We connect people with evidence
Message from the President & CEO

September was an exciting and busy month at PolicyWise. In this newsletter we highlight our recent activities and accomplishments.


On September 23rd, we held our Strategic Advisory Committee meeting, our Annual General Meeting, and the Board of Directors meeting. We welcomed Michelle Okere as our new Board Vice-Chair, and Cheryl Whiskeyjack joined our Board of Directors. Along with the ten returning Directors, she brings expertise, experience, and innovation to steward PolicyWise into the future.


Also in September, Liana Urichuk joined our senior leadership team. As Chief Operating Officer she plays a vital role in our continued growth and impact into the future. On September 28th, the PolicyWise team got together in person for the first time in nearly three years, and it reinvigorated and deepened our connections with one another. 

Michelle Okere Cheryl Whiskeyjack Liana Urichuk

Michelle Okere               Cheryl Whiskeyjack               Liana Urichuk

And last but not least, at the end of September, we published our 2021-2022 Annual Report. I have always appreciated the process of developing the annual report because there’s an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown as an organization. Our team led nearly 50 projects during the past year. Many of these projects responded to priorities and built the capacity of Alberta’s social sector. In our impact survey, we learned from our collaborators, sponsors, and partners that our work is valued. It helps the sector adapt to a changing landscape.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to let you know March 21, 2023 is our 20th anniversary! Please keep an eye out for events and opportunities to celebrate with us.

Robyn Blackadar, President & CEO

Celebrating Our Accomplishments

Over the past year at PolicyWise, we worked to better demonstrate our impact. We’re excited about our 2021-2022 Annual Report because it features new content for us, including testimonials from many of our project sponsors and results from a new stakeholder survey. Most importantly, it features several of our team members who share their thoughts on what they love about their work.

A key theme of our work is building capacity for non-profits. We do this in several ways. In the past year we have focused on building organizational resilience and data capacity. We piloted our Organizational Resilience Assessment Tool with ten Alberta non-profits. The tool provides a snapshot of how non-profits anticipate, respond, cope, and recover from challenges. We also created a Reflective Guide to help non-profits who have taken the assessment to understand their results and set priorities for action. The Alberta Nonprofit Data Strategy is another example of how we support the non-profit sector through building data capacity. This work is important to help non-profits harness data to understand impact, make informed decisions, and advocate for change, all of which are critical for the success of non-profits.

Read more about our impact here

Visualizing our Impact
Introducing the PolicyWise Board and Members

We are grateful to our Members and Board for guiding our organization and promoting our work.

PolicyWise’s membership consists of four institutions: the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, and Athabasca University; and one community representative, Mr. Doug Goss. The following are representatives of our member institutions and participate on our strategic advisory committee:

  • Dr. Karen BenziesProfessor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary
  • Mr. Kelvin ColeResearch Partnerships Broker, Athabasca University
  • Mr. Doug GossCounsel, Bryan & Company
  • Dr. Maria MayanAssociate Director, Community-University Partnership, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Dena McMartin – Vice President (Research), University of Lethbridge

The role of the Board is to govern our affairs, uphold our vision and mission, set our strategic framework and directions, provide stewardship of our investment funds and resource allocation, and ultimately promote our accomplishments in the community.

Returning to our Board of Directors at PolicyWise are:

  • Dr. Jackie Sieppert – Interim Director, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
  • Mr. Rod Rode – Retired Chief Executive Officer, The Family Centre
  • Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner – Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Counselling Centre
  • Ms. Amanda Broos – Vice President, People, Neo Financial
  • Ms. Stacey Gellatly – Branch Manager, Social Development, City of Edmonton
  • Mr. James Grattan – Chief Financial Officer, Edmonton Catholic Schools
  • Ms. Angela Logan – Chief Financial Officer, Aquatera Utilities Inc.
  • Ms. Michelle Okere – Entrepreneur
  • Mr. Mark Razzolini – Vice-President, People, Wellness, & Innovation, Alberta Blue Cross
  • Dr. Nicoelle Wanner – Family Physician, College Clinic, Medicine Hat

We are also eager to welcome our new Board Director:

  • Ms. Cheryl Whiskeyjack – Executive Director, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society

2022 PolicyWise Staff Team

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