Volunteer Alberta 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.

Hero Laird, Past President

Hero joined the Volunteer Alberta Board as a Director in 2017, contributing their experience building networks and working across sectors on social innovation. They become Vice President of the Board in 2019 and was elected President in 2021.

Hero is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Alberta, where accomplishments include completing second year with First Class standing. Hero works with the Wahkohtowin Law & Governance Lodge on community-led legal work, and leads legal innovation and public service projects with Donna Purcell Law QC and the Canada School of Public Service (Government of Canada). Hero currently serves on the leadership teams of the Digital Law & Innovation Society, the Indigenous Law Students’ Association at University of Alberta, and Powered by Data.

Previously, they co-founded Connect the Sector, acted as a start-up staff member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, and co-founded the River Valley Free School, a skills sharing community in Amiskwacîwâskahikan / Edmonton, on Treaty 6 territory, where they live. You can find Hero hanging out with trees, jumping in the water, meditating, making art and cuddling with family. Pronouns: any (this means you can’t go wrong!)

Lisa Gilchrist, Vice President

Lisa joined the Volunteer Alberta Board as a Director in June 2020 for a two-year term, recently renewing her term in 2022. Lisa is Executive Director for the Town of Stony Plain Family and Community Support Services and 20 years’ experience in community development work. 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.

She also is a trustee for the WestView Health Centre Foundation and a huge champion of the Wishing You Wellness program, which provides support for recreation passes. She has volunteered with the Community Development Society as newsletter editor and has served on their board.

She has a Masters of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development through the Pennsylvania State University. Lisa resides in Parkland County, just west of Stony Plain (west of Edmonton), and sites her backyard as one of her favourite places in Alberta, along with downtowns (all of them!) and exploring them to see how the community has developed and preserved them.

Ken Kirk, Treasurer

Ken Kirk joined VA’s Board of Directors in June 2022. He is a passionate, results-oriented business development executive and consultant with a long history of building trust and nurturing relationships. Over 30+ years, he has developed deep knowledge of the various businesses he consulted with through strategic planning, business development, relationship building, business analysis and needs assessments, market share strategy and execution, technology implementations, organizational transformations and performance optimization. He cross-pollinates between and among industries, informed by his experience in the for profit and nonprofit sectors. Ken’s life-long interest in volunteering has led to roles of coaching, training, co-Chair of Fighting Blindness and CEO of a Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He believes volunteering is an essential base of a healthy community and needs to attract and retain the energy and ingenuity of our youth. Ken’s extended family, including four grandchildren, has deepened his passion for the importance of a healthy community for children to be safe and nurtured.

Naomi Mahaffy, Secretary

Naomi (she/her) has volunteered for many organizations and causes, and particularly loves giving her time to support environmental education, refugee settlement, local community initiatives/events, and youth mentorship. Currently working as a Community Development Officer with the Government of Alberta, Naomi supports nonprofits and government Ministries in their efforts to engage communities in decision making, collaborate in new ways, and create impact in the face of complex challenges. Past roles have included coordinating a provincial social innovation network (ABSI Connect), and serving as a Global Learning Advisor with Calgary-based Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technologies. In her spare time, Naomi can be found chasing her toddler around, hiking in the mountains, baking bread and other tasty delights, and playing in the snow/garden (depending on the season).

Bonnie Chiu, Director

Bonnie joined the Volunteer Alberta Board in October 2019 as part of the inaugural cohort of the Youth @ the Table program. Through the program, she worked with the rest of the Y@TT cohort to explore good practices for youth engagement on nonprofit boards, and she continues to bring a youth perspective to VA’s Board.

Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology from the University of Alberta. She currently works as the National Partnerships Analyst at the CAN Health Network, where she support the Partnerships team in fostering the commercialization of innovative healthcare technologies in Canada. Bonnie has a background in healthcare philanthropy and the technology sector, holding previous roles at the University Hospital Foundation and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). One of Bonnie’s favourite nonprofit organizations in Edmonton is the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative, which works to support newcomers and cultural minority groups. As an avid animal lover, she is also a huge fan of the Edmonton Humane Society. Some of the causes Bonnie is passionate about include social justice issues; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and health equity. In her spare time, Bonnie enjoys exploring local markets in Edmonton and spending time with her puppy, Ramen. 

Corinne Ethier, Director

Corinne joined the Volunteer Alberta Board as a Director in June 2021, bringing her experience working in a volunteer-focused profession. She also volunteers as chair of the We Care Too Much Committee, MindFull Solutions Inc (community investment, tech startup), as a mentor with Mount Royal University’s Harry G. Schaffer Mentorship Program, and more.

As an avid user of parks and recreation facilities, she really appreciates the unity of the Alberta Parks & Recreation Association and their commitment to building healthy communities. Corinne admires Alberta Farm to Food Bank, loving that local farmers are using their resources to fight local famine by supporting food banks, shelters and others in need.

Currently, Corinne is working with Integrated Automotive Experience as a Senior Project Manager. She previously worked with Hockey Canada, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary and the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, and has a Bachelor of Business and Entrepreneurship, Sport and Recreation from Mount Royal University. Corinne is a sun worshipper who loves being outdoors year-round and some her favourite Alberta moments are skating on a frozen glacier lake in the mountains or sitting on top of a mountain. With Calgary as her home base, Corinne is an avid traveler who has explored over 40 countries around the globe (and counting!).

Aedon Janes, Director

Aedon Janes joined VA’s Board of Directors in June 2023, bringing over three years of nonprofit experience with a focus on rural, youth, and Indigenous communities. He has served on the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Board and actively participated in the National Association of Friendship Centres and Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association youth committee, the latter of which he admires for their commitment to empowering Indigenous youth.

Aedon calls Grande Prairie home and considers Edmonton his second home as a fourth-year accounting student at the University of Alberta. During his degree, he received the Laurence Decore Award for Student Leadership and the Don & JoAnn Gnatiuk Leadership Award. He currently works as a summer student Accounts Payable Administrator for Atco Frontec Ltd. and is also a part-time operational manager for Uniteam. Outside of board responsibilities, he enjoys cooking, chess, and piano.

Dave Maffitt, Director

Dave joined Volunteer Alberta’s Board of Directors in June 2021 and brings his experience as a lifelong volunteer, sports background and a rural perspective. He also volunteers with many organizations, including Volunteer Airdrie Society as Chair, Karate Alberta Association, Alberta JKA Karate Association and Airdrie Sport Council.

Dave admires Volunteer Lethbridge for their great leadership and programs, and values Drive Happiness as a great partner for seniors assisted transportation. Since selling his company in January 2022, Dave has been employed as Managing Director of Validere Commercial Services in Calgary. He has a BSc in Chemical Engineering, his P.Eng., and MBA in Marketing & Distribution Systems from the University of Calgary. At home in Southern Alberta, he may be found at one of his favourite places – the Good Earth Café in Airdrie. Dave is married with a son and daughter. He also has a 2nd degree black belt in karate and loves to teach kids.