Board & Team
Norma Alberg — Knowledge management consultant
Charmaine Bloomfield — Local business owner
Charmaine (treasurer) has been a part of the board since September 2016. She lives and works in the city of Winnipeg. She and her husband started Cost Wise Business Consulting in 2014, which works with businesses to control their monthly expenses, especially in the area of telecommunications.
Before starting their business, Charmaine has worked for four years as the accountant for Inner City Youth Alive, a not-for-profit organization in the core area of Winnipeg. Previous to that, she spent three years living in California, and two years travelling throughout the United States.
When she has spare time, she enjoys reading, exploring the city with her school-aged daughter, and a cappella music.
Wendy Bloomfield — Manitoba School Boards Association
Wendy (chairperson) joined the board in September 2014. She was appointed by the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils.
For the past 33 years, Wendy has been an elected school trustee for the Seine River School Division. She began her career working as the administrator for St. Norbert Children’s Centre and was responsible for the construct action of a new facility in 1992. Wendy also worked in the provincial government from 1997 to 2014. She worked in Family Services with vulnerable adults and she also liaised with child and family service agencies. As part of her work she did training on governance with non-profit boards.
Now retired, Wendy continues to consult with the provincial government on the Non-Profit Organization Strategy. She also is a Board member with the St. Norbert Arts Centre and is a member of the Vulnerable Person’s Hearing Panel.
Maria Fernandes — Manitoba Association of Parent Councils
Biography coming soon
Dr. Sheila Giesbrecht — Province of Manitoba, Department of Education and Advanced Learning
Sheila (ex-officio) has been a part of the board since April 2014. She has worked as a Student Success Consultant since 2008 with the Province of Manitoba in it’s Department of Education and Advanced Training. As a non-voting Board member, Sheila is a liaison between the provincial government and the Council.
Although she grew up in Manitoba, Sheila moved to Chicago in her early adult years, where she taught in the inner-city. She lived there for 9 years and received a doctorate degree in the area of education and curriculum assessment from the University of Illinois. She has worked as a teacher, in the area of professional development, held a position as a school principal in Arizona, and has lived and worked on the Hopi Reservation.
Sheila enjoys spending time with her children and family travelling, participating in Winnipeg’s vibrant city life and exploring Manitoba’s wilderness.
Karen Larocque — Prairie Mountain Health Authority
Karen (director) joined the board in 2013. She is a community dietitian at Prairie Mountain Health, based in Brandon. Karen works with the community to build capacity, encouraging people to make healthy choices. She is part of the Health Promotion team which focuses on issues such as healthy eating, tobacco reduction, safety, physical activity, and injury prevention. Karen also has many years of experience as a clinical dietitian, working in hospitals and long-term care.
Although she grew up in Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba, where she earned her degree in Human Ecology, Karen has also lived in Thompson and Brandon for a good portion of her adult years. Karen’s work and life experiences help bring a rural perspective to the work she does in the area of child nutrition. Also a member of the Brandon School Division’s Healthy Schools Committee, Karen helps schools learn about the division’s school nutrition policy.
Karen has two adult children. In her spare time, she loves gardening, being a part of a book club, being active (walking, biking, camping), cooking, and spending time with her family.
Phaedra Miller (ex-officio) is the current representative from the Government of Manitoba’s Health, Seniors and Active Living Department. Phaedra is a consultant in the Active Living, Indigenous Relations and Public Health Division where she works on a number of food and nutrition-related initiatives. The department of Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living has been supportive of the work of the Council since the organization’s inception and is committed to the health and well-being of Manitoba’s children and youth.
Jessica Rutherford — Province of Manitoba, Department of Healthy Living and Seniors
Jessica (ex-officio) joined the board in January 2016. She works as a nutrition policy consultant for the Department of Healthy Living and Seniors. As a non-voting Board member, Jessica is a liaison between the provincial government and the Council. She is a registered dietitian and completed both her undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences) and graduate degree (Masters of Science) at the University of Manitoba.
Kevan Sumner — Brandon School Division
Kevan (director) joined the board in 2010. He works full-time in land use planning for the Province of Manitoba in the department of Indigenous and Municipal Relations. Guided by an early interest in architecture, Kevan obtained a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Manitoba. He has also worked in policy and community development in the Department of Agriculture. His work, along with growing up on a farm near the community of Neepawa, gives Kevan a unique perspective on poverty in rural communities.
Kevan’s work informs his volunteer efforts, which include Board director for Food for Thought (a Brandon non-profit that manages distribution of food to schools in Brandon) and terms as both Trustee and Vice-Chair for the Brandon School Division. In September 2016, Kevan was appointed as Chairperson for the Brandon School Division.
While Kevan was growing up, his mom worked as a school teacher and instilled the importance of education in him from an early age. Kevan’s work in the area of childhood nutrition is motivated by the belief that we have a duty to ensure that all children have equitable access to education and healthy, nutritious meals. He is a husband, a father to two young children, and he enjoys curling, motorcycling, and playing board games with his children and friends in his spare time.
