Board of Governors

Carla Madra

Chair

1st term: November 20, 2013 - November 19, 2016
2nd term: February 15, 2017 - February 14, 2020
3rd term: March 4, 2020 - March 3, 2023

Carla is a Partner with the Edmonton office of Ernst & Young LLP (“EY”). Carla is the Edmonton office leader of the Financial Accounting Advisory Services practice within the Assurance practice. In addition, Carla is the EY Edmonton People Leader and Chairs the office’s Professional Women’s Network.

Prior to joining EY in 2013, Carla spent 12 years with another big 4 accounting firm and led the finance and human resources teams as the Director of Finance at an Edmonton based private company that provided workplace drug and alcohol testing services across Canada. Carla is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and obtained her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta.

Carla is passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteer with many local organizations. In addition to her involvement with NorQuest, Carla is a member of the Board of Directors of STARS. In addition, Carla has fulfilled two three-year terms, with the Mental Health Foundation as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees and she also chaired the Foundation’s Audit & Investment Committee.

Carla resides in Edmonton with her husband Don and their young daughter Alex. Together the Madra family enjoys skiing, golf and travel.


Joan Hertz

Interim President and CEO

Ms. Hertz is an executive, lawyer and strategic consultant who has served as Vice President, External Affairs and Corporate Counsel for NorQuest College; built her own private practice of law and strategic consulting; served as Corporate Counsel, Strategic Affairs for Capital Health, as well as in private practice at McCuaig Desrochers LLP. A proven executive comfortable in the private and public sector, she has a passion for innovation and the building of winning strategies in transforming enterprises.

She has a diverse professional experience in leadership positions, private law, in-house corporate counsel, strategic consultancy, and board experience which combine to make her a strong advocate and strategic thinker. She has worked with many organizations in the establishment, development, and execution of successful strategies and governance structures.

Ms. Hertz is the Chair of ATB Financial Board of Directors, and previously served as a director at ATB Financial from 2008 - 2018, and as Chair of the Governance and Conduct Review Committee. She currently serves as a board member and Chair of the Audit Committee for Edmonton International Airport, and sits as a public member on the CPA Canada Board, as well as a private company board, Silvacom Ltd.

She teaches Legal and Fiduciary Duties of Directors at the Institute of Corporate Directors, and for over 25 years has provided governance, legal, and strategic advisory services to private sector and crown clients ranging from small to large institutional firms.

She has served as a public member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta Council, the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency and the Provincial Judicial Council. She is the former Chair of the Provincial Court Nominating Committee. She has also served on Alberta's Promise and was formerly with Kid's Kottage Foundation, and Edmonton Catholic Cemeteries Board, as well as numerous other boards.

Joan graduated from University of Alberta Law School with an LL.B., and Georgetown University in Washington D.C. with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree (Magna Cum Laude) in International Politics, Law and Organization.

She’s also a wife, mom and a soccer player who believes whatever we do, we should have fun every day.


Brian Hjlesvold

Acting Vice Chair and Public Member

1st term: January 30, 2015 – April 28, 2018
2nd term: May 1, 2018 – April 30, 2021

Brian Hjlesvold is a retired RBC banker with over 30 years experience as a Senior Account Manager in commercial markets, serving late in his career as Manager of Aboriginal Markets for Alberta, NWT, and Yukon.

Brian has a strong desire to see Indigenous people succeed, to share in the country’s resources in a responsible and respectful way, and to live in healthy communities. He received his Professional Economic Developer designation from the Council of Advancement of Native Development Officers in 2010 and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. Brian is Chair of the Board of Directors for Loon River Development Corporation, a successful enterprise owned by Loon River First Nation in Alberta. He sits as a Director on the Goodfish Lake Business Corp – a successful First Nation-owned enterprise of the Whitefish Lake Band, and is a Director of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association - Alberta Region. He is also Past Chair of the Métis Entrepreneurial Fund, Past Chair of Child and Family Services Region 6, Past Chair of Apeetogosan (Métis) Development Inc, and past Director of Embark Engineering Limited Partnership, a partnerships between the Lax Kw-alaams Nation and KWL Holdings Ltd., both of British Columbia.

