The friendly, approachable staff at Deaf & Hear Alberta take pleasure in ensuring that our programs and services meet the needs of clients, customers and stakeholders. Coming from a perspective of personal knowledge and understanding, Deaf & Hear Alberta has 15 office staff in both the head office in Calgary and the Edmonton branch. We also employ contract personnel along with approximately 70 freelance interpreters to help deliver our programs and services throughout Alberta.
Joanne Pawelek, Chief Executive Officer
Joanne joined Deaf & Hear Alberta in August 2014. She has worked with in a variety of non-profit organizations across Alberta for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience in community-based programming, client-based services, social marketing and community investment.
Her work philosophy is grounded in the 4 “C”s of communication, collaboration, community and creativity! She is committed to establishing positive working relationships and partnerships with service providing agencies, funders, allied organizations and other community groups to help achieve the goals of the organization.
Raised in Calgary, Joanne attended U of A and lived in Edmonton for 15 years before coming back to the Stampede City … so she likes to say that she is a “dual citizen”. Joanne enjoys hiking, taking music lessons, and collecting Hallmark Christmas ornaments. If she ever won the lottery, she might move to Vermont!
Deaf Services Team
Most of the Deaf Services team is able to communicate in American Sign Language, with many using ASL as their first language.
Cindy Pilz, Manager of Deaf Services
Cindy joined the staff of Deaf and Hear Alberta as Manager of Deaf Services in September 2013. As the Deaf Services Manager, Cindy oversees Deaf Alberta’s ASL and Student Literacy programs. Cindy also educates the general public on Deaf Culture, education, and employment.
Prior to joining DHA, Cindy worked in the education sector for 15 years working with teachers and interpreters to facilitate communication with students in the classroom. She is very involved with the Deaf community in Calgary and volunteered in numerous positions of responsibility. Cindy is currently taking ASLPI Interviewer/Rater Training workshop, and hopes to receive her certificate in 2015. She is also culturally Deaf and is a fluent ASL user. Cindy enjoys baking, reading and camping during her spare time.
Deanna Lilley, Manager of Interpreting Services, Calgary
Deanna has worked for Deaf & Hear Alberta for 18 years, starting in reception, then moving into Interpreting Services. A Deaf friend suggested that she apply for an available position, was hired and stayed! While her children were young, Deanna operated her own Day Home.
As a child of Deaf parents, Deanna grew up a part of the Deaf community. Deanna’s knowledge of American Sign Language is a benefit to clients, her co-workers and the organization as a whole.
Marcelle Coppillie, Interpreting Services Coordinator
Melanie Haynes, Interpreting Services Coordinator
Melanie has worked within the Deaf community in Toronto for over ten years, first as a parent support worker and then within Human Resources. Her passion began with her introduction to the Deaf community and American Sign Language after the birth of her now fourteen-year-old Deaf daughter. A native Calgarian, she is excited to return to Alberta with her two daughters, and begin making new connections. Melanie is an avid reader and loves to explore new places, which will make Edmonton a perfect new place to call home.
Angela Flaman, Exclusive Use Interpreter, Calgary
Angela has been working as an Interpreter for Deaf & Hear Alberta for the last thirteen years. Angela interprets in medical, legal, social services and business settings. She believes in a hard-working, professional and fun work environment. In her personal life, she enjoys sports, the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Hearing Services Team
Kathy Harrison, Accessibility Services Team Lead
Kathy joined Deaf & Hear Alberta in July of 2011. As the Accessibility Services Team Lead with Deaf & Hear Alberta, Kathy is responsible for individual consultations, hearing equipment assessments, and workplace audits. Prior to coming to Deaf & Hear Alberta, Kathy worked in customer service, and so brings her extensive set of customer service skills with her. Kathy is learning American Sign Language so as to be able to communicate at least the basics with the Deaf community.
Together with her husband, Kathy is busy with lots of extra-curricular activities with their daughters.
Rebecca Doole, Accessibility Services Coordinator (Edmonton)
Rebecca joined the staff of Deaf & Hear Alberta in Edmonton in September 2016. As the Accessibility Services Coordinator, she will consult, offer equipment assessments, and work on our online store. Before joining Deaf & Hear Alberta, Rebecca and her husband lived in Taiwan for eight years as Missionaries with a non-profit organization doing volunteer work in the Taiwanese Deaf community.
