Meet the Team: Administrative Team

Administrative Team

ahmed

Ahmed Faied, Finance Officer

Ahmed returns to the Calgary area after living in central Canada - Toronto and Montreal - for the past few years. He's worked in accounting, finance and tax for more than two decades in several different industries including IT, real estate, oil and gas, auto and public accounting.

Originally from Egypt, where his mom and three sisters live, Ahmed moved to Canada in 2007 when he first developed an interest in working for the Stoney Nation. He has had a passion to help First Nation communities grow, develop and progress with time and appreciates First Nation's cultures and traditions that are similar to his pharaonic background.

His interests are many. You'll find him cooking, shopping, playing tennis, watching movies or heading out on a long drive when he has free time. Obviously, he enjoys the daily commute from south Calgary. Numbers are his passion and his life-long commitment. In fact, so much so that he's quick to note that he's married to the numbers. He loves being able to translate financials and numbers to non-financial people and help organizations to continue and last long-term.

Ahmed steps in to the role of finance officer while Tracy Chu takes an extended leave of absence. Welcome Ahmed!

Meet the Team: Community Health

Community Health

Chance McPherson, Community Health Nurse

Chance began practicing as a registered nurse in 2018 and his work has taken him all over Alberta. Prior to Stoney Health, he spent a year and a half working in Northern Alberta with a First Nations community during the pandemic, before moving southward.
He's also spent time in Jasper as a guide and interpreter and prides himself on his varied interests and experiences.
Now that he works with the community health team, he appreciates that the Stoney community has such a large healthcare team to provide services to the community. His memoir is in the works. Ask him about his experiences working as a nurse in a stereotypically career dominated by women. Welcome Chance to Stoney Health and the Community Health team!

Meet the Team: Harm Reduction

Harm Reduction team

Godspower (GP) Nmai, Harm Reduction Social Worker

At first introduction, you may wonder - like this editor did - where GP received his unique name. His parents desperately needed a son, so when he was born, they attributed it to God's intervention and named him Godspower. He is the fifth in a large family of six siblings and now carries his family's name with his own wife and two sons.
Godspower was born and raised in Nigeria and speaks his native language of Igbo in addition to English. He immigrated to Canada in 2012 and has worked in social work and health care, including roles with Alberta Health Services and the Red Deer Native Friendship Society - a career highlight for him.
He is a passionate about his work, particularly human rights and social justice. In his own words, "the greatest thing I love about my job is the privilege to look in to the eyes of people who are facing challenges, show genuine compassion and empathy, encourage them and help them find the solution they think they need."
If pressed to provide a title to his professional career, he offers, "The odyssey of my career: Tumbling through Journalism, Teaching, EMS, to find Purpose in Social Work with Native People of Alberta.” Sounds like a classic in the making and perhaps a nod to another experienced communicator on staff.
Editor's note: GP shared a tremendous amount of insight into his life for this profile. Regrettably, only a few highlights can be shared at this time. He also noted that he has heard that he can come off as 'cold' on first meeting and claims that nothing is further from the truth. Reach out to him and introduce yourself. His intriguing life experiences, thoughts and opinions shine through, along with his warm personality. Welcome to Stoney Health, GP!

Heather Benoit

Heather Benoit, Nurse Practitioner

Heather is a new face to Stoney Health and the only nurse practitioner on staff. In addition, to her work here in Mînî Thnî, she also travels to Big Horn once a week to support that community.
Born and raised in Newfoundland and a member of the Qalipu First Nation, Heather has worked as a nurse practitioner for several Indigenous communities on the Prairies before coming to Stoney Health.
She's motivated to learn and evolve as a nurse and continually finds ways to step outside her comfort zone. Working in harm reduction is a new area for her so she's excited by the challenges and opportunities that it will provide.
Her interests, like many of her co-workers, include hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, paddleboarding, biking and camping along with her fiancé and favourite puppy. Fun fact: she has an identical twin sister who lives in Newfoundland and claims her career story could be titled, "Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable: A nursing saga."

Heila Lukas

Heila Lukas, Harm Reduction Nurse

Heila has worked in many areas of nursing throughout her career, including palliative care, at a remand centre and even as an instructor at two Calgary-area universities. Fun fact, her first passion was farming and she worked in agriculture/research with farm animals, mice and sustainable farming methods.
Every area of nursing offers its benefits in Heila's opinion. As a community health nurse, she values working with clients in their own environment, getting to know and work with them to set goals and priorities for their every day life. There is no one size fits all approach in her mind; you learn to adapt and be creative to suit the person.
As a harm reduction nurse and working with Stoney Nakoda people, she truly values when clients begin to trust the health system again and start to seek ways to improve their own health and wellness.
Heila rarely sits still as many co-workers notice her boundless energy. She's a mom to three teen girls, two cats and a dog. She counts hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skating or gardening among her many activities. If it's outdoors and adventure-filled, that's where you'll find Heila outside of work. If she's forced to stay indoors, however, you'll find her catching the latest true crime podcast or playing Sudoku.

