Hi there! Meet your 2018 BRCA Board
At work, Brian is a lawyer who manages several Calgary businesses; at home, he is lucky husband to Lynne and proud father to Kate (14), Ella (10), and Will (8). Plus three dogs and one rabbit. Brian has lived and volunteered in Bridgeland for 18 years and most recently has been Director, Vice President, and then President with BRCA since 2018. On the Board, Brian has focused mainly upon helping with society governance (bylaws, policies, contracts), human resources, and business issues / planning. Also this past year Brian has been the Board’s key liaison to the Calgary Tool Library program, he has helped out with setups of the Farmers' Market, and has spent a lot of time working as key contributor to BRCA’s Planning Committee.
Brian grew up in Calgary, got his bachelor’s degree here and then studied law in Halifax, London (England), and New York City. The first part of his career in Calgary involved the private practice of law; he was a partner at the firm Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP. But since 2003, Brian has continued practicing law from business settings and while balancing other roles. Apart from work, these days Brian is the Chair of Alcove Addiction Recovery Residence for Women Society, and the Alberta Branch President of the Schulich Law Alumni Association. He loves design & architecture, creating things, his work (both for profit and not, although there is often too much of both), and spending as much time having fun and travelling with his family and friends as possible.
Brian hopes to remain on the Board of BRCA for at least another year, mainly to use his experience in management and law to keep helping with getting things organized and setting BRCA up for more success.
Jil Macdonald is currently the Vice President, Science & Evaluation at the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”). Jil began her career at AER in 2014, she currently holds a Masters in Business from the University of Liverpool, and a Bachelors Degree in Geophysics from the University of Calgary. Complementing her university training, Jil holds both a Green and a Black belt in Lean Six Sigma. She was named one of Avenue Magazine Calgary's Top 40 Under 40 in 2018.
Jil’s current role is focused on advancing the conversation on data and intelligence through innovative methods to make informed decisions to solve complex regulatory problems. Her teams are focused on gathering, analyzing and predicting future events and outcomes within the subsurface and surface with a focus on the environment as well as our economic drivers.
Through her tenure at the AER she has held an executive leadership role to the Closure & Liability Branch that focused on the energy sector end of life, reclamation, abandonment, security collection and contamination management. Her experience is built from a diverse career within the Energy Sector, beginning as a Geophysicist with Encana which enabled her with the opportunity to understand more intimately the operations and development process. It was during this time that she realized that although she enjoyed the technical work, her passion is to solve and tackle problems. Jil proceeded to make a drastic shift in her career focusing on a Master’s in Business, and moving into a role in the Continuous Improvement (Lean, Six Sigma) space. She spent several years executing projects to optimize and reduce waste and capital, eventually moving on to the role of Manager, Strategic Advisory Consulting at Ernst & Young.
Jil was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with several multinational energy firms as well as, oilfield services, midstream and construction firms. Her focus was on strategy development, establishing key performance indicators to effectively manage and measure performance while also applying improvement techniques to maximize efficiency and effectiveness within these firms.
Her drive for change has been a key pillar in Jil's career. She loves a new challenge and works to leverage the tools sets and skills of staff to understand the true issue. Her desire to incorporate leading edge technologies with these change methods has enabled her teams to execute significant changes and deliver more predictive results and information. Ultimately, Jil works to establish a better method of understanding what is to come, rather than being reactive on what has occurred.
She joined the BRCA Board in 2018.
Joe Belland is a real estate agent and developer in Calgary, and also owns a small advertising and marketing company. He has been involved in numerous businesses from a management level, primarily focused on project development, and the sales and market positioning for the real estate and land development industries. He has received numerous industry peer awards and was nominated as one of Calgary’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ in 2011.
