Our Team

Vanessa McGregor - Interim Executive Director

Vanessa is Ojibway from Whitefish River First Nation in Ontario. She grew up in her home community where her mother and father instilled strong values, principles and traditions. Vanessa graduated from Algonquin College with an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration - Human Resources. She has worked progressively in administrative roles for the past 6 years and has held positions within her home First Nation, the Assembly of First Nations, and the First Nations Education Administrators Association.

Erin Kohli - Program Assistant

Erin is a university student studying Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and has focused her studies on the accessibility of sport, inequities in sport, sport administration and global health. She has a special interest in sport for community development and has also conducted research on sport for reconciliation and will continue this fall, when she returns to her studies. Erin strongly believes in the power of sport to provide justice; build peaceful, accountable, and inclusive societies; and develop strong communities. She is excited to be working this summer for the Aboriginal Sport Circle in support of its mission to enhance Indigenous health and well-being while providing a voice for Indigenous people in sport.

Krista Hodder - Senior Programs and Events Coordinator

Krista is Mi'kmaw and was born, raised and is raising her family in Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia. She developed the first comprehensive physical activity strategy for a Mi'kmaw community in the province, has brought the strategy to life and supported its sustainability. Krista has built partnerships inside and outside of the community resulting in significant changes, including leadership development and policy changes. Krista was named to the 2016 CAAWS Most Influential Women List in the Builder category. Krista is also a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) certified coach and has her certification from the Aboriginal Coaching Module (ACM).

Jacob Ruest - Aboriginal Coaching Program Coordinator

Jacob was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario. As a youth, Jacob took a strong interest in the game of lacrosse. This led to many opportunities, including playing and coaching "the Creator's Game" in Mohawk communities such as Akwesasne, where lacrosse is believed to be a gift to Indigenous people from the Creator. These experiences greatly enriched his respect for Indigenous culture and traditions and ultimately shaped Jacob's life; today he plays professional lacrosse with the Albany FireWolves in the National Lacrosse League and is a sought-after engagement speaker and coach with youth in First Nation communities in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Quebec. He also continues to coach. Jacob earned a Master's in Human Kinetics with a concentration in Sports Management from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris University, where he also played Division 1 lacrosse. Jacob looks forward sharing his knowledge of the sport landscape and applying his experience in building positive coaching and support systems for Indigenous athletes while at the ASC.

Jaime Carpenter - Indigenous Long-Term Participant Development Coordinator

Jaime is Ojibway from Lac Seul First Nation in Ontario, although she grew up outside one of her mother's home community of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. Jaime graduated from University of Ottawa with her MA in Human Kinetics where she used her own experiences of playing elite hockey to examine the experiences of 10 male and 10 female Indigenous hockey players who left home to play hockey in the mainstream context and identified the sex and gender-based differences of their experiences. She also obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion from Plymouth State University where she played on the varsity women's hockey team for all four years. Today, Jaime has shifted from playing hockey to coaching hockey in and around her community. She looks forwards to sharing her knowledge and experience at the ASC.

Mélissa Simard - Office and Communications Coordinator

Mélissa (sher/her/elle) graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Feminist and Gender studies background. She is now completing a Master of Education in Sport degree at Laval University with a focus on community practices regarding the inclusion of women coaches within the Québec sport system. Mélissa's maternal language is French and feels a strong pride towards her Franco-Ontarien community. She brings valuable professional experience to the ASC, having worked with the Coaching Association of Canada and the Ontario Women's Hockey Association. Mélissa has been long involved in the sport sector as both a hockey coach and a Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) leader, where her goal is help young girls reach the Active for Life stage. Mélissa is an advocate for social issues; she is an active ally for the LGBTQ2IA+ community and is a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) sport inclusion task force. Mélissa deeply believes in values-based leadership and is excited to support the ASC's vision and mission with a group of likeminded colleagues.