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Mission

The Emerging Leaders Council assists KidsAbility’s mission of empowering children and youth with special needs to realize their full potential. Established by KidsAbility Foundation in 2020, it aims to engage a new generation of emerging leaders and philanthropists to undertake an active role in fundraising and promote awareness of KidsAbility in new and innovative ways.

Purpose

The Emerging Leaders Council provides individuals (aged 18-40) with opportunities to engage with other peer leaders, while focusing on a mutual philanthropic goal. It is a unique way for members to deepen their understanding and connection to KidsAbility.

We celebrate, value and respect the strength, wisdom and insights that diversity brings. We actively welcome new members to the Emerging Leaders Council from diverse backgrounds, abilities and lived experiences. If you seek to make a difference in the lives of children and youth within Waterloo Region or Guelph-Wellington, please contact Sarah Witmer, Senior Development Manager – Leadership and Legacy Giving.

Emerging Leaders Council Members

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Kristin Kelly - Emerging Leaders Council Chair

Kristin is a Marketing Specialist with Waterloo company, eSentire, and a Social and Content Strategist for EdTech Startup YOURIKA/Orbits. She graduated from the Professional Communication Program at Ryerson University and was recognized for her strong academic achievement and co-curricular/extra-curricular involvement as the 2020 recipient of Ryerson's  FCAD Gold Medal, the most prestigious faculty-wide award offered to graduating students. Kristen actively volunteered at the Children's Book Bank and ROAR Festival prior to turning her passions to volunteer at KidsAbility. In her spare time, she enjoys  cycling, playing tennis, and spending time with friends and family.

"As someone who attended KidsAbility in my earlier years to overcome stuttering, it's important for me to be part of an inclusive community that creates action for a cause that I deeply care about. Volunteering with other members of the Emerging Leaders Council helps to ensure that KidsAbility can help more children access the services they need to reach their goals." 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jack Durdan - Past Chair - bio coming soon.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jenn Hill - bio coming soon.  

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Bryton Keyes - bio coming soon. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josie

Josie Schwartz

Josie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from Western University. She began her volunteer journey with KidsAbility at the age of seven when she toured the Waterloo facility and instantly became inspired by the uplifting, “can do” environment. Ever since, she has remained involved with the organization, serving as a classroom and evening program volunteer, and as a committee member and fundraising advocate for various events. More recently, bringing together her passion for healthy cooking and supporting KidsAbility, she self-published a cookbook called Spilling the Greens – 100% of the cookbook profits are donated to KidsAbility. She is excited about this new opportunity to support the organization’s inspiring mission alongside other young leaders in her community.

 

kyle

 

Kyle Mangotic


Kyle is a Portfolio Manager at TD Wealth Private Investment Counsel focused on serving the Waterloo Region. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a major in Finance from Griffith University and a Diploma in Financial Planning from Fanshawe College. As an employee of TD, Kyle has had the opportunity to work with KidsAbility and see the significant impact on services and support to children, youth and the broader community. He is excited to bring his perspectives and expertise to the KidsAbility Emerging Leaders Council. Kyle currently lives in Kitchener with his wife and enjoys golfing and spending time in Haliburton at their family cottage.

 

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Keenan O'Donoghue 

Keenan is a former journalism student and current Laurier Communications and marketing major finishing the final year of his degree. As a young professional he has embarked on a career of advocacy and inclusion support for those with disabilities. This includes planning events, with organizations such as the Independent Living Center of Waterloo Region and providing customer support at KidsAbility.

As a former client of KidsAbility, Keenan understands the importance of using his voice as an advocate for the disability
community of the Waterloo Region. He has an immense passion for learning, writing, helping others and sharing stories. Upon finishing his degree, he hopes to engage with marketing strategies that focus on the representation and inclusion of people with disabilities. He is looking to bring energy and enthusiasm to this council.

 

Rachel 

 Rachel Wagner 

Rachel is a Senior Economic Development Officer with the Region of Waterloo and a part-time instructor for both Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University. She holds a MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University, a CPA, BBA, and BS. Rachel loves travel, sports, the outdoors, reading, and giving back to the community. She lived in Germany for a year in a half and continues to explore and travel the world with her husband. In addition to her work with KidsAbility, she is the treasurer for Volunteer Waterloo Region.

 

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Arden White (she/her)

Arden is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo and is in her final year of study. She works as a Product Designer in tech, specifically in cybersecurity and most recently in video. A passionate advocate for accessibility, universal design, and gender equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), she volunteers regularly both inside and outside the university, as well as in her workplaces. You can find her hosting events and speaking on panels for the University of Waterloo’s Women In Engineering organization, as well as mentoring students who are interested in Engineering. She is excited to bring her knowledge of complex systems design to KidsAbility, as well as her passion for creating an equitable world. In her spare time, Arden likes to visit the library and read, as well as hike around local trails in Waterloo Region.

 

trent



Trent Lepage

Trent is an employee of Equitable Life of Canada in the Documentation Center, a position he has held for five years. Diagnosed at the age of four with a form of autism known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Trent brings his lived experience as an alumnus of KidsAbility's speech, physiotherapy and behavioural therapy programs to the Emerging Leaders Council with hopes that his involvement will bring awareness to how kids benefit from KidsAbility services and programs.