Table of contents

Council members

Shino Nakane, Acting Chair

As a mother of a son with a developmental disability, Shino Nakane of Calgary has a passion for helping non-profit groups that strive to meet the unique needs of families like hers. Shino is currently the provincial director with Autism Society Alberta, helping launch province-wide initiatives like Autism Alberta’s Alliance. She is also the vice-chair for the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance where she helps coordinate national conversations about autism. She has volunteered on a variety of boards and committees over the past decade, most recently on the Alberta Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee. She continually strives to spearhead efforts so that all people are able to live in accessible and inclusive communities. Contact Shino

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Shino was publicly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Alison Cutknife

Alison Cutknife of Maskwacis is an Anishinaabekwe of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation (Ontario), which is a member of the Samson Cree First Nation. One of her daughters has cerebral palsy. Over the past 25 years, Alison has been an active advocate for families of children with disabilities who live on reserves. Her work includes developing the first Early Childhood Intervention Program on reserve, establishing an annual community National Child Day event and conducting culturally appropriate Indigenous parent programs. Teaching is Alison’s profession and lifelong learning is her pastime. Contact Alison

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Alison was publicly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Charlene Tolentino

Charlene Tolentino is a public guardian representative for the Office the Public Guardian & Trustee. She has vast experience in the disability sector as a former service coordinator with Disability Services for the Government of Alberta. As a licensed attorney (New York), she has over 10 years’ experience providing advocacy support to children in foster care, as well as adults with disabilities in both the United States and Canada. Charlene is also the mother of a child with a disability. Contact Charlene

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Charlene was directly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Cindy Pilz

Cindy Pilz is a deaf services manager at a non-profit organization in Alberta. As a deaf person, Cindy is passionate about her work assisting deaf and hard of hearing individuals and families with a variety of supports. Cindy loves being part of the deaf community and has participated as a board member for deaf organizations over the years. She currently sits on the Advisory Committee for Accessibility for the City of Calgary. Cindy has received a variety of recognition awards for her work with deaf Albertans. Contact Cindy

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Cindy was publicly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Dominic Shaw

Dominic Shaw of Calgary effects social change by improving accessibility through transportation services, inclusive recreational sports, future arena design and providing services to the adaptive community. He is an entrepreneur who started Third Wheel Mobility, a consultant who provides advice on mobility barriers and the Calgary Sledge Hockey Association president. He also served as the Calgary Stampede mascot for seven years. Dominic has many connections within the disability community as well as having a disability himself. Contact Dominic

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Dominic was directly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Garth Rowswell

Garth Rowswell, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright, is a current member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Garth was a financial advisor for over 16 years and has an extensive background in agriculture business. Garth is actively involved in his community. He has served as board member and president of various clubs and organizations including the Rotary Club of Lloydminster and the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers. Garth holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Alberta. Contact Garth

Heath Birkholz

Heath Birkholz is a public speaker, research collaborator and a freelance writer/co-facilitator for Self Advocacy Federation Edmonton, as well as an inclusive artist. Heath contributes to community building and development by creating accessible tools for individuals with disabilities. Heath is also co-founder of Rights to Love, a community that provides sexual health education and support for people with disabilities. As an inclusive artist, Heath focuses as a dancer/co-choreographer and is the Chair on the Board for CRIPSiE, which is an organization run by artists with disabilities. Contact Heath

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Heath was directly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Karl Schwonik

Karl Schwonik has an extensive career in the arts, education and entrepreneurial sectors. He founded the Wetaskiwin Jazz Society, a non-profit bringing education to nearly 20,000 rural students. He has served on numerous boards, including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Lt. Governor of Alberta's Arts Awards and Foundation, Travel Alberta and the Canada Council for the Arts. Karl has received numerous awards and honours including the Lt. Governor of Alberta Award, Queen’s Jubilee Award and named one of Calgary's Top 40 Under 40. He has completed studies in music, business and arts leadership at Cambridge University, the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of Calgary. Contact Karl

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Karl was publicly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Katie Suvanto

Katie Suvanto is a mother to a son with autism, an advocate for her Indigenous community and the disability sector. Katie has identified gaps in the disability sector during her time in community development and Indigenous relations and continues to work to assist families with navigating the system. Katie has been a community builder through various sectors of her employment and looks forward to serving Albertans. Contact Katie

Competencies required for members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities include critical and strategic thinking skills, disability community stakeholder knowledge, and leadership/teamwork skills. Katie was publicly recruited and appointed on the basis of acceptably meeting the competencies, skills and attributes as described above.

Michaela Frey

Michaela Frey, MLA for Brooks-Medicine Hat, is a current member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Michaela was the owner and chief consultant of a strategic consulting agency. Michaela also initiated petition E-1310 calling on the Government of Canada to recognize female genital mutilation as a barbaric cultural practice, which was tabled in the House of Commons in February 2018. She also provided witness testimony before the Status of Women Committee in Ottawa in June of 2018. Michaela holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Lethbridge. She resides in Medicine Hat. Contact Michaela

Contact

Connect with the Premier’s Council Secretariat:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-1095
Toll free: dial 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 780-415-0097

Address:
Suite 1110, 10055 106 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 2Y2

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