Real Help From Real People
At the core of Children’s Link is our people – dedicated professionals who allow us to offer resources, information, connection and hope to families and professionals in our community. Through one-to-one conversations, support groups, workshops, and online networking opportunities, Children’s Link provides a safe, accepting environment for people to learn, share and connect.
Eryn DewaldExecutive Director
Eryn Dewald is a mom to four incredible humans. She is a connector, a community builder and coach. Eryn loves to help people reach their full potential.
We all have a natural gift or talent. One special gift we can call our own. For her, this special gift is inspiring others, helping them find their way and make connections and course corrections that count. Inherently, there must be an understanding about many industries and skills. The inference is not that one must be talented at all of these industries, but it does imply an understanding of systems. Throughout her story she has felt the most joy from this gift. From her interminable desire for life-long learning and completing a Masters Degree in Leadership to her ongoing commitment to volunteer work, to various experiences in assisting others to find their potential-she is at home inspiring greatness.
Eryn’s strategic thinking and coaching background bring a unique set of skills to the Children’s Link. She is excited to support the team, clients and stakeholders in continuing and further developing resources and supports to ensure we have communities where people are informed, supported, and valued.
Derek Deacon-Rogers is a Social Entrepreneur who believes in the power of business for good. He knows that we can use ingenuity to design and operate businesses that have a positive impact on our planet, our neighbours and our pocketbooks. As the founder of GenerousSolutions, Derek created a barrier-free ticketing and registration platform that has raised millions of dollars for local Nonprofits. As a volunteer Board member, he has helped multiple Nonprofits digitizatize their services – helping them become social enterprises, to start earning revenue and reduce their dependence on government grants.
Lorna SeligProvincial Expansion Manager
Lorna Selig is the Provincial Expansion Manager at The Children’s Link Society. Lorna manages the transition to adulthood program, links agencies and families to our services and resources and manages partnerships and community education.
The transition to adulthood team supports families to complete the documentation that is required for youth to move into the adult services system. The whole process, although it may look daunting, can be done easily and smoothly with the method that Lorna has developed. Lorna facilitates the Transition Workshops and the Family Managed Support Workshops which are held several times per month at Children’s Link. She is often invited to speak about the Transition process to schools and parent councils, pediatricians, community organizations and family support groups.
Lorna is the chairperson for the Annual Calgary Resource Fair for Youth and Young Adults with Special Needs. This long running, popular Resource Fair hosts 40-50 community service vendors offering information to families who have a youth with disabilities proceeding through the transition to adulthood.
In her spare time, Lorna teaches personal safety to children and adults with her company, Safe4Life Personal Safety Training and Self Defense. She is an active community member and an enthusiastic team player.
Kent HehrChildren's Link Champion
As a former cabinet minister, Kent has over 20 years of comprehensive experience in civic, provincial and federal government work. Kent has an extensive background in dealing with complex problems, systems, and policies.
He has a proven track record of managing divergent stakeholders’ interests, collaborating with federal government departments, intergovernmental relations, and chairing committees.
Prior to his entry into public service, Kent was a practising lawyer with the prestigious national law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain (now Dentons). Kent has a long history of serving on not-for-profit boards.
Kent is married to Deanna Holt.
Susan CortesLead, Family Support
Susan Cortes has had the privilege of working for The Children’s Link Society in various capacities for many years. In 1997, she was blessed with the birth of her beautiful daughter. She came into this world with a lovely spark for life, as well as high and complex needs. Raising her daughter has given Susan a lot of insight into the issues families face on a daily basis as they bring up children with special needs. Susan’s daughter, Alacia, earned her Angel Wings in 2017. Susan is also the mother to a wonderful son.
At The Children’s Link Society, Susan works hard to empower families to access resources of which they may not be aware of. She also supports families in building connections and networking to help prevent isolation and to stay mentally healthy.
Believe in your child because your child is a gift.
Courtney McVie strongly believes in the importance of post-secondary education and has worked as Executive Director in the Office of the Provost at the University of Calgary since 2013. Previously she worked as a senior political staffer in the Alberta Legislature, working for the Minister of Health & Wellness, Energy, and then Finance. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Calgary and a Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University. Courtney is passionate about volunteering and joined the Children’s Link board in September 2020, some of her previous volunteer roles include chairing the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Municipal Directions Committee and serving as editor of her community newsletter for five years.
Mikaela JohnsonCommunications & Donor Engagement Coordinator
Mikaela Johnson began working at The Children’s Link Society as a Technology & Design Intern in November 2019 and currently holds the position of Community Relations and Donor Engagement Coordinator. Mikaela graduated with a Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in April 2019 and shortly after, began as an intern at CLS, supporting with technology & design, coffee socials, and starting an online newsletter for the organization. After completing her internship, Mikaela couldn’t help but to stay with the wonderful organization and team that Children’s Link is!
