The Board works in collaboration with our Executive Director and leadership team to realize our mission and vision.
Board Chair | Colin Christensen
Colin has spent 30 years in entrepreneurship and his current chapter is all about helping others navigate the tricky waters of starting and growing a business. As the owner of several of his own businesses in diverse industries including building materials, renewable energies, social enterprise, and technology, he has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs around the world raise millions of dollars and, in many cases, bring their families out of poverty and create better options for themselves, their communities and the world at large. Including developing ecosystems internationally paired with microlending platforms, he currently serves as Entrepreneur in Residence at MacEwan University and is married to his best friend – also a business owner. They have three teens together who still think he’s “pretty alright”.
Treasurer | Nikki Marchiel
Nikki is a CPA, CA with over 15 years of experience in public practice and industry. She is currently working on her Professional Master of Education from Queens University. She works with students in the CPA program as well as in the field of accounting education developing materials for the CPA program. She has volunteered for several organizations in the past and looks forward to working with AHC and learning from this experience.
Secretary | Petchphilin (Pauline) Ismael
Petchphilin (Pauline) has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta in secondary education. She has over 6 years of experience teaching both teenagers and adults academic English and ESL courses, in addition to social studies and art at the high school level. She enjoys working with and volunteering her time to support diverse communities.
Past Chair | John Alexander
John Alexander has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from MacEwan University, as well as an MBA from the University of Alberta. He has spent his career in the non-profit sector, with over seven years of experience leading the international portfolio of projects at MacEwan School of Business, followed by three years as Director of Business Operations for Winnifred Stewart Association and Foundation. Additionally, he has enjoyed teaching international business courses to undergraduate university students. John is excited to begin a new role as CEO of Search and Rescue Alberta, an organization whose mission is to assist 33 search and rescue teams in their efforts to provide a superior and dedicated level of service to the people of Alberta. John is incredibly proud of how far AHC has come during his 5.5 years on the board, and is grateful to his board colleagues, past and present, and to all AHC staff who have achieved incredible growth in support of those we serve.
Director | Zedingle Ghebremusse
I am originally from Eritrea. I came to Edmonton as a government-sponsored refugee with my family about 38 years ago. My educational background shifted into the human sciences after I came to Canada. After finishing the diploma program at MacEwan University, I earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary and later a Master of Science from the Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, US, in Community Economic Development. I worked with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers as a community development coordinator during my early days in Edmonton. I also worked with the City of Edmonton for 26 years as a community social worker and Social Planner. I love to volunteer, and my passion is in community & economic development, refugee & human rights.
Director | Adana Mahase-Gibson
Adana is a mission-driven bricoleur who enjoys working with NGOs and the non-profit world. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) with a Humanities background (BA in History). Her specialty is a transdisciplinary approach called One Health, which looks at wicked problems that involve human, animal, and environmental health. She is from Trinidad & Tobago and moved to Canada with her enthusiastic family. Adana has been working in international development, with issues around climate change, poverty reduction, and sustainable development for the past 20 years. She has worked with international and regional development agencies and corporate, academic, and civil society sectors in the Caribbean region. Adana currently works on applied research projects in the Caribbean and partners in Eastern and Southern Africa, supporting One Health and climate change initiatives. She is particularly passionate about community empowerment, women in STEM, neocolonialism and tackling racism and sexism.
Director | Roger Villa
Roger has spent 27 years working with various co-operative organizations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Philippines. He moved to Canada in 2009. He was a Finance Manager, an External Auditor and a University Professor. He has Degrees in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master in Business Administration. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has completed CPA Professional Education Program thru the CPA Western School of Business with a focus on Finance and Performance Management. He is currently working as an Accountant at Leduc Co-op Ltd in Leduc, Alberta. He manages his own Tax and Bookkeeping Firm. He is one of the Business Mentors at Start-up Leduc-Wetaskiwin Regions. He is an active volunteer at CVITP-Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). He serves as the President of the Filipino-Canadian Association in Leduc and collaborates with 11 other Filipino- Canadian Association Leaders in Alberta. He is a father of 3 great kids – Aevon, Gavin and Mariah – and a husband to a beautiful and happy wife – Andrea. He’s a champion karaoke singer and passionate Worshipper.
Director | Rajiv A. Bansal
Rajiv is a law associate in Dentons’ Corporate group in Edmonton. His developing practice includes advising clients in relation to a variety of corporate and commercial matters, including share and asset transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and other matters of corporate governance and organization. He is a member of the law society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association. He is passionate about supporting the communities and has previous experience teaching young students math, sciences and coding, and Hindu language instruction.
Director | Benjamin Oostenbrink
Ben has a Bachelor of Arts from the King’s University, and has spent the last 3 years raising funds for non-profits throughout Edmonton. Ben has worked with local and international non-profit organizations to advance economic and social development within his community and in the global south. He is deeply passionate about helping build pathways out of poverty and is actively involved in the community to advance similar efforts.