Board of Directors

To contact Special Olympics Alberta board members, please email boardchair@specialolympics.ab.ca

Volunteers are elected each year at the Annual General Meeting to be a part of the Provincial Board of Directors. The Board meets approximately five times a year to manage the financial and administrative affairs of the Organization.

 

Deborah A. MacPherson - Chair

Deborah MacPherson

What is your profession / career?

I am a CPA CA, tax partner and Tax Business Unit Leader for KPMG's Regions West Tax Practice which covers 9 offices from Prince George, the Okanagan, Edmonton, Lethbridge, the Prairies through to Winnipeg. I've been with KPMG for my entire career although I have worked in various offices including Mississauga, Burlington, Hamilton, Calgary and now Edmonton. I advise private company businesses and their owners - I have a particular focus on Family Business and Business Families.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Mount Royal University Transitional Vocation Program Advisory Committee, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Hamilton Health Sciences Hospital Board, Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, Hamilton-Wentworth VON Foundation Board, Halton Women's Place Board, Bruce Trail Association Planned Giving Committee

Why did you join the SOA Board?

My daughter is an athlete with her favourite sports being swimming, basketball, and figure skating. She has also participated in alpine skiing, curling, soccer, and rhythmic gymnastics. I have had the great pleasure to witness Special O competitions and seeing the impact of our programs on the athletes is so incredible.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

5 years

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

I am the Board Chair.

What are your favourite pastimes?

Cycling, running, hiking, and generally hanging out with my family.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Swimming

 

KIMBERLY BROCANIER - VICE CHAIR

What is your profession / career?

I am currently the Assistant Principal at New Heights School and Learning Services in Calgary; a private designated special education school for individuals with ASD and similar learning profiles. I have held a number of roles throughout my career in Education: Teacher, Transition to Adulthood Coordinator, Learning Leader; always focused in either Physical Education, Special Education or the Not-for-Profit world (Special Olympics and Right to Play).

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Special Olympics Calgary AMC; Athlete Leadership Course Presenter; Director of Special Events - Special Olympics Alberta 2019 Winter Games; Special Olympics Coach; Event Director/Volunteer Coordinator/Team Management Coordinator - motionball Marathon of Sport; Education Champion/Intern/Presenter - Right to Play; Calgary Zone Representative - Alberta Schools Athletic Association; Community Coach (Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field); Play Around the World program participant

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I have always been drawn to the power of sport and play, the ability it has to bring people together, and the impact it can have on the lives of everyone involved. Having worked closely with individuals of all abilities in sport and education, I have become an ally and an advocate for change and inclusion; this is what drew me to join the SOA Board. I would like to continue to find as many opportunities to empower our athletes to be leaders in their sport and in their communities, and to have their voices heard at all levels of the organization.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

I am coming in on the ground floor!

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

I look forward to finding out more about the current committees available.

What are your favourite pastimes?

Spending time with my son, husband and pup; fitness; biking; travelling, volunteering; anything sports-related!

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Athletics, Basketball, Bocce, Walk/Run Club

 


mELISSA KLEBECK - Director of finance

What is your profession / career?

Senior Manager in Audit and Assurance at MNP

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Coached high school and junior curling programs. Treasurer of the MLA of Saskatoon Greystone constituency which was led by Rob Norris of the Saskatchewan party at the time.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I have a special place in my heart for sport and Special Olympics. Having the opportunity to lead a curling day with our special education class was a wonderful day and full of fun. It has stayed with me always.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

2 years

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Finance and Risk Committee

What are your favourite pastimes?

Cycling, running, hiking, and generally hanging out with my family.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Curling

 

BRENT ALLISON - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

Information and Communications Technology Executive

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Past chair of the board of TELUS Spark – Calgary’s science center, Vice-chair of the TELUS Manitoba Community Board, past board chair of the Alberta Science & Technology Leadership Foundation (ASTech) and past board member of TRTech. An active mentor alumnus with the University of Calgary and a volunteer basketball coach.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

Passion for the intersection between family, sports, and a fantastic cause enabling healthy lives.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

Less than one year.

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Chair of the Nominating Committee

What are your favourite pastimes?

Playing basketball and golf, watching my kids play various sports, reading leadership books and autobiographies.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Basketball

 

CAROLINE BARHAM - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

Owner and operator of 10 Tim Hortons locations in Calgary.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Alberta Employer Advisory Council (Barriers to Employment for Persons With Disabilities) Fundraising Chair - Jimmy Carter Work Project - Habitat for Humanity Member Board of Directors - Tim Hortons Foundation Camps Member - Foothills Hospital Redevelopment Committee Hospitality Management Advisory Committee – SAIT

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I have been involved with Special Olympics through Tim Hortons for quite a few years. We have also worked with persons with unique abilities, and this spurred an even greater interest in becoming involved.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

Less than one year.

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Executive Committee

What are your favourite pastimes?

Curling, golfing, competitive ballroom dance, and cross-country skiing.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Floor hockey

JON CORNISH - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

  • President/Co-Founder of the Calgary Black Chambers (2019-Present)
  • 400 hours as a volunteer/community ambassador for the Alberta Children's Hospital (2012-Present)
  • Committee member of Calgary Foundation (2015-Present)
  • Chairperson of You Can Play Western Canada (2014-2016)

Why did you join the SOA Board?

While helping the Special Olympics to reach its stated objectives, I joined the SOA Board to help athletes of all kinds reach their potential.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

New member

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

The Children’s Hospital, sat on various Calgary Foundation grant committees and given time to numerous community groups.

What are your favourite pastimes?

