Meet the Board
Robyn Paches, President
Robyn, a resident of Oliver for two years, is ecstatic to serve as your Oliver Community League President. As Edmonton’s most populous and dense neighbourhood, creating community means making a large community feel like a tight knit town within a city. Small town Alberta born and raised, Robyn has lived in Edmonton for seven years. A proud community member, he loves volunteering on local boards and is a member of Canadian Ski Patrol. Professionally, Robyn works as an independent consultant providing design-thinking based solutions to firms looking to grow intelligently. In his free time he enjoys weightlifting, trying out local businesses and taking in New Music Fridays with a good set of speakers.
Robyn’s priorities for OCL are seeing a recreation & green space needs assessment completed for the community, supporting smart development, tackling the issue of urban isolation through various league programs and supporting the rest of the board in completing their goals.
Luwam Kiflemariam, Vice-President
Luwam has called Oliver home for three years and believes it’s important to be active in community. “The opportunity to join the OCL Board came at time when I was ready to put my beliefs into action. I want to walk down the street and be able to say ‘hi’ to my neighbors, to feel welcomed, and to welcome people. Being part of the OCL Board allows me to do all of that.”
Moving forward, Luwam sees Oliver as a “vibrant and diverse community where people are engaged and committed to their neighborhood.”
Kirsten Mah, Secretary
Kirsten has lived in Oliver for the past two and half years and has been on the OCL Board for one year, starting as a Director at Large and now as Secretary. She initially got involved with OCL to help plan awesome events for community members to make friends and develop connections. Since then, she has learned more about zoning than she thought possible but has also learned how important zoning and physical space is to creating community. When she first moved to Oliver she was new to Edmonton so didn’t have too many connections. She picked up embroidery and got involved with the community in order to build her social network. Kirsten also volunteers as a Big Sister, plays on a slo-pitch team, rides in the bike club, plays basketball at Grace Lutheran and continues to embroider.
Her vision for Oliver is a community that supports one another and actively works to build real connections.
Cory Hodgson, Treasurer
Derek Macdonald, Civics Director
Jared Candlish, Civics Co-Chair
Jade Arnaout, Communications Director
When Jade moved to Edmonton from Montreal in October of 2017, he chose to live in Oliver – it felt like home ever since day one. Oliver represents, in many ways, a sample of Edmontonian society. While being a core neighbourhood, Oliver’s pseudo-suburban vibe makes it the ideal place to build a life, kick-start a career and raise a family. Community is about connecting the dots, the dots being people, that is. When he learned about Edmonton’s organic community league framework, he was simply amazed. As a public affairs and policy professional dedicated to community service, he believes that his mission is to soften the social contract between citizens and government through local grassroots movements – community leagues are arguably the most fitting platform to pursue such an endeavour.
Thanks to the political junkie in him, he, quite literally, does not feel like he is working when serving his community. Driven by his passion for history, geography and media, he pursued graduate studies in International Public Policy overseas to enhance his understanding of governments’ agenda-setting challenges in a globalized era. He currently serves in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police where, in addition to his role as a Communications Strategist, he sits on the board of a harassment advisory committee. He am also the co-chair of his alma mater’s (McGill University) alumni association in Northern Alberta.
In his spare time, you’ll find him exercising, practicing yoga and meditation, possibly jogging or even swimming depending on the season – winters are quite cold here! He is an art and culture aficionado fascinated with foreign languages, currently learning Portuguese. There is no greater people connector than language – okay, perhaps food and travel. His adventures have taken him to 46 countries to date. Travel grounds him, helps him stay in tune with the world, and develop a deeper connection to fellow community members whom he can in turn better serve.
He can’t think of a more appropriate Canadian city than Edmonton to build thriving communities. His involvement within the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) has led him to become a founding member of the EFCL’s Community Inclusion Committee.
He envisions Oliver as a safe, inclusive and happening made-in-Edmonton gem, a progressive and affordable neighbourhood where the community league fosters spontaneous dialogue amongst residents who spearhead innovative initiatives, bringing us forward as a society.
Les de Zwaan, Events & Programs Director
Les has lived in Oliver for 1.5 years and it has has been a welcoming experience. The day Les became a Oliver resident is the day he found the lifestyle he was missing. He loves that an evening bike ride in the river valley is only minute away and that coffee shops and fine dining can be reached after a short walk. To walk down Oliver’s streets is truly like a park.
His vision for Oliver y is to replace our recreational facility and build a community hall that meets the community needs without taking away from Oliver’s charm and character.
Justin Keats, Garden Director
Justin has lived in Oliver for six years and took his passion for gardening beyond his balcony and to Peace Garden Park. Twenty-five years from now, Justin sees OCL as “a forward-thinking, diverse community league that embraces community, urbanism, good design, and urban agriculture.”
Justin believes community is a place where everyone has a voice. “A place where both young and old are engaged with what is happening in their area and with each other. Where events and resources are available for you to explore and be a part of your local community.”
Justin enjoys politics, reading and drawing, and winds down with hoola hooping.
Lisa Brown, Hall & Recreation Director
When Lisa moved into the city, she chose Oliver for her home and has lived here for eight years. For the past three years Lisa has volunteered with our league and has brought her interest and passion for planning, development, transportation and the environment to the table.
“For me, community is synonymous with connection. To be connected to the space you’re in, those around you. And connection brings happiness, health, pride, resiliency, safety,” says Lisa.
An avid horse lover, Lisa spends her downtime training her three young horses on her family’s farm north of Edmonton.
What does Lisa want for Oliver? “A safe, inclusive and vibrant neighbourhood, where residents can live, work, and play. Full of amenities and public spaces that we need to have a full life in an urban place. And because I care about transportation and the environment, where we walk/bike/take transit to get around.”
Allison Rosland, Membership Director
Marc Workman, Social Advocacy Director
A resident of Oliver for almost 4 years, Marc is an advocate of accessibility for all. As a person with a disability, he hopes Oliver is accessible to all people now and looking ahead in the years to come.
For Marc, “community is about a group of people working together to achieve a common purpose. In the case of the OCL, it’s a group of people working to make Oliver a great place to live, work, and visit.”
Marc joined the Board so he could contribute to this goal, and so he “could meet others who are willing to give of their time and talent to support the Oliver community.”
Beyond people with disabilities, Marc wants “Oliver to be a place where people at all stages of life – from families to seniors to new Canadians – feel welcome and included.”
Marc is an active volunteer supporting several causes. When not volunteering, Marc enjoys dragon boating or walking Oliver with his guide dog, Nairobi.
Carrie-Anne Cyre, Volunteer Director
Adrian Bruff, Director-at-Large
Geoff George, Director-at-Large
Geoff has been a resident of Oliver for 15 years. What makes this community perfect for him is its walkability; he loves that the shopping and services are within a few minutes walk from his home. Community to Geoff is sharing a common place, working together to improve that place and celebrating as our shared vision and dreams come to fruition. He is recently retired, having spent 38 years teaching at MacEwan University and the last 17 as Chair of the Theatre Production program. He keeps his hand in as one of the designers for Edmonton Opera. He enjoys travel and food and wine, perhaps too much.
When asked what his vision for Oliver is, he said, “We face challenges as Oliver grows, densifies, with more people requiring more services. Watching as Oliver begins to take on a true identity, keeping it inclusive and diverse; having more families settle. Quiet, peaceful streets, parks and recreational facilities to meet the needs of our residents. Hopefully I will be able to contribute, through the League, to the shaping of the Oliver of the future while preserving what is already great.”