Brian is of Ojibway and Scottish descent and lives in Bon Accord. He and his wife have four children and six grandchildren. He is an avid reader and golfer.


Bilan Ahmed

Public Member

1st term: Oct 11, 2017 – Oct 10, 2020

Bilan Ahmed was born in Saudia Arabia and raised in Somalia before migrating to Canada 26 years ago. Bilan grew up and studied in Ottawa where she obtained a Diploma in Business Information Systems. Shortly afterwards, she relocated to Toronto where she obtained a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors degree in Children Studies with honours from York University.

Bilan has worked in the non-profit and Early Learning Education sectors for over 10 years and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience. She currently works as a Settlement Practitioner with Edmonton Immigrant Services Association. Bilan loves working with people and communities from diverse backgrounds and experiences. She especially enjoys working with new Canadians and helping them resettle in Canada.

Bilan strongly believes in all Albertans having access to post-secondary education. She is an avid traveller and loves meeting new people.


Chris Lavin

Public Member

1st term: Oct 16, 2019-2022

Chris Lavin is a Partner in MNP Consulting practice based in Edmonton and the Regional Managing Partner for the Prairies Consulting Region of MNP. He has over 20 years experience in consulting services and has worked on projects throughout Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and France. He is a Fellow Certified Management Consultant and is the former Past President of the Institute of Certified Consultants of Alberta. He served as a Director of CMC-Canada's National Board and a former sessional lecturer at the University of Alberta's School of Business.

Chris holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University Alberta and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen's University.


Gayle Burnett

Public Member

1st term: February 12, 2019 – February 11, 2022

Ms. Gayle Burnett is the Chief Strategy Officer with the Alberta Medical Association. She has previously served as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer with Bow Valley College, as well as Chief Operating Officer with Canada Diagnostics Centres.

Ms. Burnett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology from McGill University and a Master's of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management from the University of Alberta. She is a Certified Health Executive from the Canadian College of Health Executives. Ms. Burnett is also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta. She resides in Edmonton.


Lily Le

Public Member

1st term: Oct 16, 2019-2022

Born in Vietnam, Lily is the daughter of refugee parents who came to Canada in search of a better life. Since then, Edmonton has been her home and where she was able to raise a family, obtain a Bachelor of Management degree with a major in Human Resource and Labour Relations and work in the private sector as a finance broker for the past 15 years.

Lily has a passion for service and has served on several boards, committees and councils since she became an active community member. Lily attributes her passion for community and humanitarian work to her humble beginning and family’s struggles during their early days as immigrants. Lily was previously a member of the Chief Advisory Council for Edmonton Police Service, Co-Chair of the Vietnam Pavilion for Edmonton Heritage Festival. She also served as President of the Edmonton Viets Association for four consecutive years and is now, a Senior Advisor to the board. As a community leader and a Director of the Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment, she has lobbied for human right cases, worked with resettlement of immigrants, fundraised for many relief efforts for international causes and local major disaster such as the Fort McMurray Fire.


Dr. Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika

Public Member

1st term: Oct 16, 2019-2022

Dr. Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika is a full professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Department of the University of Alberta. She is actively involved in community building as a resource person to many community organizations, service providers, and public agencies and has served on the senate of King's University College. She is a former member of the Women's Advocacy Voice of Edmonton. She has earned many academic, professional, and community awards locally and in international circles.

She earned her Ph.D. in Education from Dalhousie University and holds a Master of Science degree in Economics, a Master of Education degree in Educational Management and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.


Jennifer Cleall

Public Member

1st term: April 22, 2020 – April 21, 2023

Jennifer Cleall is a partner in DLA Piper’s Edmonton office and has over 20 years’ experience providing strategic advice to domestic and international clients in a broad range of commercial matters. Jennifer was recognized in 2009 with the prestigious Lexpert Rising Star: Leading Lawyers Under 40 award.

