Meet our Board Members

RTO 9 is governed by a permanent industry-led Board of Directors who have extensive experience in the tourism sector. We look to our Board for strategic guidance, policy development, fiscal approval, and active engagement. 

Sean Billing Chair

Company: Frontenac Club/Brace Hospitality Consulting
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Sean Billing is the Managing Partner of the Frontenac Club Inn. Sean, and his wife Nancy, own and operate the Frontenac Club Inn, in downtown Kingston. Sean brings a wealth of hospitality, accommodation and tourism experiences with him, having held corporate, regional and senior property positions during his 26-year career. Sean’s path has seen him lead in resort areas around the globe, including the Canadian Rockies, East Africa, the United States and in Central Ontario. He has also held executive positions at luxury city-centre hotels in Ottawa, Guelph, Chicago and Nairobi. Over his career, Sean has been heavily involved in organizational learning, business transition and integration, and in strategic business planning. Sean’s approach is to assist leaders in growing their businesses through consistent engagement with key stakeholders – turning greater understanding into outstanding experiences. Sean is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and attended hospitality school at St. Lawrence College.

Trevor Norris Vice Chair

Company: Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board
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Trevor Norris is Business Development Manager for the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board.  As part of BOQ RMB, he leads Tourism Product Development, Travel Trade, Sport Tourism, as well as developing Marketing Products and Packages for partners and businesses in the Bay of Quinte region. Before moving to Prince Edward County, Trevor worked in Toronto as a VP of Business Development for Canada’s largest music services company Indie Pool for over 9 years.  His passion for wine saw him retrain and certify as a Sommelier in 2013.  Once in PEC, Trevor managed Rosehall Run Winery and Karlo Estates Winery and established his own vineyard.  He has also worked for Prince Edward County’s past tourism organization Taste, served on the Board of Directors for the Prince Edward County Winegrowers Association and was responsible for running key events such as Terroir and Taste Community Grown.

Heather Ford Treasurer

Company: Green Acres Inn, Kingston Food Tours
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Heather Ford owns & operates the Green Acres Inn in Kingston and Kingston Food Tours.  The Ford Family celebrated their 60th year at Green Acres in 2016.  After earning a degree in Economics from Queen’s University in 1983, Heather joined the family business and in 1998, when she purchased the inn from her parents. In 2016 she founded Kingston Food Tours with her son Daniel – combining her passion for food, and travel with her interest in Kingston’s culinary scene and the people who make it outstanding. Heather was on the Alumni Teaching Award Committee at Queen’s and for a period of six years, she sat on the Tourism Advisory Board for the Kingston Area Economic Development Commission.  She has also volunteered her time at the Marine Museum, and the Kingston Festival of Trees, as well as the Summer Business Mentoring Program and the Kedco Review Committee.  From 1998-2004, Heather sat on the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and currently she is on the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Tourism Kingston Board, KAP Board as past Chair and is Past President of the Kingston Frontenac Rotary Club.

Richard Allen Secretary

Company: Frontenac County
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Richard Allen is the Manager of Economic Development for Frontenac County.  In this role, Richard works closely with partners to make advances in business development, tourism with a focus on food and beverage businesses and the recreational lifestyle our communities enjoy.  Prior to taking this role in 2016, Richard served as a municipal Councillor in the City of Kingston, worked at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and worked with communities across Ontario through the youth service-learning program called Katimavik. Richard is also a board member with the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and has served as a director with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, and Public Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.  In Frontenac, Tourism is a major driver of the small businesses and the County seeks to promote their success by creating unique visitor experiences.

Kathrine Christensen Past Chair

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Company: 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners
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Kathrine Christensen has worked in the 1000 Islands region of Ontario in both Tourism and the Arts for the past 30 years. She has worked in marketing, event planning, communications, publishing and fund development in both tourism and the arts. Kathrine is a founding member of the 1000 Islands Playhouse, sat on the inaugural committee to develop a major music festival, and has volunteered in the arts, sports and healthcare fields in her community. She represents Eastern Ontario on the board of Attractions Ontario and, is past Treasurer of the Travel Gay Canada Board. Kathrine brings years of experience to the tourism industry at both a provincial and national level as well as a passion for the region to the RTO table.

Krista LeClair Kingston Position

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Company: Kingston Accommodation Partners
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Krista LeClair was appointed Executive Director at Kingston Accommodation Partners in December 2019 following nine- years in the charitable sector at Easter Seals Ontario. Krista has held Board positions as an Executive at the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals South Eastern Ontario, and Director for the Rotary Club of Kingston. Krista is now serving on the Ontario Hotel Council through ORHMA, on the Policy Advisory Committee through TIAO and on the Program Advisory Committee for the Tourism program at SLC. Krista is a community tourism development professional with a focus on sector associations, advocacy and government relations, revenue management, and stakeholder and partnership relations. Krista has experience in the areas of fundraising and event planning, leadership, media, and public relations, and budgeting.

Melissa Eapen Kingston Position

Company: Improbable Escapes Inc.
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Melissa Eapen moved to Kingston in 2016 to open Improbable Escapes in downtown Kingston. She was drawn to the city due to the vibrancy of the downtown core. Melissa also serves on the Kingston Young Professionals Board, and Downtown Kingston! Board of Management, and is currently focused on engaging younger professionals to get them involved with various aspects of Kingston through professional development, education or getting involved in public affairs. An established business owner, international traveller, passionate adventurer, and inspired writer, Melissa is always on the lookout for ways she can continue to inspire, empower and encourage others.