Heidi Metz

Heidi Metz, Harm Reduction Nurse and COVID-19 Response

Heidi has worked as a licensed practical nurse for 20+ years. She worked in rural health care in Saskatchewan before trying her hand at - and finding her true passion - in mental health and addictions care in small communities where she's able to engage and follow-up with her clients.
Cue, her chapter with Stoney Health Services. She appreciates the community feel on the reserve and the ability to practice her passion as one of the driving forces to come and work here. Feeling now like this could be a forever job. In particular, she appreciates the Stoney Nation's willingness and ability to allow me to be a part of their daily routine, stopping into say hi or asking questions always makes it a better day for her.
With a love of travel, road tripping, camping, hiking and snowboarding, she keeps active and on the go with her two kids. She's revered for her cookies and her ability to ask 'Where is the Bathroom?' in four languages, no less. Her career story can be summed up by the title, "Nursing: A comedy in the making. The collections of a rural nurse."

Meet the Team: Turning Point social workers

Turning Point social workers

The faces behind the home and community care team bring years of collective nursing experience, a love of community and a pride in what they do to their roles with Stoney Health. The home care team seeks to help clients live as independently and safely within the community as possible. The team provides supplementary care and support offered by family and the community.

HeejungLee

Heejung Lee, Social Worker

Heejung recently joined the Turning Point team as a registered social worker. She may be a familiar face to many already as she completed her practicum with Stoney Health Services earlier this year.

Heejung immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 2011. Being away from home has made her appreciate her culture and language. She makes it a priority to connect with her South Korean culture whenever possible.

Since coming to Canada, she adopted 'the smartest and funniest' border collie named Mocha (in the picture).

Her positive experience working with the community and colleagues during her practicum inspired her to apply for a full time position with Stoney Health. In her words, "Listening to clients’ stories and building relationships with them is the best part of my job. I feel empowered by and have deep respect for the resiliency that the clients I work with and the community have shown. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow and to supporting the Stoney Nakoda community members".

JessicaKing

Jessica King, Social Worker


Jessica is another familiar face to the Stoney Nakoda community and to Stoney Health, in particular.

Prior to her new role, she worked for three years in Mînî Thnî as the family support worker/social worker with Stoney Health's allied health partner Renfrew Educational Services.

Building upon her previous work has helped her create some incredibly meaningful and genuine relationships with colleagues and Stoney Nakoda community members. Admittedly, most of her previous roles was supporting children and families with developmental needs, so she is eager to branch out and learning more about being a health care social worker.

She lives in Calgary with her partner and dog, Sonny, and enjoys the outdoors - hiking, camping and lake swimming. She finds that spending time outside is her surefire way to rechage.

When not outdoors, she also enjoys reading and is always looking for the next good read. She's also a big foodie and loves trying out new recipes. Send her your suggestions for books AND recipes.

Meet the Team: Home and Community Care

Home and community care

The faces behind the home and community care team bring years of collective nursing experience, a love of community and a pride in what they do to their roles with Stoney Health. The home care team seeks to help clients live as independently and safely within the community as possible. The team provides supplementary care and support offered by family and the community.

In this first part of a two-part series (it’s a large team), we feature four staff who exude pride in what they do and who they care and support. Read on to learn more about some of Stoney Health’s valued frontline staff.

AnneMalimban

Anne Malimban, Home and Community Care Manager

If asked to describe her role as a title of a book, Anne offers The many hats I wear as a home care nurse manager, explaining that as a home care nurse, sometimes you need to respond in ways that are unpredictable and unexpected. "Working in home care typically means you are providing services in the individual’s home where you become resourceful when faced with challenges. You have a lot of autonomy that enables you to develop stronger clinical skills...You make a greater difference in the lives of your client because you get to spend so much one-on-one time with the client and their family in the comfort of their own home where you can develop trust and rapport. You get to see the client in their environment and each visit can be as varied as the clients themselves which keeps me stimulated and make the job more exciting."

After immigrating to Canada from the Philippines when she was 10, Anne started her nursing career with a medical/surgical unit in Alberta Health Services. Drawn to the people and culture, eventually she made her way to Stoney Health where she's been for the past 10 years.

