Helping kids reclaim
Little Warriors would not be what it is today without the hard work and compassion of our dedicated board, clinical team, clinical oversight council and staff.
Supported by our precious donors, volunteers and supporters, our tight-knit team makes it possible for children, adolescents and their families to get the treatment and support they need to cope with the effects of child sexual abuse, as well as teach adults how to prevent child sexual abuse.
Founding Little Warriors has been a lifelong dream for Glori Meldrum – she just didn’t know it. Her “Ah-Ha” moment occurred nearly 24 years after being abused. Glori had a dream to do something to help prevent child sexual abuse, and Little Warriors is the realization of that dream.
Glori is a successful entrepreneur, and it is her business knowledge, strong vision, and willingness to take risks and dedication to self-improvement that makes Glori an asset to the Little Warriors Board of Directors.
In addition to being a Little Warrior herself, Glori is a business owner, mother, wife and philanthropist. She owns and operates a successful advertising agency and web development company. Glori is also involved in a number of projects for local not-for-profit organizations including Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation, Adeara, Cornerstone Counselling, and Capital Region Housing.
Glori’s work has not gone unnoticed. She has received a Meritorious Service Medal (Civil Division) award, one of the highest in the country, that was granted by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada. She was one of the 10 National Nominees for the L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth and was named the 2020 National Honouree. She was one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, an Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and she was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. She was also named one of the Top 40 Canadians Under 40 by Caldwell Partners International.
Jason is currently the Chief Executive Officer of DynaLIFEDx, one of Alberta’s largest private healthcare organizations. At over 1100 employees DynaLIFEDx is Canada’s most regarded multidisciplinary clinical laboratory organization and is recognized as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. DynaLIFEDx provides clinical diagnostics to support physicians, patients, hospitals and other health providers from central Alberta through the Territories. DynaLIFEDx is internationally accredited for quality and is routinely listed as one of Albert’s Best Workplaces. Its dedication to the community includes sponsorships and fundraising for a variety of charities and paid days off for all employees to participate in community/charity events.
Jason is a Certified Management Accountant, a graduate of the Queens Executive Program and a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Jason works with an ownership board, including Borealis Infrastructure (OMERS) and Laboratory Corporation of America (publicly traded) as well as a board of senior policy advisors. With a decade of experience at the executive level his background includes roles such Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Business Development/Government Relations. Although his professional background is financial, he is regarded for his transparent and accountable leadership style, as a creator and driver of innovation and strategy, and a trusted and supportive partner to both government and industry. Jason participates in various bio-tech related industry groups, works with Economic Development and on various community committees and serves on the Board of the Bissell Centre.
On a personal level, Jason lives in St. Albert with a family that includes six active children. In between work and kids he is an active outdoorsman with passions from sailing to skiing, motorbikes to mountains, and loves to spend time with his family or behind the boat at their cabin near Athabasca.
Bio to come
Marcie Kiziak is the President of NOVA Cannabis, an ALCANNA company. Marcie moved into this role after two years as the SVP, Human Resources for Alcanna and 15 previous years in the oil and gas and construction sectors focused on HR leadership, business optimization/transformation, M&A, and integration. Marcie has a degree in Management from the University of Lethbridge with a Major in Human Resources as well as a strong educational and practical background in both project management and change management. Marcie is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources holding designations both in Canada and the United States. In addition, she has been a strong supporter of post-secondary education and continues to serve on program advisory committees for NAIT and Norquest College as well as mentors and guest lectures regularly particularly programs fostering the development of women in leadership and human resources.
Currently, she is the past Chair of the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (Alberta) Board of Directors as well as a Board Director and HR Committee Chair for both the Safety Codes Council and Little Warriors. Marcie is actively engaged in working with the young women in the program at the Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch in the area of employment and leadership skills.
Monica is currently the Director of Technical Services for the First Nations Technical Services Advisory Group Inc. (TSAG); an organization dedicated to the technical services and training for Alberta First Nations. As a proud member of the Treaty 6 Michel First Nation, Monica’s dedication and commitment to First Nations is prevalent in her work and ensuring to always deliver quality programs that foster personal development and personal growth.
A continual learner, Monica has spent much of her professional experience in senior accounting roles with additional roles cultivating her skills in event management, recruitment, marketing, training and program development. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Amiskwaciy Cultural Society Aboriginal Head Start and believes strongly in volunteering with organizations that mandate themselves in transparency and growth.
