AFP Calgary Leadership

About our Board:

President - Wayne Steer

President-Elect - Marni Halwas

Past-President - Lorie Abernethy

Treasurer - Adriana Simon

Secretary - Sherry Dahl

Professional Development & Advancement 

Diversity and Inclusion -

Government Relations - Chapter President

Marketing and Communications 

National Philanthropy Day/Week - Amtul Siddiqui

Chapter Services 

Banff Compass 2021 - 

Every Member Campaign -

Member at Large - Ron Smith


Wayne Steer

Wayne joined Fresh Start Recovery Centre in the capacity of Director of Fund Development on February 1, 2010 to help develop the organization's capacity to raise money for programs and to orchestrate their capital campaign to build a facility so that a greater number of people would be able to recover from a life torn apart by alcoholism or drug addiction. His professional fund development experience includes roles with Volunteer Calgary (Director of Fund Development), The Canadian Red Cross Society (Manager of Relationship Development for Alberta, Manager, Planned Giving for Alberta and Major Gifts Coordinator for Southern Alberta Region) and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Society of Alberta (Fund Development Manager).

Wayne was introduced to practical fundraising in the mid-1980s while volunteering for the Canadian Progress Club, an organization that generates revenue streams for Uncles At Large/ Aunts at Large (later  amalgamated with Big Brothers/Big Sisters), Canadian Special Olympics, the Calgary Burn Unit and Camp Warwa Society. Since the mid-1980s, he has chaired several special events committees in Calgary and Edmonton in addition to serving stints as Vice-President and President of the Edmonton Downtown Chapter of the Canadian Progress Club. Other volunteer experience includes fundraising and exposure building exercises with Edmonton’s Klondike Days Association, Reynolds Alberta Museum and the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Wayne has a strong corporate background in marketing and communications having worked in management and marketing positions for companies such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Husky Oil Marketing Company (now Husky Energy), Fantasyland Hotel at West Edmonton Mall and a number of small, privately held companies.

Wayne holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Finance, Economics and Marketing from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Wayne has been an active member of AFP since 2004 and has served as the Editor of the AFP Newsletter – Calgary Chapter (2004 – 2008),Chair of the Chapter Services Committee (2006-2007), Co-vice Chair of the AFP Calgary and Area Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day or NPD (2007) and Co-chair of the NPD (2008), has more recently served taken on the role of Diversity Chair. Wayne is also an active member of AFP International sitting on the Membership Services Division, International Development and International Diversity & Inclusion Committees and the Diversity Resource Guide Task Force.

In addition, Wayne's volunteer roles outside AFP have included membership in the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP Southern Alberta Roundtable) as Communications Chair and editor of their quarterly newsletter “Sounds like a Plan”, Vice-President of the Western Canada College Old Boys Association and President of the Western Canada High School Alumni Association.

 
Marni Halwas

Marni has been a non-profit professional for 16 years. She began her fundraising career began at Calgary HandiBus Association where she started as an Assistant and worked her way up to Director of Development.

Marni has experience in annual giving, prospect research, planned giving, events, major gifts and donor stewardship. She has a particular appreciation and understanding of small shop operations. Marni has worked with corporations, individuals, estates, foundations and service clubs.

Marni has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Calgary and Area Board of Directors since 2011. She has served as co-chair of National Philanthropy Day and she currently serves as Treasurer.

Marni’s personal interests include camping, boating and outdoor activities.

Adriana Simon

Adriana has worked and volunteered in the nonprofit sector, both in Europe and in Canada for more than 20 years. Adriana brings a distinctive perspective to her work, combining her passion for building a strong community with a broad and diverse and unique background in fund development, event planning, community initiatives and strategic planning.

For ViTreo, Adriana has most recently worked with clients on a variety of projects, most of which have involved team leadership, general fundraising, special event and 3rd party event planning, sponsorship, fund development assessments and fund development planning, prospect research, feasibility studies. She is currently acting as the Interim Director of Development for Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, and works with the Calgary Chamber to conduct a Charitable Foundation Evaluation Study.

Prior to her work with ViTreo, Adriana served as the Director of Resource Development and Membership with the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) where she led the development and implementation of CCVO's signature event, the Connections Conference. Under her leadership, the conference grew to be one of the most successful events ever organized by CCVO, exceeding all goals and targets. Now in its 7th year, the Connections Conference is an established annual event in Calgary. In 2017, Adriana was invited back to plan and organize the Connections Conference as a ViTreo Associate.

Growing up in communist Romania, Adriana dreamed of coming to Canada and to work for Red Cross or UNICEF, organizations that had made a huge impact on her country and her personal development. Over the last two decades, she has achieved those dreams: first, by working with the Canadian Red Cross as a new immigrant in Canada and then, by spending four years as Community Partnerships Manager at UNICEF.