In her free time, Anne is kept busy with two school-aged children. Her family spends their time being active - hiking, camping, snowboarding, skating and a full range of outdoor activities. She firmly believes in self care and you can probably find her in the kitchen baking and decorating cakes when she's not enjoying the great outdoors.

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Melinda Hubbard, First Nation Client Liaison

Melinda lives at home with her husband, three kids (one out of the house), a cat and the promise of a new furry-four legged friend this fall joining their family. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Melinda is proud of her Metis heritage.
She worked at SHS back in 2012 in various roles……clinic nurse, homecare nurse, diabetes nurse, then had a “midlife crisis” as some would say ( or what she fondly refers to as 'following her heart') and left for two years to study to become a butcher - a lifelong passion. It easily follows then that she loves cooking, baking, smoking meat, making bacon, hams - the list goes on. She is a foodie at heart and the staff based at Wesley Lodge benefit from her many culinary talents.
She loves her new position as First Nations Client Liaison, helping the community with varying requests and needs and collaborating with numerous organizations to get the best possible care for community members.

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Naomi Kaquitts, Health Care Aide

Naomi began her role with Stoney Health two years ago as a First Nations' cultural liaison and recently transitioned to a health care aide at the beginning of September. Naomi is the proud mom to two children and also a pet mom of one cat. Being with her family, binge watching TV shows, reading, doing bead work, sewing and traveling top her list of interests and things to do when she has free time.

Now that she works with Stoney Health, she loves having a chance to offer support and help to the elders and people of the community. As a Stoney Nation member, she speaks both Stoney and English fluently. Speaking Stoney plays a big part of her job and she thanks for family for speaking it at home every day when she was younger.

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Georgina Lefthand, Health Care Aide

Georgina's path to Stoney Health began with the gentle encouragement from her late Ena. When her mom was ailing, Georgina was there to help with her care. She watched her mom's home care workers enviously and recalls telling her mom how much she wished she could do that. Her mom responded, "You will one day when I leave (pass on). I will make sure of that."

Six months after her mom passed away, Georgina accepted a short-term contract with Stoney Health. She strongly believes that her late Ena made her wish come true. Now 17 years later she still serves her community and Elders with the same dedication and love for what she does.

Georgina is the second youngest of six and the daughter of residential school survivors. She is honoured to have grown up within a strict home environment and values her family's teachings. She is proud to be a single mother to three - one of whom also works for Stoney Health - and also a grandmother. She shares that her joy today comes from her family and watching them on their chosen paths.

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Krista Nelson, Home Care Nurse

One of two Newfoundlanders in home care, Krista graduated from nursing in the mid-90s and headed west to Alberta. She spent several years at Foothills Hospital before moving to Vancouver Island where she worked in home and long-term care.

Along with her husband and kids (now teens), she returned to Alberta in 2016 and started working in Morley. They've since added a few cats and a puppy to their family. Needless to say, there's not a lot of "Krista time" at the end of the day.

She credits Stephanie, also a home care nurse and long-time friend who she met during nursing school, for encouraging her to apply for a position with Stoney Health.

To her, "Morley is an amazing place to work and I love the diversity that home care provides. Each day brings something new and challenging."

Whole-heartedly believing she won the nursing lottery with the 'best job ever,' she loves working with the Stoney Nakoda people. She's always felt welcomed into their homes where she's met so many wonderful people over the past five years.

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Stephanie Shelstad, Home Care Nurse

The other Newfoundlander on the home care team, Stephanie reigns from Bell Island, a small island off the Newfoundland coast where boat is the only mode of transport to get in or out. She graduated from nursing in St. John's and moved to Alberta to pursue her career back in the late 1990s, working in maternity at Foothills Hospital and a short stint in Primary Care in Cochrane.

She joined Stoney Health as an opportunity to branch out and try a new area of nursing and loves learning about the people, hearing their stories and learning about the culture and language. She even will attempt a Stoney phrase now and then to make people giggle with her pronunciation.

Interacting with community members is what she enjoys most about home care. Helping others and making them feel better when their health isn’t the greatest and assisting them to access services to improve their wellbeing in the comforts of their own home also keep her motivated.

Stephanie is a baking enthusiast and loves making cakes, really ALL THINGS CAKE! When not covered in flour, she enjoys spending time with friends playing cards or chatting around a roaring fire surrounded by her husband, two step children and their twins. You know she's busy in her spare (if any) time.

In closing she offered, "Most of my career I thought maternity nursing was where all the fun was…then I became a nurse on a First Nation Reserve."