Video games

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Track and Field, 100m

 

CATHERINE KEILL - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

CEO (Chief Eternal Optimist) and Lead Strategist, Keill & Company Inc. Keill is a small but mighty communications, marketing, public relations and public affairs team based in Edmonton and serves clients from across Canada in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Vice-Chair, Shadow Theatre, second-term Senator for the University of Alberta, a founding member of the NPO Collective, board member for Habitat for Humanity Edmonton.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I was looking for an organization where my family could also get involved in the efforts. Many of my volunteer roles do not allow for my family's engagement and the mission and work of SOA is aligned with my family's interests as well. COVID didn't allow for much chance for their involvement in the end so we have not had the chance to fulfill that part of the involvement as yet.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

Less than 2 years (November or so 2019).

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Chair, Stakeholder, and Fundraising

What are your favourite pastimes?

Reading, canoeing, camping, skiing, and playing cards.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Floor hockey

 

DON KWAS - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

Assistant Deputy Minister, Government of Alberta

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Member and Chair of the Board, Centre for Autism Services Alberta for ten years Coach, Special Olympics Edmonton (ongoing) Member of the Affiliate Management Committee (two years).

Why did you join the SOA Board?

To help in a small way to provide the best possible experience for SOA athletes (one of my sons is an athlete).

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

2 years

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Executive Committee (Secretary), Finance and Audit

What are your favourite pastimes?

Many sports, reading the newspaper, and books.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Track and Field

 

CHIEF DEAN LAGRANGE - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

Currently the Chief of Police for the City of Camrose Police Service. Prior to that, I spent 26 years as a Calgary police officer, retiring in 2017 and joining the RCMP at the rank of Inspector. I spent 18 months with the RCMP before being appointed to the Chief's position in Camrose. Of note, I spent a year in Afghanistan (2011-2012) taking part in a NATO mission, teaching democratic policing skills to the Afghan National Police.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

I am a Rotary Club member, prior victim services advocate, as well as taking part in many fundraising initiatives such as "Walk-a-Mile" in her shoes, Black Tie Bingo, Community food drives, and more.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police asked for a volunteer to represent AACP on the Board of Directors and I jumped at the chance to be a part of an organization that recognizes the value and diversity of the athletes like the SOA does.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

18 months

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Currently, the Chair of the "HR Committee" and I also sit on the "Stakeholders" Committee.

What are your favourite pastimes?

I enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren, as well as planning countries I would like to travel to.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Floor hockey… love it!

 

MARK POWELL - DIRECTOR

What is your profession / career?

I am a lawyer and partner at Bennett Jones LLP. I head our Trading & Derivatives group and work out of our Calgary office.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

Volunteering and sport have been an important part of my life since I was 12-years-old. In addition to serving on the board directors of Big Brothers and Sisters Calgary, the Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth and the Trailswest Hockey Association. I am a former hockey and softball coach.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I have three kids and, for the last few years, my volunteer activities relating to sport have been directed to their activities and interests. My kids are now (almost) fully grown and I have been looking for volunteering options related to sports that are independent of my kids' lives. I cannot think of a better opportunity than joining the SOA Board.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

New member.

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

None right now (but I expect that this will change shortly).

What are your favourite pastimes?

Golfing, running, walking my dog, and hanging out with my family.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

motionball

 

JERRY TENNANT - AFFILIATE REPRESENTATIVE 

What is your profession / career?

Before retiring in 2006 I spent 21 years in radio and television followed by 25 years with the City of Red Deer Recreation Department as an Athletics Program Supervisor. My duties included liaising with youth and adult sport groups in the city including Special Olympics. As a result of my involvement with the Red Deer Affiliate Management Committee I became more interested in the goals and objectives of the organization and have remained active for the past 40 years.

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

I have been a community volunteer in Red Deer for the past 60 years including such diverse organizations as the Heart and Stroke Foundation; Scouts Canada; the Red Deer Games Foundation; Festival of Trees; Football Alberta; Football Canada; Alberta Summer Games Committee and numerous others. I am still involved with many of these groups as well as with Special Olympics.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I helped establish, and for ten years chaired, Special Olympics Alberta's Affiliate Resource Committee, whose main purpose was to provide a forum for communications between Affiliates and the provincial Board of Directors. After the committee was dissolved in 2018, I was elected by the membership to the Provincial Board as the Affiliate Liaison.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

3 years

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Affiliate Development

What are your favourite pastimes?

Bowling, reading, walking, volunteering, and spending time with my seven grandchildren.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Soccer

 

DALLAS SORKEN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS - ATHLETE REPRESENTATIVE

Dallas Sorken

What is your profession / career?

Cashier

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

I was on the board of directors of the Edmonton Epilepsy Association. I was involved in community sports leagues.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I wanted to represent all the athletes.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

5 years

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Athlete Leadership Input Council

What are your favourite pastimes?

Playing multiple sports with Special Olympics Alberta.

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Floor Hockey

 

ERIC KWAS - YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE

What is your profession / career?

Biomedical Engineering Student

What has been your community involvement prior to SOA?

I have been an assistant coach with SO Edmonton’s track and field program since 2019. I was also involved with the Centre for Autism Students’ Association club at the UofA from Sept 2019 - Feb 2020 (until it was shut down by COVID). After that, I became involved with the UofA motionball club from September 2020 - present.

Why did you join the SOA Board?

I want to be a part of the governance for SOA. I believe, through this board, that I have a unique opportunity to improve SO’s diversity geographically, culturally, and particularly age-wise (I am the Youth Rep). Ultimately, SOA is already putting out excellent programs - I want them to be made available for larger, more diverse groups of people.

How many years have you been a member of the SOA Board?

Almost 1 year

What SOA Board Committees do you currently sit on?

Stakeholder Engagement

What are your favourite pastimes?

I enjoy watching TV / Movies (especially comedy), playing chess, and staying active!

Favourite Special Olympics sport?

Track and Field