Our Team - Staff & Board

Board of Directors

James Wright

James Wright

Past Chairperson

James is a business owner and computer engineer by trade and an avid sports and creation enthusiast by choice. He joined the Habitat family because of his strong belief that affordable housing should be widely accessible for all. James brings an enthusiastic and eager attitude and a strong business-growth background to the team. “Other people inspire me, the drive and passion of people who push boundaries” – James Wright

Dustin Olson

Dustin Olson

Chairperson

With his CPA designation and experience as an Operations Manager, Dustin brings a logical and personable mind to our board. He recently joined the Board of Directors in 2016 and has already made his mark on the team! “[I decided to join the Board of Directors because] I have been actively looking for a way to volunteer that will help contribute to the community of Red Deer and allow for the chance to help others in need.” – Dustin Olson

Mindy Smythe

Mindy Smythe

Vice Chair

Mindy is a wife, mother of two and working sales professional with Abbey Platinum Master Built Homes. She has over 18 years of sales experience. Mindy is passionate about working together with homeowners to make their dream home a reality through design and quality craftsmanship. Joining the board of directors at Habitat for Humanity has offered another opportunity to foster the goal of building these dreams. She says she is excited to contribute to the success of such an integral organization.’

Daniel Roberts

Daniel Roberts

Treasurer

Coming soon

Audrey Michayluk

Audrey Michayluk

Secretary

As a retired federal government employee, Audrey brings a skill set unlike any other. With 40 years of volunteer experience and vast knowledge of working with social agencies and individuals down on their luck, Audrey is a perfect fit for the organization. She’s passionate about her family and has an active lifestyle year round. From crocheting and quilting to snowmobiling and traveling there isn’t anything Audrey won’t try.“I do not know the word relax, it is not in my nature as I like to be busy!” – Audrey

Shawn Sampson

Shawn Sampson

Director

Coming soon

Brett Bothwell

Brett Bothwell

Director

After taking time off after high school to play Junior A Hockey in Saskatchewan, Brett obtained his Bachelor of Laws from Cardiff University in 2014. Being a true Red Deerian, Brett appreciates the sense of community in Red Deer, and Habitat's continued support of the community is what drew my attention to Habitat for Humanity. “As I have now returned home and plan on being a part of the community for a number of years to come, I think being involved with Habitat would strengthen my connection with the community, as well as provide me a greater sense of involvement and accomplishment” – Brett Bothwell

Staff Members

Karen Vavrek

Karen Vavrek

CEO

Karen joined the Habitat Red Deer team as CEO in early July 2017. She brings over 20 years’ experience working in the charitable non-profit sector, with several years in senior management roles. With a background in Business Administration, Karen is a passionate advocate for the non-profit sector. She enjoys the collaborative nature of working with staff, boards, volunteers, and donors to help build community capacity. Karen has been a resident of Central Alberta for the past nine years, living in Sylvan Lake with her husband John and 2 sons. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys mountain biking, hiking and boating to relax and rejuvenate. “I am always amazed at what can be accomplished through the work of dedicated volunteers and donors. Habitat’s vision comes to life through their efforts!” – Karen Vavrek, CEO

Janelle Duffin

Janelle Duffin

Family Services & Office Manager

Joining us in April 2016, Janelle has been a welcome addition to the organization. Her flexibility and friendly demeanor make her perfect for the role of supporting each department. With a background in Correctional Studies, Janelle's unique thought process and intuitive mind-set make her a great addition to the affiliate and a natural when dealing with people from all walks of life. “I am inspired by my parents’ hearts to serve others—they have been a blessing to many people. I am also inspired by people who push themselves out of their comfort zone to create positive change.” – Janelle Duffin, Family Services & Office Manager

Les Rudnisky

Les Rudnisky

ReStore Manager

Les first came on board with Habitat Red Deer in the spring of 2015 in the role of Assistant ReStore Manager. Since stepping up into the ReStore Manager position in September 2016 he has been able to put in his 25+ years of managerial experience into a cause he supports and believes in. "My lifestyle highly involves service to bring others a hand up, so the mission of Habitat for Humanity has been a personal blessing to me to be involved with" – Les Rudnisky, ReStore Manager.

Natasha Bhola

Natasha Bhola

Volunteer and Communications Coordinator

Through work and volunteer experiences, Natasha has developed a background in working with non-profits and community organizations and seeing their impact on entire communities. She pursued an education in business and handles volunteers and marketing communications at Habitat Red Deer. She is excited to see communities rally around supporting families in having a solid foundation from which to grow.

Kurt Von Hollen

Kurt Von Hollen

Construction Manager

Joining us in October 2017, Kurt brings a skill set built over 20 years of construction experience in various fields, everything from pouring a foundation to turning over a new home. In his spare time, he can be found coaching and playing sports with his family and friends. Passing on knowledge to his daughter is a new adventure he looks forward to. Kurt is a product of the Red Deer Kings Soccer and Basketball clubs and has been involved in the community for many years. Volunteering with Special Olympics, coaching soccer and basketball at various ages and skill levels, and working on Future TREKK at a National level are just a few of his achievements. Kurt believes commitment to hard work truly builds a team and is motivated to apply that hard work to make our team stronger. Kurt has a passion for helping people. He is excited to apply his professional attitude and knowledge to ensure the many volunteers and families that make the Habitat builds possible feel welcome and appreciated. “In order for us to join our arms together for the greater good, we will need to lend a hand for each other. So, come on out and volunteer your services for a build with the Habitat for Humanity” - Kurt Von Hollen, Construction Manager

Tori Gilbertson

Tori Gilbertson

ReStore Assistant Manager

Tori joined the ReStore team in September 2018 as Assistant Manager. She has her Diploma in Community Services and brings valuable experience in Retail Management to the team. Tori is happiest working with the public and in a team environment and is looking forward to nurturing and fostering new connections in the community and ReStore. Tori moved to Red Deer four years ago with her son and daughter from Drayton Valley and loves being a part of this community. She is excited to be working for such a wonderful organization and to meet customers and donors at the ReStore!