Elizabeth Taylor, President

Elizabeth believes in hard work, supporting those who need it most and the inevitably of change. Having served on AAROT as it evolved into ACOT and working for members nationally on CAOT, Elizabeth offers perspective. She considers the protection of the public critical, but also believes it’s just as important for the College to be in tune with its members. Elizabeth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta, and focuses her energy on mental health and effective inter-professional care. She even develops and supports programs for those who live with mental illness and women and children leaving abusive situations. To Elizabeth, all is possible with Occupational Therapy: “Its potential is limited only by the barriers we put up ourselves!”

Kerstin Hurd

Spending the last 12 years as a practicing OT (including exciting experience in brain injury and stroke rehabilitation, transplants, orthopaedics and hand therapy), Kerstin was ready to make her voice heard. As a member of her community association, she quickly discovered her passion for the intricacies of board issues, the challenges of overcoming them, working as a group and collaborating with stakeholders. She plans to apply that passion and knowledge within the ACOT council while gaining a better understanding of regulatory issues and how decisions are made. “I enjoy having a voice on council and the challenge of developing new skills while being able to contribute to the profession in a meaningful way,” she says. Kerstin loves that OT is such a broad profession—providing opportunities to work with people of different ages in so many diverse settings. In her words: the possibilities are endless! 

Sheron Parmar

Sheron gets to experience all areas of practice, working as Director of Quality and Transformation with Capital Care. She believes Occupational Therapists are competent generalists: “We are trained to take a holistic view of people, and work with clients to establish joint treatment goals that are meaningful to them,” she explains. It’s those general competencies and holistic perspectives that make it possible for Occupational Therapists to work almost anywhere, with anyone. Sheron is continually motivated by the drive and genuine concern she sees in colleagues and students to improve care for their clients, families and healthcare system as a whole. It’s this patient-centred commitment that makes her most passionate and proud. As Councillor, Sheron wants to help strengthen the College so Occupational Therapists are better positioned to deliver the best possible services to the public. “Our profession adds immense amounts of value to the healthcare system,” she says. “It is really important to display excellent leadership, stay at the forefront of emerging trends and respond to the needs of the population.” 

Andrea Petryk

Andrea considers herself lucky to focus on practice that takes place outside of the healthcare system, spending her time in communities with linguistic and cultural minorities. As a francophone community-based Occupational Therapist, she works as consultant for educational inclusion and early intervention in French schools of the Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord. “Every day brings a new challenge in Occupational Therapy,” says Andrea. She believes the profession is constantly evolving—from post-war work therapy to the diverse areas of practice that have grown to be respected today—and is passionate about sharing its power and potential.  

Jennifer Lee

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.  

Tiffany Poltz

Tiffany believes it is vital to have public member representatives contribute different experiences and outlooks for health boards. From policy to teaching to management, she has worked with people in a wide range of ways. Regulation is nothing new to Tiffany either—she has implemented company-wide processes compliant with new external regulations. Throw in over 15 years of professional accounting experience plus her time spent on boards, and Tiffany is feeling like she’s in the perfect place with ACOT. “I’m ready to contribute,” she says. “I have the opportunity to learn both a new area and provide assistance where I can with my background.”  

Peter Portlock

Plain and simple, Peter is bringing loads of experience along with him. He has spent most of his working life on either side of the Council table—as a Registrar/Complaints Director (College of Alberta Denturists), professional association CEO (the Alberta Physiotherapy Association and most recently Lethbridge Family Services), council member, and council chair. After spending 15 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, he pursued health services administration, which is complemented by many years of service in the not-for-profit sector. Peter is currently a peer reviewer and team leader with the New York-based Council on Accreditation and is a founding board member and current Board Chair of Technology Accreditation Canada. “I am a firm believer in right-touch regulation and good governance,” Peter says. To him, it’s all about creating—while maintaining—a vibrant and mutually supportive relationship between a health discipline’s regulator and its professional association.