Staff & Board

Meet our team of dedicated professionals. We’re passionate about supporting the nonprofit sector, the individuals, and the organizations in it. Our small but mighty staff has a solid depth and breadth of experience and education in the nonprofit sector and beyond. Get to know a little about us here – better yet, send us an email, give us a call, or connect with us on social. We look forward to meeting you!


Marisa Barber

Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Marisa was instilled with a passion for continuous learning at a young age from her parents, driving her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and continue her education with a Master of Science in Marketing, both at the University of Rochester. After completing her degrees, Marisa joined the Executive MBA staff at Vanderbilt University, where she focused on program administration and marketing. Through her education, university work and active volunteering in the community, both in Nashville and Calgary, Marisa feels a strong connection to the nonprofit sector. She is thrilled to be at CCVO where she combines her love of marketing and nonprofit work to advocate for these organizations.  |  403-910-5879


Tracey Braun

Manager, Programs

Tracey has been engaged with Calgary’s nonprofit sector for over 20 years as a volunteer, staff person, and board member. Her diverse career has included work with feminist organizations and carshare co-operatives, program development with small nonprofits, completing research projects for post-secondary institutions, and sitting as the executive director for three senior centres at the same time. Tracey completed her MA at Athabasca University in April 2014 with a focus in community studies, and now spends her spare time volunteering with various groups/projects while searching for the most concise answer to her son’s question, “How did you get involved in this work?”  |  403-910-5872  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn


Alexa Briggs

Manager, Policy & Research

Alexa has a strong professional background as a researcher and writer, combined with extensive experience working for nonprofit organizations in managerial and leadership experience positions. Her work in policy analysis and research was enhanced at Vibrant Communities Calgary, where she served as Associate Director of Strategy and Research.

Alexa holds a B.A. in Sociology with High Honours and an Interdisciplinary M.A, both from the University of Saskatchewan. Her professional experience includes numerous publications and conference presentations as well as service on nonprofit Boards.  |  403-910-5871


Suzanne Chennells

Events & Membership Manager

Suzanne has worked in the private, post-secondary, and nonprofit sectors, both locally and overseas, for more than 20 years. She is an avid lifelong learner and traveler, and brings that same curiosity and enthusiasm to bear in her work and life journey. She is keen to connect with and learn about others, uncover their stories, and hear about the valuable work they do each day in their organizations.

Suzanne sampled other universities – including locally, in British Columbia, and a year in the south of France to study French – before settling on and completing her Bachelor of Applied Communications degree, Public Relations (BAC) at Mount Royal University.  |  403-910-5873

Megan Dornstauder

Megan Dornstauder

manager, Administration

Megan is an exuberant grandma, as well as a dynamic administrative professional, in that order. Megan returned to Calgary last year, and brings years of experience from her career in education and municipal government, including community services, FCSS, and emergency management. With enthusiastic purpose for working with youth and families as a volunteer, Megan has brought her passion to the nonprofit world for over thirty years.  |  403-261-6655

Lina Khatib

Lina Khatib

Policy Analyst

Lina is a public policy professional with a Master’s degree from the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts from York University. She has over five years of experience working with government and nonprofit organizations in the realm of social policy and research, including at the Ontario Ministry of Education and the United Way of Calgary and Area. Lina is a strong believer in the power of collaboration as well as evidence-based decision-making. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of nonprofit organizations and about preparing for the technological changes of the future.   |  403-910-5876

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

President & CEO

David has a broad professional background, spanning the private, public, nonprofit, and education sectors. He has served in leadership roles in the resource industries, as an elected representative, in NGOs, and at a number of post-secondary education institutions. An award-winning writer and author, David’s expertise is in the areas of convening, fundraising, and public policy. He’s the father of two daughters, a doting grandfather to three adorable grandchildren, and is married to author and women’s advocate, Shari Graydon.  |  403-910-5881  |  Twitter 


Mary Polychronis

Program Coordinator

Mary brings diverse and cross-cultural experience from the nonprofit, private and academic sectors. Her fascination with understanding human interaction, cultural differences and social inequality led her to pursue an MA in Sociology at Concordia University. A native Calgarian, she is passionate about engaging people and positively influencing her community. Mary is thrilled to be part of a team which supports organizations who are driven by the same values. She enjoys yoga, live music, volunteering and loves travelling and pups.  |  403-910-5875

