Public Interest Alberta Staff

Joel French, Executive Director

Joel French, Executive DirectorJoel is the Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, a position he has held since 2015. He previously served as the organization’s Communications Coordinator and has also served in staff positions with Friends of Medicare and former Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason. He has a degree in Middle Eastern and African Studies and Religious Studies from the University of Alberta and a diploma in Computer Systems Technology from Lakeland College.

He has worked on election campaigns at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels for progressive candidates. He also currently serves in positions that help guide the work of the Parkland Institute, the Next Up youth leadership program, and the Alberta Green Economy Network.

joel.french@pialberta.org

Monica Walker, Financial & Administrative Officer
office@pialberta.org

Laura Kruse, Communications Officer
communications@pialberta.org


2010-20 Board of Directors

Public Interest Alberta is governed by a Board of Directors drawn from our member organizations and individuals from the community. The Board is elected by the membership at our Annual General Meeting. 

Terry Price, President

As a retired teacher and activist, Terry has served in various elected and staff positions with territorial, provincial, and national teachers' organizations for the past 26 years. Terry served in various capacities in the Canadian Teachers' Federation from 1993 to 2005 including two years as President. She served as a staff officer of the Manitoba Teachers' Society from 2006 until her retirement in November 2017, when she moved to Edmonton to be closer to family. Terry has been active with Public Interest Alberta as a member of the Board of Directors, Secretary of the Executive, and Chairperson of the Seniors' Task Force and guided the planning of a highly successful Citizens' Forum on seniors' issues held in Red Deer in March 2019.

Siobhán Vipond, Vice-President
Alberta Federation of Labour

SiobhanVipond.jpgSiobhan Vipond is in her third term as Secretary Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour. The AFL represents more than 170,000 unionized workers in all sectors of the Alberta economy, and works to advance the rights of working people throughout the province. Siobhan is a passionate leader who believes in the power of collective action for the common good. Prior to joining the AFL, Siobhan worked as a stage and film technician and is a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). Siobhan is an alumni of the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and the Cornell University Workers Institute’s National Labour Leaders Initiative.

 

Jonathan Teghtmeyer, Treasurer
Alberta Teachers’ Association

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Jonathan Teghtmeyer is the Associate Coordinator, Communications for The Alberta Teachers’ Association, and the proud father of two and happy husband. His primary responsibilities are in communications, political engagement and advocacy. He has a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Arts in Communication and Technology from the University of Alberta. Prior to coming to the Association, he taught high school Math and Drama at Breton High School with Wild Rose School Division. He also serves on the board of directors for the Friends of Medicare.

Donna Staszenski, Secretary

Donna is a retired teacher and school principal. Throughout her career, she was committed to nurturing children’s success in learning and supporting good teaching practices. Through her work as an ATA Economic Consultant, an Alberta School Employees Benefit board member and a leader in school curriculum initiatives, she contributed to the defence and integrity of public education. In several federal, provincial and municipal elections, she successfully developed organizational and volunteer capacities. Currently, Donna serves as chair of the Public Interest Alberta Child Care and Early Learning Task Force. She supports the importance of advocating for establishing a public system of early learning and child care programs which are of high quality, accessible, affordable and well-regulated.

Mike Parker, Director
Health Sciences Association of Alberta

Mike_Parker.pngMike Parker has been a first responder since 1992, volunteering in his local community of Coaldale, Alberta. He went on to work in the private ambulance industry in Andrew, Lamont, Morinville and Athabasca, before moving to Edmonton in 1996. He graduated as a paramedic in 1999. He has been involved in the labour movement for many years, serving as a steward and as vice-president of his local with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He became a member of HSAA in 2009 and served as a board member before being elected as HSAA vice-president in 2015. The following year, he became president. Mike has always been a strong proponent of the role of unions in protecting the rights of citizens and also of the public sector in providing vital services. Mike has also served as a volunteer with Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT), providing emergency assistance after disasters in the Philippines, Pakistan and Nepal.

Heather Smith, Director
United Nurses of Alberta

HeatherSmith.jpgHeather is the President of the United Nurses of Alberta, a position she has held since 1988. Born and raised in Ontario, she came to Alberta to work as a nurse at the Edmonton General Hospital. She quickly became involved in her union and served as President of her Local for two years. She also sat on the provincial negotiating committee during the 19-day illegal strike in January 1988. Heather has been a key figure in defending public health care in Alberta, including campaigns to oppose Bill 37, Bill 11 and the Third Way.

Carol Wodak, Director
Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team (SALT)

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Carol's reputation as a researcher and advocate in the field of eldercare has been increasing steadily over the past twenty years. She came to this activity for intensely personal reasons: her mother experienced almost the full range of continuing care options after suffering a series of strokes from 1995 to 2006, and Carol believes very strongly that the system failed her mother. In addition to individual work, Carol is a founding member of Citizen Watch, an active member and Vice-Chair of the Seniors’ Action and Liaison Team (SALT), and a member of several other community advocacy groups. Carol’s employment with the Alberta Human Rights Commission proved to be good preparation for her current activities.

