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Board of Directors

Stephen St. John - Chair of the Board

Stephen St. John is a University of Windsor alumni with five years of experience with volunteer and not-for profit organisations involved in theatre, community development and business. He is a creative pragmatist who combines art with science. Valuing versatility, he possesses a wide variety of knowledge and skills to contribute to the success of the Self-Represented Litigant’s Society. Stephen particularly excels at formulating strategies; coordinating team efforts; collecting, maintaining, organising and disseminating information; and designing (or redesigning) organisational processes and procedures. Wherever there is a worthy cause, you can expect him to analyse the situation and efficiently mobilise resources to achieve success.

Stephen looks forward to his role as board chair, providing the proper structure and governance to keep this ground-breaking organisation on point and effective. His experience as an editor makes him an ideal choice to draft, review or revise key policy documents as they are conceived. He looks forward to introducing new members to the team and helping them to get settled into the group. Stephen is absolutely exhilarated to make a lasting difference in his community through this initiative.


Austin Acton - Board Member

Austin Acton is a 37 year old jack-of-all-trades from Northern Ontario.  Austin is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and was raised in Cree and Algonquin territory outside Kirkland Lake.


Austin holds an Hon.B.Sc. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Toronto.  He taught chemistry-related courses at York University and Seneca College where he was an innovator in technology-enhanced learning, including the use of free and open source software, web-based learning, and the use of tablet PCs in the classroom.


Austin attended the University of Toronto a second time, focusing on Aboriginal legal issues and serving as the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Indigenous Law Journal.  Completing a J.D. in 2008, he was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2009 and moved to Nipissing to be closer to home.  He has experience in corporate law, Aboriginal governance (both commercial and non-profit), contracts, intellectual property, privacy and information law, property and taxation on reserve, and years of experience in civil litigation, family law, and child protection law.  Austin also has extensive experience in the design and delivery of adult education and training courses across Ontario: typically teaching non-Aboriginal topics to an Aboriginal audience or vice versa.


Austin is currently doing freelance and volunteer work which aims to improve the lives of First Nation and Métis communities in the areas of mental health, education, governance, and access to justice.  He has served on several boards and committees including One Kids Place La Place Des Enfants Children’s Treatment Centre, North Bay Indian Friendship Centre’s Community Action Circle, and as Chair of the North Bay Métis Council.  He works from his home office located on the Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay.



Shiva Thirumali - Board Member

Shiva Thirumalai is a Hon. In B.Sc (Physics) and a M.B.A (International Trade) has worked in various sectors. He has 14 years of work experience in the Information Technology sector particularly in project management and currently a team lead supervisor with Canada Post since 2007.


As a former member of Pre Paid Legal Services, Shiva has acquired knowledge on the basics of the legal system in Canada. With his personal experience in representing himself before the judicial system, he was faced with learning the basics and getting unbundled help from experienced lawyers. He gained confidence in representing his cases in the court and has been successful as well.


Shiva has been keen in helping others in many ways which includes volunteering, creating & managing campaigns for non-profit fundraising. Shiva has a passion for cooking, baking and growing his own ingredients.


Betty Sanderson - Board Member

Betty is Native American, born and raised within Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, SK, where she lived until graduating from high school at 17 and moving to Saskatoon. Shortly thereafter, at age 21, she moved to Edmonton, AB to explore better job opportunities. While there, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta at the age of 27. She then went on to study for many years at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to pursue her Chartered Management Accountant (CMA) designation, which is currently ongoing. Needless to say, Betty has an extensive academic background in finance, economics and accounting. She also has several years of experience working in non-profit organizations and the hospitality industry. Additionally, she brings to the Board her unique experience of representing herself to The Canadian Human Rights Commission. Some of Betty’s pioneering work towards social justice can be seen in the following case:


Currently, Betty is away from the traditional workforce while she deals with extensive medical issues, but in the meantime, she plans to open her own consulting and accounting business specializing in assisting First Nations people to start up and expand their own businesses. Within the next two years, she will also be completing a joint MBA/LLB program at the University of Saskatchewan, after which she will be better prepared — armed with a law degree this time — to assist others who are in need due to legal problems. Until then, Betty will continue consulting on the side and will soon be seeking partners to expand her business.


For now, Betty reports that it is her pleasure to join the SLRS as a Board Member.


Alexandrea Cantwell - Board Member

Alexandrea was raised in Fredericton, NB, where she finished her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminology. She has a longstanding passion for helping others, volunteering with a local women's shelter for three years now. She also works as both a family support worker and a bartender. Whether it's offering advice to a friend or volunteering in her community, helping others has always been second nature to her, and she is very excited to serve as a member of the Board. 


Trevor Aboussafy - Board Member

(Bio Coming Soon)




Rayan Mykal - Former Secretary

Mychelle Pycha - Former Board Member

Azam Bhatti - Former Board Member

Nelson Adkin - Former Board Member

Elizabeth Orsi - Former Vice-Chair



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