All directors are members of the Council and are elected to the board at the Annual General Meeting. Directors can serve a maximum of three consecutive 2-year terms.

All ESPC members are welcome to attend monthly board meetings. Please call the ESPC office at 780-423-2031 for meeting dates and times.

Click here to view Board Minutes.

Click here to view by-laws.

Click a name for more information on the individual Board of Directors.

How to become a Board Member

ESPC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors

A volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of the Edmonton Social Planning Council. The Board is comprised of individuals who are passionate about equitable social policy and making a difference in their community.

All board members are required to be:

  • Committed to supporting the ESPC and its mission to address and research social issues, inform public discussion, and influence social policy
  • Current members of the Edmonton Social Planning Council in good standing

The Board of Directors consists of 8 to 12 members drawn from various segments of the community. A variety of backgrounds, skill sets and perspectives are valued. The term of office is 2 years, and board members are eligible to serve a maximum of 3 consecutive terms.

Board meetings are held monthly (excluding July and August), usually every second Tuesday. Board members also participate in board committees and are involved in periodic strategic planning sessions.

Appointment Process

Applications to be board members are typically accepted around February and March each year for consideration at our Annual General Meeting. A formal nomination form is available at that time for completion by the candidate.

During the rest of the year interested board members can fill out our Volunteer application form and your name will be forwarded to the nomination committee and you will be informed when the formal application is available for completion and submission.

The volunteer form is not a formal application for board membership and we cannot guarantee that all submissions will be tracked. It is still in your best interest to complete the nomination form during the formal recruit period.

Current Board Members

Click on a name to view biography.

Vanessa Zembal (President)

Vanessa Zembal has a Master’s Degree in Human Ecology from the University of Alberta. Vanessa is an active volunteer, working with organizations such as the Human Ecology Graduates Students’ Association, Homeward Trust, and as a previous volunteer research writer with the Council.

Vanessa has served on the Board of the Edmonton Social Planning Council since 2018 in order to learn about and contribute to conversations about the Edmonton community, our history, and what the Edmonton of the future might look like. She is also excited to learn more about how research is communicated to the public and applied directly to communities.

Bill Howe

Bill is passionate about issues of citizenship, belonging and social justice. After a year in Nicaragua and seeing the relationship between youth and change, he left a career in engineering to become an English teacher to engage with youth in service to learning and community. Throughout his career he has been involved as a supervisor for numerous student-led social action groups and has worked on the boards of several organizations. In his spare time he is pursuing a doctorate in Education. After 27 years in the classroom, though he still teaches English periodically, he currently works in consulting, splitting his time working for the Edmonton Public School Board between Research for Student Learning and Comprehensive School Health and Diversity. In both roles, he has been involved in numerous projects researching and supporting engaged citizenship, marginalized student populations and belonging, striving as much as possible to support education of, by and for compassion, relationships, and appreciation of difference. Outside of work and volunteering, Bill is a strong advocate for and patron of all the arts available in our community.

Charlotte Bennie

Charlotte began her postsecondary education at the University of Alberta, with a major in Sociology and a minor in psychology. There, Charlotte volunteered as President of the Sociology Undergraduate Association and facilitated students for reading for the hearing impaired program. Charlotte continued her studies at the University of Athabasca and obtained a Bachelor of General Studies. Charlotte obtained an LLB at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Charlotte’s volunteer activities in the community have included being a Youth Justice Committee Panel Member where she met with youth diverted from the court system. As part of this, Charlotte developed contracts for these youth to make amends for their actions, which included repair/replacement cost of property, or in personal or written apologies. Charlotte also volunteered with Arbutus, where she mentored a child once a week for year and created a “life book” for a child that had been involved with various foster families. Through her employer, Charlotte has volunteered at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Meals on Wheels, the Hope Mission and the Edmonton Food Bank.

Charlotte now works in the access and privacy field which involved weighing access and privacy issues while facilitating information requests, and handing access and privacy complaints regarding an individual’s personal information. Charlotte holds an IAAP designation through the University of Alberta faculty of Extension.

Charlotte is member of the Cosmopolitan Music Society and enjoys Edmonton’s outdoor festivals and our hockey team!

Archana Chaudhary

Archana Chaudhary works as a Project Manager with Covenant Health in Edmonton. She has vast and varied experience spanning over 20 years in the area of strategic planning, policy development, and direction. She is a trained architect and planner. Archana passionately works to enhance and contribute to the community. She is a vivacious volunteer and has contributed endless hours consistently while serving on various boards and agencies in separate capacities. Currently, she sits as a Public Member on the Hearing Tribunal Roster of Alberta Health, a mentor to various mentees at the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC), and a Regional reviewer for the Federal Ministry of Employment and Social Development. For Archana, it has been extremely gratifying to witness the ripple effect of her efforts and inspire others to be involved in community development.

Christopher Batdorf
Christopher Batdorf is an Affordable Housing professional, who for over the past decade has worked with organizations such as the YMCA of Northern Alberta, Homeward Trust, E4C, and the Right at Home Housing Society.  Christopher has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography, from the University of Lethbridge, where the majority of his studies focused on the Human Interaction with their Environments.
Christopher is passionate about affordable, sustainable, housing and identifies as a “Distributionist”; believing in the power of Co-operatives and Public Corporations (with accessible shares/memberships), to be catalysts in creating social benefits.
Currently, he sits as the First Vice-President, of the Alberta Residential Landlords Association (ARLA) Board of Directors, and works to improve communities by bridging housing providers with support services providers, to improve the housing outcomes of Edmontonians who rent.
Christopher is excited to join the Edmonton Social Planning Council; supporting the important research and initiatives that have resulted in such responses to needs as the Edmonton Food Bank and the Alberta Living Wage Network.
Ramona Blacklock

Ramona Blacklock is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and a Senior Certified Professional (SCP), with over 14 years of HR experience.  Ramona has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta and a Human Resources degree from MacEwan University.  She is currently completing a Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations at Athabasca University.

Ramona’s volunteer activities include Board Member for Canadian Parks and Wilderness Northern Alberta, Mentor with Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council, facilitator with John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, Mentor with the University of Alberta Resource Management Association.

Ramona currently works as the Human Resources and Administration Manager at Edmonton Immigrant Services association (EISA). 

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