Our Team

“In my experience, it is rare to come across a group of people so dedicated to finding potential in others, willing to grow and learn alongside the students they work with, and who model a way of being with others that communicates acceptance, safety, trust, and community. The Discover Year team members provide the type of support that fosters discovery, insight, and growth.”

– Kelly Tabor, parent of former Discover Year student and independent communication skills consultant

Staff Members

Our core staff members are responsible for Discover Year’s program management, curriculum development and delivery, admissions, and marketing and communications.

Jay Gosselin

Founder & Program Director

Master of Arts (incomplete), Educational Counselling (University of Ottawa); Honours BA, Economics and Political Science (Queen’s University)

What is the single most important piece of advice to students leaving high school?

Make time in your life for the things that pique your curiosity, regardless of how “practical” they seem. Curiosities lead to passion, and passion, combined with your unique talent, will create purpose. Purposeful people make a living doing things they would do for free. As they say, “do something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Julia Dostaler

Program Manager

Honours BA, Specialization in Communication, Minor in Sociology (University of Ottawa)

What is the single most important piece of advice to students leaving high school?

“Work hard and stay humble. Good things come to those who are patient and persistent.”

Emily Kathen

Communications Manager & Regional Program Manager (Toronto)

Honours BA, Specialization in Communication, Minor in Business Management (University of Ottawa)

What activity or experience outside of your career has had the greatest impact on your life?

“My gap year! My decision to take a year off after high school to travel and work overseas truly shaped me into the person I am today. My gap year taught me some of the most important lessons I may ever learn, altered the way I approach challenges and set-backs, and changed the way I see myself and the world.”

Alex Keenan

Program Manager (on sabbatical)

LL.L. in Quebec Civil Law (University of Ottawa); LL.B. with Certificate in Environmental Law (Dalhousie University); BA, Political Studies (Mount Saint Vincent University)

What is the career achievement you are most proud of?

Walking away from a “safe” career in law to start my own business. It was scary, risky, and much harder than I expected it to be, but I’m proud that I believed in myself enough to do it, and that I was resilient enough to stick with it and build a life where I can use my social skills and creativity every day.”

Kristina Beauchesne

Facilitator

BA with a concentration in Psychology (Trent University); Bachelor of Education (University of Ottawa)

What is the single most important piece of advice to students leaving high school?

Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Don’t panic if you don’t know what you want to do. Be like a sponge and live life: be curious, explore your surroundings, try different things, learn from those around you, travel, learn about what interests you and find opportunities that make you feel alive and purposeful! Celebrate your mistakes and move on!”

Moyra McWilliam

Facilitator

Honours BA (Carleton University); Certified Executive Coach (Royal Roads University)

What motivates you most in your work?

Feeling that I make a difference. Since we don’t always know the impact we have on others, I strive to make every interaction meaningful. A life mantra of mine is “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

Christine Riddell

Facilitator

Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation; 
Hotel and Restaurant Operations Diploma (Algonquin College)

What motivates you the most in your work?

“When clients discover all the knowledge, resources, personal power, and confidence they’ve always had within, and use this to be the best version of themselves out in the world.”

Valérie Deveaux

Facilitator

MA in Counselling Psychology (Yorkville University); BA, double majeure ès lettres françaises et théâtre (Université d’Ottawa)

What is the craeer achievement you are most proud of?

My proudest moments are found in the little drops of change I can see around me. Being a mentor is extremely fulfilling because I can see the personal growth in my colleagues, my students, and myself. I would say my proudest moment this summer was standing beside a teary-eyed mother who was extremely relieved their child would have access to my help during their university transition. In moments like this, I know that what I do matters.”

Arielle Gatotos

Discover Year Ambassador

What is the greatest lesson or skill you took away from your Discover Year?

Life is an experiment, not a test. You don’t need to have everything figured out in order to move forward and be curious, so strive for growth and exploration instead of perfection! Overcoming these fears can lead to so many transformative experiences and opportunities you wouldn’t see otherwise.”

Reid ten Den

Discover Year Ambassador

What advice would you give a student considering taking a Discover Year?

My advice for any student who is thinking of taking a Discover Year is do it! If you have a slight interest or curiosity in something, throw yourself into it, even if it is uncomfortable. You will build and have an amazing community to support you through every step of the way. I discovered that when I did that, I opened so many doors and opportunities I could have never imagined.”

Lukas Wirz-Endrys

Discover Year Ambassador

What is the greatest lesson you took away from your Discover Year?

Do in life what feels true to you. Take on new things that excite you, push you, and better you as a person. Explore your interests but be yourself – for genuine character and active curiosity will bring you far.”

Rhys FitzGerald

Discover Year Ambassador

What is the greatest lesson or skill you took away from your Discover Year?

“The greatest skill I took away from DY was how to enjoy the present. I stopped worrying about what job I am going to have in 20 years, or what kind of house I will have and I started to really appreciate the present, and everything it has to offer.”

Volunteers

We have a diverse and passionate team of over 100 mentors and coaches who volunteer their time and expertise to support our students. From business executives, to software engineers, to firefighters, to filmmakers, our network of caring and successful mentors come from all walks of life and professions.

Here are just some of our incredible volunteers:

MARK SUTCLIFFE

Mayor of Ottawa

NATALIE ROWE

Assistant Director, Workforce Planning and Development, Canada Revenue Agency

AFTON MAINSONNEUVE

Associate, Kelly Santini LLP

BILLY ANDERSON

Founder, The Courage Crusade

SCOTT URQUHART

Senior Manager of Merchandising, Converse

EMILY BEEKMANS

Lead Filmmaker, Sweetgrass Storytelling

NAOMI HAILE

Human Capital Strategist and Consultant, QuakeLab Co.

