The experience and vision of the Catalyste+ board of directors ensures our organization meets its goals and forges new pathways to respond to the needs of our partners and stakeholders.
Meet Our Board of Directors
Lou Naumovski – Chair, Board of Directors
Lou Naumovski is a senior executive with extensive expertise in business development and government relations in the gold industry and financial services. In 2017, Mr. Naumovski retired as Vice President and the Moscow office representative with Kinross Gold Corporation. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Visa International, covering Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to that, Mr. Naumovski worked as Resident Representative in Moscow and Senior Banker for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. Mr. Naumovski’s career began as a diplomat and trade commissioner for Canada. He served as Deputy Director for Trade and Investment Development for Eastern Europe and the Former USSR. Later, he was Executive Director of the Canada-USSR Business Council. Mr. Naumovski was chair of the national board of the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association and was a founding director and board member of Macedonia 2025. He earned a BA in economics and political science and an MA in international affairs. Lou Naumovski is a member of both the Indigenous and Northern Services Committee and the International Committee.
Isabelle Bérard’s career in international cooperation has been a long journey: “I like endurance, not sprinting; the things that happen when you put in the effort and set a goal.” Starting as a summer intern at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), she went on to help chart Canada’s global path for over three decades. In Ms. Bérard’s own words, “I knew I had some capacity to bring people together to achieve something. Public service is a great place to be when you have the stamina to do this.” At various positions with CIDA and then Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Ms. Bérard honed her expertise in bilateral relations and international development. She worked in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, among other regions. From 2017 to 2019, she served as Assistant Deputy Minister, International Affairs, at Environment and Climate Change Canada. She then returned to GAC, serving as Assistant Deputy Minister, Sub-Saharan Africa, from 2019 to 2021. Ms. Bérard is a member of both the International Committee and the Indigenous and Northern Services Committee.
An experienced executive in the not-for-profit sector, David Morley is a passionate and committed leader with a talent for public speaking and media relations. His leadership style is characterized by integrity, creative problem-solving and collegial partnerships. A member of the Order of Canada, Mr. Morley has exceptional skills in fundraising, strategic planning, and organizational development and growth. He has extensive international experience in community development and humanitarian projects, including in Republic of Congo, Zambia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Brazil. His work has focused on community mobilization for education, children’s rights and health. In North America, he has spoken at more than 1,000 public meetings and conferences on international issues, and is a frequent speaker on national radio and television. He played an integral role in advocating for the “Muskoka Initiative” for child and maternal health at the 2010 G8 Summit and the “Charlevoix Declaration” at the 2018 G7 Summit. Mr. Morley is a member of the International Committee.
David Ross is an accounting and consulting professional with extensive private and public-sector experience in financial reporting, auditing, accounting, regulation, risk management and strategic planning. Mr. Ross has over 30 years of commercial experience with Deloitte & Touche LLP, including 26 years as a partner. He has been the leader of Deloitte’s Canadian insurance practice for many years and participated in the growth of the firm’s Global Financial Services organization. Specializing in risk management, Mr. Ross has given presentations on regulatory compliance, solvency, business interruption insurance and disaster recovery planning. He has also shared his expertise as a Catalyste+ Advisor through volunteer assignments in the Caribbean. Knowledgeable in governance matters and board dynamics, Mr. Ross has served on numerous boards and committees for organizations that include Deloitte, World Wildlife Fund Canada and Baycrest. Mr. Ross also served as Director and Finance Committee Chair for Canada’s National History Society.
Laureen Whyte is Principal Consultant of Arbutus Consulting and Executive Director of Clean Energy BC in Vancouver. She is an executive and social performance professional with over 25 years of experience as a senior practitioner, project manager and strategist. Ms. Whyte specializes in land use, stakeholder and Indigenous engagement, consultation, and organizational and community economic development. Her expertise also extends to permitting and regulatory strategy, cultural and participatory research, and negotiation of agreements. Working with Indigenous Nations and in the non-profit, transportation and natural resource sectors, Ms. Whyte has operated in several regulatory jurisdictions and in collaboration with teams of multidisciplinary consultants to support major projects in North and South America. Ms. Whyte is Chair of the Indigenous and Northern Services Committee.
