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Cecilia Mutch
Executive Director

Biography

Cecilia is leveraging a successful career in senior leadership roles with industry and healthcare in her new position as Executive Director of The United Way of Fort McMurray. Originally from Miramichi, New Brunswick, and a nine year resident of Fort McMurray, she has a strong understanding of the local community and is deeply connected across all sectors.

As Senior Manager, Human Resources for Nexen CNOOC Long Lake, Cecilia delivered significant results in the areas of organizational design, employee retention, regional programs and performance management. She also implemented and fostered a cultural shift throughout the organization resulting in a more engaged workforce and improved business results. She came to Long Lake from a senior leadership role in Human Resources with the Miramichi Regional Health Authority where she was in charge of planning, organizing and managing of all aspects of human resources, education, library, staff health, translation and official language activities for over 1000 employees.

Mutch achieved her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick, completed the Economic Development Program at University of Waterloo, Human Resources Program at Queen’s University. She formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Lights Regional Health Foundation.

Cecilia, her husband Doug and their two children reside in Fort McMurray. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends.


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Maryellen Fenech
Finance and Operations Manager

Biography

Maryellen has been with the United Way of Fort McMurray since 2001 and has progressed through extensive changes and growth in the organization. As the Finance and Operations Manager she oversees the administration of both the finances and The Redpoll Centre. She has extensive experience managing the diverse financial requirements of an organization with an annual campaign of over $7 million. As a member of the Finance Committee, Maryellen assists in the high level oversight of our investments in the Tomorrow and Capital Funds. She also prepares all financial records for the annual audit by MNP. Maryellen served for two years as Treasurer of the Starting Place Preschool and is now Treasurer of the Parent Advisory Council for Good Shepherd School. She is happily married to Danny and loves spending time with their two children, Gabrielle and Olivia.

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Russell Thomas
Director of Communications and Community Impact

Biography

Russell is a marketing and communications professional who spent 15 years working in a number of different roles with Keyano College. Most recently, he served as interim executive director of Arts Council Wood Buffalo. A former municipal councillor, Russell has a strong understanding of local government and currently serves with the Premier’s Council on Culture.

Known for his social media skills and network, Russell is an avid blogger, freelance writer, actor and artist. He has also been exploring his facilitation skills over the last couple of years delivering workshops to professionals in the social profit sector. Married to Heather and “Papa” to Dylan and Ben, Russell has resided in Wood Buffalo since 1996.


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Muna Yussuf
Community Investment Coordinator

Biography

Muna Yussuf is currently the Community Investment Coordinator; her role is to provide support to our member agencies and act as liaison between agencies and the Community Investment Committee. Her role also includes coordinating Seeing is Believing tours, Days of Caring and Tools for School. Prior to working at United Way, she was working at an accounting firm in Edmonton for 3 years. Muna grew up in Toronto but spent the last 10 years in Alberta where she earned her Degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta. When Muna’s not assisting the agencies she can be found trying new recipes and baking. Muna has over 7 years experience in the social profit sector. She is passionate about education and homeless initiatives.

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Lindsey Bradbury
Community Investment Coordinator

Biography

Lindsey relocated to Fort McMurray in 2008 from Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland. Growing up in a small community she learned that helping others not only builds up the person, it helps to build a strong community. This encouraged her to pursue a career in social and economic development. In 2007, she received a Bachelor of Arts, Community Studies from Cape Breton University. Since joining the United Way team in 2009, she was honoured to help implement the community investment role and witness its growth and success. Lindsey has enjoyed being able to work with agencies to help them reach their goals. In 2013, Lindsey and her husband Andrew welcomed their beautiful baby girl Leyah into the world. Returning to work in September 2014, she is excited for the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

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Valerie Winters
Executive Assistant

Biography

Valerie joined the staff of the United Way of Fort McMurray in March 2015. Born and raised near Bridgewater, Nova Scotia she moved here in February 2013 with her husband Scott. A big believer in volunteering and giving back to her community has always been an important part of Valerie’s life. After her son, Zack started primary school she devoted her time to helping in various areas of the school for the next six years. Then, deciding to re-join the workforce she prepared by returning to school and earning her Office Administration Certificate and Gold Medal award at the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro. Proud of her achievements and goals met, she has made many friends and learned much along her life’s journey.

