Charting the Future of History

New President & CEO and Board members eager to grow the ways we share Canada’s diverse stories.

Written by Bruce MacLellan

Posted September 16, 2022

The past few months have been busy at Canada’s National History Society. As a charity, we operate with a dedicated staff team and an equally committed group of volunteers, which includes the Board of Directors. Periodic renewal is a part of how we stay fresh and grow.

At the end of August, we gathered in Winnipeg for Board meetings and our annual meeting of the History Society. It was energizing to be together in person after two years of video meetings during the pandemic. I consider it a great honour to serve as the new Board Chair, and I also see huge opportunities for us to expand our impact.

In governance, one of the most important tasks of the Board is to recruit and to oversee the organization’s CEO. This year, we bade farewell to our wonderful President & CEO of eight years, Janet Walker. Janet is known to many of our supporters and partners, and she always brings a positive and productive presence to conversations. We are grateful for Janet’s many contributions and wish her well in retirement. In August we also said farewell to outgoing Board Chair Sasha Mullally, who gave seven years of distinguished service to our Board.

We are pleased to welcome Bob Cox as President & CEO. Bob’s selection follows a national search and interview process with members of our Board. Bob is passionate about history and storytelling. With a strong background in journalism and media, Bob joins us after serving for fifteen years as Publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press. He was a key member of the Free Press team, building new revenue models, expanding digital content, and increasing community connection and engagement.

We are in an important time for our mission and work. We are navigating the present moment of a conflicted history. We tell stories that are often complex about people and values embedded in previous times. In all cases, our History Society seeks to find the truth. When history is shared and understood, it can build common purpose and shared values. Nations thrive when history and our own experiences are understood.

Our talented Board of Directors, whose members are listed on the next page, fulfills the important role of governance. Two ongoing priorities are to bring academic oversight to the work of tinued financial success. Without generous donors, we can’t support educators and students, recognize excellence via the Governor General’s History Awards, or share stories with our subscribers.

Our newly elected Board is the most diverse in our organization’s history and will make us better as we aim to reflect modern Canada. The Board and management adopted a clear statement of commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in 2021, and that statement appears on our website.

We welcomed three new Board members in August. Jennifer Moore Rattray is a proud member of Peepeekisis Cree Nation and is of mixed Cree and Scottish heritage. She is Chief Operating Officer of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization in Manitoba and previously was Executive Director of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. James Cowan is a senior executive with Macquarie, a global financial services group, and has experience in accounting, investments, fundraising, and board governance. Professor Amani Whitfield joins as an academic advisor and is both a senior scholar and the author of several books on Black Loyalists, slave systems in the Maritimes, and Black refugee experiences in Atlantic Canada. He spent most of his career at the University of Vermont and is now at the University of Calgary.

We count on your support as subscribers, donors, and contributors to help us share with Canadians the stories behind the history. Thank you for your trust. We are seized with the need to reach more people with more stories, and together we can make it happen.

Canada’s History Board of Directors

Bruce MacLellan, Chair
Bill Caulfeild-Browne
Tim Cook
James Cowan
Magda Fahrni
Edward Kennedy
Michèle Leduc
Sandra E. Martin
Jennifer Moore Rattray
Natasha Pashak
Carla Peck
Michael Rea
Amani Whitfield

This article originally appeared in the October-November 2022 issue of Canada’s History.

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