Mikaela brings knowledge from her degree, practicums, and her experience and love of supporting children, youth, and adults with disabilities, particularly youth with autism. Mikaela previously worked at the Autism Asperger’s Friendship Society of Calgary (AAFS) and has worked alongside families as a community support worker. In her spare time, Mikaela enjoys getting out into nature, vegetarian cooking, volunteering, and traveling.
Yasmin MohamedFamily Liaison & Connector
Yasmin began working at The Children’s Link Society as a Family Link Liaison in February 2020. She is a mom to two beautiful kids, and the older one has Autism. She can relate to many families that we are supporting at our organization as she faced these two challenging situations simultaneously: being a new resident of Canada and having a child with a disability, which gives her an insight into how to serve individuals and families who are going through the same journey. She also used to volunteer at The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth as a Reception Centre Ambassador which helped her gaining proficient cultural competence and having a positive perception of other cultures to create a safe and respectful space for our families to express their own culture and viewpoints.
At The Children’s Link Society, Yasmin loves to help develop and cultivate relationships with parents and caregivers and help them navigate the various systems that they may be trying to access. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, hiking and reading novels.
Sean CrumpVice President
As an individual living with a disability, Sean has personally taken it upon himself to do what he can in support of creating and promoting a more inclusive society for us all to live in and contribute towards. Currently, he voluntarily sits on three Not-For-Profit Boards, as well as sits on three additional committees, (including the Access Design committee with the City of Calgary). He founded and runs a business that actively contributes to ensuring a higher level of accessibility is implemented in the design and construction of spaces.
Providing recommendations that currently surpass any design standards existing in Canada today, his business has strategic partnerships with over 40 Not-For-Profit organizations across Canada and has personally discussed this subject matter on platforms such as; CBC, Global TV, CTV, the Calgary Herald, and LiveWire magazine. This is just a snapshot of things he has done and continues to do in support of his community.
Mark KaldasInformation and Technology Support
Chantel AlgadzisTransition and Administrative Assistant
Chantel Algadzis joined Children’s Link in October 2020 as a member of the Transition Services team. Chantel is passionate in supporting our families through a natural, person-centred approach ensuring resources are accessed for a young person to transition into adulthood within the community.
As an active volunteer within her communities, Chantel assisted local organizations in Honduras to support woman, youth and children living with HIV. With a focus to reduce transmission, Chantel supported community education for maternal health and empowered woman to choose healthier living for themselves and their children. Building bridges for families, Chantel provided a loving and safe environment for children through periods of transition with families.
Chantel continues to support the water polo community through volunteer efforts ensuring equality, safety and accessibility for all athletes within the community. Her ability to manage complex situations has led to success as Team Liaison, Vice President and President of the Prairie Dolphins Water Polo Club.
With 20 years of experience in the private sector, Chantel has a diverse background in business. Her business acumen and philanthropic approach empower Chantel to build meaningful relationships with the families we support at Children’s Link.
As a mother of two children with ADHD, Kelly sees the value the Children’s Link Society provides to families with special needs and is excited to support the Board and the staff of Children’s Link.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Western University and Post Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management from Sheridan College. Kelly has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources, working in both Ontario and Calgary.
Kelly joined the Children’s Link Board in September 2020.
Sandra CicmanEducation Team Lead
Sandra has been connected with the Children’s Link Society since 2002, in a variety of capacities. She believes strongly in the agency’s mission to offer resources, information, connections and hope to families and professionals in the disability community.
Life-long learning is something Sandra values. She finds joy in developing and delivering workshops and resources, as well as sharing information with others in clear, yet creative ways. Creating safe, non-judgmental spaces where people can connect, belong, share, learn, grow, contribute and be encouraged, is where Sandra shines! She has extensive experience working with children, adults and parents of diverse cultures, abilities and backgrounds, in both educational and non-profit settings.
Sandra holds a Master’s degree in Special Education and Psychology and a Diploma in Counselling Skills. She has also published four resource books and written articles for local community magazines. However, she has learned the most from her son, whose early entrance into this world impacted her life in many significant ways. As an adult, he continues to inspire her to see things in a new light and recognize the strengths and beauty inherent in each individual.
Outside of work, Sandra enjoys hiking, kayaking, playing music with a worship band and volunteering in the area of Special Needs Ministry. She also loves spending time with her husband, son and dog. A favorite quote of Sandra’s is as follows:
“Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another” Henri Nouwen.