Visions of Independence acknowledges that we are in Treaty 1 territory and that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Metis Nation. We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.

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Our Vision

Communities where all abilities are embraced and valued.

Mission

VOI provides personalized opportunities for people with diverse abilities to thrive.

We believe that when individuals with intellectual disabilities have the opportunity to explore their interests and dreams, they are empowered to enrich both their own lives as well as others within their community.

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

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We are open and respectful
We are transparent
We value people’s strengths, abilities and knowledge
We think outside the box
We value people’s experiences and perspective

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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.

Staff / Board of Directors

Johnathan Bevan

Johnathan Bevan

President

Johnathan Bevan

President

Johnathan has worked to support individuals labelled with an intellectual disability since 2000. He currently works at the University of Manitoba. He is also a part-time instructor in Red River College’s Disability and Community Support Program. Johnathan holds a B.A. in Theatre and Film from the University of Winnipeg and has created and performed in works locally and internationally. He is currently working on completing his Interdisciplinary Master’s in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba. Outside of work, he likes to go on adventures with his partner and three kids as often as possible. He also regularly trains in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at CFC.

Johnathan Bevan
Georgia Couturier

Georgia Couturier

Vice President

Georgia Couturier

Vice President

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.

Georgia Couturier
Meghan Ross

Meghan Ross

Member at Large

Meghan Ross

Member at Large

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.

Meghan Ross
Alec Zebrun

Alec Zebrun

Treasurer

Alec Zebrun

Treasurer

Alec Zebrun is a teacher in the Supportive Learning Program in the Portage La Prairie School Division. He graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Education. Alec has dedicated his career to alternative education including 7 years as the Learning Coordinator of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba Compass Youth Program. In 2021, Alec graduated with a Masters of Business Administration in Community Economic Development through Cape Breton University and Assiniboine Community College in Brandon. Alec served as MGEU Local 118 President from 2015-2021 and resides in Portage La Prairie. Alec is pleased to have the opportunity to serve the community with the board of VOI

Alec Zebrun
Nick Saunders

Nick Saunders

Member at Large

Nick Saunders

Member at Large

Nick Saunders is a Crown Attorney with the Manitoba Prosecution Service. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Brandon University and a Law degree from the University of Manitoba. He is a Cree citizen from the Norway House Cree Nation. In his free time, Nick enjoys coaching basketball, being outdoors and traveling (both near and far). Nick is honored and excited to be involved with Visions of Independence.

Nick Saunders
Randi Kehler

Randi Kehler

Member at Large

Randi Kehler

Member at Large

Randi Kehler is currently a full-time student at the University of Manitoba studying Psychology and Linguistics. She was the Executive Director of United Way Central Plains based in Portage la Prairie from 2019-2022. Randi loves spending time with her husband and 3 children. Her youngest is on the autism spectrum, so she is very excited to be involved with Visions of Independence.

Randi Kehler
Alvin Catamisan

Alvin Catamisan

Member at Large

Alvin Catamisan

Member at Large

Alvin Catamisan
Lisa Borowski

Lisa Borowski

Member at Large

Lisa Borowski

Member at Large

Lisa Borowski has been teaching since 2007 specializing in Support Services since 2012.  She is currently a Resource Teacher at Acadia Junior High in Pembina Trails School Division where she creates inclusive learning opportunities for students working on individualized programs.  She has been a Special Olympics Coach for the School Program since 2012 and spends the rest of her free time with her husband and two young daughters. Lisa is excited to be involved with Visions of Independence.

Lisa Borowski
Vanessa Gama

Vanessa Gama

Member at Large

Vanessa Gama

Member at Large

Vanessa Gama is a Crown Attorney with the Manitoba Prosecution Service. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2003 with an Honours degree in Sociology. Before returning to university to complete her law degree, Vanessa worked at the University of Manitoba in the Institutional Analysis department analyzing statistics that assisted administration in making enrolment and funding decisions. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2009 with a law degree and worked as a defence lawyer for six years before transitioning to the Manitoba Prosecution Service. Vanessa loves the outdoors. She is an avid fisherwoman and has several master anglers. Vanessa is excited to be involved with Visions of Independence.

