Meet the Elephant Thoughts Board of Directors

Shakir Chambers

Shakir Chambers

Read Shakir's Bio

As a Principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, Shakir brings over 10 years of experience in public affairs, politics, and the private sector. Shakir’s knowledge of campaign strategies, government affairs, and political communications has helped his clients navigate complex issues while ensuring their voices are heard by policymakers.

Prior to consulting, Shakir spent time at Queen’s Park advising two Leaders of the Official Opposition. During his time at the Ontario Legislature, he led on priority policy files, including, infrastructure, transportation, municipal affairs and housing. As a policy advisor and scripter during the 2018 provincial campaign, Shakir contributed to crafting the winning Ontario PC election platform.

Shakir began his career on Parliament Hill in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) before becoming a policy advisor to the federal Minister of International Trade. His private sector experience includes serving as Manager of Public Policy at a major telecommunications company.

A sought-after political and public policy commentator, Shakir’s analysis is featured regularly on television, radio and print. He is a weekly panelist on CBC’s Power and Politics, has been featured on CBC’s Metro Morning and The House, and is a regular contributor to The National Post. He also sits on the board of The Empire Club of Canada.

As an advocate for the Black community, Shakir is passionate about mentoring Black youth with an interest in politics and public affairs. He holds two Masters’ degrees from Western University and pursued his Ph.D. in Canada-China relations at Carleton University.

Darilyn Coles

Darilyn Coles

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Darilyn is the granddaughter of the founder of Caledon Contemporaries, the innovative Canadian Charity that has recently made a gift of Kimbercote Farms to Elephant Thoughts. Kimbercote is to be developed into a unique facility designed to advance education especially environmental. Darilyn has deep roots in the Kimbercote community and has recently joined Elephant Thoughts as a board member. With over 20 years’ business development and marketing experience, she is currently Marketing Director, New Business, at Sun Life Financial. Her passion for community building, strategic planning and drive for results are consistently recognized in her work. In her spare time, family travel, dance, music, yoga and the great outdoors fuel her creativity and love for life.
Bruce Davidson

Bruce Davidson

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Bruce Davidson is co-founder and spokesmen for The Concerned Walkerton Citizens, a group that was formed in direct response to the Walkerton Water Tragedy.  The CWC successfully fought for and gained full status in the Walkerton Water Inquiry.  Bruce was appointed by Justice Winkler to act as a liaison between victims of the towns contaminated water and the Walkerton Compensation Plan.  Since 2000, he has been involved in outreach, education and policy development regarding the protection of drinking water sources across Canada.  Currently, Bruce holds positions on a number of boards and committees including: The Saugeen Grey Sauble North Bruce Peninsula Source Protection Committee, The Board of Directors of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA). Chair of the Brockton Environmental Advisory Committee, the Hanover-Walkerton Waste Management Committee, Program Coordinator with the Grey-Bruce Sustainability Network. In recognition for his water advocacy, he was the 2010 recipient of the Bay Shore Broadcasting Malcolm Kirk Award for the Environment.
Deborah Keep, BSC Hons, MBA

Deborah Keep, BSC Hons, MBA

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Deb held various management roles in both DuPont Canada and General Electric prior to retiring in Collingwood, including sales, marketing, production, and business development. She worked with many luminary hospitals in Canada to secure funding for collaborative medical research projects. She has served on four volunteer Boards of Directors and is very active in the community, assisting with fundraising activities.
Jillian Morris

Jillian Morris

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Jillian Morris is Kanien’keha:ka, a band member of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and a resident of Collingwood for the past 5 years.  She experienced 13 years as a federal public servant for the Department of National Defence including 10 years as co-chair for the local Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group.  Jillian graduated with a BA in Public Administration and Indigenous Governance through Ryerson University.

Since leaving the Public Service in January 2019, Jillian has focused on freelance projects that include support of Indigenous owned and directed production company, RedCloud Studios Inc. as a researcher and production assistant; board member and co-facilitator with Feather Carriers: Leadership for Life Promotion; member of the Unity Collective for the Town of Collingwood; guest speaker in support of Indigenous events hosted by the Town of Collingwood; among other support roles for town and local events.  In recent months Jillian has dedicated time to the craft of fiction writing in hopes of writing her first novel.

Martin Oosterveld, Ph.D., P.Eng

Martin Oosterveld, Ph.D., P.Eng

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Martin has been an Elephant Thoughts Director for 6 years. He was a Professor of Civil Engineering at Lakehead University where he served on Faculty for 16 years and is now an Emeritus Professor. At Lakehead, Dr. Oosterveld set up an Innovation Center, was Director of a centre for regional development, taught in the Aboriginal Access to Engineering Program, and worked with students on development projects, such as small hydro, in a number of communities. Martin chaired a community-based group that formed an organization now called Eco Superior, and secured funding for a large water conservation effort that continues to this day, now 20 years later. Martin moved to Collingwood in 2000 and has been involved in building homes, selling real estate, and serving on the boards of four organizations. He has been very active in economic development as a board member and on the executive of the Centre for Business and Economic Development. Martin is a member of the Board of Future Health Services and is very active in Rotary Club of Collingwood – South Georgian Bay, and will assume the role of President for the year 2014-15.
Michael Ready, BSc, BEd

Michael Ready, BSc, BEd

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Michael Ready is an elementary teacher at Mountain View School in Collingwood where he teaches a class of gifted students from grades four to eight. He has taught in Waterloo, London and Collingwood, as well as New Zealand. Michael has been involved with Elephant Thoughts for over seven years. The organization has been a positive influence on his classroom and students for many years, through the Schools 4 Schools program, workshops, and assembly programs. Michael, and his oldest son Finn had a phenomenal experience when they traveled to India with Elephant Thoughts where he visited schools and led teacher workshops.
Niru Somayajula Tezola, BSc

Niru Somayajula Tezola, BSc

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Niru is currently President and CEO of Sensor Technology Ltd, a high-tech manufacturing company of underwater sonar equipment. She has sat on numerous boards in Collingwood and enjoys the life and culture of the area. Niru’s husband and two young children take up much of her free time, but when she can she enjoys swimming, road cycling, running and hiking.

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