Meet the Team
Liz (she/her) joined the YWITT team in 2020 as the Program Coordinator and became the Executive Director in 2021.
She is a settler, born and raised on the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabe in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario before coming to work in the Yukon in 2015.
Liz has worked in a variety of educational and non-profit management roles and grounds her work in feminist theory, place-based education, sustainability, and community leadership. Liz has spent 500+ field days leading remote backcountry expeditions worldwide where she developed her pedagogy and mentorship approach, as well as her risk management and problem-solving skills. Her published works include the intersection of experiential education and feminism.
As Executive Director, Liz is passionate about establishing lasting relationships through reciprocity and puts people at the center of her work. Liz is excited to be growing YWITT as an organization, and considers her life’s work to be supporting sustainable change in individuals, organizations and communities, which she is thrilled to do alongside this incredibly talented team.
Liz tries not to be stuck to her desk all the time and acknowledges a job in non-profit leadership can be anything from digging out a car and transporting equipment, to supporting staff and students.
Jessie (she/her) was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon and got her first exposure to the trades in a Girl Guides carpentry workshop at the age of 9 and later as a participant in YWITT’s annual youth conference. From there, Jessie worked as a volunteer instructor and board member before coming onto the team as the Program Coordinator in 2021.
Jessie has a background of training in carpentry. As Program Coordinator, she loves seeing the empowerment that comes as a direct result of her teaching and mentoring. She loves introducing someone to a trade or tool use and seeing how empowering that process can be.
Jessie celebrates her 10th year with YWITT this spring, and credits the amazing community around the organization as a motivating factor to her long-standing dedication. She envisions a future where the organization continues to grow as a community hub.
When Jessie is not at work, she turns heads with her colourful hair, collects creative hobbies including reading, crocheting and painting and hangs out with her multiple pets, Panda (pictured), Luna and Nagini
Monica (she/they/siya) brings a community engagement perspective to the YWITT team. Although she has never worked within trades, Monica brings twelve years of experience working in education and community contexts. She is on track to completing studies to obtain a PhD in Social Work and is also a certified educator. Monica's studies have provided the opportunity to take on project management and leadership roles on applied community research like YWITT's Doing it Right project, where Monica is the lead community researcher.
Studying and researching is continuous for Monica, whether that is at McGill University in Quebec or through community projects. Monica is set to begin a tenure track Assistant Professor position to continue her career in academia.
Monica brings to YWITT the ability to observe emerging opportunities whilst identifying people's strengths within the Community Action Leaders (CAL) team. Monica is most excited about community networking while creating safe(r) spaces to gather and share experiences. Monica would like to experience the changes the pilot projects will create, with the ultimate goal of shifting cultures to make workplaces better. She looks forward to communicating YWITT’s successes to create greater community understanding about the work YWITT does.
Monica's passion is creative writing. She is also a great home cook, often hosting dinner parties to be the ‘buzzing bee’: helping others make meaningful connections through food and sharing stories
Community Action Leader
Cheri-Lee Walters - Community Action Leader
Cheri-Lee started out in the trades at the tender age of seventeen, shoveling sawdust in the mills. Originally from Fort Nelson, British Columbia, she gained experience by working in the mills and eventually worked her way into a welding apprenticeship with the support of her excellent mentor, Dennis.
Cheri-Lee moved to the Yukon in 2014 and now calls these lands home. Her motivation to join the trades came from many inspiring folks in her family, particularly her father, David.
Cheri-Lee has achieved a lot in the last 20 years; she is a ticketed welder and a third year apprentice in both Refrigeration and Sheet Metal. She has thrived in these trades, building community with her peers and mentoring other female apprentices. When she is not troubleshooting complex refrigeration issues, you can find her snowshoeing with her beloved dog, Ursa. Cheri-Lee is often found outdoors: hunting, fishing, gardening or drinking beer around a fire with her favourite people.
What excites her about the Doing It Right project is working towards improving conditions in the trades for all! She has a special interest in the apprenticeship system and how to improve working conditions for learners of all genders. Behind those striking blue eyes is an honest, outspoken voice and a kind, attentive listener. Her perseverance in the face of adversity and her excellent sense of humour are qualities that draw people to her. Cheri-Lee is an absolute firecracker and a force to reckon with
Community Action Leader
Julaine (they/them) is a settler, born and raised on Sǫ̀mbak’e - unceded territory of the Yellowknives Dene, Chief Drygeese, Treaty 8 and traditional territory of the Tłı̨chǫ, Treaty 11.
Coming from a large, blue-collar family, Julaine has always cherished the act of gathering folks over food, conversation and a common goal.
They developed an interest in community building through co-creating the NWT Creative Collective (NWTCC), an arts organization to foster engagement and enjoyment of art at any stage.
Julaine’s relationship with the Yukon began in Dawson City’s School of Visual Arts (SOVA) Fall of 2019, where they felt and witnessed the strong intersection of creativity, culture and industry in the small northern community. Julaine credits YukonU’s SOVA for providing the stepping stone of navigating the shop and tools, to make art with wood, which led to curiosity of exploring the trade of carpentry.
YukonU’s Women in carpentry program in Whitehorse provided a tuition-free pre-apprenticeship, which acted as Julaine’s introduction into the trades. After six months of being taught by inspiring instructor, Meagan Christie, and learning in a class for women and gender diverse folks, Julaine felt more energized and engaged with the trades.
After working in construction for a year and utilizing YWITT’s support in navigating the challenges of the trades, Julaine is excited to join the team as a Community Action Leader (CAL). Julaine is grateful for the opportunity to bring trades folks together to build a more equitable future for the trades environment in the Yukon.
Community Action Leader
Jodie is celebrating her seventh year as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME). She came to the Yukon by way of the United Kingdom. Her journey into the aviation field first started with volunteering on the shop floor for six months, then being invited to start an apprenticeship at work. Prior to this time, Jodie had no background experience with mechanics. It was on the Alkan Air shop floor that she discovered her interest in working with her hands.
Jodie is proud to have spent four years on the floor while completing online courses. Her first accomplishment was learning how to successfully change a wheel on a machine, then later, passing the exams for her AME license. Working most recently as a production manager at Alkan Air, Jodie brings strong organizing and communication skills to YWITT. Her goal is to always keep learning, and she finds the aviation field provides the space for that.
As a Community Action Leader with YWITT, Jodie is really excited to see where the Doing It Right project will go. She’s most keen about corporate outreach and support, and wants to see impact and changes in workplace cultures. Jodie finds her role with YWITT brings new learning to apply to her everyday life and at work, and enjoys all the new connections with like-minded people in the trades.
Outside of work, Jodie is a mum to a beautiful daughter, Penny, and keeps active with skiing and camping: two fantastic outdoor activities in the Yukon.