About the Team

Jennifer Lee, President

Jennifer has spent the bulk of her career working in long-term care, and is most passionate about seniors’ care—particularly their mental health. As a quality improvement consultant, she supports the continuing care portfolio in Calgary. Jennifer’s enthusiasm for occupational therapy is obvious: “One of its central tenets is that we empower our clients to live full and meaningful lives, in spite of life circumstances,” she explains. “As a clinician, and now as a consultant, I find that our ethos of empowerment is very inspiring!” Being able to work in both traditional and non-traditional settings—creating endless potential career paths—is what Jennifer loves most about the profession. Stepping into her role as Councillor, she is eager to learn more about governance and have conversations about how occupational therapists can more effectively serve the public. 

Arwen Caines, Vice-President

 Arwen Caines completed her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from McMaster University in 2011. She also holds a baccalaureate in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, from the University of Calgary. Since joining Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) in 2011 as an Occupational Therapist (OT), she has worked directly with children and families to facilitate the development of functional self-help (e.g., toileting, hygiene and grooming skills), leisure and development of gross motor, fine motor and oral motor skills through play. Arwen has consulted in the Community Based Options program; the Residential Program; and the collaborative Calgary Board of Education/Society for Treatment of Autism CSSI stabilization classrooms. Within her OT role at STA Arwen also provides Occupational Therapy consultation on a fee for service basis. Services provided include individual assessment and intervention, group intervention and community workshops for clients throughout Alberta. Additionally, Arwen co-facilitates a mental health group for children/youth with co-occurring anxiety and ASD and their family members. In addition to consulting, she is currently the Supervisor of the Occupational Therapy department. 

Marianne Baird

A firm believer in administrative fairness, transparency and due process, Marianne is proud to apply these principles to the role of Registrar. “It is an honour to serve in a role designed to protect the public, and to oversee efficient operations of ACOT that is responsive to public and registrants’ requirements.” Her occupational therapy career focused on vocational rehabilitation, disability management, and most recently collaborative care. “Occupational therapy and collaborative care are very well aligned; both can be applied in just about any setting and focus on client centered care, which is a passion of mine.”

Carrie Hait

For over 20 years, Carrie has worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in hospital, community health, and school settings both as an employee and as a contractor. She has been involved in local work in the Edmonton area, and in province-wide school-based work. She has learned that no matter how or where OTs provide services, people put their trust in them to make their lives better. Carrie be-lieves that it is essential to safeguard this trust and confidence by promoting and maintaining the highest levels of competence, profes-sionalism and integrity. Carrie is also eager to promote strengthened relationships within the OT community, and with professional part-ners. In her free time, Carrie enjoys cycling, cross-country skiing and gardening.

Christie Bergman

Christie Bergman is a Realtor serving Edmonton and surrounding areas. She has been a top agent in her brokerage for several years running. Christie loves to spend time with her family, who are passionate about travel and their family real estate business. You can often find them looking at new investment opportunities or working on one of their rental properties.

Heidi Knupp

Heidi is known to find innovative solutions to complex problems and has a passion for policy development and implementation. Having completed a Thesis-based Master’s on the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Occupational Therapists, she moved into clinical practice with a focus in disability management, including Traumatic Psychological Injury. Currently, Heidi works as a Coaching and Resource Team Case Manager with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta. Heidi is passionate and genuine in her approach to work, and life, and looks forward to collaborating with members and the public to achieve set goals. 

Joyce Vayalumkal

Joyce completed her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alberta in 2002. She also completed a Master’s in Health Services Management, from the University of Lethbridge. Joyce has practiced as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in school, hospital, and community settings both as an employee and private contractor for over 20 years. She is passionate about promoting health equity and utilizing a holistic approach to health services that acknowledges and addresses all components of health, including physical, social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual factors. Joyce had experience working and leading multi-disciplinary teams, program development and post-secondary curriculum development. She looks forward to continuing her work of using best practices to develop and design efficient and effective health services.”

Kristin Ward

Kristin completed her Masters in Clinical Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Western Ontario in 1999.  She began her career working in her home province of Newfoundland in the fields of acute care, continuing care and community based services.  Soon her pathway led her into private practice in the areas of Insurance and Worker’s Compensation Board along with supervising two clinic settings focusing on preparing and supporting individuals in their journey to return to work.  Life led her to Alberta in 2001 where she worked with East Central Health for nine years.  In 2010, Kristin once again returned to private practice in the area of pediatrics and has had the privilege to work with numerous school divisions, multidisciplinary partners and most recently her partnership with Jordan’s Principle.  As a rural practitioner, Kristin is curious about governance and its role in service access and delivery for Albertans.

Dr. Tom Smith

Tom comes to ACOT with a background in regulatory work, serving as Deputy Registrar and Complaints Director for the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors (ACAC). Tom also spent several years as a clinical advisor, complaints investigator, hearing tribunal member and chaired the Continuing Competence Committee for the ACAC. 

Dennis Fitzgerald

Dennis Fitzgerald is a Chartered Professional Accountant and University of Alberta graduate. He has a consulting and accounting practice located in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Dennis has been an audit manager in an international accounting firm, was a treasurer and risk manager at the University of Alberta and a college instructor. He has held a wide range of current and previous volunteer and community service positions.