UP is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors and the day-to-day operations are managed by the Leadership Team.
Mr. John Watson – President
Mr. Mike Bowditch – Vice President
Mr. William Diesel – Treasurer
Mr. Alex Kalinowski
Ms. Vanessa Paulencu
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 236
Bruce started at UP in 1988 as a frontline staff and progressed through the organisation. As co-CEO he leads and guides the organization’s strategic direction, the senior leadership team, and the overall operations of UP and its subsidiaries. He develops and maintains effective working relationships with the Child and Family Services ministry and regional staff, and also liaises with other service providers, funders, and the public. He is proud of helping to grow a charitable organization with one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry.
Originally from Manitoba, Bruce moved to Edmonton in 1983. He has a diploma in child and youth care from MacEwan University, a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University (British Columbia), as well as level-two training in mediation and reality therapy. He is currently the Vice President of Align Association of Community Services, Chair of the Align Government Relations Committee, Member of the Align Bursary Commitment and he is involved in several ministry and agency committees and working groups.
Bruce and his wife have five children and have been foster parents for over 11 years. He has been involved in martial arts for over 40 years as a student and an instructor. He enjoys living on an acreage, working on building and renovating projects, and raising and training Olde English Bulldogges.
Darcy began at UP in 1993. As Co-CEO, he helps develop the strategic planning for the organization, manages high-level accounting, and works with the government of Alberta’s Ministry of Human Services, and Child and Family Services to create new opportunities and programs. He mentors and coaches staff members, implements and evaluates program delivery, and liaises with agencies, schools, groups, and government departments. He also prepares the budget and oversees its administration.
He is proud to have helped the organization grow and establish its new brand, and move towards an Outcomes-Based Service Delivery charitable organization in an effort to help more children and families.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Darcy holds a diploma in business administration in accounting from NAIT, a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management from Royal Roads University (British Columbia), and has completed courses in Human Resources and IT.
In his spare time, Darcy likes to play hockey, football, and is interested in technology, cars, and travel.
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 244
Kathy King joined UP in 2001 as the Jurisdiction Principal of the Columbus Academy, Thomas More Academy, and Phoenix Academy. She supervises the operation of the schools and is responsible for the provision of education programs as established by the Minister of Education. She works with all students, staff, families, supporters, and school communities.
Kathy is proud to work with a dedicated and caring team who all help students who may not have “fit in” at school before, to make friends, blossom academically, and reach their full potential and graduate high school.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Kathy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Regina, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration with a focus on students with behavioral challenges in school settings from the University of Saskatchewan. Kathy brings a number of years of experience, having taught K-12 in both band-operated schools in First Nation communities, and in public school boards. She also has been a behavioural consultant in a School Division.
Kathy volunteers on two regional collaborative service delivery teams, one for Parkland, Evergreen, and Leduc, and the other for Edmonton. She sits on the Violent Threat Risk Assessment Committee for Parkland/Evergreen and area, and the parent community associations for all three academies. In her spare time, she is a triathlete who has competed at the world champions level, an Ironman finisher, and has completed several half and full marathons. She loves to travel Canada, the U.S.A., and Europe, particularly as road biking trips.
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 228
Blair Anderson-Croft started at UP in 1998, and is the Director of Quality Improvement. He keeps tabs on the number of available places in the group care homes, generates the required reporting for the government of Alberta, and conducts program reviews.
His department is responsible for the placement of individuals in UP’s programs. Blair manages the maintenance of the Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database, which is used to collect program assessment information, build reports to extract the information when needed, and generate accurate billing information. He also ensures staff are trained on the use of the database. He works with the other departments to find the best way to gather information and generate end results.
Blair is originally from Nova Scotia, and moved to Edmonton in 1990. He completed his diploma in child and youth care from MacEwan University. He is currently on the board of the Hu Haven Community Association, part of the Edmonton Vocal Minority, a member of Southminster-Steinhauer United Church and choir, and volunteers at the Edmonton Food Bank. In his spare time, Blair enjoys spending time with his family, singing, camping, gardening, and raising chickens for fresh eggs.
Carol Hrenyk began working at UP in 1995 and worked in our Group Care Programs as a House Manager and Group Care Coordinator until 2009 when she became the Director of Community Services. Her first task as a Director was the development of the original Bridges Program, which was a Family Support Program that mirrored CSD on a smaller scale.
As the Director of Community Services, over the years she has been responsible for many community services including the Open Arms Program, Clinical Services, the Adult Mental Health Programs and in 2015 the new Bridges Program which is a partnership with Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services for Collaborative Service Delivery (CSD) in three areas including: West Central Edmonton, Spruce Grove, and St. Albert.
Most of Carol’s early career was in Group Care, including: Receiving and Assessment, Intensive Treatment, and Secure Services. She has also worked as a counselor on a reserve near Edmonton and as a Mental Health Therapist. She is a lead reviewer for the Canadian Accreditation Council, and has helped UP through the accreditation process since 2001.
Carol is a certified instructor for Crisis Intervention and Non-Abusive Restraints and has been involved over the years with McEwan University on their CYC Advisory Board and facilitating leadership discussions for the fourth year students in the Child and Youth Care Program.
Carol grew up in the Yukon and moved to Alberta in 1992. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, and a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, reading, travelling, and crafting greeting cards.
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 241
David Tang started working at UP in 2000 as the Director of IT Services. He oversees all IT operational activities, as well as direction and support for IT solutions to enhance business operations. He works closely with the decision makers in other departments to identify, recommend, develop, implement, and support cost-effective technology solutions for all aspects of UP.
Originally from China, David earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Defense Technology. He is also a Microsoft-Certified Solutions Expert bringing strong leadership, and problem-solving skills to manage IT department’s strategic planning, resources, and operations.
In his spare time, David enjoys volunteering and golfing.
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 292
Gena has been working at UP since 2001. As the Director of Group Care Services, she oversees all group homes and supported independent living programs. She ensures that UP provides quality care and services for children, youth, adults, and families, while providing a supportive work environment for UP employees to learn and grow. She also played a pivotal role in successfully establishing the Youth Assessment Centre in Red Deer.
Originally from Newfoundland, Gena moved to Edmonton in 2001. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University (British Columbia), a Bachelor of Arts and a Certificate in Criminology from Memorial University (Newfoundland), as well as a Family Development Specialist National Certification from the University of Iowa (U.S.A.).
Gena currently volunteers for other charitable organizations, and enjoys spending her free time reading, watching NHL hockey, and spending time with family and friends.
phone: 780-440-0708 ext. 255
Paul Meger began at UP in 1998. In his role as Director of Accounting and Human Resources, he oversees and supports accounting and human resources to ensure all program areas are supported in their daily operations. He takes the time to look at situations from multiple angles to examine the potential impact on different departments, and makes decisions that are fair for all employees whenever possible.
In the early years of working at UP as a relief worker, he was particularly proud of a time when the organization went above and beyond to provide group care for three boys. Within four days of approaching UP, the organization rented a house, furnished it, and found staff to provide care for the three boys. He believes that while each one of us are a product of our environment to an extent, each person has the ability to make conscious decisions to shape what they want out of life.
Born and raised in Edmonton, Paul holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta with a major in accounting. He places a lot of value on spending quality time with his family, he enjoys playing ball hockey, reading, and watching the latest superhero movies.