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VA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Members of our Board share a vision for thriving communities across Alberta and, through a generative governance model, provide leadership on their vision for Volunteer Alberta. The Volunteer Alberta Board honours the values of volunteerism, community, stewardship, ingenuity, excellence, and integrity.

Our Board represents the many corners of Alberta and includes rural and urban representation, Volunteer Centre representatives, and professionals working in a variety of roles.  In celebrating a diversity of perspective, skills, and experience, as well as personal networks of influence, Directors on the Board bring their individual knowledge to inform the work of the Board and Volunteer Alberta.

Directors are responsible for the effective governance of the organization, which includes fiscal responsibility, strategic directions, and generative leadership. Directors are informed on sector trends and the impact of volunteerism. They participate in the Board’s deliberations and decisions in the governance areas of policy, finance, senior personnel, advocacy, and education.

2020-2021 | Slate of Directors

Morgan Bamford - President

Morgan is President of the Volunteer Alberta Board. He joined the Board in 2016, bringing with him his experience in Indigenous community economic development.

Morgan grew up in a family of volunteers, spending his summers volunteering with Bissell Centre’s youth and family programming. While he was in university, he worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton and Ben Calf Robe Society. They hold a special importance for him because of the important work they do for children and families.

Morgan holds an MBA in First Nations Community Economic Development and is a certified Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer. He works as an Indigenous Relations Consultant at the City of Edmonton where he builds internal capacity for Indigenous relations and serves as a bridge between the City and Indigenous communities and agencies. He was born and raised in Edmonton, lives in Camrose and considers many places in Alberta special including Wabamun Lake and Jasper. He loves exploring unusual communities and regions across Canada and, as a result, has visited every province, territory, and ocean.

Heather Laird (Hero) - Vice President

Heather (Hero) joined the Volunteer Alberta Board as a Director in 2017, contributing her experience building networks and working across sectors on social innovation.

Heather (Hero) is a Steering Member of Powered by Data. As well, they work locally in Edmonton to support permaculture and public art. They greatly admire small nonprofits – the humble innovators and organizers across the province that do great work because it needs to be done!

Heather (Hero) works with the Canada School of Public Service (Government of Canada), leading development on ways to effect great people exchange for the GC and other organizations. They are a serial social entrepreneur and inveterate collaborator – a founding Guardian of Social Innovation Canada, a co-founder of Connect the Sector, a start-up staff member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN), and co-founder of the River Valley Free School, a skills sharing community Edmonton, where they live.

Sian Anderson - Secretary

Sian has been a director since 2016 and is the Secretary of the Volunteer Alberta Board. She brings experience in working with volunteers, and a strong understanding of the voluntary sector, outcome measurements and preventative social services. Sian has a passion for collaborative projects.

Sian grew up on the coast of England and moved to Okotoks, Alberta in 2007. Although she was not impressed with this move initially, she has come to love the community and Canada as a whole. Sian and her partner have chosen to remain in Okotoks to raise their growing family.

Sian currently works as the Community Wellness Specialist for the Town of Okotoks. She loves the grassroots work of Alberta’s community nonprofits – the energy, commitment, and passion for their causes inspire her and she is amazed by their capacity to meet community needs.

Pieter de Vos - Director

Pieter is a facilitator, documentary photographer, and engaged academic. He has facilitated over 400 projects with community-based and public sector organizations of varying sizes and complexities in Canada and abroad. His assignments ranged from leading strategic planning and change management sessions with executive teams throughout the provincial government; to stewarding human-centred design labs to prototype social innovations; to leading large-scale public participation processes on topics such as patient engagement, the opioid epidemic, suicide prevention, inclusion for LGBTQ+ communities, and homelessness.

Pieter has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Alberta as well as a MSc in Public Health. His previous research focused on using narrative and visual methods to explore community understandings of home and belonging in an informal settlement in South Africa. Over the past several years, Pieter has enriched his practice by using participatory photography, digital storytelling, and arts-based methods to enhance dialogue and deliberation. He has facilitated workshops using these methods in Kenya, Sweden, Tanzania, Pakistan, Haiti, and the USA. Outputs from these projects can be found at: www.pieterdevos.ca.