Rob Plumley Land O`Lakes Position

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Company: Lennox and Addington County
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Rob Plumley is the Community Development Officer for Lennox and Addington County. Working in the Community & Development Services Department for Lennox & Addington, Rob is very involved in destination marketing duties on behalf of the county and its tourism stakeholders. He has developed and promotes a number of successful products, including the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area, the L&A County Trails road cycling system and the L&A County Geocaching Experience. In addition, Rob has sat on the executive committees of several major sporting events to take place in the county in recent years. Tourism is a major economic driver in Lennox & Addington County and having a strong, influential RTO will benefit all tourism stakeholders in the region.


Kevin Lajoie Cornwall and SDG Counties Position

Company: The City of Cornwall
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Kevin Lajoie is the Tourism Coordinator at Cornwall Tourism, a division of the City of Cornwall’s Economic Development Department. In this role, Kevin oversees Cornwall’s tourism efforts in the areas of marketing, visitor services and tourism product development. Kevin brings with him extensive experience in communications, marketing and community development. Prior to his current role as Tourism Coordinator, Kevin oversaw the City of Cornwall’s corporate and external communication efforts. He also previously worked as a journalist for the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder and as a Coordinator with Heart of the City, an organization dedicated to the revitalization of Cornwall’s traditional commercial areas. As a proud Cornwall resident and ambassador, Kevin is also heavily involved in his community through various causes and initiatives. He has previously served on the local United Way campaign and is currently a Director of the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame.

Elizabeth Pilon Member at Large

Company: Parks Canada
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Elizabeth Pilon is a Visitor Experience Product Development Officer for Parks Canada, Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit, working specifically with Parks Canada historic sites in Eastern Ontario. Elizabeth has been working for Parks Canada for over 25 years in numerous National Parks and National Historic Sites in Ontario and PEI.  She has worked in various functions including Heritage Presentation, Marketing, Event Planning, Partnering and Communications. Elizabeth has a B. Sc from the University of Guelph. She enjoys her boating time in the Thousand Islands throughout the summer months.

Pam Robertson Brockville Position

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Company: Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce
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Pam Robertson is the Executive Director for Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Pam oversees the Brockville & Thousand Islands Tourism office and all aspects of Tourism for the City of Brockville. Prior to her role with the Chamber, Pam was General Manager of the Comfort Inn in Brockville. She was with the Comfort Inn for 18 years; 11 years as the General Manager. Pam holds 4 Gold Hospitality Awards and in 2011 & 2012 receiving the Platinum Hospitality Awards from Choice Hotels. Pam has sat on many Boards and was a Board Member of the Choice Hotels Canada Marketing Board. Since 2004, she has been involved with the Tourism Advisory Board for Brockville and area. In 2005, 2006 & 2007 she sat on the Winter Senior Games Committee. In 2019, Pam returned to the RTO 9 Board of Directors. She previously was a Board Member with RTO 9 during the transitional period in 2010. Pam is very passionate about Tourism and about providing great customer service.

Edward Shubert Prince Edward County Position

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Company: Prince Edward County Accommodation Association
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Edward Shubert is the Executive Director of the Prince Edward County Accommodation Association, a not for profit corporation established in 2018 for the purpose of promoting Prince Edward County as a tourism destination. In his role, Edward manages the marketing initiatives of the association with emphasis on generating business for its members during shoulder and off-season periods. Previously, Edward owned and operated the Merrill Inn in Picton with his spouse Amy for 16 years. Edward has forty years of hospitality experience in the hotel industry in Canada, Great Britain and the United States where he held senior management positions. Edward has been involved with a number of Municipal steering committee roles related to hospitality and arts sectors of the economy. Edward was previously the President of Picton Rotary Club and is currently involved with fundraising for the expansion of the historic Picton Library.

Ann Weir Leeds and Grenville Position

Company: United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
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Ann Weir is the Economic Development Manager for the United Counties of Leeds and
Grenville and Co-Chair of the 1000 Islands and Rideau Canal Garden Trail. She has a track record of bringing communities and organizations together to strategically advance their goals. Ann currently works regionally on behalf of the Counties and its 10 member municipalities. Over the past seven years, she has created an environment for the communities of Leeds Grenville to work together, through corridors of mutual interest while maintaining their individual priorities. Ann is currently the president of the Rideau Heritage Route Tourism Association and she previously led RTO 9 through its creation. Ann holds a Business Administration Diploma in Finance from Durham College, and is currently completing her EcDev designation at the University of Waterloo.


Advisor to Board

Louise Lauzon Advisor to Board

Louise Lauzon
Company: Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries
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Louise Lauzon is the Regional Development Advisor (RDA) with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries. Her assigned regional tourism region is South Eastern Ontario – RTO9. Between 2018 and 2020, she worked with the National Research Council of Canada, participating and contributing to policy/program development and implementation of a new research and development grant and contribution program. Prior to that, she held a position with the current Ministry as an RDA for over five years where she worked with various subsets of the tourism sector, such as culture, nature and outdoor, festivals, and events. She, as well, was the connection to Ontario government programs and services related to seniors, immigration, sport, and recreation. She worked with municipalities and the not-for-profit sector providing support and services with a goal to further build their capacity, develop skills for the benefit of the communities they serve.

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