Alfred Achoba is the Executive Director. Born in Nigeria, and a graduate of Thompson Rivers University. Alfred is a strong advocate for mental health with a background in Psychology and community engagement. Alfred has served at CMHA Kamloops in various positions. He previously held the position of Manager of Homelessness Services and Shelter Operations and Acting Operations Leader. Alfred has represented the organization on public panels and community events. In his previous role, he was responsible for the management, supervision, professional development and evaluation of CMHA Kamloops Emergency Shelters, with a successful record of program expansion, design and implementation within the shelter system. In his spare time, Alfred teaches at Thompson Rivers University on the subject of Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Behavior.
As the Current Executive Director and under my leadership, CMHA Kamloops has enjoyed significant growth and I oversee an annual budget that has grown from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000. I have overseen the expansion and opening of several projects including Rosethorn House, Memorial Arena & Kamloops Curling Club Shelters, Merit Place Shelter, Moira House and Envision Day Space all within the City of Kamloops. As the leader of over 150+ employees, I understand the importance of a diverse staff group and I recognize that as the face of this agency and visible minority, my voice and actions are powerful; I intend to use them and our programs to uplift our community, break down stigmas and promote wellness. Every day, I am reminded that “I work for my community” and outside of my life in the social sector, I am a travel enthusiast, father of three and a soccer fan.
Christa Haywood-Farmer is the Manager of Community & Vocational Integration with Canadian Mental Health Association, Kamloops Branch. Over the years, she has had opportunities to develop programming, to teach and train staff, volunteers, and communities, and to build relationships and trust with those accessing service. Her focus throughout her 20 years within the social service field has been mental health, which includes promoting awareness in the hopes of decreasing stigma.
Karina Laitres is our Community Educator and a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who has worked in a wide variety of areas within the field of mental health and addictions. She has experience in acute psychiatric units for children, adults and the geriatric population, brain injury recovery and rehabilitation units, psychosocial rehabilitation programs, children’s mental health therapy, and complex care support. Karina has also lead projects assisting organizations with needs assessments and comprehensive planning to fill in gaps in service, guided by research and best practice principals.
Most recently, she completed a project with the Edmonton Police Service and an extensive homelessness stigma reduction project in the city of Kamloops, BC. Karina is very passionate about advocacy, and now specializes in community mental health, addictions, and homelessness education.
Liane Gottgetreu is the Manager of Finance and Administration. Liane spent several years working in the non-profit sector in Vancouver and continued to follow in those footsteps when she moved to Kamloops in 2020. Liane feels very fortunate to be part of a wonderful team in a growing and progressive non-profit organization that truly cares about the people who benefit from the services provided by CMHA Kamloops.
As the organization expands, so does the finance department. The finance team’s goal is to continue to follow the objective of having a structured and streamlined department that runs smoothly.
Cheryl Mathieson is the Manager of Homelessness Services and Shelter Operations. Mental health has always been important to her because it is the foundation which allows everyone to be the best person they can be. It assists us to function within in our community and be productive individuals. She has always stood up for those who were unable to advocate for themselves. Being able to help those less fortunate because of mental unwellness is something that truly touches her heart and soul. This passion is instrumental in feeling fulfilled and maintaining her own mental health.
Jennifer Smith is the Manager of Life Skill and Housing Transition. She has worked in a variety of roles within CMHA over the last 7 years. Jennifer is passionate about her work, believing all individuals have value and worth, and that working together we can build strong healthy communities.
Michelle Gauthier is the Manager of Supportive Housing at Rosethorn House. Michelle has been working with Kamloops’ most vulnerable since 2016. Michelle has had the opportunity to pursue careers with multiple social agencies over the years which have solidified meaningful partnerships and strengthened her knowledge of community resources.
Jennifer Healy is the Manager of Shelter Assessment and Triage. Jennifer began her journey with CMHA in 2018, during this time she was enrolled at Thompson Rivers University participating in the Human Service Program.
In her time employed with CMHA, Jennifer has worked in a multitude of different programs and positions
Jennifer believes in meeting people where they are at and works using a person-centered approach. The support that she provides is individualized to fit the capacity of each individual; focusing on maximizing their physical, emotional, and social well being. Jennifer has worked hard to build and environment at Merit Place Shelter where individuals can come together, build supportive relationships and focus on moving forward in their journey.
Saleh Mohammed is the Shelter Access Manager at Stuart Wood. Saleh has a Degree in Business, Minor in Human Resources Management and Certifications in Mental Health. He has always had the passion to help individuals in need of support which is usually as a result of financial instability, family crises or addictions.
He worked in finance and while in service he would advocate to help provide financial loans to the less privileged individuals that are going through a form of crises. He would create a financial plan that would assist them in getting out of their unfortunate circumstance and approve financial loans for such individuals.
Saleh has years of experience working with different social agencies that focus on mental health and the criminal justice system. While at CMHA he has worked in multiple programs through the years and he continues to support individuals by helping them access a suitable shelter that supports their needs.
