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Hydrangea Plant

Board of Consultants

Rita Khanchat, Associate Director

Rita Khanchat is a dedicated professional with over 20 years of experience in empowering and supporting marginalized populations and individuals in need. Her passion lies in helping others, particularly in empowering women and underprivileged groups.

Rita has an extensive background in working with diverse communities, ethnic groups, and cultures. Throughout her career, Rita has been involved in numerous impactful projects. Whether it was mobilizing Syrian refugees in Calgary to assist the victims of the Fort McMurray wildfire, providing aid to the homeless, or fostering understanding of Syrian culture and people among Canadians, she has always prioritized the well-being, inclusion, and integration of those around her. Her remarkable volunteer work has gained international recognition, with features on CNN, BBC, and in Time Magazine. Rita has been honored with the People's Choice Peace and Human Rights Award and was named the Calgary Herald's most compelling Calgarian in 2016.

While Rita holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering from the University of Damascus, Syria, her true passion for social work has driven her to pursue a career in public service. She further expanded her knowledge and skills by obtaining a diploma in Human Services. Before joining the FCJ Centre, Rita served as a Settlement Practitioner and Certificated Financial Coach at the Centre for Newcomers for over three years. Additionally, she held the position of program manager at Jumpstart Refugee Talent for one year, where she made a significant impact.

Rita Khanchat's unwavering dedication to empowering marginalized communities and her impressive track record of success make her an invaluable asset to the FCJ Centre and any endeavor she pursues in the realm of public service.

Jan Foraie

Jan, a new addition to the Board of Consultants, brings with her 18 years of experience working in two parishes. Her love for ministry has led her to serve in various capacities, such as leading choirs and organizing social events. Jan's commitment extends beyond the parish, as she volunteers at living facilities, providing music for seniors in lockdown.

Previously, Jan served as a Parish Administrator at Ascension Parish and St. Joseph Parish, showcasing her administrative skills. She also worked at WestJet before retiring. Despite retirement, Jan remains actively engaged in parish life. She leads choirs, organizes Vacation Bible School, and hosts regular social gatherings to foster a sense of community.

Jan's dedication to service goes beyond the parish walls. She organizes pilgrimages and volunteers at seniors' homes, including dementia and Alzheimer's wards, using music to bring joy and comfort. Additionally, she actively participates in community building and fundraising events.

Whenever Jan visits Phoenix, she volunteers at the Cancer Treatment Centre of America - City of Hope, further demonstrating her compassionate nature and commitment to making a positive impact.

With her extensive parish experience, community engagement, and diverse skill set, Jan looks forward to utilizing her creative talents to contribute to the growth and promotion of the FCJ Retreat & Conference Centre. Her passion, dedication, and wealth of experience make her a valuable addition to the Board of Consultants.

Dr. Kharah Ross, Vice Chair

Dr. Kharah Ross has a PhD in Psychology from Northwestern University and is an Associate Professor in Psychology and the current Chair of the Centre for Social Studies at Athabasca University. She is a published researcher, whose work has a strong focus on how relationships and community affect health and well-being. Since returning to Calgary in 2018, Kharah has been active in the Calgary Catholic Diocese, including coordinating an Alpha Program and Alpha Prayer Course, organizing community activities like an Art and Architecture Event, enjoying courses through the FCJ Centre, and serving on a Parish Council. She has also worked on several initiatives and for several non-profits in Calgary, including Elizabeth House, Feed the Hungry, the St. Joseph Parish Community Survey, and the Calgary Catholic Diocese and Edmonton Catholic Archdiocese Synod.

Kharah was inspired by the welcoming and spiritual atmosphere cultivated at St. Monica’s Parish in Santa Monica, CA, through which she had the opportunity to volunteer with the homeless, participate in faith formation programs, and worship as part of a diverse community. That same spirit is reflected in the FCJ Centre’s Mission and Vision, and Kharah looks forward to serving this vision in her role on the Board of Consultants.

Valerie Wyonzek

Valerie worked in Calgary beginning in the banking industry in various positions as well as in public service in some administrative positions. Lastly Val worked the last 26 years in the oil industry, mostly in accountant positions. New to the Board of Consultants, Val expects to learn and grow in knowledge while serving together with the other members of the Board to increase the value of services at the FCJ Centre and the number of participants in the many programs offered. The Board of Consultants wants to see the FCJ Centre be a success and continue into the future. Val has also volunteered in various churches and professional organizations.

Whitney Nagasan MBA, Executive Director

Whitney is a well-rounded professional with experience in education, tourism, and non-profit management. She holds a professional teaching license and has extensive experience in higher education administration in her home country, the Philippines. Additionally, Whitney has a tourism management diploma from Capilano University in North Vancouver and a Master of Business Administration from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, where she also worked for over 8 years.