Jessica Powell

Jessica Powell

Policy Analyst

Jessica has a professional background in research and policy and has worked within a variety of organizations, including Employment and Social Development Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the United Nations Development Programme and most recently, the SAIT Students’ Association. Jessica holds a Master of International Public Policy from the Balsillie School of International Affairs, as well as a B.Soc.Sc. in International Development from the University of Ottawa. As a recent grad and a recent Calgarian, Jessica is very excited to be joining the nonprofit industry in Calgary to ignite change and elevate the sector. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys hiking, biking and enjoying the great outdoors.  |  403-910-5874


Trevor Prosser

Information Systems Manager

Trevor has several years worth of experience working with information systems in both the private and nonprofit sectors, having had a hand in development, implementation and maintenance of new and existing systems. His training in the journalism program at Mount Royal College, as well as his background in communication, administration, data management and web development, paired with his passion for the nonprofit sector, allows Trevor to contribute in a number of areas toward CCVO’s future successes.  |  403-910-5878  |  Twitter


Dana Silver

Director, Community Engagement

With over 10 years’ building relationships with internal and external stakeholders, Dana gets excited by opportunities to connect and support people and organizations to help them thrive. Her professional background includes experience in management, stakeholder engagement, and communication roles with corporate, nonprofit, and volunteer organizations. In her role as Director, Community Engagement, she is focused on strategic communications, resource development, and convening nonprofit partners to build sector capacity. Dana holds a MBA and Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from the Haskayne School of Business.  |  587-747-0215  |  LinkedIn

Hanan Swayed

Hanan Swayed

Administrative Assistant

Hanan is an administrative professional with a Business Diploma from SAIT and nine years of diverse work experience, including City of Calgary Clerks and City Hall Archives. She prides herself on being the go-to person in the office, interacting and connecting with staff and visitors. Hanan, along with her husband and family, have spent three years volunteering and sponsoring Syrian refugees, with a warm heart and a big smile.  |  403-261-6655


Karen Whiteman

Director, Policy & Programs

Karen has had a long-time love for the nonprofit sector. Her professional experience includes leadership positions in Calgary nonprofits, including Social Venture Partners, the Prostate Cancer Canada Network, and Alberta’s Promise. She is also very engaged in teaching, and is currently a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Lethbridge (Calgary campus) in the areas of nonprofit management and diversity at the Dhillon School of Business. Karen’s educational background includes a B.A. and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Victoria. She also holds a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Mount Royal College and has participated in the Max Bell Public Policy and Training Institute. Karen was part of the first cohort of the Executive Directions leadership training program.  |  403-910-5880



Patty Kilgallon

Board Chair

Patty is a leader in the nonprofit community, and a lifelong advocate for children’s wellbeing. She has served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Children’s Cottage Society of Calgary, an organization dedicated to preventing child harm and neglect, and providing support services for families, for 30 years. Prior to joining the Children’s Cottage Society, Patty was a Registered Nurse, specializing in the care of children and young adults at the Foothills and Alberta Children’s Hospitals. She currently sits on the Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families Government Relations Committee and co- chairs the Family Sector Leadership Table for Homeless Children and Families. Patty holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.


Randy Paquette


Randy is the Executive Director, Edge School Foundation and Alumni Relations. Prior to Edge, Randy worked in university environment for 20 years. Most recently, he was the Senior Director of Development (Institutional) at the University of Calgary. Randy has also held leadership roles in alumni, fund development, and enrolment services with the University of Alberta and Mount Royal University. Randy is the co-founder of Feel Foreign, a nonprofit organization focused on cross-cultural communication and he has served as the National Executive Director for the Hong Kong-Canada Business Association. Randy has been a member of the CCVO Board of Directors since 2011.


Cyril Elbers


Cyril is a public affairs and communications leader with over 15 years of experience in the natural resources, government and non-profit sectors. Passionate about community development, Cyril has led strategic programs for the oil and gas industry, including stakeholder relations, socio-economics, community investment and sustainability reporting. He is currently the Director, Communications for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) and has held management positions at TransCanada Corporation, Deloitte and BearingPoint. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics.


Zubin Cooper


Zubin has over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting. He is a Partner with KPMG LLP and has provided accounting, audit, and tax services to many nonprofit organizations. In his current position, he helped develop the KPMG Not-for-Profit Seminar Series with the United Way. Zubin has volunteered on the Finance Committee for the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations since 2013. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta, Canada.


Bonnie Semeschuk


Bonnie is one of the founders and the Treasurer of the Alberta Trampoline and Tumbling Sports Association.  She is a Chartered Professional Accountant with work experience in Public Practice, Industry and the Not for Profit Sector, where she has spent the last twelve years. She is currently the CFO of the Calgary Gymnastics Centre.  Bonnie was a Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) Judge for the sport of Trampoline and Tumbling.  She has judged at World Championships, Pan American Championship, Indo Pacific Championships as well as Nationals and regional competitions for twenty years.  She has also been judging chair of Alberta Gymnastics Federation and Gymnastics Canada.  She retired from judging in 2013, and now spends her time working and volunteering for organizations in the nonprofit sector.

