Board of Directors

Guiding Us Toward Excellence

We take pride in the collective guidance we receive from a well-rounded and diverse group of individuals on our board. Each member offers a valuable perspective and unique expertise. Most importantly, they are here to make a difference.

Afshan Naveed – Board Chair

Partner, Dentons Canada LLP

Afshan Naveed is a lawyer with the international law firm, Dentons Canada LLP. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at the University of Calgary and her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Edinburgh. Afshan practiced law in Edinburgh for two years before moving back to Calgary in 2010 to practice law.


Afshan has been involved in various volunteer roles in the community since high school, demonstrating her commitment to giving back. At present, Afshan volunteers her time with Pro Bono Law Alberta (Queen’s Bench Amicus Court Assistance Program and Civil Claims Duty Counsel Project) and the City of Calgary – Protective Services Citizen Oversight Committee.


Afshan plays field hockey with the Calgary Ladies Field Hockey Club and is somewhat of a board game aficionado!

Deputy Chief Katie McLellan

Calgary Police Service

Having immigrated from Scotland, Katie joined the Calgary Police Service in 1987.  For the next thirteen years, she worked in the Communications Section and as a general duty patrol Constable and Sergeant in Districts 4 and 3.


Her career in the Calgary Police Service spans numerous areas including the Professional Standards Section, the Chief Crowfoot Learning Center, the Emergency Communications Center, and as a Duty Inspector.  She was the first Inspector of the Criminal Operations Section. In 2008 she was promoted to superintendent and lead the Information and Technology Division, Executive Office of the Chief Constable with oversight of the Professional Standards Section, the Legal Services Section, the Strategic Communications Section and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Section.  From 2010-2013 she was the Superintendent of the Field Operations Division where her team built and led frontline policing in the city.


In 2013, she retired as the Senior Superintendent and transitioned to the corporate security realm as a Senior Security Advisor. Her goal was always to return to public policing. In 2018, she joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She was later selected to be the Officer in Charge of Federal Policing South, Serious and Organized Crime (K Division).  The following year she returned to municipal policing as a Deputy Chief of the Calgary Police Service.


She has a Bachelor of Professional Arts degree (Criminal Justice, Athabasca University). Also, she is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police, holds a Corporate Executive Diploma from the University of Alberta as well as numerous certificates including Senior Police Management, Police Leadership Supervisory Skills, and a Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement Diploma.  She has been trained as a Hostage Negotiator, an Emergency Operation Centre Lead, and an Incident Management Team Commander.


She has received the Police Exemplary Service Medal, Alberta Police Officer Centennial Medal, Alberta Emergency Services Medal, Calgary Police Distinguished Service Medal, and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

board member neal coleman

Neal Coleman

President, CEO, and Director, Pulse Seismic Inc.

Neal has 20+ years of experience in business development, strategic planning, negotiation, leadership, public company management, and investor relations. He became Pulse’s President and CEO in November 2012, after serving four years as the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing. Neal’s focus has been to create value for shareholders by enhancing Pulse’s ability to generate sales, growing the seismic data library in a capital-efficient way, and carefully managing the Company’s costs.


Neal completed his Bachelor of Applied Business and Entrepreneurship at Mount Royal University in Calgary in 1999 and has a Petroleum Engineering Applications Certificate from SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary in 2004. He has also completed numerous executive education courses at Ivey Business School and Queen’s University.


Neal is honoured to be a member of the YouthLink Board and is passionate about the education of our youth.

Leanne Courchesne

Community Investment and Community Engagement Specialist 

Leanne is an experienced professional and has11+ years of oil and gas experience in community affairs, community investment, community relations, aboriginal relations, public relations, and event planning. She has developed, managed, and communicated dozens of innovative community and business partnerships within the energy sector.


Leanne also worked and volunteered for 8 years as Senior Manager, Community Partnerships for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation AB/NWT Chapter. She also oversaw and coordinated the CIBC Run for a Cure in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.


Leanne has a Marketing and Business Administration diploma from Mount Royal College. She holds a Corporate Community Involvement Management Certificate and Corporate Citizenship Management Certificate from the Boston College Carroll School of Management.


Leanne is on the Board of Directors for Youthlink and Advisory Board for the Campus Calgary – Open Minds Program. She also sits on the Sponsorship and Communications Committees for the Coalition for a Safer Highway 63/881. Also, a committee member for the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations Innovation Awards and is Co-Chair of the Professional Forum for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Philanthropy Week in 2017. Leanne also regularly volunteers with a number of Cenovus’s community partners.


Born and raised in Calgary, Leanne is married to a Calgary Police officer and has two boys, Adam and Tyler.

board member Sheila Flemmer

Sheila Flemmer

Community Investment, Community Engagement, and Communications Specialist

Sheila Flemmer is an experienced senior professional with a demonstrated history of working in the energy industry and for non-profit. She brings experience in community investment, corporate social responsibility, public relations, marketing and communications, event management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning.


