Our Team

President and CEO

Mark Quinn

Mark Quinn is an experienced and effective government relations professional ranked numerous times in the Top 100 Lobbyists by the Hill Times and a founder and President of Quinn Public Affairs. He is an experienced strategist and negotiator who works closely with Indigenous leaders, senior Ministers, federal government officials, and corporate stakeholders. Mark has over 25 years experience in such key areas as strategic planning, negotiation, communications and media relations advice, policy/legislative initiatives, and public/private sector collaboration.

Mark has worked as a Chief Territorial Negotiator for the Government of Nunavut on the Denesuline Treaties, a former Chief of Staff to the Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development (now CIRNAC and ISC) and as a former Special Assistant to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment. He was Campaign Manager for the successful 2010 Election of our Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson.

Mark holds an Honours BA in Political Science and History from Trent University and a Masters of Philosophy in International Peace Studies from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. He was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his work on Indigenous public policy.

Senior Associate

Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell is a highly astute practitioner of government relations and the founder and President of KWM Consulting. Quinn Public Affairs has a long association with KWM Consulting (a firm that works with a team of 7 lobbyists). Together, we have developed a 20-year working relationship based on achieving the client’s objectives at both the federal and provincial levels. Kelly is a former Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to several Cabinet Ministers in the Ontario government.

Following two provincial elections, Kelly was appointed to transition teams which assisted the new governments in organizing themselves to govern. Those experiences provided Kelly with a unique education in both the structure of government and how decisions are made. He has a wealth of experience based on his knowledge of government procurement and policy decision-making and extensive history of working with private organizations, including large multi-national corporations. During his time in government, he helped enhance the economic climate for northern communities, forestry, mining and resource-based tourism.

Kelly holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University and was formerly a Registered Professional Forester. Prior to becoming involved in government, Kelly worked for a number of forest products companies in northwestern Ontario where he was involved with forest management plans, GIS and information management.

Vice President - Government Relations

Bill Schaper

Bill Schaper brings a wide range of public policy, government relations, and communications experience gained in Canada and abroad. Before joining Quinn Public Affairs, Bill spent more than ten years as the Director of Public Policy for Imagine Canada, the national umbrella for Canada’s charitable and nonprofit sector.

He has previously served as the interim Director of Communications and as Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (as it was then known). In this role, Bill played a key role in shifting the Department’s focus towards economic development, leading to initiatives like the First Nations Financial Authority and the First Nations Land Management Act.

Bill also spent three years working at the National Audit Office in the United Kingdom, where he gained experience auditing multi-billion-pound government initiatives and served as a press spokesperson dealing with national and international media. Raised in Southwestern Ontario and with degrees from Western University in London, Bill began his career as a legislative assistant to two Members of Parliament, straddling the transition from the opposition to the government side of the floor.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Austin Quinn

Austin Quinn joined Quinn Public Affairs as the company underwent extensive expansion assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer last year. Austin manages daily operations out of the Office of the President. He oversees all corporate aspects of the firm ranging from compliance to quarterly performance indicators to contract management. Austin brings a keen insight on identifying efficiencies and in addition to providing support on client files he manages the HR, Finance and Information Management pillars of QPA.

His previous background saw him working in both Canada and the United States in the deregulated energy industry as an innovator in new 'process infrastructure' which was integrated and adopted industry-wide. He developed processes, procedures and policies to ensure compliance in accordance with provincial and state utility commissions and assisted in the first, successful, Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the deregulated energy industry in North America.

His experience includes not only "grass roots"/mid market companies but also, large, multinational entities at the executive level including a Fortune 70 company. Austin attended Carleton University here in Ottawa and is delighted to be back in Ottawa working with Quinn Public Affairs.

