Q1 2021 Update from our Executive Director, Jerilyn Dressler

See this update as a video!

Hello everyone, and welcome to spring! The days are getting longer, the grass is turning green, and the trees are budding. Spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings, and can give us new hope for the future.

Spring is also a time of transitions, and this spring at Distress Centre is no exception: we are entering a season of transition and change.

The first transition I want to share with you is occurring within Distress Centre’s Board of Directors. Janet Segato was appointed Board Chair at Distress Centre in 2018. For three years, she led the Board with exemplary poise and professionalism. I am grateful to have had the privilege of working closely with Janet, especially over the past 14 months. She is a shining example of what servant leadership can and should look like in our sector. Thank you Janet for your leadership! Janet will remain on the board as past-chair for the remainder of her term, which concludes in 2022.

Duncan Melville, another stellar and visionary leader, has stepped into the Board Chair role for 2021-2022.

The second transition I would like to share with you is the departure of Duane Gillissie, Director of Programs at SORCe. Duane has led Distress Centre’s team at SORCe for the past four years. He has done an incredible job helping the team navigate several challenges, the most recent being the closure of SORCe and subsequent re-entry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Duane, you will be dearly missed!

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And lastly, friends and colleagues, I want to share what an honour and privilege it has been to serve as Distress Centre’s Executive Director for the past four years. I began my career at Distress Centre as a volunteer almost 20 years ago. I never imagined all those years ago that Distress Centre and the people there would be so critical in shaping who I am as a leader and as a human being. I am incredibly grateful for everything you have taught me – volunteers, staff, board members, clients. I would not be who I am today without each and every one of you.

The future is bright for Distress Centre. What happens at Distress Centre is not the work of one person, or two people, or five people. It is the work of all of us, together, that makes Distress Centre a pillar of this community. Distress Centre staff, volunteers, board members and clients – past and present – are in every corner of Calgary. Calgary is a kinder, more caring, and more supportive place to live thanks to 51 years of Distress Centre in this community.

Keep on caring, keep on being bold and brave, and keep on making our city a better place to live, one conversation at a time.