Board of Directors

Kris Foster, Board 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.

Lisa Dunville, Treasurer

Born and raised in Saskatoon, SK, Lisa obtained her Bachelor of Commerce degree (Accounting) from the University of Saskatchewan in 2003.  Lisa immediately began working at KPMG LLP and obtained her Chartered Accountant designation in 2006. She has taken on many leadership roles at KPMG and was promoted to Partner in 2012.

A former U of S track and field athlete, Lisa continues to be involved with track and field volunteer activities within Saskatchewan. Lisa joined the READ Saskatoon Board in 2012 and is excited to contribute to such a vibrant and important organization. As past treasurer, she has played a significant role in assisting the Board and membership to better understand the impact of short term funding on the agency’s health and viability.

Lisa is excited to be part of such a vibrant and energetic organization. She believes that READ Saskatoon is vital to enhancing community members' lives through improvement of literacy skills.

Jen (Jennifer) Bain, Secretary

Jen Bain has lived in Saskatoon, SK since 1995, and has her Bachelor of Commerce degree through the University of Saskatchewan.  Jen started her career with Freedom 55 Financial in 2000, and achieved her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation in 2004.  She since has also achieved her Elder Planning Councilor (EPC), and strives towards continuous education and lifelong learning.

Jen has been involved with many volunteer positions including membership director for SYPE, and Leave a Legacy luncheon committee.  She has been involved with READ Saskatoon’s PGI Golf Tournament for Literacy and LIT UP! (Read ‘n’ Feed in her day), and she is now pleased to join the board of directors.

Literacy provides the basic stepping stones for success in life.  With the ever-changing technology world and the vast amount of information displayed and accessible, it is even more important just to be able to make informed life choices.  Literacy allows us to grow connections, self-reliance, and find our own path.

Leah Shipley, Vice 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.

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. 

Kelsey Dixon, Member at Large

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.

Derek Rope, Member at Large

Derek Rope, is a member of the Pasqua First Nation, and is a small business owner in Saskatoon. Derek received a Bachelors of Education from the UofS and has widespread professional experience in the private and non-profit sectors. Derek has devoted himself to promoting, developing and implementing youth programming throughout the province.  Derek also invests his time working with First Nation and Metis communities in the establishment of sustainable economic and community development initiatives. As a board member of the READ Saskatoon he recognizes the positive role literacy can play in fostering healthy and active life-style choices while developing character and skills fundamental for success in all areas of life.

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.

Myra Potter, Member at Large

Myra recently retired from United Way of Saskatoon & Area where she worked for over 15 years.  In her role as Director of Resource Development she lead a staff and volunteer team that raised millions of dollars each year to invest in vital programs and services in our community.  Myra  also served as the Managing Director for United Way's work on the Plan to End Homelessness and as Interim CEO.  She was instrumental in developing the first Housing First Program in Saskatoon.  Myra believes that literacy is key to strong and resilient  people and communities.  She is thrilled to be part of the Read Saskatoon Board and contributing to Read's mission of addressing and supporting the advancement of literacy and learning in our community.

Myra is married with four adult children and two little granddaughters who remind her every day of the joy of reading.

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.