Aside from her academic credentials, Whitney has a strong background in volunteer work. She spent a year volunteering for Jesuit Volunteer Philippines Foundation, where she developed skills in volunteer management and resource mobilization through planning fundraising events, launching charitable causes, leading retreats, and organizing leadership boot camps.

During Whitney's university years, she held impactful leadership roles and actively contributed to various aspects of campus life. For two years, she served as the Student Ethics Head, skillfully handling university cases and ensuring ethical conduct among students. Additionally, she dedicated a remarkable six years as the Assistant to the Vice President for Mission and Ministry, where she focused on formation works to university employees, students, alumni, and other stakeholders. Whitney's involvement extended to multiple committees, where she played a crucial role in, provided training for student leaders, drafting policy, meticulously planned events, and provided guidance and mentorship to fellow students. Her unwavering commitment to fostering a positive university environment and supporting the growth of her colleagues shines through her diverse engagement and valuable contributions.

In addition to her existing qualifications, Whitney has further expanded her knowledge and expertise. She has completed 12 university credits in both Theology and Philosophy courses, enhancing her understanding of these subjects. Furthermore, she has dedicated over 17 years to Ignatian Spirituality formation, deepening her spiritual insight and practice in the Ignatian tradition. Recently, Whitney completed an 8-month leadership course through Christian Life Community - USA and Canada, further honing her leadership skills and abilities. She has also been accepted to participate in Contemplative Leaders in Action for the cohort from September 2023 to May 2025.

Currently, Whitney serves as the coordinator of communities for the BC and Rockies region of the Christian Life Community Canada, a worldwide association of small groups of lay people seeking deeper spirituality in the Ignatian tradition. With her diverse background and ongoing pursuit of personal and professional growth, Whitney brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her various roles and endeavors.

Sr. Mary Rose Rawlinson, fcJ

Sr. Mary Rose Rawlinson, fcJ has a Ph.D. (Theoretical Chemistry, National University of Ireland), a B. Ed (University of Calgary) and an M.A. (Religious Education, Loyola University, Chicago). A lifetime of experience of the value of ‘retreat’ and ‘reflection’ and many years of leadership within the FCJ community has given Mary Rose a deep appreciation for each person’s unique journey through life. As the Provincial’s liaison to the Board, Sister Mary Rose brings analytical power combined with a long association with the FCJ Christian Life Centre. She is delighted to work with the Board in supporting the ministry and development of the Centre.

Rev. Bob Mutlow

The Rev. Bob Mutlow served as a United Church of Canada Minister on the prairies after being ordained in 1971. In 1979 Bob accepted a call to Silver Heights United in Winnipeg and in 1988, two weeks before the Olympics came to Calgary for an interview beginning July 1, 1988 at Woodcliff United where he served for twenty-one years. Following early retirement, Bob completed a four-year posting at Red Deer Lake United and then moved to do Pastoral Care part time at McDougall United, where he currently is the volunteer Honorary Associate, serving on the Leadership Council, chairing the Outreach Ministry, and leading occasional worship services. Bob has been involved in several Calgary Interfaith events and was pleased to join the FCJ Board of Consultants. It has been interesting to serve as an Interfaith Representative on the FCJ Board; it is a great way to meet a whole new group of people and to enjoy the hospitality and spirituality of the FCJ Centre.

Michael Barbero, Chair

Michael retired from the Calgary Catholic School District after more than four decades of service as a teacher and administrator. During his tenure he worked at the local, provincial and national levels as a member of various educational organizations and associations. After his retirement from the school district Michael served as a Director of Leadership Learning with the College of Alberta School Superintendents, as a member of the University of Calgary Senate, and, most recently, as a board member of YouthLink Calgary – Police Interpretive Centre.

A long-time advocate of community service, Michael is passionate about the value of volunteerism and the important role we have in ensuring that the people we care about – be they family, friends, neighbours or community members are made to feel valued and respected.

His involvement with the FCJ Centre since 2014 has allowed him to incorporate his work experience with his enthusiasm for keeping the FCJ mission, values and vision vibrant, service centred and focused on the community served.

Sr. Gerardine (Ger) Curran, fcJ

Sr. Ger Curran, is a member of the Society of Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus (FCJ). She is from Ireland. She joined the FCJ Centre resource team in the fall of 2015. Ger has worked as a counsellor for the past 27 years in various settings. Before that, she served as a school administrator and teacher in a high school in Ireland. She is a member of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Before qualifying as an accredited Counsellor, Ger completed a master’s degree in Family Counselling from the University of Iona, New York. Since coming to Canada, Ger is working in the areas of counselling, interfaith matters, and helping refugee families. She is a member of the Calgary Interfaith Council and the Calgary Council of Christian and Jews.

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