Leadership & Board of Directors

Leadership Team

Shelley Heartwell

Shelley Heartwell


Shelley has worked for over 20 years in senior management roles within the non-profit sector and holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology.   She began her career working with Young Offenders and then moved into the social sector to develop, implement and manage foster care programs, group homes, family support programs and community prevention programs for children and youth.  She joined The Alex in 2005, and under her leadership, the organization has experienced significant growth and has expanded its services to reach a wider range of Calgarians including vulnerable youth.

Loretta Dobbelsteyn

Loretta Dobbelsteyn

Sr. Director of Operations

With over 25 years in the healthcare sector as both a clinician and manager, Loretta thrives on professional challenges. With a Masters in Community Health and Epidemiology and almost a decade of international work she finds the combination of the complexities of the clients with the responsiveness of The Alex staff to be inspiring. Loretta loves physical activity and is grateful for the awesome outdoor life in Alberta that allows for spectacular running and skiing adventures.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant” – R.L. Stevenson

Jennifer Eyford

Jennifer Eyford

Director of Housing First Programs

Jennifer Eyford is the Director of Housing First Programs at The Alex. She has worked in a variety of mental health and addiction settings for the past 16 years. As a nurse she feels especially passionate about holistic health and found her calling when she started working with homeless and marginally housed individuals. She received her education at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago/IL and Mount Royal University in Calgary/AB. Jennifer’s hobbies are long distance running and reading.

Danene Lenstra

Danene Lenstra

Associate Director of Family, Youth & Mobile Programs

Danene has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Education degree and has worked with children, youth and families for the past 20 years.  She has been with The Alex since 2008 and helped to create and grow the Youth Health Centre into one of Calgary’s most inclusive resources for vulnerable youth.  As well, she helped to launch The Alex Youth Health Bus, the unique primary care mobile service which provides health services to Calgary and area High Schools.  Danene continues to play an integral role in the family, youth and mobile programs of The Alex and has a passion for helping every individual to reach their full potential.

Sarah Knopp

Sarah Knopp

Associate Director of Pathways to Housing & HomeBase Programs

Sarah Knopp has worked at The Alex since 2012. She is a leader who loves building and coaching healthy and passionate teams. Sarah has worked or volunteered in the homeless serving sector since being a teenager, and finds immense joy and fulfilment working at The Alex. She has a dream of ending homelessness in Calgary and believes The Alex is the agency that could make this dream a reality.

Sheila Henchel

Sheila Henchel

Human Resources Manager

Board of Directors

Richard Boyer – President

After six years with KPMG LLP as a Chartered Accountant, including a two-year stint in Luxembourg, Richard spent 10 years with Quebecor Inc’s media holdings in Winnipeg. He moved to Calgary in 1999 to join Gienow Building Products, where he acted as President.

Doug Page – Vice President

Doug currently manages TransCanada’s Government Relations in the Prairies and Territories. Previously, Doug worked for the Government of Canada as a political staffer. He has also worked and volunteered for numerous not-for-profit organizations, and in political campaigns throughout Alberta.

Val Austen-Wiebe – Secretary

Val is Executive Director, Community Engagement & Foundations Relations with Alberta Health Services.

Amin Rawji – Treasurer

Amin Rawji has over 25 years of experience in Energy Trading and Marketing. He set up BP Canada’s natural gas trading operation in the early 2000s, and has led large asset management, trading & marketing organizations for various organizations in Calgary and Houston. Mr. Rawji currently runs a consulting company in Calgary and is on the Board of Directors of The Alex, Niska Gas storage partners, and Ember Resources.

Ahsan Upal – Director

Ahsan is a regional manager with Burns & McDonnell, a multinational engineering and architecture firm. He was previously a Vice President at Tetra Tech and held senior management roles at Enbridge and AltaLink leading large teams and delivering some of the largest energy infrastructure projects across North America. He also volunteers actively with HumanityFirst and United Way. Ahsan has a keen interest in accessible healthcare. He is married to a registered nurse and has two active young kids.

Dr. Miriam Berchuk – Director

Miriam is an anesthesiologist at Rockyview Hospital. In her spare time, she works internationally with Medecins Sans Frontieres and dedicates several months each year to humanitarian efforts in developing countries.

Sean Halliday – Director

Sean is a native Calgarian who was recognized in 2010 as one of Avenue magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” as well as Business in Calgary magazine’s “Leader of Tomorrow”. Sean is the Chief Executive Officer of NeoStream Technologies Inc.

Laura Brown – Director

Laura is currently with Sobeys Inc. and holds the position of Community Investment Specialist. Laura is responsible for managing programs in western Canada that help Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. Laura was formerly the director of corporate social responsibility at Calgary  Co-op.  Laura worked with stakeholders to support programs in the community that focused on food security.  Prior to this Laura was with the Calgary Stampede for a number of years.  She took on the role of Centennial Strategist and lead the planning of the 2012 Stampede Centennial. Laura also volunteers her time with the Calgary Stampede Corporate Relations committee.

Dustin Owens – Director

Dustin is Director of Engagement and Integration at Alberta Energy. He works with stakeholders and agencies, boards and commissions to support the implementation of policy initiatives related to electricity and utilities. Dustin has previously held management roles at the Ministry of Executive Council, coordinating resource and environmental policy across departments. Prior to joining the Alberta Public Service in 2012, Dustin held senior management positions in Vancouver, leading fund development and research teams at St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. He is also a past United Way employee giving campaign chair.



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The Alex

#101 2840 2 Ave SE
Calgary AB T2A 7X9
CRA# 13282 4905 RR0001


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