Adam Burrows is the Manager of Rental Housing. Adam has always been passionate about mental health. He started supporting people in his social circle with their mental and has had his own mental health struggles. Adam had worked with students in the Mental Health space at UBC-O for 3 years before starting his journey with CMHA.
After obtaining a Diploma of Community Service Work and Certificate of Addictions Work, Darsey Lindberg joined Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops in 2017. Working in an array of positions, with a passion for mental health advocacy and creating opportunities to flourish. Her passion has led her to many accomplishments including co-coordinating and ensuring success for our Ride Don’t Hide 2022 – a fundraiser which promotes mental health awareness. Her goal is to continue to delineate stigmas associated with mental health and bring mental health to the open.
In her previous role within the agency, she provided case management support to clients, assisting with goal setting, establishing community connections and advocacy. Currently, she provides leadership and support within our organization, to campaign and defend mental health as a fundamental human right. She oversees communication, activities, varieties of social reach (including social media and photo voice campaigns) and stakeholder engagement within our communities.
She brings a positive attitude and tireless energy; striving to work hard and see those around me succeed. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, spending time outdoors and quality time with her cat.
Catharine Hope is our Manager of Nutrition and Food Services. Catharine, responsible for all of CMHA kitchen facilities. She has 30+ years in the food service industry, focusing on better nutrition in the vulnerable sector including work with aboriginal youth and seniors.
Catharine is a Red Seal Chef who strives to better herself by focusing on the nutritional health of our clients. She is continuing her education in Food Sciences and Nutrition Support with Langara College and is an active member of both Canadian Society of Nutrition Management and the Pacific Society of Nutrition Management.
Kelvin Akakem is the Manager of Envision and Outreach with Canadian Mental Health Association, Kamloops Branch. Kelvin is responsible for overseeing outreach shelter services, peer programming, and coordinating the partnership between CMHA and Community Services with the City of Kamloops. He has been instrumental in the development of the Envision program.
Kelvin started with the organization in November 2014 when he accepted a frontline position at Emerald Centre as a shelter worker. During his time, Kelvin gained knowledge and experience that made the transition to Case Manager in 2019 a natural shift. Building rapport with clients and co-workers is an area he takes great pride in and has supported many through his various roles.
Kelvin has a strong knowledge of available resources and opportunities that benefit those he connects with. Not only has Kelvin supported those within the shelter/supportive housing areas, he has also made great positive impact on the lives of those accessing clubhouse services. He has completed numerous Vulnerability Assessment Tools (VATS) with clients inside and outside of CMHA as part of our outreach case management service. Kelvin continues to advocate for those needing rental subsidies with BC Housing.
Kelvin approaches his work with patience and empathy. He is committed and believes in those he supports. He values his relationships and honors the trust that he has developed. Within his role(s), he has participated and completed training specific to mental health, trauma, homelessness, and substance use.
Kelvin was born and raised in Nigeria. Growing up in the large city of Owerri, Kelvin experienced a lifestyle which included a love of family, sports, and education. To this day, he maintains a love for soccer. Kelvin is a father of a young daughter and he and his wife are keen to explore the Kamloops area and all it has to offer.
Brittany Groves is the Outreach and Integration Coordinator. Brittany was born and raised in Kamloops and has a strong connection and passion to helping our community. Through pursuing a nursing education and working frontline at CMHA, Brittany found a passion for mental health and advocacy for our most vulnerable community members. Brittany has been with CMHA for over 2 years working as a frontline staff in shelter, and most recently in our Envision Outreach Program.
In our CSO and Outreach program, Brittany hopes to reduce the stigma behind those struggling with mental health and addiction disorders and help our community members move forward. Through connecting these clients with services in community, she hopes to help get them housing, treatment, and access to the tools they need to make positive steps in their lives. By partnering with CSO, we will be able to work with people in our community to take an integrated approach and meet each person where they are at and addressing both immediate and future needs.
Ramatoulaye Comma joined CMHA as the Executive Assistant in 2022. Outside of her general administrative roles, Ramatoulaye’s goal for the agency includes researching, fostering education on Mental Health, building platforms for CMHA Kamloops and working with the community to build sustainable housing capacities.
Ramatoulaye is a Swiss-Senegalese Gambian that spent most of her formative years in Mauritius island which fostered a love for the ocean & scuba diving. She enjoys working out, music, art and painting. Rama has a passion for photography including creating photo voice campaigns and initiatives.
She moved to Kamloops in 2017 and recently graduated from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) with a Bachelors in Psychology and Politics. Rama hopes to complete her Masters in Public Health before moving into the medical field.
Ramatoulaye is very passionate about Mental Health, specifically in seniors and its socio-economic impact in our society. She believes Mental Health is an essential part of life and society; a part of health care.
She has volunteered from an early age, including at a local disability centre in Mauritius. She has had opportunities teaching at a local primary school in Senegal and was a volunteer teacher’s assistant for the psychology department at Thompson Rivers University.
In 2021, Ramatoulaye’s CMHA journey started when she volunteered in our administrative office. She helped create systems for filing, human resource capacity building, general administrative support and fostering our mandate towards Mental Health for all.