Monica lives in St. Albert with her family and spends much of her time golfing, travelling and spending as much time as possible supporting her step children, nieces and nephews as they peruse their goals and aspirations.
Kirsten is Director of Corporate Services at Ryfan and happens also to be a practicing lawyer. Kirsten has acquired significant leadership, human resources, strategic planning and governance experience and expertise throughout her career in education and law. Kirsten believes strongly in volunteering within her community, and instills these values in her three children.
Over a 30-year professional career, Lee has worked in a number of senior positions advising Premiers, Ministers, Mayors, and CEOs on public policy and media issues.
Lee resumed his consulting practice after spending several years as an advocate for Alberta’s oil sands industry as the Interim Executive Director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA) and the National Communications Director, Oil Sands for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).
Lee also served as the most senior communications professional in the Alberta government for three years. In the role of Managing Director of the Public Affairs Bureau, Lee was as a member of Executive Council and provided strategic media relations counsel to all Deputy Ministers, Cabinet members as well as Premiers Ed Stelmach and Alison Redford on public policy issues.
Prior to his role in government, Lee spent 10 years as a successful government relations and public relations consultant. He worked on a wide-range of issues including land use planning, environmental management, infrastructure, public health and education. As a consultant Lee worked with Alberta Pork and provincial health officials on the detection of H1N1 in Alberta’s swine herd – the first known case of the virus transferring from humans to swine. Lee assisted Alberta Pork address worldwide media attention from international broadcasters including BBC, CNN, and Reuters.
Early in his career, Lee was the Communications Director for Alberta Environmental Protection and spent eight years with the department. He was the primary spokesperson for the department and conducted media interviews on a wide range of issues including employee fatalities, enforcement actions, regulatory approvals and environmental emergencies.
Lee is a committed business and community volunteer. Lee has served as Chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce’s Federal-Provincial Finance Committee. In addition to the Little Warriors board, he is on the board of St. Mary’s University in Calgary. Lee has also served as a member of Strathcona County’s Community Health Council and served on the local Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.
Originally from Renfrew Ontario, David graduated with his degree in social work from Laurentian University in Sudbury. David came to Alberta in 1982 and worked for the Alberta Government in children’s services until his retirement in September 2018. David worked in many different, progressively more senior roles throughout his career in child intervention, which included 4 years with Saskatchewan Social Services as Family Services Program Manager in Saskatoon. David served as a Governor with the Portage College in Lac La Biche as well as other volunteer activities that served families and children.
Included in his career was being Chief Executive Officer of the former Region 5 (East Central Alberta) Child and Family Services Authority, Senior Project Manger implementing a new provincial practice model and the Provincial Director of the Child, Youth & Family Enhancement Act. David retired from Children’s Services after 36 years with his last position in the Edmonton Region as Associate Director for Service Delivery. In retirement David has set up his own consulting business and is working part time as Executive Director for a child group care agency in Edmonton, HF Resources. In his spare time David enjoys yoga and meditation and travel.
Passionate about people for as long as she can remember, Ashley has been specializing in Human Resources for more than 15 years across a variety of industries. Throughout her career, Ashley has built comprehensive Human Resource functions, coached leaders, managed employee relations and worked with senior executives to increase engagement and strategize organizational growth. Ashley holds her CPHR and SHRM-SCP designations and her Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the U of A.
Ashley founded Involvi Consulting with a goal of working with engaged leaders and business owners to improve their HR practices, provide them with ongoing expert solutions and to support their employees to improve working conditions and organizational culture. Ashley also volunteers with a number of organizations as a Mentor, Chair and Board Member and to create a positive impact and instill a sense of community for her son.
Neil is the Regional Operations Manager for Flaman Group of Companies and possesses more than 25 years of progressive experience in the retail, sales, operations, and marketing fields. He has extensive experience in contract negotiation, event management, team leadership, budget administration, program implementation, market research, campaign development and client relations.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, he is a passionate public speaker on many media platforms, sharing his story of hope and healing, to help other survivors find their voice and find their freedom.
Carmen is a Senior Wealth Advisor with BDO Wealth Advisory Services Group servicing clients in Alberta. She has over 20 years of experience providing Financial Modeling and Wealth Management services to entrepreneurs, professionals, and business owners.
Carmen has worked in both accounting and financial services for more than 30 years. She has held the Certified Financial Planner designation since 2005 and has been a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder since August 2015. Carmen became a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) in January 2019.
