Officers and Governors

Board of Governors 2020-2021

The Society’s Board of Governors comprises 5 Officers and up to 24 Governors from across Canada.

President Gavin Fitch
President Gavin Fitch
Calgary, Alberta

Gavin Fitch practices in the areas of environmental and energy regulatory law at McLennan Ross LLP in Calgary. He represents clients before administrative tribunals such as the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), the National Energy Board, the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, the Surface Rights Board and the Land Compensation Board. Mr. Fitch has extensive experience acting in environmental approval and energy permitting processes for oil and gas facilities, mining projects and electric power facilities. He also has expertise in the field of Aboriginal law, including the duty to consult, land claims, expropriation, and surface rights. Mr. Fitch has been widely recognized for his achievements within his field, awarded the title of Calgary Environmental Law Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers 2012 and recognized in the area of Environmental Law by Who’s Who Legal – Canada. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alberta, his master’s degree in communications at Syracuse University and his law degree at Dalhousie University.

Vice President Wendy Cecil
Vice President Wendy Cecil
Toronto, Ontario

Cecil is chair and president of Brookmoor Enterprises Ltd. During her business career, she held positions at the Toronto Stock Exchange and Brascan Ltd., including Vice-President of Business Development. In 2010, she was elected Chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.

Cecil has lent her skills and passion to The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Toronto Public Library, Trinity College School, The Dancer Transition Resource Centre, the YMCA of Toronto, Branksome Hall, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage, the Fraser Institute and the Royal Ontario Museum. She was a member of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council from 1993 to 2002, and its chair from 1998 to 2002.

A Victoria College graduate, Cecil holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from U of T and is an Associate Senior Fellow at Massey College. Cecil was named a recipient of the Thérèse Casgrain Volunteer Award in 2009, and a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014.

Vice President Connie Wyatt Anderson
Vice President Connie Wyatt Anderson
The Pas, Manitoba

Connie Wyatt Anderson has been teaching high school social sciences, including grades 10 and 12 geography, on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, a progressive First Nations community adjacent to The Pas, Manitoba, since 1992. She has been involved in the creation of student learning materials and curricula and has contributed to a number of textbooks, teacher support guides and school publications. She has written educative materials for several non-profit groups and recently co-authored the Grade 11 History text used in Manitoba schools. Ms. Anderson is Chair of Canadian Geographic Education. She completed her Bachelor of Education from the University of Winnipeg in 1992. Ms. Anderson is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal presented by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Governor Glenn Blackwood
Governor Glenn Blackwood
Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador

Glenn Blackwood is the Vice-President of Memorial University (Marine Institute) and has more than 35 years’ experience working in the oceans, fisheries and marine sectors in his home province, throughout Canada and around the world. He is currently the Chair of the International Association of Maritime Universities, is a member of the Executive Board of the World Maritime University and sits on the Boards of One Ocean and the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network.

In the past ten years he has led the creation of a new School of Ocean Technology, new degrees and master programs in ocean mapping, underwater vehicles, maritime management and marine spatial planning at the Marine Institute.
He holds a Masters Degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Science (honours) in Marine Biology from Memorial University and has completed the Institute for Educational Management Program at Harvard University.

He is also a member of the St. John’s Rotary Club and a Paul Harris fellow.

Governor Carl Gauthier
Governor Carl Gauthier
Ottawa, Ontario

Lieutenant-Colonel Carl Gauthier is an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces specialized in the field of recognition. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1994. In 1997, he transferred to the Primary Reserve and served as Wing Heritage Officer at 3 Wing Bagotville.

In 2002, Lieutenant-Colonel Gauthier joined the Honours and Awards Section of the Directorate of History and Heritage. In 2013, he became Acting Director – Honours and Recognition and was confirmed as Director in 2015.

He was seconded to the Chancellery of Honours at Government House in Ottawa in 2002 to manage the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2009, he was appointed Canadian Equerry to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for the Royal Tour of Canada.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gauthier is a Member of the Order of Military Merit, an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem and a Knight of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is an Honorary Aide de Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Governor John Hovland
Governor John Hovland
Toronto, Ontario

John Hovland is a director in the Bank of Montreal’s Corporate Real Estate department, responsible for information management with respect to the Bank’s global real estate portfolio and for the financial analysis of real estate transactions.

During his time at the Bank, John has also served as the lead financial officer for the Corporate Real Estate group. Before joining the Bank, John worked as a litigation lawyer with a large Toronto law firm, specializing in competition law, insolvency and auditors’ liability issues.

John has been a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society since 2011 and serves on the Society’s Finance Committee and on the management board of Canadian Geographic Enterprises. He has worked extensively with several other volunteer organizations in the past.
John obtained his B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Toronto and his LL.B. from Dalhousie University. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Governor Claire Kennedy
Governor Claire Kennedy
Toronto, Ontario

Claire Kennedy is a partner of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto and a professional engineer.  Claire was law clerk to the late Honorable Mr. Justice Charles D. Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Kennedy is a director of the Bank of Canada. She is also a director of Alamos Gold Inc. From 2010-2012, Claire was a director of Neo Material Technologies Inc. Kennedy received her ICD. D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and has completed the Making Corporate Boards More Effective program at Harvard Business School. Kennedy is currently enrolled in the Advanced Management Program at the Booth School of Business.