Peter Sinclair is an independent Environmental Social Governance (ESG) advisor for the global mining industry. He is currently Senior Advisor at the World Gold Council (WGC) where he supports the implementation of Responsible Gold Mining Principles and WGC’s ESG research and engagement activities. For 14 years, Mr. Sinclair held senior sustainability roles at Barrick Gold Corporation, most recently as Chief Sustainability Officer. There, he led strategic ESG initiatives, including social impact management, community relations, climate change strategy and ESG reporting. Before joining the mining industry, Peter spent 15 years working in international development and humanitarian aid with various non-governmental organizations. He lived in Africa for seven years, spending time in Ghana, the Republic of the Congo, Swaziland and Rwanda. He has travelled, worked and lived in over 65 countries. Mr. Sinclair earned his BComm from Queen’s University and an MA from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.
John Bud Morris
A member of the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke, John Bud Morris has over 35 years of experience as a senior executive in government and business. He has served two terms as an elected Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, and eight years as Executive Director. He also served as the Executive Director of the Lower Nicola Indian Band in British Columbia before moving to a Director General position with the Government of Canada in 1998. Mr. Morris was CEO of Tewatohnhi’saktha (Kahnawà:ke Economic Development Commission) from its inception in 1999 to 2016, and is currently Tewatohnhi’saktha’s Chief Operations Officer. Until March 2023, he also represented Tewatohnhi’saktha as the President of Kahnawà:ke Sustainable Energies, a wholly owned subsidiary which was transferred to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke after successfully developing the 24 Mw Des Cultures wind farm in partnership with Kruger Energy. Mr. Morris has sat on various boards and carried out various consulting engagements for other First Nations. Mr. Morris is a member of the Indigenous and Northern Services Committee.
Darren Schemmer – Past Chair, Board of Directors
Darren Schemmer’s career spanning more than 30 years in international development and diplomacy began when he served as a volunteer with Canada World Youth in Haiti and World University Service of Canada in Malawi. He later joined the Canadian foreign service as a Development Officer. He served in Honduras, the United States, Egypt and Ghana, where he was High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana and Ambassador to Togo. At headquarters, Mr. Schemmer was Senior Departmental Assistant to the Minister for International Cooperation; Director General of Policy, Planning and Management for the Americas Branch; Director General for Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic; and Assistant Deputy Minister for Partnerships. More recently, Mr. Schemmer was Executive Director of Simon Fraser University International. He sat on the board of the Korle-Bu Neuroscience Foundation, the Justice Education Society and the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation. He earned a B.Ed. from the Faculté Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta and an MBA from Royal Roads University. Mr. Schemmer is a member of the International Committee.
Allan Clarke is a consultant on Indigenous issues. Previously, he served with the Public Service of Canada for over 30 years. Most recently, he held the position of Director General, Economic Research and Policy Development, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. During his career, Mr. Clarke managed policy and program responsibilities across a range of issues, including Indigenous languages and culture, cultural industries, business development and financing, intellectual property, and international trade. Mr. Clarke has served on a number of boards, including the John Howard Society, BookNet Canada and the Association for the Export of Canadian Books. He has also been a member of Canadian international delegations, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Arctic Council, the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Mr. Clarke is Anishinaabe with family roots on the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Mr. Clarke is a member of the Indigenous and Northern Services Committee.
Chris Skirrow is a retired PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) assurance partner. With an international career spanning 37 years, he’s provided audit and advisory services to several businesses and non-profit entities, including Junior Achievement Russia and the Canada Eurasia Chamber of Commerce. In Canada, Mr. Skirrow oversaw the audits of several First Nations, worked with Aboriginal-owned consulting businesses and participated in community and economic development initiatives. With PwC, he spent time in Turkey as an assurance leader and served as Partner, Consumer and Industrial Products, in Russia. There, involved in risk management and serving as the ethics and business conduct leader for the region, Mr. Skirrow gained an understanding of issues facing businesses in emerging economies. Mr. Skirrow has advised corporate boards on numerous matters, and previously sited on the board of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and MVideo, a Russian electronics retailer, where he also served as the chair of the audit committee.
