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Our Board

Katherine Cole

Vice President / vice-présidente


Since joining the federal public service in 2011, Katherine has been at Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and is now Director of Citizen Engagement at the Correctional Service of Canada. With an M.A. in Indigenous Studies from Carleton University (2005), and eight years as a research consultant for Residential Schools, Katherine is passionate about Indigenous issues and relations. A resident of Ottawa, she has been active in the community as chair and multicultural coordinator on her children’s school council and is also a volunteer with her children’s soccer club. She also serves on the board of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre. Together with her partner, a Nigerian-born writer and musician, she has two boys. Katherine is also an avid cyclist and enjoys being active in and around Ottawa, which has been home since 2002.

Why did Katherine decide to stand for the IAP2 Canada Board?

I was pleased to join the IAP2 Canada board in September 2019. I applied without much knowledge of the organization but had derived so much value over many years from the foundations training that I saw the opportunity to give back. I have learned so much about IAP2 since joining. My first board meeting was in Charlotte, NC and we had the pleasure of meeting with the IAP2 USA board. I have had the privilege of meeting some international members and leaders of IAP2 and I remain humbled by their experience and their kindness. We do not all have the same experiences as public participation practitioners, but I have never met a more collaborative and open group of professionals.

Since getting involved with the board, I have taken on the role of board liaison to IAP2 Canada’s Indigenous Engagement Community of Practice (CoP). In 2021, two practitioners took the lead of this CoP and they have been brilliant. If you are wondering how reconciliation fits within your practice, this community may be a good place to start or supplement your own learning journey.

In 2021, I was honoured to be asked by my fellow board member, Rajvir Rao, to co-lead the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee for IAP2 Canada. We are still finding our feet, but we have a fantastic group of people who have volunteered their time to work with us. I am humbled by their perspectives, their creative energy, intelligence and honesty.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on P2 and on IAP2 Canada. I am encouraged by how IAP2 Canada has adapted and even flourished during the pandemic, along with our members. I think it speaks volumes for IAP2’s values. 2022 will be a year of big changes for the organization but the last two challenging years have shown us that we are in a very good place.

We have a strong strategic plan, made possible through the leadership of our board president. It was developed through many virtual sessions (not easy!). We have more work we want to do and we will keep reaching. My personal priorities are on supporting the organization to diversify IAP2 Canada’s membership and its cohort of trainers.

I encourage anyone interested in supporting IAP2 Canada to stand for the board or volunteer in other capacities. It is an incredible organization led by passionate and committed people.

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