Board of Directors

GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors consists of nine citizens who are appointed by Edmonton City Council. Our Governance Board establishes the vision, values and mandate of our Foundation. Meetings are held monthly. Click here to watch interviews with a few of our Board Members and learn why they decided to join the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors. 

Karen Lynch


Karen Lynch is a respected community and civic leader, with over 40 years of diverse experience. That’s why she has developed a reputation for making things happen and getting things done.

Karen’s forte is creating and nurturing networks of people involved in building community leadership. She recently served on the boards of the Edmonton Public Library Board, Volunteer Canada and Alberta Ballet, and as the elected President of the Alberta Library Trustees Association. Karen also served on the University of Lethbridge Management Advisory Council and the Edmonton Journal Community Advisory Board and she is currently part of an initiative at the University of Alberta discussing the next evolution of the Faculty of Arts. 

Her service on governance boards and focus on achieving a long term vision for organizations positions her well for serving on the Greater Edmonton Foundation Board. Karen received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her non-profit sector leadership.

Karen was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2014.   


Jacquie Eales

Vice Chair

Jacquie Eales is passionate about older adults and strongly committed to enhancing their quality of life. As a young adult, Ms. Eales volunteered at a nursing home, helping residents partake in meaningful activities. At university, Ms. Eales obtained a masters degree in aging and communication disorders, and subsequently worked as a speech-language pathologist to help older adults affected by stroke or other neurological diseases regain their communication skills. 

For the past 25 years as a research manager with Research on Aging, Policies and Programs (RAPP) in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta, Ms. Eales has created knowledge with older adults about issues that help us understand their quality of life. She is a strong advocate for older adults and their families and is able to work collaboratively and communicate effectively with relevant policy, practice, and advocacy partners. 

Ms. Eales has been part of a team that has influenced changes to federal legislation to allow for better support to family caregivers of veterans; and to provincial legislation providing job protection to caregivers. Most recently, Ms. Eales completed a project with the Greater Edmonton Foundation, working directly with senior management, staff and GEF clients to create and implement a tool to understand what contributes to GEF clients’ quality of life. This unique experience, and Ms. Eales’ commitment to enhancing older adults’ quality of life, positions her well for serving on the Greater Edmonton Foundation Board in a meaningful way.

Jacquie was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2016.   

Nomagugu Baleni

Board Member

Nomagugu (Noma) is currently a manager in the Lois Hole for Women hospital. She is registered nurse who is aware of how medical conditions may possess a barrier to accessing housing and has a strong focus on quality and safety serving on various committees. 

She recently received nomination for the Alberta Health Services’ President’s Excellence Award for her work on infection prevention. She is dedicated to community development and has participated in multiple fundraising activities. 

Nomagugu grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. With an enthusiastic attitude, coupled with resilience, she hopes to make a positive, sustainable contribution to seniors housing in Edmonton.

Nomagugu was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2015.   

Marny Conlon

Board Member

Marny Conlon is the owner of Plenum Management Consulting.  Now, semi-retired, Marny is assisting small start-up companies identify their greatest potential for success.   Prior to this venture, Marny spent the majority of her career in health and quasi health organizations, building high performance teams and championing innovation.  Most recently, Marny was the Executive Director of one of the first Primary Care Networks to become operational.  Several zonal and provincial initiatives were shaped by her leadership, innovation and the creation of high performance teams.

Marny’s leadership success can be attributed to her strong sense of vision and her determination to serve those in need.  She builds strong relationships and her skills as a collaborator ensure shared goals and positive outcomes.  Marny has a B.A. from Trent University and certification from Grant MacEwan University in Alternative Dispute Resolution.  

Marny was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2019.   

Debbie Couch

Board Member

Debbie Couch is foremost a people person.  Debbie has applied her professional accounting designation across numerous industries to arrive in an HR Pension and Benefits role where she created an innovative pension plan that garnered corporate accolades, and national interest.  To balance Debbie’s fast paced professional life, she has volunteered her expertise for nearly 20 years with corporate, not-profit and humanitarian boards.  Her service ranges through the President roles, as chair of audit and finance, governance, and executive committees, at provincial and national levels.  Also, having served in a Capital campaign for a significant renovation project. 

Debbie was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2019. 

Francine Gregory

Board Member

Francine has lived and worked in Edmonton for over 25 years and enjoys contributing to Edmonton’s vibrant community.  Francine is a dynamic leader with over 25 years of professional experience in healthcare and human services, leading and implementing initiatives in complex organizations. 


Francine’s strengths are building collaborative environments, stakeholder engagement and keeping the big picture in mind.


Francine maintains a professional designation as a registered health professional (Recreation Therapist) and has practiced in a variety of health care settings serving patient populations in geriatrics, dementia care, developmental disabilities and mental health.


She believes in working towards a society that empowers individuals and families to be safe, secure and resilient.  Francine received the Premier’s Public Service Award in 2018 for her work in the area of public policy innovation for Albertans with Labour Legislation.  This award is the pinnacle of recognition in the Alberta Public Service.