Larry Karass is President of Stratik International, where he serves as a business leader and coach. He has grown enterprising manufacturing ventures in the consumer packaged goods and industrial packaging sectors for over 30 years in over 20 countries. This empowered Mr. Karass to deliver rigorous public, private and not-for-profit governance leadership as the board chair, committee chair, director and advisory board member with Maison Riviera, Inno-3B and Agro-100 Global. He served as the director of the board for the Quebec Arts Council, YMCA Canada, YMCA Quebec, Fromagerie Perron and Jus Dose. He has also served as an advisory board member for Avril Supermarché Santé, La Meunerie Milanaise and the Prime Minister’s Fund to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion. He earned an LLB from the London School of Economics and a BA in History of Science & Ideas from McGill University. Mr. Karass is a member of the International Committee.
Marie Lynne Desrochers
Marie Lynne Desrochers works as an independent director and strategic advisor rooted in business transformation and execution. A senior executive with 30 years of experience working in retail and commercial banking at RBC and the National Bank of Canada, Ms. Desrochers has expertise in building digital products, operating models and managing risks. She has served on several boards, including Payments Canada, Swift Corporate Advisory, Canada-US Business Council, Centre Des Femmes, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Québec, the Armand-Frappier Foundation and United Way. Ms. Desrochers is Vice President on the board of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She is also a Catalyste+ Advisor, a lecturer at HEC Montreal, a committee lead and mentor for the Association of Women in Finance of Québec, and a partner with Ai Outcome. Ms. Desrochers holds a BComm in marketing and international business from McGill University, an MBA in finance from HEC Montreal, and an ICD.D designation from the University of Toronto.
As a human resources consultant, Sara Schwieder focuses on supporting small and medium-sized Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations. She has over 30 years of experience working senior leadership roles in sales, operations and human resources. Ms. Schwieder served as Director of Human Resources for Xerox Canada where she cultivated a unique talent for providing HR leadership. Prior to that, she was State Manager for Fuji Xerox Australia. Ms. Schwieder is an active community volunteer and passionate advocate for people living with physical disabilities, motivated by her personal experience supporting her husband who lived with MS. Ms. Schwieder volunteers at Westpark Healthcare Centre as Patient and Family Advisor and as a member of the Patient Experience Committee, Palliative Care Committee and Executive Hiring Committee. Ms. Schwieder holds a BComm from the University of Saskatchewan.
Shona Nelson is an experienced executive manager who has worked extensively in First Nations and Indigenous organizations. Since 2013, she has been Band Manager of the Doig River First Nation in British Columbia. In the words of a colleague, Ms. Nelson is “a true professional in one of the toughest jobs in the country”: responsible for the overall management and administration of the Nation’s operations, she oversees the negotiation of government-to-government agreements, Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs), economic-development initiatives, and comprehensive community planning. From 2006 to 2013, she was Director of Administration and Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research, for the Treaty 8 Tribal Association in British Columbia. Ms. Nelson is a Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator (CAPA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (UBC) and a Master of Public Administration (UVIC). In 2017, Ms. Nelson and Doig River Council were awarded the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) Canada Community of Excellence in Leadership and Administration Award; in 2022, she received the British Columbia AFOA Band Administrator Recognition Award. Ms. Nelson is a member of the Indigenous & Northern Services Committee.
Meet Our Leadership Team
Wendy Harris – President and CEO
Agatha Dudzinski – Senior Manager of Volunteer Services
Andre Xavier – Senior Manager of Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Development
Apollinaire Ihaza – Director of International Services, Africa & Francophone Affairs
Gale Lee – Senior Director of International Services
Michelle Ng – Director, Finance, IT & People Engagement
Stacia Kean – Director of Indigenous and Northern Services
Learn about real people who are improving their lives and livelihoods and building strong communities.