Board of Directors
Tracey Carpenter, President
Tracey joined CHN when her daughter Avery was diagnosed with ALCAPA in 2009. Avery has had two open heart surgeries, her ALCAPA repair immediately after diagnosis, and her mitral valve repair two years later. The Carpenters have two daughters Chloe and Avery. Tracey has a bachelor of commerce degree and has worked for her family business in industrial sales for her entire career. Tracey was thrilled to be a part of the organizing committee for the CHN “Growing Up with Heart Disease Conference” in 2012 and she is a family resource parent for CHN. “I am very thankful for the support that we have received from the CHN and its members throughout our journey. Knowing that you are not alone in this sometimes surreal experience of being a heart parent has been a tremendous comfort and I am so honoured to be able to help other families through their journeys. I look forward to collaborating with our more experienced board and helping to carry the CHN and its membership forward. Even though all of our stories are unique we find common threads that join us together and help to make us stronger when we know we are not alone.”
Kerry Harding, Vice-President
Kerry is an art educator who has been teaching grade 6 and 7 for the last 20 years. She lives in North Vancouver with her husband Scott and her two boys, Fraser and Kailen. Kerry has been connected with the Children’s Heart Network since 2007, shortly after the birth of her second son Kailen, who was born with transposition of the great arteries. Today he is a very active 14-year-old with a special heart. Kerry is excited to continue to work with the Children’s Heart Network and offer her expertise as an educator and mother of a child with CHD. She has previously served on the CHN conference planning committee, organized February 14 walks to bring awareness to congenital heart defects, and offered art workshops for the Children’s Heart Network. As a board member, Kerry is able to give back to an organization that has done so much for her family. “I have always felt a sense of connection and understanding with the families from the Children’s Heart Network.”
Jeff Mercer, Treasurer
Jeff joined the CHN as Treasurer in September 2014. He has over 30 years of accounting, business, and management experience in engineering, technology, and manufacturing environments. Jeff is currently Controller for Highland Foundry, where he oversees finance and administration. Previously he has been Director of Finance at Lance Bissett Ltd., Director of Finance for Paradigm Environmental Technologies, Controller for Westbay Instruments, and Division Controller for Schlumberger Water Services. Over his career he has been responsible for accounting, treasury, human resources, risk management, IT, and administration. Jeff resides in Pitt Meadows with his wife, Darlene, and has a son, Matt. He has a strong sense of compassion for those in need. “I am delighted to be able to give back to the community and contribute my time and expertise to this important children’s charity.” Jeff holds a Diploma of Technology in Financial Management from BCIT and is a CPA and CMA.
Jackie Bonsal, Secretary
Jackie has enjoyed a long and rewarding career in Human Resources specializing in the area of employee compensation and benefits for a number of organizations including Vancity Credit Union, TELUS, and the Provincial Health Services Authority. Jackie is currently the Director of Compensation with the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA). Jackie became a Heart Mom in October 2016 when her daughter Londyn was born. Londyn has Pulmonary Atresia with Intact Ventricular Septum (PA/IVS). Along with a number of heart catheterization procedures, Londyn had open heart surgery when she was 5 ½ months old. In early 2020, Jackie approached the Children’s Heart Network expressing an interest in becoming a Board Member. “I very much struggled with becoming a Heart Mom knowing the incredible responsibility and difficulties it would bring. I would not have survived the first six months without the support of this amazing group. Now I feel extremely proud and grateful to be a chosen to be Londyn’s Heart Mom. I have grown as a person and learned so much about life through my extremely special and courageous Heart Warrior. It is time to give back and support others as they begin their unique journey…”
Barb Willson, Member at Large
Barb is a registered nurse who has spent 17 years working with heart kids and families. Barb is one of the founders of the Hearts of Gold Youth Youth Program. While she no longer works in heart care, she continues to have a desire to support heart kids and families. “My niece has grown up with a heart condition and as an aunt I’m so grateful for the support she has received along her journey.” Barb lives in Vancouver with her husband Gordon. “I enjoy volunteering on the board so that every heart child and family has access to peer and family support.”
