ACWS Board of Directors

The strategic direction of ACWS is determined by a volunteer Board of Directors:

Brenda Rebman, President

Brenda is currently the Vice President, Organizational Learning, Development and Recruitment for Alberta Health Services.  She holds a B. Admin, MBA and Certified Human Resources Professional Designation, along with many certifications in the fields of health care, facilitation and human resources consulting. She is a visionary, solutions focused strategist with 30 years of multi-faceted experience in operations, strategy development, leadership, change management and high-profile relationship management in three provinces; British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  She has served on provincial and national committees and is the founder of Futures Resource Partners Inc., a human resource consulting company that uses world-class HR practices to assist clients in building a sustainable, future focused organization.  Her opportunities include working with government, organizations, staff, managers and unions to facilitate restructuring in health care, provincial organizations and unions.  She has a passion for not-for-profit and public sector programs and services and seeks out opportunities to volunteer her time where she feels she can make a difference.


Pamela Wicks, Vice President and Treasurer

Pamela Wicks, is the Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Pulse Seismic Inc. and as a Chartered Professional Accountant, Pamela combines the outside financial perspective gained in the corporate sector with her lifelong dedication to advancing gender equality and helping women achieve their potential in her governance role with ACWS.  Pamela is a member of the Canadian Women's Foundation's Board of Directors, after volunteering since 2011 on the organization's Calgary Events Fundraising Committee.
A native of Newfoundland, Pamela has lived in Alberta since 1998.  She has held roles of increasing responsibility with Pulse Seismic Inc., a Calgary-based company listed on the TSE that licenses electronic 2D and 3D seismic data to western Canada's oil and natural gas industry.  Her expereince at a publicly traded company has provided direct exposure to a wide variety of financial, accounting and governance issues, enabling her to develop expertise in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, audit, compensation, investor relations, banking and credit facilities, with a focus on generating value for shareholders.  Pamela applies the insights gained on the mangement side to her governance role as a board member.  Additionally, in 2015, Pamela was awarded the ICD.D designation on completion of the directors' education program through the Institute of Corporate Directors.


Karen Reynolds, Secretary

Karen Reynolds is a registered clinical social worker and has been engaged in helping children, youth, and families for over 30 years. She has spent the majority of the last 27 years at Catholic Social Services in a variety of roles including support worker, counsellor, adoption worker, manager, and currently as a director within Children Family and Community Service. LaSalle, an Edmonton second stage women’s shelter joined the CSS family in 2009 and Karen worked closely with their Community Board to bring them into Catholic Social Services. Karen is passionate about the work that LaSalle and other shelters do, as they bring light to women and children in some dark hours and support them as they begin a journey of healing and a new life. Karen is honored to be a Shelter representative to the ACWS board.




Lyla Allan

Lyla Allan has been working at Portage College for 17 years in different roles. She originally started at the college as a Learning Facilitator, then became a Counsellor and is currently an instructor and coordinator in the Community Social Work program. Lyla has a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology and is a registered social worker with the Alberta College of Social Worers. Prior to working at the college, she taught in the public school division. She has many years of experience in Human Services as a crisis intervention frontline worker at the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre. She also volunteers on several committees and boards, including the College's Board of Governors, the Sexual Assault Guideline committee, the Professional Development committee, the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, Cold Lake John Howard Society, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was the recipient of the Portage College President's Award for Excellence (2005), Cold Lake's Woman of Distinction Award (2014) and Cold Lake Family and Community Supports Services' Volunteer of the Year Award (2016). 

Gaye Warthe

Gaye is the current Chair of the Department of Social Work and Disability Studies at Mount Royal University.  Gaye serves on the Board of Directors for Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society, the steering committee for RESOLVE Alberta, and SHIFT: The Project to End Domestic Violence.

Denis Callihoo

Dennis Callihoo is a lawyer with 24 years¹ experience in the areas of Corporate Counsel, Business law, Aboriginal Justice and Adjudication. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta and of Osgoode Hall Law School (1989).  He also has served on numerous Boards including the Legal Aid Society of Alberta, The Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board, The Boyle Street Co-op, Oteenow Employment Society and the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. He is currently in private practice based in Maskwacis. In addition to sharing his wisdom with the ACWS Board, Dennis is a Board Member of the Ermineskin Women's Shelter in Maskwacis.

Sherrie Botten

In six years, Ms. Botten has grown the Rowan House Emergency Shelter from a two-bedroom facility in Black Diamond to a 24-bed, high-security facility in High River.  Her role as Executive Director at Rowan House included leading a successful capital campaign, ensuring continued service delivery for women during the 2013 floods and growing a community education programme to reach over 7000 individuals each year.  Her education in psychology and nonprofit management provide a foundation for Ms. Botten's energy and drive to help women live peaceful lives. Most recently, Ms. Botten was selected to become a member of the Regional Advisory Board (RAB) for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy's rural and remote homlessness funding stream for Alberta.

Michele Taylor

Michele is the Executive Director of Waypoints Community Services Association in Fort McMurray. Waypoints includes an emergency women and children’s shelter, a second-stage shelter, domestic violence outreach program, including the Opportunities for Change Centre for male and female domestic violence offenders, a sexual assault and abuse centre, a Housing First Program, and a social enterprise – the Compass, which is a 78-unit apartment building. In 2 1/2 years under Michele’s leadership, the organization’s operational funding has increased by over 1 million annually and Waypoints’ team has increased from 32 to 50 staff. Construction was also completed on a 27 million dollar affordable housing construction project.  Michele’s has 28 years of experience in community services development and management in BC, and in Alberta, most recently as a Director with MacDonald Island Park in Fort McMurray. Effective, innovative collaboration to meet community needs is her passion.


Public Directors

Brian Simpson

Deputy Chief at Edmonton Police Service for the last year and a half, Brian first served 30 years with the RCMP, retiring as Chief Superintendent. During his previous posting in Red Deer, he served on the CAWES shelter board and when working in Hobbema, was on the Ermineskin Women’s Shelter Board.


Kelly-Ann Fenney

Kelly-Ann Fenney is Assistant General Counsel for the Calgary Board of Education and is Co-Chair of the Alberta CBA Access to Justice Committee. Ms. Fenney has provided advice and representation services to low-income Albertans on a range of family law matters.  She has also provided advice to Legal Aid Alberta and the Government of Nunavut on several policy and program initiatives.


Brittany Johnson

Brittany is a Métis researcher, creative writer, full-spectrum doula, and scholar. Brittany holds a Master of Arts in Native Studies from the University of Alberta and is now working on a PhD in English. Brittany also works for the Government of Alberta as a Youth Suicide Policy Analyst, working most specifically with Indigenous youth and communities.