Joe has been a resident in Bridgeland since the early 1990’s. He currently volunteers in the community as part of the BRCA Planning Committee, a role he has held for the past two years. He has also been an active volunteer for the Kidney Foundation of Canada, co-founding and organizing the largest comedy fundraiser in Canada in 2004, a position he held until 2009. His previous volunteer involvements personally, or through his various companies have been to the Calgary International Children's Festival, STARS Air Ambulance Services, The Canadian Cancer Society, AIDS Calgary, The Canadian Curling Association/Scott Tournament of Hearts among others.
Joe truly enjoys the involvement within the BRCA because he sees that the neighbourhood is now - and will continue to see - numerous challenges and decisions that will affect the future of this remarkable inner city community as Bridgeland Riverside continues its energetic growth. His hope is that by being a Director in the BRCA, he can continue to offer a helpful perspective from his experience in real estate and business management, and share the burden of governance for this very active and vibrant community. He has been on the BRCA Board since 2017.
Susan has lived in Bridgeland-Riverside for about 4 years, and loves the people, vibrancy and diversity of our community! She’s always lived in an urban core, whether in Victoria, Toronto, New York, or London England. Susan thrives on being able to shop and play locally. Not surprisingly, her car is sadly neglected because she'd rather walk or bike everywhere. Of course, she does take her car out to play in the mountains. On weekends you'll find Susan hiking, biking, scrambling, climbing, skiing and scheming to somehow get outdoors.
She trained to be an occupational therapist (OT) at the University of Toronto, and 10 years later got her my Masters degree from Queens University by researching wheelchair development in India. She originally worked for the University of Alberta in Edmonton for 10 years by organising over 500 practicum/year for occupational therapy students. She then spent 3 years in Victoria working with the provincial OT licensing regulatory body. Since moving to Calgary 6 years ago, Susan continues to work with the University of Alberta by coordinating a Calgary satellite program where they educate 24 occupational therapy students a year.
In Bridgeland-Riverside, Susan has been most involved with the Beautification Committee. She subscribes to tactical urbanism and aspires to activate areas through creative events. In August 2017 we held a community painting event, "My Beautiful Backyard" to paint panels attached to the chain link fence running along the escarpment pathway next to St. Matthew's Church. Community members painted and created a mini outdoor gallery with the ultimate hope to provide something beautiful and interesting that would draw more people into the area to walk along the escarpment, enjoy the views, and this gallery.
Connecting Back to the Bow is Susan’s latest major community project. Over the summer of 2018, the Bow River came to life through a mural along the 110 m chain link fence of McDougall - Riverside Park (baseball diamond). She joined the BRCA Board in 2018.
Many people ask Susan what occupational therapy is, so here’s her answer: Occupational therapy is a type of health care that helps solve problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them – everyday things like: self-care (getting dressed, eating, moving around the house); being productive (going to work or school, participating in the community) and leisure activities (sports, gardening, social activities).
Alex MacWilliam is a lawyer and a partner at the Calgary office of Dentons LLP. He has been with the firm for 30 years and leads the firm’s Canadian Environment and Climate Change Practice Groups. He is also a senior member of the firm’s Global Environment Group. Alex has a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia. Prior to going to law school Alex was pursuing a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Queensland in Australia. He left that program prior to getting his degree in order to start law school. Occasionally, he asks himself if that was a good decision. He has maintained a lifelong interest in cities and urban planning issues and regards Jane Jacobs as one of his heroes. As part of his environmental law practice, Alex regularly deals with representatives of all three levels of government, including the City of Calgary Law Department.
Alex’s family has been in Calgary since the 1920’s. He grew up in Glamorgan and attended Viscount Bennett High School. Following his return to Calgary after law school he resided in Oakridge for over 25 years, where his three children were raised. Alex moved to Bridgeland in July, 2016 and lives in Bridgeland Crossings. Alex and his partner Naomi looked at many different neighbourhoods before deciding to settle in Bridgeland. They know they made the right choice and love living in Bridgeland. Alex is a member of the BRCA and joined the BRCA Planning Committee in October 2016 and has focused his involvement on the development work done by the Committee.
