Board of Directors
Leah Shipley, Board Chair
Leah has lived in Saskatoon since 2002, after previously attending the University of Saskatchewan where she received her Bachelor of Commerce degree. Working for Saskatchewan Blue Cross for the past 14 years, she manages a team responsible for training and process development in the Customer Service departments and leads many continuous improvement projects for the company. She earned a Certificate in Adult Continuous Education through the U of S in 2012 to better meet the needs of the adult learners she works with in her training function. She is also a certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) Practitioner and facilitates training sessions for her company.
This is Leah's first year as a member of the READ Saskatoon Board, after having been a member of the Governance Committee for the past 2 years.
Leah has always been an avid reader and sees the value of literacy for everyone. She is excited to be part of this organization that combines her passions of ongoing education and opening the world of literacy to all of those in our community.
Kelsey Dixon, Vice Chair
Kelsey is a litigation lawyer with a focus on family law issues at Robertson Stromberg LLP. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and received her Juris Doctorate of Law from the U of S in 2014.
Kelsey’s commitment to her profession is mirrored by her commitment to her community. She is looking forward to blending her passion for reading with her legal experience on the Governance Committee to help READ Saskatoon accomplish the important work that it does.
Aaron Gaudet, Treasurer
Aaron Gaudet is the Manager of Strategy & Corporate Planning at Cameco Corporation where he facilitates the development of Cameco’s strategic plan and monitors Cameco’s corporate performance targets. Aaron is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Commerce and earned his Certified Management Accountant designation in 2008. Aaron has worked in the mining and agriculture sectors in accounting and marketing strategy.
Aaron started with READ Saskatoon in 2017 as a member of the Audit & Finance Committee. With an avid interest in personal finance, it was READ Saskatoon’s financial literacy program that initially drew Aaron to the organization. Aaron recognizes the critical work the organization does in the community and he looks forward to supporting its goals.
Stephanie Mulhall, Secretary
Stephanie graduated with distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 2009 with A Bachelor degree in Education and went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2016. She currently works as the Coordinator of Assessment and Evaluation for the Department of Teaching, Learning and the Student Experience at the University of Saskatchewan, supporting quality improvement and data-informed decisions as they relate to student support. Her work focusses on planning and assessment, but she also has a keen interest in the areas of interprofessional learning and teamwork, organizational change and mentorship.
Kris Foster, Past Chair
As a writer, editor and strategic communicator, Kris has spent most of his career in the post-secondary education sector. Before coming to the University of Saskatchewan—where he received a Bachelor of Commerce (marketing and management) and is currently the university’s news editor—Kris was the editor of Carleton University Magazine. His work has received awards from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Every day Kris sees how education can change lives and build communities. Literacy is key to health and happiness and he is excited to contribute to the work of READ Saskatoon.
Kris lives in Brevoort Park, the neighborhood he grew up in, with his wife Alexandra and their son Max.
Kristine Sparrow, Member at Large
Kristine Sparrow is a partner at MNP LLP in Saskatoon where she deals with small business, primarily in the agriculture industry. She obtained her Chartered Accountant designation in 2012, having obtained a Bachelor in Commerce in 2009.
This is Kristine’s first year on the READ Board, having joined the audit committee last year. Kristine is excited to work with READ as Literacy is important part of any community and it helps us stay connected and continue to grow in our ever changing world.
Ian Braaten, Member at Large
Ian Braaten is a Senior Manager at KPMG LLP. Ian obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting from the Edwards School of Business in 2009 and obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2013.
Ian joined READ Saskatoon Audit and Finance Committee in 2013 and is excited to continue to be a part of the great work that READ Saskatoon accomplishes. As a past member of the audit and finance committee, he has played a role in reviewing the annual financial statements and budgets.
Ian believes that literacy is essential to building a healthy community and economy. Literacy and financial literacy are vital in building a strong community that is able to participate and make informed decisions. Ian started with READ Saskatoon as a financial guru and also continues to teach accounting as a sessional lecturer at the U of S.
Avon Whittles, Member at Large
Avon Whittles, B.Ed., M.Ed. served as the Director of Education/CEO for Saskatoon Public Schools. As a teacher, consultant, principal, superintendent, deputy director and director she maintained a focus on student and staff engagement, improving learning outcomes, and developing exciting educational opportunities for young people. She was an enthusiastic champion of the Saskatoon Board of Education’s priorities Literacy for Life and Collegiate Renewal and worked at the provincial level to develop a new education sector strategic plan for Saskatchewan. Avon has served on and has presented for a number of local, provincial and national organizations and is inspired daily by the gifts that young people and their families bring to learning and to those around them. She has been an advocate for literacy development her entire career and knows how gaining these important skills can be life changing for individuals and for capacity building in our community.
Avon is currently working as an executive consultant for the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation and for the Saskatchewan Educational Leadership Unit at the University of Saskatchewan and is thrilled to be a part of READ Saskatoon.
Heather Persson, Member at Large
Heather Persson is the editor-in-chief of both the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. A journalist for almost 25 years, she spent 11 years working in British Columbia before returning to her home province to take the helm of the Prince Albert Daily Herald. She has now been in Saskatoon for about a decade. An award-winning writer herself, Heather has led the StarPhoenix to the most National Newspaper Award nominations in its history. She also created the Raise A Writer program, which encourages people to explore their own personal stories and set goals through writing.
