Board of Directors

2021-22  SEEDS Connections Board Of Directors

Patrick Loyer (President) – is an Aboriginal educator of Cree descent and has been involved in education for his entire professional career. He has held various positions with Calgary Catholic School District from classroom teacher to Consultant, Aboriginal Education and has also taught English for one year in Japan. He is currently an Executive Staff Officer with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and is presently on a one year secondment to Calgary Catholic Local 55 of the ATA. Patrick has been involved in various capacities within the Calgary community. Many of those initiatives were specific to Aboriginal education and include work with the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative (CUAI), recently no longer active, and the Calgary United Way. He is also very familiar with the CONNECTIONS Program, where he was a teacher presenter and a teacher sponsor of Calgary Catholic students enrolled in the program. He joined the SEEDS Connections Board in 2016. Patrick currently resides in Airdrie with his wife where they can share in one of the joys of their lives, their four grandchildren.

Brenda Griffin (Treasurer) – is an English high school teacher with the Calgary Board of Education.

Paul Kelba –  is a junior high school environmental, outdoor education and leadership teacher with the Calgary Board of Education

Kari Shewkenek (Secretary)  - is an English teacher with the Calgary Board of Education

Joanne (Yanna) Papadopoulos  – is an English and Social Studies  teacher with the Calgary Board of Education.

Natasha Sarkar – is a high school teacher at Inner City High School in Edmonton. Previously, Natasha was a SEEDS Connections Program Strategist. For nearly two decades, she has worked to empower youth and educators throughout North America and the world to expand their understanding of global citizenship. She is Program Coordinator for the Global Citizenship Summer Institute, hosted by ACGC. A certified Alberta teacher, she has helped develop global education resources at CAWST, One to World NYC, and helped facilitate the 2011 Summit on Global Education while working for Global Washington.  She is the Global Education Adviser for the Global, Environmental & Outdoor Council of the ATA. She holds a B.A. in Asian (Japan) Studies (UBC), B.Ed. Social Studies/International Education (University of Alberta) and is completing her MA Comparative and International Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Adam Pommer   - works in government relations for Suncor. Previous to this role, Adam spent a number of years working in Suncor's Indigenous & Community Relations department. In addition to his professional career at Suncor, Adam is also a volunteer with the company's 2SLGBTQ+ employee network.

Alexandra (Alix) MacDonald (Past President) – has been in education for over 25 years in Ontario and Alberta, both as teacher and administrator. Currently she is an instructor at Bow Valley College, and has just started a new position as Student Learning Facilitator at the college’s Centre for Excellence in Foundational Learning. Alex has been involved with the CONNECTIONS program for a decade, beginning as a teacher supervisor then moving into working at the program to sitting on the CES board. She is co-founder and co- chair of INSPIRE!africa, a Calgary based foundation dedicated to improving the lives of people in Rwanda. She plays in the outdoors in all seasons- skiing, hiking, biking and canoeing are her favourites, especially when shared with friends and family.


Past Board Members

John Sparks - Former President of the SEEDS Foundation Board of Directors, John remains as an industry advisor to SEEDS Connections. He is currently working as a Senior Consultant at NATIONAL, in their Calgary offices. 

Robin Sparks - Previously on the SEEDS Foundation Board, Robin continues to consult and add her communications and marketing expertise as an advisor to the Board. She is a Senior Consultant at NATIONAL.

Lyle Benko – was an active, valuable member of the SEEDS Foundation and SEEDS Connections boards from 2004 until February 2016. He was a semi-retired educator who was professionally involved with formal, informal and non-formal sectors of education as a teacher, administrator, Science & Math consultant, and Supervisor for Program Services for the Regina Catholic School Division. He was President of L*A*M*B Environmental and Educational Consulting (Inc.), involved with international, national, provincial and civic work, contracts and presentations on sustainability and climate change issues. Lyle continued to teach at the University of Regina in the areas of Environmental Education, Science Education, and Educational Professional Studies. He enjoyed sharing his retirement time with his wife Donna, their two children and spouses, while being involved in projects that contribute to and insure the sustainable future for their grandchildren, Emma and Andrew.

Dana Griffiths – a long serving member of SEEDS Connections and the SEEDS Foundation, is a retired teacher in Newfoundland.

Debra Noesgaard – is a retired high school Social Studies teacher with CBE, working mostly with youth at risk. She has worked as a consultant on several projects with the Alberta Education, the latest being their Curriculum Redesign Project. She was the lead author for OUP’s grade 12-2 Social Studies Text: Understanding Ideologies and has served as both Provincial and Regional ATA Social Studies Council Presidents. She was a member of the ATA Professional Practice Review Committee and a Director for Alberta Safe House. Currently she is still substitute teaching, volunteering at the Folk Festival and the Calgary Zoo and travelling more than before.