Karen Ball.jpg

Karen Ball


Karen has a strong presence in the nonprofit arts and cultural community where she maintains a practice as a senior consultant working with clients such as the City of Calgary, Government of Alberta, University of Calgary and others to advance cultural planning and community initiatives. Recently she has served on the Board of Calgary’s Olympic Exploration Group, as Executive Director for Calgary2012, and Director of Resource Development and Community Investment with Calgary Arts Development Authority. Her work focusses on built innovative communities and systems to support healthy nonprofit operations, capital development, and place-making, providing expertise to organizations wishing to build deep and meaningful connections with their communities of stakeholders and supporters. Karen is a certified


Cheryl De Paoli


Cheryl is the Executive Director of the Alberta Real Estate foundation, and sits on several boards and committees, including the Alberta Emerald Foundation and The Natural Step. She holds a Master of Science in Business and Sustainability from the University of Bath, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary. She is a certified facilitator with broad, global experience in strategic development, stakeholder engagement, communications, and community investment.


W. R. (Bill) Dickson


Bill is a retired educator who worked 33 years with the Calgary Board of Education, and 10 years with the University of Calgary.  Over the years, he has had opportunities to support community building and growth through organizations such as the Rotary Club of Calgary, Calgary and Area Child and Family Services, Bethany Care Society, Calgary Foundation, Pathways CSA, and SEEDS Connections. Bill and his wife Karen have three children and five grandchildren. He enjoys family, history, and the outdoors.


Leslie Evans


Leslie is currently the Executive Director for The Federation of Calgary Communities, a support organization for the 151 Calgary based community associations as well as about 70 other not-for-profits. Prior to joining the Federation, Leslie was a Grants Associate with the Calgary Foundation and the Executive Director of Street Teams/Safe House Society which she led through a merger with Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary. Leslie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Management, a Certificate in Human Resource Development and a Master’s Degree in Management focusing on Voluntary Sector Leadership.


Judith Hanebury


Judith’s distinguished legal career culminated in a 15-year appointment to Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench as Master-in-Chambers. Prior to that, she served as General and Board Counsel for the National Energy Board of Canada, and practised civil and environmental law in Calgary.  She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Calgary. Prior to her appointment to the Court she volunteered with a variety of organizations including the Sierra Club, the Boys and Girls Club, the University of Calgary Alumni Association and the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. Now semi-retired, Judith also volunteers with the Calgary Food Bank and KIVA.


Christy Morgan


Christy is a proud First Nations woman from the Bonaparte Band, which is a part of the Shuswap Nation, in British Columbia. She holds a Degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary and is the current Director for Indigenous Initiatives with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary. She was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2011 and was awarded the Dr. Douglas Cardinal award for Community Leadership in 2015 by the University of Calgary Student Association and Native Centre. Christy sits on a variety of committees and boards in Calgary and enjoys networking with others.


Greg Shyba


Greg was born and raised in Calgary. He obtained a BA in cultural anthropology from the University of British Columbia and holds a law degree from the University of Alberta. Greg has been a member of the Law Society of Alberta for over 35 years. Greg is the CEO of the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area. Prior positions have included Interim COO of Calgary’s Telus World of Science, Special Advisor – Water Initiatives with the Alberta Research Council, Executive Director for Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Water Research, and CEO of Trout Unlimited Canada. Greg is active on many community boards, including the Alberta Conservation Association, as well as corporate boards.


Dr. Ralph Strother


Dr. Ralph Strother MD, CCFP (SEM), FCFP DSM is a Medical Doctor practicing as a Family Medicine Specialist with Special Expertise in Sport Medicine. He was Chief Investment Officer and Senior Board Officer with the Max Bell Foundation and the Norlien Foundation for a decade; responsible for leadership of the organizations including grant making and endowment management. He has served as Chairman of The Calgary Foundation and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and as well as a Director of other nonprofit Boards including Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth (AMFY), Ester Honens Foundation, the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC), Clean Air Champions, Make-a-Wish, the True Sport Foundation of Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, The Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation and the Brandon Flock Family Foundation. He has been CEO of private and public companies listed on major public exchanges. Dr. Strother received a Distinguished Lecturer Award for the University of Calgary and has given numerous national and international presentations. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Henry Wise Wood High School and Lifetime Texas-Ex of the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated with Distinction from the University of Alberta in Medicine (Conn Memorial Gold Medalist) and previously attended the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.