Mission, Vision & Values
The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth (CBFY) is a charitable not for profit youth-centred and a family-focused hub that originated in the year 1990 and supports over 12,596 individuals annually.
For 30 years CBFY has provided a welcoming and inclusive environment for immigrant and refugee children, youth and their families by enriching them with the appropriate skills, information, knowledge and experience as they build a life in Canada.
Our core value statement and what drives our passion is “Youth Thrive and not Merely Survive”.
CBFY takes their inspiration from Maya Angelou –“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”.
This personifies the characteristics of great men and women of CBFY who channel their energies into the betterment of all our clients.
Our values are captured in the following acronym “BRIDGE”:
- Belonging. Provide a safe and welcoming space and give power of voice and a sense of belonging.
- Respect. Respectful behaviour in our pursuit of excellence and learning.
- Innovation. Strengthen our relevance through innovative practices.
- Diversity. Honour and model diversity.
- Generosity. Encourage a culture of generosity of spirit.
- Excellence. Inspire a culture of excellence and learning.
CBFY’s team is made up of over 70% first-generation and 30% second- or third-generation immigrants and refugees who understand first-hand the importance of integration programs. They’ve personally faced the trials and tribulations families face when settling in Canada and CBFY has welcomed many of their children in the summer programs or as tutors to solidify their sense of belonging in the community.
Umashanie Reddy Chief Executive Officer
Umashanie Reddy was born and raised in South Africa and immigrated to Canada in 2005. She is a recognized community leader with strong advocacy and communication skills and a combination of expertise, wisdom and strategic foresight that spans over 2 countries, 3 decades and across multiple sectors and diasporas. Umashanie holds a Bachelors’ of Arts, Bachelors’ in Library Science (cum laude), Honours in Information Science (summa cum laude) and a Masters in Library and Information Science (with distinction). She practised as a faculty librarian at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal and the University of Calgary and as Diversity Services Manager at the Calgary Public Library before coming over to CBFY.
Umashanie is the recipient of many awards some include: The Calgary Public Library Dragon’s Den Recipient, The Immigrants of Distinction: Hadassah Ksienski Distinguished Service Award; The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award, The Graduate of the Last Decade Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).
Milton Ortega, Director of Programs
Director of Programs (Settlement Workers in Schools and Afterschool Programs, Volunteer Resources Program)
Cristina Balamban, HR Manager
Human Resources Manager
Christopher Flores, Financial Manager
Gord Cummings, Settlement Workers in Schools Manager
Settlement Workers in Schools Program Manager
Riti Balchandani, Afterschool Program Manager
Afterschool Program Manager (Afterschool, RBC Youth Empowerment and Transition into Post-secondary Programs)
Board of Directors
Our board is selected by our Board Recruitment Committee following a referral to the committee chair. They are screened and then nominated at the annual AGM. Their values and experience support CBFY’s organizational goals.
Darshan Tadvalkar, Chair
Darshan Tadvalkar immigrated to Canada in 2006 and has spent most of his time in Calgary. His professional experience includes stints in technology, financial services and energy sectors, and he has also volunteered for Calgary Stampede and Queen’s University Calgary Alumni branch. He has an undergraduate degree in Engineering from Pune University, India and an MBA from Queen’s University, Canada. He also holds Certified Management Accountant designation from Canada and is a member of CMA Alberta.
Anouska Spencer, Vice-Chair
Anouska, a Supply Chain Management professional is currently General Manager, Category Management working in the Strategy and Operations Services group at Suncor Energy Inc. Anouska holds a B.A, SCMP designation and MBA from the University of Calgary.
Jatin Shory, Secretary
Jatin Shory is an immigration lawyer in Calgary, Alberta with a strong practice in litigation, which involves appearances at the Federal Court of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada through proceedings at the Immigration Division, the Immigration Appeal Division, and the Refugee Protection Division. His involvement with the Calgary Bridge Foundation for the Youth began as a young student volunteer back in 2006 for the summer program. Following this experience, Jatin attained his Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and later pursued further education, receiving his Juris Doctor from Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law in Kamloops, British Columbia.
