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CEO & Board of Directors

Chief Executive Officer

2024 Board of Directors

The CanLearn Society relies on a group of dedicated Board members; through their strategic vision, the organization works to fulfill its mission of creating, using and sharing knowledge to remove learning barriers and support lifelong learning.

Krista Poole, CEO

Krista Poole joined the CanLearn Society as Chief Executive Officer in 2012, where she leads a talented and creative management team.

Before joining CanLearn, Krista was the Executive Director of Calgary Learns; a granting agency that works closely with the Government of Alberta. Before Calgary Learns, she was a Senior Manager with Chinook College and the Education Manager with YMCA Calgary.

Krista is well-known in the non-profit sector as a big picture thinker, innovator, connector and influencer. She has a deep interest in working with at-risk-populations and ensuring access to learning for people with learning challenges.

Krista has been a recipient of the United Way Spirit of Gold award for her work in diversity and was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award in 2010. Under Krista’s leadership, Calgary Learns was the recipient of an organizational leadership award from Literacy Alberta.

Krista holds a BA in International Relations, a TESL certificate, a B.ED with Distinction and taken an MBA-related stakeholder relations course. Krista has been involved in the Leadership Calgary, XD (Executive Directions) and Fast Pitch programs and has developed a close-knit and collaborative network of nonprofit, business and government colleagues throughout Calgary and Alberta.

Heather MacBeath, Chair

Heather is a Senior Organizational Change Management Practitioner with Manitoba Public Insurance. She is experienced in leading and contributing to learning and development, governance, project implementation and execution, and change management to develop, engage and transform individuals and organizations.

Heather’s background in Education includes teaching, curriculum development and design, researching and evaluating curriculum standards and developing content and assessment criteria. She is comfortable working in diverse, global and virtual environments to collaborate with and lead diverse stakeholders.

Heather holds an MBA from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Lethbridge.

Elizabeth Pratt, Vice Chair

Elizabeth is currently a Senior Development Associate at a national public policy think tank and has business development and project management experience across multiple industries, including non-profit, third-party food delivery and university athletics.

Through her various community leadership roles, co-founder of Langley Youth for the Fallen, Director of Fundraising for Telephone Aid Line Kingston, and Director of Marketing for Product Calgary, she joins the
CanLearn Board with a wealth of nonprofit experience and a passion for giving back to her local community.

Elizabeth holds a B.A. in International Relations from UBC and an MBA from Queen’s University.

Martha Nystrom, Treasurer

Martha is a retired Pharmacist with 35 years of experience in different clinical practice environments, including pediatric and adult hospitals, community pharmacies and primary care. Her varied roles have offered the opportunity to facilitate, inspire, support, improve and manage innovative and transformational change. She is interested in leveraging her healthcare knowledge and experience to enhance the organization’s network development and community engagement needs.

Martha has been an active partner with Social Venture Partners (SVP), Calgary and a member of her church governance committee for many years. She has been a community volunteer at local schools, with professional volunteer organizations, and at the Ronald McDonald House. She has mentored all levels of pharmacy students throughout her career.

Martha graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BSP) and from the University of Calgary with a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Recently, she is learning to play the trumpet in a concert band.

Christine Bye, Secretary

Christine is currently the Human Resources Manager for Alberta Ballet Company. Christine has over 20 years of HR experience within oil and gas, recruitment services, and non-profit industries. Christine has extensive experience in talent acquisition, policy and program development, employee & labour relations, HR operations and immigration.

Christine is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and Certified Talent Management Practitioner (CTMP) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Human Resources Management from the University of Manitoba.

Christine has a passion for volunteering having held various board positions including Director with AIESEC Calgary, Treasurer with West Springs School Development Association, and President of Whispering Pines Strata Council.

Alex Brierley, Director

Alex is an Independent Learning Consultant currently on contract with the Salvation Army developing and delivering learning in support of a company wide digital transformation. She has worked in Learning and Technology for over 25 years design, development, technical consultation, and assessment. Her work across corporate, private, post-secondary and non-profit sectors has provided a breadth of experience across sectors and projects. She has a passion for leveraging learning principles to support strategic objectives at the corporate level, and for supporting individuals to live better and fuller lives. She is strongly aligned with the CanLearn motto that Learning changes lives!

Alex holds a Masters in Distance Education from Athabasca University, a B.A. in Liberal Arts from York University in Toronto, and an Executive coaching certification from Royal Roads University. 


Amanda Calleberg, Director

Amanda has over five years of engineering and finance work experience in the oil and gas industry in Canada and the USA. Amanda volunteers with the Society of Petroleum Engineers Young Professionals and was the former Petroleum and Energy Society president. Amanda is passionate about learning and mentorship and has mentored engineering students at the University of Calgary for the past five years. Amanda led Canada’s only Drillbotics team, which designs and builds a lab-scale automated drilling rig for global competition. Amanda enjoys biking, hiking, dancing, and attending energy industry events and conferences in her spare time.

Amanda holds an MBA specializing in Finance from Queen’s University, where she received the Dean’s Gold Medal for the highest academic achievement in her program. She also holds a Chemical Engineering degree with a minor in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Calgary.

Christy Liu, Director

Christy is the Controller/co-founder at Cloudbreak Eye Care, one of Canada’s most advanced Glaucoma and Advanced Anterior Segment clinics and surgical centres. She has over 15 years of risk management and consulting experience focused on governance, risk and compliance. Christy worked at Scotiabank’s Global Risk Management team specializing in credit risk and loan portfolio management. Before joining Scotiabank, Christy was a manager in the KPMG Risk Consulting practice for over eight years. She focused on helping clients meet their compliance requirements and enhance their business value by improving risk intelligence and decision-making.

