Board of Directors
Jessica Yarnell, Chair
Jessica is a Sr. Community Programs Advisor on the Community Investment team at Cenovus Energy. Jessica has over 10 years of experience in the oil and gas industry in human resources, recruitment and most recently community investment. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Acadia University that she received in 2005. She also holds a Corporate Community Involvement Management Certificate and Corporate Citizenship Management Certificate from the Boston College Carroll School of Management’s Centre for Corporate Citizenship. Jessica has been on the board of directors since 2015. “I was inspired to get involved with Between Friends after being introduced to the organization through the golf tournament and began volunteering with the WESOAR program. After seeing first hand, the power of connection that Between Friends provides I was honoured and excited to join the board.”
Cory Vance, Vice Chair
Cory is the Managing Partner and Mortgage Advisor at A Better Way Mortgages with more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Cory has been involved with the Between Friends board for more than three years. He was first drawn to Between Friends when his daughter attended Camp Bonaventure. It was a life-changing experience for Alexia and her entire family. It became a safe place where she could be herself, be accepted and belong. She gained friendships, confidence and was able to have experiences that all children should be able to have such as going to camp. After witnessing the important work that Between Friends was doing, Cory decided to contribute at a higher level and became involved with the Board of Directors.
Peter Drag, Treasurer/Secretary
Peter is a Founding Partner at Cascade Chartered Professional Accountants LLP. He has over 8 years of experience working in public accounting. Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics that he obtained from the University of Victoria and has also completed the Advanced Accounting Certificate from Mount Royal University. Peter obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2015 and has also completed the CPA In-depth Tax Course. Peter has been on the board since 2017 and currently sits as Treasurer/Secretary. “I was looking at ways to give back to the community and an individual I had known suggested Between Friends. After learning more about the organization and the importance of the work they do, I sat in on a board meeting and saw a great group of individuals providing their time and expertise to the organization and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that.”
Garth Johnson, Director & Past Chair
Garth Johnson co-founded Meticulon in 2013, Canada’s first enterprise to deploy the unique abilities of people with autism as IT consultants. Garth’s entrepreneurial career in IT included roles as VP of Business and Community Development for iStockphoto and President of Fotolia North America, now Adobe Stock photo. Garth brings his personal life with a person with autism in his family together with his professional passion for building sustainable, disruptive businesses to auticon Canada’s mission as CEO, Canada, to grow across the country and expand auticon’s services into new sectors. He also serves on the board of the Canadian Association for Supported Employment in support of its mission to create sustainable, equitable employment for all Canadians with diverse abilities.
Garth Johnson, his wife Kathryn and their boys, Connor & Teague, have been a part of the Between Friends family since 2005 when Teague attended Camp Bonaventure that summer. That summer literally changed all their lives – Teague changed from being virtually non-verbal outside the home to an interactive, expressive person. Connor went on to volunteer and eventually work at Camp Bonaventure and Kathryn joined the Ambassador team, speaking dozens of times at events about Between Friends. Garth also volunteered and spoke on behalf of the organization, joining the board in 2014.
Gerry David, Director & Past Chair
Gerry is the Manager, NGL & Crude Oil for Canlin Energy, a locally operated but globally owned Oil and Gas company. Gerry has over 30 years of experience in the marketing and operations of Natural Gas, Natural Gas Liquids, and Crude Oil in Alberta. He has a B.Sc. in Biology, as well as his Canadian Securities Course (CSC, Honours). Gerry has been on the board of directors for 21 years, and in that time has held almost every position on the board! His involvement with the organization stems from his being a parent of an atypical child (now an adult). Between Friends made a powerful impression on Gerry and his family 20+ years ago, and has had a positive impact on both of his children’s developments. A part-time musician and professional photographer on the side, Gerry keeps busy playing music and running Image Competitions across Canada, as well as being Team Captain for Team Canada – World Photographic Cup 2020!
Bradley Fox, Director
Bradley joined the Board in 2017 and is the current Chair of the Resource Development Committee. He is connected to Between Friends through his daughter’s participation as a member over the last 10 years. As a Senior Account Executive with Dell Technologies, Bradley brings a combination of over 25 years of experience in sales, business and marketing to the Board.
Crispin Arthur, Director
Crispin is a partner at the law firm Lawson Lundell LLP, practicing corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and governance. Crispin joined the Board in 2017, having been initially introduced to Between Friends by his children. “As a family, we believe that our community is a sum of its parts, and we get more out of anything when you put more into it. It is important to us to give our time and energy to a great organization like Between Friends. We are inspired by Between Friends’ mandate to provide quality social, recreation, and development opportunities so that people with disabilities can connect, grow, and belong. Frankly, it’s an honour to play a small part in this mission.”
Rhodri Meredith, Director
Rhodri has a background of more than 20 years in IT project management and technology related business change. He has an MSc in Information Systems Engineering from South Bank University in the UK, and an MBA in Technology Management from The Open University in the UK. Rhodri has a daughter with Down syndrome, who has been an active member of Between Friends evening programs and summer camps. “I joined the Between Friends board having seen the friendship, fun and enjoyment my daughter was gaining from her participation in Between Friends activities. I am endlessly impressed by the motivated dedication and hard work of the staff and volunteers, and was delighted to be accepted onto the board in 2016 to play a role in supporting this amazing organisation.”
Sarah Hammond, Director
Sarah is a lawyer in the Calgary office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, a national law firm. Sarah is a member of Blakes’ Securities Group, advising clients primarily on corporate and securities matters, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and corporate governance matters. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen’s University (2004) and a Juris Doctor from the University of Calgary (2009). She has been on the Between Friends’ board of directors since 2017 and currently sits on the Resource Development Committee. Sarah was introduced to Between Friends through her friend, Jessica Yarnell. “I was honoured to become a member of the board – I believe passionately in the Between Friends’ mission, vision and values, and I want to do what I can to help the organization achieve its goals.”
David Arienzale, Director
David Arienzale was born and raised in Calgary and has been involved with Between Friends since 2010. Beginning as a W.E.S.O.A.R! program leader he then worked as the Recreation Inclusion Facilitator for 3 years at Camp Bonaventure. While completing his Bachelor’s of Community and Disability Studies he also worked as a practicum student in the office. After completing his Education Degree at St. Mary’s University he has worked as a special education and physical education teacher here in Calgary for the past 5 years. He has been a part of the board for the past 2 years and is excited to see the growth in Between Friends and the potential for the future.
Naminder Sandhu, Director
Naminder is a locally trained pediatrician specializing in emergency medicine. She currently works at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in the emergency department and also serves as the Program Director for the nationally accredited pediatric emergency medicine residency program. She prides herself on being a born and raised Calgarian who was first introduced to the organization as a teenager exploring her interest in child development. She participated as a Camp Bonaventure and W.E.S.O.A.R! program volunteer before pursuing her medical degree and specialty training through the University of Calgary. Naminder is passionate about community service and engagement, particularly for causes addressing issues of equity and inclusivity. Her involvement with Between Friends left a lasting impact on her which led her to recently reconnect with the organization. She has been on the board of directors since 2019.
Chris Turcato, Director
Chris Turcato is a Senior Accountant in the Calgary office of Catalyst LLP with close to 4 years of experience in the audit and assurance sector of public accounting. Chris holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from SAIT and is currently pursuing his CPA designation. Professionally, Chris specializes in advising working professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers in corporate accounting and tax matters. Although new to the Between Friends’ Board in 2020, Chris has been an active participant in the Friends in Motion programming since 2017. A strong believer in the power of relationships, Chris believes anything is possible when people connect and is excited to see that idea take shape, first hand, with Between Friends.