Meet The Yellowhead East Board Of Directors

The Community Futures Yellowhead East team is powered by its Board of Directors. Our board members really care about the community and understand the challenges of owning a business. Meet our Board of Directors:

Carol Webster

Councilor, Town of Swan Hills

A third generation Swan Hillian, Carol was raised with the belief that volunteerism and community must be a top priority.  For the past 30 years, Carol has led her family business as Editor/Publisher of the Swan Hills Grizzly Gazette and has been involved in many volunteer organizations and Town Boards since her return from college in 1989.

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Following in her mother's footsteps, Carol was elected to the Swan Hills Town Council in 2016 and continues to serve her community as a Director of the Swan Hills Chamber of Commerce, Secretary of the local Hospital Foundation, and grant coordinator of the Swan Hills Community Club.  An active elected official, Carol was appointed to Community Futures Yellowhead East in 2016 and currently sits as Chair; Growth Alberta and Wild Alberta are also on Carol's docket, sitting on the executive of both regional boards.

A former client of CFYE, Carol says the organization has helped many businesses over the years and credits its success to the dedicated staff and volunteer board.  "CFYE has been both mentor and teacher to many small businesses and its member communities." Carol said.  "Adding the financial component makes Community Futures a true partner in business success."

Daryl Weber

Vice Chairperson
Councilor, Village of Alberta Beach

Daryl attended NAIT before beginning a 45 year career with Xerox. Numerous roles in that time included Technician, Specialist and Project Manager. In recent years he has been involved in horizontal directional drilling.

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In his 3rd year as Councillor with the Village of Alberta Beach, in that time Daryl has been a Director, and now serves as Vice Chairperson, with Community Futures Yellowhead East.

"Entrepreneurship means the possibility of more jobs, and taking financial and emotional risks for Community Futures clients. Entrepreneurs are more resourceful, more creative, energetic and driven".

Ray Hilts

Councilor, Town of Whitecourt

Ray resides in Whitecourt with his family, and serves as Councillor for the Town of Whitecourt. He is a consultant and spent many years of his career in the forestry industry.

Leslie Penny

Councilor, Town of Barrhead

Currently Leslie is 3 years into her second term as a Councilor for the Town of Barrhead. She is married to Rick and they have two daughters and 4 granddaughters.

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Prior to her retirement 6 years ago, she was an administrator with Alberta Health Services. Her primary responsibility was senior’s health.

Leslie has run in two provincial elections and one federal election. She ran to be a Town Councillor as she wanted to give back to a community that has been a wonderful place to live, work, play, and raise a family.

John Burrows

Mayor, Woodlands County

John resides in Woodlands County, and serves as Mayor of Woodlands County. 

Jim Hailes

Town of Fox Creek

Jim Hailes, BEd, Grad Diploma Ed Admin. Long time resident of Fox Creek. Retired after serving as a Teacher and Administrator at Fox Creek School for 34 years.

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Very active in the community having been on numerous Boards and Committees, coached innumerable teams both at the school level and in the community, as well as, over the years participating in many sporting activities. Served on Fox Creek Town Council for 14 years and is currently the Mayor.

A member of the Board of Community Futures Yellowhead East for 3 years.

Nick Gelych

Deputy Reeve, Lac Ste. Anne County

A farm boy at heart, Nick started a career with Alberta Power Ltd, later to become ATCO Electric.  After responding to a multitude of after-hours calls, climbing countless poles restoring power to customers, living in ten different rural communities he retired, after 38 years of service, as the South East Regional Manager responsible for Distribution Operations.

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Nick is serving his first term as county Councillor and has been on the CFYE Board for three years.  He is astounded to see the entrepreneurial spirit still flourishing and the patrons who have come to depend on the service provided by Community Futures. From existing business that see a need to expand or the new start up with a desire to see their dreams come to fruition, CFYE has been supporting economic growth within the province.

With a background in Utility Economics, Human Resource Management and a previous Principal of a private business, he has an appreciation for the need of private business and the importance that small business owners play in the economic strength of any community.  These business owners and their businesses are a vital component to a region's sustainability, growth and prosperity and he considers it a pleasure to serve on the Community Futures Yellowhead East Board of Directors.

To Nick, entrepreneurship is the creation and the building of a business from the ground up or the acquisition of existing commercial potential.  The willingness to take risks and to make personal sacrifices, along with the devotion of endless amounts of time and energy to make sure your business is profitable and grows into an enterprise you are proud of.

