Board of Directors

Lisa Ellacott

Lisa Ellacott


Lisa has worked as a Front-line Worker, Supervisor, and a Director of Services for agencies that provide supports and services to people with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. She is presently continuing her education at Lakehead University and will achieve her HBSW and then carry on with her Masters in Social Work. She is presently working as a Family Resource Facilitator for Wesway and volunteers in many different capacities within the community.

Her interest in volunteering with the CLTB Board is to give back and educate the community at large about people with disabilities. She feels it is important to demonstrate that everyone has something to contribute to the overall general well-being of the community in which we live.

Donna Lagergren

Donna Lagergren

1st Vice President

Donna has been a Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) for over 26 years and was employed at St. Elizabeth’s Home Health Care. She provides care and health care teaching to individuals and families within the community. In 2007 she received her BA in psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Lakehead University. She will be entering her 4th year of the Bachelor of Science of Nursing (BSCN) program.

Donna is currently an active Board member at the Thunder Bay Counseling Centre and the Catholic Family Development Centre. She previously served on the CLTB Board (2007-2011), and hopes to build on her past experience and bring new ideas to the Board. It is her belief that every individual with special needs is unique and should be heard with a strong voice. She is an advocator for the individuals and their families within the community and believes that by educating and providing supportive programs, it encourages individuals with a disability to maintain a stronger role in today’s society.

Ken Merkley

Ken Merkley

2nd Vice President, Director

Ken Merkley is the Buyer for Tbaytel and has nearly 10 years experience in the supply chain management profession. He is a member of the Supply Chain Management Association of Ontario and holds the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation.

Ken has lived in Thunder Bay the majority of his life, and is an active member of the music and arts community. He is looking forward to bringing his knowledge, compassion, and commitment to the Board of Directors for Community Living Thunder Bay.


Lisa Foster


Patrizia Charrette

Executive Assistant

Wendy Brescia


Wendy Brescia was born, raised and educated in Thunder Bay, Ontario.   She is happily married to husband Joe, and has two wonderful children Nicholas and Katherine.  Katherine is currently attending the Community Living Thunder Bay Griffis Centre.

Wendy attended Hillcrest High School and Lakehead University, graduating from the Honours Bachelor of Commerce program in 1999, majoring in Accounting.  From there, her she continued to pursue her Certified Management Accountants designation in Toronto, Ontario.  Recently, Wendy returned to University completing her Master of Science in Management Degree in 2011 at Lakehead University.

While completing her accounting degree at Lakehead, Wendy commenced employment with the Tom Jones Corporation and has continued to advance in her role there since 1997.  She is presently the Controller of the Tom Jones Group of Companies, working in management, where she is involved in continuous system improvements, audit, finance, accounting, human resources and technology.

Wendy enjoys volunteering in the community and has taken leadership roles in many fundraising and board activities for a variety of local charities and interest groups.  Wendy looks forward to new learning opportunities and is excited to apply her knowledge of business management, systems, accounting and finance to this new role.

Vanessa DeGiacomo-Zwaresh


Vanessa has been the Energy Analyst for the City of Thunder Bay for the past eight years. She completed her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education at Lakehead University as well as a Diploma in Environmental Engineering Technology from Confederation College.  She also achieved her designation as a Certified Energy Manager.  She has numerous years of experience in the education sector specializing in the environmental field. She has held previous leadership positions as a Board Member with the Association of Municipal Recycling Coordinators, as Co-Chair of the United Way Dinner for the City of Thunder Bay and as Vice Chair – Community Relations for Lakehead University’s 40th Anniversary Committee.  She is a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay and is looking forward to bringing her professionalism, experience, passion, dedication and knowledge to the Board of Director for Community Living Thunder Bay.

Earl McIvor


Earl McIvor works and lives in Thunder Bay. He has spent his entire life living in Northwestern Ontario working in a variety of industries. He has diverse experience in education, forestry, telecommunications and health care. He has held the designation of Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) and holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

Earl is active with a variety of community organizations including Community Living Thunder Bay, Lakehead Japanese Cultural Association, CPA Ontario – Lakehead District and the Lakehead Canoe Club. He spends a lot of his leisure time bicycling, hiking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing when the weather permits.

Earl has and continues to raise two wonderful boys. One of his sons is diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, Not otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) which is on the Autism Spectrum.

Earl considers himself blessed and looks to give back to society in whatever way he can. He gives of his time, energy and experience to help to contribute to society as a whole; improving it for others however he can. He has seen the struggles with the education system and getting through the activities of daily living. His greatest wish is to see both his sons live a productive life; contributing and participating as fully as possible in society, without unnecessary barriers or restrictions.

Robert Rickards


I have worked in various fields including:

  • As a telecommunications technician with Confederation College with over 18 years’ experience in the digital and IP based telecommunications and data network systems
  • As a supervisor with Bombardier managing a team to deliver a product on time and within budget
  • As a Nursing Orderly at Westmount, Hogarth and McKellar hospitals assisting clients with their physical, emotional and ADL (Activities of Daily Living) needs.

I was born in Fort William and have lived the majority of my life in the city.  I have been active in the city as a volunteer and/or director with the following organizations:

  • Big Brother Big Sister – volunteer – board member – president
  • Salvation Army – volunteer (soup van and kettle campaign)
  • Community Living Thunder Bay – director – volunteer

I look forward to bringing my skills and dedication to the Board of Directors for Community Living Thunder Bay.

Marybeth Barrett


Marybeth has worked for over thirty years in the Social Work field, especially in the areas of respite and working with individuals with developmental disabilities.  She is currently Supervisor of Services at Wesway.  Within the context of this position, Marybeth has enjoyed meeting with families, both in the city and surrounding areas, who are seeking ways to ensure that their family member enjoys a full life while they continue to remain a strong support to one another.

In her role of managing services, Marybeth has developed a strong skillset in a number of areas, including responsive service development, individualized funding, strategic planning and budgeting. She also has a Masters of Social Work degree. 

She is a proud mother of four and has been married for almost 29 years.  Family is very important to Marybeth.  Her belief in community makes her a strong advocate for people who are marginalized or vulnerable.

Over the years, Marybeth has supported people with developmental disabilities in both a paid and volunteer capacity.  She is very excited about many of the changes currently being undertaken by the organization and shares the same values and mission with CLTB.  Marybeth strongly believes in an open, welcoming and inclusive community.

Leah Bellin

Self Advocate Advisor

Ayla Ludwig


Ayla is working as the Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) Field Placement Coordinator. The CICE program is designed for students with disabilities and various learning challenges. In her roll she is networking with businesses and organizations to host students and is also responsible for setting up placements, facilitating initial student/placement meetings, job coaching, evaluations and, supporting students to complete field placement assignments. This is an excellent opportunity for Ayla to pursue her desire to see more inclusive work environments. She feels very strongly that every individual can contribute positively to a work place and there is always a meaningful role for individuals.

Additionally, for the past four years she has been focusing on providing food service vocational training for young adults with disabilities. Through Willow Springs Creative Centre she has designed, implemented, coordinated and, facilitated the Soup and Bread Extravaganza and the Pizza and Salad Program. These programs provide meaningful employment and volunteer and student placement opportunities. Staff and participants gain experience in kitchen management, food prep, safe food handling, baking, teamwork and, life skills.

And a side note, she loves gardening, hiking, biking, hanging out with her dogs, working on fire wood and, soaking up the summer rays!

Allen Warren

Self Advocate Advisor