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Our Staff


Michelle Falk has been MARL's Executive Director since February 2015. Michelle holds a Master of Arts in Gender Studies from McMaster University in Hamilton and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from the University of Winnipeg. Previously, Michelle was a Project Manager at a Toronto research firm before moving back to Winnipeg to serve her community. Michelle is passionate about gender-based equality, local civic engagement, and is driven by curiosity and love of new ideas. 



Jordyn is holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights and Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg. She has been interested in human rights from a very young age, but as she grew older living in the city of Winnipeg, she discovered her passions were local in focus. Witnessing the impact of colonialism on the Indigenous peoples who call Winnipeg home has led her to advocate for decolonizing the education and justice systems as well as working towards reconciliation within them. She has pursued the work doing educational programming at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and as a volunteer with IRCOM and the United Way of Winnipeg.


Our Board of Directors


Evan Maydaniuk, BBA, is the current President at the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties. Growing up through MARL's high school programming, he has been with the organization since 2007. Evan came out as a gay man in 2009 at the age of 16. Realizing that there was no support system for the LGBTTQ* youth within his school, he set out to create its first Gay Straight Alliance. He immediately ran into conflict with the school division board office, he did form a GSA and later that year he would help organize his school to march in the Winnipeg Pride Parade. That was the beginning of his LGBTTQ* rights activism. He continued  his work to create safer space for queer people, serving in the past as the Parade & Rally Director with Pride Winnipeg. 


Estelle is a high school dropout who drove a school bus while studying at the University of Winnipeg and being a mom to two wonderful daughters. She also attended Université de Saint-Boniface and University of Manitoba. She has taught at all levels from Grade 5-12 and was privileged to be a school administrator for 18 years. For the last ten years, Estelle has been promoting the educational mandate of MARL in Manitoba. As the former principal of Collège Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, she has experienced firsthand the importance of engaging youth in civil discourse in order to preserve the rights and liberties of all our citizens. At times, world events cause Estelle to create community events that provide individuals with differing points of views a chance to discuss and find common ground. She loves nothing more than meeting new people and inviting them into the MARL family.


Amy Robertson is in her third year of law at Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba, and holds a 4-year BA in Human Rights & Global Studies, and Conflict Resolution Studies. Previously, Amy was an intern and an employee, serving as Education Coordinator, with MARL. Amy is the Founder and Chair of the Robson Hall Human Rights Collective. She has volunteered with the Pro Bono Students Canada, Welcome Place, and Laskin Moot. Amy enjoys researching, developing and facilitating workshops, and policy and advocacy-centred projects. She uses her legal knowledge and research skills on the MARL Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee.


Ryan has been volunteering and working in the non-profit field since 2008 and brings experience in Finance, I.T., and Fundraising. Prior to moving to Winnipeg in 2012, Ryan was a Board Member and a member of the Fundraising Committee for an organization in Hamilton, Ontario for two years. Ryan has also served as an Accountant at ImagineAbility Inc. and Opportunity Partners in Winnipeg. In 2017, Ryan completed the Advanced Certificate in Finance and Accounting through CPA Manitoba, with a focus on Non-Profit Financial Management.



Isha joined the board over 4 years ago and more recently served a 2-year term as President of the Board. She continues with MARL as Past President and leads the Board and Staff Development committee. Isha has volunteered with a number of other human rights organizations in the past, such as Unicef, Rights and Democracy, Amnesty International and The Canadian Red Cross. Isha has always had an interest in human rights and encouraging others to learn more about what affects not only those around the world, but in our own communities. Isha graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree from the Asper School of Business, majoring in human resource management, which helps aid MARL’s Board and Staff Development committee initiatives.


Currently completing a Master's in Peace and Conflict Studies, Derrek firmly believes in finding ways to ensure all people are able to live their rights. As a MARL board member and co-chair of the education committee, Derrek actively works towards this through a variety of events including the Ethics Café series and the Ethics Slam. He believes that education is the way we can change the world through youth.


Sharon is an Indigenous person with years of experience working in administrative and team leadership positions. Currently, Sharon serves as an Assessment Officer for the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. Previously, she served as the Coordinator of External Projects/Director of Employment Services with the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, Team Leader for the First Nations Employment and Training Centre in Vancouver, and as the Chief of Tsawwassen First Nation from 1995 to 1999, previously serving as Councilor from 1991-1995. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Administrative Studies from the University of Winnipeg and has sat on a number of government and public sector boards and committees. 