Lisa Gilchrist - Director

Lisa Gilchrist has been Executive Director of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services and Volunteer Centre since May 2016. Her team’s community development efforts centre on preventing and reducing poverty, ending family violence, promoting positive mental health, and enhancing inclusion and diversity. This work is done with a focus on increasing the capacity of community and supporting volunteers.

Previously, Lisa spent fourteen years in leadership with the federal government at Service Canada to deliver employment programs for youth, people with disabilities, unemployed workers, and in community engagement with the temporary foreign worker program. Lisa is passionate about lifelong learning. In 2018 she completed a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania State University.

Lisa has two stepsons in their early twenties who are slowly moving into careers with the Canadian Armed Forces and in agricultural management. Lisa and her husband John share their rural home with two Labrador Retrievers, three barn cats, and two horses.

Renita Bartlett - Director

Renita has been a passionate supporter of the nonprofit sector since she was a teenager, volunteering with an organizations that provide community based supports and services for children, youth and families. Still today, she recognizes its integral role in providing programs that fill gaps in the community.

Hailing from Truro Nova Scotia, Renita’s educational and professional endeavors have taken her west, where she has spent the last fifteen years working in Alberta’s nonprofit sector. Six months ago Renita joined the FCSS team with the Town of Cochrane as the Community Liaison and Programmer with the Voluntary Sector. She strives towards building and connecting networks, increasing collaboration and enhancing resiliency within community organizations.

Naomi Mahaffy - Director

Naomi grew up in Edmonton, currently lives in Fort McMurray, and has previously called Calgary home. She has volunteered for many different organizations, and particularly loves giving her time to support environmental education, refugee settlement, and youth mentorship programs.

Her professional, personal, and academic pursuits have ranged from studying complex interactions between species in Alberta’s grasslands, to designing and delivering adult education programs, to helping international organizations develop and improve their water and sanitation initiatives. Always excited to bridge disciplines and cultures, Naomi loves facilitating opportunities for organizations and individuals to learn from one another’s work and spark new ideas. She currently coordinates a social innovation network for Albertan changemakers (ABSI Connect).

Lesley MacKinnon - Director

Lesley MacKinnon serves as CEO of the Fig Tree Foundation, a role she proudly accepted in July 2019 with the intention to support a thriving sustainable development ecosystem in Calgary. In previous roles Lesley has worked on social impact and community partnership initiatives with the Grameen Bank and Grameen Trust, Carleton University (Carleton Centre for Community Innovation), Mount Royal University (Institute for Community Prosperity), Alberta Social Innovation Connect, and most recently United Way of Calgary and Area where for three years, she managed a portfolio of community investments supported by some of Calgary’s most committed high capacity philanthropists.

She believes that every citizen and organization has a role to play in achieving positive social and environmental change, and sees her role as assisting these individuals and groups to take their next steps using their time, talent, treasure, and ties to engage or lead in support of their impact goals. She has a soft spot for mentoring passionate young professionals who want to use their knowledge and assets for good. She has contributed her own time and talent on the Board of Directors of UN Women Canada, the founding executive committee of the Student Philanthropy Council at Carleton University, and to various community initiatives over the years including Alternative Spring Break, Stampede Breakfasts, the Bands of Calgary (Stampede Showband) – of which she is a proud alumni – and as an animal foster. 

Bonnie Chiu - Director

Bonnie joined the Volunteer Board in October 2019 as part of the Youth @ the Table Program, bringing a youth perspective and a positive mindset to our board.

Bonnie admires the Multicultural Health Brokers because they help support the health and well-being of newcomers to Edmonton. She also values the work of the Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association as they promote the learning of Chinese language and culture in Edmonton schools.

Bonnie majored in Family Science and minoring in Community Nutrition. She has a Certificate in International Learning and is just beginning her career in the nonprofit sector.

Please reference our Disclosure Statement for information regarding Board remuneration and conflict of interest.

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