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.
 



JAN OLECHOWSKI, CPHR
Human Resources Manager
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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 in 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.




MARINA LYNCH, Cert. MOA
Program Manager
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Marina is currently working toward a Bachelor Degree in Psychology through Athabasca University. She completed the one-year Medical Office Assistant program through Medicine Hat College. Marina has been working with Next Step since 2008 and brings experience as a Frontline Staff, Team Leader, and Program Coordinator to her position as Program Manager.

Marina provides support to both children and adults with disabilities in Medicine Hat and Brooks. She is an Accredited Triple P Practitioner for Stepping Stones for  Standard, Group and Teens for Next Step. 

In her spare time, Marina enjoys traveling, quadding, and playing board games.





SHANNON DERRY, B.A.
Program Coordinator

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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 Coordinator, she also brings her experience with Next Step working front line as a CDSW and a Team Leader in the Brooks office.





JENNIFER NOBLE, Diploma Therapeutic Recreation Gerontology
Program Coordinator
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Jennifer is a registered Recreational Therapist working in health care for the past eight years. She has a passion and desire to work with and help others. Prior to beginning at Next Step, Jennifer was the Director of Recreation at a retirement residence.  Recreation Therapy is a health profession which acknowledges the significance of leisure and recreation as integral components of optimal health and well-being of individuals with illnesses and disabling conditions. She looks forward to this next chapter in her professional career with Next Step as a Program Coordinator.

In her spare time, Jennifer is very active and involved with her children, loves traveling, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.





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.






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.