Board of Trustees

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DeAnn Hunter

DeAnn is the President & CEO of Edmonton John Howard Society working to eradicate the root causes of crime to build safe and healthy communities. As a seasoned executive with more than 20 years in business, health care and the community sector, DeAnn is known for driving transformational change, maximizing operational excellence and building collaborations to enhance the lives of individuals. DeAnn is passionate about mental health and community development. She has held numerous community board appointments including Board Chair for Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters, Board Chair for Terra Centre and a Board member with the Mental Health Foundation. DeAnn holds an undergraduate degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice and a MBA in executive leadership. In her spare time, DeAnn can be found on the soccer field and running in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley.

DeAnn Hunter

Board Chair
Roseanne Carey

Roseanne is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) with over 20 years of experience, who has spent the majority of her career providing strategic and advisory support to business clients. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at the University of Alberta Hospital Foundation Edmonton. She previously ran her own consultancy firm working with clients working across countless industries—including technology, financial services, real estate, benefits and not-for-profit. When not supporting her clients, Roseanne can be found spending time with her family, enjoying the outdoors, delving into a new book or giving back to the community by volunteering with local sports organizations and charities.

Roseanne Carey

Treasurer
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Originally born and raised in Nottingham, England, Simon has been a resident of Edmonton since 1988. He graduated from the Faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia in 1995 with a degree in Biological Science, and from the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta in 1999 with an LLB. Simon has practiced law in Edmonton as a solicitor for his entire career and he is currently a senior partner with the law firm of Bennett Jones LLP. A significant part of Simon’s practice is dedicated to occupational health and safety law and through this work, he has become acutely aware of the vital importance of mental health support, advocacy, and programming in Alberta.

Simon is currently a special advisor to the Board of Directors of the Alberta Mining Safety Association, a member of the Board of Directors of Bennett Jones, a past member of the University of Alberta Alumni Association, and a past president of Grandview Heights School Council. Simon has been married to his wife, Tara, for 29 years, and together they have three grown children, Emma, Megan, and Spencer. His spare time is spent outdoors as much as possible and lifelong passions include gardening, cycling, trail running, skiing and golf.

Simon Foxcroft

Trustee
Aileen Giesbrecht

Aileen Giesbrecht is a passionate community builder and is proud to hold the position of City Clerk for the City of Edmonton. She has held a variety of positions since joining the City in 2005, including Chief of Staff, Executive Director Commonwealth Games Bid 2022, as well as leading teams in Corporate Business Planning and Performance Measurement. Prior to her tenure at the City of Edmonton, Aileen spent a decade in Scotland working in a variety of social inclusion partnerships and the Scottish Government.
She is a graduate of both the University of Alberta and the University of Glasgow and has embarked on a journey of lifelong continuing education, including the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Program, and the Judy Project at Rotman School of Management.

Aileen has recently joined the Mental Health Foundation as a Trustee and Chair of the Governance Committee and is inspired by the vision of the Foundation to work with communities, raising funds to enhance mental health and addictions recovery through research and innovation, education, and care. Aileen loves Edmonton summers and winters and shares her passion for outdoor activities with her husband, Scott, and son, Emerson.

Aileen Giesbrecht

Governance Chair
Dr Nick Mitchell

Nicholas Mitchell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta, and the Senior Medical Director of the Addiction and Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network and Provincial Medical Director for the Addiction and Mental Health Provincial Team within Alberta Health Services. In his roles with AHS he is involved in government and community stakeholder relations, policy, strategy, and research and innovation with a goal of improving the quality of healthcare for Albertans.

Dr. Nick Mitchell

AHS Representative
Angy Porteous

Angy has 20+ yrs in the financial sector including roles in Financial Planning, Branch Management, Regional Office, and Vice-President Commercial Markets. She is currently National Director for Practice Management with RBC. Angy and her spouse Phil Nelson enjoy hiking the Alberta trails, cross fit, and running, and spending time with their dogs. Angy holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Dalhousie University, Hons. BA in Political Science from University of Calgary, and a Financial Planning designation.

