Elephant Thoughts Board of Directors
Read Shakir's Bio
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.
Read Darilyn's Bio
Deborah Keep, BSC Hons, MBA
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Read Heathers's Bio
Read Lorne's Bio
Lorne is an active community leader with deep multigenerational roots in Simcoe-Grey. Currently he and his wife, Susan, own and operate a successful promotional products and corporate apparel business in Collingwood.
Lorne is an active Rotarian and former President of the Rotary Club of South Georgian Bay.
Prior to his return to Collingwood, Lorne was the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for the projects of the Premier’s Council, a consultative body of leaders from all key sectors of Ontario society. The Premier’s Council, initially established by William Davis, became well recognized during the tenure of the David Peterson Liberal Government and expanded further during the time of Premier Bob Rae.
Prior to his work in the Ontario Public Service, he was a senior official at Labour Canada in Ottawa where he led the Bureau of Labour Information
Before entering public service, Lorne was the Research and Education Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and was responsible for negotiating major collective agreements in the food industry.
His career began as a Professor of Economics and Canadian Studies at Seneca College. He continued teaching on an adjunct basis at Carleton and later at the University of Toronto where he developed a special charity-focused consulting program for graduating MBA students at the Rotman School of Management.
Lorne has a B.A. in Political Science and Economics and an M.A. in Economics (Labour and Industrial Relations). Both degrees were earned at the University of Toronto.
He has twice been named an honorary Paul Harris Fellow for his contributions to Rotary in Collingwood his initiative to develop an early literacy program that matches children under six with local seniors and again for his work with the Rotary International Student Exchange Program.
He is an active parishioner of All Saints’ Anglican Church. Also, he has been involved politically as the Liberal candidate in the 2019 federal election.
Read Jillian's Bio
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
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Michael Ready, BSc, BEd
Read Michael's Bio
Niru Somayajula, BSc
Read Niru's Bio
Niru has taken on the family legacy and remolded it. As a second-generation owner she has been ambitiously expanding the business, recently adding a second location in Atlantic Canada. Outside of work she likes to ride the waves as a paddleboarder, musician and photographer. She avidly supports others as a mentor, charitable board member and a mother of two. Her favourite atelier is a toss up between the kitchen, her gravel bike, or the locally owned café.