This past year has been challenging and rewarding in so many ways. The PolicyWise team have helped our partners, stakeholders, and the Alberta social sector more broadly to shift, respond, and be resilient in the face of immense change.

Robyn's Message

This past year has been challenging and rewarding in so many ways. The PolicyWise team have helped our partners, stakeholders, and the Alberta social sector more broadly to shift, respond, and be resilient in the face of immense change. Our organization and staff have also shown great resilience. In this newsletter, we highlight our impact over the past year as described in our PolicyWise 2020-2021 Annual Report: Resiliency, Recovery, Hope. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and are hopeful about the future for children, youth, families, and communities to be well and thrive in Alberta and across Canada. You can learn more about our impact and read the full report below.

We are also using this newsletter as an opportunity to look into the future. We recently hosted our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and have welcomed a new Board Chair and eight new directors. We’re excited to introduce you to these exceptional people. At the same time, our seven returning board directors will bring expertise, experience, and wisdom to ensure PolicyWise continues to be resilient and responsive now and into the future. In this newsletter we introduce our board and highlight what we did at our AGM.

At PolicyWise, we’re hopeful that the well-being of children, youth, families, and communities will improve as we enter the ‘recovery’ phase of the pandemic. We are committed to working alongside our partners, stakeholders, and communities to ensure this happens. Although we expect more challenges to come, we’re eager to see what the next year has to bring!

View Our Full Annual Report

A Story of Our Impact


Over the past year at PolicyWise, we continued conducting research, developing resources, and building capacity to help non-profits remain resilient in the face of great challenges. We are proud of how our organization and our staff also demonstrated resilience. With very little notice we found ourselves, like so many others, navigating the new world of working from home. Life and work collided as never before. We stared into our screens. Staring back were familiar faces drawn anew with worry, fear, and uncertainty. We had no choice but to shift. But, it is in how we shifted where the real story lies.

Read More Of Our Impact Stories

A Visual of Our Impact


This year, our AGM was virtual once again. A highlight were the staff presentations on PolicyWise projects from the previous year, which focused on our theme of resilience, hope, and recovery. Janine Elenko talked about the Framework her team created for Collaborative Action on Adversity, Trauma, and Resilience. This evidence-informed tool responded to a need in the Alberta social sector to screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences using a strengths-based approach. A new member of our PolicyWise team, Jody Wolfe, introduced us to the Build Better Data project. She demonstrated how the online tool, resources, and training webinars are helping the non-profit sector collect and share data to support the resilience of their services, programs, and the sector more broadly. Valerie Salt has contributed to the Integrated Youth Mental Health Hubs since their inception in 2017. She reflected on her experience over the past year of supporting the community Hubs as they ‘went live’ during the pandemic. The Hubs demonstrated great resilience as they re-imagined their implementation plans so they could help youth facing mental health challenges in their communities.

We also spent time at our AGM acknowledging the change over from Dr. James Talbot as our PolicyWise Board of Directors Chair to Dr. Jackie Sieppert. For the past five years, Dr. Talbot, the former Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, has provided dedicated leadership as Chair of the PolicyWise board. His expertise and wisdom over these five years, and in particular in the past 18 months of the pandemic, has been invaluable. We are grateful for his continued involvement on the board as a director over the next year. Dr. Sieppert has served for the past four years as a Director, and in his new role, will offer us strong leadership, new insights, and guidance.

A Summary of Our Annual General Meeting


Introducing the PolicyWise Board


Returning to our board of directors at PolicyWise are: 

Dr. Jackie SieppertProfessor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary
Dr. James TalbotAdjunct Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Ms. Belinda BoleantuRetired Senior Provincial Director, Clinical Transformation Services, Alberta Health Services
Mr. Brian CallaghanPolicy Consultant
Mr. Martin CouttsAssociate Vice-President, Finance & Supply Management Services, University of Alberta
Ms. Tanya McLeodPresident, Sinneave Family Foundation
Mr. Rod RodeRetired Chief Executive Officer, The Family Centre

We are also eager to welcome eight new board directors. They include:  

Dr. Robbie Babins-WagnerChief Executive Officer, Calgary Counselling Centre
Ms. Amanda BroosChief People Officer, FIRMA Foreign Exchange Corporation
Ms. Stacey GellatlyDirector General, Prairies Economic Development Canada, Western Canada Growth Strategy
Mr. James GrattanChief Financial Officer, Edmonton Catholic Schools
Ms. Angela LoganVice-President, Administration, Grande Prairie Regional College
Ms. Michelle OkereChief Executive Officer, Compassion House Foundation
Mr. Mark RazzoliniVice-President, People, Wellness, & Innovation, Alberta Blue Cross
Dr. Nicoelle WannerFamily Physician, College Clinic, Medicine Hat
Learn More About Our Board

Board Voices


Our new board directors are enthusiastic about joining us at PolicyWise. They shared why:

Dr. Nicoelle Wanner
I'm looking forward to the possibility of effecting positive policy changes on a provincial level. Many of the systemic challenges when it comes to care of children and youth stem from policy barriers.

Ms. Stacey Gellatly
It is such a critical time for evidence-based policy. World over, we have experienced a fundamental shift to our reality. In every corner, decision makers are being faced with new problems that need solutions quickly, oftentimes with little precedent to draw upon.

Research organizations such as PolicyWise can meet this immense challenge with thoughtful and timely data collection and analyses, allowing us to collectively recover more quickly and build a stronger future for our children and families.

Ms. Michelle Okere
My experience in the non-profit sector, specifically in building and expanding programs and services, has shown me the value of research and evaluation. However, many of the organizations I've worked in simply do not have the capacity to do this work on their own. PolicyWise helps fill a significant gap in the industry, informing next steps for organizations so they can have greater impact in our community.

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