After learning and teaching for over 3 decades in the classroom, Linda continues to learn and work as the Social Studies Consultant for Manitoba Education and Training. In addition to co-authoring the grade 11 Canadian history textbook, Shaping Canada, Linda contributed to the grade 7 social studies textbook, The World Today, and the grade 9 civics textbook, Canada in the Contemporary World. Linda is also committed to building a culture of peace and promoting Human Rights through her work as the Provincial Coordinator for UNESCO schools and as a representative on the Speaker’s Bureau for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.


Victor is currently practicing an independent consulting career in cross cultural mediation services, peacemaking, human rights and justice services- focusing on restorative justice agenda. He is the founder of We Yone Palaver Hut Project Inc. an organization  that provide cross cultural community based restorative justice services through mediation to members of their communities  who wish to resolve dispute without recourse to the court. Victor’s pasion for human rights is because of his personal experience as a victim of war, whose human rights was abused.  This made him stand for the promotion, protection and defending human rights and peoples’ rights as enshrined in the United Nations’ International Bill of Human Rights.


Ahmad is a human rights advocate, activist and scholar. He holds a Master of Arts in International Law and Human Rights. Ahmad’s areas of specialization are Indigenous rights, prisoner’s rights and refugee and asylum seekers rights. The simple understanding that the absence or presence of peace is contingent on the absence or presence of human rights motivates Ahmad. In his view, creating the presence for human rights will create the presence for peace.


Emily works as a practical philosopher and owns LifeWise Philosophical Counselling, located in the Birch Wellness Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Before opening LifeWise, Emily taught courses in the philosophy and political studies departments at the University of Manitoba. Emily is a certified member of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, an associate of the University of Manitoba's Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics, a member of the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, and she serves on the National Ethics Bowl committee to promote critical discussion in Canadian High Schools.


Trevor Oleniuk is originally from Saskatoon, SK. Trevor went to the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. He graduated in 2009, was called to the Saskatchewan bar in 2010, and subsequently worked as a lawyer in private practice and then at an inner city poverty law clinic, practicing all types of law, civil, criminal, immigration, residential tenancies, etc. In 2015, Trevor was called to the Manitoba bar and moved to Winnipeg. He initially practiced on his own doing mostly criminal defence work. Later, he worked as an investigator at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Since last year, however, Trevor has been studying science at the U of M. Despite no longer practicing law, he is an avid follower of human rights issues and the debates they generate. 


Melanie Beth Oliviero is a strategist and educator for social change. Her expertise is in the areas of social justice, human rights and economic empowerment. Most recently, she has provided strategic services to Sexuality Education Resource Centre (Winnipeg), Development Alternatives, Inc. (Bethesda, MD, USA) serving newcomer, and Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and leaders of systemic change from right to information advocates in Sri Lanka to agricultural transformation across Sub-Saharan Africa. Melanie’s Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in sociolinguistics and linguistics are from Georgetown University (Washington, DC, USA). On the faculty of the New School (NYC) since 1995, she teaches online courses to adult learners globally on civil society and media, and onsite at schools of business (University of Manitoba), law (Chicago-Kent, Illinois Institute of Technology) and continuing education (University of Winnipeg), as well as facilitating public education for diverse communities.



Russ has been teaching for nine years, four at Gordon Bell and the last five at St. John’s High School. At St. John’s, Russ began teaching Grade 8-12 English Language Arts, but has since been teaching his specialty in Grades 9-12 Social Studies, including Geography, History, and Global Issues, as well as serving as the Humanities Department Head at St. John’s. Russ has previously led a team in the MARL Ethics Bowl. Prior to teaching, Russ worked in finance and in the trucking industry, before beginning teaching at age 36, experiences that have prepared him to be a better teacher. Russ believes strongly in life-long learning, as well as immersing students in hands-on learning resources and opportunities, such as MARL’s educational activities. 


Natalie's interest in human rights began as a young university student from rural Manitoba, learning about systemic oppression and effects of colonialism for the first time. This education and recognizing her own privilege completely changed Natalie's life plan and area of study. Since then, Natalie has been working and volunteering with non-profits who focus on community development and poverty alleviation. Natalie envisions a world with diverse, health communities where all people are valued and equal. She sees human rights education as huge part of achieving this goal. Natalie is a Program Coordinator, Asset Building Programs with SEED Winnipeg. She enjoys conversations over beer, acquiring useless hobbies, and sleeping in her tent.

 

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