To contact Special Olympics Alberta board members, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Paavo Montandon - Chair - Edmonton
Is a Principal in Western Canada’s largest independent insurance brokerage firm. He is an Insurance Broker and Risk Management Specialist with two decades of experience. A manufacturing practice leader and account executive who provides general insurance and risk management services to private and public Alberta-based companies with operations and sales around the world. Previous board experience includes the Support Network Foundation, the Edmonton International Film Festival, the Alberta Science and Technology Awards, and the World Trade Center Committee for the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Paavo is also a passionate cyclist who has traveled to three continents to ride in 12 countries.
mELISSA KLEBECK - Director of finance - eDMONTON
Melissa is a senior manager in assurance services at MNP where she works with a diverse group of clients including working with not for profit groups in various sectors. Throughout her 9-year career with MNP she has worked across western Canada including stops in Prince Albert, Saskatoon before finally settling into the Edmonton office for the last 5 years. Melissa holds designation as a Chartered Accountant, Certified Professional Accountant and has both her bachelor’s degree in commerce and master’s in professional accounting.
Outside of work, Melissa’s favourite hobby has and always will be curling. She has been involved in the sport since she was 10 years old and proceeded to compete in competitive curling since high school and into the early stages of her career. Now Melissa’s involvement in leagues is purely for fun and fitness. Throughout her life Melissa has always loved to give back to the curling community, whether it be through teaching beginner and intermediate curling (for both children and adults), being on various Board of Directors for her leagues as well as sitting on the Saskatoon Women’s bonspiel committee during her time in that city. She has her level 2 certification for Canadian coaching and has coached a junior women’s team as well being the assistant coach for high school women’s curling.
Gerry Lorente - Vice Chair - Edmonton
Gerry Lorente is born and raised in Edmonton. He is happily married for 29 years to wife, Maxine and father to three boys Lee, Luke and Ty.
He currently is the Dealer Principal and General manager for Bavaria BMW and has worked in the car industry for the last 30 years. Additionally, he also sits on two boards: one being the President of the Edmonton Motor Dealers Association and secondly he is a board member of the Alberta Dealers Association. From 2005 to 2011, he was elected to service as councilor on the largest summer village at Pigeon Lake, AB (Golden Days).
His youngest son, Ty, is special needs and has been involved with Special Olympics Alberta-Edmonton for the last five years as a swimmer. Gerry understand the challenges of people with intellectual disabilities and strives to support to help build their dreams. He is a strong advocate for children/persons with special needs.
Deborah A. MacPherson - secretary - Edmonton
Deb is a tax partner with the Edmonton office of KPMG – she has been with KPMG for over 30 years and a partner for 20 years. She is the Tax Business Unit Leader for KPMG’s Regions West practice, comprising 9 KPMG offices from Prince George to Winnipeg. She is also the leader of the Edmonton tax practice and former leader of the Enterprise (private company) tax practice in KPMG’s Calgary office. She has extensive experience serving a wide range of growing private companies. Over the years, Deb has assisted clients with innovative solutions to Canadian taxation challenges including acquisition and divestiture planning, tax-effective reorganizations, business combinations, holding company strategies, multi-jurisdictional tax strategies and remuneration plans.
Deb has been a frequent speaker on tax topics to clients, associations and a lecturer with CPA Canada. She has also authored an extensive number of articles relating to taxation over her career.
Deb is the mother of 3 adult children, one of whom is special needs and a Special Olympics athlete in a number of sports, most notably advanced swimming with the Calgary team.
Kirsten Kirwer- Youth Representative - calgary
Kirsten Kirwer is a friendly, energetic, and enthusiastic university student who is currently completing her Health and Physical Education Degree at Mount Royal University. Kirsten is an active champion and leader within the disability sport community who has nine years volunteers experience working with organization like Special Olympics Alberta - Wetaskawin, Calgary Sledge Hockey Association and the Children’s Adapted Physical Activity Program. She is driven to provide quality recreation and athletic opportunities for all
DON KWAS - DIRECTOR - EDMONTON
Over his 30 year public service career, Don Kwas has worked with both the Governments of Alberta and British Columbia in a variety of roles, primarily in intergovernmental relations and post-secondary education. Don is currently serving as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Relations with Alberta Executive Council.
Don has been married to Dianne for 29 years and they have three children: Brittany, David and Eric. David is a Special Olympics athlete, while Don and Eric both volunteer as coaches with Special Olympics Alberta – Edmonton’s track and field program.
Don has volunteered in many capacities. He is finishing up a nine year term as a member of the Board of Directors for the Centre for Autism Services Alberta, including two terms as Chair. From 2014 to 2016, Don was a member of the Affiliate Management Committee for Special Olympics Alberta - Edmonton. He was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Edmonton Public School Board’s Special Needs Task Force, which developed a Board policy and administrative regulations on inclusive education. Don has also served as Chair of his Ministry’s United Way Committee and was the Ministry representative on the United Way Provincial Coordinating Committee for several years. Don won an award as the United Way Employee Campaign Chair of the Year for the Government of Alberta in 2012.
Walter BreRtton - Director - Edmonton
Walter is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation who now resides in Edmonton with his family. He is happily married to his wife of 14 years, Cesley, and father to four children, Roman, Samson, Ebonie and Malachi. Walter is currently the Indigenous Engagement Manager with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the co-chair of the National Child Day provincial planning committee. He has 18 years of experience in the Child and Family Services field. Walter has worked in both Alberta and Saskatchewan and is well known and respected in the community. He has dedicated his life to improving outcomes for the children, youth and families that he has served.