Joelly Segal, Member at Large
Joelly was thrilled to join the board of the Children’s Heart Network in 2017. She lives in Vancouver with her husband Jory and their four children, Zane, Emmett, Shae and Mattea. Joelly first became aware of The Children’s Heart Network in 2009 when her daughter Mattea was born with a VSD, and shortly after became a volunteer and then a resource parent. Joelly is passionate about giving back to the community and supporting families and children. Joelly has an extensive background in hospitality and event management.
Stephanie Isaac, Member at Large
Stephanie joined the CHN board in January 2014. She grew up in Victoria and trained and worked as a social worker in Victoria and in the UK, before moving to Vancouver with her husband, Charlie, and their three children, Chloë, Rhys, and Drew. Stephanie first became involved with CHN as a volunteer in 2010. Her niece Mila, was a heart child, who, sadly, passed away in August 2012. Stephanie’s sister and brother-in-law started Mila’s Fund to enable heart kids living throughout BC to enjoy the experience of camp.
Samantha Aitken, Provincial Coordinator
Samantha has been a member of the CHN since 2006. She initially became involved as a board member for three years and then eventually took on the role of provincial coordinator. She lives in Vancouver with her husband Rob, son Jackson, and daughter Danielle. She holds a bachelor of commerce from UBC and worked in the restaurant/purchasing industry for the majority of her career. “Our daughter, Danielle, was born with congenital heart disease and had a large VSD repair at three months old. As the mother of a heart child I felt it was important to give back and volunteer in some capacity. This led to me volunteering on the CHN board and ultimately to my current role as provincial coordinator. It is truly gratifying to be able to help a family that has a child recently diagnosed with congenital heart disease, and I am so happy to be working with a very committed board of directors.”
Patty Rippel, Administrative Assistant
Patty has a background in bookkeeping and accounting and will be focusing on finance and other administrative duties. Patty has been a heart mom since 1992 when her son Connor was born. She was first introduced to CHN as a parent and she remembers how great it was to find someone to talk to who had gone through similar experiences. Patty then got involved with CHN as a resource parent helping to support other parents whose child has just been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Patty lives in Maple Ridge with her husband Ted. She is a mother of two grown sons, Kyle and Connor. As a child, Connor underwent repairs to correct his transposition of the great arteries and a VSD repair, and he has transitioned to St. Paul’s PACH clinic. He is now a young adult working for the family business while attending university.
Kristi Coldwell, Hearts of Gold Coordinator, Lower Mainland
Kristi graduated from University of Victoria with a degree in child and youth care and currently works as a child life specialist in the pediatric emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Born with a heart defect, Kristi underwent three open heart surgeries prior to her heart transplant at the age of 17. Because of this Kristi has a unique awareness of and insight into what it means to be a teenager with a heart condition, as well as what it means to persevere in the face of adversity. In her spare time Kristi enjoys going to the beach with her husband and two dogs, spending time in her garden, and taking advantage of a shoe sale!
Megan Madsen, Hearts of Gold Coordinator, Vancouver Island
Megan was born and raised in Victoria, BC, and feels privileged to still call it her home. Megan graduated from the University of Victoria in 2012 with a child and youth care degree and became a certified child life specialist in 2013. She has spent much of her life working with children, youth, and families across a variety of settings. Megan first started with CHN in 2016 when she covered a maternity leave for Krista Molia and recently returned to facilitate the VIHOG youth group in September of 2019. Megan is grateful to have the opportunity to connect with the Island youth and their families and is thankful to be a part of such a supportive and caring network. Megan also works as an FASD keyworker with Beacon Community Services, a non-profit organization in Victoria. When she isn’t working, she is enjoying life with her husband and young son.
Dee de los Santos, Gala Coordinator
Dee is a digital marketing and public relations professional working in numerous industries including film and television, food and beverage, non-profits, and real estate. She is mom to a sweet four-year-old named Winston who was born with DORV and TGA and has gone through the Fontan procedure. Dee organizes the Heart Box project that sends celebration boxes to children living with CHD. When not working, Dee writes about food and travel on her blog Gastrofork.ca and numerous tourism boards and online publications.