Angela Porteous

Vice Chair
No Photo Available

Donna is a CPA, CMA with over 25 years of experience in various industries including, construction, manufacturing, not-for-profit, and distribution. She is currently the Director of Shared Services for Women Building Futures Society, a not-for-profit providing training to women and assisting them to gain economic security.

Donna has been married for 34 years. Together, her and Travis have two grown children and three precious grandchildren. When not working or volunteering, Donna enjoys spending time with her family, reading, enjoying the outdoors, and socializing with friends.

Donna Sawchuk

Trustee
Dania Spillett

Dania is a Partner at Incite, a growth strategy consulting firm, where she advises owner managed companies, industry associations, Board-led non-profits, strategic buyers, and private equity in the areas of market and brand strategy, M&A communications and integration services, and strategic planning.

Dania holds a BComm and a Certificate in International Business from Grenoble École de Management in France. She is an active member of the community, including involvement with International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Edmonton Executives Association, and the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), along with past work coaching UofA business students and serving on the board of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).

Having been impacted by mental health and addictions challenges, some indirectly and others directly, Dania became attentive to gaps in related supports and is driven to affect systemic change, starting with awareness.

Exploring different countries is a life-long love for Dania. She also enjoys engaging in various outdoor pursuits with her husband, Ryan, when she isn’t running.

Dania Spillett

Trustee

Staff

Jo-Anne Beaulieu

Jo-Anne has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta and over 20 years of experience designing print materials, digital content, and websites. Residing in Edmonton, she is an outgoing and enthusiastic person that has worked across a variety of industries. She has found her niche working in the non-profit sector on projects that are both meaningful and rewarding. She is passionate about innovative problem-solving, diligent about details and deadlines, and always strives to deliver premium results. She is always looking to expand her areas of expertise and is currently exploring photography and video production.

When she’s not being swarmed by her two cats, Jo-Anne enjoys running, yoga, and travelling to sunny shores with her husband and daughters.

Jo-Anne Beaulieu

Communications Officer
Jill Buehler

Jill is a professional fundraiser with over 11 years of hands-on experience in the nonprofit industry. She holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Okanagan College with a double major in Management and Marketing. Jill spent several years working in fund development at Camp Health, Hope & Happiness (i.e. Camp He Ho Ha) and thoroughly enjoyed making summer camp dreams come true for children and adults with disabilities.

She joined the Mental Health Foundation in July 2022 in the newly created position of Grants Coordinator. She brings creativity, enthusiasm, and passion for mental health. Jill is excited about contributing to building resilient individuals, organizations, and communities through accessible and holistic mental health programs and support.

She volunteers with Edmonton Cause Players as an administrative board member and costumed entertainer; bringing smiles to children at community events throughout the greater Edmonton area. In her spare time, Jill is either creating a new costume, dressing up as a princess at a charity event, throwing weights around at CrossFit, camping, or spending time with her incredible spouse, Ryan.

Jill Buehler

Philanthropy Officer
Ashley Cruz Headshot

Ashley is a graduate of NAIT’s Event Management Program, specializing in Program Planning. Driven by her profound commitment to mental health and wellness, she envisions a world where mental health services are universally equitable and accessible. Her mission is to harmonize wellness and social equity through transformative events, accomplished through her holistic approach to event planning and fundraising.

As a founding member of Event Minds Matter and a dedicated member of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) and Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Ashley stands at the forefront of event professionals. Her excellence was recognized when she became a finalist for the Future Leader award at the 2019 Edmonton Event Awards.

Ashley’s professional journey includes organizing local wellness events and curating virtual wellness retreats that draw participants from around the globe. She has also taken the stage as a speaker at various conferences, passionately advocating for the significance of mental health, community care, and social change.

As an interior-designer-turned-fundraising-event-professional, Ashley has always been able to see the “big picture” while meticulously attending to every detail. She is thrilled to bring her unique set of skills to the Mental Health Foundation to make an even bigger impact on mental health and addictions care across Alberta.

In her leisure time, you’ll find Ashley practicing yoga, browsing local bookstores, , or unwinding with her husband and cherished feline companion, Canela.

