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NANB Leadership Team

Denise LeBlanc-Kwaw, RN, MN
Chief Executive Officer and Registrar

Denise LeBlanc-Kwaw has been a recognized leader in nursing and nursing regulation for nearly two decades. She joined NANB in February 2023 after holding several senior nursing positions in Alberta and Prince Edward Island, most recently as Senior Nursing Consultant for two years. She has also worked in clinical settings, in workload assessment and in the private sector.

In nursing regulation, she has been a nurse registration advisor at the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta and worked for 15 years with NANB as Registrar.

Denise completed her basic nursing training at the Université de Moncton, where she obtained a Bachelor in Nursing. She also holds a Master’s degree in Nursing, a Diploma in University Teaching from University of New Brunswick, and a certificate in regulation from the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR).

Wife and mother of five, including three boys and two girls, she loves outdoor activities, large natural spaces and camping with her husband and two youngest sons. For leisure, Denise loves cooking, interior decorating and comedy shows.

Melissa Everett Withers, BA, LLB
Director of Governance and General Counsel

Melissa Everett Withers, as Director of Governance & General Counsel, oversees the orientation and continuing education of NANB Board members, advises the Board Governance and Executive Committee regarding governance policies and procedures, oversees and manages NANB’s Complaints, Discipline and Fitness to Practice processes, and provides general legal and strategic advice on various matters related to NANB’s mandate and operations. 

Before coming to NANB, Melissa practiced law with a large regional law firm, gaining experience and expertise in litigation, labour, employment, and administrative law.  She appeared before arbitration panels, the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board, the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench (as it was called then), and the New Brunswick Court of Appeal.  During this time, Melissa wrote numerous publications and gave many presentations on various issues pertaining to labour & employment law.  She then practiced as in-house General Counsel and Director of Operations for a technology services company, providing strategic advice on legal, business, human resources, and operational matters.

Melissa graduated as a Lord Beaverbrook Scholar in Law from the University of New Brunswick in 2007 and she has been a lawyer since 2008.  She is a member of the Law Society of New Brunswick, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, and she is a former director of the Chalmers Foundation, former director of the York-Sunbury Law Society, and former panel instructor for the Law Society of New Brunswick Bar Admission Course.

Colin Leahy, J.D.
Director of Policy, Risk and Compliance

Colin Leahy, serves as the Director of Policy, Risk, and Compliance at the Nurses Association of New Brunswick (NANB) since 2023, brings a wealth of expertise and a dynamic educational background to his role. Graduating with distinction from St. Thomas University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Political Science, and Economics in 2017, Colin continued his academic journey by earning a Juris Doctorate from the University of Ottawa’s Programme de Common Law en Francais in 2020, graduating Cum Laude.

Colin’s commitment to professional regulation emerged post-education, recognizing it as a fitting avenue to apply his legal acumen, especially in administrative law. His love for research and writing, key elements in his academic success, continue to be honed in his current capacity at NANB. Having overseen NANB’s registration services team, Colin possesses an in-depth understanding of all facets of NANB’s operations, bringing a unique and comprehensive perspective to the Leadership Team.

Aside from his academic pursuits in Ontario and international work experience, Colin has proudly called Fredericton home since 2005, contributing his skills and dedication to the healthcare regulatory landscape in New Brunswick.

Jean-René Noël, MBA
Director of Operations

Jean-René Noël joined the Nurses Association of New Brunswick as Director of Operations in May 2023. He has been with the provincial public service for 35 years, including 19 years with the New Brunswick health care system.

Holding a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Université de Moncton, his professional career has enabled him to acquire a solid knowledge and understanding of the healthcare system, its operations and its challenges. A seasoned manager for over 25 years, he is knowned for his ability to communicate and bring people together.

A man of heart and action, Jean-René is deeply involved in the community. He has served as Chairman of the Parent Support Committee for the Roland-Pépin High School in Campbellton, member of the Provincial Advisory Committee for the 10-Year Education Plan, member of the CCNB Board of Governors and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CCNB –Campbellton Campus Alumni Association. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Baroque Music Festival of Lamèque.

Jean-René is a father of three. His main hobbies and personal interests are jogging, music and cooking.

Kate Sheppard, RN, MN
Director of Nursing and Deputy Registrar

Kate Sheppard is the Director of Nursing and Deputy Registrar. Kate joined the NANB team in 2017. A registered nurse for over 20 years, UNB BN ‘99 and MN ’12. In 2022 Kate obtained a certificate in Nursing Education and Program Approval from the International Center for Regulatory Scholarship through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Previously, Kate worked in a various roles including staff nurse in pediatrics, nurse educator, nurse manager and acting administrative director. Kate also served on the panel of judges setting the passing standard and as a reviewer for the NCLEX-RN.

Kate is passionate about the profession of nursing and using data and research to provide nurses with the best possible regulatory and practice advice to support safe, competent, and ethical nursing in New Brunswick. Kate enjoys outdoor activities and can often be found at a rink watching her two boys play hockey.