James Shore, Past Chair
Jim has held various banking roles in his career, spanning operational units from commercial risk to retail branch management. In his current role, he is responsible for a group of commercial bankers whose primary focus is to serve the needs of the Albertan business community. Jim has taken that banking focus to the non-profit work he does and has a particular passion for micro-finance. In his professional and volunteer experience, Jim has played key roles in leading change management initiatives, determining strategic priorities and implementing the plans necessary to achieve organizational goals. He holds an M.B.A. from Cornell University.
Anne Michaud, Director
Trained as a lawyer, Anne is the Vice-Chair of the Alberta Utilities Commission, Alberta’s utilities regulator. Prior to joining the commission, she spent ten years in Deloitte’s transfer pricing (tax) practice. Anne started her legal career as a tax and civil litigator with the Department of Justice and also spent some time as counsel for the Federal Government in treaty negotiations with First Nations in British Columbia.
Doug Alder, Director
Doug Alder is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is an executive finance leader with 25 years of experience. His career has included roles as CFO, international head of finance, and senior manager in external audit and corporate advisory services. Doug has worked closely with executive management and diverse teams in 13 countries, and completed an international assignment where he and his family lived in Singapore. Doug is focused on developing and implementing financial strategies, supporting the professional development of the people he works with, and enhancing performance management and business processes.
Ellen Cook, Director
Ellen is the Human Resources Advisor at Spartan Delta Corp., an innovative and ESG-focused energy company headquartered in Calgary. She has worked in the energy sector since 2010 and is active in the HR community. Prior to moving to Calgary, Ellen lived in Saskatoon helping foreign-trained professionals at the Saskatoon Open Door Society and doing front-facing client support with Service Canada. She is passionate about connecting with people and making everyone feel included in their workplaces and communities. Ellen has a Bachelor of Studio Art from Concordia University in Montreal, a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Mount Royal University and is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources.
Greg Coulas, Director
Greg Coulas is a Business Advisor at Stawowski McGill. Here he collaborates with business owners and management teams to bring clarity, confidence, and control to take businesses to the next level. This is accomplished through providing financial leadership as well as the facilitation and implementation of strategic initiatives. Greg has an undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University as well as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation. He believes strongly in forming close relationships in order to make an impact on the lives and businesses of those he works with.
Michael Morcom, Director
Michael Morcom is a Financial Services lawyer and partner in the Calgary office of Miller Thomson. Michael’s practice is dedicated to financing transactions, including Personal Property Security Act issues such as granting security over personal property, claiming, defending, and adverse implications of purchase money security interests, the negotiation of priority agreements and intercreditor agreements between multiple secured parties, auto finance, real estate lending and general commercial lending. Previously, Michael had a general litigation practice with a focus on the areas of personal injury and insurance litigation, including defence of third-party claims, coverage disputes, and long-term disability litigation. Michael appeared at all levels of court in Alberta and has resolved matters through both private and judicial mediation.
Kate Thorgeirson, Director
Kate is an HR Business Partner with the Bank of Montreal, based in Calgary. She works closely with the Regional President of Private Wealth in the Prairies region and the local leadership teams on talent strategies. Prior to joining BMO, Kate worked with a global oil and gas company in a variety of roles, and an executive search firm. During her time in these roles, she developed strong senior leadership relationships and a valuable cross-sectional understanding of organizational human capital strategies across a variety of industries. Kate holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Human Resources and an MBA from the University of Calgary.
Kristi Sebalj, Director
Kristi has lived most of her life in eastern Canada (Ontario and Nova Scotia), but since 2018 she calls Alberta home. A lawyer by trade, her professional experience has been focused on the energy sector for more than 20 years, working in private practice as well as in the public service, most recently as in-house legal counsel and Registrar at the Ontario Energy Board and now as a Commissioner at the Alberta Utilities Commission. Kristi holds both a Bachelor and a Master of Science from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Laws and a Certificate in Marine Environmental Law from Dalhousie University. She is called to the bar in Ontario and in Nova Scotia.
Shannon Stannard, Director
Shannon has returned to Calgary after spending 6 years abroad in Malaysia and Australia. She is an educator and has enjoyed working and volunteering in various educational settings all over the world. Currently, she is the managing director of the ARK Foundation, supporting youth education and wellness both locally and internationally. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Education from U of C, and a Certificate in International Development from UBC. Before returning to Calgary, she served on the Board of Directors for John Paul College in Brisbane, Australia.