Aside from council and committee obligations, he serves on the board for the Onoway & District Chamber of Commerce, Executive member with Northeast Rural Crime watch, active member of the Onoway Fish & Game Association and a member with the Lac Ste. Anne Community Choir.  When you don’t find him doing any of these, he is usually cursing the loss of a golf ball, enjoying time at the lake cooking the perfect marshmallow, or just spending time at their acreage enjoying family & friends and especially if it is with any, or all, of their 18 grandchildren.

Marvin Schatz

Councilor, County of Barrhead

Marvin is a partner in a multi-generational family farm south of Barrhead. His is married and raised 3 kids in Barrhead. He is fortunate that the kids are all grown and married and now he has the privilege of being a grandparent.

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He has been a Barrhead County Councilor since 2013. Marvin was on the Pembina West Co-op board for 18 years in which he was board secretary, vice-president and president. He enjoys doing committee work and working with other people. He is on the Barrhead Seed Cleaning Plant board, Shepard’s Care Foundation Governance committee, County Policy committee and the Ag Service Board. He’s also been part of the Ag Society and FCSS.

Being a small business owner / farmer himself, Marvin is diverse in all aspects of what it takes to own and operate a business and hopes he can put that knowledge to use with CFYE.

Marvin has been on the CFYE board since October 2019. He thinks Community Futures is a good way to get not only young people, but people from all walks of life, the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. It’s important for our community to have an organization like CFYE that offers a wide range of business loan options, training courses, personal business coaching and networking events.

Pat Burns

Councilor, Town of Mayerthorpe

Pat enjoys being hands-on, and has a 40+ year career as a journeyman carpenter, small business owner in construction, and has tickets for running boilers and pressure vessels.

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As Councillor with the Town of Mayerthorpe, Pat is in his 3rd year serving as Director with Community Futures Yellowhead East.

"Being part of the community means giving time, helping out and giving a hand with community groups", especially enjoying the work of the spring-time flower beds and beautification of the town.

Judy Tracy

Mayor, Town of Onoway

Judy was born and raised in Edmonton. In February of 1999 her and her family moved to Onoway. In 2013 she ran for council, and in 2017 was voted in as Mayor by her fellow Councilors.

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She has sat as a Board member for Community Futures Yellowhead East since 2016.

Her field of expertise is primarily retail sales. She is the Chair of one of the local non-profit organizations, Onoway and District Heritage Society. Judy is also a Board member with the Onoway and District Chamber of Commerce.

As a CFYE Board member Judy has participated in many different activities, such as education sessions and investment review committee.

Entrepreneurs are an essential part of economic growth in the Town of Onoway. They are the people that built the town.

Board Composition


Community Futures Yellowhead East is governed by a 10 member Board of Directors appointed on an annual basis from our 10 Shareholder communities. All Directors are restricted to a maximum 8 year term on the Board to ensure periodic, if not annual Board renewal.  These appointed Directors bring extensive knowledge and experience about the local and regional economy and the area’s social composition.

Directors are appointed by the individual Shareholder communities based on the assessment of the locally elected municipal representatives as to who would best represent their community interests in the context of a regional economic development organization. As the 10 Shareholder communities are disbursed throughout the region there is satisfactory geographic representation.

The skills required to serve on this Board would include engagement in their own community, willingness to participate in Board discussion and initiatives for the region as a whole and a common sense approach to advocating and action for Community Futures Yellowhead East.

The Community Futures Yellowhead East Board of Directors does not have specific age or gender requirements for Board composition but historically there has been as good balance based on the diversity achieved when drawing from 10 Shareholder communities.

All Board and Staff members are bound by a Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreement including Conflict of Interest and Privacy regulations.


Contact Us

Unit #1, 5023 - 50 Ave.
Box 2185
Whitecourt, AB  T7S 1P8
P: (780) 706-3500


Communities Served

Alberta Beach, Barrhead, Benbow, Birch Cove, Bloomsbury, Blue Ridge, Camp Creek, Castle Island, Cherhill, Darwell, Fallis, Fort Assiniboine, Fox Creek, Glenevis, Greencourt, Gunn, Hurdy, Kaybob, Knight, Lake Isle, Lisburn, Lombell, Lone Pine, Manola, Mayerthorpe, Neerlandia, Onoway, Pass Creek, Rich Valley, Rochfort Bridge, Ross Haven, Sandy Beach, Sangudo, Silver Creek, Silver Sands, Southview, Sunrise Beach, Sunset Point, Swan Hills, Tiger Lily, Val Quentin, Vega, West Cove, Whitecourt, Windfall Junction, and Yellowstone