Board of Directors

Strategic Plan

2020-2023 Strategic Plan

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Board of Directors

Don Gnatiuk, MBA, ICD.D Chair

Don is a leadership and governance enthusiast with over 30 years’ experience at the executive level in public, academic, and corporate sectors. He has a proven ability for building social and political networks within the greater community, while at the same time, developing a model of collaboration that effectively integrates people and business.

In addition to chairing the Board of GEF Seniors Housing, Don presently serves on the Board of Governors of Athabasca University and the Board of Bredin Centre for Career Advancement. Previously, he has served on the Boards of Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre and Alberta Economic Development Authority. Don is retired from his role as President and CEO of the Grande Prairie Regional College.

He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Executive Management from the Royal Roads University and is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). As well, he is a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal and both the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals.

Don chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because he wants to give back to his community and to improve the quality of life for older adults. He is widely regarded as a leader who cares deeply about people and his community.

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Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2021.

Shawn is an accomplished public policy and stakeholder relations leader with over a decade of experience across public and private sectors. He has developed positive relationships with all levels of government and policy makers after serving as a government official, regulator, decision maker, industry partner, and NGO director. He is passionate about housing policies for marginalized and vulnerable communities, believing housing is directly connected to physical and mental health outcomes.

Shawn currently serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion with Alberta’s Department of Arts, Culture and Status of Women. He has served as a Board member or volunteered his time with Edmonton’s Food Bank, Association of the Chemical Profession of Alberta (ACPA), Edmonton Pride Festival Society, Board Governance Instructor for the Government of Alberta, and Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies and Economics from the University of Saskatchewan. As well, he has completed continuing education courses, including the Management Development Program (MDP) (Executive Education) from the University of Alberta and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Non-Profit Governance (Executive Education) from the University of Toronto.

Shawn chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because he believes in giving back to those who built our community by ensuring that seniors have safe, affordable, and dignified housing and services.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2020.

Chari’s professional career within the public sector has involved determining entitlement to benefits and services as well ass coaching new staff in this role. She presently works in the Access and Privacy field, under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act.

Previously, Chari has volunteered as a panel member for the Edmonton Youth Justice Committee and has served on the Criminal Injuries Review Board. She presently serves as a Board Member and Chair of the Finance Committee for the Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC).

She majored in sociology at the University of Alberta, and holds a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) from the University of Athabasca, and a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. As well, she has the Information Access and Privacy Protection (IAPP) designation through the University of Alberta.

Chari chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because she believes that having been a part of various team environments will be beneficial in her new role. She feels that seniors are valued members of society and is excited to be a part of contributing to their comfort and happiness.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2023.

John Fessey is an experienced Sales Representative with a diverse background spanning multiple industries. Over the past two decades, he has excelled in technical sales, particularly in the Oil & Gas, Mining, Construction, Industrial Plant, and Power industries, focusing on equipment maintenance and reliability. Before his technical sales career, John also worked within the electronics and communications sectors.

For professional development, John completed various courses at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and a Chemistry program from Athabasca University. John maintains a Machine Lubricant Analyst Level II (MLAII) designation accredited by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication.

John chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because he considers that being of service is the most important thing a person can do. He strongly believes that seniors deserve quality and affordable housing while making the process simple to navigate. While trying to help his family members access affordable housing, he learned first-hand about the needs and challenges that seniors face.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2021.

Lawrence retired from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce after 30 years of service with a broad range of staff and line assignments including branch management, commercial banking, human resources, and marketing. Lawrence has a strong level of commitment to the community with experience volunteering for many entities, including community associations, service clubs, not-for-profit service providers, and post-secondary institutions.

Lawrence has a strong passion for policy-driven organizations that benefit the broader community and has extensive experience with low income and seniors housing on multiple levels. It is with this involvement in seniors housing that Lawrence chose to volunteer with GEF Seniors Housing and regards this sector as one of the fastest growing demographics, which that requires an innovative approach to meet the demand that we will be facing over the coming decade. GEF Seniors Housing has proven to be the leader in providing quality housing and related services that is affordable for the rapidly growing demand for seniors’ accommodation, and Lawrence looks forward to be a part of this exciting volunteer experience.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on October 31, 2022.

Nicole is an urban planner with over 10 years of experience across public, private, and non-profit sectors. With a passion for housing and social equity, she brings a myriad of experience from interior design and project management and from working with affordable and sustainable housing initiatives. From managing projects in the affordable housing sector, she has worked to support diversity of housing types and choice to better support the unique needs of people across Alberta.

Nicole presently works as a planner for the civil engineering company, V3 Companies. As well, she has served on the Board for the We All Believe in You (WABIY) mental health support not-for-profit group, which tackles social isolation in Edmonton.

She holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Technology Management from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Nicole chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because she is passionate about creating more supportive communities that allow seniors to age in place, as their connection to each other and the broader community is critical. She believes seniors should feel empowered, heard, and respected.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on October 31, 2022.

Sheena transitioned from multi faceted careers in international development and banking to become an advocate for the disability and aging space. She brings over 25 years of leadership in program and operational management from non-profit, academic, banking, and corporate sectors.

Sheena presently serves on the board of Microloan Foundation USA, the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) – Older Constituents Group, and the Leadership Table for Age Friendly, Edmonton. Previously, she served with Age Friendly, Washington, DC.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from University of Alberta, Certificate on Aging from Johns Hopkins University, Certified Aging Services Professional (CASP) designation from University of North Texas, Certificate in Gerontology from University of Southern California, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation from National Association of Home Builders. As well, she is a graduate from the Leadership Academy of the American Society on Aging.

Sheena chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because she is a passionate advocate for seniors’ quality of life, aging in place, universal design/accessible living, age tech, and age friendly initiatives. She believes that as our population ages, older adults will want to continue to live in the homes of their choice and that assistive technology will play a significant role towards successful aging, safety, and independence.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on October 31, 2022.

Tracy is a leader in the healthcare sector, working with rural Alberta communities to attract and retain physicians and health care providers by fostering and building relationships with rural communities, stakeholders, partners, and learners to encourage better access to rural health care. She presently serves as the CEO for Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP).

Previously, Tracy has served as the CEO for Covenant Foundation, raising funds to help support leading-edge programs and services, research and education, and state-of-the-art equipment at 21 Covenant acute and continuing care facilities across Alberta. As well, she served as the Vice President for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Prairies Region.

In addition to the GEF Seniors Housing Board, Tracy presently serves on the MacEwan University Board of Governors, where she chairs the Governance and Human Resources committee. Previously, she has served on the board of Momentum Walk-In Counselling.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Alberta and a Diploma in Public Relations (DPR) from the MacEwan University.

Tracy chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because she is invested in the health and well-being of Albertans, particularly the vulnerable senior population.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2020.

Virginia is an accomplished professional with 20 years of leadership experience within the government sector, providing financial assessment, audit, and risk management services. Virginia presently works in a financial and audit capacity for Alberta Health Services.

Previously, Virginia has served in this same financial and audit role for the Government of Alberta, the Canada Post Corporation, and other large organizations. For five years, she has also given her time as a church volunteer.

She maintains a professional designation in accounting and auditing as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).

Virginia chooses to volunteer for the GEF Seniors Housing Board because she would like to enhance the lives of older adults with income constraints. Being passionate about her work, she is striving to contribute to the community in a different capacity. As a Board member, she wants to support research, influence policy, and promote the exchange of knowledge and best practices among the public, service providers, and government.

Appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on October 31, 2022.