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Meet the Stewardship Group


Members of the  Stewardship Group were recruited to lead a transformation of Edmonton’s network of seniors serving organizations. This work includes action around supporting coordination of services for Edmonton’s older adults. Together, we are reimagining how services are delivered to help Edmontonians age well in their communities.
The diverse Stewardship team members boast backgrounds from various sectors (e.g. not-for-profit, health, education). By bringing together diverse perspectives, the team will help drive the network forward. 

Thank you to our former Network Leadership Group members: Earl Choldin, Dr. Jennifer Njenge, Mary Whale, and Marlene Mulder.

Michael Alpern

Michael Alpern is an educator by profession and long serving, executive board member of many not-for profit organizations. In the past, Michael has served as treasurer and co-chair of the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, president of Jewish Family Services Edmonton, and president of the Jewish Drop-in center. Michael is committed to giving back to the Edmonton community that welcomed him when he arrived in Canada 50+ years ago. 

As an older person, a long-serving Board and executive member of the ESCC, and a member of the Catalyst Group that created the framework for the first Network Leadership Group, Michael has a vested interest in ensuring that older persons in the Edmonton and district communities can access the best possible range of supports, programs and services.  

As a long-time educator, Michael has always had the desire and commitment to serve others. Through his learnings and experiences garnered through many years of services on not-for-profit boards, Michael’s education and experiential learnings have equipped him with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be an active participant in the creative work to be undertaken by members of the Stewardship Group. 

Jann Beeston

Jann is a mother, wife, sister, and champion of equality. Jann has a varied resume, having worked as a librarian and occupied roles in literacy leadership, post-secondary learning, voluntary sector capacity building, change management, social innovation, social enterprise, network development, community building and rural development.  

Jann joined Jewish Family Services Edmonton in September 2019 after over five years as the executive director of Volunteer Alberta. She is excited by possibility and vision for a preferred future. 

Jann wants to be part of the future and to contribute to the network development and collaborative work. Collaboration is necessary to advance the work of the seniors network as a whole. Intersectoral collaboration requires leadership and coordination, and Jann is honored to be selected to join the effort.  

Regarding her role on the Interim Collective Leadership Group, Jann is excited to lend her skills as a collaborator. “I am a good listener and enjoy learning in teams and value transparency,” she says. “I am motivated by action and enjoy reflection.” 

Jan Carlson

Jan is a nurse practitioner working with the Complex Care Transition Program at the Edmonton West Primary Care Network. Having an interest in gerontology, Jan received a master’s degree in 

nursing with a specialization in aging from the University of Alberta in 2014.  

In her work, Jan has had the opportunity to work with seniors in the community who are homebound, do not meet the criteria for specialized programs and services, and whose social, cognitive, and medical complexities provide challenges for ongoing management in the community.  

As a member of the Stewardship Group, Jan looks forward to lending her passion for supporting vulnerable older adults and preventing adverse health outcomes.  

“Experience has taught me that the complex health care needs of older adults demand knowledge, skills, and expertise that no single health care discipline alone can provide,” says Jan. “To transform how healthy aging is imagined, invested in, and supported in our community, a multilateral, team-based approach is a necessity.” 

Dr. Stephanie Chamberlain

Stephanie is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. She received her PhD from the University of Alberta in 2019 where she studied the characteristics and unmet needs of nursing home residents under public guardianship. Her work focuses on loneliness and older adults, specifically how social vulnerability can influence their access and use of health services.

Stephanie is excited to join the Stewardship group to learn about ways to support older adults and promote collaborations between community organizations and the university.

Dr. Karenn Chan

Karenn is a physician with training specific to care of the elderly and specializes in looking after older adults with complex needs.  

Karenn is an associate professor with the University of Alberta who is passionate about looking at whole community collaboration for solutions to helping seniors age well and manage chronic disease in the community setting.  

As part of her role on the Interim Collective Leadership Group, Karenn seeks to learn more about the resources in Edmonton and help to promote collaboration between the health, not-for-profit, and private sectors.  

Nigel Kell

Nigel has been the executive director of the Edmonton Seniors Centre since August 2016. Prior to his role in the seniors serving network, Nigel was an ardent public servant, acting as a manager with the Alberta Public Service for 17 years and serving as a police officer for 12 years.  

As a member of the Stewardship Group, Nigel is motivated by the increasing need for the sector to work collaboratively and build partnerships, stating, “the Network Leadership Group offers the best opportunity to spearhead the coordination of these efforts during an especially challenging time, socially and fiscally.” 

Dr. Haidong Liang

Dr. Haidong Liang is a gerontologist who devoted his three degrees in Canada to the specialty areas of physical activity, recreation, and gerontology. Over the years, Dr. Liang has gained a reputation as an innovative practitioner dedicated to helping seniors achieve healthy aging in communities.  

Dr. Liang has brought 12 years of gerontology research expertise to the seniors serving network, having created the WeSeniors.ca platform, which actively connects older citizens to services provided by the public, private and non-profit sectors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this platform reached out to 3,500+ Alberta seniors to keep them healthy and engaged.  

Currently, Dr. Liang also serves as a board member of the Alberta Association on Gerontology, initiating changes from a provincial policy level. In 2019, Dr. Liang was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. He is the executive director of Westend Seniors Activity Centre, which won the 2019 Minister’s Seniors Service Award. 

Dr. Liang joined the Stewardship Group to apply his gerontology knowledge into practice, make a difference in the seniors network, and share his knowledges of building multi-sectoral partnerships. 

Karen McDonald

Karen’s career has focused primarily on the field of gerontology, including a decade in seniors’ supportive housing and more than a decade with Sage Seniors Association, where she currently serves as the executive director. Sage is a community-based seniors serving organization that provides social services, primary health care, community development, and life enrichment programming. Additionally, Karen acts as the chair of the Interim Community Leadership Council, working with community-based seniors serving organizations across Alberta to advance sector development.  

To support older adults facing barriers to employment, Karen co-founded MatchWork in 2015. This interactive employment training and assessment tool is now used by employment support organizations to guide and support those who face barriers to employment, including older workers and caregivers. 

Karen completed her MBA and BA at the University of Alberta.She recently joined the Board of the Muttart Foundation and is a past Rotarian. 

Energized by team-based work, Karen enjoys working collectively with passionate, capable people toward a shared vision. “I believe that if we hope to truly move the needle on complex social issues that impact the wellbeing of older adults, transformational change is required across systems and services,” she says. “I sincerely believe that community-based seniors’ serving organizations are uniquely able to lead and contribute to this transformational change.” 

Eric Storey

Eric Storey, BCom, BSW

Eric grew up in Montreal, where he pursued his university education and began his professional career in the industrial packaging industry. Throughout his career Eric volunteered with non-profit and social development programs.

Following his 2007 retirement he was able to increase his community involvement and obtained a Bachelor of Social Work degree as one of his retirement projects. He combines social work skills with his previous management, governance, and volunteer experience to be engaged in the community. He is focused on social justice issues, primarily in the areas of at-risk and in-care youth, poverty, seniors, and sexual and gender minority populations. Eric is currently a Board member of the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council and a member of the Age Friendly Edmonton Leadership table.

Sonja Zacharko

Sonja joined Edmonton Meals on Wheels in the role of Executive Director in 2022.  Her career has spanned more than 20 years as a registered dietitian focused on creating dynamic, client-centric service models.  Sonja is an advocate of food security, aging in place, and human connection.

As part of the Stewardship Group, Sonja is eager to collaborate and learn about the supports available to older Edmontonians and minimizing barriers to seniors-centric services.

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