Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C.

Reconciliation Canada Ambassador

Chief Joseph is currently the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and is an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As Chairman of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation and Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation with the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IFWP), Chief Joseph has sat with the leaders of South Africa, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia and Washington, DC to learn from and share his understanding of faith, hope, healing and reconciliation.Click here to read Chief Dr. Robert Joseph’s full biography.

Karen Joseph

Chief Executive Officer

Karen Joseph is a proud member of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. She brings more than 18 years experience inspiring diverse partners to collaborate towards achieving effective, positive change.As the eldest daughter of Chief Robert Joseph, Karen founded Reconciliation Canada in 2012 to uphold a dream held by her father to witness thousands of people walking together for renewed relationships. In September 2013, the Walk for Reconciliation brought 70,000 people to the streets of downtown Vancouver to display commitment to transforming relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Karen can speak first-hand to the impacts of inter-generational trauma and the current realities of the Indian Residential School legacy. In the true legacy of Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and culture, Karen holds a lifelong commitment to family and community.

Sheryl Ries

Chief Operating Officer

Sheryl Ries is currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer for Reconciliation Canada. She joins Reconciliation Canada with twenty years of experience with Vancity Savings Credit Union where she has held a wide range of different leadership; including running numerous community branches as Branch Manager to most recently as the Director of Change Leadership for Vancity’s Banking Applications Renewal Program. Over the past twenty years, Sheryl has gained a deep appreciation for doing work that enables and builds healthy, inclusive and prosperous communities. This perspective along with her diverse background in banking, community engagement, change management and technology has provided her with a sense of optimism; that passionate and committed people united by a shared vision can create lasting and positive change in our communities.Sheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and lives in Burnaby, British Columbia with her husband and her teenage son Chris. She is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Reconciliation Canada team and to contribute to the work of revitalizing relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Cristina Chihaia

Director of People Engagement

Cristina comes to the team with a Masters in Human Resources and over 10 years professional experience in both legal consultant and Human Resources roles. She jumped right into a position with Reconciliation Canada as a volunteer, just weeks after she moved to Canada from Romania. Cristina’s positive and thoughtful approach make her a great fit for the team, and she is inspired by the difference that she is able to make within Canada.

Michelle Cho

Director of Marketing, Communications and Outreach

Michelle comes to the team with a background in non-profit management, marketing and communications and a passion for intercultural relations. Combining her education in business, entrepreneurship, and arts with the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others, she spent the last ten years of her life to working with non-profit organizations and volunteering internationally. Her travels abroad and graduate studies in intercultural communications has fuelled her desire to embark on the journey of reconciliation with the rest of the Reconciliation Canada team.

Krystal Renschler

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Krystal comes to Reconciliation Canada with a background in mediation, dialogue facilitation and transitional justice. She has worked on and supported conflict transformation and reconciliation projects in Canada, South East Asia, West Africa and the Middle East/North Africa region. Motivated by meaningful work and the transformative potential of engaged dialogue, Krystal brings a passion for collaborative processes that draw on our collective intelligence and spark action. Krystal is honored to be part of Reconciliation Canada and to work alongside a team of inspiring change-makers.

Shelley Joseph

Public Outreach Lead and Cultural Advisor

Hekwa’gila’owgwa, Shelley Joseph, brings over 25 years of experience paired with education covering spiritual, physical, mental and emotional well-being for families and communities. She is passionate about supporting First Nations people to take an active role in healing and growth utilizing a holistic approach to well-being. Shelley has always followed traditional teachings through a lifetime of learning from elders and cultural leaders. Aligning with Reconciliation Canada’s idea about creating a better tomorrow for our children; Shelley lives by the Kwakwaka’wakw law “if not for our children, what would our purpose be?” And has always believed in the Kwa’kwala phrase– ḵ̕wa̱la’yu, you are my reason for living. Rounding out her beliefs and cultural values; Shelley is excited to continue to move the work of Reconciliation Canada forward and be a part of her dad’s legacy.

Kyla Hackett

Outreach Manager

Kyla Hackett joins the team with 5 years experience working in the charitable sector. Kyla has a Masters in Social Policy for Development from the University of Rotterdam, Netherlands. Her studies and main interest areas include: reconciliation and anti-racist education. As an ally, she is honoured to be part of the Reconciliation Canada team in helping to build new ways forward for Indigenous peoples and all Canadians!

Charlene Seward

Community Engagement Manager

Charlene Seward is a proud member of the Squamish Nation. She is honored to join the Reconciliation Canada team, and brings almost a decade of experience working and volunteering with local non-profit organizations and small businesses. She is wholly dedicated to First Nations rights, reconciliation, and food sovereignty.

Elaine Kinequon

Executive Assistant

Elaine Kinequon is a proud member of the Day Star First Nation in Saskatchewan and has made her home in Vancouver for the past sixteen years. She comes to Reconciliation Canada with more than twenty years of office, administrative and management experience. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the First Nations University of Canada and attended the Indian Communication Arts Program. She is a strong believer in her cultural roots and has the greatest respect for all modalities of holistic healing and participates as much as she can.Elaine participated in the September 2013 Walk for Reconciliation. She is honoured to be a part of the Reconciliation Canada team and strongly believes that reconciliation begins with us, as individuals, and our families and eventually to the community around us.

Justine Cuenco

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Justine joins the Reconciliation Canada team with a background in not-for-profit communications, marketing, public relations and journalism. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Calgary and a diploma in Journalism from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Justine is passionate about helping individuals and groups convey their stories in meaningful ways to encourage open dialogue, new perspectives and positive action. She is honoured to be a part of Reconciliation Canada, where she has the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the reconciliation movement alongside an inspiring and energetic team.