Empowering Minds: Our Team

Our Teen Leadership Program Team Members

At Empowering Minds™, we all hold different backgrounds, personalities and quirks but there are two things we are all passionate about: working with teens and personal development.


Rowena Browne

Executive Director

Rowena leads and directs all Empowering Minds™ activities to enhance and expand evidence-based leadership and empowered educational learning tools, practice, research, communications, and development.

She is an accomplished business leader with a long track record of success in the business and educational sectors. Since growing up in Hawai’i, Rowena has been involved in philanthropic projects and youth education. She’s spent nearly 20 years in the classroom and outdoors teaching teenagers, young adults, and professionals. Rowena has delivered strategic projects and educational initiatives with the Lily Claire Foundation, Boys and Girls Club, Impact Society, Compassion Canada, Empowering Minds™, Mount Royal University, and the US Department of Education.

A graduate of the University of Nevada, Rowena she studied Organizational Development and minored in Psychology in Behavior Modification, and studied her Master’s in Business Administration. Since 2011, Rowena has instructed and developed programs in leadership development and business strategy for Mount Royal University. Her most favored moments are spent with her family visiting her hometown in Hawai’i, spending time on the beach, farming fruits, playing soccer and spending quality time appreciating the heritage of Hawai’i.


Elena Deary


Cleopatra Kierstead

Director of Programs

A self-professed gypsy and opportunity-chaser, Cleopatra’s background is rooted in education, training and empowerment of teens and youth. Most recently, she was living and teaching in remote Aboriginal communities. When she is not busy with her three children (which almost never occurs), you will find her shopping for what she deems “necessary”, writing music, or cooking up a storm in her kitchen.

Nicole Langton

Nicole Langton

Manager, Program Operations

Nicole loves it when a good plan comes together. She is a dedicated communications planner and project manager with a passion for events. From the original brainstorm to the BIG REVEAL Nicole adds creativity, analytical and logistical know how to every project she works on. With more than 10 years of experience in not for profit, post-secondary and corporate environments Nicole brings a wealth of skills to the table.

Jacqueline Robinson

Jacqueline Robinson

Education Coordinator

Jacqueline is currently wrapping up her last two years of a B.Ed at Mount Royal University! She has been a youth mentor for 10 years, and is very passionate about teaching and empowering teens and young adults.

When she isn't at school or at work as a Customer Relations Coordinator, you can find her travelling or at the gym with her husband and baby daughter! She loves building relationships, engaging in conversations, and most importantly she loves people!

Our Program Educators

In order to run our programs we need our Educators! They all have different histories, stories and years of personal development and training. They empower teens with heart and it is inspiring to see them in action.

Grant McLarnon

Grant has been with Empowering Minds™ since our beginning in 2008. His passion for empowering youth and giving them the tools to be all that they can is unparalleled.

Grant has a dynamic professional background, spending much of his earlier career in at-risk youth programs. Now Grant has one of those nerdy professional careers and is actually really important to his company ADXStudios. He's also important to his family and we thank his wife, son and daughter for allowing us so much time with him.

Our Empowered U program would not be possible without our only Head Coach. If Grant does have a moment to relax, he's probably on the move anyway. He and his family enjoy travelling, great friends and good music.

Jessica Gurnsey

Fireball of energy, plain and simple. Jessica is one of our coaches for the Teen Empowered U Program, has a diploma in theology and is on her way to becoming an oncology Nurse at Mount Royal University.

Originally a teen graduate of the Empowering Minds™ program, Jess has been committed to the organization in one way or the other since she was 17.

Living by the words “Though she be but little, she is fierce”, Jessica is constantly bringing her drive, enthusiasm, and heart to the table.

McKenna Simpson

McKenna is someone with a unique personality, always putting everyone first and doing what she can to make others smile. She finds the positive in every situation and makes a difference every day. McKenna works hard for everything she has and won’t stop until the job gets done.

She has two amazing children ... her turtle and her snake! McKenna has been a part of the Empowering Minds family in different ways for 6 years.

Basil Saunders

Basil has recently joined Empowering Minds. His passion for leading & coaching youth stems from coaching a variety of sports including football, basketball & soccer.

Basil’s has a professional background of over 20 years in the energy sector as a consultant, corporate trainer & corporate officer in the discipline of electrical engineering & design. His most recent assignment was Business Development VP for his company Solidified Engineering.

A father of 3 kids, Basil is familiar with teenager challenges in school, society and sports. Today Basil is focused on providing a wide range of coaching programs and services - from individual coaching, to seminars and keynote speeches.

Our Board

We are extremely excited to attract and retain such well-respected and influential group of leaders to our Board of Directors.

Vince Aliberti

Vince Aliberti

Veris Canada
Barbara Atkinson

Barbara Atkinson

Werkund Capital Corp.

Tracy Aylesworth

Shindigz Events/Symons Valley Ranch

Steve Bloxom

Enbridge Inc.
Patti DeDominicis

Patti DeDominicis

Firmus Contracting
Wilfred Gobert

Wilf Gobert

MAKE History Campaign, Fort Calgary
Grant McLarnon

Grant McLarnon


David Mears

Platform Capital Corp.