Advisory board members' biographies
Nellie Cournoyea, board member since November 2010, Chair
Ms. Cournoyea brings to the board substantial experience in territorial and regional Aboriginal government, having served in numerous positions connected to social and support programs. During her many years as an elected representative for the riding of Nunakput in the Northwest Territories, she held several ministerial portfolios, including Health and Social Services, culminating with a 4-year term as Premier of the territory. She also served as the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the corporation with the mandate to receive the Inuvialuit lands and financial compensation resulting from the 1984 land claim settlement.
Born and raised on the land, Ms. Cournoyea was educated through the Federal Aklavik Day School and by Alberta correspondence courses.
Gordon Harkness, board member since April 2015, Vice-Chair
Gordon Harkness brings to the advisory board a vast knowledge and years of experience, along with a keen understanding and appreciation of all aspects of northern retailing, including distribution and transportation.
With the help of a nutritionist and dietitian, he initiated an in-store nutrition program, using the four colours of the Canadian Food Guide to identify healthy food choices.
Mr. Harkness also worked with the government of Saskatchewan to develop and implement a food freight subsidy program for remote communities in the northern part of the province.
Mr. Harkness is familiar with and has visited more than 70 of the communities using the Nutrition North Canada program.
Brenda Jancke, board member since June 2021
Mrs. Jancke is currently Regional Director for the Department of Family Services in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
She has previous board experience and demonstrates an understanding of the high cost of living in Northern communities.
Beth Kotierk, board member since June 2021
Ms. Kotierk is a civil lawyer who also serves as a board member of the Qajuqturvik Food Centre.
She has experience working on policy and community programming initiatives related to food sovereignty, food security and anti-poverty.
Janice Grey-Scott, board member since June 2021
Ms. Grey-Scott has extensive experience in both the retail and traditional aspects of food security in her community.
As an avid harvester who has worked for the Aupaluk Cooperative Association, she has a solid understanding of the balance required between store-bought and traditionally harvested foods in achieving food sovereignty in isolated Arctic communities.
Dr. Sarah Jane Cook, board member since June 2021
Dr. Cook is a family physician in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, as well as the primary physician for the Nutrition North Canada community of Fort Good Hope. She previously served as Territorial Medical Director of the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority.
Nutrition is an area of personal and professional interest to Dr. Cook and she recently completed additional training in this area to supplement her knowledge. In her work as a family doctor, discussing food choices and access is an important part of supporting culturally safe health and wellness. Through these clinical experiences, she has observed firsthand the impact of food security and insecurity in isolated northern communities.
Jason Smallboy, board member since March 2022
Jason Smallboy was born in Moose Factory, Ontario and spent most of his childhood in his hometown. As a teenager, he was an active volunteer in his home community. His dedication as a volunteer led to several opportunities including being elected as a Youth Councillor for Moose Cree First Nation, where he successfully advocated for the construction of a youth centre. The John R. Delaney Youth Centre continues to offer activities, services and programs to the youth of Moose Cree First Nation. After high school, Mr. Smallboy moved to Windsor, Ontario where he studied Business Administration at St. Clair College.
In addition to serving his own community, Mr. Smallboy has extensive experience supporting the communities in his region. He has held various positions with the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council, Matawa Tribal Council and most recently with Nishnawbe Aski Nation, where he was elected as Deputy Grand Chief. Mr. Smallboy served as Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation for 5 years. During his term, he advocated for many community issues including lowering the high cost of living in Northern Ontario. Mr. Smallboy is happily married and lives in Sudbury with his wife and kids.