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Suzanne Sihikal, Home Care Nurse

Suzanne is an indigenous nurse who hails from Treaty 1 Territory. She graduated from nursing 33 years ago at the mere age of 7. 😉 She has spent most of her career in the great white north - the real north, way past Edmonton - sampling nearly every area of nursing before landing happily in home care.

With a passion for First Nations' health, Suzanne firmly believes in a holistic approach to wellness and health and loves seeing people in their own homes. She feels it is an honour to be part of their healing journey.

When she's not working, you can find Suzanne off hiking, biking, paddling or simply enjoying the outdoors. She claims that she will never be able to retire as her two young, very independent girls keep pursing biathlon at the national and international level, while also attending post-secondary school. She self-titled her autobiography Second chances, Third chances, Fourth Chances believing you can try to attain any dream possible. Getting up and continuing the race is just as important as winning.

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Natisha Snow, Home Care Nurse

Working as a home care nurse for Stoney Health Services and meeting Nation members for the first time or seeing them again after many years away have highlighted Natisha's return to work. She missed the humor, the laughs, and especially the language.

Now that she's hearing the Stoney language more, she's started to listen more, recognizing the importance of keeping the language alive with and for her children. She hopes to gain the community’s trust as she works her way from a new grad to an experienced Licensed Practical Nurse. She's passionate about her role here and hopes to make a difference within the community for generations to come. In her words, "If you had told me 10 years ago that I would come back to Mînî Thnî and work as a nurse, I never would have believed you. I left for Calgary back in 2011 for better opportunities and although it was uncomfortable being in a big city alone and I missed my family—I knew I had to tough it out."

She goes on further, "Growth is uncomfortable, it’s something you’ve never done before or worked towards because sitting and waiting for opportunities is easier. Starting off as a statistic (teen mom) to now is what drives me to go further and learn as much as I can." That’s why she would title a book about her journey as “Look at You Go” because it describes her current momentum.

Recently, she's become a car enthusiast and attended car shows/meets/races for the past two summers. Introduced by her husband, she's been obsessed ever since, saying "He is also a mechanic so If you’ve ever heard my little Golf roar to life at the Wesley Lodge well then you know it wasn’t my idea."

Meet the Team: Mînî Thnî Crisis Support

Crisis Team Builds on Personal Experiences and Understanding to Support Community

The Mînî Thnî Crisis Team combines current and traditional 24-hour comprehensive crisis and rapid outreach services for the Morley community. 

Working alongside other Stoney Health departments and local first responders, the RCMP, the Stoney School Authority, Stoney Nakoda Child and Family services to provide mobile interventions, immediate safety and short-term support for individuals/families faced with challenging circumstances, such as family violence, grief and substance use. The MTCT support team has the knowledge and skills required to effectively assist individuals, families and community members impacted and affected. 

Trevor Tailfeathers

Trevor Tailfeathers, Crisis Support Lead

Trevor was born and raised on the Blood Tribe First Nations Reserve in Southern Alberta. He was an active member with the RCMP for fifteen years and later released on honourable medical discharge from duty. He has worked and developed strong working relationships with elders, teachers, and administrators at reserves in Hobbema (Cree), Gleichen (Blackfoot), Morley (Stoney Nation).

Trevor was a policy analyst at the Secwe̓pemc Children and Family Services (SCFS) for the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nations Reserve in Kamloops, BC. As a policy analyst, he applied for grants through Indigenous services Canada that focused on Indigenous health and health disparity, and has been involved in financial planning, forecasting, and reporting. He recently secured a $75,000 COVID-19 pandemic grant to address food security, internet, and mental health services to urban First Nations members and he has also advocated for system changes to enhance the way we service children and their families.

He is the crisis coordinator for Stoney Health Services where he provides rapid, effective responses to crisis situations in the community.

Alanna Kaquitts

Alanna Kaquitts, Community Outreach Liaison

Family is everything to Alanna Kaquitts as the oldest of six siblings and herself blessed with two beautiful children. She is all about SELF CARE and cites TV binge watching, blasting music in her car, travelling, exploring and adventure as her main ways to unwind.

She's held a number of administrative roles, including most recently with the Eagles Nest Stoney Family Shelter and Hobbema Dental and completed certificates as a health care aid and medical office assistant.

She's so excited to continue in her role as community outreach liaison where she'll combine her administrative and organizations skills with her love of meeting, connecting and working with people. She notes with pride how much she's grown professionally and personally in her role and is looking forward to what's next.

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Charlotte Sison, Crisis Intervention Social Worker

With her parents, sister and brother, Charlotte Sison immigrated to Calgary from the Philippines when she was a kid. Now she resides in a small town outside of Calgary with her partner, cat (shown on left) and dog and commutes daily to Morley.

