Oceans North Board of Directors
Mary Simon is a past president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national Inuit organization that she led from 2006 to 2012. After leaving ITK, she chaired the National Committee on Inuit Education with a mandate to implement a comprehensive national strategy aimed at improving Inuit educational standards and achievements. In 2016, she was appointed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett as the Minister’s Special Representative to help develop a new shared Arctic Leadership Model that built on the commitments made in the US-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership. She presented her findings a final report in March 2017. Over four decades she has advanced critical social, economic and human rights issues for Canadian Inuit regionally, nationally and internationally. She had held numerous senior leadership positions including president of Makivik Corporation, which is a land claims organization for Nunavik, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs and ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. She led Canada’s negotiations during the creation of the Arctic Council in the mid-1990s. She is an officer of the Order of Canada, recipient of the National Order of Quebec, the Gold Order of Greenland, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Gold Order of the Canadian Geographic Society, the Symons Medal and the Governor General’s Northern Award. She has been inducted into the International Women’s Hall of Fame and is a fellow with the Arctic Institute of North America and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. She was a founding board member of Oceans North.
Dr. Peter Harrison is professor emeritus in the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington in 1973. During a nearly 30-year career as a senior public servant in federal departments, he was appointed deputy minister of Natural Resources Canada and worked for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as a senior research fellow for oceans with the National Research Council of Canada and Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada. He also held senior positions in the Department of Finance, Indian and Northern Affairs, Revenue Canada and Human Resources Development Canada. He served as secretary to the Priorities and Planning Committee of the federal cabinet’s Privy Council Office, shepherded Canada’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and oversaw the investment of $150 million in the International Polar Year (IPY). Dr. Harrison chaired the 2012 IPY Conference “From Knowledge to Action” in Montreal.
Hilu Tagoona is from the inland Inuit community of Baker Lake, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic. Her people are known as the Caribou Inuit. She is a member of Nunavummiut Makitagunarngningit (or Makita for short) which means “the people of Nunavut can rise up,” an independent non-governmental organization formed in 2009 to inform Nunavut residents about the impacts of uranium mining. Hilu represented Makita in the final review process regarding the French mining company Areva’s proposal to establish the Kiggavik uranium mine 80 kilometres from her home community. The Nunavut Impact Review Board rejected the mine that would have posed a threat to caribou herds in the region. She is also a member of MiningWatch Canada since 2018. Hilu is a mother of two young adults, and has her B.A from Carleton University.
Chris Mills is a financial advisor at Raymond James in Vancouver. He grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba before pursuing an ice hockey scholarship at State University of New York where he completed a degree in finance and the Chartered Investment Manager designation. In Vancouver, he is a member of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and has volunteered his time at Make-A-Wish Canada and the Prostate Cancer Foundation B.C.
Scott Highleyman has over three decades of experience leading northern conservation efforts in North America. He is vice president of Conservation Policy and Programs at Ocean Conservancy where he leads its Arctic program. From 2009 to 2016, he designed and ran the international Arctic program of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Before joining Pew, Scott was a grassroots conservation leader in Alaska for rainforest and marine protection and founder of Wildhavens, a strategic consulting business in Bellingham, Washington, that led dozens of projects for foundations and NGOs. Scott holds a B.A. from Williams College and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison. He is a member of the Alaska Bar Association and a “knight” of science and letters of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. He lives in Bellingham on the Salish Sea.