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Staff

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’s Women of Distinction. Jan was one of six Canadians who received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (2006). 

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 51 countries attended. As a result of this conference, shelters were able to exchange practices and learn from one another. 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 and was invited in 2015 to present at the 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in The Hauge, Netherlands.  The fourth World Conference was held in Taiwan in 2019. 

Directors

Ian Wheeliker

Director of Programs and Member Support

Ian has over 20 years of experience as an Executive Director in crisis centres and women’s shelters, leading community development initiatives and advocating for systems change in benefit of abused women.

His career began in 1986 in Cape Breton, NS working with young offenders. In 1995 Ian became the program coordinator of Second Chance, a program for men who batter. As a licensed social worker, Ian continued working with men who used violence in intimate relationships until the late 1990’s.

Heading west in 1998, Ian took a position as executive director of the West Central Crisis and Family Support centre in Kindersley, SK. His work there focused on domestic/sexual violence and community development.

In 2007 Ian became the executive director of the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter Society (CAWS) in Red Deer.  His role included collaborating on regional and provincial initiatives, and under Ian’s leadership, CAWS developed the first children’s healing centre program in a Canadian shelter.

Since joining the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters in June of 2018, Ian has led a portfolio focused on member programs, front-line training, data collection, research, and providing the sheltering perspective at various government and law enforcement tables, and domestic violence think tanks around the country.

Throughout his 35 years working with families, perpetrators, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, Ian has developed skills and competencies in leadership, research, strategic development, and project management. Ian is currently completing an MBA with a concentration on community economic development and leadership.

 

Christie Lavan

Director of Public Relations & Community Engagement

Christie has been supporting Alberta shelters for over a decade. She is a communicator and leader with 25 years’ experience in television production, media, public awareness, and adult education.

She trained with the military as a radio operator in the communications reserve, worked as a production assistant in newsrooms, and wrote & produced content in the independent television industry. Christie then served corporate and non-profit organizations as a communications generalist before specializing in the prevention of gender-based violence and delivering projects that enable transformational change.

Supporting the growth of ACWS’s profile since 2009, Christie was part of the team that achieved funding increases for women’s shelters, brought awareness to the funding disparity experienced by on-reserve shelters in Alberta, and incubated the Leading Change call to action. Christie advanced programs for youth and workplaces and led the team that produced the first Leading Change Summit in 2019.

Her facilitated sessions and collaborations with government, military, industrial, and safety organizations have equipped social development in corporate and community spheres. These partnerships have resulted in a reduction of the harmful attitudes and behaviors that contribute to gender-based violence.

In addition to formal post-secondary education in broadcasting and communications from NAIT and the University of Athabasca, Christie completed the 18-month Advocacy Learning Centre program through Praxis International. She received a certificate in Strategic Leadership from the Peter Lougheed Institute in 2018. Most recently, she acquired a competency in the Multi-stakeholder Initiative – Building blocks of Collaborative Architecture approach from Communities at Work and is an ongoing participant of the MSI international community of practice.

Staff

Joe Campbell, Leading Change Community Developer

Natalie Craig, Database and Development Support

Sheena Fitzpatrick, Development & Partnerships Coordinator

Hannah Friesen, Archivist Database Librarian

Alyssa Hartwell, Leading Change Community Developer

Husna Khaidir, Administrative Support

Blessing Muyambo, Lead, Enhancing Assessment Tools (Project)

Jennifer Ness, Manager, Finance, HR & IT

Ashley Reimer, Data Analyst & Member Support

Jill Shillabeer, Leading Change Call to Action Coordinator

Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications & Social Advocacy