Board of Directors
Lisa D. Weber, President
Marggo Pariseau, Vice President
Lisa Higgerty, Treasurer
Irene V. Loutitt, Director
Josie Nepinak, Director
Rachelle Venne, CEO
Founder & Past President Muriel Stanley Venne
RACHELLE VENNE, CEO
I am a proud Métis with both mom and dads family homesteads East of Edmonton, near what is now Métis Crossing. I am born and raised near Edmonton, Alberta. Although I did contract and volunteer work before, I started full-time in October 2007; I am now the CEO. A fun fact about myself is that I was deathly afraid of open water after I capsized in a canoe with my Dad at 10 years old. But in 2009 with the help of a friend, I faced that fear and have been deep sea scubadiving since then!
MARGGO PARISEAU, Vice President (Transitions, Fire Keepers)
Hello, my name is Margaret (Marggo) Pariseau, I was born in High Prairie, Alberta. I have been with IAAW since the beginning. I have had the pleasure of working with Muriel Stanley Venne, Founder and past President since 1974. I am responsible for the housing department, contract with Parole working with offenders that are in the community, Esquao Awards, work with the Justice Navigator, and I sit on various committees. I also represent IAAW as the Vice President. A fun fact about myself is that I can make the CEO of IAAW blush!
MAUREEN CALLIHOO LIGTVOET, Project Coordinator (Healthy Relationships)
Tanis, taanshi, My name is Maureen Callihoo Ligtvoet and I am a Cree Mohawk with a twist of French and I am from the Michel First Nation. I am a program coordinator with IAAW and I facilitate the Healthy Relationships/Walking in Your Moccasins program. I have been with IAAW since February 2021, and I love my job and the women I work with. A fun fact about myself is I have a hairless Sphynx cat named Mavis!
KELLY DANIELS, Admin Support
My name is Kelly Daniels, I am Cree/Métis and I am originally from the West Coast of British Columbia and I am a descendant of Chief Papaschase. I have been lucky enough to have been with IAAW since June 2021, but it feels like much longer and I mean that in the best possible way! From the moment I started here, I felt like I was home. The women here have made me feel so welcome, and wow! What a bunch of amazing women they are! I am the admin support here so I do a little bit of everything. I absolutely love my job! Fun fact about me is I used to own and run a Cafe in White Rock, B.C. and I still love to cook for my friends and family!
JOCELYNN PROULX, Writer/Researcher
Hello! My name is Jocelynn Proulx and I am a Métis youth from Alberta. I grew up in Southern Alberta, but I was born in and currently live in Edmonton. I started working at IAAW in May 2021, and I currently do research and writing for the organization. Fun Fact – I love hiking, and my favourite hike to date was climbing Table Mountain!
ERICA GLADUE, Project Coordinator (Youth)
Tansi, my name is Erica Gladue and I am a proud Cree Métis from Treaty 8 territory. I graduated from the University of Victoria in 2020 with a major in Sociology and I am passionate about learning and embracing my Indigenous culture. I have been with IAAW since October 2020 and I am the Esquao Youth program coordinator for IAAW and facilitate the Building our Bundle program with Kokum Elsie Paul. The best part of my job is connecting Indigenous youth to their culture and feeling like I’ve made a positive impact on their lives. A fun fact about me is that I used to be a competitive cheerleader and competed on Team Canada at the Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando, Florida in 2014 and 2015. Hiy hiy!
BERNADETTE SWANSON, Project Coordinator (Financial Literacy, F.I.T, Empower U)
My name is Bernadette Swanson and my nickname is Bunny. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and I am a proud Cree woman. I am honoured to walk with IAAW for the last eight years, as a program coordinator and Financial Literacy facilitator for the Empower U matched savings program. This is a very rewarding position due to the fact that the women we work with trust us enough to be part of the change and growth in their life; you also become a part of their journey, while building relationships and gaining a circle of strong women. A fun fact about myself is that I was an Alberta arm-wrestling champ and still love the sport. Hiy hiy!
ANGIE GAMBLER, Project Coordinator (COVID support)
Tansi, my name is Angie Gambler, I am a Nehiyow iskwew, residing in Edmonton, but my roots are Calling Lake AB. ᑭᑐᐤ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ kitow sâkahikan. I have been with IAAW since February 2021, and I am the program coordinator for covid supports. I absolutely love the women I work with, and the participants we serve bring me so much joy. As I am one of the eldest granddaughters in my family and have been raised by my Kokums, being a helper in the community has been instilled in me at a very young age, so I am grateful to have the opportunity to work here. A fun fact about me? I am scared of big bodies of water, and I am not a great swimmer, but I have gone surfing, snorkelling, boating and kayaking in the Pacific Ocean, and swam in a big waterfall! I love to believe as long as there is air in my lungs, a beat in my heart, and I am physically capable, I can’t let fear ruin my thoughts on fun activities within nature.
JENNA WEBER, Justice Systems Navigator
My name is Jenna Weber and I’m a Cree-Métis woman from northern Alberta, although I have spent most of my years in Edmonton. I joined the IAAW team formally this year, 2021, as the Justice Systems Navigator for the Greater Edmonton area. My role is advocating for Indigenous women who are experiencing barriers in accessing community resources or who need assistance in navigating complex institutions, including the legal system. It is also a part of my duty to coordinate and provide training opportunities to increase awareness of – and eliminate – barriers to justice. A fun fact about me is that for as long as I can remember I have been a champion for justice.
ALISON POIRON, ISET Coordinator
My name is Alison Poiron, born and raised in Hinton, Alberta and I am Métis. I have been the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) coordinator since December 2020. As this is a new program to our organization, I have loved the lessons that the women teach me through our conversations and the challenge of setting up this program to be the best it can be for all Indigenous women. A fun fact about me is that I love to travel and explore new places! My new goal is to watch a Blue Jays Games live at every stadium within the next 10 years.
BRENDA IRVINE, Project Coordinator Assistant (Transitions, Fire Keepers)
Currently on maternity leave.
MARTA RUDIAK, Finance
SANDRA Z. HUCULAK, Community Outreach
I joined the IAAW in November 2021 to lead the Alberta Indigenous Women Guardian Angels project in partnership with the Government of Canada.
It is my honour to work with the IAAW, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Guardian Angels, and Indigenous women and gender-diverse people to implement and evaluate the Alberta Indigenous Women Guardian Angels project across Alberta. This project intends to increase capacity of local Indigenous women to lead localized solutions to gender-based violence, and increased networks and collaborations to accelerate systems change to address violence, poverty, mental health, and wellness of Indigenous women.
A fun fact about me is I love to hike. So, in the early days of the global pandemic, I decided to keep track of the distance I was hiking each week. Being in nature on a regular basis helped me deal with missing my family and friends. Since the pandemic began, my total hiking distance is over 4,000 km.
Circle of Elders
Mary Brown, Slave Lake
Lorretta Bowen, Edmonton
Myrtle Calahasen, Edmonton
Alma Desjarlais, High Prairie
Marion Le Rat, Calgary
Elsie Paul, Edmonton
Lorraine Savard, Edmonton
Blanche Bruised Head, Lethbridge