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Institutional Priorities

Senior Leadership Team

The Senior Leadership Team works collaboratively and steers the College on the path for success. This team works primarily at the Notre Dame Campus, but you’ll regularly find them visiting other campuses, saying hello to our community in the hallways, or attending special events.

Learn how each team member contributes to the success of the College, and what their interests outside of work are too (you likely have a thing or two in common!).

Fred Meier – President and CEO

Fred Meier

Fred Meier is Red River College’s sixth President and CEO. Before coming to RRC, Fred held many progressive leadership roles within public service, and joins the College after formerly holding the position of Clerk of Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet.

Throughout his career, Fred has focused on building a positive and inclusive work culture, championed employee engagement, and leads with a strong code of values and ethics.

Outside of work, Fred enjoys spending time with his family and spending time at the cottage. Fred is an active cyclist, and enjoys tennis, curling, and outdoor pursuits. He is a lifelong Manitoban and enjoys exploring our great province.

Dr. Christine Watson – Vice President, Academic

Christine Watson

For over 20 years, Dr. Christine Watson has worked in senior administration, leadership, teaching and research at universities and colleges in three Canadian provinces. Christine joined Red River College in 2013, and has led the development of the Academic and Research Plan, chaired the Senior Academic Committee and founded the RRC Apprenticeship Committee.

She holds a B.A. English (Honours) from University of British Columbia, a M.A. (English Literature) from Queen’s University, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from University of Queensland (Australia). Outside of work, Christine enjoys time with her wife, two kids, two dogs and two cats.

Christine’s favourite hobbies include writing daily haikus (you can follow her haiku journey on Instagram (@dr_c_watson), and taking road trips to discover the beauty, history, and quirkiness of small town Manitoba (which become the source for many haiku!). 

Lynn Zapshala-Kelln – Vice President, Finance and Administration

Lynn Zapshala-Kelln

Lynn oversees all current aspects of the finance and administration portfolio, including finance and campus services, capital projects, campus planning, and sustainability. She works directly with the College’s Chief Information Officer and Executive Director, Finance and Campus Services.

Lynn has an extensive background working in Manitoba’s post-secondary system, and has served in the senior ranks of the Province of Manitoba’s civil service for almost two decades. Lynn is a Chartered Professional Accountant, and holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from the University of Regina.

A collaborative leader, Lynn enjoys working with her teammates to build on successes and overcome challenges to ensure people across the College continue to shine.

Adam Gerhard – Chief Information Officer

Adam Gerhard

Adam joined the College in 2020 as the College’s first Chief Information Officer. Prior to joining the College, he was Director of Planning and Governance in Information Services and Technology at the University of Manitoba, where he had responsibility for IT Governance, IT Architecture, and the Project Management Office, as well as the finance and administrative functions of the unit. Before that, he was Vice-President Corporate Services with RANA Respiratory Care Group (now Careica Health), and an IT Architect with IBM.

Adam has been involved in national organizations, including the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers, and has served as a Regent as Chair of the Governance and Community Relations Committee of the University of Winnipeg Board of Regents. Adam holds a Bachelor of Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Manitoba, and is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Outside of work, Adam is a Scouter with Scouts Canada, coaches cross-country skiing, and serves as chair of his church board. 

Melanie Gudmundson – Chief Human Resource Officer

Melanie Gudmundson

Melanie is responsible for Human Resource Services, Payroll and Benefits, Safety and Health Services, Security Services, Corporate Legal Services, and a shared responsibility for the Centre for Learning and Program Excellence (Staff and Faculty Development). Melanie has been with the College since 2009, and joined the Senior Leadership team in 2018.

Prior to joining the College, Melanie worked for the Province of Manitoba in the Departments of Education and Training, Treasury Board Secretariat (Labour Relations and Compensation Services), and Family Services and Housing.

Outside of work, Melanie spends her time with her family camping in the summer and at the hockey rink in the winter.  

Aileen Najduch – Executive Director, Community and Student Services

Aileen Najduch

Aileen Najduch H.B.O.R., B.Sc., B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed. spent the early part of her career teaching in remote communities in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and later in northern Manitoba. These experiences provide her with a deep understanding into the role education plays in the success of Indigenous youth.

Aileen also has extensive experience and knowledge in curriculum development, supporting students with diverse learning needs, and collaborating with education stakeholders from various communities.

Outside of work, Aileen is a dedicated volunteer, canoe tripper, and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

David Petis – Executive Director, Advancement

David Petis

David leads the Advancement portfolio and works collaboratively to provide strategic direction on fund development, marketing and web presence, communications, and government relations.  

David has nearly 30 years of Canadian post-secondary experience in external relations, advancement, philanthropic giving, and alumni and community relations, having led major university branding exercises and the successful delivery of multiple comprehensive fundraising campaigns. He’s held senior executive positions at several institutions including Medicine Hat College, Brock University, and the University of Alberta.

As well, David holds Diplomas in Marketing and Business Administration from Fleming College along with a certificate in Human Behaviour. 

Outside of work, David enjoys community service and has served on several not-for-profit and community boards. Additionally, he enjoys reading, chess, participating in all kinds of sports, and travel, both exploring Canada on road trips and internationally when time permits. His favourite free time is spent with family.

RaeAnn Thibeault – Executive Director, Academic

RaeAnn Thibeault

RaeAnn Thibeault began her career with the College over 20 years ago. During her tenure, RaeAnn has been the Dean for the School of Continuing  & Distance Education, the VP, Community Development leading International Education, Indigenous Education & Community Relations, the Language Training Centre and regional campuses.

In 2016, she became the Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Community Services before assuming the role of Executive Director, Academic in 2019. With her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nursing, RaeAnn, a registered nurse, has also held various teaching, nursing supervisory, and community health positions prior to joining the College.

At RRC, RaeAnn serves on a variety of committees and most recently as a member of the Instructor Assignment Taskforce. 

Outside of work, RaeAnn enjoys being involved in various creative projects and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.