Meet the Board

Michelle Clarke

Michelle Clarke joined the Wordfest Board in 2014. She is the Executive Director of Burns Memorial Fund, a Calgary-based foundation focused on the health, education and recreation needs of low-income children and youth. Michelle has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years, as an Executive Director, funder and research/evaluation consultant. Before joining Burns Memorial Fund, Michelle worked at the United Way of Calgary, as the Children and Youth Strategy Lead, and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, as the Executive Director. Michelle has been involved in designing, implementing and supporting large collaborative initiatives in Calgary. She joined the Wordfest board in January 2014.

Andrew MacPherson
Vice Chair

Andrew MacPherson joined the Wordfest Board in 2015. He is a long-time volunteer with both Wordfest and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. From 2008-13 he was a co-coordinator of Artist Liaison for Wordfest and has been part of the Volunteer Reader program since 2006. He is a voracious reader of novels and short stories and dabbles with writing fiction. He is currently a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, the Alexandria Writing Society and the Alliance Française of Calgary and is an alumnus of the Banff Centre Writing with Style program. Andrew is a professional engineer and has worked for the Alberta Energy Regulator since 2005. Andrew and his wife Janice live in West Hillhurst with their teenage son, Ian.

General Director Shelley Youngblut (left); Deborah Bartlett (right)

Deborah Bartlett
Board Member

Deborah Bartlett is a Calgary social worker with over 30 years experience in the nonprofit sector, including 12 years as an executive director of several agencies. Currently she is on contract at the United Way as Director of Strategic Outreach Initiatives. Prior to this, she was Acting Senior Director of Community Investments and Collaborations at the United Way of Calgary and Area. In addition, Deborah is a consultant working with various foundations and nonprofit organizations developing community investment and strategic plans. Deborah has been a leadership coach with Executive Directions, a transformational two-year coaching program to Calgary executive directors. She has a graduate degree in social work from the University of Calgary along with a specialized graduate diploma in human resources. Deborah was the regional coordinator of Community Foundations of Canada encompassing Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. She is the past co-president of the board of directors of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Lori Egger
Board Member

Lori Egger joined the Wordfest Board in 2014. She is a Ph.D Psychologist who has worked for several years in the Calgary area. In addition to her work as a clinical psychologist, Lori has participated for many years in volunteering and philanthropy. She has been involved in a number of areas including domestic violence, health and mental health issues, and anti-poverty initiatives.

Sarah Guina

Sarah Guina joined the Wordfest Board in 2015.

Wordfest Board Member Erika Ho

Wordfest Board Chair Michelle Clarke (left); Sarah Guina (centre)

Erika Ho
Board Member

Erika Ho joined the Wordfest Board in 2014. She is currently a Contract Analyst with TransCanada and holds a BA (English) and BComm from the University of Calgary. Her ideal day consists of getting lost in the worlds of the written word until late into the night. She is honoured and excited to be a Board member of Wordfest.

Shawna Stirrett
Board Member

Shawna Stirrett joined the Wordfest Board in 2015. She is a national and international policy advisor with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). Prior to joining the AER, she worked as a senior policy analyst with the Canada West Foundation where she focused on policy ideas for the sustainable development of energy resources, how to minimize the environmental footprint of Canadian cities and what it takes to build vibrant and engaging communities. She is the co-author of three books and over a dozen research reports. Shawna has a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Calgary and, more importantly, she loves to read and is passionate about sharing the power of story with those around her.

Stephen Shawcross
Board Member

Stephen Shawcross has been a member of the Wordfest Board since 2011. Born on father’s 27th birthday, pints all around. Quickly falls in with gang of junior teddy boys where he earns the nickname “Sureshot Shawcross” due to accuracy with a catapult. In 1965, joins rock group “The Knack”, playing first gig for the princely sum of $8. Enters York University, wreaking havoc with various subversive organizations. Tours Europe in British ambulance with glam-rock band “Ginger Muff”. Quickly tires of wearing makeup so gets real job. For the next 25 years attempts to juggle career, wife, kids, assorted jazz gigs, painting, killer squash game, and the odd night of high stakes poker. Takes sabbatical in ’04. Finishes writing first novel in Venice. Runaway Summer tops Calgary Herald best seller list for 32 weeks in 2007. Follows up with A Fearful Symmetry. In his spare time, Stephen Shawcross, is an urban planner and partner in Canada’s number one and the world’s sixth largest architectural practice, the IBI Group.