition of his distinguished achievements and career-long service, Mr. Beck was inducted as a Fellow into the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Dave D'Oyen
Director
Dave D'Oyen
Director
Dave D'Oyen is a diversity and inclusion consultant providing subject matter expertise on the development and execution of diversity and inclusion strategies and projects. He has held various roles at Corus Entertainment, the City of Toronto, Shopify and EDC. Dave is actively engaged in volunteering working with community leaders, government agencies and not-for-profit organisations to advance systemic change to end anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination.
Arni C. Thorsteinson, CFA, LL.D
Director
Arni C. Thorsteinson, CFA, LL.D
Director
Arni Thorsteinson est président et directeur de Shelter Canadian Properties Limited. Fort d’une expérience de plus de 35 ans dans les domaines de la promotion immobilière et des finances, M. Thorsteinson est aussi fondateur des fiducies de placements immobiliers Lanesborough, Huntingdon, Temple et White Rock.

M. Thorsteinson est président du conseil consultatif de Canadian Aspen Properties, président du conseil consultatif du Fonds Vision Capital et président du conseil d’administration du Musée canadien des droits de la personne.

En outre, il est directeur de Ben Moss Jewellers et d’Onex Corporation, de même que fiduciaire du fonds de revenu Bird Construction. C’est en 1974 que M. Thorsteinson a obtenu le titre d’analyste financier agréé; il est également titulaire d’un grade de premier cycle (avec spécialisation) en commerce de l’Université du Manitoba.
Robert Peck
Director
Robert Peck
Director
Robert has recently retired after 35 years with Global Affairs Canada, holding several sensitive and demanding positions including Press Secretary and Departmental Spokesperson to two Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Protocol of Canada. He was Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria from 2004 to 2007, and Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus from 2011 to 2015.

Robert is actively involved in the community, having served as President of the Board of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Canadian Institute in Greece, and an Honorary Director of The Hellenic Initiative.
Lloyd Wilks
Director
Lloyd Wilks
Director
Lloyd Wilks is the Chief Executive Officer of CounselQuest Inc, a leader in litigation support and corporate investigations and legal document review. Lloyd has worked extensively in legal services both in Canada, the UK, and across the EU. Lloyd earned his law degree in the UK, he studied Political Science, History, and African Studies in Canada. With more than 20 years of international professional experience in the litigation support field, Lloyd is frequently sought out for his views on matters dealing with forensic investigations, cybercrime, document review, and electronic discovery. In addition to being an active member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, Lloyd is also the Co-Founder of Malachy’s Soiree, an annual fundraiser dedicated to transforming the neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
Curtis Gilfillan
Director
Curtis Gilfillan
Director
I am a Director of market development with the Desjardins Ontario Credit Union in the Ottawa area. I have been with the organization for 18 years holding various roles throughout my tenure. I have been actively involved in coaching youth volleyball and basketball from the time that I was a young athlete myself and continues to coach youth basketball in the Ottawa st importance to me.

Staff

Edward (Edo) Matwawana
Executive Director
Edward (Edo) Matwawana
Executive Director
Edward is Executive Director of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation where he leads all aspects of strategic planning, communications, stakeholder relations, fundraising and governance.

Edo is a community economic developer at heart and has held various leadership roles in several non-profit organizations and boards in Nova Scotia and in Ottawa, such as the Black United Front of Nova Scotia, Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development, Black Business Initiative and World Skills Centre.
Nick Veltmeyer
Program Officer
Nick Veltmeyer
Program Officer
Nick is the Programs Officer for the Michaëlle Jean Foundation where he helps with all aspects of the Foundation’s programming. His past work ranges from artistic creation and performance to community building and arts advocacy. Nick also leads the music program at Dominion-Chalmers United Church and founded a youth arts program in collaboration with Hot Shoe Productions (Youth Ottawa). Nick founded several community arts programs as well as Aureas Voces Indie Early Music, a youth-led company whose productions build bridges between classical music, settler folk music, the contemporary stage, and digital media.
Lola M Louangvannasy
Senior Communications Advisor
Lola M Louangvannasy
Senior Communications Advisor
Lola M Louangvannasy, originally from Lyon, France, has been living in Quebec since the beginning of 2020, and has notably contributed to the development of non-profit organizations such as Action patrimoine (formerly Conseil des monuments et sites du Québec) and the Société des Amis du Jardin botanique de Montréal.

In France, she quickly confirmed her taste for public service by joining the cabinet of David Marti, Mayor and President of the Creusot-Montceau Urban Community, with a mandate to promote municipal policy, with particular emphasis on access to knowledge, education and the arts.

In her spare time, she rides her 4-season bike around Montreal, does yoga and is calmly building her Canadian expatriation project.

At FMJF, Lola aims to promote projects, grow community and find the right words to share our achievements with you!
Malika Astaoui
Administrative and Operations Coordinator
Malika Astaoui
Administrative and Operations Coordinator
Malika has worked in various state departments with a good sense of pursuit of excellence and quality of service. She ensures that the Michaelle Jean Foundation receives a high level of administrative and financial support to accomplish its mission effectively and efficiently.
Thomas Pouta
Communications Assistant
Thomas Pouta
Communications Assistant
Thomas is the Communications Assistant at the Michaëlle Jean Foundation where he designs, executes and analyzes media campaigns and tracks community engagement. He enjoys utilizing media to get the public excited about initiatives and inform them on how they can get involved.

In his free time, Thomas enjoys working on his novel and on audio-visual experiences about identity, queerness and mental health. He’s volunteered extensively in the arts and enjoys performing on stage as an improviser.