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TEAM

Board of Directors

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DR. DOUGLAS CAINE, MD

Co-Medical Director

 

Physician at Helios Health & Wellness and Oak Bay Medical Clinic

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DR. JO-ANN JOHNSON, MD

Co-Medical Director

 

Jo-Ann Johnson is a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Calgary. Her main areas of clinical interest are the management of high risk pregnancy, and in prenatal genetic screening and diagnosis, and she co-directs the Early Risk Assessment program for Southern Alberta.  Her current research interests are in the evaluation of new biochemical markers in early pregnancy for prediction of aneuploidy and adverse pregnancy outcome.

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JANNETTE FESTIVAL, RN, IBCLC

Executive Director

As the founding executive director, I have always believed there is a community-based solution to support sick and fragile babies. As a labour and delivery nurse at the Foothills hospital, I’ve seen the transformational impact of donor human milk in the NICU and I remain convinced that all babies should have ready access to the life-saving benefits of donor human milk. I am as passionate about milk banking today as I have been since we opened our doors in 2012. Seeing the impact of this milk, the spirit of giving that stems from our selfless donors and the gratitude from our recipient families is a testament to the community of NorthernStar.

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DR. DOUGLAS YEUNG, MD

Director
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NANCY THOMPSON, BCOM

Director
 
Nancy has a background in Finance and Administration and has a long history of volunteering, including executive positions in many organizations. From its early beginnings, she has been both fascinated and inspired watching the NorthernStar Mothers’ Milk Bank grow and fill an important need in our health care system and community. She is honoured to continue supporting the success of the NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank in providing donor human milk to as many fragile and sick babies as possible.
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PATTI SHANNON

Director
Patti is a VP and Portfolio Manager at Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel.  As a mother and a native Calgarian, she is passionate about giving back to the community.  She has seen the difference the NorthernStar Mothers' Milk Bank makes for babies, their families and the community and is excited about helping to broaden the base of financial support for this invaluable charity that touches so many lives. 
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SARA C. ALBERT

Director
 Sara is a mom and a lawyer. After becoming a mother herself, Sara began to understand and appreciate the importance of mother's milk and the challenges that many people face with having access to a safe supply of breastmilk. Sara is passionate about NothernStar Mothers Milk Bank and the work it is doing to make breastmilk available to all NICU babies. 
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JULIEN DESHUTTER

Director
My journey to being a part of the Board began when Abby (Jannette's dog) lost her ball in the shrubbery. After I located that ball, Abby’s owner (Jannette) introduced herself to me, a new neighbour. Discussion about this “Milk Bank” operational start-up she was heading up led to an offer to assist in the intercity transportation field, and one thing led to another.
 
A year or so later came the phone call from Jannette, and I was honoured to be asked to join the Board of Directors of the Calgary Mothers Milk Bank.  I continue to be honoured and proud to be on the Board, working alongside the other members of this exceptional group of Directors, as we all contribute our experience and energy towards making this community (and country-wide) asset the best milk bank in North America.  To my mind there is no greater reward than knowing how many newborns The NorthernStar Mothers’ Milk Bank has helped through the first fragile months of their lives.

Team Members

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JANNETTE FESTIVAL, RN, IBCLC

Executive Director

As the founding executive director, I have always believed there is a community-based solution to support sick and fragile babies. As a labour and delivery nurse at the Foothills hospital, I’ve seen the transformational impact of donor human milk in the NICU and I remain convinced that all babies should have ready access to the life-saving benefits of donor human milk. I am as passionate about milk banking today as I have been since we opened our doors in 2012. Seeing the impact of this milk, the spirit of giving that stems from our selfless donors and the gratitude from our recipient families is a testament to the community of NorthernStar.

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TAYLOR ANDERSON

Donor Services Manager
 
During my nursing program at the University of Calgary, I was one of the lucky students who got to spend a semester working in the NICU, postpartum and labor and delivery unit. It quickly became obvious to me that this area of nursing was where I wanted to begin my career. I knew about the Milk Bank as I used donor human milk often during my time in the NICU. I contacted the Milk Bank to start volunteering. Shortly after, I was very excited to be able to apply for a job and to become a part of such a truly wonderful organization and am happy to have found this unique niche.
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JESSICA WHITMORE

Donor Liasion
After the birth of my first child, like so many mothers, I experienced incredible stress in the early days of learning how to nurse my baby. It was during this time that I learned of NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, and the admirable work of donor moms and the Milk Bank team. Coupled with my own experiences and an education in Psychology, I developed an enduring passion to advocate for women’s and children’s health and well-being. The opportunity to join the Milk Bank team has allowed me to realize this passion. I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of this inspiring community.
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CHELSEA KING

