Provincial Government Appoints Members to Advisory Council

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Provincial Government Appoints Members to Advisory Council

by ahnationtalk on September 15, 2015424 Views

September 15, 2015

Advancing the Status of Women

The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, has announced the appointments of four new members to the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women (PACSW), and the reappointment of seven current members. All 11 appointments are for a term of three years and are effective immediately.

“Comprising a variety of professional and volunteer experiences, these women represent a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives needed to inform the many issues that women in our province face today. ‎The members of the council are drawn from rural and urban parts of the province and include representation from Aboriginal communities as well as immigrant women and women with disabilities. The work they will do over the next three years will have a profound impact on the future of women in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
-The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women

The four new members were chosen from a pool of candidates compiled through an open nomination process earlier this year. They include:

  • Sandy Kershaw, Happy Valley-Goose Bay
  • Vanessa McCarthy, Gander
  • Carmichael Polonio, St. John’s
  • Marina Simon, Cape St. George

“I would also like to thank the outgoing members of the advisory council for the valuable work that they have done. Through their dedication and commitment they have provided a strong voice for women in our province.”
– Minister Sullivan

The seven members who were reappointed to the council include President Linda Ross, Vice President Carolyn Lavers and members Melita Collier, Lorraine Hearn, Yamuna Kutty, Kelly Power and Hilda Whelan.

“As president, I look forward to working with the exceptional group of women on the advisory council. They bring a wealth of diversity, knowledge and experience which is critical to PACSW achieving its mandate. Advancing women’s social and economic equality means understanding the issues, challenges and opportunities faced by women throughout our province. Over the next three years, the council will be working, along with government and our community partners to bring about change to advance the interests of women in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
– Linda Ross, President, Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women

The Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women provides advice to the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and other government departments on policies and other matters related to advancing the status of women in the province. It is governed by the Status of Women Council Act. Biographies of the council members are included in the attached backgrounder.

For more information about the advisory council, visit External link.


  • The Minister Responsible for the Status of Women is announcing the appointment of 11 members to the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
  • Seven members of the council are being reappointed and four are newly appointed.
  • The council advises the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and other government departments on policies and other matters related to advancing the status of women in the province.
  • Information about the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women can be found at

– 30 –

Media contacts:

Gina MacArthur
Communications Analyst
Women’s Policy Office
709-729-6225, 709-730-2977
[email protected]

Linda Ross, President
Provincial Advisory Council
on the Status of Women
[email protected]

Biographies of Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Linda Ross, President/CEO
Ms. Ross has held this position since May 2009. She has over 30 years of experience in policy and program development in community development and women’s economic and social equality in Canada and internationally. Previously she spent 24 years working with Oxfam Canada. Ms. Ross serves on a number of boards and committees including the Women in Resource Development Corporation, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the NL Access to Justice Committee. She is currently the Chair of the Coalition of Provincial and Territorial Advisory Councils on the Status of Women. Ms. Ross holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) from the University of Waterloo and certificates in Change Management and Performance Development from the Faculty of Management at McGill University.

Carolyn Lavers, Vice President
Ms. Lavers is an Economic Development Officer with the provincial Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development in Port au Choix. She is a small business entrepreneur and worked with the former Women’s Enterprise Bureau. Carolyn has served as a member of several local business development boards and other community agencies. She is also deeply concerned about issues related to violence, rural child care solutions, women’s employment and women in leadership. Carolyn lives in Port au Choix and serves as mayor of her community.

Melita Collier, Council Member
Ms. Collier is a Career Development Specialist with the Department of Advanced Education and Skills for the Coast of Bays region has been committed to women’s issues and advancements for many years and in numerous ways. Her involvement in the Coast of Bays International Women’s Day Committee is one of the ways she expresses her passion for equality and ensuring healthy, safe and supportive workplace practices for which diversity and inclusiveness are valued. Melita works with marginalized and under-represented groups, bringing awareness and education to women’s social, economic and political challenges, and she is a Silent Witness Advocate. She received a Bachelor of Administrative Studies in 1997 from York University in Toronto and returned to the province in 2003.

Lorraine Hearn, Council Member
Ms. Hearn is the former Executive Director Violence Prevention South and Central (VPSC) under the Violence Prevention Initiative. Lorraine’s professional background is in the fields of nursing and addiction studies and intervention. In 1998, she graduated from McMaster University in Ontario with two diplomas – Addictions Studies and Addictions Care Worker. In 1998/99, she earned Associate Counsellor Status in Addictions through the Canadian Certification Board for Alcohol and Drug Counsellors. She began volunteering with the Committee Against Violence in 1992 and over the years, held various executive positions. She continues her anti-violence work in the central west region of the province. Lorraine provides leadership in violence prevention initiatives as well as education, awareness and training on violence issues. She has extensive background in delivering community presentations, workshops and training in all areas of violence as well as advocating for women and victims of violence.