Vanessa Gama

Staff / Management Team

Jennifer Hagedorn

Jennifer Hagedorn

CEO

Jennifer Hagedorn

CEO

Jennifer brings over two decades of service in the non-profit sector to VOI. Having been with the agency since 2011, she has cultivated a deep understanding of the intricacies of the disability sector. She has played a pivotal role in various initiatives, demonstrating exceptional leadership, strategic vision, and a passion for social change. She has seen firsthand the transformative power of collective effort and the positive impact we can make on the lives of those we serve.

Jennifer has recently achieved a significant milestone in her continued professional journey by completing her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This advanced education equips her with the latest business acumen and innovative strategies, which she seamlessly integrates into her non-profit leadership approach.

Jennifer firmly believes that by working together, we can create positive, lasting change. She is deeply inspired by the dedicated team members, volunteers, and supporters who share her passion for VOI’s mission.

Jennifer Hagedorn
Irene Boyse

Irene Boyse

Director of Services

Irene Boyse

Director of Services

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.

Irene Boyse
Shannon Harley

Shannon Harley

Director of Advocacy, Training and Development

Shannon Harley

Director of Advocacy, Training and Development

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. She then moved into the role of Director of Services supervising and supporting Individuals and staff in the homes and Day Program in Winnipeg. Currently she is the Director of Advocacy, Training and Development supporting both staff and people supported in all regions. 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.

Shannon Harley
Ven Block

Ven Block

CFO

Ven Block

CFO

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.

Ven Block
Scott Morden

Scott Morden

Property and Transitions Director

Scott Morden

Property and Transitions Director

Scott Morden has worked in the Disability Services field since 2001. He brings vast experience in both service delivery as well as administration. He's worked in multiple regions and is excited to use that experience at VOI. He has also served on the Abilities Manitoba Board of Director's. Scott is interested in Leadership, Employee Development and effecting positive change for the people we support. Away from work Scott and his wife Diana have 2 daughters that keep them very busy. 

Scott Morden
Terra Huston

Terra Huston

Director of Services

Terra Huston

Director of Services

Terra joined the VOI team in April of 2018 when Rainbow Residence in Carman amalgamated with  VOI.   She had been the general manager in Carman for several years responsible for all operations. Terra has her Disability and Community Support diploma from Red River college and has been working in the field most of her career.  She has extensive experience in community support, leadership, and community relations. Terra is just starting a new role as Director of Services and is very excited  to be supervising and supporting individuals and staff within the VOI regions.  Outside of work Terra lives with her husband and two sons on their cattle farm at Stephenfield.

Terra Huston
Laura Hancock

Laura Hancock

Human Resources Director

Laura Hancock

Human Resources Director

Laura joined VOI in November 2017 as a Human Resource Generalist for Portage and Winnipeg.  She has 12 years of work experience in retail and 3 years of HR experience in corporate organization. She enjoys working in the community in which she grew up.

She has gained a variety of experience in management, leadership, policy developent, organizational culture, employee relations, recruitment and selection training & development.

Laura Hancock
Twylla McLean

Twylla McLean

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Twylla McLean

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Twylla joined VOI in February 2016.  Having worked in health care doing information management for 20 years she moved into the non-profit sector at VOI.  Working at a company where supporting vulnerable people is the priority has brought Twylla a profound sense of belonging.  A significant strength that Twylla brings to the VOI team is her ability to see opportunity and gather the resources necessary to bring projects together.  After five years at VOI in various positions this is what yields her current title of Director of Strategic Initiatives.

 

In her spare time Twylla can be found hanging out with family and enjoying nature; sometimes at the same time!  She also loves kayaking, hiking, biking and camping. When she is not doing one of her favorite outdoor activities, you may find her indoors enjoying a good book or movie.

Twylla McLean