OUR TEAM

Empowering Minds: Our Team

At Empowering Minds, we come from different backgrounds with different experiences and personalities, but we are united in our passion and commitment to working with youth. We strive to live what we teach as we practice personal development and set a strong example of leadership and confidence to the young people we come in contact with. All of our instructors are Rapport certified meaning they receive extensive training and comprehensive coaching to ensure that all of our programs are successful.

Deanna Werklund MBA, ICD.D
President & Board of Director

A visionary leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, Deanna Werklund is founder of Emergenetics Canada (2013) and Empowering Minds (2012).


Drawing on her experience as a successful businesswoman and her passion for helping others, Deanna helped found the Werklund Foundation in 2006. Deanna envisioned the Werklund Foundation as highly entrepreneurial in nature, investing in (and growing) initiatives with the capacity to yield the highest returns on our most important asset: our youth. Deanna’s bold vision for excellence in leadership education has led to the Werklund Foundation’s support of youth leadership initiatives in Alberta and the creation of Empowering Minds.

Deanna graduated from Queen’s University EMBA program in 2014. Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute for Corporate Directors, a Master Graduate of Rapport Leadership International, and a graduate of the highly distinguished Judy Project – an initiative led by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Currently, Deanna is a part-time student as AUArts (formerly ACAD) in the glass department taking glass blowing.

A mother of two (super great) grown children, Deanna enjoys spending time vacationing with her partner Rob Finot and their beautiful Rottie, Dani, anywhere there is a beach and warm weather.
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McKenna Simpson
Program Manager & Trainer

As a passionate young woman, McKenna has over 6 years of experience with youth leadership training and is dedicated to impacting and empowering people every day.

She has been involved in many ways within the community and always finds time to give back. With focusing on creating a safe environment for youth to find their voice and true potential, McKenna is an avid believer of our future leaders. She has a confident and unique personality and is passionate about the training she does with Rapport Leadership International and Empowering Minds. McKenna loves learning new things and sharing positive energy with the people around her. If you don’t find her hard at work or training a class she is most likely traveling the world and putting, even more, check marks on her bucket list.
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Alexis Paproski
Manager of Operations

Alexis has 25 years of experience in designing and delivering systems to support the development of adult leadership. She has been instrumental in developing the

processes to support programs that transform the way the learners work and live. She is excited to support youth to prepare them to become ‘Future Leaders’ who have the confidence, resiliency, and the focus required to thrive in today’s world.

She has been the backbone of supporting an international non-profit for the last 15 years. Making it possible to educate thousands of girls and women to read and write. Her way of creating a bit more peace in the world.

She is passionate about Process Management, Coordination, Coaching, HR Management, Customer-Service and is an Organization Specialist.
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Our Board

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

Patti DeDominicis
Board Chair
Firmus Contracting

Denny Chow
Board Director
Capexco Inc.

Kyle Rakowski
Board Director
Enbridge

Brody Mainville
Board Director
Shell

David Ghoris
Board Director
Calgary Economic Development