2021 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Meet the dedicated people behind the scenes
that help keep the Chamber moving!
Meet the dedicated people behind the scenes
that help keep the Chamber moving!
Richard is a Certified Financial Planner with Freedom 55 Financial, a division of The Canada Life Assurance Company. In addition to brokering group insurance and group benefit plans, he develops individual/family financial plans and offers individual insurance products (including Life, Disability, Travel and Critical Illness coverage) as well as individual savings (RRSP, TFSA, RESP and non registered) and income plans (RIF, LIF).
Prior to joining Freedom 55 Financial in 2004, Richard held a number of senior management positions with Johnson & Johnson in Peterborough and was the plant manager at Fenner Dunlop Canada Inc. in Bracebridge.
Richard is an active volunteer in our community, being the current Treasurer, a past President and long time member (20 years) of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge. He is the Treasurer for the Muskoka McConnell Foundation. He has also been a past fundraising chairperson for the local Terry Fox Run, and a member of EDAC (Economic Development Advisory Committee) for the Town of Bracebridge. Richard has been a long time member of the Board of the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce (13 years and counting).
Richard obtained his Honours BSc in applied Chemistry from the University of Waterloo in 1983.
Matt Balfe is the Director of Business Development for Fowler Construction where he has worked since May 2017. He has spent his entire career working in the construction and building materials industry. He has held a variety of roles in operations, sales, logistics, strategy, marketing and business development with previous careers at Lafarge & Armtec Precast.
Matt and his young family live, work & play in Bracebridge. They firmly believe in supporting local businesses and are becoming active community members.
Louise is a certified bookkeeper/controller offering experience in administration and accounting. Louise shares a passion of the hospitality industry with her husband and 2 boys. She spent over 30 years of her career in Canmore/Banff Alberta. Born and raised in Toronto, Louise enjoyed many summers in Muskoka and is happy to be calling the area home. She is currently working towards building a self sustainable family property in Bracebridge.
Louise has volunteered with other organizations such as Canmore/Kananaskis Chamber of Commerce, Canmore Daycare, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, Bow Valley and Ontario SPCA.
Louise enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others and loves to train and mentor owners, managers and staff in hospitality bookkeeping and operational practices.
Nicolette Rushton grew up in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 1996, she moved to Bracebridge in 2000.
Niki is the Community Manager Muskoka for RBC, covering Gravenhurst to Sundridge. Previous to this she was at CIBC for 14 years.
Niki has been married for 18 years and has 2 children. She believes in shopping locally and is an active participant in most local community events. This is the 3rd board that Niki is on (Bracebridge Soccer and Macaulay Tree House).
In her leisure time Niki enjoys camping with her family, reading, and being involved in the local community.
Co-owner of Davlin Ontario Inc.
Former councillor for the Township of Muskoka Lakes.
Member of the Muskoka Builders’ Association.
Jenny grew up in Bracebridge, Ontario and feels honored to be able to make a difference in the community where she was raised. After receiving a soccer scholarship and Communications/PR degree at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania, Jenny found her way back home where she always knew, deep down, she wanted to make a difference. With a passion for music, she started her radio career in 2004 as an Account Executive in Bracebridge for Moose FM. It was a natural fit. Since that day, Jenny has worked tirelessly over the last decade achieving multiple campaigns and promotions in the sales department. Since 2014 Jenny has overseen Vista Radio’s 4 Moose FM stations across Cottage Country as Regional Cluster Manager. In her free time, she loves enjoying the outdoors, painting and playing hockey for the MWHL. She also keeps busy with her two children; William (9) and Mckenna (12).
Grateful for an amazing staff which cares just as much about the community as she does, Jenny is looking forward to continuing to help the community and local business grow with the Chamber.
Paul founded Muskoka Kia with a partner in the fall of 2000. He, along with his wife Jessica Tickle are the sole owners of the dealership since 2015.The dealership sells new and used vehicles and services and details all makes and models of vehicles.
Prior to moving to Bracebridge in 2000, he worked in Automotive in Toronto and has 30 plus years experience in the industry.
Paul is an active supporter of local charities and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge since moving here in 2000 and has been a member of the board a few times in the past. He has also been on the board of Annie Williams Park.
