Your Board

Learn more about the members of your Waterloo Public Library Board.

Headshot of Karen Scian
Karen Coviello, Chair

A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Karen is a former City of Waterloo Councillor (2006-2014) and currently serves the community as the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region.

Prior to joining Habitat for Humanity, Karen was a professor at Conestoga College’s Business School, teaching leadership and social innovation courses to tomorrow’s leaders. She was also the co-founder and principal of The Talent Business Solutions, a Waterloo start-up focused on delivering strategic management support to help businesses grow, compete, and embrace change. Her focus is always on developing the capacity of others – her students, a non-profit community organization, or an emerging high tech company.

Karen has served as a board member for several local organizations including Waterloo North Hydro, St. Mary’s General Hospital, The Clay and Glass Gallery, and the Button Factory. Karen was also a member of the board for the Local Health Integration Network, which coordinated health care in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

Dawn Charlton
Dawn Charlton

Dawn joined the Waterloo community in 2010, having previously lived in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa, with a common theme being her passion for each city’s library system. An avid public library supporter, Dawn worked at Toronto Public Library before heading to Waterloo.

As Director, Marketing and Brand at University of Waterloo, Dawn’s main area of focus is to help build the University’s global brand awareness and reputation. Prior experience includes leadership roles at Toronto Public Library, Tourism British Columbia, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Charlton + Company Design and as a marketing consultant. Dawn is a Carleton University graduate in Communications/Journalism and is a champion of open, authentic and compassion-based engagement in all aspects of work and life.

Living in Uptown Waterloo, Dawn and her partner Sue are actively involved in a number of organizations, including Knox Waterloo, and enjoy their ability to walk almost everywhere including to WPL’s Main Library. Other passions include travelling, with their most recent adventures in Ireland and Iceland.

Counc. Diane Freeman
Diane Freeman, Councillor

Raised in Woodstock, Ont., Diane enrolled in civil engineering at the University of Waterloo in 1986. As a licensed professional engineer, Diane worked for 23 years as an environmental engineer. Today she works full-time as a senior project engineer with a local firm.

Diane has lived in Waterloo for over 20 years. She and her husband Peter have raised 2 children in the Colonial Acres area of Waterloo. Diane is a member of Waterloo City Council and was first elected in 2006. During this time she has been an unrelenting champion for building accessible communities by planning, funding and installing sidewalks, trails and dedicated active transportation infrastructure.
She also served the Engineering profession for over 25 years on the Board of Professional Engineers Ontario as well as the Board of Engineers Canada. On these boards, she held many executive positions including President of Professional Engineers of Ontario in 2010-2011.

Diane is a Fellow of Engineers Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineers. Diane is an avid reader and looks forward to contributing on the Board to support the growth of the Library into the eastside of Waterloo.

Headshot of Rachel Harder
Rachel Harder

Rachel completed her bachelor’s degree in History and Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo and earned a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from The University of Western Ontario.

She worked in numerous administrative roles at Western and eventually landed her dream job as the International Exchange Advisor. In this role she guided and coordinated both the incoming and the outgoing undergraduate exchange students.  Having lived and studied in China, Northern Ireland and Chad, Africa, Rachel knows well the value and benefits of international education and travel.

In 2008, Rachel, her husband, and their two young boys spent 7 months living, working, and traveling in New Zealand.  Now back in Waterloo, Rachel enjoys working from home part-time and volunteering in the community.  She is a founding board member and secretary of Our Farm, a community farming project, and now a successful program of KW Rehabilitation Services.

Kelly McManus
Kelly McManus, Vice Chair

After 15 years leading community partnerships in municipal government and the non-profit sector, Kelly joined the University of Waterloo in May 2013 as Senior Director, Community Relations & Events. In her role, Kelly represents the University on a wide range of community initiatives, including the Region’s Immigration Partnership Council and the City of Waterloo’s Town & Gown Committee. In 2017, Kelly was appointed a Canada 150 Ambassador by the Mayor of the City of Waterloo.

Kelly is the incoming Board chair of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, and has contributed to the boards of THEMUSEUM and the Kitchener Public Library.  She has especially enjoyed being a volunteer grant reviewer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Lyle S. Hallman Foundation.

Kelly earned her Masters degree from the University of Guelph and recently began her PhD at the University of Waterloo.  She and her son Ben live in Waterloo and can frequently be found at the Stork YMCA and John M. Harper branch of the Waterloo Public Library.

Library board member Frank Mensink
Frank Mensink

Frank Mensink retired from Conestoga College where he was the Executive Dean – School of Business and Hospitality. He has taught audit, tax and accounting courses at the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College and his professional association. Frank is also a fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and currently serves on their Professional Conduct Committee. He completed his BMath and MBA at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University respectively.

Frank has served as Chair and member on many boards including the Audit Committee for the City of Waterloo, the Certified General Accountants of Ontario and Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More. He has completed the Director training program delivered by McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.

Frank received the Waterloo Award in 2014 for enhancing quality of life in Waterloo. He has lived in Waterloo for over 45 years and is a regular user of the library.

Headshot of John Strong
John Strong

John has lived in Kitchener-Waterloo for most of his life and attended both the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in Business.

After graduating, John joined his family’s transport and logistics business where he continues to work today.

During his university days, John met his wife Jane. They married in 1992 and have three daughters and a West Highland White Terrier named Tucker. John is an avid hockey & soccer player and has also coached girls’ soccer and hockey.  He volunteers regularly at his church and enjoys working in his three-car Mustang stable and, of course, visiting WPL. John has been a Library Board member since 2011 and is committed to raising WPL’s profile in the community.

Idrisa Pandit
Idrisa Pandit

Idrisa Pandit considers herself a scholar activist. Idrisa completed her doctoral and postdoctoral studies in Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Idrisa is an interdisciplinary studies scholar and she has served in a variety of academic and administrative leadership positions in Kashmir, the United States, and Canada.

Idrisa is passionate about issues of social justice. She is the founder of Muslim Social Services of Kitchener Waterloo. Besides her academic honors, Idrisa has been recognized for her leadership and service to the Waterloo Region community. Idrisa is the recipient of the University of Waterloo’s first ever Community Impact Award; Ontario Ministry of Status of Women Leading Women, Leading Girls award; Oktoberfest Woman of the Year Award; and Kitchener Volunteer Action Centre, Innovative Involvement Volunteer Award. In 2007, Idrisa was named as one of the top twenty Muslim women who inspire by the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

To the WPL Board, Idrisa brings experience as a library educator, library administrator, and a very successful organizer of library community programs.

Jennifery Murphy
Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer is an educator and has spent most of her career as a Special Education Coordinator with the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, ON. In 2020, she moved to Waterloo and joined Shad Canada as the Director of Alternative Programs where she designs programs for youth to see themselves as changemakers. Her professional passions include early literacy, design thinking and inclusive education.

Jennifer loves being outdoors and enjoys exploring many of Waterloo Region's parks and trails. A new skill she recently picked up during the pandemic, is baking croissants from scratch - which is both an art and a science! Jennifer is a huge fan of libraries and is proud to be a member of the Waterloo Public Library board.