Ashley Cruz

Events Officer
Natalie Gentile

Natalie brings over a decade of invaluable experience from Toronto, Ontario, where she has dedicated herself to the non-profit sector. With a rich background in fostering connections among individuals, families, corporate partners, and foundations, she has consistently fueled inspiration for causes close to their hearts.

Embarking on her professional journey in international development, Natalie played a pivotal role in fundraising for underprivileged communities worldwide, striving to improve access to healthcare and education. Her advocacy for gender equality and human rights reflects a deep-seated commitment to making a meaningful impact on a global scale.

In her most recent role at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, the preeminent mental health hospital in Canada, Natalie took the reins of all fundraising efforts for Child and Youth Mental Health research. Notably, she played a key role in CAMH’s groundbreaking $500-million campaign, to establish a state-of-the-art Research and Discovery Centre. The visionary project aimed to centralize mental health research in Canada, a testament to Natalie’s leadership and dedication.

Natalie’s passion for mental health and addictions issues extends beyond her professional life, becoming a personal mission fueled by witnessing the profound impacts of mental illness and recognizing the existing gaps within the Canadian healthcare system. Firm in her belief that mental health is the paramount cause of our time, Natalie is eager to persist in her career, championing dignified mental health care and addiction services for those grappling with mental health challenges. Her unwavering commitment to this cause exemplifies a compassionate advocate ready to make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals facing mental health struggles.

Natalie Gentile

Associate Director, Philanthropy
Shelley Johnson

Shelley is an accomplished self-starter with a strong background in the nonprofit and finance sectors. Working remotely from Ontario, Shelley gained her extensive experience in data management and event coordination at the Grand River Hospital Foundation, following a tenure with the Bank of Montreal. Shelley volunteers making and providing hot meals for vulnerable people, as a social media manager for a nationwide prostate cancer non-profit, and is on the Finance Committee as an advisor at her church. In her spare time, Shelley enjoys hiking and camping in Ontario, and beyond.

Shelley Johnson

Finance Officer
No Photo Available

Geoff has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Victoria and brings a wealth of leadership experience to the foundation. He is a very proud father and husband. Although he spent 13 year in Victoria, he was born in Edmonton. Geoff has always been a strong advocate for others, a coach, a mentor, and most of all a firm believer in Community. With his passion for the cause, his formal education, and over 15 years of successful team leadership, it is his goal to bring more awareness and support for mental health and addictions across Alberta.

Geoff’s personal and professional connections across Alberta will prove to be a great addition as the Philanthropy team lead. He will be developing new methods to be involved in communities and will work with both government and private individuals to help build lasting change. He is ready to roll up his sleeves and get into the trenches with all of us to reach our collective goals.

Geoff Knechtel

Director of Philanthropy
Amanda Shah

Amanda has spent nearly ten years working in philanthropy. From Bust a Move at the Alberta Cancer Foundation, to Uniquely Me for the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, and everything in between, she has extensive expertise in fundraising through events, donor engagement, and fun! Her passion for donor experience is the thread the binds her work at the Mental Health Foundation in Annual Giving, Cause Marketing, Stewardship, Events, and Legacy Giving. Outside of work, you can find her teaching yoga, hiking in the mountains with her husband and bernedoodle, and baking sweet treats.

Amanda Shah

Manager, Donor Impact & Engagement
Amber Whelan

Amber is looking forward to a future where we can all acknowledge mental health and addictions in a progressive and destigmatized manner. Amber has a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in International Studies, and a minor in Anthropology. Having spent most of her time learning about people and their roles in society, she pursued a person-centered career in client relations. Amber spent several years working with families at Kids Uncomplicated; she thoroughly enjoyed bringing innovation to the disability sector.

Amber also spent some time interning with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. Her volunteer time provided her great insight to the collective efforts needed to help our communities prosper. She is eager to learn more about our donor community and the mental health needs of Albertans. The Mental Health Foundation is setup for success, and she is excited to join a team of passionate and dedicated individuals. In Amber’s spare time you will find her exploring the outdoors with her family, swimming laps at the pool, cooking vegetarian food, and chasing after a mischievous dog.

Amber Whelan

Donor Impact & Engagement Coordinator