Carmen lives in Calgary with her family and spends her spare time gardening and cross-stitching Christmas stockings for everyone she knows.
Bio to come
Our clinical team is comprised of staff with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including psychology, social work, early childhood development, expressive art therapy and recreation therapy.
Dr. Wanda Polzin Holman has over 25 years of counselling and clinical experience working with children, youth and families across various domains including Health/Mental Health and Addictions, Children and Family Services, as well as Education.
Dr. Polzin Holman has a Doctorate of Education (Ed. D) in Counselling Psychology, a Masters Degree (MA) in Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Social Worker. Dr. Polzin Holman’s clinical training is multi-faceted, with specialization in Attachment, Trauma, EMDR, AAT, Neurobiofeedback, Family Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Concurrent Addiction and Mental Health interventions. She has a deep passion and energy for working with children and caregivers, particularly in the area of attachment-based caregiving, trauma and trauma-informed care, family systems, complex case needs (dual diagnosis), evidence-based practices, supporting resiliency, and promoting wellness.
Melanie is a Registered Psychologist specializing in Child Trauma and Attachment. She is a certified Hakomi Therapist and TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) trainer. She has previously worked in children’s mental health at CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health as the Clinical Lead for the Trauma Program and Trauma and Attachment Group Program.
Cheryl completed a Masters of Psychotherapy and Spirituality Degree specializing in Art Therapy at St. Stephen’s College, and is a member of the Canadian Art Therapy Association and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. She brings with her over ten years of experience directing and facilitating children’s programs in her community.
Cheryl has training in Trauma-Informed and Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy, as well as in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. She is always amazed at how working through a creative process with these psychotherapy theories in mind helps facilitate self-exploration, which often opens up new perspectives on the issues we are facing.
Dr. Bina Nair MD, FRCPC is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta. After graduating medical school at the University of Saskatchewan, she finished her Psychiatry residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training at the University of Calgary. She then went on to do an Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Nair specializes in working with youth who are struggling with trauma, addictions and mental health concerns and practices from a compassionate, evidence-based, trauma-informed lens. In 2012, she developed and was the Medical Lead of the Concurrent Addiction & Mental Health Program (CAMP) in Edmonton until 2020. Currently she is the Consulting Psychiatrist to the Mental Health Supports for Teen Parents Program at the Terra Centre in Edmonton (a non profit organization supporting teen parents and young families).
Dr. Nair also has an interest in medical education and physician health. She is the Region 1 representative on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Specialty Committee in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is the Co-Chair of the University of Alberta Resident Wellbeing Committee.
Kayla has a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Alberta and is a Registered Provisional Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. Kayla specializes in child trauma/attachment and has received training in trauma-informed practice, sand play therapy and bilateral stimulation. Kayla has previously worked with families who were experiencing homelessness, as well as children and adolescents at high risk within a school setting. Kayla has a special interest in intergenerational trauma and the impacts this has within families and communities.
Deb Johansson is a Registered Psychologist, Marital and Family Therapist, and is a seasoned veteran of the human services industry, with 34 years of experience in a number of practice areas. Her work has included adolescent long-term treatment, child protection, individual, couples, and family therapy, behavioural assessment and consultation, psychoeducational assessment, program development, and management. Deb has special interest in working in the areas of trauma including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, grief and loss, work-related stress including vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and burnout, and social justice issues.
We are so lucky to have Rugby on our Clinical team as our facility trauma dog at the Be Brave Ranch. As co-therapist, Rugby supports individual therapy, group therapy, as well as family sessions. He enhances our Trauma-Informed healing environment through providing relational supports, sensing and supporting positive emotional regulation, providing healthy touch and therapeutic play opportunities.
We are so lucky to have Dempsey on our Clinical team as our facility trauma dog at the Be Brave Ranch. As co-therapist, Dempsey supports individual therapy, group therapy, as well as family sessions. She enhances our Trauma-Informed healing environment through providing relational supports, sensing and supporting positive emotional regulation, providing healthy touch and therapeutic play opportunities.
Eileen is a registered psychologist and the owner/founder of Dreamcatcher Association, who provides equine therapy to children attending the Be Brave Ranch. Her goal is to provide a fun, therapeutic setting in which people are supported to heal through the unconditional love of animals.
Eileen has been formally working with people with disabilities, behavioral concerns and mental health issues since 1988 but, having grown up with a brain-injured brother, she is able to draw on a lifetime of personal experience and valuable learning to support individuals in need and their families.