Now back in Canada, Rebecca is taking American Sign Language classes so as to be better equipped to fulfill the duties of her job by helping meet needs in the Deaf community. Having living overseas and worked with people from many different backgrounds, cultures, and languages, she is thankful that her cross-cultural life experience will also enable her to better help those she works with here in Alberta. Rebecca also considers herself to be part Taiwanese and loves to interact with the Mandarin speaking community. She loves to learn about new cultures and customs and what makes them each unique.
Eunice Estrada, Accessibility Services Coordinator (Calgary)
Eunice has an Administrative Assistant and Coordinator background and has worked for Dental Clinics, SAIT, Canadian Pacific Railway and Hearing Clinics. Throughout her career Eunice has met people who were aware of their hearing loss, but were not addressing it or were not properly informed. These experiences, combined with her interest in hearing aid technology, lead her to go back to school and study to be a hearing instrument specialist. She graduated from the Hearing Aid Practitioner program at MacEwan University and is preparing to write the CHAPA licensing exam. During her down time she enjoys CrossFit and exploring city pathways with her dogs. Eunice was born HoH and grew up speaking Spanish at home and continues to do so.
Alia Bharwani, Hearing Services Coordinator
Alia joined the staff of Deaf & Hear Alberta in November 2016. She has always had a passion for helping others improve their quality of life. With a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, she has worked on various projects focused on active living, chronic disease prevention, and mental health promotion. She is looking forward to improving the quality of life of others while working at DHA.
Alia is also a yoga instructor and has been a personal trainer. She has a strong interest in writing and social media, having completed a year of journalism in Victoria prior to completing her BSc in Kinesiology at University of Calgary.
Sharron Nixon, Peer Mentoring Coordinator
Sharron has resided in Calgary since she was a young girl. My parents immigrated to Canada from England and we crossed “The Pond” by ship. My first recollections of this amazing country was icebergs.
Sharron 2 wonderful children – her daughter is living in Sydney, Australia and her son is in Calgary and happily still home for a little longer. She also has 3 dogs – an older blue heeler-collie cross, a mature Shitzu, and a young beagle. Needless to say, the house is never dull!
Sharron worked at Diabetes Canada for 10 years working mostly in the residential door to door campaign position. She has also worked on some fun events, such as third party fundraisers and a ball tournament. Sharron has involved many volunteers over the years, and finds them to be a joy to work with.
Fund Development & Communications
Danielle Smith, Engagement and Resource Development Manager
Since beginning her career in Fund Development in 1999, Danielle has worked to support groups and organizations that are addressing issues such as literacy, natural disaster relief, world conflict issues, chronic health issues, autism and addressing the need for people to attain adequate and affordable housing. Danielle comes to Deaf & Hear Alberta with over 15 years of experience in fundraising and stakeholder engagement. She began working with our organization in November 2014.
Danielle has 3 very ferocious dachshunds: Josephine, Teddy and Henry that keep her busy when she is not working!
Kara Garner, Resource Development Coordinator
Kara joined Deaf and Hear Alberta in November 2013. With a background in the non profit sector, Kara is a valuable asset to the organization. Kara primarily works in the Resource Development and Communications department. Aside from this, Kara can be found doing a multitude of other jobs around the office, including assisting with staff projects and events management.
Leslie Brachman, Finance and Human Resources Administrator
Leslie has been with Deaf & Hear Alberta since 2000. Working as a dietary technologist, Leslie took sign language training in the evenings. Upon graduation from the interpreter training program in Edmonton in 1994, she started interpreting in Calgary and area. Injuries sustained in 1999 meant that she could no longer continue the physically demanding job of interpreting, so she joined Deaf & Hear Alberta as receptionist. Although Leslie’s title is Finance and Human Resources Administrator, she takes on much more responsibility than her title would suggest, including building management, IT support, supplies purchasing, social club and lottery tickets!
In her personal life, Leslie has been married to Kirk since 1997, and has two lovely and active daughters.
Franco Mettimano, Susan Mettimano, Maintenance Crew
Franco and Susan work behind the scenes at Deaf and Hear Alberta, doing cleaning, yard work, and handyman duties for the Calgary office. They are hard working and always up to any task set before them!