Team 2018-04-12T11:54:42+00:00

Vanier Institute Team

Nora Spinks (ext. 214)
Chief Executive Officer

Nora joined the Vanier Institute in 2011, where she currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Throughout her career, Nora has engaged the research community to mobilize knowledge and connect those who study, serve and support Canada’s diverse families. She has expanded the Vanier Institute’s reach by speaking at many community and corporate events, on social media, through Vanier Institute publications. more


Nathan Battams (ext. 218)
Publications, Communications and Social Media

Nathan joined the Vanier Institute in 2012. He is currently responsible for publications, communications and social media. Nathan manages the Vanier Institute’s growing social media network on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, sharing information, insights and inspiration about families, family life and Vanier Institute publications and projects. more



Sylvain Gagné

Since 2011, Sylvain has translated into French many of the documents published by the Vanier Institute of the Family. As a regular contributor to the Institute, he works on a variety of texts highlighting the diversity and reality of Canadian families. Sylvain earned his bachelor’s degree in translation and professional writing from the Université du Québec en Outaouais. He has more than 20 years of experience in communications and the national electronic media.

Lucie Legault (ext. 211)
Administration and Office Management

Lucie LegaultLucie is the Vanier Institute’s longest-serving employee, having joined the staff team in 1982. Lucie is likely your first contact with the Institute whether you call or visit the office in Ottawa, whether you speak English or French, whether you are making a contribution or a purchase, and whether you are contacting us from Canada or elsewhere around the world. more


Lauren Lysack (ext. 219)
Projects and Special Events

Lauren joined the Vanier Institute of the Family in July 2017 as a summer intern. She is currently responsible for managing a number of projects and special events with the program team. Lauren is a 2016 graduate of Carleton University, where she earned a BA in political science and women and gender studies. Since 2010, she has worked in a number of early childhood centres in Saskatchewan and Ottawa, working with families from diverse backgrounds as she developed her keen interest in families and family life.


Sara MacNaull
Program Director
On Leave until Fall 2018

Sara MacNaullSara joined the Vanier Institute in December 2007. As the Program Director, she manages a variety of research and knowledge mobilization projects, networks and partnerships. She facilitates the engagement of Vanier Alumni Network members, providing a platform for retired Vanier Institute Board members and executives emeriti to continue to make a contribution to the Vanier Institute’s success. more

Colonel (retd) Russell Mann
Special Advisor

Russ joined the Vanier Institute in 2016, where he currently contributes as a Special Advisor. With Russ’s more than 35 years of service in Canada’s Armed Forces, he and his family have lived most aspects of the military lifestyle, including transition as a Veteran into life in a small community on the outskirts of Ottawa. more


Denyse Marion
Graphic Design

Denyse has been working with the Vanier Institute since August 2012. As part of the publications team, she is responsible for the design and production of print and electronic materials, such as reports, infographics and newsletters. She undertook an overhaul of the Vanier Institute brand, which has been implemented over the past few years. Denyse holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University and the designation of Registered Graphic Designer, and has worked in the graphic design profession since 1984.

Catherine Morisset
Financial Administration

Catherine joined the Vanier Institute team in November 2015 and she is responsible for financial administration including accounts payable and accounts receivable. Catherine has owned and operated Cate’s Bookkeeping Services for nearly 12 years, during which time she has provided diverse high-level financial services to her clients. Since 2006, she has specialized in working with not-for-profit and charitable organizations. Catherine is currently working toward her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation and her Bachelor of Arts degree through the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Gabriela Novoa
Social Media

Gabriela joined the Vanier Institute in January 2017. As a member of the social media team, she works toward fostering greater public understanding of the diversity of family experiences in Canada. She shares insights and research highlighting the social, cultural and economic landscapes within the country and their significance for military and Veteran families, Indigenous families, LGBTQ+ families and more. A student at Concordia University in Montreal, Gaby is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Cultural Studies with a minor in Diversity and the Contemporary World.

Veronica Schami (ext. 302)
Editing and Publication Production

Veronica has been working with the Vanier Institute since February 2012. As a member of the publications team, she manages the editing, translation and proofreading of all print and online publications, such as Transition, newsletters, media releases and more. She also co-designed and manages the Vanier Institute’s website alongside the program team. Veronica holds a BA in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, and has worked in publishing and communications since 1987.


Lynne Steele
Governance and CEO Support

Lynne was born and raised in Canada and appreciates her distinct privilege of having travelled extensively throughout the country. Educated in Business Administration through the Open University in the Netherlands, followed by post-graduate diplomas in Human Resources and International Development, Lynne brings a depth and breadth of experience in a variety of sectors. Among other initiatives, a 12-year stint working with Air Canada, 12 years within the political arena and 9 years in her own business have afforded Lynne the opportunity of growing and developing her knowledge, skills and abilities. Her constant relocations and international moves have enabled her to grow and strengthen relationships from coast-to-coast-to-coast in Canada and abroad.

In addition to these core team members, the Vanier Institute is proud to work with diverse partners, contributors, interns, students and others from our extensive network of people who study, serve and support families in Canada.