Paul lives in Bracebridge with his wife, the aforementioned Jessica and his two children, Patrick and Zoe.
Paul is a graduate of The University of Western Ontario (now called Western University), class of 2000.
Residing in Muskoka, I have a passion for helping people obtain the real estate of their dreams! A 20 year consultant and executive in various aspects of the financial services industries, I possess deep knowledge of both personal and business finance as well as the current local real estate climate. While I provide mortgage services to everyone, specialty areas include small business owners, recently separated people, cottages, rentals, refinancing, and investment properties. With access to a vast pool of lenders with whom I work closely, let me help you obtain your next mortgage quickly, easily, and at the best rate for you!
I also perform small business/corporate tax and related accounting.bookkeeping services.
*** David Perlock has been a long standing member of the Canadian Association Management Consultants and attended Wilfrid Laurier University for Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the Univerisity of Windsor’s Bachelor of Commerce program with honours and the Canadian Tax Academy. David is an active Director of the Board of the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce where he sits on the Finance Committee and is Past-Treasurer of the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce where he is currently a Board member. He is a member of the Stephenson District Lions Club (Port Sydney) and the key Leader of the 1st Muskoka BPSA Scouting Group where he teaches leadership, outdoor skills, and canoe tripping to youth and guides them in creating high-adventure trips and challenges.
As a successful business owner, Kathleen helped grow Hear Well Be Well Inc. from 2 employees one location to 12 locations and 37 employees across Ontario (from London to Huntsville – including Bracebridge of course) in just 7 years. The foundation of Hear Well Be Well is based on these values: love what you do; innovate – there is always a better way; be a student, be a teacher; share your gifts and good fortune; be humble and; be intentional. Hiring is based on these values, as are the HR policies and marketing. As such Hear Well Be Well has exceedingly high employee engagement and client satisfaction.
Prior to starting Hear Well Be Well, Kathleen ran her own consulting business, KeVation Innovation in Sales and Marketing for 10 years. In addition, her 15 years of corporate experience in sales, marketing, training and consulting at Nestlé, Ernst and Young and Canada Life well positioned Kathleen to be a successful entrepreneur.
Kathleen also started her own charity to help Rwandan orphaned genocide survivors – Project Empower. From this, she branched out to include helping the hearing impaired in Rwanda. Locally, Hear Well Be Well does many community charity projects as well. Now Kathleen is ready to share her skills, passion and heart with the community of Bracebridge Muskoka.
Kelly Watson holds the role as the Director of People and Development at Muskoka Brewery. Kelly is a proud wife with 2 young boys working in Bracebridge, lives in Severn and cottages in Muskoka. After obtaining her University degrees from Brock University, she specializes in Human Resources, and Adult Education & Community Outreach. With over 15 years leading Human Resources, she has dedicated her career to change leadership, culture development and supporting individual and business growth.
In representing Muskoka Brewery, she has been a proactive advocate and committee partner in bringing Living Wage to the District, and the province. Proudly, Muskoka Brewery was announced as Canada’s First Living Wage Brewery and was one of the original employers to support a Better Way Alliance which launched in 2016.
She believes that with every challenge, comes an opportunity. With COVID and the beauty of our landscape and kind community feel, Bracebridge is in a unique position to attract year-round residents and develop more tourism opportunities, both supporting local businesses. In the coming years, Kelly believes that Bracebridge has the capabilities to pivot tourism efforts creating a unique experience and attract attention.
In representing the brewery and personally, she very passionate about supporting our local community and views this as a great opportunity to help support the chamber’s strategic objective to collaborate, advocate and build a resilient business community.
Don Smith is serving his second term on Bracebridge and District of Muskoka Councils. Previously, he had been a councillor in the Township of Muskoka Lakes for two terms and had served one term as a trustee on the former Muskoka Board of Education.
A long-time publisher and editor of newspapers and magazines, Don is currently publisher and editor of Unique Muskoka, a lifestyle magazine. While active in newspaper publishing, he was president of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association and was a member of the executive of the Canadian Community Newspapers Association. Don and his wife, Susan, also own a retail store in downtown Bracebridge.
Don holds a certificate in Municipal Administration from Queen’s University.