YESS employs a dedicated and diverse team, of which each member is wholeheartedly committed to our kids’ success.
Our team welcomes your questions and comments. Contact us for any information you need!
Board of Directors
YESS Executive Director
Margo brings business and marketing strategy, fund development and campaign strategy, and years of leadership and group facilitation training to YESS. Before becoming President and CEO of YESS, Margo was a Partner and Senior Associate with Incite Marketing for ten years, where she provided strategic oversight for countless Alberta businesses and not-for-profit organizations (including YESS). Margo has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Alberta and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Calgary and loves looking at the big picture as well as improving the details. Margo paints in her free time and is most at home outside by a river.
Margo serves on the board of the Mental Health Foundation and is on the steering committee for the United Way’s All In For Youth demonstration project.
Robert Blackwell has over 26 years of hotel experience. He has held various hotel management positions at the Delta Winnipeg, Delta Barrington, Delta Halifax, and Delta Edmonton South hotels. Upon moving to Edmonton, Robert became very involved in the local hospitality and tourism industry. He currently serves as president of the Association of Edmonton Convention Hotels, board member of the Greater Edmonton Tourism Destination Region, and co-chair of the Tourism Partnership Council Meetings, Business, Tour and Events Committee.
Richard Iwaniuk, FCPA, FCA, brings enthusiasm to the finance and business operations of the Blind Enthusiasm Group of Companies… no, really. Currently, Richard supports multiple aspects of the company’s business operations, including the development and execution of key business, strategic, financial, and legal initiatives. He also does the books.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Richard has lived in St. Albert since 1992. A Chartered Accountant since 1993, Richard previously worked at internationally renowned video game developer BioWare where, during his 16 year tenure, BioWare grew from a studio of 80 developers to a multi-studio operation with over 600 employees worldwide. In 2008, BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts, Inc.
Richard is a recipient of the Fellow of Chartered Accountants, Distinguished Service Award, and the Early Achievement Award from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta each of which recognize Chartered Accountants who demonstrate excellence and accomplishment in their career and commitment and excellence in community and volunteer services. Richard also currently volunteers for CPA Alberta, Trout Unlimited Canada, and Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundation (CCHF).
Colin Lipsett is a member of the Real Estate Group in the Edmonton office, and his practice is focused on providing counsel to clients in the areas of real estate and environmental law. Another focus of Colin’s practice is advising conservation organizations in respect to real estate and environmental law issues, including conservation easements and federally-regulated ecological gifts of land.
Steven Ewaskiw is a Senior Accountant at Yaremchuk & Annicchiarico LLP. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s School of Business and holds a major in accounting as well as a Charted Accountant designation. Steven has volunteered as a minor hockey coach since 2003, giving him many years of experience building relationships, empowering and positively impacting young people.
Alessandra Bruni is a Project Manager who pours her creativity, passion and limitless energy into building relationships and leading projects to meet timelines and objectives. Alessandra draws on her extensive knowledge of sales and strategic marketing to develop creative solutions for day-to-day problems. She believes strongly in human interaction, and a people-focused approach to developing relationships with industry partners. Her background in competitive sports has taught her the importance of collaboration and working together as a team.
Alessandra holds a BA in Business from NAIT, along with Diploma’s in Marketing and Radio & Television Arts. She is also the Chair of the Urban Development Institute’s (UDI) Leduc Committee.
Ayden is an advisor with Harty Investment Group at CIBC. He has a Bachelor of Commerce from Grant MacEwan University and is currently pursuing his certified investment manager designation. Ayden is very involved in the sporting community; being an avid golfer and playing football.
David Jones is a sergeant and researcher for the Edmonton Police Service where he works to support ongoing practice improvement and program design through knowledge translation and field experimentation. He holds a Masters degree in Applied Criminology and Police Management from the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge. His thesis work examined recruit selection processes for systemic barriers to women applying to be police officers. His police experience includes: general duties policing, child abuse investigations, foot patrol and community engagement, and human resources.
Amanda is a longtime supporter of YESS. She has been a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist in Edmonton for over 10 years after moving here from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is currently based out of the Misericordia Community Hospital.
As a parent of two teenagers, she is interested in issues surrounding youth.
Brenda is a communications advisor and strategist who brings with her a vast repertoire of experience ranging from corporate communications and technical writing, to quarterly reporting, event planning, and more. She has a special passion for grammar, editing, and all things plain language, and is currently working towards her editorial certification. Brenda has a Bachelor of Communications, as well as a Project Management Leadership certificate. She volunteers with the Edmonton Humane Society and spends a lot of her free time working on her creative writing portfolio. Brenda believes in leadership through a values-driven approach, a philosophy that guides her through her personal life.
Trish Kushniruk is passionate about authentically connecting people in order to elevate the depth and quality of their relationships. With an appetite for relationship building and expertise in communications, change management and internal engagement, she believes that creating alignment and connection for organizations with their stakeholders is critical to success.
As a Partner and Principal at Incite, Trish works with clients in the private and not-for-profit sectors, informing strategic decisions to drive growth and create positive organizational change. Her people-focused approach over 20 years in the marketing industry has propelled clients to build meaningful partnerships that last.
Trish applies her passion for people and relationships to the community through her work as Artistic Director of the Vohon Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, and her commitment to Edmonton’s arts community has been recognized through the receipt of the Premier’s Award, Salute to Excellence in Art and Culture Performance.
Emma Wynters is a Regional Sales Manager for Prollenium Medical Technologies where she is instrumental in the support and education of the brand across Western Canada. After attending the University of Alberta she worked in business development for global brands Starbucks and L’Oreal where she honed skills she now applies to her current role and in her philanthropic endeavors. Emma is the proud co-founder of Ladies on the Green, a golf tournament for women who don’t golf, raising over half a million dollars for a youth-focused charity.
Cynthia is an anthropology professor at MacEwan University. For the past two decades, she has been working at MacEwan where her time is spent both mentoring and guiding students to better understand their local communities and make choices that are respectful for all. She uses both the classroom and extra-curricular activities to help students learn about our diverse city. For example, for the past three years she has planned and hosted the “Wardrobe for Women” event, whereby faculty, administrators, and students donated and purchased clothing with the proceeds going to a variety of community organizations that helped those in need feel supported and become empowered on their individual journeys.
Cynthia comes from a family of seven who were born and raised here in Edmonton. Giving back to the community and volunteerism was a cornerstone of her upbringing. She currently participates in a various not for profit organizations: as a board member of WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger), as a founding member of the Green and Gold community garden and recently, delivering food as part of Leftovers YEG. These opportunities are an important part of her essence, especially as our world is in a continuous state of flux. She hopes her work in the Edmonton community will model the importance of civic service for her three sons, and her students. She is excited to be part of the YESS Board of Directors and will support the strategic direction of the organization as it moves towards new and innovative ways to support and empower the youth of our city.