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Our vision is a community where all abilities are embraced and valued

Visions of Independence believes in the ability of all people. We believe that every individual deserves the opportunity to share their unique gifts and talents. We believe that when we can provide individuals with Intellectual Disabilities a safe environment and the opportunity to explore their interests and dreams, we can change their lives and their communities.

Our goal is to ensure that individuals with Intellectual Disabilities get the encouragement and support they need to discover their own visions of independence.

Vision

Communities where all abilities are embraced and valued.

Mission

An individualized holistic approach to community living for people with Intellectual Disabilities.

VOI’s History

In 2000, the Manitoba Government announced the closure of the Pelican Lake Institution. Under the advisement of the Pelican Lake Transition Team, Adult Family Services, and the Association of Community Living Manitoba, a small community group came together to help ease the transition of individuals leaving this institution. This passionate group of community members had a vision of something more – communities where individuals could receive the individual, holistic support they needed to be active within the community. With this dream, Visions of Independence was born.

Since then, VOI has expanded its services and work. We are a community of families, friends, educators, and community members who value the individuality of all people.

Our Values

Communication

We strive to be open, honest, timely, accurate, respectful, and authentic in all our communication.

Integrity

We are committed to act in an ethical, honest, and transparent manner when relating to supported individuals, founders, staff, and community.

Team Work

We value collaborative efforts and partnerships to achieve goals. We trust in others’ strengths, abilities, and knowledge.

Quality

We value high quality of support and endeavor to exceed all stated standards.

Community

We believe in the importance of community for everyone.

Board of Directors

Meghan Ross

President

Meghan Ross is a lawyer with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, practicing in civil litigation and labor and employment law. In her free time, Meghan enjoys playing various sports, especially ringette, hockey, and soccer. Meghan is excited and honored to be welcomed as a new board member for VOI.

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David

David Ross

Treasurer

David Ross is a senior accountant at the Exchange Group Chartered Professional Accountants specializing in municipal and not-for-profit accounting. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Business and Administration in 2011 and a Bachelor of Economics in 2012 receiving his Chartered Accountant designation in 2015. In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his family and playing hockey. He also enjoys watching movies and almost any televised sport.

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Georgia Couturier

Secretary

Georgia Couturier is a Crown Attorney with the Manitoba Prosecution Service. She graduated from the University of Victoria in 2006 with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Before returning to university to complete her law degree, Georgia worked as an Account Manager in the Finance Industry. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2012 with a Juris Doctor and has worked with the Manitoba Prosecution Service since that date. Georgia loves spending time in nature and enjoys outdoor adventures such as hiking the Chilkoot Trail in the Yukon or sea kayaking in the Saguenay Fjord in Quebec. Georgia is excited to be involved with Visions of Independence and is honored to be the Secretary of the Board.

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Shonna Pepper

Members at Large

Shonna Pepper is the owner of Disability Tax Matters. Operating in Winnipeg, it assists those with disabilities in financial matters. Her passion to support these individuals is a direct result of advocating for her own family members. Prior to opening the business, she spent 20 years providing financial counselling in the Banking Industry as well as human resource functions for the Health Authority. Shonna received a Human Resource Manager Diploma from the University of Manitoba. She has served as President and Secretary on other Boards and is honoured to join the Directors on the VOI Board. Shonna enjoys listening to her children make music and can often be seen cheering at their sporting events.

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Cathy Bator

Vice President

Cathy Bator is a Crown Attorney with Manitoba Justice. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2006, a Bachelor of Social Work in 2009, and completed law school in 2012, all at the University of Manitoba.  In her spare time, Cathy loves travelling, cooking, and reading.  Cathy is very excited to be on the Visions of Independence Board.

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Jim Wagner

Member at Large

Jim Wagner has been a practicing architect for over 25 years. He currently works for the federal government restoring historic buildings. Jim is past president of the Manitoba Association of Architects and a director of the national architects’ professional exam ExAC. Jim’s previous board experience includes a Winnipeg child care center and the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation.

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Management Team

Jennifer Hagedorn

Executive Director

Jennifer joined as a member of the senior team at VOI in September of 2011. She has extensive experience in senior management in the not for profit sector. Jennifer is experienced in leadership, team building, conflict resolution, policy development, operational and strategic planning as well as fund-raising. Jennifer brings the “big picture” vision to VOI. She is very passionate about non-profit work and has dedicated her career to this sector.

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Ven Block

Director of Finance

Ven joined Visions in June 2013. Ven began his journey with Community Living as a full time volunteer in a Day Centre in A L’Arche community in B.C., which was followed several years later with 7 years of experience working in a Residence with several young adults in Winnipeg. When he left the field to pursue a Certified General Accountant designation, he continued on the Board of Directors for 6 years as treasurer and chairperson. After a period of time away, Ven is enjoying his return to this non-profit sector in the capacity of Finance Director.

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Shannon Harley

Director of Services - Winnipeg

Shannon started with VOI in December 2007 in the position of Assistant Manager in a Winnipeg home. She quickly moved into the Residential Coordinator position and then to Residential Supervisor of all Winnipeg homes. Currently she is the Director of Services supervising and supporting Individuals and staff in the homes and Day Program in Winnipeg. Before coming to VOI, she supported Individuals in her home and worked as a Child Development Worker for Children's Special Services. Since becoming a part of the VOI team, she has been fortunate to know many wonderfully determined people, and has learned more about living life to the fullest and overcoming obstacles to do so. She remains committed to ensuring individualized care and support to each Individual supported by Visions.

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Irene Boyse

Director of Services - Portage la Prairie

Irene has been with VOI since 2003. She was hired to open the first house in Portage la Prairie. Irene has watched the Portage district expand to several homes and a day program. Irene supervises the day to day operations in Portage as Director of Services. She has remained dedicated to VOI and has enjoyed watching its many successes and evolution in a new positive direction.

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Doug

Doug Wasyliw

Day Service Coordinator - Portage La Prairie

Doug joined VOI in Portage in May of 2009, coming from Winnipeg where he had been working with people with disabilities in both day program and residential settings. He enjoys the varied responsibilities of being the VOI – Portage Office Coordinator which has him working with Human Resources, Health and Safety, and Day Program coordination duties. He loves being part of the great Portage VOI staff and management team that works so hard to provide good quality of life for our supported individuals.

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Melissa Van Soelen

Program Development Coordinator

Melissa joined VOI in June 2016, taking on the role of Program Development Coordination. She has worked in variety of different positions within the not for profit sector, and has gain many different skills along the way. Melissa is experienced in leadership, program creation and growth, community engagement, management and operation, program administration as well as events coordination and marketing. Melissa believes in VOIs vision, and dedicates her work towards improving the lives of the people VOI supports.  She is ecstatic about the progress VOI has made throughout the years and feels genuinely grateful to be working amongst passionate and talented professionals.  

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