Board & Staff

We wouldn’t be able to do things we do for our community without these dedicated individuals.

Mary Bickert

Mary Bickert
Community Coordinator

That reassuring voice on the other end of our phone line; Mary fields calls from our families old and new about events, resources, volunteer coordination, donations, updates, and general inquiries. She also coordinates the activities, marketing, and social media for PLAN Okanagan. She is the backbone and heart of this great organization and we’re proud to have her on staff.

Shelley DeCoste

Shelley DeCoste
Co-Chair

Shelley DeCoste is a change-maker and a tireless advocate for true inclusion throughout the Okanagan. In 2010, Shelley launched the province-wide campaign to change the word ‘disability’ to ‘diverse ability’.  Her goal was to draw attention to the diverse abilities of those who are labelled with a disability.  It was a call to see what all individuals are able to do and be.
Shelley is a volunteer for a variety of organizations, past self-advocate liaison for Pathways Abilities Society, presenter/educator and course co-developer for the CLBC Welcome Workshop, developer of the Diverse Ability Workshop, currently is a Strategic Initiative Advisor for CLBC, and is a Special Olympian.  Her life underlines her diverse abilities.

David Paynter

David Paynter
Co-Chair

David is a founding member of PLAN Okanagan and has served in a variety of roles on and off the board. He and his family have been great supporters of PLAN Okanagan over the years.

Denise Martell

Denise Martell
Director & RDSP Presenter

Denise is a financial professional and entrepreneur who has dedicated 10 years to helping families achieve their goals and dreams. Denise found her passion for helping others while advocating for her son. Realizing a strong financial foundation including, access to the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) would enable him to lead a full inclusive life in the community. Her personal experiences, post-secondary teaching, and Certified Education Assistant (CEA) backgrounds have been invaluable in helping with the success of PLAN Okanagan. She is committed to promoting safe & secure futures for people with disabilities through financial education, estate planning and implementation of the RDSP program. Denise is currently a Marketing Director with World Financial Group. When she is not working you will find her enjoying time with her family and dog Bo, walking the trails, and exploring the many comforts of the Okanagan.

Lena Charlton

Lena Charlton
Secretary-Treasurer

Lena Charlton joined the PLAN Okanagan Board in 2018. Passionate about supporting people with disabilities and their families. Her hands-on approach, knowledge, and experience help to make an impact on the organization. Lena enjoys facilitating the Safe and Secure Book Club. 

Tracey Beckett

Tracey Beckett
Director

Tracey Beckett is a social worker who has dedicated more than 20 years in a variety of family support roles. Tracey found her passion when she had to rise up and advocate for her daughter to have the same opportunities as her typical peers. She is committed to promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in education, employment and beyond. Tracey is currently the Regional Network Coordinator for the Family Support Institute of BC. When she’s not working, you will find her on the sidelines cheering for her kids or on a trail in the great outdoors! 

Julie Armitage

Julie Armitage
Director

Julie Armitage has worked in the community living and health care fields for close to 40 years. She is a graduate of the music therapy program at Capilano College (now University) and worked for several years with Veterans and seniors in long term care specializing in dementia care, mental illness, palliative/end of life care, complex age-related issues and other functional impairments.
She went on to work as a Family Resource Developer supporting ageing parents of individuals with diverse abilities in developing and implementing transition plans for the future, providing support coordination, social support development, facilitated support groups and workshops. Julie now enjoys working as an independent facilitator and service provider for CLBC under her own business “Connectability Okanagan”. Julie is on the Board of Directors for Plan Okanagan and the CLBC North Okanagan Shuswap Community Council. She is actively involved in local theatre and is a proud member of the 100 voice Vancouver City Soul Choir.

 

Maggie Lister

Maggie Lister
Director

Margaret (Maggie) Litster is a self-advocate and active member of her community in Vernon, BC. She is one of the founding members of Okanagan Accessibility which was created in 2016 by a committee of individuals who believe that everyone has the right to access public places in the community and has actively lobbied local government and businesses to address barriers to inclusion. Maggie also serves on the Board of Directors for Plan Okanagan, Independent Living Vernon, and the CLBC North Okanagan Shuswap Community Council. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys an active social life which includes going to the theatre, concerts, dinners, shopping and travel.