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Our staff is made up of a committed team working in community development, member support, programming and training, data analysis, communications, and administration. To reach any of these departments or for someone specific, please contact our general office line at (780) 456-7000, or email voice@acws.ca.

For current employment opportunities, visit Careers.

Executive Director

Jan Reimer

Jan Reimer’s accomplishments have been remarkable and widely acknowledged. She was recognized as Edmontonian of the Century, received the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and is one of the YWCA Edmonton’s Women of Distinction. She received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (2006) and recently had a school and a park named after her.

What is exceptional about Jan is the depth and breadth of her work and passion. Whether contributing to society at large as Mayor of Edmonton, City Councilor, or private citizen, Jan consistently enables social development.

In her current role as the Executive Director for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (an organization that supports the sheltering movement in Alberta and works to end violence against women), Jan is a well-known resource on gendered violence prevention and intervention. She recently celebrated her 20th year as Executive Director at ACWS.

Under her leadership, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters hosted the first ever World Conference of Women’s Shelters. More than 800 delegates from 60 countries attended. The conference also provided the impetus for both a Canadian and a Global Network of Women’s Shelters. Jan Reimer is a founding member of both organizations .  The Global Network has gone on to host 3 World Conferences and Women’s Shelters Canada played a pivotal role in supporting shelters across Canada during the pandemic as well as in advocating for a National Action Plan.

In 2020, Jan was named an honorary doctorate of laws by Concordia University in Edmonton.


Jennifer Ness, Manager, Finance, HR & IT
Jennifer Ness (she/her) has been with ACWS for over ten years starting as a project assistant and has worked her way up to her current role of Manager of Finance, HR and IT.  Her passion is working with and for passionate people – she thrives on helping others achieve their goals and lifting them up.  In her current role, she works to keep the budgets balanced, resources available to staff and the day-to-day operations running smoothly. She has 20+ years in the administrative field working in a variety of private and non-profit entities.


Chantal Cooknell, Development & Partnerships Coordinator
Chantal Cooknell (she/her) holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with dual concentration in Business Management and Marketing. Before joining the ACWS, she was the first Development Coordinator for the Grande Prairie Women’s Residence Association, as well as the Manager of Community Engagement at Haven Society in British Columbia. She is passionate about the non-profit sector and has spent most of her career working with anti-violence organizations that support victims of domestic violence and promote the equity, advancement, and safety of women.

Tosha Duncan, Specialist Advisor: Shelter Services
Tosha has more than twenty years of service delivery experience in the field of intimate partner violence, with a focus on risk assessment, safety planning, crisis management, team development and interagency collaboration. She has spent most of her career within Central Alberta with the Red Deer shelter however she has more recently practiced in Northern Alberta as well as Nova Scotia. Her practice and her educational background is rooted in a feminist, trauma-informed, harm reduction and intersectional perspective, with fostering resiliency as a central tenet. As a therapist, she has specialized in working with women who have experienced trauma and is authorized to provide psychosocial intervention through the Alberta College of Social Workers, drawing upon the modalities of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) to inform her practice.  She also worked as the domestic violence support coordinator and domestic violence unit social worker with both the shelter and the City of Red Deer.

Jill Shillabeer, Leading Change Call to Action Coordinator
Jill Shillabeer (she/her) works to bring shelter-informed primary prevention education and training across Alberta. Jill is a senior policy, strategy, and operations professional, and experienced facilitator, trainer, and public speaker who has been working in equity and inclusion since 2013. She has worked in multiple sectors including non-profit, social innovation, cultural industries, post-secondary, and public service. No matter the setting, Jill seeks opportunities to help individuals engage with their own agency to make the world more equitable and create spaces for marginalized voices. She employs an intersectional feminist and anti-oppressive lens to help find new ways to address old problems.

Melanie Willerth, Program Development & Training Coordinator
Mel Willerth (they/she) is responsible for supporting member shelters and making sure they have access to the training they need to work effectively. Mel holds a Master’s degree from the University of Calgary in Communication and Media Studies and has spent much of their career in the non-profit sector, working with families, youth, and children. In 2020, Mel was awarded the Ruby award from the Soroptimist International of Central Alberta for organizing a fundraiser show of the Vagina Monologues in Central Alberta; the event raised over $17,000 for organizations that help women and 2SLGBTQ folks experiencing violence. They are an experienced educator, having taught Sociology at Red Deer College, and are passionate about pop culture, media representation, and getting more women and non-binary folks involved in craft beer culture.

Miranda Pilipchuk, Research & Evaluation Coordinator
Miranda Pilipchuk (she/her) received her Ph.D. in philosophy at Villanova University, specializing in gender-based violence, feminist theory, critical race theory, decolonial theory, and legal theory. Before joining the ACWS, she worked as an adjunct professor and social justice facilitator at Villanova, and as the managing editor of a Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist PhilosophyMiranda has received several research awards and fellowships, including a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, the Sir James Lougheed Award of Distinction, the Villanova Gender and Women’s Studies Graduate Research Award, and the Greater Philadelphia Women’s Studies Consortium Graduate Research Award. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and encyclopedias, as well on public blogs.

Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications & Social Advocacy
In her role at ACWS, Olivia (she/her) is responsible for media relations, public awareness, and supporting the organization and its members in their work to meet the needs of abused women and their families. She holds a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Alberta and has held professional communications positions in both non-profit and corporate environments. Olivia is also a mother and an accomplished musician, with an extensive background as an arts administrator and consultant.


Lindsay Belvedere, Leading Change Community Developer

Joe Campbell, Leading Change Community Developer

Natalie Craig, Database and Development Support

Talia Dixon, Training and Administrative Support

Hannah Friesen, Archivist Database Librarian

Husna Khaidir, Administrative Support

Alice Leef, Communications & Community Engagement Support

Ashley Reimer, Data Analyst & Member Support