Prior to joining Stoney Health, Charlotte worked for the City of Calgary facilitating afterschool programs for youth. She also worked as a child and youth counselor with Hull Services. A majority of her work experience comes from child protection work, as she spent the latter part of her career as a caseworker with Children’s Services.

Charlotte worked in Fort McMurray for a few years and started looking for new opportunities to elevate her career and bring her closer to her home and family in Calgary. She found that she had enjoyed both working in a rural area and her experiences working with Indigenous Peoples but wanted to build her skills working in the health/medical field. Timing was everything when she noticed the posting for a social worker with Stoney Health. She jumped at the chance as she felt it was a perfect fit for her next work adventure.

In her personal time, Charlotte works out and listens to vinyl records as her primary forms of self care. Family is everything to her and she naturally spends as much of her free time with them as she can. She's also a road tripper and enjoys hitting the local food hotspots when she's in the city.

Charlotte looks forward to getting to know members in the community, learning some of the language and being able to work collaboratively with the community and her team to advocate for and tackle the social issues that the Nakoda people face. She's already feels she's learned a lot, especially when it came to participating in pipe ceremonies and sit downs with Elders who generously share their stories. We welcome Charlotte's energy, talents and collaborative approach to the team!

Shylance Twoyoungmen

Shylance Twoyoungmen, Community Support/MTCS Mobile Worker

Pride in family is a shared theme across the Crisis team. Sharing her home with her partner and stepson, Shylance Twoyoungmen (prefers Shy) comes from a large family who tragically lost a brother recently due to illness. She is also a proud member of the two-spirit family in the community and is fluent in Stoney.

Maintaining an active lifestyle appeals to Shy. Getting outdoors, hunting, fishing and hiking - all top her list of hobbies. She also attributes sports and physical fitness to her determination, discipline and patience.

She's most excited about 'the mental and emotional challenges' of her role. Adding, "Being able to help my community and give support to the Nation. It's not enough to simply say 'I'm a great fit for the role,' I also see an opportunity to learn and grow these skills."

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Tara Glass, Victims Services Liaison

Tara Glass is the oldest of four kids and was the first in her family to move to Calgary. She's a mom to an energetic seven-year-old who fills up most of her free time outside of work. You can usually find them at park or hockey rink, exploring the mountains, swinging clubs at the driving range, or finding a camping spot near a beach where they can swim or paddleboard.

Tara is a recent graduate of Bow Valley College’s Justice Studies program and hopes to continue her education over the next few years to achieve a Bachelor of Criminal Justice. She's always had a passion to work in a career where she could help others and give back to communities. However, it wasn't until her 30s that she had the opportunity to go back to school and begin her career. She worked for a number of years for a sporting goods retailer before working at the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino for the past year.

It was the people she met and worked with at the Casino who inspired her to apply for her current role with Stoney Health. She is a mental health, women’s fertility advocate and a trauma survivor. She also loves a good podcast or audio book in her down time. She'd also be the first to volunteer to cook rather than do the dishes and clean up.

Tara was recently asked if she could write a book about her career to date, what would the title be? In her words, "The title that immediately came to my mind is 'Why I Spent Years in the Wrong Career and How it Helped Me Find Myself.'

Meet the Team: Environmental Health

Ensuring a safe, healthy water supply

Jerott Mark and Andrew Kaquitts, Stoney Health Service's environmental health technicians, assess a well spout on a Stoney property.

Environmental health technicians’ Jerott Mark and Andrew Kaquitts joined Stoney Health Services in late 2020 and began a several-months’ long water monitoring project, with funding provided by Environment Canada.

Stoney Health Services is taking drinking water samples from all homes on the reserve, which are then tested to ensure a safe, healthy community water supply. As part of the testing, Jerrot and Andrew also locate, assess and survey the homes’ cistern or well, and the septic field to determine future maintenance requirements.

Both technicians bring years of carpentry experience, a strong understanding of plumbing and water systems and importantly, a love of their community.

When asked what they hope comes from their work, Jerott spoke up, “to see water systems that need to upgraded get done.”

Andrew added, “Good clean, drinking water. I want better drinking water for everyone.” 

The crew expect to complete testing on the Chiniki First Nation (southside of the Trans-Canada Highway) this summer and plan to move  the homes on the centre and northside of the reserve this fall and early winter. Their work doesn’t depend on the weather – they are on the road rain, shine, smoky days or snow (yikes, let’s not mention that yet.)

Find out more about the environmental water monitoring project and check out the photo gallery for a sample of their workday.