Prior to founding Dreamcatcher in 2003, Eileen spent many years studying horses and training with equine facilitated counselling professionals to eventually become an internationally recognized expert in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).
Over the years, Eileen has been instrumental in the design of Western Canada’s first college-accredited course in AAT, while also having contributed to the development of the first-ever master’s level certificate in AAT. She currently chairs the national task force for developing standards and certification for AAT in Canada, and regularly teaches the concepts and techniques of AAT to organizations worldwide.
Jennifer Steed, RMT, RYT has been a practitioner in the field of massage therapy, life and nutritional coaching, yoga teaching and related healing or expressive arts for 35 years. Also trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Teens and families, Jennifer brings knowledge and plenty of life experience to her classes adding humour and a sincere desire to share skills and tools for living a healthy life.
The Scientific and Clinical Council is a standing committee established by the Board of Directors of Little Warriors to provide assurance to the Board that appropriate and effective clinical governance systems are in place throughout the organization.
The Council’s directive is to advise and provide oversight to the Board of Directors on clinical matters pertaining to Little Warriors Be Brave Ranch programming. The Scientific and Clinical Council provides feedback and supports the clinical team so that programs operate in accordance with leading clinical best practices and all applicable regulations.
Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta
Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Business
Dr. Silverstone trained in psychiatry at the prestigious Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry in London, UK, and then at Oxford University, where he completed his Doctoral Fellowship. He then joined the University of Alberta in 1992. He is an active researcher and teacher, having published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and has given more than 200 national and international presentations. He was independently funded by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) for the period 1994 – 2013, as well as receiving funding from multiple national and international agencies for his research.
His current research focus is on prevention of mental health disorders, particularly in children and youth, and has carried out two successful programs in Alberta involving approximately 10,000 students in Grades 6 – 12.
Previous major research interests focused on mood disorders, psychopharmacology (drugs and the brain), and the use of brain imaging studies to better understand mood disorders. He also recently completed a program to help police forces and other first responders improve their interactions with individuals who have mental health issues, and to improve the mental health of police and other first responders.
He also has a diverse range of other interests, having previously worked in business, including being a Senior Vice-President at a billion dollar pharmaceutical company, starting several health-care companies, and serving as the inaugural Scientific Director for the Strategic Clinical Network for Addiction and Mental Health within Alberta Health Services. He is has also been active as a board member of multiple organizations in a wide range of areas.
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Alberta
Currently a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Alberta and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Dr. Andy Greenshaw trained in Europe and Canada. He joined the University of Alberta in 1986 as a Heritage Medical Research Scholar.
A Fellow of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CCNP), for which he served as President from 2000-2002, and a Fellow of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP), Andy has served as University of Alberta Associate Vice President (Research) and has served on national and international boards including the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Institute of Health Economics and The University of the Arctic. From 2006 until 2015 he served as founding Co-Chair of the Alberta Addictions and Mental Health Research Partnership Committee.
Andy is the Research Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Best Practices in Mental Health, a digital hub that will serve the combined APEC population of 2.7 Billion people in the Pacific Rim, including indigenous stakeholders.
With extensive experience on Canadian Medical Research Council and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant panels since 1989, Andy was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Neuroscience Mental Health & Addiction from 2012-2016. He is the director of the Alberta-based node of the national Canadian Depression & Research Intervention Network (CDRIN), which focusses on engagement of people with lived experience of mental disorders as partners in patient-oriented research, he is also Chair of the CDRIN Depression Hubs National Advisory Panel and a member of the CDRIN Board. Andy is also a member or the Scientific Advisory Board of The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research in Ottawa and of the Research Advisory Board for Little Warriors, a national organization committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.
With broad interests in biological and psychosocial areas in biological psychiatry and behavioural neuroscience, his active research includes the application of machine learning and data-mining to prediction of differential diagnosis and treatment responses in mental disorders. He is part of a collaborative computational psychiatry group that includes researchers from the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and the IBM Centre for Advanced Study at UAlberta, the IBM TJ Watson Centre in New York, West Sichuan Hospital in Chengdu and NIMHANS in Bangalore.
Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta
Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health
Dr. Agyapong is an expert in Global Mental Health. He is currently a Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta and the Edmonton Zone Clinical Section Chief for Community Mental Health. His research and leadership roles are primarily focused on expanding access to quality mental health services. Utilizing collaborative approaches to identify barriers to access, safety and quality care as they relate particularly to human resources, organizational changes, and analyzing reform and restructuring in healthcare to identify learning and effect transformational change are the main focus of his research and leadership.
