The purpose of this committee is to help put conditions in place that lead to the development and implementation of a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for Alberta. To do this, the committee:
· promotes and raises awareness of the need for a poverty reduction plan;
· acts as advisor to the Coordinator of the initiative;
· requires its members to be the spokespersons for the initiative;
· oversees the budget for the initiative.
The Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from the following organizations or sectors:
· Inter-City Forum on Social Policy
· Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta
· Community sector
· Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
· Public Interest Alberta
· Edmonton Social Planning Council
· Alberta Health Services
· Alberta College of Social Workers
· Ex Officio: Leann Wagner, Acting Executive Director, Strategic Policy Initiatives, Ministry of Human Services
Committee Members' Biographies:
Ben Henderson has been Edmonton's Ward 8 City Councillor since 2007. As Chair of the province-wide Inter-City Forum on Social Policy, he is committed to bringing Edmonton to the table to develop a long-term poverty reduction strategy for the province. Ben was previously a theatre professional for over 20 years and is also trained as a mediator and negotiator whose practice area focuses largely on resolving family and community conflicts. He is currently mediating largely with the Catholic Social Services Family Mediation Program and was a member of the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society and the Mediation and Restorative Justice Centre.
Tara Veer, Councillor with the City of Red Deer is a member of the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy and has joined the Steering Committee upon the invitation of ICFSP Chairperson Ben Henderson. Tara was first elected to Red Deer City Council in 2004 and is currently serving her third term as a Councillor. She is Red Deer's representative on the Inter-City Forum on Social Policy and was subsequently appointed to the Steering Committee for Action to End Poverty in Alberta by Chairman Ben Henderson. In 2007, Tara was appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to the Provincial Task Force on Affordable Housing. She has served on numerous community boards in her capacity as a City Councillor and is involved in numerous local charities & community causes.
Janice Melnychuk is known as a respected and effective voice for those she works with and for. She was an Edmonton City Councillor from 2001 until 2007 and prior to that she was a Trustee for Edmonton Public School Board. For the last three years Janice brought this diverse background to Vibrant Communities Edmonton which has recently transitioned its work to the Edmonton Social Planning Council.
Sharlyn White has been the Executive Director of the FCSS Association since November 1999.In her role, she supports the FCSSAA Board of Directors and FCSS Programs across the province. Prior to working for the FCSSAA, she was a Community Facilitator/Business Planner across northern Alberta during the 1996-1999 provincial redesign of services for children and families. Sharlyn's education and training is in social policy and programming, board development, community organizing and community economic development. She has worked primarily in the non-profit sector in Alberta, Ontario and BC - for more than 30 years, but less than 35 years!
Zohreh Saher joined the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) in 2009 and is the secretariat for the Safe and Healthy Communities Standing Committee which helps guide the AUMA Board on issues such as emergency services, housing/homelessness, healthy communities, parks and recreation, social and cultural programs, and more. Prior to working with the AUMA, Zohreh worked for a small public policy consulting company. She is interested in youth engagement, community building and social media.
Marie Carlson, Population Health Consultant, Alberta Health Services (more complete bio to be added)
Susan Morrissey has been the Executive Director with the Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) for over 5 years. ESPC is a social research and policy organization which advocates for the needs of people living in low income. Prior to this she oversaw operations of Adult Day Support Programs (now called Eldercare) which provided support and services to the frail elderly and their caregivers living in the community. Susan started her career as a Registered Recreation Therapist and for 8 years worked in various levels of care within health care facilities in Edmonton. Her focus was on working with the elderly with mild to moderate dementia. In 2002 Susan was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction award in the category of Business Management and the Professions.
Bill Moore-Kilgannon is the Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. In this position, he has been an outspoken advocate for human services and the establishment of a provincial comprehensive poverty reduction strategy. Prior to joining Public Interest Alberta, he worked in Ottawa as the Director of Campaigns and Communications of the Council of Canadians from 2001 - 2004 and he was the Executive Director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta from 1997 - 2001. He was the coordinator of the Global Visions Festival from 1992 - 1997 and is also a documentary video maker (most recent production is a video about the music, art and theatre of street children in Nicaragua). Bill studied Canadian and Latin American history, political science and economics at the University of Alberta and l"Unversité de Sherbrooke, and speaks French and Spanish.
Lori Sigurdson has worked as a social worker for over 20 years in various fields of practice: children's services, mental health, community development, advocacy and education. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science) from the University of Alberta, and a Bachelor and Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Calgary. Currently Lori is the Professional Affairs Coordinator for the Alberta College of Social Workers. She also teaches social work at MacEwan University and The University of Calgary. In addition, she facilitates groups for offenders of spousal violence. Lori has written and spoken publicly about strengthening public services and caring for vulnerable Albertans. She is the Vice President on the Board of Public Interest Alberta.
Joe Ceci, MSW, RSW, AEPA Coordinator (February 7, 2011 to present) has practiced social work in Alberta for 30 plus years. He has worked for agencies contracted by Alberta Children and Youth Services as a youth and family counsellor and later worked for the City of Calgary as a community development specialist. Joe ran for Calgary City Council in 1995 and was elected. He served for 15 years and his greatest priorities while in office were a commitment to preventive social services and the maintenance if not improvement of the social safety net in Calgary. In 2012 he was awarded the Alberta College of Social Workers John Hutton Memorial Award for Social Action/Policy Award. In June 2012, Momentum, a community economic development organization in Calgary, hired Joe to continue the work of AEPA and support the development of poverty reduction strategies throughout Alberta.