ACWS Board of Directors

The strategic direction of ACWS is determined by a volunteer Board of Directors.  The Board includes public members and members representing shelters from across Alberta.  The shelter members represent either Shelter Boards (Board Delegates) or shelter staff (Staff Delegates, often the Executive Director).  An annual general meeting is held each year in accordance with the relevant legal requirements.  If you would like more information about the governance of ACWS please contact voice[at] .

Brenda Rebman, President

Brenda is the founder and President of Future Resource Partners  Inc., a human resource consulting company that uses world-class HR practices to assist clients in building a sustainable, future-focused organization.   Brenda also served as 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 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.


Brittany Johnson, Vice President 


A public member of the ACWS board, 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. 


Pamela Wicks, 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 management 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.

 Jeanette Sandstra, Secretary

Jeanette Sandstra is the Board Delegate for Mountain Rose Women's shelter Association where she has been a Board member since 2012 and Board Chair since 2015.  She was previously the Executive Director of Rocky Mountain House Primary Care Network, developing relationships across the community but with a special emphasis on service provision for First Nations Communities.  She holds a BSc in Nursing and worked for many years in the health sector in the Rocky Mountain area.  As an ACWS Board member Jeanette wants to provide leadership in support of the range of strategic initiatives required to tackle family violence including dialogue, education, and research.


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 Workers. 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). 

Wanda McGinnis 

Wanda is the CEO of Wheatland Crisis Society.  she is driven by the desire to support everyone who lives in fear of violence and abuse.  Wheatland shelter uses a woman-centered approach but also specialises in providing support to people of all genders.  Wanda proudly accepted a 2017 Alberta Inspiration Award on behalf of the Wheatland Crisis Society in recognition of the organizations commitment to inclusive practices. She brings 17 years of experience and qualifications as a social worker. Wanda has extensive training in risk assessment and is an expert in the application of tools including the Danger Assessment. She works collaboratively with RCMP and Alberta Solicitor General to ensure safety is a persistent consideration in high-risk domestic violence situations.  As an ACWS Board member Wanda intends to support the organisation as it builds capacity in the areas of Indigenous relations, supporting shelters to improve services to Indigenous families as well as developing standardized frameworks for practice for shelters across the province.  Wanda is the Board representative for 'Small Towns and Rural Shelters.'

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.

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.

Patricia Garrett 

Patricia Garret has been the executive director of Wings of Providence, a second and third-stage sheltering organization, since 1989. Under Pat’s leadership, Wings most recently expanded and built a $7.5 million innovative affordable housing facility called the Home Next Door.  To date, Wings has served over 1000 women and 2500 children.  A leading voice in Edmonton in the domestic violence prevention and intervention sector, Ms. Garrett is known for sharing resources and experience with other shelters and contributing to the movement province-wide.  She is also a member of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters Board of Directors and has served several terms over the past 24 years.


Public Directors

Brian Simpson

Currently the Branch Manager of Parks and Roads Services with the City of Edmonton, Brian also served as the  Deputy Chief at Edmonton Police Service for six years.   Brian first served 30 years with the RCMP, retiring as Chief Superintendent. During his 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 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.