Christy is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Information System Auditor, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Alberta. She served on the Board of Families Matter and has completed the Institute of Corporate Director NFP Program.

Deanna Shymkiw Yeo, Director

Deanna is a passionate and enthusiastic CPA, CMA, with over ten years’ of experience in senior oil and gas accounting roles. With a love for lifelong learning, she enjoys volunteering for CPA Alberta and facilitating CPA PEP modules for the Western School of Business.

She brings a wealth of enthusiasm, integrity and a critical eye for looking at issues and finding new and exciting ways to create efficiencies.

Deanna holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a double major in Accounting and Human Resources and a minor in social psychology from the University of Manitoba.

Jesse Stilwell, Director

Jesse is a third-year law student at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. She has experience in policy development and governance, as well as experience in the practice of law at a large full-service firm in Calgary. She possesses extensive research and writing skills and studied digital governance during her undergraduate studies. Jesse believes that education and access to learning opportunities is the best way to create a better society for all, and that education is a major component in achieving different policy outcomes.

Jesse is the director of Treasury and Membership of the UCalgary Faculty of Law Gender Equality in Law Association (formerly known as CWSLA). She has also served as a caseworker for Student Legal Assistance and volunteered with the Law Student Ambassadors club.

Jesse is currently completing her J.D. and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Political Science from the University of Calgary.

Kate Schutz, Director

Kate Schutz has dedicated her career to community-based education, primarily serving people that experience opportunity gaps. In her role on the Design team at Calgary Public Library, she designs evidence-based programs and services for elementary audiences, their caregivers, and educators. She is the former Education Manager at the National Music Centre.

Kate has a BFA from the University of Alberta and an MEd from the University of Calgary. She is privileged to have attended Project Zero, an annual summer intensive offered by Harvard University. Kate’s not- so secret wish is to win a Caldecott. Until her wish can come true, she makes paintings and illustrates the stories she tells her daughter.

Katie Kachur, Director

Katie Kachur is a dynamic public affairs strategist and thought leader with experience in advocacy, lobbying, policy development and communications in the energy sector. Katie is currently the Vice President of Western Canada for Government Relations for the Canadian Propane Association (CPA) where she engages in policy at all levels of government and works with members to design and implement sustainable energy policies.

Katie holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Victoria. She has a proven track record in cultivating alliances and advancing federal and provincial advocacy initiatives.

Maria Robin, Director

Maria Robin, a seasoned professional in social work, currently excels as the Casework Supervisor at Stoney Nakoda Child & Family Services in Morley, AB. With a Bachelor of Psychology, she brings a wealth of experience, having previously contributed to Hull and Woods in Calgary. Growing up in a family that fostered children, Maria possesses a unique understanding of the complexities of children’s strengths and weaknesses, particularly those with disabilities. Specializing in child protection, foster care, and family support, she leads her team with expertise, ensuring exceptional service delivery.

Currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Calgary, Maria integrates risk assessment strategies for effective interventions. Her extensive experience, leadership, and compassionate approach make her an invaluable asset for organizations committed to community well-being.

Natalie Ilkiw, Director

Natalie is a Change Advisor at WestJet. She specializes in developing and implementing change management strategies to help leaders and employees effectively navigate and adopt change.

Natalie’s passion for wellness and continuous improvement has formed the foundation of her career. Prior to her role at WestJet, Natalie worked in the healthcare industry for over 7 years. This included her role as a Quality Improvement Consultant for Alberta Kidney Care South where she applied her background in clinical experience, research, and program development to contribute to quality improvement initiatives throughout southern Alberta. She has worked as a kinesiologist with the University of Alberta, Primary Care Network, and Alberta Healthy Living Program to improve patient quality of life through activity.

Natalie obtained her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Alberta and MBA from Queen’s University.

Phil Brkich, Director

Phil is a Human Resources professional with extensive experience in payroll, employee engagement & relations, benefits, recruitment, policy implementation, and back-office process improvement. While working for Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Phil has developed a proven track record of achievement in the execution of effective Human Resources strategies within the energy industry.

As Phil’s younger sibling was diagnosed with autism at a young age, this motivated him to become involved with CanLearn and contribute to the organization’s mission.

Phil is a SHRM Certified Professional, a Chartered Professional in Human Resources Candidate, and holds a BBA in Human Resources and General Management from Mount Royal University.

Rachel Meilleur, Director

Originally from Quebec, Rachel has been living in Alberta since 2016 with her husband and three teenagers.  

She started her professional career in technical assurance and environmental emissions modelling for an engineering firm. Her interest in process improvement led her to be awarded a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification, which helped her gain expertise in change management and lead cross-departmental initiatives in the pharmaceutical industry. 

After starting her family in 2006, Rachel shifted to the field of education, where she eventually focused on improving access to post-secondary education for students experiencing barriers to their learning.

Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Sciences from Sherbrooke University in Quebec.

Shauna Walsh Cann, Director

Shauna is a Principal at Moodys Private Client LLP, leading the accounting practice. She reaches her goals by helping her clients achieve theirs. With over 25 years in public practice, she has experience in various industries. Shauna’s specialty is helping organizations and their shareholders attain their business goals through an expert level of financial reporting, tax compliance and strategic planning. With an eye towards future success, Shauna thrives in opportunities to partner with the owners and management team to expand and grow their business.

Shauna has held various board positions, including Treasurer of the Calgary Philharmonic Foundation, BILD Calgary Region Charitable Foundation, Bow River Bruins Hockey Association and Calgary Elite Synchro Club, and is currently the President of the Premiere Performers Parents Association.

Shauna is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from the University of Saskatchewan.