ACWS Board of Directors

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

Brenda Brochu, President

Brenda spent most of her working life as a journalist and educator before taking the helm of the Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter 15 years ago.  She was a founding board member of what is now the Odyssey House women’s shelter in Grande Prairie, and has had several other volunteer pursuits, including active involvement with the Peace River Environmental Society, Le Club Francais de la region du lac Cardinal and the Peace River Habitat for Humanity group.

Brenda Rebman, Vice President

Society Board Past Chair of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter in Red Deer,  Brenda has served as a senior leader in organizations of up to 100,000 employees, gaining extensive experience in operations, strategy development, talent management, leadership, change management and high-profile leadership management.  Ms. Rebman embraces lifelong learning and holds a B.Admin, MBA, Prosci Change Management Certification, Certified Human Resources and Certified Management Consultant Professional Designations, along with many certifications in the fields of Return on Investment, ColourSpectrums™, Achieve Global, LEAN methodologies, health care and facilitation techniques. Her commitment to improving the lives of Albertans is demonstrated through her many volunteer contributions to nonprofits in our province.

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.

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 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.

Directors

Anthony Oliver

Anthony Oliver is an Alberta Crown Prosecutor. In addition to the ACWS, Anthony is a board member for the St. Paul Crisis Centre. As a young adult, Anthony gained experience advocating for people with developmental disabilities. At Simon Fraser University, Anthony’s coursework led him to Dr. Andrea Geiger, a renowned historian, who guided his exploration into the ways in which the law has been used to create and maintain sex and racial boundaries. In law school, Anthony played a central role with Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada and helped draft the Vancouver Police Department's Missing Women and Children policy. Those experiences resulted in Anthony’s participation on committees in British Columbia and Alberta tasked with justice equality. Before joining the Crown, Anthony clerked for The Honourable Leonard S. (Tony) Mandamin at the Federal Court in Ottawa. He is humbled to be a part of the ACWS Board of Directors.  

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.

Doris Sweetgrass

Doris Sweet Grass is the manager of the Kainai Women’s Wellness Lodge on the Blood reserve in southern Alberta. Doris is a proud member of the Blood Tribe and holds several diplomas. She was the executive director of the Native Women’s Transition Home Society in Lethbridge, Alberta for eleven years.

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 woman, researcher, and scholar.  In her undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta, she was an active member of the Aboriginal Student Engagement Committee, served for one year as the Aboriginal Students’ Representative of the Augustana Students’ Association, and continues to be actively involved as a volunteer for the U of A and other organizations.  Brittany is currently working on a Master of Arts in Native Studies at the U of A where she is the Graduate Student Representative for the Faculty of Native Studies Faculty Council. Brittany recently undertook a sweeping literature review on Indigenous women, homelessness and domestic violence with the Alberta Center for Child, Family, and Community Research. She will continue to work on research with ACCFCR over the next year.