At every step, highly qualified and dedicated professionals are involved in our operations.
Mason is from Thunder Bay, on the North Shore of Lake Superior, the traditional lands of the Fort William First Nation. He holds a BCom in Marketing Management from Toronto Metropolitan University and is passionate about supporting good work with his skills in communications and fundraising. Mason has years of communications, marketing, outreach and administrative experience with social and environmental businesses and organizations such as MakeWay Charitable Society, Ontario Nature, Patagonia Toronto and for the past 2+ years with Water First. He is passionate about combining his communications and design experience with his love for water and community engagement to support Water First’s communications and fundraising objectives.
Maria Hypponen B.A., M.A.
Maria has more than 15 years of experience in communications and marketing in the not-for-profit, association and government sectors. Her passion is writing compelling stories that lead to action and connection. As an editor and writing coach, she helps others communicate clearly and with intention. Maria has a Master’s degree in English Literature from Queen’s University.
Michelle brings 20+ years of experience with a family-run display advertising company and 10 years in freelance bookkeeping, business development, and sales. These roles gave her a solid foundation in administration at a management level, as well as the ability to work effectively with both internal and external stakeholders. She also serves on volunteer Boards of Directors. Michelle loves to find efficiencies in processes, business writing, and supporting the vision and mission of the Executive Director & Founder.
Board of Directors
Indigenous Advisory Council
Water First does not identify as an Indigenous-led organization. As such, our Indigenous Advisory Council members provide valuable feedback on our programs and delivery in communities.
Murray McGregor is the Public Works Manager in his home community of Whitefish River First Nation. Murray has worked on various initiatives including the construction of the Water Treatment Plant, Low Lift Station, and Water Tower, among many others. He is a key collaborator with other departments within the Whitefish River First Nation on water initiatives as well as emergency preparedness planning. He also partners with other agencies, municipalities, and other First Nations where he is called upon for advice and guidance.
Murray Richardson, Ph.D.
An Associate Professor of Geography at Carleton University, Ottawa, Murray’s research focuses on watershed hydrology and mercury sensitivity, and spans geographic regions from southern Ontario to the Canadian arctic. Murray actively incorporates community-engaged scholarship practices into his research at every opportunity.