New VU

Our Team

We have talented member professionals who contribute their expertise to help communities, organizations and groups reach their goals. Some of our collaborators are First Nations people who speak their language which, allows us to offer workshops bilingually/bi-culturally as needed.

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Erin Horvath

Executive Director

Erin is a social entrepreneur, educator and artist that uses entrepreneurial, arts-based, and collaborative approaches to strengthen communities from the grassroots. She has had the privilege of leading several initiatives and enterprises within the not-for-profit, First Nation, private and community sectors.  She has a long standing relationship with Cat Lake First Nation having worked with them on many projects over the past 21 years. She uses her formal training in Psychology (Hon BSc), Community Development and Participatory Action Research (M.A.), Social Entrepreneurship and Education (PhD. in progress), Mediation (Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution), Collaborative Planning (National Charette Institute) and Challenge Course Facilitation (Canadian Ropes Course Company), along with her experience living and working within First Nations communities, to create meaningful, relevant and engaging sessions. Her extensive experience working with youth, families and communities at-risk in clinical, recreational and  community settings, brings depth to her work as a social entrepreneur.  Her experience in theatre, dance and music make her a fun and dynamic facilitator, and allows New VU to integrate various forms of creative expression into our projects.


Graham Thompson

Board Member

Graham Thompson was a Co-Executive Director of New Vision Unlimited until April 1, 2012. For 7 years he was one of our lead programmers and workshop facilitators. While away from community development work, he was a Counsellor for 2 government mental health agencies, one in north western Ontario, and another in the Parry Sound region. Graham has now returned to New VU to establish his own Psychotherapy practice in order that all children and youth, no matter what culture, belief system, sexual orientation, or social class, can receive effective, affordable counselling services. You can learn more about his work at NewVuCounselling. Graham has a passion for the outdoors, which explains his certification as a ropes course instructor certified by Adventureworks! and the Canadian Ropes Course Company. He is also a mobile climbing wall facilitator, and an ORCKA instructor. He occasionally provides workshops, including Reaching In Reaching Out (RIRO) which teaches resiliency in children. He has traveled to over 20 countries for personal enjoyment and community development projects, and has been trained as an athletic coach and trainer in various sports. Keeping Graham busy are his two boys, but thankfully he has help from his wife and work partner Erin.


Collaborating Members 

Bill Pozzobon

Professional Actor & Comedian, Director of the Boys program for Safeteen

Not only a professional actor and comedian, but also the Director of the Boys program for Safeteenan educational organization that promotes skills that reduce sexual violence in relationships.  We are thrilled he came from Vancouver to play the leading role in our film, Autumn Springs (2017) and that he is willing to contribute his knowledge and engaging personality as a co-facilitator and trainer with Building Communities of Trust.  


Jenny Edwards

Global Youth Network Member, Masters in Public Issues Anthropology and International Development Studies

Specializing in strategies to deter youth from involvement in gangs  violence. Most recently she was the Program Coordinator & Liaison at Youth Action Network where she was building a program for youth facing social and economic barriers rooted in community engagement, social justice education, self-expression through arts, and community mobilization. She will take a role in coordinating the experiential learning trips and assisting participants in organizing their culminating group project.


Eric Bortlis

Metis Educator with a Masters in Educational Leadership, Education Director of Lac Seul First Nation

Eric is currently the Education Director of Lac Seul First Nation where he is looking to support students as they learn to walk in both worlds. He is a co-facilitator and trainer with Building Communities of Trust.

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Chris Gilmour

(info coming soon)


Dave Skene

Board Member

Dave Skene is a Metis of Scottish, French, Menominee and Cree decent. Dave is one of the Co-Founders of Global Youth Network an international organization working to educate and mobilize young people towards making positive change in their world. He served as the Executive Director for Global Youth Network from 1995-2010. He recently resigned from that position to work with Global Youth as their Indigenous Program Coordinator. Dave has lead numerous teams of Canadian youth on international volunteer and education projects. He has taught on justice and community development across Canada and Internationally. At present Dave is developing youth programs in Kenya, Brazil, Korea, and several First Nations communities in British Columbia. No matter what Dave puts his hand to he is first of all a youth worker, supporting youth to discover how they can create a more just society. Dave has been married to Liz Becker for 25 years and right now they make their home in Kitchener Ontario. He is currently involved in a leadership capacity within our Social Entrepreneurship Training initiative, Building Prosperity Together.


