The Board of Directors

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. (123 KB)

Click a name for more information on the individual Board of Director for the term 2020-2021.

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.

Dave Trautman (President)

Dave Trautman is a veteran of more than 36 years of video production in a variety of working environments. In 1988 he formed a media production consulting firm called EncycloMEDIA Ltd. to provide project management to organizations who undertake interactive training and instructional projects. Dave’s expertise in digital and interactive media allowed him to become a consultant to ACCESS Network, SuperChannel, Lateral Communications, The Becker Group, The Provincial Archives Audio-Visual services, the Canadian Armed Forces, Bombardier, General Dynamics, and Alberta Human Services. He has, more recently, taught at both NAIT’s digital media program and the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension’s Local Authority Administration online course. Dave Trautman is currently his community league president, was the first chairman of the Edmonton Professional Arts Council and was Vice-president of the Film and Video Arts Society. Dave is currently working to help Edmonton City Council improve their public consultation and engagement process. He has been specifically concerned with development of a new public engagement policy for the city for the past four years.

Peter Schalk (Treasurer)

Peter has served on the board of the Edmonton Social Planning Council since 2016 and is the current Treasurer. In addition to the ESPC, Peter also volunteers his time with the Sombrilla International Development Society, an Edmonton-based, volunteer-run international development organization that works in Latin America. Peter was recognized for his contributions to community and global development by being selected a Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation in 2017.

His educational background includes a Master of Arts in History from the University of Ottawa and Masters of Public Administration from the University of Victoria.

When he does find some spare time outside of volunteering, he enjoys travelling, rowing, cycling and curling. Professionally, Peter is a policy wonk with a keen interest in social policy and currently works for the provincial government.

Vanessa Zembal

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.

Jalene Anderson-Baron

Jalene Anderson-Baron is a proud Edmontonian with extensive experience in Edmonton’s social sector, including previous roles at the Bissell Centre, the Inner City Health and Wellness Program, and the Addiction and Mental Health Research Lab at the University of Alberta. Presently, she is a Policy and Research Analyst with Capital Region Housing. Jalene completed her MA in 2016, where her research explored the impacts of affordable housing shortages on Housing First programs in Alberta. Her published research has looked at both policy and practice pertaining to homelessness, Housing First, harm reduction and service provision for socially marginalized populations. Her current interests focus on policy and innovation in the Canadian social housing sector. When she isn’t reading or writing, Jalene can be found enjoying Edmonton’s bike paths and bakeries, walking her dog, or spending time with her family.

Paula Kirman

Paula Kirman is an award-winning writer, photographer, filmmaker, musician, and activist. She has documented Edmonton’s activist scene for over a decade at her blog; produced the community access program From the Ground Up which aired on Shaw TV for three years, and her photography was part of a three-person exhibit at Visual Arts Alberta called “Art + Activism” during the latter part of 2016. Paula has been the editor of Boyle McCauley News, an inner-city community newspaper, since 2006 and works with numerous non-profit groups as a social media and website consultant. Paula co-organized the Edmonton Women’s March in 2017, which saw 4,000 people attend. She is the former Secretary of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, President of Project Ploughshares Edmonton, and an organizer with the Edmonton Coalition Against War & Racism. In May 2018, she received the Social Justice Advocacy Award from the ESPC, and in December 2016, she received the Human Rights Champion Award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights for being a pioneering media artist and community organizer.

Danielle Dolgoy
Danielle Dolgoy was born and raised in Edmonton. With an undergraduate degree in Humanities and Art History from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a Graduate Diploma in Communications and Media Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, Danielle has seen how folks live in many other parts of Canada, and along with her Montrealer husband, made the decision to return to Edmonton in 2013. She has worked in areas of ESL and newcomer settlement, career counselling, arts administration, events management, funds development, and organizational operations. Last year she cobbled together her 15 years of non-profit management and received her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. One of many daughters, Danielle carries on many of the traditional family recipes her mother and grandmothers have shared with her. She is passionate about food security, food literacy, and the importance of eating together.
Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is the Director of Research and Community Engagement with Sage Seniors Association (SAGE). She has a Master’s degree in Educational Policy Studies, and has experience working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including time spent as an adult educator and secondary and post-secondary teacher. In her current role with Sage, Nicole’s research has focused on the role that community-based organizations can play in meeting the needs of a growing, and increasingly diverse, seniors population.

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!

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.

Katherine Weaver

Katherine Weaver has been involved in social justice and access to justice work for many years, both in her career and as a volunteer.  Her work with low-income persons and communities has included policy and research, advocacy, service development, public education and direct client service delivery.  

Katherine holds graduate degrees in both Public Management (M.P.M.- Alberta) and Law (LL.M.- Osgoode Hall), as well as Certificates in Adult and Continuing Education, in Arbitration and in Tribunal Administrative Justice.  A mediator, social policy advocate, lawyer and adult educator, she is currently a Hearing Chair with the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation.  Her term ends June 30, 2020.

For the past ten years, Katherine has taught the Low-income Individuals and the Law seminar course at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law.  The seminar is part of a full-year, nine-credit clinical placement course of which she is co-developer and co-teacher.  Previously, Katherine had been a sessional lecturer in Poverty Law and a guest lecturer in the areas of residential tenancies and alternative dispute resolution. 

Katherine was executive director of the Edmonton Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board for eight years before becoming the City’s Manager of Boards.  Following that, she held a number of positions at Legal Aid Alberta, including vice-president of its policy and research division.

Katherine has been a board member with non-profit organizations, including social planning councils in Ontario and Alberta, and the Alberta Food Bank Network Association.  She was a founding Board member of the Edmonton Community Adult Learning Association, the Edmonton Community Loan Fund, and Niagara North Community Legal Assistance.  She was also a member of the Steering Committee which developed and obtained funding for the pilot project which ultimately became the Edmonton Community Legal Centre.

Our Team


Please click on an individual team member name for more information and to contact them directly. Click here for the general contact form.

Susan Morrissey

Susan Morrissey

Executive Director

Jenn Rossiter

Jenn Rossiter

Research Services and Capacity Building Coordinator

Rowan El-Bialy

Rowan El-Bialy

Strategic Research Coordinator

Sydney Sheloff

Sydney Sheloff

Research Officer

Brett Lambert

Brett Lambert

Community Engagement Coordinator

Justine Basilan

Justine Basilan

Executive Assistant


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Social Well-Being Tracker


Our social well-being indicators are based on social determinants of health. These indicators are the economic and social conditions that shape the health of individuals and communities.

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10544 – 106 Street NW, Suite 200 (Bassani Building)
Edmonton, Alberta T5H 2X6



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