Susan Slade, Director
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE)

Prachi Mishra, Director
Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA)

Prachi Mishra is the chair of the Political Action Committee at the Non-Academic Staff Association at the University of Alberta. Having been a student and now a staff member, she calls the University of Alberta home. She is passionate about instilling the values of a robust, accessible post-secondary education that promote critical thinking. She is also involved in many grassroots organizations in Edmonton. Prachi also has a love for academia, and completed her BA in Political Science from the University of Alberta and MA in International Relations from McMaster University.

Scott Crichton, Director
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 424

Scott works in membership development, community liaison/advocacy, and political education. Scott has extended Local 424’s outreach to include the movers and shakers in the growing renewable energy sector along with energy efficiency advocates in business and government. Scott is always seeking to expand the green energy field and is working with an Edmonton area high school to design and install rooftop solar panels pairing union labour with student involvement. A Red Seal electrician, Scott has completed photovoltaic courses at 424’s Electrical Industry Training Centre.

Collin Anderson, Director
Alberta Federation of Union Retirees

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Collin is a Past President of the Calgary and District Labour Council and prior to retirement was the President of the Telecommunications Workers Union Locals 204 and 205. He is currently the President of the Calgary Area Council of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) and on the Executive of the Alberta Federation of Union Retirees (AFUR). Within the roles with CURC and AFUR, Collin advocates on behalf of retirees and seniors on issues such as health care, long term care, housing, and pensions. A prime focus in 2018 will be to continue the opposition to Bill C-27, an attack on pensions by the federal government.

Greg Mady, Director
Edmonton & District Labour Council

Greg Mady, Board Member, Public Interest Alberta

Greg Mady is the President of the Edmonton & District Labour Council. Greg has obtained degrees in Philosophy & Political Science from the University of Alberta & Waterloo. Working in the service industry throughout his schooling he eventually found his way to Canada Post where he worked as a mail carrier and volunteered tirelessly with his union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). In 2013, Greg was struck by a vehicle while working and sustained serious injuries. After a month in the hospital and a year in rehabilitation, he returned to work where he continued to educate others and push hard for fair treatment of health and safety concerns. In his current role with the Edmonton & District Labour Council, he sits on many boards in his effort to better the lives of all working Edmontonians on behalf of dozens of affiliated union members.

 

Rory Gill, Director
CUPE Alberta Division

Rory Gill has worked in the public sector with the City of Calgary for over 20 years. He first joined the City as a seasonal parks labourer in 1997 and worked in several different capacities until he was promoted to foreman in the Parks Department in 2000.

In 2006, Gill became active in his local union, CUPE 709 – the Calgary Civic Foremen’s Union. He joined the local Executive in 2011, and was later elected as the local’s Vice-President in 2012 and then the President in 2014.

At the same time, Rory was active with CUPE Alberta Division and attended its conventions since 2011.  In 2016, he was elected to the division’s Executive Committee as Calgary Area Vice President.  The following year, he was elected Southern General Vice President and served in that position until he was elected President of CUPE Alberta in March 2019.

Rory is originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, though he primarily grew up in Calgary. He is the proud father of two sons.

 

Ex-officio members

Bill Moore-Killganon, Director
Parkland Institute

RicardoAcuna.jpegBill Moore-Kilgannon has a long history of leading effective public advocacy and mobilizing campaigns in Alberta, across Canada and internationally. Most recently, he worked for the Alberta Government as Chief of Staff to three different NDP Ministers - of Health & Seniors and Housing, Human Services, and Advanced Education. Prior to his time with the Government, Bill served as the first Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta for 11 years. Bill worked in Ottawa from 2001 - 2004 as Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Council of Canadians. Before that, he was the Executive Director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta.  In the 1990’s Bill worked at the Edmonton Learner Centre as the Coordinator of the Global Visions Film Festival and has been on a many provincial and national boards of directors. He also produced 2 documentary films in Nicaragua. Bill is currently the interim Executive Director Parkland Institute, and the co-founder of Real Impact — An agency for change based in Edmonton. With his partner Susan Petrina, they provide advocacy campaign support, strategic and communications planning, and media training with an emphasis on social and environmental justice.

Sandra Azocar, Director
Friends of Medicare

SandraAzocar.jpgSandra has been a social activist for more than 30 years in Alberta. Her previous experience is working as a child protection worker, a community organizer, and a labour activist. Prior to coming to Friends of Medicare, she worked as a Vice President of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE). She was a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Medicare for 6 years before becoming its Executive Director in 2012.

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