He won Alberta Health Services’ Spirit of Excellence Award in 2016 and the EZMSA 2018 Physician Innovator of the Year Award for the development of the Text4Mood program, a daily supportive text message system for patients with depression and anxiety which currently has about 20,000 subscribers across Alberta. The program has been recognized by WHO’s Mental Health Innovations Network.
Dr. Agyapong founded the annual inter-medical school public speaking competition in Ghana to promote psychiatry as a fulfilling career option for Ghanaian medical students. Currently in its eighth year, the competition which has ongoing sponsorship from St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin and has offered fully sponsored elective placements to nineteen Ghanaian medical students at two leading Irish mental health institutions.
In addition, Dr. Agyapong has been involved in extensive mental health advocacy in Ghana for more than a decade and played a strategic role in the advocacy that led to the passage of Ghana’s mental health law in 2012. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the country lead in Ireland of a 5 country multi-center project funded by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Program of the European Commission that explored innovative ways to reduce racism and discrimination against migrant women living in Europe. He has over 70 publications in peer reviewed journals and has made over 50 research presentations at national and international conferences in 16 countries across four continents.
Dr. Wei has worked as a researcher and school mental health lead with the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health team at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre since 2008. She is currently the assistant professor with the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University and the interim director of the Chair team. Her research interest has focused on promoting mental health literacy in schools (both secondary and post-secondary settings) to help students achieve better understanding about mental health and mental disorders, reduce stigma against mental illness, obtain and maintain good mental health and enhance help-seeking behaviors. She has played a key role in school mental health research and program development, and has made significant contributions to the work of the team. Dr. Wei has received funding from various agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, RBC Foundation, Medavie Foundation, Carthy Foundation and MaxBell Foundation.
Dr. Wei has co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and one book on school mental health. She has lead/co-led more than 30 school mental health projects, locally, nationally and internationally. She has also presented at the local, regional, national and international scientific meetings and conferences. Dr. Wei was awarded the Canadian Institute of Health Research Doctoral Research Award in 2011and the Dalhousie University President’s award in 2011 and 2012.
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta
Dr. Hannah Pazderka received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta in 2004, looking at indices of drug and alcohol craving. Since then, she has worked in a number of roles, including creation of public policy, research, and advocacy. Her primary research interests are in the regulation of impulsive and risk-taking behaviour via the frontal lobes and subcortical reward structures. She has worked with a number of different methodologies, including structural equation modeling, electrophysiology (ERPs and skin conductance), neuropsychological assessment, and epidemiology.
She is currently consulting with the PAXIS Institute out of Tucson, Arizona, helping validate a program designed to improve the resiliency and self-regulation of school-aged children. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Dr. Pazderka is a local business owner, and is currently working on a nonfiction book about the neuroscience of aesthetics.
Matthew Reeson received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) from the University of Alberta and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Psychiatry. Matthew has spent the last four years researching ways to improve mental health outcomes for youth, with a particular interest in the effect that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and early-life trauma have on the developing mind. His current research aims to develop a more thorough and efficient way to assess treatment response in youth psychiatric treatment programs, as well as developing an enhanced understanding of the factors that predict successful outcomes and promote resilience. Long-term, Matthew intends on becoming a registered psychologist with a specialty in trauma-focused care.
Our Resource Committee is a group of dedicated volunteers who work hard to help us solicit material donations so we don’t have to purchase them with our fundraising dollars. This helps us immensely to keep our operating costs down. This amazing group of connected people are an invaluable resource to us at Little Warriors.
Chief Executive Officer:
Laurie Szymanski firstname.lastname@example.org
Clinical Director, Be Brave Ranch:
Dr. Wanda Polzin Holman email@example.com
Director of Operations, Be Brave Ranch:
Kris Hagerman firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations / Partnerships / Communications / Events / Education
Sr. Director of Engagement:
Shannon Phelan email@example.com
Sr. Major Gifts Officer
Jennifer Hutchinson Jennifer.Hutchinson@littlewarriors.ca
Sr. Development Officer
Cyndi Matthews firstname.lastname@example.org
Prevent It! Program Coordinator:
Jane Waldron email@example.com
Operations Support/Human Resources:
Miranda Nazarali firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Brown email@example.com
Leila Steenhuisen firstname.lastname@example.org
For Be Brave Ranch information and intake, contact email@example.com
For Prevent It! workshop inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org