A passion for social justice, human rights, integration and respect, and building a strong community where everyone feels welcome has led Adriana to fight in the revolution against the communist regime in Romania, and afterwards to become one of the first fundraisers and founders of the nonprofit sector in that country.

An active member and volunteer with the AFP Calgary and Area Chapter, Adriana has co-chaired the chapter’s Banff Compass Conference twice (2015 and 2017) and has served on the Board of Directors for two terms, from 2014 to 2017. Currently, Adriana is serving her third term on the AFP board, as the Treasurer. Her community work has also included roles with Decidedly Jazz, Wellspring Calgary, the Romanian-Canadian Association of Calgary and the Calgary Jazz Festival.  

Adriana loves to read and to travel all over the world, and she has a carry-on bag always packed with travel essentials, ready to go at a moment’s notice!

 


Sherry Dahl

Sherry Dahl, CFRESherry Dahl is a fund development professional with over 20 years of experience within the non-profit sector, active in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), as well as the Estate Planning Council of Calgary (EPCC).

She is currently a member of the AFP Calgary board and executive as the secretary, the previous 2 years as co-chair for National Philanthropy Awareness Week in 2017; was a member of the AFP Calgary Chapter Services Committee for 6 years, serving as that Committee Chair; and was a Board member of the local chapter for 2 years during that time. Sherry received her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2004, and continues to re-certify every 3 years as required. She completed the National Certificate in Fundraising Management through Mount Royal College in 2002. She has been an instructor for the AFP First Course, the guest speaker to discuss special events, fund development communications and marketing, as well as annual and legacy giving.

Sherry is currently the Director of Development, Legacy Giving and Major Gifts with the University of Calgary. Her prior experience includes roles with Operation Eyesight, Boys & Girls Club of Calgary, the Calgary Zoo, and Aspen Family. In her personal time you will find her enjoying the outdoors (especially her neighbourhood of Inglewood), riding her motorcycle, travelling or scuba diving.


Ron Smith

From the tender age of twelve Ron has been raising money for causes he believes in. He regularly offers his time and expertise to boards and fundraising committees who require his help. This willingness to serve has provided him with many opportunities to help create and manage capital campaigns, annual giving campaigns, donor cultivation events, and soliciting for major gifts.

Ron’s formal introduction to professional fundraising began in 2013 when he attended the Fundamentals of Fundraising course hosted by AFP Calgary. Since then, he has attended numerous conferences and workshops dedicated to fundraising and not-for-profit management while building his repertoire. Notable educational highlights for Ron include attending Banff Compass in 2014 and The Pursuit conference in 2017; during the same time his favourite hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers were making a run for the Stanley Cup! Go Oilers!

Professionally Ron has held several senior positions over the past seven years with an emphasis on education, ministry and healthcare. Today Ron spends his days as a Major Gifts Officer with the Calgary Health Trust, a role he has been in since 2019.

In his spare time, Ron enjoys being active with his family, reading, and serving others when able. He is currently completing a degree in Leadership from Trinity Western University and is working towards his CFRE designation as time permits.  Ron is looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to the AFP Calgary community and is hoping to do so in the position of Treasurer after the June 2020 AGM.

 

Derek Bechthold

Derek Bechthold’s fundraising career is quite eclectic; fortunately his educational background directly applies to his professional career – he has a degree in history and his Masters degree in British military history (you have to really look hard for the connection).

One day, 21 years ago, while innocently doing non-profit stuff at a non-profit agency the Executive Director came up to Derek and said, “so ... I hear you like to write”. And so began his torrid affair with fundraising.

Spanning 21 years, Derek has had the honour to contribute to a myriad of charities including the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Inn from the Cold, the Calgary Police Foundation and most recently the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured - to name a few. These agencies have ranged in budgets from $500,000 to $20 million, and fundraising departments from 7 FTE to one-person shops. Due to his career path, Derek has dabbled in every manner of fundraising medium - from annual giving, major gifts, special events, through to planned giving. And is well versed in high-level strategic fundraising down to the tactical, minutiae of the discipline.

Complementing his professional career, Derek has been an active volunteer in such agencies as The Kinsmen Club of Calgary, Rotary Club of Calgary Centennial, CCVO, AFP Calgary & Area Chapter and most recently as a Fast Pitch Coach for Social Venture Partners.

Through it all - a plethora of successes and failures - one theme has risen above the rest: creating powerful synergies between donors and what they are passionate about is a true blessing.

Today, Derek leads a quiet life. When he is not biking, trying to take up archery again, or reading Zen Buddhist books, he is an annoying father to two wonderful children. And, he is thrilled to announce that he continues to succeed and fail on a daily basis.