Community Relations

Ovid Mercredi

A Cree born in Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Ovide is a lawyer, writer and skilled and resolute negotiator, committed to the belief that getting constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Rights is the necessary first step to solving the problems of Indigenous peoples. Ovide is best known as the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) during the Meech Lake Accord debates. Following his second term as AFN National Chief, among other activities on behalf of First Nations, he went on to serve as Chief of the Misipawistik Cree Nation from 2005 to 2011. Ovide is the recipient of several awards and honorary degrees and continues to advocate for the rights of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and to be active in both federal and provincial public affairs.

SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR/LOBBYIST

John Giokas

John Giokas is a retired, bilingual lawyer who worked in criminal and Aboriginal law and policy for thirty years. Half that time was spent as legal counsel in private practice, legal counsel at the federal Justice Department and as Director of Legislation and Law Reform at the Canadian Bar Association. For the rest of his career, he worked on contract for several federal government departments, including Justice Canada, Public Safety, Canadian Heritage and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

John has also worked as a special advisor to two ministers of Indigenous Affairs and has worked on contract for three Indigenous organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Manitoba Metis Association), two commissions of inquiry (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Indian Claims Commission) and a Canadian Heritage task force on Aboriginal languages. He has published extensively in print and in electronic form in the fields of Indigenous law and policy, has testified before parliamentary committees on many occasions and has served as the registered lobbyist for QPA.

COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA SPECIALIST

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy, a career journalist and former member of the National Press Gallery, is a strategic communications and media relations specialist with extensive experience as a senior advisor to three federal cabinet ministers. As a consultant, Mike does video production, media training and provides a wide range of strategic communications services and develops a host of media products for indigenous organizations, government, health care providers and other clients.

Mike has worked as a journalist and a communications professional in both government and the private sector. He covered the federal and Ontario governments as a political correspondent for an independent television network, reaching hundreds of thousands of viewers across Canada on a nightly basis. Mike later changed gears to handle communications for three ministers at separate times in the portfolios of Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard, Justice, and International Co-operation. He also worked closely with the Ministers’ office as a senior media relations officer in the Department of Indigenous Affairs.

Mike served as a Senior Director of Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Relations with the organization representing the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Canada for nine years.

COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA MONITORING

Marc Laframboise

Marc is a fluently bilingual communications consultant and writer with over thirty years of experience in government environments. He has worked for numerous ministers including the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (now CIRNAC and ISC) as head of a communications operations centre (war room) in 2001. His clients have included national and provincial political parties (election campaign war room operations), private corporations, associations, Crown corporations and several government departments. Among the services he provided these clients were communications consulting, the preparation of strategic communications plans, the preparation of communications materials, media monitoring, media training, and media relations management.

Marc brings knowledge and experience of matters relevant to Indigenous peoples across Canada. Over a period of several years, he has written close to one hundred articles on issues concerning Indigenous commercial fisheries for publication in Indigenous media.

He holds a Masters degree in political science from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelors degree in political science from Carleton University.

VIDEO PRODUCTION

Willi Puerstl

Willi Puerstl has 30 years of experience working in the national media in many capacities: producer; editor; and cameraman. He is a lifetime member of the National Press Gallery in Ottawa and for the past 15 years has owned and operated his own video production company, Skyfly Productions Inc. Willi’s portfolio includes documentaries, live streaming, event videos, training videos and news - utilizing a wide range of audiovisual media. He has worked in the film, broadcast, commercial, government and corporate sectors; including projects for First Nations and the Nunavut Planning Commission.

Willi’s original educational background is in sports, physical education and film. Later he studied broadcasting at Algonquin College.  He is fluent in English, German and Spanish.

In 1984 Willi came to Canada as the National Head Coach for the Olympic Ski Jumping Team, having been a former world ski jumping champion for Austria.  

Summary of Skills

  • Fluent in English/German/Spanish
  • Capacity to motivate development and build support for changing priorities within the teaching and training of new technical employees and interns
  • Ability to direct complex projects and initiates in a diplomatic manner
  • Strong strategic communication and organizational skills
  • Extensive experience in managing sensitive interpersonal situations