Board members are united with the common goal of ensuring Aspen Valley’s sustainability and permanency as a leading wildlife sanctuary
Stephanie McMahon, Chair -Stephanie’s love of wildlife brought her to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in 2012 as an animal care volunteer. Since then, she has volunteered in various capacities including the creation of a new website and various fundraising initiatives. Stephanie is passionate about human and animal welfare, fundraising, and client/donor relationships. Stephanie holds an honours bachelor of science degree in wildlife biology from the University of Guelph and a Master’s degree in counselling psychology. She is a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association (NWRA), and is a certified wildlife rehabilitator with both OWREN and the IWRC. Stephanie was appointed to the board of directors in March of 2017, then Vice Chair, and Chair in 2021.
Desiree Tillie, Vice-Chair – Desiree joined AVWS in May 2019 as a volunteer tour guide, and joined the Board of Directors a year later in May 2020. She has a BA in Economics. Desiree retired in 2018 after more than 30 years as a Senior Buyer, Product Development Manager and Brand Manager for major retailers. Her career took her all over the world sourcing and developing exciting, and innovative products. The place that always drew her back, and which remains her favourite place in the world, is right here, in Muskoka. Because the extensive travel took her away from home for so much of the year, she was never able to give back to the community she now calls home. Connecting with AVWS has allowed her to find new passion in her second career as Tour Coordinator and as a Board member. Her extensive skill set of relationship building, negotiation, collaborative communication and mentoring, along with strong organizational and analytical skills are readily transferable to the new challenges of volunteering at Aspen. As one of the front-line volunteers, it her hope to continue to educate the public about the surrounding wildlife and wildlife interactions with humans.
Tammy Brown, Treasurer – Having grown up in the area, Tammy became involved with Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary through her father Ed Brown who has been a long standing volunteer with the sanctuary. Tammy has been a director of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary since 2011, and is also a director of Women’s College Hospital and a director and past chair of directors of Ovarian Cancer Canada. Tammy is a CPA, CA and a Partner in KPMG’s Audit practice in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). She has over 20 years of audit experience, primarily with public companies. In addition to her technical and client service abilities, Tammy is known for her significant interest and contributions within HR from coaching and mentoring throughout her career to taking leadership roles in the development of others and in diversity inclusion within KPMG. She is a band member of the Shawanaga First Nation. As a member of the Diversity and Inclusion executive committee, Tammy has represented the aboriginal community and continues to develop connections and seek opportunities to support and include these communities in our activities. Tammy has served in leadership positions at KPMG in the areas of recruiting, training and human resources throughout her career. She is currently the HR and Resources Partner for the GTA Audit practice, is a member of the GTA audit leadership team and is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion partner executive committee.
Sarah French, Secretary - Sarah joined the Aspen team as a volunteer tour guide in February 2019. She became a member of the board in May 2020. She has a BA in psychology and math and a B. Ed from York University. After 30 years of elementary school teaching, Sarah retired in 2017. Throughout her career, Sarah was a homeroom teacher for 10 years, and then she moved to become head of the special education resource team for 20 years. Sarah and her husband moved to Muskoka full-time in 2017 after being a cottager for many years. Being a tour guide with Aspen Valley has allowed Sarah to use her skills as an educator and to highlight her passion for wildlife and Muskoka.
Maggie Black, Director – Maggie joined the Aspen Valley board in September 2013. She has a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Geography from Ryerson University, a Bachelor of Education Degree from York University and Master’s Degrees in Theology from Acadia University. Over the past twenty years, Maggie has been employed in various aspects of the education field. She has been an elementary school teacher with the Simcoe County District School Board since 2006. Maggie brings to the board experience in writing and editing, educational resource development, desktop publishing, and graphic, website and blog design. Maggie has served as a volunteer habitat monitor for the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program since 2003. Over the past decade, she has sponsored nine free-flying Trumpeter Swans through the Wye Marsh, and a number of non-releasable animals at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and the former Muskoka Wildlife Centre. In 2003, she founded the Gordon Black Memorial Camp Fund, in memory of her late-husband. To date, the fund has enabled over 170 children to attend summer camp at the Wye Marsh, on full sponsorship. In 2007, Maggie was the recipient of the Wye Marsh’s Harry Lumsden Conservation Award. In her spare time, Maggie is an avid camper, kayaker and canoe-tripper, and also enjoys hiking, bicycling and photography.
Linda Bangay, Director – Linda joined the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary Board of Directors in 2016. In addition to a Bachelor of Education, she holds degrees in Biology, Outdoor Recreation, and Geography. Her career began in the field of education, and her teaching opportunities were varied (e.g., secondary-school Science, Grade 1, and academic upgrading for adults at a First Nation community). Linda has also worked extensively in the social-service sector – with young offenders, abuse survivors, and people with disabilities. Through this work, she has gained considerable experience in: public-education initiatives; the long-term administration of non-profit organizations; engaging, training, and supervising volunteers; fundraising; strategic planning; and, developing and managing successful partnerships with stakeholders and community groups. Linda’s background also includes employment as a Science textbook copy-editor. Since 2008, she has continued this type of work on a part-time basis as a freelance editor and writer for print media, and has created and edited a variety of written educational materials (e.g., brochures, information guides, training manuals). She is also the editor for the recurring publication of a property-owners’ association. Currently, Linda works with people who have disabilities and helps them to acquire and retain employment. Linda has been a long-time advocate of several wildlife-rehabilitation and environmental organizations, and has supported them financially and through volunteer work. Some of her other interests include spending time with family and friends, cycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, canoeing, and reading.
Marilyn Cresswell, Director (Chair from June 2016- March 2021) – Marilyn is a proven marketing leader and a full time Professor and researcher at Humber and brings over 27 years of corporate and product marketing skills to the team. She ran the AdCentre, an in house Advertising Agency at Humber, and gained recognition as the “Director of Possibilities”. Prior to going to Humber Marilyn was a Director of Product Management and lead Corporate Marketing and Communications. Key customers included many financial services, software and consumer products companies such as Microsoft, DuPont, Great West Life, Manulife, and MetLife. Marilyn is a recognized mentor (American Marketing Association) and continues to give back by volunteering. Her strong verbal and written communication skills, along with her ability to lead, coach and motivate have ensured success on many teams. She has worked with not-for-profit and for-profit organizations through the Humber AdCentre including the Special Olympics, Radius Child and Youth Services, Renascent, The Daily Bread Food Bank, Biore and Diageo to name a few. She has won awards and recognition for Innovation and community support. Her contributions include working with the OACP on a cross Ontario “Harm Reduction” initiative in 2016 and with an initiative to educate about hate crimes with the Toronto Police Association in 2021. Marilyn visited Aspen Valley in 2015 and became more involved when Humber students (via the Humber AdCentre) worked to help advertise and fundraise in 2015. In addition to a degree in Economics, Marilyn holds a post graduate diploma in management studies, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from McMaster University. In 2017 she completed the NFP Governance Program for Corporate Governance from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management.
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary: 1116 Crawford Street Rosseau, ON P0C 1J0
What Our Visitors Are Saying:
"Our environment is a legacy to our children. This team works to support Canada's habitats and native animals in so many ways. Thanks for all you do!"
"Amazing people doing great work."
"Overall great experience."
"A really nice walk with mom and dad. I learned how beavers make up the environment."