Meet the team

Digital transformation is about more than technology: at its core, it’s about people. The McKenna Institute team works on behalf of New Brunswickers to help our province succeed.

Frank McKenna, Benefactor

“We need to dream big dreams.”

Frank McKenna

Frank McKenna is a politician, ambassador, lawyer and businessman whose relentless pursuit of New Brunswick’s best interests has been a constant across the remarkable trajectory of his life and career.

As premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997, he advanced a contemporary vision for New Brunswick predicated on state-of-the-art technology, progressive programs and pride. New Brunswick became a global leader in e-government and achieved national acclaim for its technology prowess.

Frank was the first premier in Canada to have an email address and a computer in his office. An early adopter, he has long understood the power of technology to make us more connected, successful and contemporary. During his three terms in office, he advanced a revolutionary vision of moving New Brunswick to a knowledge-based economy based on “bandwidth and brain-width.”

Following three whirlwind terms, Frank kept his promise to step down after ten years. He went on to influential roles outside of his home province, first as Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. in 2005. The following year, TD Bank named him deputy chairman, a position created for Frank that he still holds.

Frank McKenna holds 15 honorary degrees, an Order of Canada, an Order of New Brunswick, a KC, is a Privy Counsellor, a Vanier Award recipient and a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors. He is a former Chancellor of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

He holds degrees from St. Francis Xavier University and University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law, where he earned a prestigious Lord Beaverbrook scholarship and graduated second in his class.

Through it all, Frank has never lost his abiding connection and commitment to his home province, where he lives in Cap Pele with his wife, Julie. The McKennas have three children and seven grandchildren.

Our people

Strategic Program Director

Abby David

Abby David is a determined and passionate professional, with years of experience in the Telecommunications, Knowledge Management and Training, who immigrated to Canada with her family in 2014.

Volunteering with YMCA assisting newcomers and people from all walks of lives to find volunteer placements, she later became the director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council’s Employment Initiatives Team.

Through her work, Abby saw the challenges faced by newcomers and worked tirelessly to help them find meaningful pathways to employment and education. Her collaborative efforts led to the launch of a successful provincewide experiential learning program called ‘Skills Launch’ in 2017 which now has expanded to all corners of the province, offered to youth and adults, in rural and urban communities, virtually or in-person, in English and French.

Abby also collaborated with women's shelters and women-focused groups on designing programs addressing gaps and supporting newcomer women in reaching their full potential, such as the Rural Employment Language Initiative (RELI); initiatives for internationally educated nurses; The Bridge; and advocating for International Qualifications Recognition helping newcomer women become certified and licensed in New Brunswick and secure careers that value their skills and experiences.

Abby is a Strategic Program Director at the McKenna Institute at UNB, leading initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry and beyond, empowering individuals from diverse underrepresented groups to develop pathways to careers in tech. Abby is leading the McKenna Institiue five years partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the Center of Excellence for Digital Innovation and a number of programs focused on optimizing New Brunswick’s Digital Growth through a Skilled and Diverse Workforce.

In 2023 Abby was the recipient of the prestigious VIVE award – the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Championing Gender Equality.

Strategic Program Director

Lynne Faught

Lynne has been with the McKenna Institute since February 2022. Her vast experience in building and leveraging community partnerships is a valuable contribution towards enabling digital equality in New Brunswick. As the Strategic Program Director for the McKenna Institute, Lynne brings over 25 years of experience in building successful community partnerships and in project management.

Previously, she managed the Stakeholder and Sponsorship portfolio within Atlantic Lottery; designing, developing and implementing programs across Atlantic Canada. Prior to that she was with the Calgary Events Center, responsible for building partnerships and executing events with their top North American clients.

Her passion for community is evident outside of work as well. Lynne understands the importance of community volunteerism and the role each of us play in sustaining healthy communities. Outside of work she is committed to a number of community-based initiatives and is a long-time active member of the Community Investment Committee with the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick.

With a career built on creativity and innovation, Lynne is a leader when it comes to maximizing marketing and community engagement opportunities. Her partnership approach is based on mutual respect for desired business outcomes, and using her experience to deliver business results.

Strategic Program Director

Ginette Gautreau

Ginette Gautreau joined the McKenna Institute as Strategic Program Director in the fall of 2022. She brings with her over a decade of leadership and project management experience, having worked in the non-profit sector in the fields of immigration, economic development, and social inclusion. Prior to joining the McKenna Institute, Ginette was the Executive Director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, leading the Council’s diverse initiatives, including labour market development, housing, and health care access.