Alex has a lengthy history of community service. He is the Past President of the Board of Directors of Alberta Theatre Projects and still sits on the ATP Board. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Arts Commons (formerly the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts). Alex is a member of the Governance Committees of each of both ATP and Arts Commons. Alex is a Past President of the Calgary Bar Association and the Canadian Transport Lawyers Association. Since 2005 he has been a member of the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board and has chaired this Board since 2015. The Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that hears appeals from decisions of Alberta Environment and Parks.
Alex is an avid supporter of arts and culture in Calgary and regularly attends a variety of theatre, music and art events throughout the city. He is also a foodie and loves the variety of options available in Bridgeland and nearby areas, including our new neighbourhood grilled cheese specialty bistro.
Bridgeland is a community in transition with a rich history and a very promising future. At the same time, the community faces the issues and challenges that come with change. Alex is eager to work with the BRCA Board and the residents of Bridgeland to address these challenges. He has been on the BRCA Board since 2017.
Ali is presently a proud stay at home mom to two highly active girls, Reilly (12) and Gracie (9) although she fills most of her hours with community work, coaching adventure running/ field hockey, and volunteering at Langevin School. Ali and her family moved to Bridgeland from Regina, Saskatchewan 3 years ago. A native of Vancouver, Ali was happy to return closer to the mountains but she still sports a Saskatchewan Roughrider’s sticker on her car.
Ali has acted as the Planning Director for the Bridgeland Riverside Community Association for the past 2 years. As a former educator, Ali’s background in engagement, active living and lifelong learning has led her to her interest in community planning. Ali is passionate about collaborative, grassroots community building. She is excited to finish a few projects she started this year; re-building under the 4th Ave Flyover, the East Riverside Masterplan, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design with the Edmonton Trail Task Force, getting started on an updated local plan for all of Bridgeland-Riverside and continuing more #BridgelandLove tactical urbanism projects.
Ali has been selected to be on the Federation of Calgary Communities Urban Planning Committee that runs for a one-year term, giving input on planning issues community associations are facing.
Ali has a B.Ed. from the University of Victoria and taught high school outdoor education, English, social studies and physical education in both BC and Saskatchewan. She founded and created the Ascent Program, an outdoor education program in Pemberton, BC and a pilot program for Youth at Risk in Saskatchewan.
Recently she has completed her Partners in Planning Certification with the City of Calgary and is an avid reader of placemaking/city building blogs! When not biking around Bridgeland or barbecuing at St. Patrick’s Island with her family she can be found exploring the mountains outside Calgary in the “Honey Bus”, their beloved 1977 VW van.
For her outstanding work in the community, the Federation of Calgary Communities recognized Ali as one of the 2018 Faces of Community.
Ana Hoepfner joined the Bridgeland-Riverside Community Association Board in September 2016, assuming the Communications portfolio.
Ana is a Marketing & Communications Advisor at CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology), a registered Canadian charity and licensed engineering firm. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and has worked in public relations, communications and marketing roles for both non-profit and for-profit companies, including an international start-up.
She brings more than 10 years’ experience working with corporate, non-profit and government sector audiences to the BRCA Board. Ana also serves as Secretary on the Board of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation (ACGC), a coalition of voluntary sector organizations located in Alberta, working locally and globally to achieve sustainable human development. On a volunteer basis, she co-chairs the Promotions Crew at Beakerhead, an educational charity at the crossroads of art, science and engineering, and manages social media for the Calgary Tool Library, a program of the BRCA that functions as a city-wide community-building hub where Calgarians share skills and household tools.
Ana is passionate about public service, behavioural economics, spelling, kerning and the power of connection on social media. You can reach her on multiple personal, professional, and volunteer social media channels. If you see her around Bridgeland doing a little dance, it probably means she is celebrating a retweet, like, share or follow.
Ana grew up travelling, and has lived in Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil. She considers herself incredibly fortunate to call Canada home since 2002. To reciprocate, Ana tries her best to contribute wholehearted Bridgeland Love to our beautiful community since moving here in 2013. She is a shameless shoeaholic and a devoted Mom to two rescued kittens, Chanel and Bugatti.
