Following the Collective Impact approach, PDC works together and prioritizes building trust between committee members. Our common goal is to increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, while improving inclusion of persons with disabilities within the workplace.


Gail Kesslar

Gail Kesslar


Gail Kesslar, is an Applied Research, Business Development Officer. With over 20 years of project management and administration experience. Known for her relationship building skills and her ability to collaborate, Kesslar is also known for her ability to ideate and activate projects from the ground up. With extensive experience in managing both projects and diverse teams, she also brings added value to projects through her communications and marketing expertise. A former Project Manager of Research and Academic Innovation’s Autism CanTech! project, and a Project Director for both the VR Soft Skills Training, and Unity Higher Ed XR Grant, she sees and values Applied Research as a powerful tool that can help both community organizations and industry to solve challenges while simultaneously elevating individuals from equity-seeking groups.

Norquest College

Shauna McCalllum


Shauna is currently the Director of Community Supports at Skills Society. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past 14 years in various roles including front line, supervisory, director of social innovation and Vice President. She led a full company wide implementation of Human Centered Design as a service delivery model and had the opportunity to lead and be part of a number of startups over the last 10+ years. 

Shauna is currently serving as the partnership broker for Edmonton’s Pan Disability Connection (PDC), a network of businesses, service providers, academics and self advocates working together to eliminate systemic barriers to employment for people with disabilities. She also serves on the Albert Employment First Network (AEFN) interim advisory board. Shauna believes that using a collective and collaborative approach is key to creating meaningful impact and change in our communities.

Shauna is a transformational leader who is passionate about leadership, innovation and challenging the status quo. She values trust, teamwork, kindness, openness, continuous learning, risk taking and having fun.

Jon Garland


Jon Garland’s career to date has been spent leading change and improving employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Jon is acknowledged for his dedication, innovation and leadership throughout his 21-year career working with EmployAbilities.

Jon firmly believes that diversity is the key to any business’s success and the answer to sound hiring decisions. Jon is committed to increasing diversity in today’s workplace and would like to encourage all Employers to consider Persons with Disabilities as a valuable source of skills labour.

Dave Reid


In his role with Prospect Human Services, Dave consults industry leaders and decision-makers to improve their capacity to recruit, retain, and accommodate under-accessed talent, including young adults, people with disabilities and people with military backgrounds. As a Workforce Advisor, Dave helps break-down barriers to employment and supports employers through information, education and by building actionable plans with them.

He has over 35 years of business experience and has had roles such as Regional Manager, Sales Director, and Director of Stores of mid-sized retail and financial services companies. He has led and directed project management of acquisitions and re-branding initiatives. Dave has also worked directly with clients going through career transitions, providing support, and career coaching.

Allison Leigh


Allison Leigh is a very dedicated leader who believes in putting fun into work. Her passion is finding people’s unique skills and talents and supporting them to use those abilities to achieve their goals. Allison has a BSc in Sociology and has worked with people with disabilities with a focus on employment for almost 20 years.

Allison is passionate about finding innovative ways to support people. She is a relator and stimulates those around her to achieve their best. Allison demonstrates this in her work as the Employment Specialist at Chrysalis.

When not at work, Allison enjoys relaxing with her husband, 2 adult children and her cat. She is an avid Edmonton Oilers fan and never misses a Formula 1 race.

Heath Birkholz


Heath brings personal experience mixed with my community work and education towards:
– disability/inclusive arts
– social justice
> centered on disability rights.

In the discipline of social justice, Heath is on the Alberta Premier’s Council on the Status of persons with Disabilities. They provide persons identifying with disabilities a community to voice concerns and maintain an equitable quality of life. Heath also works as an Edmonton Representative for the Albertans Advocating for Change Together which enables people with disabilities from across Alberta to collaborate and strengthen their ability to voice concerns and maintain an equitable quality of life. Heath also helped found Right to Love Calgary and Alberta Advocates for Change Together.

Heath is also a Collaborative Workshop Facilitator. Heath has experience developing and facilitating intersectionality, conflict-resolution and relationship workshops.

Within the discipline of arts Heath is involved with the Canadian Dance Association and took part in ‘Build a Better Fringe’ with the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Heath has also been involved with CRIPSIE for a decade as a dancer, co-choreographer, community liaison and is currently Chairperson on their Board.

The Premier's Council Logo

May Laufman


For the past 8 years, I’ve been making a difference at Winder Inclusive Communities as an Employment Facilitator and Support Specialist. My passion lies in helping our customers find fulfilling employment that aligns with their interests. I go beyond simply finding a job – I focus on job carving, creating customized positions that leverage their unique strengths.

This approach has been instrumental in achieving a 100% placement rate for the individuals I support. Some have even landed not just one, but two, three, or even four jobs! My dedication has been recognized through several awards, and I’m honored to have an award named after me.

My support extends beyond employment. I empower people with developmental disabilities to live their best lives, whether it’s achieving independence, fostering social connections, or simply navigating daily activities. Through my work, I’ve learned that disabilities don’t define people – they simply represent different ways of learning and experiencing the world.

Kylie Dwyer


Kylie Dwyer is a Talent Diversity Consultant at the City of Edmonton with over 9 years of talent acquisition experience in the public sector, including previous roles at Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta. She specializes in inclusive hiring, and educating organizational leaders to increase capacity to recruit and retain equity-deserving groups in the workforce, including people with disabilities.

 Kylie is passionate about employment equity and showing organizations the countless benefits of inclusive hiring. She believes that a commitment to inclusion and removing barriers to employment are critically important because they are the best ways to improve business outcomes, raise intelligence quotients for teams, and futureproof organizations. Kylie’s work is driven by years of experience collaborating with nonprofit organizations, service providers, employers, and advocates to develop strategies and solutions.

 Kylie graduated from MacEwan University with a degree in Sociology, and holds a certificate in Human Resources and Labour Relations, as well as her CPHR designation. She is currently completing her master’s degree in equity studies.

City of Edmonton

Matt Ashdown


Matt Ashdown is the Director of Mission Impact at Goodwill Industries of Alberta, having joined in March 2023 with over 25 years of experience supporting individuals with disabilities and other barriers. He has extensive experience in various aspects of disability support services, including residential supports, employment assistance, and board leadership. Matt holds a degree in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies and is passionate about creating inclusive communities where everyone can fully participate. He believes in the transformative power of meaningful work for fostering a sense of belonging and is dedicated to promoting opportunities for individuals to thrive in their communities.

Pan Disability Connection

Assist employers and employees of all abilities in identifying and ensuring workplace inclusion. To learn how you can work with us, please contact us.