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Campus Well-Being

International Women’s Day 2024: Meet the Panelists

February 27, 2024

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Campus Well-Being and the RRC Polytech Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) working group are hosting a panel discussion, featuring distinguished professionals. The engaging discussion will address the topic of student mental health and the achievements and contributions of women in the mental health field.

Event Details


In person: Red River College Polytechnic Notre Dame Campus – Room G139 – register here

Virtual: MS Teams – register here


11:30am to 12:30pm – The panel discussion

12:30pm to 1:30pm – Lunch and networking

Meet the Panelists

Dr. Natasha Ali, C. Psych.

Dr. Natasha M. Ali has been a Registered Psychologist in Manitoba since 2016. She is currently pursuing a Diploma in Islamic Psychology through Cambridge Muslim College in the UK. She runs a private practice in the city, works at the University of Manitoba as a psychologist and Muslim spiritual care provider, and also offers her services to the local Muslim community through Manitoba Islamic Association.

For nine years, she was the counsellor assigned to the Indigenous Student Centre at the University, working closely with Indigenous students. She therefore brings a unique lens to women’s issues, one shaped by her own experience of being a racialized woman, studying and working in predominantly White institutions, of listening and learning from Indigenous women, and from her faith tradition, Islam.   

Natasha was born in Montreal to immigrant parents from the Caribbean. She has lived most of her adult life in Canada but grew up in the Caribbean. She discovered the protections that came with practicing her faith when she was completing her doctorate in the US. 

Taylor Kerelluke

Taylor is a mental health professional with a wealth of experience and a passion for driving meaningful change in the mental health field. She has a blend of clinical expertise, hands-on advocacy experience, and a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology that uniquely equips her to understand the complex intersections of mental health, trauma, and community support.

Her journey into the mental health field began early, fueled by a genuine desire to create change in her community. Taylor’s experience spans various domains, including subsidized housing, women’s equality, mental health and addictions, victim support, career guidance, student accessibility, inclusivity, and mental health advocacy within governmental, private, academic, community-based, and non-profit sectors.

Currently serving as the Director of Operations at Candace House, a pioneering non-profit organization that provides comprehensive support to family survivors of homicide in a home-like environment, Taylor is deeply committed to holistic care and community support. Her role allows her to address the complex emotional needs of those affected by trauma through fostering healing and resilience.

To balance her own self-care in the midst of supporting others, Taylor enjoys indulging in her hobbies – whether that’s diving down a research rabbit hole, knitting among her collection of candles, or whipping up delicious treats in the kitchen.

Rita Chahal

Rita Chahal is the Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba. Traveling from Northern India to Pier 21 on Canada’s east coast at the age of nine, Rita and her family were the second East Indian family to settle on PEI during the mid ’60s. She would later graduate from Dalhousie University with honors and eventually settle in Manitoba. Building her career on the prairies for over 42 years, Rita’s work spans academia and corporate sectors, however most prominently she has served the not-for-profit sector for over 25 years.

As a champion of change, Rita has held key leadership roles serving as Executive Director for: The Women in Media Foundation, Employment Projects of Winnipeg, and the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC). Her vision and leadership played a key role in leading the province through the resettlement of refugees during the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and the influx of US claimants during the Trump administration.

As the General Manager of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, Rita was the first person and woman of color to take on the role. Major cornerstones of her initiatives addressed labor skills shortage issues, foreign-trained credential recognition, and HR services to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. Her community work includes serving on numerous local, provincial, national committees, and Crown Corporation boards as a chair or executive member.

Joanna White

Joanna is Anishinaabe from Huron Tract Territory and a member of Aamjwinaang First Nation. Joanna has been with RRC Polytech since 2015 and has held two positions in the Department of Community of Services – faculty and most recently as the Indigenous Curriculum and Cultural Advisor. With a background in counselling and social work, Joanna approaches her work from a holistic and relational perspective which is rooted in Indigenous cultural, spiritual, and ceremonial practices. Joanna brings 30 years of diversified experience in the human and social services field providing services and leadership to Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and organizations throughout Canada and the United States.

In this new role, Joanna’s focus will be Indigegogy where she will be working with faculty to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and ways of teaching and learning into curriculum and instructional practice. Joanna is passionate about creating holistic and relational learning experiences for faculty and staff to learn about Indigegogy and how to approach Indigenizing curriculum and practices.

Nadine Powell

Nadine is currently working as an instructor at RRC Polytech’s micro credential Shelter Support Worker program for housing and intimate partner violence. She draws on the experience and training gained from more than 10 years working in the social service field with youth and women, a master’s degree in Social Work from the school of Social Work at McGill University and an Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg with majors in Religion and Culture and Conflict Resolution Studies. Nadine is also a PhD candidate in Sociology at Carleton University. where she has explored food culture in relation to transnational identities, race and ethnicity in Canada, disability studies and capitalism and economic stratification.

She has worked in the health care setting at Health Sciences Centre Emergency Department and has a strong interest in social policy that aligns with the health and wellbeing of an inclusive society. She believes strongly in the value and power of community knowledge and community building.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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