Valerie enjoys being creative, painting with water colors, reading books borrowed from the fabulous Fort McMurray Library, spending time with family and friends, keeping fit and of course volunteering whenever she can. Always feeling she receives more than she gives, one of the best things she received was her husband! They met through volunteering with the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization, both as “Bigs”. Shilo, Valerie’s “Little”, was maid-of-honor at their wedding.

Valerie is thrilled to be working with the amazing team here at the United Way who has made her feel so welcomed from her first day onward. Being a part of such a wonderful organization is a dream come true.


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Pavlina Vaverka
Finance Coordinator

Biography

Originally from the Czech Republic, Pavlina moved to Fort McMurray in 2009 from Victoria, where she worked as a sales manager for Chapters in Victoria. From her initial role as Finance and Operations Manager with Events Wood Buffalo, she shared her skills as a payroll administrator with MacDonald Island Park and Keyano College. When she is not busy working with United Way, you can find Pavlina having fun adventures with her fiancé Cam, their two year old son Xavier, and a husky cross named Siba. She also finds time to work on completing her BBA in Accounting from NAIT.

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Hanna Fridhed
Resource Development Coordinator

Biography

Originally from Sweden, Hanna moved to Fort McMurray a little over three years ago and has since developed a deep love for this community. She is an avid spokesperson for the region of Wood Buffalo, and has created strong ties within its arts and social sector. She is an active member of Theatre; Just Because, Thunder Struck Improv and Keyano Theatre and sits on the board of the Arts Council Wood Buffalo as the Director of Community. Hanna is a trained social worker with extended training in understanding violence in domestic relationships and has previously worked with the YWCA in Vancouver. She is proud to be a part of the social sector and to be able to help the local agencies in creating a better community for everyone who lives and plays here.

She is also a crazy cat lady, spoiling her cats Link and Ash enormously.

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Beth McLaws
Fire Recovery Projects Coordinator

Biography

Beth has been with the United Way of Fort McMurray since February 2016, and is delighted to be part of a great team and a wonderful and caring organization. She is the first face you see when you visit the Redpoll Centre. Her role as Community Animator keeps her busy ensuring that all tenants in the beautiful new Shared Space benefit from the great opportunities for collaboration, networking and social interaction that is the mandate of the environment.

Beth came to live in Fort McMurray for the very first time in August 2014 with her husband and her cat, looking forward to living in Alberta’s North and experiencing all the Region has to offer. She quickly learned that this small city with the big heart was warm and welcoming to newcomers. Her love of travel has taken her to many countries, and all of the provinces in our own amazing nation – the Territories are next on her bucket list!

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Chantal Seymour
Community Impact Coordinator

Biography

Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, Chantal moved here in 2012 after graduating from Memorial University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts Degree in Counselling Psychology through Yorkville University. She is very passionate about the needs of the community, this has been demonstrated through her work and volunteer experience within the Non-profit sector of the community since her arrival. Chantal is knowledgeable about the difference aspects of the United Way of Fort McMurray as she had previously working for the organization as an Administrative and Finance Assistant and has now returned to the Community Impact Coordinator position.
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Shelby Tosh
Redpoll Community Animator

Biography

Originally from Saskatchewan, Shelby moved to Alberta from the Yukon in 2012. Previously, she lived in Nunavut. Over the years, she has volunteered with Big Brother Big Sisters and has done disaster management training with the Canadian Red Cross. She enjoys all kinds of music, reading, travelling and sports. Shelby is also a big fan of animals. She enjoys helping the Redpoll flock in her role as Community Animator.