Sheila joined the YouthLink board in 2018 and is Co-Chair of the Community Engagement, Stakeholder Relations, and Marketing Committee.  She also volunteers for the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Committee and other various charities.


Sheila has a Public Relations Certificate from Mount Royal University and holds a Corporate Citizenship Management Certificate from the Boston College Carroll School of Management’s Centre for Corporate Citizenship.

board member Patrick Loyer

Patrick Loyer

(Retired) Executive Staff Officer, Alberta Teacher’s Association

Patrick, an Aboriginal educator of Cree descent, has dedicated his entire career to education. It began with the Calgary Catholic School District where he held various teaching positions before becoming a Consultant for Aboriginal Education. He also taught English for one year in Japan. Currently, he is an Executive Staff Officer with the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) in the Member Services (MS) program area. He joined the ATA in 2009 in the Professional Development (PD) program area and was there for five years before moving into Member Services.


Patrick holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Administration from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge.


He currently resides in Airdrie with his wife where they share in one of the joys of their lives, their four grandchildren.


Jackson McDonough

Co-founder and CEO, Upwardly Careers

Born and raised in Calgary, Jackson is a fourth-generation entrepreneur and passionate Calgarian. Jackson started his career in Austin, Texas where he worked for software company that went public on the NYSE. In April 2021, Jackson moved back to Calgary and launched Upwardly Careers, a Next-Generation talent recruitment agency. As Co-founder and CEO, Jackson is on a mission to advocate for the power skills that people bring to businesses and the community.


Additionally, he is a founder of The Beacons of Hope and holds several community board positions.


Dennis Plintz

Realtor/Broker Plintz Real Estate

Dennis has devoted his 20-year career to building relationships. His strategic vision and client process navigates the largest transactions of most people’s lifetime through innovative technology. His creativity, expertise, and enthusiasm led him to close record sales year after year. He holds a ranking among the top realtors in his marketplace.

Dennis’s passion for sales started young.  At seven-years-old, he sparked his desire for accomplishment by selling his brother’s toys door-to-door and learned the value of a strong work ethic and hustle. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Mount Royal University and is recognized for being a top producer. In his community Dennis is an inspiration, leader and example of unparalleled tenacity.

At the heart of Plintz Real Estate are three core values: Responsiveness, Creativity and Connection.  Responsiveness makes everything happen.  Their team is not just fast, but they are also prepared.  Creativity is in Dennis’ DNA.  He commits to finding solutions enabling his team to generate ideas, problem-solve, learn and improve. Being a third-generation Calgarian, Dennis is grateful for the connections he has had. His success in business is deeply tied to the people he has worked and collaborated with.  The convergence of these values has led to opportunities that have shaped Dennis, his family and his team.

While sales and entrepreneurship have been a staple for Dennis, so has community impact.  Dennis is committed to giving back. He has volunteered and donated to many organizations, primarily focusing on youth and emergency shelter causes.  He considers working with organizations like the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Impact Society and youth in general, a privilege.

Dennis is the author of Hustle: A Guide to the Ethical Art of Selling & Survival and Positively Sold: Buy Smarter, Sell Higher & Push Your Real Estate Agent to Hustle Harder.


Maryanne Poole-Franz

(Retired) Comptroller, Calgary Catholic School District


Maryanne is an experienced chartered professional accountant (CPA, CA) earning her designation in 1988. She had a long, successful career with various management positions within the Calgary Catholic School District. As Comptroller, her experience included all aspects of full-cycle accounting, treasury, financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, and long-term financial planning. She gained valuable insight into the accountability and transparency necessary in publicly funded organizations. These positions gave her the opportunity to collaborate with educators, primarily focusing on early interventions for at-risk students.


Maryanne, born and raised in Calgary, actively participates in various organizations while raising her two children. She volunteered with soccer clubs, basketball clubs, and Girl Guides of Canada. Maryanne retired in 2019 after 29 years with the Calgary Catholic School District. She has been busy in retirement volunteering with numerous charities and pursuing her passion for skiing, hiking and camping.


Maryanne feels honored to serve as a member of the YouthLink Board and be part of an organization that focuses on inspiring youth.

Deana Helton

(Retired) Area Director, Central Schools, Calgary Catholic School District


Deana joined Calgary Catholic in 1993 after moving from New Brunswick to encompass 39 years in Education.  Deana’s passion to support those students in need led her to complete a MA in Clinical Psychology in 1998 and continued in a long career as a Guidance Counsellor. Deana also spent nine years as a Principal in schools in north east Calgary, a highlight of her career! 


In retirement, Deana feels honored to serve on the Board of YouthLink and looks forward to continuing her support for youth in need. Deana, husband and daughter volunteer as ski instructors for the Canadian Disabled Ski Association, Calgary (CADS), in retirement she looks forward to increase time on the golf course, ski hills, curling ice and delivering hampers for St Vincent de Paul through her church.