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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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NEW DIRECTOR COMING SOON!

Director

 Stay tuned for updates coming soon.
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JULIEN DESCHUTTER

Director

I have extensive experience with several charities and Jannette approached me to discuss set-up of the Milk Bank. Discussion about the Milk Bank operational start-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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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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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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KRIS DESJARDINS

Laboratory Team Lead

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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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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MARIJA SKEPAROVSKA 

Laboratory Team Lead
 
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 at Northernstar Mothers Milk Bank. When I learned of Northernstar Mothers Milk Bank I was lucky that I got a chance to work as Lab Technician and be part of this wonderful team. 
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CHELSEA KING

Executive Assistant & Outreach Coordinator

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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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.
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DONNA GERSBACH

Director of Food Safety

I’m a small town girl, born and raised in Northern Alberta. After completing my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Molecular Genetics at the University of Alberta, my life took me on a bit of an adventure and I ended up in Calgary. I’m a mom to two young daughters and I was fortunate to have an uncomplicated and special breastfeeding relationship with each of them. When my youngest was ready for daycare, I started the search for what could be the start of a meaningful career. When I came across the opportunity to work as a Lab Technician at NorthernStar, I knew immediately that this was where I needed to be. I am so honored to be part of the milk banking community and to be able to use my laboratory background to make a difference to sick and fragile babies across the country. 
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MICHELLE ONYEKWELI

Laboratory Technician 

Shortly after obtaining my BSc in Natural Sciences at the University of Calgary, I came across NorthernStar. I was on the hunt for a position in a lab and especially after reading the testimonials from recipients and donors, I knew that NorthernStar was a special place. I began to develop a deeper passion as I delve into this admirable organization. Fast forward a few months, I couldn’t be more thrilled to play a role in providing babies with life-saving nutrients.
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