Leadership & Board of Directors

Leadership Team

Loretta Dobbelsteyn

Loretta Dobbelsteyn

Chief Operations Officer

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


Virginia Trawick

Virginia Trawick

Chief Financial Officer

A Chartered Professional Accountant, Virginia brings with her 20 years of non-profit leadership experience in financial administration, risk and change management. With a passion for community health and social issues, she has also contributed as a volunteer with a variety of organizations including as treasurer & vice-chair at Volunteer Calgary and board member and treasurer at the Distress Centre. Virginia has completed training in leadership and strategic planning and is a graduate of the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. Outside of work, she tends her community garden, golfs and plays with her rescue dog Josie.


Jackie Liu

Jackie Liu

Director of Clinical Operations

Jackie is intensely passionate about healthcare, community, and team-building. He comes to the Alex via a variety of experiences – he is a pharmacist by profession, and has worked with the Primary Care Networks, Alberta Health Services, long-term care, and private pharmacy. He has a keen interest in program development, partnership development, quality improvement, measurement and evaluation, and clinical data optimization. At The Alex, Jackie hopes to work with the team to better understand and reconcile our clients’ life circumstances, past experiences, and sociobehavioural determinants of health with best-practice medical care to improve overall health for our population.


Merrill Cooper

Merrill Cooper

Director of Research and Evaluation

Merrill comes to the Alex with 30 years of social research and evaluation experience, most of which has been conducted in the non-profit and governmental sectors.  Merrill’s work has focused on disadvantaged populations and the inter-related challenges of poverty and social inclusion, equality and human rights, crime and justice, intimate partner violence, housing and homeless, and child and youth development. She is excited to join the Alex team and contribute to the delivery of innovative and accessible programming and supports for Calgarians facing barriers.


Jennifer Eyford

Jennifer Eyford

Associate Director of Health

Jennifer Eyford is the Associate Director of Health at The Alex. She has worked in a variety of health and mental health settings for the past 18 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.


Renee MacKillop

Renee MacKillop

Associate Director of Food and Wellness

When The Alex Community Food Centre opened in September 2016, Renée Mackillop is the farmer and program manager who brought it to life, converting a former restaurant into a vibrant, food-focused community centre based on the idea that good food is a powerful force for greater health, equity and social change. Renée grew up on a family farm near High River, Alberta, and returned after working on social justice and food security in Cuba, Oakland, CA, and on Vancouver Island. Her family farms pasture-raised, heritage Highland beef in the Calgary area.


Kate Hawksworth

Kate Hawksworth

Associate Director of Youth

Kate Hawksworth is a community builder with an insatiable entrepreneurial spirt. The delicate mix of business acumen and a true desire to make the world a better place is alive and well in Kate. She brings a fiery passion and a deep understanding of how even small changes and adjustments in big systems can reduce systemic barriers to health and community connection for the youth and families of the Alex Youth Health Centre.  Kate came to non-profit from a recruitment background and now puts that recruiter mind to work at The Alex building partnerships with clients, community members, donors and volunteers.  Kate loves to spend her off hours in the mountains snowboarding or spending time with her daughter whose fearlessness and big open heart are the very centre of Kate’s pride and joy.


Board of Directors

Richard Boyer – President

Richard is a CA and has more than 25 years of experience in various leadership roles in both public and private enterprises. Since the beginning of 2015, he spends most of his time as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Crystal Creek Homes which is an award winning residential homebuilder operating in Calgary and Edmonton. Through his consulting practice, XCel Advisory Group, Richard is a Gazelles International 4-Decision business coach and works with small and medium-sized businesses’ CEOs and CFOs to help them manage growth and improve their effectiveness.

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.

Michael Morton – Treasurer

Michael is currently a member of the Corporate Development team with Inter Pipeline Ltd. where he focuses on helping the company evaluate and execute strategic opportunities for growth. He moved to Calgary from Saskatoon in 2008 after completing university and spent a number of years working for Deloitte and PwC as a Chartered Accountant.

Amin Rawji – Director

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.

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.

Barb Boyer – Director

Barbara Boyer is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years of experience with clinical, operational, strategic and financial management in complex public health service organizations, and 9 years of consulting experience in health care.   She has held the role of Project Manager for a wide variety of projects for government, regional health authorities, not-for-profit agencies, and private health care service delivery organizations, with a focus on strategic planning activities, organizational structure re-design, community needs assessment, outsourcing of services, and performance measurement.

Barbara’s particular strengths lie in her analytical decision-making with excellent attention to detail; business process redesign skills; collaborative problem identification and resolution with internal and external stakeholders; financial management skills; and her excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Colleen Janseen Hood – Director

Colleen has focused her career energy into two areas that she is passionate about – communications and community investment.  Her first job was in radio at QR77 (Calgary). As promotion director, she learned the ins and outs of event management and media relations. She then took on the challenge of building the communications and community investment department at First Calgary Financial.  As an assistant vice president, Colleen was responsible for internal communications, member relations, and community partnerships, as well as working closely with the marketing department on all marketing initiatives. In July 2000, Colleen started her consulting company with a focus to support small to medium sized organizations, profit and nonprofit, in the areas of strategic communication planning and special projects. In addition to consulting, Colleen enjoys her role as a contract faculty instructor at Mount Royal University, as well as her volunteer efforts. She has served in several other board capacities including, director at First Calgary Savings, chair of First Calgary Savings’ Corporate Citizenship Committee, and vice chair, Family & Community Support Services Board, County of Rocky View.

Kellie Johnston – Director

Kellie has over 15 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.  She has extensive regulatory, environment, legal, strategy and sustainability experience.  In addition, she has led  government relations work in major oil and gas companies as well as the development and implementation of climate change and corporate sustainability strategies.  She has experience in public engagement, including work with First Nations, corporate and government stakeholders, and senior/executive management.  Kellie is a lawyer and has practiced in regulatory and environmental law.

David Pickersgill – Director

An engineer by training, and a corporate executive/owner by accident, David has been in the work-for-joy world of volunteer ‘kids stuff’ since 1994, working ‘hands-on’ with vulnerable kids, and having served as Chair of the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada Foundation, Vice-Chair of Calgary Board of Education, EducationMatters, and Safe Haven Foundation, Co-Chair of Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Authority, and as a Director of some other child-serving organizations.

Danielle Ayana James – Director

Rev. Dr. Danielle Ayana James is a life and workplace strategist who is passionate about helping leaders and organizations recognize and achieve their potential to thrive.  She is a Certified Leadership Coaching professional and Organizational Development (OD) practitioner who brings to her clients 15 years experience in community leadership, facilitation and organizational strategy.

Danielle Ayana’s personal and professional journey has been led by the question: What does it mean to be fully human and fully alive?  In pursuit of living her question she completed a BSc (Biology) at McMaster University and spent her summers working with NGOs in Central America, South America and Eastern Europe.  Waking up to global realities of poverty and injustice, Danielle Ayana pivoted focus to study theology at Yale University earning a Masters of Divinity degree. She went on to earn her Doctorate from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.  An Ordained Minister with the United Church of Canada, Danielle Ayana has worked with faith communities across the country.  She is recognized as a thought-leader in areas of interculturalism, pluralism and community change strategy.

A Calgarian since 2015, Danielle Ayana is honoured to be a Director of the Alex where head, heart and hands are engaged to make a difference for many.

Kistina Royston – Director

Prior to moving to Calgary in 2014, Kistina worked as an accounting consultant for mid size firms in various industries. She is now an accountant with Fiberbuilt Manufacturing, which provides innovative solutions to the golf and pipeline industries.


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The Alex

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


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