CHRIS BISON

Owner, Escape Manor

RENÉE MICHAUD

Art Therapist

ABENEZER ABEBE

Software Engineer, Epidemic Sound

IAN AFFLECK

Vice President, Plant Biotechnology, CropLife Canada

RYAN VAN ASTEN

Director of Sports Performance, Calgary Flames Hockey Club

TESSA FELIX

Culture and HR Lead, PWL Capital Inc.

LAUREN SKYE WALLIS

Psychologist and Owner, Lauren Wallis & Assoicates Psychology 

TARA TENNANT

Business Consultant and Founder, WorkingWithTara.ca

STACEY-ANN MORRIS

Curriculum Consultant, Carleton University

DAVID KENEFORD

Chief Talent Officer, Mercury Filmworks

BRITT-MARI SYKES

Career Counselor and Founder, Integrative Career Counseling

ERMINIA LOMBARDI

Coach, StudySpot Educational Services

STEVE HARDING

Director, Xactly Design and Advertising

TAL POTECHIN

Career Educator, York University

MICHAELA KEALEY

HR Coordinator, Envolta Inc.

ANDREW KUTTAIN

Specialist, Public Engagement & Diversity, City of Ottawa

CARL MICHAELSON

Co-Director, Westlake Bourget College Hockey Academy

RUSSELL WILLIS

Regional Campus Director for Adult Programs & Support, Brenau University

JULIA MYER

Director, Public Engagement, Plan Canada

NATALIE BRETT

Manager, Indigenous Sport Unit, Sport Canada

DAN TROMMATER

Speaker, Coach, Fecilitator and Magician

JENIKA HEIM

EducationUSA Advisor, Fullrbight Canada

SPENCER MANDY

General Manager, Canadian Payment Systems & Banknote Operations

ALEXY TOUCHETTE

Parademic Student, La Cité Collégiale

GARRY TUTTE

Freelance Filmmaker and Owner, Morro Creative

ADAM KOURAKIS

Owner/Operator, Velofix Ottawa

KYLA DEVEREAUX

Senior Manager of Learning for Technology & Scotia Digital, Scotiabank

CHANTAL ST-DENIS

National Representative, Media Relations, Canadian Labour Congress

MARAIKA DE GROOT

Manager, Talent & Operations, Maven Consulting

SCOTT ROBERTSON

Associate, Nahwegahbow Corbiere LLP

DAVE URICHUCK

Certified Life Coach

MAGDA BADRAN

Psychologist-Psychotherapist

RACHELLE THIBODEAU

Coordinator of Academic Support, Program Evaluation, and Research, Carleton University

MIKE BIRD

Founder, CoachOiseau Career Coaching

MELANIE BERGERON

Leadership Development Advisor, Canada Border Services Agency

STEVE WILSON

VP Sales & Marketing and Co-Owner, Escape Manor

PAM COBURN

Owner, PDC Web Services and Author

JENEPHER LENNOX TERRION

Full Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa

MATTHEW PURDEY

Owner, Foresight Career Coaching and Career Advisor, Red River College Polytechnic

RICHARD LEFORT

General Contractor, SL Construction

SARAH CROWE

Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada

ADAM MOWREY

Vice President, Risk Management, Marsh Canada

DANIEL LAVOIE

Executive Director of Public Affairs, RCMP (Retired)

LISA ROY

Further Education Advisor, Wilfrid Laurier University

NICK ARSENAULT

Deputy Director, The Boundless School

SHAWN SMITH

Founder and CEO, Don’t Dis-My-Ability Consultation Services Inc.

SANDY RITA TANNOURI

Senior Trade Policy Officer,

MARK DUMALSKI

Partner, Deloitte

MARIELLE METRAILLER

Leadership Coach and Founder, Clarivia

CATHY HOLUK

Consultant, Relative Solutions, LLC.

ANDREW WATSON

Coach, Youthfully

JESSICA LONDEI-SHORTALL

Manager, Global Talent Management, BRP

BILLY ROGERS

Retreat Candle Co·

MICHAEL KING

Accountant, MNP

NEIL SCHWARTZ

Business Lawyer, Mann Lawyers LLP

KARA STONEHOUSE

Owner, Aha! Graphic Facilitation

CHRIS WRIGHT

COREY MACDONALD

Coordinator of Student Support, University of Ottawa

ELAINE USKOSKI

Coach for Video Gaming Addiction, INTENTA Canada

SERGE BRISSETTS

, Starfish Performance Coaching

KRIS ZAWADKA

Development Manager, Shopify

LAURA GIBSON

Senior Marketing Director, Medicom Group

DAVID CAMPBELL

Manager of Associates, RBC

DAVID LEFEBVRE

Chief of Regulatory Toxicology Research Division, Health Canada

JESSE PEREAULT

CEO/Partner, SOAP Media Inc

STEPHEN SHEPERTYCKI

Pivotree

BRETT DEAN

Designate Captain, City of Markham Firefighters

JESSICA SIMONEAU

Translation Manager, Universities Canada

TASNEEM DAMJI

Director of Programs and Agencies, Dress for Success Vancouver

ELISE ZARKADAS

Co-owner, Canopy Coffee

ALEX LANGILLE

Masters Student in Transformative Leadership and Spirituality

JOEL KAM

Senior Human Resources Advisor, CRA

KATE GALLAGHER

Sales Operations Team Lead, Ergo