When Deb moved to Bridgeland-Riverside in 1997 she felt like she had come home. The tree-lined grid type streets and modest homes seen here are reminiscent of the little prairie town where she grew up. Shortly after moving to Bridgeland-Riverside, Deb saw the closure of the 1,000 bed Calgary General Hospital and watched the structure be imploded. The ensuing years here were very difficult and community spirit sagged, although numerous dedicated residents worked hard to keep things going.
Deb is a registered nurse whose career spanned hospital work in three different provinces, education at Foothills Hospital, administration at the Fanning Centre and stints in the Canadian north, a refugee camp in southeast Asia, and as a school nurse. She achieved her BScN and Master of Nursing degrees along the way. Her latter years of employment were spent in Seniors Health and Home Care where she came to more fully appreciate the role of a strong and caring community in supporting the successful aging of older adults. Deb also has previous Board experience with the MS Society, Bow Waters Canoe Club and Alberta Gerontological Nurses Association.
After Deb was liberated from the work world in 2012 she chose to get more involved in the dynamic evolution of Bridgeland-Riverside. She started writing articles for the newsletter on the topic of Choose Well for Health, describing active living opportunities within and beyond the community. This evolved into writing articles about different agencies and organizations – all of which made her appreciate our community even more.
Deb has now got her fingers in many pies here. She was involved in the founding of the Bridgeland Seniors group. Then, with the encouragement of Christine, the Community Social Worker Deb started a weekly walking group ‘Bridgeland Walks’, an initiative that continues from May to end of September each year. She had the opportunity to meet many interesting local people and became fascinated with the stories of the earlier days of the community. This led to collaborating on the formation of the BRCA Heritage Committee and organizing local walks during the annual Historic Calgary Week as well as Jane’s Walks. She continues to explore ways to ‘tell the story’ of Bridgeland-Riverside’s past so that residents will have a better appreciation and valuing of the roots of this unique neighbourhood in Calgary.
As she walks around the community Deb has come to appreciate the lovely flower gardens and quirky front yards. She also recognizes the growth of invasive weeds such as burdock and Canadian thistle. This has led to her involvement on the Beautification Committee and participation in the annual Community Clean-up and in litter pickups and weed pulls as part of the city’s Green Leaders program. As she strolls down First Avenue Deb delights in seeing so many more people out and about, and glad that she can say hello to others who are enjoying being in Bridgeland.
Deb sees a blossoming village in Bridgeland-Riverside. She has met so many people who love living here and she wants to be part of building a vibrant and diverse community. She has been on the BRCA Board since 2017.
Joanna has lived in Bridgeland for almost 3 years. She is a Senior Land Negotiator for Encana and has been with the company for 13 years. She has a BComm in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Calgary. Before moving to Bridgeland she lived in Kensington/Sunnyside, where she was president of her condo association, managing many issues of an aging building, in particular the flood of 2013 (which also directed her house hunting to slightly higher elevation neighbourhoods...)
She has volunteered with Two Wheel View and the Children's Cottage here in Bridgeland and was co chair of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen Education Committee. Joanna and her husband Scott recently welcomed their first babies, Georgia and Scott. In her free time she sings in a choir, loves snowboarding and cooking/eating/drinking fabulous food and wine. She has been on the BRCA Board since 2017.
Brier has been a Bridgeland-Riverside resident for five years, though she has living in Calgary for over thirteen, in every quadrant of the city. Initially moving to Calgary to undertake graduate studies at the University of Calgary, Brier now calls Calgary home with her husband and two children. By day, she is a community planner and civil engineer; by night she is a fiercely proud mamma and dedicated community member. You can most often run into her at the bottom of a slide at community playgrounds, the Bridgeland Market, or at the Bridgeland-Riverside Farmers Market.
Brier is involved with programs, particularly the Farmers' Market and Community Garden. She has been on the BRCA Board since 2018.