Stacey Peacock (President)
Stacey is a full time mom/wife and, over the past 2 decades, an eager participant in many community groups, charities, dance associations, and her children’s schools’ parent councils. She is also the creative mind behind Raq’n Monkeys, where she is busily creating custom designed wool simian caricatures. Stacey is an active member in the Edmonton belly dance community, a founding member of the Raq-a-Belly dance! troupe (2005), and a well-known fabric artist.
April Gurnett (Vice President)
April is the owner and face behind Lasting Love Weddings & Events, established in 2009, a small business in Edmonton offering wedding planning and design, décor rentals and floral design. She loves small details and lists, and the look on peoples faces when they see their partner for the first time on their wedding day. She cries at every wedding. April enjoys volunteering and giving back. She and her twin girls volunteer with Kids Giving Hope at Hope Mission and it makes her heart happy to see the smiles on her daughters’ faces when they offer a helping hand to others. She is an active member on the Parent Council at her kids’ school and her company proudly sponsors an annual fundraiser each year. April is happy to offer her support to the Drawn to Books organization and its programs!
Junaid Jahangir, Ph.D. (Treasurer)
Junaid is an Assistant Professor of Economics at MacEwan University. He is also active in the LGBTQ2S+ community and co-authored Islamic law and Muslim Same-Sex Unions with Dr. Hussein Abdul Latif. Junaid is a contributor to Huffington Post and Daze Magazine. He is pleased to be able to lend a helping hand in creating greater access to the arts for youth in Alberta.
Gail de Vos
Storyteller, librarian and former junior high school teacher, Gail de Vos has been an active promoter of the oral tradition of literature for three decades. Gail teaches courses on storytelling, Canadian children’s literature, First Nations literature, and comic books and graphic novels at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Library and Information Studies. For many years she told stories at Fort Edmonton Park to bring the history of the Edmonton area alive through storytelling and was co-organizer of the annual Storytelling Festival held at the Park for 18 years. Gail is the author of nine award winning resource books on storytelling and folklore in popular culture intended for educators working with students in Grade 6 and above. Her love for comics, and the resulting development and teaching of the online course for almost two decades, was reignited by her research for these books and various articles. She soon discovered that comics are the closest print medium to oral storytelling and tells people of this fact at every opportunity. She continues to be extremely focused on the appearance and reworkings of folklore in comics.
Ryan talks news, politics, and pop culture as host of The Ryan Jespersen Show on Edmonton’s 630 CHED. Recognized as one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture, and as one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 on Avenue Magazine’s inaugural list, Ryan’s established himself as a next-generation mover and shaker in Alberta’s capital city. Ryan has extensive experience in media, having worked in newspaper and television (including six years as host of Breakfast Television) before moving to talk radio. He is a sought-after host and emcee, including his work as in-game host during Edmonton Oilers home games at Rogers Place.Ryan’s community contributions have been recognized by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (Lynda Steele Media Award), the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (Men of Honour Award), the Movember Foundation, Canadian Progress Club, the YWCA, and many other non-profit agencies across the province.