Bonnie Headley – is a registered Trademark Agent with the Calgary office of Bennett Jones LLP, and is recognized to practice before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She has extensive experience with trademark and copyright matters, having practiced in the field of intellectual property law for more than ten years. Prior to embracing a career in intellectual property law, Bonnie was a researcher and writer for a talk show televised nationally on CTV. In addition to an interest in writing, Bonnie is an avid hockey fan, enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and cycling, is a fan of live music, as well as the quiet enjoyment of a good book.

Karyn Lewis  – is an accountant with Suncor, who joined the SEEDS Connections Board in 2015.

Jeff Angel – is a corporate leader with an extensive background in strategic communications, government relations, marketing, business development, investor relations, public affairs, issues and crisis management. Mr. Angel also specializes in business development, issues and crisis management, government and public affairs. Currently a management consultant, Mr. Angel has advised several corporations including Aquashell IT Solutions, the International Management Group (IMG), Telford Services, Alta Flights and Peace Air.

Annaliese Behrens –  originally from British Columbia, Annaliese studied international business and environmental studies at McGill University and completed a Master's in Public Policy at the University of Calgary. Annaliese is currently a Waste Policy Advisor at Alberta Environment and Parks, where she helps develop and inform recycling strategies and initiatives for the province. Previously, she worked in the post-secondary education sector, splitting time between SAIT (Researcher – Green Building Technologies) and Bow Valley College (Sustainability Coordinator). In addition to her own educational experience, working in post-secondary gave Annaliese a deep appreciation for the importance that education has in encouraging young individuals to adopt lifestyles and attitudes that embrace environmental values and diversity.

William (Bill) Dickson – has been a leader in the area of Education for over forty years. From 1978 – 1981, Bill held key roles with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) prior to being named CBE’s Deputy Chief Superintendent of Schools from 1981 – 1996. Additionally, Bill held the position of Superintendent of the Calgary Science School from 1998 - 2002. Following those positions, Bill continued professional work as a consultant and as a professor in the faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. As an active volunteer in our community, Bill has shared his skills with a range of organizations including Rotary Club of Calgary, Alberta Mentorship Foundation for Youth, Diversity Calgary Leadership Council, Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Authority Board, Connections Education Society, Bethany Care Board and Saint David’s Church. Bill has volunteered on various committees at The Calgary Foundation since 1998, and has been the Chair of the Grants Committee. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2004.

Marjolaine Hudon  – is a RBC Regional Vice President, Calgary Central and joined the SEEDS Connections Board in 2016.As an RVP Integrated Markets, Marjolaine has overall responsibility for retail, small business and financial planning platforms within the Calgary Central market place. Marjolaine joined RBC in 1991 where she worked in several Montréal branches over a four year period. She was the MCC in her last two branches. In 1995 she moved to Toronto in Corporate HR functions as the Employee Ombudsman and then Recruitment Manager where among other duties, developed and introduced the first RBC Employee Referral Program. From April 1999 until October 2001, she was the Manager at Toronto Main Branch and then moved to Specialized Sales Force where she was a Project Manager doubling the size of the Mortgage Reps and IRPs. She then moved back to Quebec where over a period of eight years worked in Sales Effectiveness, the Business Services Centre and was the Manager of Collections.  In 2009 she became the National Manager, Collections and in 2011 the role of Centre Manager, Montréal Business Services Centre.  She assumed her current role in January of 2014. Marjolaine is an active and dedicated community leader and over the years has been the Executive Champion for United Way and she is currently the Executive Chair for the PRIDE employee resource group. Marjolaine presently resides in Calgary with her husband and three children. 

Thomas (Tom) Keenan – is an educational innovator, journalist and public speaker, known for his articles in the Calgary Herald and interviews and co-written series ”Crimes of the Future” on CBC. In 2013, he won the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s annual award for science promotion. One of the world’s top computer security experts, he helped the Canadian government write its computer crime laws in 1983. He is a professor at the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary, and has just finished writing a newly published book, Technocreep.

Gail Kingwell – is a former teacher and administrator with the Calgary Board of Education, university instructor of English as a Second Language teaching and learning, and consultant in educational projects and curriculum development. She has served as Chair of the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Immigrant Youth, President of Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language, and board member of Connections Education Society, TESL Canada and the Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners. Her interests are travelling, reading, theatre, world events and the activities of eight grandchildren.

Lorna Wick  – is presently a senior high school English Language Arts teacher with the Calgary Board of Education. Her career has seen numerous changes. Lorna began working with deaf and hard of hearing students and their families, with experience in both teaching and administration. She has been involved with CONNECTIONS as a teacher leader, facilitator, and now on the board of directors. Her interests are varied and include enjoying time with her young son, painting, cycling, snowshoeing, and travelling.

Funders and Sponsors

  • RBC Foundation
  • The Calgary Foundation
  • Kamp Kiwanis
  • Cenovus Energy
  • Alliance Pipeline
  • TD Friends of the Enivornment Foundation
  • Rife Resources Ltd