Our Board of Directors
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.
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.
Melanie Beth Oliviero is a senior level strategic advisor with global and grassroots experience offering expertise working with private and public sector to advance strategic planning, organizational development, and advocacy efforts, especially those involving engagement and equity considerations of vulnerable groups. Most recently, she has provided strategic services to Circles for Reconciliation (Winnipeg), Development Alternatives, Inc. (Bethesda, MD, USA) serving newcomer and Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and leaders of systemic change globally, 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.
Evan Maydaniuk, BBA, is the current Past 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 CollègePierre-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.
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.
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.
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.
Robert is a lawyer in private practice, working primarily in the areas of civil litigation and administrative law. He earned a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Manitoba in 2008, and a M.A. from the University of Guelph in 2010. The focus of his historical studies was radical social movements amongst the working classes; to that end, his graduate work focused on popular proto-working-class resistance against raising food prices inn 1790s Britain. After a few years working in IT, he attended and graduated from Robson Hall, Robert served on the board and was and editor of The Canadian Journal of Human Rights, and took interest in access to justice. He articled at the Public Interest Law Centre, an office of Legal Aid Manitoba that focuses on litigation concerning the environment, human rights, Indigenous persons, and consumers and low income persons. He was called to the bar in June 2018. When not working, he enjoys watching films and almost any sport known to humankind.