Executive Assistant

I have been interested in birth, the postpartum, and human lactation as a career goal since I was in my teens. I’ve studied as a Birth & Postpartum Doula, and as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, and I had wonderful breastfeeding relationships with my own two children. I am passionate about supporting new parents and babies, and I have so much respect for all of the selfless donors who give their time, energy, and milk. Working at the milk bank with the amazing team is a dream come true for me, knowing that we are bringing the healing power of milk to babies in need all over the country.
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GLENNA HAUCK

Office Manager
 
I had been blessed to be the mother of two healthy boys. As I returned to the workforce, I worked in the not-for-profit sector for several years. When I saw that the milk bank was looking for an Office Administrator/Bookkeeper in April 2014, I was very excited at the possibility. Not too long before, a news story about the milk bank introduced me to the concept and I thought it was wonderful that tiny, sick babies could be helped so much and so easily though the generosity of other moms. Now, after working here, watching these babies grow and thrive, and seeing how our donor moms help so much, I know first-hand what a very special place this is.
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ALI PELLEGRINI

Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

When I was pregnant with my first child, I attended a breastfeeding class at NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank. As soon as I walked in the door that evening I knew this was a special place. I had a rough start to breastfeeding but what I learned in the class allowed me to advocate for myself. This led to wonderful breastfeeding journey with my daughter, and then my son. Being able to share  and educate about the milk bank online through social media is a dream come true for me. 
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KRIS DESJARDINS

Lab Manager

I first learned of milk banking when my best friend volunteered at NorthernStar.  The beautiful stories I heard inspired me to volunteer on days off from my previous profession – I worked in a lab setting in funeral service for several years, having studied human sciences and embalming.  Soon after, I transitioned to working full-time in the lab at NorthernStar. This community is supportive, compassionate and uplifting; I am so fortunate to be included, and so proud to ensure the precious donations we receive are handled safely so babies in need can get well and thrive.
 
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MARIANA HERNANDEZ

Lab Technician 
Having worked as a Dietitian and Lactation Educator in Mexico, I have always dreamed of being able to collaborate in a human milk bank and my dreams came true when NothernStar Milk Bank opened the doors to me to be part of its wonderful work team. It is a joy and blessing for me to wake up everyday knowing that my work will reach a baby who will benefit greatly from all the nutritional and immunological properties of breast milk. It is a honour to be associated with such an amazing team and I give great thanks to all of our donors.
 
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MARIJA SKEPAROVSKA 

Lab Technician 
 
Coming from Macedonia with an extensive background as a nurse and degree in Quality and Safety of milk and dairy products, I had an opportunity to put my knowledge, experience and education in use of Northernstar Mothers Milk Bank. I recently learned of Northernstar Mothers Milk Bank and I was lucky that I got a chance to work as Lab Technician and be part of this wonderful team. 
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CINDY NGUYEN

Lab Technician 

Graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences in Calgary I had two options - enter the Oil & Gas industry or pursue further education. I chose the former as an entry-level Laboratory Technician; not only to kickstart my career in the sciences but to acquire experience to do what I really wanted to do, help people. Fast forward three years and I am ultimately where I want to be - NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank, a non-profit that supports mothers and newborns alike as they begin their new life together. As a Laboratory Technician, I see how individual milk donations become pasteurized donor human milk that can then be safely dispensed. I am grateful to play a small role in this process as a part of an amazing team of women working to fill the gap in a much needed space to ensure all babies have access to donor human milk. 
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HOPE WOLLEN

Lab Technician 

I was born an underweight premature infant and thanks to breast milk, I was able to get the start I needed for healthy development. Human milk is not only food, it is medicine! I am so grateful I am able be a part of the process that makes donor milk safe for some of the most fragile members of our society. My background is in biology with many hours logged in the lab. It makes me unbelievably happy to use my knowledge and experience to help babies have the best possible start to life they can. NorthernStar Mothers Milk Bank is a lifesaving organization and I am so thankful to be a part of it.
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JENNIFER HEAD

Administrative Assistant 
 
With an extensive background in the restaurant industry here in Calgary, I have always been deeply invested in nourishment and food safety. As my friends and family began to have children I witnessed their breastfeeding journeys, from difficulties with feeding to freezers full of milk due to oversupply. When I learned of the opportunity to work at the milk bank, I jumped at the chance to help support and feed this fragile population in any way I could.