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Meet the Board

Gordon H. Andreiuk, Chair
Edmonton, AB

I am a family lawyer that works with divorcing clients who want to divide their property and establish support and parenting arrangements fairly, and outside of the adversarial court process or non-lawyer supported divorce franchises.

I most enjoy files that involve complicated business and farm property.

In addition to the AFMS, I am actively involved in the Edmonton Association of Collaborative Family Professionals (ACFP), and the Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association (CDAA).


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2012


Brenda Arseneault, Director
Mediation Works Inc.
Calgary, AB

Financial Accountant and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), Chartered Mediator (CMed), Registered Family Mediator (RFM), Facilitator and Coach; she is a principal of Arseneault, Ciavarella & Associates and Mediation Works Inc., Calgary, Alberta - consulting firms that provide business consulting, business succession planning and alternative dispute resolution services to private individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations for many years.

Mediator for Alberta Justice - Civil Mediation since 2000. Mediator for Family Justice Services, Coach, Assessor for Conflict Resolution Mediation Certificate Program at Mount Royal University.

Resides in Calgary, AB

Brenda is active as a board director and member of Family Mediation Canada (FMC - OC, Marketing, Ethics) Alberta Family Mediation Society ( AFMS -Past Treasurer, VP, Website) Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society (AAMS - Past Treasurer, Director). Other Memberships - Calgary Community Mediation, Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts (IDFA) USA.

"My goal is to manage your wealth and lifestyle during the journey of divorce while providing you with a sound financial plan for the future as you rebuild your life." Brenda Arseneault


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2007


James S Pender, MSW, RSW, PhD (Ed), Chair
Calgary, AB
James Pender & Associates
jamespenderassociates.com

Registered Clinical Social Worker
Certified Clinical Addictions Counsellor
Certified Human Resources Professional

Jim holds four degrees including a Masters in Clinical Social Work and a PhD in Educational Research. Jim has counselling practice, located in Calgary, that includes work with various organizations regarding dispute resolution strategies. As a Parenting Coordinator, Jim has many years of experience working with high-conflict parents.

Past board work has included the Alberta Law Foundation, The Collaborative Professionals Association (Calgary), and the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter.


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2010


Sharon Crooks

Sharon has been the managing partner at Rowanoak Law Office LLP for more than 10 years and is one of the more senior family lawyers in Central Alberta. Sharon graduated from the University of Alberta in 1987 with her LL.B. and later obtained her LL.M. at the University of London in London England in 1988. Sharonís experience is varied and spans the globe. She was employed as an Associate on Wall Street in New York, NY doing international commercial litigation and on Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario doing civil litigation. Sharon then accepted a position heading up the Legal Department at the Children Aid in Hamilton Wentworth and was one of 5 directors of that organization. A few years later Sharon was offered, and accepted, a position as legal counsel with the Department of Justice, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section in Ottawa and later was seconded to the United Nations Commission of Experts (UNCOE) in former Yugoslavia as a Legal Expert for the UNCOE Sexual Assault Mission. Sharon has also worked with the Legal Aid Society of Alberta as Senior Civil Staff Counsel, setting up the Central Alberta Legal Office in Red Deer and as the Senior Trust and Legal Officer for a group of companies doing offshore business structuring, among other positions.

Sharon currently practices primarily family, divorce and children's law. She is regularly appointed as counsel for children in Child and Family Services matters and by the Courts to represent children in high conflict family matters. Sharon practices collaborative law and she is now also providing mediation/arbitration and parenting co-ordination services in the areas of family and civil law. Sharon has taken various courses in mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and many other Legal Education Society and childrenís counsel courses. Sharon has also been a Speaker and Panel Member for the Legal Education Society of Alberta in Child Welfare Book Camps and for various groups in Central Alberta with respect to Family Violence and Emergency Protection Orders.

Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2015


Tara Fitch, Vice Chair

Tara approaches every therapeutic relationship with a warm, down to earth style that has developed over years of working with people. Her practice has evolved from working with children and families at risk, to supporting people in all life stages as they face the challenges that life can set in our paths. The easy, non-judgemental approach makes it possible to work cooperatively toward resolution by integrating an eclectic approach to the therapeutic conversation, your story is honoured and given a safe, comfortable place to evolve.

Over the last 8 years, Tara has developed an expertise in working with children, individuals and families in transition, offering her skills to people navigating the changes that come with separation, divorce and the space beyond. Tara prides herself in staying current on the latest research related to supporting families in transition. From mediation to parenting coordination, Tara will help to guide you through this difficult process so that your family emerges in a new way where meaningful relationships can thrive.

Tara has been qualified as a Parenting Expert in the Court of Queen's Bench under the Practice Note 7, offering a range of interventions and evaluations aimed at assisting the Court with decision-making. In cases where children are involved, the best interest of children is a central consideration; Tara has been working in this area for nearly 10 years and is known for her willingness to assist families in the development of cohesive and positive parenting structures.

Tara had a Masters Degree in Social Work with Clinical Specialization and runs a private practice in Red Deer of the past 18 years. She is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Court and the International Academy of Collaborative Practitioners. Tara is also a Registered Parenting Coordinator/Arbitrator through the Alberta family Mediation Society. She is newly accepted the position of Vice Chair for the Alberta family Mediation Society for 2015-2016.


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2015


Andrea LaRochelle

Andrea is a Registered Family Mediator and High Conflict Separation and Divorce Strategist.. She has a keen understanding of high conflict personality patterns, and the crazy-making they can create (for everyone involved - including your children!) Andreaís primary focus is communication between parents.

Andrea knows what to say, when to say it, and when to say nothing at all - while ensuring your legal a** is covered - allowing you to focus on what matters: your children.

Andrea is the co-ordinator for Parenting After Separation, Parenting After Separation High Conflict, Focus on Communication in Separation and When Parents Canít be Friends.

Andrea is also the author of Iím Done: Take Control of Your High Conflict Divorce and three childrenís books helping children manage their emotions; Goodbye Angry Bugs, Goodbye Worry Bugs and Goodbye Teary Bugs.

Professional Information:
  • Registered Family Mediation with Alberta Family Mediation Society
  • Alberta Family Mediation Board Member
  • New Ways for Families Online Provider
  • High Conflict Institute Trainer and Speaker
  • Focus on Communication (FOCIS) in Separation Facilitator
  • Focus on Communication (FOCIS) in Separation Program Coordinator
  • Parenting After Separation (PAS) Program Host and Facilitator
  • Reforming Family Justice Co-chair, Family Supports Division
  • AFCC Member


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2016


Penny Woodcock

Penny has been a Registered Family Mediator (Alberta Family Mediation Society) since 1999. She is also a Chartered Mediator (ADR Institutes of Alberta and Canada) and an IMI-certified Mediator (International Mediation Institute).

Professionally, Penny is a Registered Psychologist (College of Alberta Psychologists) and a Lawyer (Law Society of Alberta, with change in status from practising to non-practising in 2015).

Pennyís practice is now restricted to Mediation, mostly in the family law area. She draws on her training and experience as a Psychologist and a Lawyer to help her clients navigate the difficult life transition of separation and divorce in a way that allows them to retain their integrity and restructure their family without destroying it, personally and financially.

Penny has a private mediation practice and also is a roster mediator for Alberta Justiceís family and civil mediation programs.


Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2016


Peggy Walden
Walden Family Law
Calgary, AB

I am a family mediator and lawyer practicing in the Beltline area of Calgary. I work with couples and individuals to resolve the issues arising from their relationship breakdown fairly and respectfully. I have practiced in the family law area since graduating from Queenís Law School in 1989. I took my first mediation course in 1995 and havenít stopped since. Iíve been to Harvard to take advanced training and attend many other courses and seminars every year.

When Iím not helping separating couples resolve their disputes, Iím either riding my bicycle, enjoying live music or travelling.

Year joined AFMS Board of Directors: 2016



List of Past Chairs of the AFMS Board