Francine has volunteered in a number of capacities whether it is as a board director, walking on neighborhood patrol, selling hotdogs at a fundraiser, or helping an elderly neighbour.  Francine is passionate about supporting seniors’ quality of life, health and wellness, and the Arts.  Francine enjoys the outdoors, travelling, and spending time with friends and her family, which includes one kid and two mini-schnauzers!


Francine enjoys helping make Edmonton a great place to live!


Francine was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2017.   

Craig Henderson

Board Member

Craig Henderson is a recently retired architect with over forty years of senior expertise with government and private sector clients in building design, strategic planning and project management.

Over his career, he has received Architecture Design Awards for many of his projects including Montgomery Legion Place, Kinsman Athletic Centre, Commerce Place, Edmonton Centre and the Commonwealth Recreation Centre/Edmonton Eskimo Fieldhouse. Craig was the 2014 recipient of the City of Edmonton Mayor’s Award in Universal Design for Architecture (Saville Community Sports Centre).

He has specific experience and an ongoing interest in seniors housing. His projects include the following: Canterbury Court, Montgomery Legion Place, and The Churchill Retirement Residence. Healthcare design is another area of expertise for Craig and his firm’s successful projects include the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, the Grey Nuns Hospital, as well as the Links Clinic and the Community Health Centres at the Misericordia and Sturgeon Hospitals.

Craig has served on many boards in a volunteer capacity including Vice President, Art Gallery of Alberta; Board Member, Edmonton Executives Association; Board Chair, Edmonton Downtown Business Association; Member, Accessibility Committee, University of Alberta; Special Consultant, Boys & Girls Club-Camp Warwa Development. Craig is recognized for his judgement and strategic insight regarding the built environment. He is inspired by complex issues and drawn to challenges by the opportunity to make a difference in society and the community.

Craig was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2018.   

Jack Little

Board Member

Jack Little is a community activist. He serves on the Board of the Edmonton Food Bank and Our House. 

Jack currently is the President of the Gyro Club of Edmonton. He devotes much of his time to showing leadership in the art of fundraising from non-traditional sources. 

Jack’s experience in the not-for-profit sector as well as the for-profit sector has given him a unique opportunity for strategic planning and implementation of these plans. 

Jack was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2014.   

Paul Nothof, Q.C.

Board Member

Paul Nothof is a long time resident of the Edmonton area.  He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, where he obtained both a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Juris Doctor.  Mr. Nothof is a partner at the Edmonton based law firm of Ogilvie LLP, assisting clients in Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.  His legal practice is focused on business law and real estate development.  Mr. Nothof also currently serves as the Managing Partner at Ogilvie LLP.

Paul was appointed to the GEF Seniors Housing Board of Directors on May 1, 2019.   

Board Committees


Finance and Audit Committee

Chair: Debbie Couch
Members: Craig Henderson, Paul Nothof, Bernie Bolton (external), Jennifer Forsyth (external)

The purpose of the Finance and Audit committee is to monitor and make recommendations to the Board on matters affecting financial control policies, budget review process, risk analysis and assessment, financial information systems policy and external and special/comprehensive audits.

Governance Committee

Chair: Francine Gregory
Members: Marny Conlon, Jacquie Eales, Paul Nothof

The purpose of the Governance Committee is to provide a forum for Board deliberation of governance options and ongoing monitoring reports measuring the performance of the Foundation.

Using standardized criteria, the Committee shall conduct a Board self-appraisal of the Board’s performance as a governing body. Based on the findings of the self-appraisal, the Board will then develop an action plan to improve its performance, which is monitored and reviewed quarterly.

Government Relations Committee

Chair: Karen Lynch
Members: Jacquie Eales, Francine Gregory, Jack Little, Monica Barclay (external), Mike Reid (external)

The purpose of the Government Relations Committee is to provide guidance for the purpose of enhancing the Foundation’s effectiveness, reputation and relationship in dealing with the Government of Alberta.

Capital Planning Committee

Chair: Craig Henderson
Members: Noma Baleni, Marny Conlon, Jack Little, Gary Gordon (external), Peter Odinga (external)

The purpose of the Capital Planning Committee is to facilitate the promotion and provision of attainable, affordable accommodation for low income seniors.

The Committee’ responsibilities include:

  • Formulate project development objectives and guidelines for approval by the Board
  • Review project development proposals and submit same for the approval of the Board.
  • Review applications for project development and/or construction funding prior to sub-mission to funding agencies.
  • Provide a monthly status report to the Board on all active development projects and initiatives, including the expenditures in relation to the budget.
  • Keep the Board informed on a timely basis of any significant project development issues that may arise from time to time.
  • Act as a resource to administration staff during project construction to deal with issues between the contractors, consultants, etc. as needed.
  • The Committee has the authority to make decisions related to projects within the Board approved budget for the projects.

Management Resources and Compensation Committee (MRCC)

Chair: Jacquie Eales
Members: Debbie Couch, Francine Gregory, Craig Henderson

The purpose of the Management Resources and Compensation Committee (MRCC) is to make recommendations to the Board of Directors in its oversight responsibilities relating to:

  • the compensation
  • nomination
  • performance monitoring and appraisal, and
  • succession of the Executive Director (and other management personnel as may be required)
  • the Foundation’s organization design, management policies and practices.


The Board Chair is ex officio of any Committee.