Marilyn Tanner-Spence — Local business owner
Marilyn (director) graduated from her degree in Nursing from the University of Manitoba in 1992 and her Masters degree in 1996. Marilyn worked in the field of nursing in many capacities, she did hospital nursing, outpost nursing, and worked independent consultant for many years. She worked on establishing the nursing program in Norway House and helped to set up the dialysis center in Norway House.
Today Marilyn is the proud owner of Teekca’s Boutique located in Norway House and Winnipeg. She also owns Myleen’s Treasures in Norway House. She was a director for the Misericordia Health Centre for many years and is currently a director for the Forks Merchant Board and the Uniquely Manitoba Board.
Larissa Webster — Local business owner
Larissa (director) joined the Board in late 2016. She has lived in different parts of the world and worked in a variety of capacities, including technology and marketing in corporations. Larissa has lived in Thailand for four years, then she moved to France where she lived for another four years. She learned a lot about school food programs while living abroad, before returning to her home community of Winnipeg. Back in Manitoba, Larissa started a bakery/restaurant called Frenchway Café.
Larissa is a mom to two children who attend elementary and junior high school. She’s passionate about advocating for children so they can have access to healthy food and education about how to prepare it. She is also interested in bringing more food security projects, and partnerships, with a focus on educating school children and their families on food sustainability to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.
Jennifer Wojcik — Dietitians of Canada
Jennifer (director) originally was a director for the Board from 2007 to 2010 while she was employed with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba. In 2015, Jennifer rejoined our Board when she took on the role of Regional Executive Director (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) for Dietitians of Canada. This professional association represents dietitians from across the country. Dietitians of Canada is also the lead partner for the Manitoba Healthy Food in Schools program which aims to create positive food and nutrition environments in Manitoba schools.
As a registered dietitian since 2007, Jennifer has held a variety of roles in addition to the ones listed above. She has managed a corporate wellness program at Manitoba Public Insurance and has also worked at the Canadian Diabetes Association. Jennifer completed both her undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences) and graduate degree (Masters of Science) at the University of Manitoba.
Growing up on a Manitoba farm meant that Jennifer always had a connection to food. Today, she lives in Winnipeg and is a mom to two young children that keep her very busy!
Friends of the Council
Corinne Eisenbraun – Dietitians of Canada
Marty Snelling — Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation
Clara Birnie – Program Dietitian
Clara is a Registered Dietitian who started working with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba in 2012 in a contract position. She began her position as a Program Dietitian in 2014. Clara graduated with distinction from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences. She went on to complete a dietetic internship with Manitoba Partnership Dietetic Education Program.
Clara values evidence-based nutrition information and has a strong interest in research. She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Manitoba and Dietitians of Canada.
Clara is passionate about fostering healthy habits in both individuals and communities. Before working with the Council, Clara had a nutritional consulting practice out of Corydon Physiotherapy Clinic, she also worked in the areas of pre- and post-natal nutrition with Healthy Start for Mom and Me, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority in public health.
When she isn’t working, Clara loves spending time with her husband and son, travelling, exploring the city, playing in the garden, or creating meals and sharing laughs in the kitchen!
Melanie Ferris – Executive Director
Melanie Ferris is a First Nations woman with mixed ancestry. As member of the Long Plain First Nation in southern Manitoba, she pursued her studies in English Literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Carleton University in Ottawa. Melanie has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, and now Winnipeg, where she worked within federal government departments and non-profit health organizations. Melanie also ran her own communications consulting business for seven years.
For many years, Melanie’s work focused on prenatal and postnatal health, early childhood development, and the prevention of obesity amongst Indigenous children in Canada. In 2012, she was appointed as an expert advisor on the topic of Aboriginal child health to Ontario’s Minister of Health.
Melanie is passionate about food security and child health, and has 16+ years of communications and project management experience, along with 10+ years of health promotion experience. She has written eight books on a variety of Indigenous health topics. Melanie is a proud mom to one child. Her goal is to use her energy and skills to contribute to better overall health for all children and teens across Canada. She is thrilled to be leading the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba since July 2016.
Maxine Meadows – Program Dietitian
Maxine Meadows is a Registered Dietitian who has worked in the area of community nutrition in Manitoba for many years. Maxine received her Bachelor of Human Ecology with a major in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Manitoba and completed a Self Directed Dietitians of Canada Approved Internship Program. She holds memberships with the College of Dietitians of Manitoba and Dietitians of Canada.
Maxine has worked in several community dietitian positions including Babies’ Best Start Prenatal Nutrition Program, former NOR-MAN Regional Health Authority, former Assiniboine Regional Health Authority and Manitoba Healthy Food in Schools. Maxine started working with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba coordinating the Manitoba Vegetable and Fruit Program in 2008. In 2014 she started her new role as Program Dietitian supporting breakfast, snack and lunch programs across Manitoba.
Maxine loves the outdoors and travelling with her husband and two children. She has had the opportunity to live and work in Thompson, Flin Flon, Powerview-Pine Falls, Boissevain and now Gimli, Manitoba.
Viola Prowse – Mentor