Sandy Kershaw, Council Member
As Executive Director, Mokami Status of Women Council, Ms. Kershaw is responsible for overseeing the Women’s Centre, Thrifty Fashions, and the Supportive Living project. Graduating from Memorial University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Education degree, Sandy taught children of all ages before she transitioned her skills into the business world. Sandy worked on the military base for seven years before joining the Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company as Aboriginal Affairs Coordinator. Most recently, Sandy worked with Nunatsiavut Government and Memorial University, overseeing a social work degree program that would eventually see 18 Inuit women earn the professional designation of social worker. Originally from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Sandy is an Inuit woman who has continued her education through various management and university programs. She is working toward attaining a Master’s Degree in Post-Secondary Studies.

Yamuna Kutty, Council Member
Ms. Kutty is Vice-President of the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years, Yamuna has served on many boards including the St. John’s Status of Women Council, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, among others. She is interested in critical perspectives about lives of immigrant and refugee women. Violence against women and children is one of her big concerns. Yamuna is originally from India and has lived in St. John’s for the past 47 years.

Vanessa McCarthy, Council Member
Ms. McCarthy is a lawyer in private practice with Rebecca Redmond MacLean Law Office PLC Inc., Gander. She completed both her Bachelor of Arts and LLB degrees with the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, where she was involved in numerous organizations committed to equality and women’s rights. Vanessa worked and volunteered for many years with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre and later the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre. She has extensive experience screening and training volunteers for sexual assault crisis line work, as well as in presenting to volunteer and community groups on sexual assault, empowerment and healthy relationships. Vanessa is originally from Grand Falls-Windsor and now lives in Gander.

Carmichael Polonio, Council Member
Ms. Polonio is a civil engineer at NL Hydro who migrated from Belize to Newfoundland and Labrador to attend Memorial University in 2006. She was involved in numerous youth and advocacy groups as a teenager, with her areas of focus being youth rights, youth political participation, sexual and reproductive health rights, and indigenous cultural retention. She sat on the Board of the Directors for the Social Investment Fund for two years before moving to Canada as the youth representative. During her time at MUN, she volunteered with the International Student Centre. Currently in her spare time, she is part of the St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership, Multicultural Women’s Organization of NL, and the Basilica church choir. Her areas of interest and advocacy are for increased participation of women in technical fields and seamless integration for the immigrants of Newfoundland and Labrador into local society.

Kelly Power, Council Member
Ms. Power is training director for the IBEW College and former Director of the Carpenters Millwrights College. She has actively promoted skilled trades to women and encouraged partnerships with organizations to attract women to the construction industry. Kelly is passionate about ensuring the success of trades women and works closely with them to ensure employment equity within the trades and to help mediate barriers to completing their apprenticeship. Kelly has been involved in various educational committees including those with the Federation of Labour, Strategic Partnership & Innovation, as well as various curriculum evaluation committees with the Carpenters International Training Center. Kelly is originally from Hermitage and currently lives in Conception Bay South.

Marina Simon, Council Member
Ms. Simon is a retired teacher from Cape St. George. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from Memorial University. Marina is also bilingual in French and English. She was a principal and teacher for 36 years, substituted for 10 years post-retirement, and taught Adult Education for six years. Actively involved in her community Marina has served two terms as Mayor of Cape St. George, was founding member of Les Terre-Neuviens Francais (French Association) and French Federation, founding member of The Women’s Institute and the Catholic Women’s Church Group of Cape St. George. She has been a member of many organizational committees including three years with the provincial association, four years as member of Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital Board and two terms as member with the Provincial Committee for the Aging. Marina has also been a long-time volunteer with the Christmas Seals Campaign for 20 years as well as volunteering her time with the Seniors on the Go Water Aerobics Program, Income Tax Volunteer Program and other local fund-raising projects.

Hilda Whelan, Council Member
Ms. Whelan, who is Mayor of Whitbourne, has fought for, and won, women’s rights in a case involving surviving spouses and a workplace health and safety issue. Hilda solely represented and fought for all widows involved in the case for 15 years, winning an important victory for women’s equality. She is a strong advocate, concerned about a wide variety of issues affecting women, including violence and access to child care. Hilda brings the realities of rural women to the work of the advisory council. She is determined to continue to make a difference.


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