Kennedy serves on the University of Toronto’s Governing Council and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee at Rotman. She is Past President of the Engineering Alumni Association at UT.

In 2015, Kennedy received the Citizenship Award from the Professional Engineers of Ontario. In 2016, she participated in the True Patriot Love expedition to climb Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.

Governor Kathryn McCain
Governor Kathryn McCain
Toronto, Ontario

Kathryn is a native of Florenceville, NB and a graduate of the University of New Brunswick with a BA in Sociology. She has made a career out of volunteering and service.  Most notably, Kathryn was Chair of The McCain Foundation for 20 years. 

Kathryn spent 20 years at The University of New Brunswick serving on the Board of Governors.  She has acted as Chair of several committees including Advancement, Audit, Finance and Nominating and Review, and ultimately served as Chair of the Board of Governors for three years.  She was named Governor Emerita in 2017.

Kathryn has served on boards includingThe Nature Conservancy of Canada and Pathways to Education where she was a member of the founding board.   

Currently Kathryn is a Governor of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Chair of their Advancement committee.  In 2008 she was made a Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and received the Captain Joseph-Elzear Bernier Medal for exemplary deeds.

In 2012, Kathryn received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Governor Lynn Moorman
Governor Lynn Moorman
Calgary, Alberta

Lynn Moorman (Ph.D., University of British Columbia) is a Professor at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, Canada. Lynn’s experience in the remote sensing industry in Canada and abroad fuelled an interest in how people think spatially, interpret geographic information, and use geographic technologies.
She brings this interest to her teaching, currently offering courses in spatial analysis (Mapping, Remote Sensing, and GIS), spatial innovation (Digital Earth), and physical geography in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Her research includes spatial cognition in Digital Earth and Geographic Information Systems use, geospatial citizen science applications, and visualizations and virtual reality for geography education.

Lynn is a Killam Scholar and has been recognized with her university’s Research Recognition award for Knowledge Mobilization; the Distinguished Faculty Award; the Canadian Association of Geographers’ President’s Award; and in 2018 as the Influencer of the Year by Tecterra for contributions to Canada’s geospatial sector. She is a regional representative for the International Geographical Union Commission for Geographical Education and recently served on the Task Force of the International Geography Olympiad.

Governor Janis Peleshok
Governor Janis Peleshok

Janis Peleshok, P.Eng. ICD.D FRCGS is an independent Corporate Director, currently serving on the Board of Empower Pharm.  She also serves on the Board of the Ontario Science Centre and Opera Atelier. Her strengths are in strategic planning, governance and risk, bringing international experience in innovative regulated sectors. 

Janis was on the Board of Directors of Pele Mountain Resources (TSX-V:GEM) and worked in Special Initiatives, Risk Management, Office of the CRO at CIBC.

She graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and from the Directors Education Program (DEP) at the Rotman School of Business. She is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) licensed with the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) and received her ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

In 2014, the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) selected her as a Diversity 50 Board eligible candidate. She is a proud Activator with SheEO.  In 2019, Janis became a Fellow and Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), and currently serves on Advancement Committee.  

Governor John Pollack
Governor John Pollack
Bonnington, B.C.

John C. Pollack is a retired natural resources research scientist and manager for the BC Provincial Government, with an M.Sc. from the University of Alberta.

Since the late 1960’s he has participated in more than 70 speleological and underwater archaeological expeditions around the world, and specializes in total station and GPS mapping of foreshore and land sites, and side scan surveys.

He has been the survey chief / cartographer for numerous multi-year projects including Sevilla la Nueva near St. Ann Jamaica, the NEVA project at Sitka Alaska, the Yukon River Steamboat Survey in the Yukon, and the Bach Dang Battlefield project in Vietnam.

He is a Research Associate with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University, a PIfA with the Institute for Archaeologists (England), and specializes in stern wheel steamboats. John has served on a variety of non-profit boards and now lives near Nelson, BC.

Governor André Préfontaine
Governor André Préfontaine

André Préfontaine serves as president of Canadian Geographic Enterprises (CGE) and publisher of Canadian Geographic from 2006 to 2011. 

Governor Lois Mitchell
Governor Lois Mitchell
Alberta

Lois Mitchell is an accomplished businesswoman and a proud, longstanding member of Alberta’s dedicated corps of community volunteers. She began her duties as the 18th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta on June 12, 2015 and served until August 26, 2020. She made history education a focus during her tenure as Lieutenant Governor and is Founding Patron of the History and Heroes Foundation.

 

Governor Akaash Maharaj
Governor Akaash Maharaj

Akaash Maharaj is Chief Executive Officer of the Mosaic Institute, where he works to advance pluralism in societies and peace between nations.

He also represents Canada as an equestrian athlete; serve as Ambassador-at-Large for the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption; writes and broadcasts on democracy and diplomacy; and contributes to a few philanthropic and community organisations.