Dave Findlay- Director - Calgary
Dave Findlay is the founder of Findlay McQuaid and has developed a reputation as being a strong representative for children in our Court system. In addition to acting for children in family matters, Dave has extensive experience in Family Law as well as Wills and Estates and Wills and Estate Litigation. Dave is also experienced in Dependant Adult matters and residential Real Estate. Dave’s clients are well represented by his thoughtful and experienced attitude and Dave always strives to ensure fairness while protecting his client’s rights.
Dave grew up in St. Albert, Alberta. After high school he attended the University of Alberta where he received a Bachelor of Science while competing as a varsity athlete in track and field. Dave also has experience with Helitack for the Government of Alberta in fighting forest fires during the summers and after graduation joined Social Services Alberta where he held several positions in a variety of communities throughout Alberta. Dave and his wife moved to Calgary in 1997 and Dave began working in the Court system as the Court Worker for Child and Family Services. It was at this time Dave was encouraged to apply and attend Law School. He attended the University of Calgary Law School and graduated in 2002. After articling with a mid-sized firm and working with a small firm, Dave joined a large local development company. After a couple of years with the corporate practice, Dave decided that his passion was for court work and in 2009 co-founded the firm of Findlay Smith. After six years of successful practice with Findlay Smith LLP, Dave has again re-focused his attention to the court room and in August of 2014, founded Findlay McQuaid Law.
CATHERINE KEILL - DIRECTOR - EDMONTON
Catherine has more than 25 years of experience in strategic communications, public relations, government relations and policy development in private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.
Catherine has been at the helm of Keill & Company Inc. since 1999 and her client work spans across the strategic communications spectrum from speechwriting, to market lead for product launches, to change management and issue management, to government and media relations training. She has built Keill’s body of work based on her extensive experience: Catherine has held senior executive positions in municipal, provincial and federal governments working closely with decision-makers engaging stakeholders at all levels. She has also held the positions of Vice President of Development for a large, local not-for-profit agency, Group Leader of Public Affairs for Alberta and Senior Account Director for a multi-national communications firm, and she was the Director of Communications and Partnerships for a national, not-for-profit organization. Catherine is excited about the diversity of the work her client’s bring to the Keill team, and she prides herself on her deep relationships she builds with clients through all her projects.
She has been a member of several not-for-profit boards serving and she continues to be a committed member of Alberta’s volunteer community giving of her time to causes close to her heart. Currently, Catherine is a University of Alberta Senator, Vice Chair of Shadow Theatre, and a committed Rotarian.
Catherine has a B.A. in English and Communications, an M.A. in Communications and Technology. She has received a certificate in Project Management and completed her Management Essentials certificate through Alberta School of Business Executive Education, including Change Management Bootcamp.
She loves her husband and son, enjoys her time with her corgis, and relaxes reading whatever book she has handy. She is also bilingual in French (but needs a lot of practice). Her next personal challenge is to learn American Sign Language.
MARIA BORGES - DIRECTOR - SHERWOOD PARK
Maria Borges has more than 25 years of senior management experience in merchandising, marketing, business development, sales and operation. A born leader who combines education, athletics and a strong business acumen with a "strategic eye" that can assist any business in reaching their objectives.
Maria's passion for sport and nature is shared by her husband Steve and their two children: Madison (18) and Kennedy (15). The family enjoys hiking and wild life photography especially owls and woodpeckers. The family currently resides in Sherwood Park, AB. Both children are actively involved in sports: Madison figure skates and golfs for Special Olympics Alberta - Edmonton, while Kennedy plays baseball, golf and swimming. Maria and her husband have developed two grassroots youth programs in Uxbridge for Special Olympics Ontario in golf and FUNdamentals.
Maria has also been on the Special Olympics Ontario Board of Directors from 2012-2016. Currently she is on the AMC for Special Olympics Alberta - Edmonton. Working with youths and adults with intellectual disabilities has been enriching for the whole family and the key driver behind Maria's "can do attitude"!
JERRY TENNANT - aFFILIATE rEPRESENTATIVE - RED DEER
Jerry was raised in Stettler where he completed his high school education in 1960. He then moved to Red Deer and started a 21-year career in broadcasting with CKRD Radio and Television. In 1981, Jerry joined the City of Red Deer Recreation, Parks and Culture department as an athletics program supervisor where his main role was as a department liaison with numerous city sport groups. He retired from his job with the City in 2006.
Jerry has been a lifelong volunteer in Red Deer with such diverse organizations as Scouts Canada, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Red Deer Games Foundation, Festival of Trees; Football Canada and most notably Special Olympics. Jerry’s service to Special Olympics spans 39 years and he currently holds volunteer positions as Chairman and Program Coordinator for Special Olympics Red Deer.
Jerry has been the recipient of numerous awards including Red Deer Citizen of the Year; City of Red Deer Lifetime Sport Achievement Award; Special Olympics Alberta Volunteer of the Year; The AABRD (Alberta Advisor Board on Recreation for the Disabled) Legacy Award; Scouts Canada Centennial Medal; Alberta Centennial Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Award. He is married to Susan and has four children and seven grandchildren.
DALLAS SORKEN, BOARD OF DIRECTORS - ATHLETE REPRESENTATIVE - ST. ALBERT
Dallas Sorken has been in Special Olympics for 15 years. He has participated in curling, floor hockey, track and field, softball and bowling. He has coached swimming in the past and currently coaches track and field. For hobbies, he collects hockey figures and enjoys going to concerts.
This is his second term as a Provincial ALC member. He is also currently the chair of the St. Albert Leadership council.