Board of Directors

Find out more about the experienced, dedicated individuals that make up our Board of Directors. Many have been involved with Manuels River for more than a decade and use their skills in management, law, business, non-profits, and education to contribute to their community in numerous ways. More profiles to come soon.


Chair: Donald G. Sword

Don has been with the Board of Directors since 2014 and became Chair in Jan 2015. Don earned Commerce and Law degrees from Dalhousie University and then practiced law in St. John’s, NL for over 33 years, retiring in 2013. He is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Avalon Northeast and has served in various leadership positions in Rotary.  Don chaired the committee that developed Topsail Beach Rotary Park and served on the Joint Rotary/Manuels River Steering Committee that developed the Interpretation Centre. From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018, Don will be the Governor of Rotary District 7820 serving Rotary Clubs in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and St. Pierre et Miquelon.

Vice Chair: Phil O’Connell

Phil is a Safety and Environment Manager at the St. John’s International Airport Authority and has worked in Health, Safety, and Environment consulting and managing in Newfoundland and abroad for many years. He holds a BSc in Physical Geography/Resource Management from MUN as well as an Advanced Diploma in GIS and a Graduate Diploma in Safety Engineering Technology from CNA. Phil and his family visit Manuels River often and enjoy both the indoor activities and the great outdoors.

Treasurer: Doug Russell


Secretary: Gail Butler


Lori Anderson

Lori lives in Conception Bay South and works as a Business Account Manager with Telus. She holds a degree in Computer Science from MUN and has many years of experience with hardware and software sales as well as web hosting. She has been involved as a volunteer with educational, political, and environmental causes both in Newfoundland and British Columbia and worked internationally as an English teacher for many years.

Nancy Bennett

Nancy is a public relations consultant working for government, ngo’s and corporations in Newfoundland, Canada and the United States.  She is past chair, has served on the board for 20 years, and chairs the marketing & communications committee.  Nancy writes the monthly River Talk column in the Shoreline newspaper.  The Manuels River walking trails and beauty are two reasons she lives in Conception Bay South.

Andrea Gosse


Ryan Lawlor

Ryan is currently a Recreation Development Specialist with Eastern Health. He has worked within a variety of sectors ranging from the corrections, health care, municipal community services and the utility sector.

Ryan holds a Bachelor of Recreation (Co-operative) from Memorial University and the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) designation through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation. He is committed to continual education and evidence-based practices.

Ryan was elected to the Manuels River Board of Directors in 2015. Since this time, Mr. Lawlor serves as the Co-Chair of the Manuels River Annual Bobber Race and is a committee member of the Fund Development Committee. As well, he is the Road Race Chair for the Town of Holyrood.

Manuels River holds a strong significance in his life. You will frequently find Ryan running along the warm and welcoming riverside trails.

Shelley Moores

Shelley Moores has been involved at Manuels River for many years, serving as Race Director for Give’r on the River and serving on our fundraising committee. She holds a degree in Kinesiology from MUN and worked as a kinesiologist and trainer. She is very involved in recreation and education initiatives in the community. Shelley chairs the Topsail Elementary School Council and School Auction Committee, is the Secretary for the Villanova Junior High School Council, and is also on the board at Campia Gymnastics. Manuels River means a lot to her, especially as she is a frequent runner here and walks the trails with her family.

Val Moulton

Val Moulton has been a resident of CBS for 15 years and originally hails from Glovertown.  A childhood interest in biology led her to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Allison University where she did an honours research project on salt marsh ecology and microbiology.  After this, she completed a Master of Science degree from Memorial University with a focus on harp seal research.  In 1998, Val joined LGL Limited, an environmental consulting firm that employs about 100 biologists in offices across Canada and the U.S.  Val is Vice-President of Frontier Operations and a member of LGL’s Board of Directors.  Her work at LGL has mostly involved studies of the effects of noise on marine mammals in the Arctic and Atlantic Canada.   Val and her family enjoy spending time hiking local trails, including Manuels River, as well as whale and bird watching.  She is proud to call Topsail home and is excited to work with the Manuels River team.

Jolene O’Connell

Jolene holds a degree from MUN in Political Science and Philosophy and works as a quality assurance manager at Johnson Inc, having worked in a variety of roles there over the past sixteen years including risk assessment and sales. She is originally from St. Vincent’s (on the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula’s Irish Loop). Jolene is  very involved in the Social committee, Wellness committee, and Christmas for Kids charity at her workplace. She and her family are frequent visitors here and can be often seen attending children’s programs or walking the trail.

Chris Pyne

Chris is a teacher and holds a BSc in Geography, a BEd in Education, and a Bachelor of Special Education. He is currently completing his M.Ed. in Curriculum Teaching and Learning as well as working at Mount Pearl Senior High. He currently volunteers with Central Avalon Ground Search and Rescue as well as with a greyhound dog organization. Chris loves hiking, golf, camping, running, and conservation, and of course the Manuels River trails.

John Smith

John is a well-known for his community involvement in CBS. John began served in the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy) and was honorably discharged in 1992. Since then he has had a very active work and community service career. John currently is the Executive Director of the Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce he also serves on Conception Bay South Main Street Business Improvement Association. His community involvement has followed several themes including Sports: John was a Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games Volunteer Committee member and Dispatcher for courteous vehicles, accessibility advocacy (John is a former director of the HUB) and Education. John has served on the School Council at Frank Roberts Junior High and currently serves on the Queen Elizabeth High School Council. A former 1st Vice-President and President of the Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of School Councils, John was elected as a trustee of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District in 2016. John has also been an active member of the Manuels River Special Events committee and was instrumental in the development of the Kids carnival on Bobber Race Day. John is married to Denise and is the father of Sasha.

Jan Spracklin

Jan is a retired teacher and has served on the Board for more than 20 years, including two as Chair.  She has been on numerous committees and is currently chair of the Trail Committee, working to improve the network of trails. During the planning and construction phases of the Centre, she chaired the Programming and Interior Design Committee which developed the exhibits and educational programming.  She finds it very rewarding to see what has been accomplished by volunteers and staff and to know that her love of the river is shared by her husband.

David Works

Dave graduated from Mount Allison University with a Commerce degree and has worked in the banking industry with RBC ever since.  He became involved with Manuels River Natural Heritage Society seven years ago when the Rotary club partnered with them to build the Centre and then worked on the steering committee for five years.  He has been a board member for two years and sits on the Human Resources, Operations, Finance, and Donor Wall Committees.  Dave enjoys walking the trails of Manuels River and has also participated in the Giver on the River trail run.  Manuels River is very important to him and he enjoys his time working on the board and various committees.

Elizabeth Young