Board of Directors

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

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.

Robert Rickards

2nd Vice President

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.


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 W.J. Griffis Children's 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.

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.

Janette Sprovieri


is a mother of 3 children and grandmother of 5 and to date, this is her proudest achievement.  She has an Applied Degree in Aboriginal Law and Advocacy.  She has been working for Ministry of the Attorney General since 2004 at both Superior Court and Ontario Courts of Justice in Thunder Bay as the Supervisor of Court Operations.  She recently completed a secondment in the Cochrane/Temiskaming District as a Manager of Court Operations. This had her working closely with the northern fly in communities of the James Bay coast.
 Currently, Janette is in Thunder Bay and is the Regional Accessibility Lead for the Northwest Region and co-chair of the Provincial Accessibility Committee.  She is also the northwest regional lead on the Criminal Operational Policy and Civil Technical Tables provincial tables. 
Prior coming to the OPS, she worked in the private sector in non-profit organizations as an advocate/manager, whose main focus was accessibility issues, working with different disability sectors in the community of Thunder Bay.  Her work with Community Living Ontario saw her on a provincial wide initiative with schools boards’ developing an inclusive school culture.

Ken Merkley


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.



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 role 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!

Shawna Larson

Self Advocate Advisor

Leah Bellin

Self Advocate Advisor

Allen Warren

Self Advocate Advisor