Betty-Lou Kristy is the Director for the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support. she is a bereaved mother, in recovery for 20 years from alcohol/multi-drug addictions, trauma and mental health issues. Betty-Lou lost Pete, her 25 year-old son with concurrent disorders to an accidental opioid overdose in 2001. Betty-Lou has spent the last decade as a provincial system-level, lived experience and family advisor, educator and advocate, helping to frame policy, governance, and programming. She also provides peer support and outreach at the community level. Previous to this journey Betty-Lou's background was in corporate marketing. She received the 2009 Transforming Lives Award from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and the 2012/13 ACE (Achievement, Commitment and Excellence) Award, Partner Relations category from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, for her with Expert Advisory narcotics.
PEER INTEGRATION AND SYSTEMS LEAD
Alyssa Gremmen has been involved in peer work for over 10 years in various settings, in both volunteer and paid positions. She has worked in hospital settings, consumer survivor initiatives and community organizations. In addition to her roles in peer work Alyssa, has shared her voice as a person with lived experience at many local committees and through numerous public speaking engagements. Alyssa graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in psychology and since then Alyssa has managed and coordinated programs focusing on youth empowerment, mental health and harm reduction. She has facilitated and developed presentations, workshops and trainings related to peer support and harm reduction. Alyssa’s biggest asset is her passion for valuing and believing in people.
Jody Orr is the embedded evaluator for the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support. she has more than 3 decades of involvement with the non-profit sector as a researcher, senior staff person, governance volunteer and, in the last 2 decades, as a consultant to a wide range of non-profit organizations and, notably, community-based mental health organizations. Specializing in organizational development, governance, program evaluation, community development and citizen participation, she has deeply held commitment to community-based research that gives voice to those whose voices are usually unheard or unheeded. her own lived experience makes her keenly committed to facilitating the empowerment of people with lived experience and ensuring their meaningful engagement in evaluation processes and the decision-making that evaluation informs.
INTERNATIONAL ADVISOR AND TRAINER
Robyn Priest is the International Advisor and Trainer for the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support, and the Co-Creator of Robyn Priest Live Your Truth. She is involved in peer support in 10 countries. She was part of the team that completed the Mental Health Commission Canada (MHCC) Making the Case for Peer Support report and works/consults in a variety of provinces within Canada related to peer support. She works with the Centre, bringing her international expertise and her personal lived and family experience. Robyn's belief is that recovery is a personal journey based on hope and self-determination, and peer support epitomizes that concept.
Lisa McVey is the Administrative Assistant to the Centre for Innovation in Peer Support and all its activities. Lisa's own lived-experience and educational background in psychology and social services is enhanced by an eclectic mix of talents; from marketing and website design to photography. Lisa has worked in education, and marketing, is a weekend photographer, and has even been an interpreter of American Sign Language. These experiences have given Lisa unique set of skills that creatively support the Centre's work.