2020/2021 AFP Calgary & Area Chapter Board
President - Marni Halwas
Past-President - Lorie Abernethy
Treasurer - Ron Smith
Professional Development & Advancement -
Diversity and Inclusion -
Government Relations - Chapter President
Marketing and Communications -
National Philanthropy Day/Week - Amtul Siddiqui
Chapter Services - Adriana Simon
Banff Compass 2021 -
Every Member Campaign -
Member at Large:
Marni has been working in the non-profit sector for over 20 years; her current role is Director of Fund Development with Accessible Housing Society. Marni’s interest in fundraising and philanthropy started at Calgary HandiBus Association in 1999. Since then, Marni has worked as an Associate with ViTreo Group and with The ALS Society of Alberta.
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.
In 2001 a supervisor recommended Marni get a membership with AFP Calgary & Area Chapter and begin to network, build skills and make connections in the sector. This interaction with chapter members and leaders is what really peaked Marni’s interest in the profession.
Marni first joined the AFP Calgary & Area Board in 2011 as Co-Chair of National Philanthropy Day, along with Lorie Abernethy. Since joining the Board, Marni has held the roles of Every Member Campaign Chair, Diversity & Inclusion Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and President-Elect. Marni is thrilled to hold the President position on the Board and looks forward to continuing to serve the Chapter and membership.
Marni’s personal interests include camping, boating, and outdoor activities.
Lorie Abernethy, MA, CFRE and Outstanding Fundraising Professional 2019
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.
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!
Amtul Siddiqui has been a strong advocate for diversity, social connections and key partnerships in the not-for-profit world and in communities she has lived in for the past 20 years.
She has championed causes close to her heart through positions as the Senior Manager of Advancement at Vivo and Associate Director of Corporate Giving with the Canadian Red Cross where she was the national lead for the 2016 Alberta fires fundraising. Currently she serves in a senior fundraising role at the Calgary Health Trust helping advance transformational healthcare in Alberta.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, she interned at the Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C. before moving to Canada to work, raise a family, and advocate for underserved individuals in the community.
Amtul’s volunteer roles include serving as a Commissioner for the Calgary Police Commission, CIBC Run for the Cure, RCMP multicultural committee, Panorama Heights school, Vivo board of directors, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
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.
Bryan has been serving in the Non-Profit Sector for 20 years. Starting out as a Director with Young Life of Canada. More recently working with University Advancement, Mental Health and Civic Partnerships providing, fundraising, strategy, and external relations. Currently, Bryan runs his own business GoTime Consulting.
As a seasoned and strategic leader, Bryan is committed to building strong financial resources to fund impactful initiatives. Helping organizations become thoroughly committed to a donor-centric approach to realize sustained success.
Armed with a knack for building strong and dynamic teams Bryan, takes an individualistic approach to help staff, leaders and boards increase their competency and capacity.
As a commitment to the philanthropic community, Bryan serves on a variety of committees and boards for both local and international agencies. In his spare time he volunteers at his church, and is keenly interested in public policy and politics.
Jason has been in the non-profit sector for over 14 years after starting at a regional branch of the Canadian Cancer Society. His love for this type of work has carried him on a successful non-profit career journey, working with such organizations as HIV Community Link and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Currently, Jason holds the Director of Development position with Easter Seals Alberta. Throughout his career, he's gained valuable experience, on all aspects of fund development, and efficiently reaches his goals through community engagement, annual giving, major gifts, and planning gifts.
Jason enjoys giving back to his community. He has donated his time in many capacities with organizations in the province. He has volunteered with event planning for HIV Community Link and with Oneball, a charity that promote testicular cancer awareness. He currently volunteers as the Logistics Lead with ‘Look Good Feel Better’; an organization that helps woman living with cancer.
Since 2007, Jason has called Calgary home and appreciates what the city has to offer. He values healthy living and enjoys keeping active, whether that’s walking through Prince’s Island Park or joining a yoga class. He also enjoys travelling to and spending time in the mountains.
This will be Jason’s first year on the AFP’s board and he looks forward to being an active board member.
Nancy began her journey in fund development in 2005. During her career she worked for non-profits in the fields of social services, physical disabilities, education, sports, and the arts. Each was an opportunity to develop skills and expertise. Learning about the lives of the people using the services of the organization, gave Nancy insight into worlds full of challenges and hope. Obtaining her CFRE was a highlight of her career. It may not be current but she knows what she accomplished. The world of fund development is full of ups and downs, challenges and accomplishments. Nancy knows the next problem may just be around the corner but she will meet each one with anticipation and enthusiasm.