Jennifer acts as the Chair of the Steering Committee for DLA Piper Canada’s Legal Alliance for Women (LAW) and is the Canadian liaison to the Steering Committee for US LAW. Recently, Jennifer was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.), an honourary designation conferred on members of the legal profession to recognize their distinguished legal service and expertise in a particular area of law.

Jennifer has volunteered on various boards including Kids Up Front, The Support Network, and the Canadian Bar Association – Environmental Law Section (Alberta North).


Jenny Adams

Public Member

1st term: April 22, 2020 – April 21, 2023

Jenny Adams is an award-winning marketing and communications specialist with an eye for remarkable detail, planning and a passion for bringing people together and getting big things done.

Based in Edmonton, Jenny is a proud member of the city’s thriving and creative business community. She is always looking for innovative ways to help others succeed, not just in Edmonton or Alberta, but beyond.

For more than a decade, The Adams Agency team has worked with many notable and respected organizations — both public and private — throughout Alberta and Canada, developing personalized strategies and communication plans and campaigns.

Jenny writes for local magazines, and is regularly heard or seen as a panelist in Edmonton’s media scene. Jenny was recently nominated for a ‘Women of Distinction’ award for her work as a positive role model for women, reaching out to the community, and exemplifying effective leadership, innovation, business growth and sustainability. She currently serves on several volunteer boards and committees including the Lois Hole Hospital Women’s Society, Edmonton Mayor’s Business Roundtable and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Tee Up For Tots Committee.

Before founding The Adams Agency in 2009, Jenny had a successful career in the media as a Public Relations Senior Executive and Television Host and Producer of a national show for more than ten years.


Leslie Sayer

Academic staff member

1st term: January 9, 2020 to January 8, 2023

Leslie Sayer is an experienced academic leader teaching in the Academic Upgrading department at NorQuest College since 2000. Currently a classroom instructor, Leslie has extensive experience with faculty development, e-learning, educational technology, and instructional design.

Leslie has enjoyed the challenge of leadership roles as a Team Lead and as an Associate Chair, as well as serving on the Faculty Association’s Executive Committee for two terms as the Vice President of Faculty Welfare, and two terms as the President, stepping down from the latter in May 2019. It was during this time that Leslie became part of the Faculty Evaluation and Development steering committee – a three-person team tasked with developing the framework for faculty engagement and reflection of teaching practices to emphasize the six teaching competencies.

In May 2019, Leslie was elected to the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association (ACIFA) Executive Committee as its Executive Vice President. Leslie has bachelor degrees in education and science from the University of Alberta, and has interests in video production and website design.


Albert Nsapu

STUDENT BOARD MEMBER

1st term: July 4, 2019 to July 3, 2020

Albert Nsapu has lived in Canada since May 2015, is originally from Central Africa DR Congo and was born and raised in Lusaka Zambia. Albert attended high school in Zambia, has been a youth leader and event planner at Bethel Pentecostal Ministries as well as a co-founder of “Generation Against Poverty” Team that empowered young people in Zambia. Albert is currently enrolled in the English as a Second Language intensive program and is hoping to be admitted into the Social Work program.

 
 

AJ Sandhu

Student Board Member

1st term: September 3, 2019 to August 31, 2020

AJ is a student representative from the Faculty of Health & Community Studies. He aspires to practice as a mental health recovery practitioner in 2020 before going on to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor.

AJ is an active volunteer in the community with Covenent Health and enjoys connecting with residents who experience lack of family connection. AJ won the Students’ Council Leadership Award in May 2019 for his outstanding contributions to the Students’ Council Board.

Like any other leadership position AJ expects this role to be a challenging one, but he firmly believes that by continuing on the path of integrity and justice, laid down by his elders leading by example, will allow him to navigate through those challenges and motivate him to deliver favourable results for both the students and the college.

AJ is a proud father of two children with his beautiful wife, Rupinder. In his leisure time he enjoys golfing, reading books, and spending time with family and friends.


Contact Board of Governors

Phone:
780.644.5899

Email:
boardofgovernors@norquest.ca