Serving with an organization focused on literacy is a natural role for a writer like Heather. An admirer of the work of READ Saskatoon for many years, she is excited to get down to work after joining the board in 2017.
Jordan Hamel, Member at Large
Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Jordan Hamel has always considered Saskatoon home. Officially relocating ‘back home’ in 1999 to study at University of Saskatchewan, Jordan received her Bachelor of Commerce, and went on to work at the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s national synchrotron light facility. Jordan received her Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation and has spent much of her career working in a HR generalist role. Currently, Jordan is the Corporate Relations Manager, overseeing all aspects of corporate human resource management and administrative services at the Canadian Light Source.
An avid reader from a young age, Jordan delights in reading to her own young daughter and passing on the love of literacy to another generation. Jordan is delighted to serve an organization which helps bring literacy to our community.
Catherine Gryba, Member at Large
Catherine Gryba is the owner of CRG Strategies, a Saskatchewan-based company specializing in strategy and communications services. Catherine is also a speaker and presenter on Networking: The Art of Building Relationships. After working 34 years with the City of Saskatoon, she assists businesses and community organizations on “How to Navigate City Hall”.
Catherine has a commitment to the community of Saskatoon. She has served on many Boards, including the United Way of Saskatoon and area, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, and is currently on the Board of Directors for Saskatchewan Blue Cross, eHealth Saskatchewan, Institute of Corporate Directors-Saskatchewan Chapter, READ Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance, and the Canada Games Foundation.
Catherine is a life-long, avid reader. She read to her 3 children and passed on the importance of reading and education to them. She looks forward to when she can start to read to her new granddaughter.
Jarvis Pelletier, Member at Large
Jarvis is a member of Cowessess First Nation who now calls Saskatoon home since relocating in 2014 after being born and raised in Regina. Prior to relocating, he built a career over 20 years with Saskatchewan Government Insurance while earning his Administration degree from the University of Regina along the way. A frequent volunteer, Jarvis has continued this habit in Saskatoon in association with Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, where he currently holds the title of Assistant Vice President Gaming Services. Being raised in the Metis community by this Kokum, Jarvis was exposed early in life on the impact of literacy through the daily challenges his Kokum faced, though she could speak four languages she struggled in reading basic communication.
Jarvis is excited to see what his first year on the READ board holds as he firmly believes literacy, like the necessities of life, is the food and shelter for our minds and souls that plays a paramount role in all of our daily lives.
Dylan Youngstrom, Member at Large
Dylan grew up in rural Saskatchewan, attending school in Elrose. He now resides in Saskatoon with his wife. Dylan holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Edwards School of Business at the U of S and is currently an Account Executive with SaskTel. With a strong focus on community, Dylan has volunteered his time to multiple organizations in Saskatoon, including currently being a member of the Stonebridge Community Association.
As an avid reader from a young age, Dylan is aware of the profound effect reading can have on shaping one’s childhood and adulthood. Dylan knows that READ Saskatoon is the perfect avenue to help drive the positive outcomes that literacy can enable. He is thrilled to offer his continued support to READ Saskatoon as well as their events throughout the year.
Sereena King, Member at Large
Sereena holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources. She has over 17 years professional HR experience with CNH, Hatch, and BHP, along with 5 years as a post-secondary instructor for an HR certificate program. She is a senior results focused business leader supporting organizations through effective strategic planning, change management, organization design, and innovative talent attraction and development initiatives. Currently, she is accountable within BHP for strategic integrated HR service delivery across Canada as a member of the senior global HR team. Sereena continues to be active supporting our local community, most recently completing her term as Board Chair for YWCA Saskatoon, and now as the incoming Vice-Chair for YWCA Canada.
This is Sereena’s first year on the Read Saskatoon Board, after having joined the Audit and Finance Committee in September 2018.
Sereena has always had a love for reading and a thirst for learning. She is passionate about the positive impacts literacy has on socioeconomics and is thrilled to be part of Read Saskatoon and their commitment to support and advance literacy in our community.
Become a Board Member
The following questions might help you to determine if being a board member for READ Saskatoon is right for you:
- Am I committed to the mission and vision of READ Saskatoon?
- Can I contribute the time necessary to be an effective board member?
- Can I place READ Saskatoon's purpose and interests above my own professional and personal interests when making decisions as a board member?
- Can I lead by example? This means contributing networks, time, talents AND treasurers.
Responsibilities of board members:
- Attend ten monthly meetings throughout the year, and one annual general meeting in June of each year
- Participate in the governance and guidance of READ Saskatoon
- Represent and promote READ Saskatoon in the community, including support of events, fundraisers, and programming
- Support and be an active ambassador for READ Saskatoon’s values, mission, vision, and daily operations
If you are interested in becoming a board member please watch the news section of our website in February of each year. A call will be posted for the skills sets we require. It is open for one month, so there will be lots of time to apply.
If you have any more questions, please email info@READsaskatoon.com
10th October, 2019
19th August, 2019
16th August, 2019
17th May, 2019