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TEAM

Board of Directors

DR. DOUGLAS CAINE, MD

Co-Medical Director

 

Physician at Helios Health & Wellness and Oak Bay Medical Clinic

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.

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.

DR. DOUGLAS YEUNG, MD

Director

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.

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. 

SARA CALBERT

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. 

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

JULIEN DESHUTTER

Director

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.

TAYLOR ANDERSON

Donor Coordinator
 
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.

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.

CHELSEA KING

Administrative 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.

 

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.

GILLIAN HANSON

Outreach Coordinator
I came to the milk bank having worked in a variety of industries in marketing and communications. What intrigued me about working here was the chance to make a real difference in the lives of sick babies. In my role at the milk bank, I get to promote all the wonderful people and initiatives that make this organization so great – not to mention, I’m constantly inspired by the women who choose to selflessly donate their excess milk to help sick babies in need.

KRIS DESJARDINS

Lab Supervisor
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.
 

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.
 

CHARLENE STEEVES

Lab Technician 
I came to NorthernStar with an extensive background in veterinary medicine working in general practice, emergency and surgery. I did not know a lot about milk banking at first but as I learned about the milk banking process I realized how invaluable it was. When the opportunity to join the amazing team at NorthernStar became available I was ecstatic. The milk bank is such an incredible entity that provides so much for the fragile and sick babies across Canada. I have so much admiration for the mothers that are able to donate and help provide for these babies as well as admiration for the team at NorthernStar and the work we do.
 

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