The board members of Fit Active Beautiful Foundation are from Southern Ontario, who are committed to empowering youth girls to reach their full potential, and grow into strong, confident women.
Sharon Carolan, Chair
An educational background combining a program in art and design with a program in child studies lead Sharon to open Parkview Children’s Centre in 1986. In 1989 the school was converted to nonprofit status with a board of directors and Sharon became the Executive Director. By 2005 Parkview had grown to three locations providing services for over 300 families. Sharon was actively involved in advocating for better early education. In 2007 Sharon became a registered real estate sales representative and joined the team at Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services. She has been an award winning realtor each year since starting with Royal LePage. Sharon is an active runner and has completed several marathons including Boston, New York City and Toronto. Sharon is proud to be involved with FAB and the wonderful work that they do to help youth girls build a foundation from which they can become happy, strong and independent women.
Dr. Leanne Gosse, Vice Chair
Leanne holds a PhD in social and personality psychology from Brock University and an MA in Social and developmental psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. She also completed a SSHRC Post-Doctoral research fellowship at the University of Waterloo in industrial-organizational psychology, with an emphasis on organizational justice. Leanne’s areas of scholarship include human rights and people with intellectual disabilities, the psychology of justice, eye-witness recall, and forgiveness. Leanne currently works as a Professor in the Community and Criminal Justice Degree Program at Conestoga College and as a Consultant in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Leanne is active in the community, volunteering with Autism Services Waterloo Region, Friends of the Crime Prevention Council, St. Johns Ambulance, and working as Assistant Race Director of the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon. When not working or volunteering, Leanne enjoys playing a variety of sports, competing in triathlons and spending time with her family.
Derek Edelkoort, Treasurer
Derek is an Accountant and part owner of the Edelkoort/Smethurst, Certified General Accounting firm located in Burlington. He has over 14 years experience in the financial services industry. He has always had a passion for the growth & development of the Hamilton community. He and his wife Carol have been strong supporters of FAB since its inception. Prior to sitting on the FAB board, he provided accounting & business management advice to start-up companies through business round tables. Derek is an avid golfer, certified diver with 18 years experience and proud father of two.
Patricia Kennedy, Secretary
Patricia Kennedy is in house counsel for the City of Hamilton. Prior to joining the City’s Legal Services Department in 2014, Patricia was an associate at a large Hamilton law firm, practicing Labour and Employment and Insurance Defence law. She received a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and Canadian Studies) degree in 2005 from McGill University, a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2006 from Queen’s University and a law degree (Juris Doctor) from Queen’s in 2009. Patricia was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2010 and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Patricia is an avid recreational sports participant, playing softball, beach volleyball and curling. She has also completed the Around the Bay, a half marathon and the Tough Mudder.
Patricia is excited to join the FAB Board of Directors and is looking forward to contributing to the community by supporting the FAB organization.
Marianne Vrbanic has been an employee with City Of Hamilton, with the Recreation Division for over 25 years. During this time with the City, Marianne has held a number of progressive roles that include: organizing and providing grass roots community recreation programs as well as the promotion of the Hamilton Fit for Life philosophy of well being, active living, and creating opportunities that enhance life long wellness. Marianne is a certified Fitness Instructor, who enjoys outdoor sports, leisure activities and sharing these moments with her daughters.
The need to enhance and embrace the entire person at a young age is what FAB does; this is a stepping stone to life long wellness.. Courage, determination and pride is what all girls are made of, FAB just strengthens those qualities…”
Christine has been involved in the fitness industry for over twenty-five years. She also worked in financial and banking services for 15 years, working in senior roles in the area of compliance. With a solid understanding of both industries, Christine’s experience includes advisory services, training and presentations, program development, and the implementation of policies and procedures. Originally from Ottawa, Christine spent a number of years in Toronto before re-locating to Southern Ontario. Her energy is now focused in the area of fitness and wellness and raising her two active children. In addition to teaching yoga and spin classes and presenting workshops, Christine maintains a blog and website dedicated to all things health and fitness. Christine holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Ottawa and a post-graduate certificate in Business from McGill University. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance.
“It is an immense honour to serve on the FAB Board of Directors. My journey into fitness started in my teens when I decided to take up running as a way to become fit. I remember the first time I went for a run and it only latest a few minutes. But I kept at it. Little did I know, at that time, that the physical challenge brought with it a feeling of empowerment and confidence that carried through into adulthood. All girls should experience this.”
Cherie Harthun is a Certified Professional Accountant. She has put herself through school while working full-time and raising her two children here in Hamilton. Cherie brings to FAB a passion for fitness and running. Cherie has competed in the Ontario Ultra Series, finishing 3rd overall in her age category on 3 different race seasons. In 2012 Cherie’s running accomplishments were recognized when she earned a spot on the Canadian National team where she competed in the 24 hour World and European Championships held in Katowice, Poland.
Cherie loves spending time outdoors with her husband and children, inspiring them to have a love of fitness and respect for their environment.
Lidia recently returned to Ontario after a long stint on the West Coast, where she enjoyed a successful career; initially as a counsellor for people with disabilities, then as co-founder and President of her own company (gaining an appreciation of the complexities facing the “Head Honcho”), and later as Director of Corporate Development and Employment Programs for a large provincial non-profit organization. Prior to moving to Vancouver, Lidia was known in Toronto’s advertising circles as a top media buyer and manager, working at MacLaren Advertising and Colgate-Palmolive.
Lidia studied at Royal Roads University (RRU), where she obtained her Masters in Leadership. Her formal training was a perfect complement to her leadership experience. It confirmed that organizational effectiveness starts at the top, with leadership that models the behaviours expected of others; inspires a shared vision; and challenges existing processes in order to continually improve.
Now more than ever, Lidia is dedicated to improving how things work. She is especially passionate about fostering learning organizations that thrive and high-functioning teams that produce great results; applying a systems approach to problem-solving and managing change; and supporting current and future leaders to increase their personal effectiveness.
Pam Hewitson is a Registered Nurse. She has worked for Hamilton Health Sciences since 1989. She has been a Manager in several departments for the past 10 years with Leadership and Project Planning skills. Pam has been doing volunteer work in the downtown core of Hamilton for over 20 years and understands the challenges of families living below the poverty level. Pam is thrilled to be able to bring her experience to FAB along with a passion for children and families, fitness, and running. She has completed three 5 K runs in the Strides for the General Annual Series. Pam is married and has three grown daughters. She loves spending time outside at the cottage with her husband, and Golden Retriever, Kona.