Board members help with increasing visibility, policy development, revenue and fund development and oversee the affairs of Canadian Roots Exchange’s activities. Given the size of CRE, the board plays an active role and works alongside staff ensuring that our mandate is fulfilled.  All members of the Board serve on a volunteer basis and without remuneration.

Our Board of Directors is currently comprised of the following members:


selenaSelena Gignac – Director

Selena is a Community Outreach Director with YMCA Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. As an anglophone, Acadian woman living in Alberta, Selena’s relationship with colonialism is complex. She believes that reconciliation is rooted in both an understanding of self and in collective community experiences. These values are what drew her to Canadian Roots Exchange. This is critical and personal work as she strives within her own communities to decolonize what it means to be part of the Acadian diaspora. With almost 15 years in the non-profit sector, Selena has supported a large number of national and international workshops, collaborations, and open spaces that explore responsible ally-ship, grassroots leadership, and youth agency. She enjoys backyard retreats, video games, and spending time with her family.



Alysha Li – Director

Alysha joined Canadian Roots Exchange in 2013 and has since served as a summer intern, an exchange participant, exchange group leader, and a Youth Reconciliation leader in London, Ontario. Alysha was born in China and immigrated to Vancouver with her family at the age of 8. As a newcomer to Canada, Alysha feels the duty to learn about the history and culture of this country and its original peoples. Alysha has a passion for developing youth leadership opportunities, advocating on education policy, and creating forums for dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.  Alysha holds a Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree at the Ivey Business School, Western University and currently works as a Business Process Analyst at Bell Canada. In her spare time, Alysha enjoys watching political dramas and doing yoga.


16_judith_rae_800px_0541-238x300Judith Rae – Board Co-Chair

Judith Rae is a lawyer at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, a firm dedicated to working for Aboriginal peoples. Judith works with First Nations on a variety of negotiation and litigation matters. She also has a Master in Social Work, and a background working with youth at Christie Lake Kids.  Judith is excited to join the team at Canadian Roots.






Justin Wiebe – Board Co-Chairthumbnail.justin-headshot

Justin Wiebe is Michif (Métis)  born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He completed a Bachelor’s of Education degree at the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia in Community and Regional Planning. He is an activist, a critical thinker, an educator, and is always working to make the world a better place. Justin has a strong interest in decolonization and anti-racism work, as well as the importance of building community as a means to tear down colonial and marginalizing structures. He enjoys politics, dismantling oppression, facilitating, tweeting and the occasional beer.



elizabethswElizabeth Zarpa, Director

Elizabeth is from Happy Valley – Goose Bay, Labrador. She has an undergraduate degree in political science and international development studies from Dalhousie University, and most recently she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Victoria. Throughout her legal education she worked within several different populations and provinces, and focused on environmental law, Indigenous legal orders, criminal law, human rights law, family law and Aboriginal law. While she understands the importance of education, she also realizes the relevance of volunteerism, and has volunteered with Canada World Youth, Native Friendship Centres across the country and many others. She enjoys doing work that connects to her values, and believes that bridging the ignorance gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations within Canada means education through experiential learning opportunities in the country’s North and South.