Anna McKay-Phelan  

Board Member

Anna grew up in and around the First Nation of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake). Speaking only in her mother tongue of Oji-Cree, she spent much of her childhood on her family's trapline living off the land and flowing with nature's cycles for animals, fish and plants. As an adult, she earned a Social Work diploma from Loyalist College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Manitoba, with a major in Native Studies and minor in Psychology, and her teaching certification. Anna has worked for regional First Nations organizations in northwestern Ontario as a mental health counsellor, community development worker, workshop facilitator and still using her language, as a communications specialist and translator. She lives in Sioux Lookout, embraces life as an urban Aboriginal woman and serves the community as a volunteer, currently as chairwoman of the Sunset Women's Aboriginal Circle. She is involved in a leadership capacity within our Social Entrepreneurship Training initiative, Building Prosperity Together.



Reuben Shakakeesic

Cat Lake First Nation

Reuben proposed the idea for this project after reflecting on his own needs as a young adult living on-reserve. Soon after graduating from Pelican Falls First Nations High school he served as one of the youngest Band Councillors within his community.

He is married, with three children and has a passion for helping youth. Reuben is currently on the steering committee of our social entrepreneurship training initiative, Building Prosperity Together.


Sylvia Wesley

Certified teacher and early childhood educator from Cat Lake First Nation

In addition to her passion for youth, she enjoys cross cultural travel. In 2002 she, Erin and Dave spent time in Brazil sharing about community development and learning from Indigenous Brazilians on the Rio Negro. Since then she has had many other experiences that have taken her, and her son, across the globe meeting other people and seeing other ways of life. She has a desire to better conditions for Aboriginal peoples, which she expresses through initiating various community activities, and being involved in collaborative activities such as this project. In addition she was a co-researcher with the University of Toronto on an educational initiative aimed to advance early childhood education through play. Sylvia is currently on the steering committee of our social entrepreneurship training initiative, Building Prosperity Together.


Jackie Rae

Sandy Lake First Nation

With over 30 years of service within social services and child welfare he is well respected for his ability to support people through difficult situations while addressing the complex set of challenges they face.

He has co-facilitated workshops with New Vision Unlimited in the past and is eager to collaborate once again in Building Communities of Trust.


Our Approach

Our certified, skilled and creative facilitators have become known for their ability to facilitate positive change using exciting, realistic, and relevant methods. Our experiential approach can include group challenges, dynamic discussions, role plays, guided planning, skill coaching, creative arts, and storytelling. We take pleasure in customizing workshops to meet your groups specific goals and needs, while taking aim at the core values and beliefs of your group.

About Us

New Vision Unlimited (New VU) was founded in 2006 in Sioux Lookout, Ontario by Graham Thompson and Erin Horvath. They began by listening to the needs of organizations, community leaders, youth and elders in the region and responded by building customized experiences that empower people to create the change they want to see in themselves, their organizations and communities.  

Our Guiding Values

  1. We believe in equipping people to be leaders so they can initiate change within their families, workplaces and communities.

  2. We are motivated to find out-of the-box solutions to problems that take aim at the root causes.

  3. We facilitate cross-sector collaboration to get a greater understanding of challenges and opportunities.
  4. We Engage in partnerships to ensure initiatives are relevant and sustainable.
  5. We committed to working respectfully and in solidarity with all peoples.
  6. We recognize the sovereignty of First Nations peoples and cultures and the special role they play within this country.

Our Mission

To empower people to step out of the confines of their day to day reality and move forward with a newly inspired, directed and energized sense of who they are and how they fit into the needs of the world around them.


Strategic Direction

We carry out this mission by working within strategic partnerships to identify opportunities for growth, offer logistical and planning support where needed, and teach skills that equip people to make change within their own lives and communities.