She returned to her home province of New Brunswick following several years living in Ottawa where she completed her master's degree in international development and Globalization at the University of Ottawa. Ginette also holds a bachelor's in international relations at Mount Allison University, and she has studied and worked abroad in both France and Mexico. She is fluently bilingual in English, French and proficiency in Spanish.

At the McKenna Institute, Ginette supports a number of files pertaining to scaling digital education in schools across the province, scaling investments and research in artificial intelligence and data science, and expanding access to internet and connectivity, working in partnership with national and multinational partners. She plays a key role in the strategic and operation excellence of the Institute, supports government and stakeholder relations, and acts as a critical liaison on Francophone partnerships and engagements.

Digital Success Coordinator

David Itoafa

David was born and raised in Fredericton New Brunswick and attended High School at Ecole Sainte Anne in 2013. After graduating he moved to New York for University where he graduated from Siena College in 2017 with a bachelor’s in finance and a minor in Information Systems! In 2019 he returned to his hometown to complete a master's in engineering in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship from the University of New Brunswick. Itoafa joins the McKenna Institute after 3 years of work with LifeTrack Safety Systems where he worked as the Chief Financial and Operations Officer.

David is passionate about soccer and speaks French, Romanian, and English, and loves learning about how emerging technology can positively impact the world.

Executive Assistant

Lisa Johnstone

Lisa originally started her career as a certified Level III Dental Assistant from the University of Alberta, she worked as a dental assistant for 8 years and then an instructor in the dental assisting program at Oulton College for 2 years in Moncton before deciding to return to her hometown of Fredericton. Her career path changed in 2007 into an Administrative/Executive Assistant role and has been a key team member to many organizations including NBREA, Horizon, ANBL. She brings years of experience with planning, organization, and coordination. She is also fluently bilingual in English and French.

Lisa joined the McKenna team late summer 2022 as the Executive assistant providing efficient, professional, and confidential administrative support to the Executive Director, in scheduling meetings, managing calendars, financial support etc. Lisa also helps support the McKenna team members as needed. She is the liaison between many key stakeholders and the McKenna team.

Digital Success Coordinator

Sahil Mehta

Sahil Mehta is a skilled professional with a diverse background in technology and business management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and Electronics Engineering and worked for four years in Technical Business Management for Discrete Motion & Robotics at ABB, after spending his first couple of years in Robot Programming and Simulation. Sahil then joined Mitsubishi Electric to lead the RobotBusiness portfolio, where he built a strong ecosystem of Channel Partners, System Integrators, and vendors from scratch and grew the business rapidly, earning recognition for his achievements.

After a decade of a rewarding career in large-cap multinationals, Sahil pursued an MBA from the University of New Brunswick, where he excelled, achieving Dean's list honors and winning 2nd prize at IBEC's Data Challenge 2022.

Sahil has recently joined the McKenna Institute as a Digital Success Coordinator, deploying IBM SkillsBuild program to improve access to education and help people reach their career goals. With his technical expertise and business acumen, Sahil is making a difference in the lives of New Brunswickers by facilitating access to education and helping them achieve their professional goals.

Executive Director

Adrienne Oldford

Adrienne brings deep leadership experience and a passion for economic and social development in New Brunswick to her role at the helm of the McKenna Institute. Over more than 25 years in senior management positions in the public and private sectors, she has served as president and CEO of the New Brunswick Business Council and COO of Atlantic Lottery Corp., among other roles.

Adrienne serves on the Board of Assumption Life and is the Chair of the UNB Faculty of Management Advisory Board. She regularly volunteers to facilitate strategic planning engagements with local community organizations.

Adrienne holds an MBA from the University of New Brunswick and a BSc from Dalhousie University. She has also completed several programs through the Institute of Corporate Directors and Queen’s University’s Executive Education Program.

In 2018, Adrienne was recognized by the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum with the Frank McKenna Award for Public Policy, presented to distinguished Atlantic Canadians who have built bridges between sectors, contributed to public policy and shown exceptional leadership. UNB’s Faculty of Business Administration has awarded her the Certificate of Achievement.

Strategic Program Director

Melissa O’Rourke

Melissa is a community builder who is curious about people and passionate about sustainable development. In 2022, Melissa joined the McKenna Institute as a Strategic Program Director. Her areas of focus include digital health, cleantech, and ideas acceleration. Prior to this role, she oversaw a portfolio of ocean innovation impact projects valued at $20+ million and supported the growth of 40+ new ventures through the management of a business accelerator program.

Overall, Melissa is a project management specialist with strong skills in business development, stakeholder relations, and strategic communications. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Mount Allison University.