Next Step meets the standards for a Certificate of Recognition in Workplace Safety (COR)



STAFF INFORMATION - BIOS




BRANDON THOMAS, B.C.R.
Executive Director
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Brandon has been with Next Step from the start. His education background consists of a Bachelor Degree in Community Rehabilitation from the University of Calgary, and he has been working with individuals with disabilities for 24 years.

His passion is playing guitar and he would like to record an instrumental CD in the future.




COREENA THOMAS
Accounts Manager
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Coreena moved to sunny Medicine Hat from Hinton where she was a Program Coordinator at a Parent Link center. Her love for people and outgoing attitude has resulted in her working in the human services field in various positions for numerous years. 

She enjoys her interactions with all who come into the office.  In her spare time Coreena enjoys spending time with her family and enjoying the outdoors and the wonderful weather that Medicine Hat has to offer.
 



TINA LEISLE, B.COMM
Human Resources Manager
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Tina graduated from Athabasca University with her Bachelor of Commerce in Finance.  Tina's prior experience consists of nine years in the financial sector as both an employee and contractor providing financial services advice. Her experience ranges from investing, lending and insurance underwriting, to developing retirement plans.  Tina's passion for wanting to help provide support and guidance to others lead her to a new career in Human Resources. 

Tina joined the Next Step team in 2017 as the Human Resources Administrative Assistant.  She continued her education journey and completed her Human Resouces and Labour Relations Certificate through Athabasca University.

Tina enjoys working with people with disabilities and strives to ensure they are provided the very best support possible.

In her spare time Tina is very active and enjoys a wide array activities that include backpacking, dirt biking, camping, running, listening to music, reading and spending quality time with her family and friends.




JAN OLECHOWSKI, CPHR
Human Resources Consultant
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Jan graduated from Royal Roads University, Human Resources Management and holds a designation as a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR). Jan's previous experience includes working as a Human Resources Manager in disability services, the retail sector, and employment recruiting and placement. Jan joined the Next Step team in 2010.

Jan's brother lived his life with disabilities, so Jan has always been a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has been very involved as a volunteer. She is proud to have received awards for her dedication to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities on both a personal level and as an employer of people with disabilities.  Jan loves spending time with family and friends and traveling.




SHANNON DERRY, B.A.
Program Manager

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Shannon grew up in Lethbridge where she completed a Bachelor's Degree in both Sociology and Fine Arts in 2011.

Shannon enjoys photography and other art making as a hobby. She also really loves cooking, animals, baseball, travelling, and any outdoor activity.

To the position of Program Manager, Shannon also brings her experience with Next Step working as a Program Coordinator, a Team Leader, and front line as a CDSW in the Brooks office.




AUDREY SKOOG, B.A. (Psych)
Program Coordinator
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At age 17 Audrey became an unlikely advocate for social issues after having experienced youth homelessness.  As a vocal consumer in the system, she was asked to speak in Ottawa on child poverty and at that time was the youngest Canadian asked to do so.  Since then her experiences have led her to an education in psychology, which led to even further adventures overseas and back here at home.

In 2008 Audrey started a grassroots advocacy group to bring media attention, local awareness, and raise funds for homeless initatives. Additionally, Audrey has worked in addictions, mental health, consulting, writing, public speaking, volunteer/humanitarian initiatives, and most recently spent seven years in the homeless continuum working in Outreach, Housing First, and Management roles. 

Audrey looks forward to bringing her passion for Human Services to her new role at Next Step and is excited to continue to serve the most vulnerable in our community.





TRACY SNOW, BScN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
Program Coordinator
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Tracy has completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and has worked in hospital settings such as Ambulatory Care Units in Fort McMurray as well as St. Albert.  Prior to her Nursing Degree, she completed her Licensed Practical Nursing Certificate and worked in Halifax at the QEII Hospital. Preceding her LPN Designate, Tracy completed her Health Care Aide Certificate, Laboratory Assistant Certificate, as well as a Medical Administrative Assistant course.  Tracy has worked in nursing homes in Ottawa, ON as well as Halifax, NS and worked in a  Transitional Care Unit for individuals with specialized needs awaiting long term care placement at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

Tracy stepped back from Nursing in 2012 as she needed to focus on her daugher with special needs.  During this time, Tracy focused on community supports, a myriad of doctor appointments and surgical interventions necessary for her daughter.  It was during this time that her focus on those living with disabilities became a passion of hers and her career focus took a different direction.  Tracy started with Next Step in 2016 and brings experience as a Front Line Staff and Team Leader to her position as  Program Coordinator.

Tracy loves spending time with her three kids, attending music festivals/concerts and travel.  She is hoping to travel to Newfoundland this year to see her family.





CARRIE STOTZ, BSW
Program Coordinator
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Carrie was born and raised here in Medicine Hat, Alberta. She enjoys a variety of activities including acrylic painting, crocheting, and photography.  Carrie enjoys reading, cooking/baking, gardening, and watching Coronation St.  She is an avid dart player in the local league and volunteers with several organizations both locally and provincially.

Carrie started her professional career in the Registered Nursing program, but decided to change her interests to Social Work.  She has completed her Bachelor Degree in Social Work and is also registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers.  Carrie has worked in this field of disability services for the past five years and brings complex behavioural support experience as both a Team Leader and as a Program Coordinator.

 



JOY VISANDE, B.A. (Psych)
Program Coordinator
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Joy grew up in Davao City, Philippines and  completed her BA in Psychology at University of Mindanao, Phillipines.

She has previously been a Family Support Worker with high risk families and pregnant women with drug and alcohol addictions in Brooks. She has been working with Next Step since 2015 in the position of CDSW and Team Leader prior to being promoted to Program Coordinator in the Brooks Office.

Joy enjoys travel with her family, connecting with friends back home, and spending time with her shopping buddies.