Our Board of Directors

Crystal Brown

Crystal Brown

President

Crystal has worked in the field of education, insurance and high-tech companies in the field of human resources during the last 20+ years. She believes that literacy education, and education in general, can be transformational, and joined the board at TLG in October 2018. Crystal is a graduate of Western University with a doctorate in Education Leadership, a master’s degree in Curriculum and Policy as it relates to Multilingualism and Multiliteracies, and a Bachelor of Education in English, French and ESL. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, cycling and exploring the outdoors.

Max Neang portrait

Max Neang

Treasurer

Max is a graduate of Brock University and works in public accounting. He enjoys his profession and works with clients from sectors including not-for-profits, manufacturing and retail. He joined TLG in November 2019 because he believes in the importance of education and learning, which his immigrant parents have taught him to value. In his down time he likes to stay active by running and playing basketball.

Andrew Swatridge portrait

Prashanth Promod

Director

Prashanth is a visionary leader, a data science professional and a budding philanthropist. He graduated from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India and believes in challenging conventional thinking and leveraging analytics to drive decisions. Prashanth has also served as Chairman of Sangarsh, an annual fund-raising concert focused at aiding the needy sections of the society. He believes that literacy is not a privilege to a few but a right for all and is working towards transforming lives into smiles. In his spare time he enjoys cycling and exploring new places.

Andrew Swatridge portrait

Zara Dawood

Director

Zara graduated from the University of Waterloo, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is passionate about social planning and the impact it has on individuals. She utilizes her passion by working in social services as a job developer. Working on removing barriers to employment faced by individuals. Her interest in literacy and education programs is rooted in her background of growing up in Pakistan. Drawing from her experiences, she sees the profound effects literacy has on a society as a whole. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, boxing and cooking.

April Souwand

April Souwand

Director

April  has been a volunteer tutor for The Literacy Group for almost two decades. She has recently retired from her career as a professional land use planner, and now dedicates some of her free time to helping out on The Literacy Group board of directors, in addition to being a one-on-one tutor. With her experience and education as a municipal land use planner, some of her key skills include communication and policy development. She is very passionate about the importance of literacy in our society, which she feels has become even more important in the digital age. Some of her other pursuits include golf, dog agility, horseback riding and travel. She is pictured here with her miniature schnauzer “Louie” who she competes with in dog agility trials.

Director Margot McCurry

Margot McCurry

Director

Margot has had a lifelong passion for literacy. As an educator and as a volunteer, she has experienced the joys and rewards of assisting students become confident readers and writers. She is a graduate of University of Waterloo, Carleton and Western and continues to be a “life long learner”. She has participated in many boards and volunteer associations including Soroptimists International. As a board member, Margot seeks to support the work of the team at The Literacy Group. She enjoys many outdoor activities, especially those involving water.

Jack Rehder Director

Jack Rehder

Director

Jack joined the Literacy Group as a tutor in 2012, and has worked with learners ranging from age 25 to 65. He is a firm advocate of life-long learning for everyone, and believes that this learning can take many forms beyond traditional academics – acquiring new life skills, developing physical skills, and embarking on a journey of self-reflection can all contribute to the learning and growth of the individual. Jack works as the Executive Officer at the University of Waterloo overseeing budget, human resources and infrastructure for the Faculty of Mathematics. He enjoys travel, especially to locations where he has an opportunity to dive.

Director Julie Chretien

Julie Chretien

Director

Julie has been in recruitment and selection for over 20 years. She has become a trusted advisor for workforce planning to many levels of leadership across Southwestern Ontario in a variety of industries. In 2021, she finished the Human Resources Management Graduate Program at Conestoga College to supplement a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. In addition, she gained her CHRP through HRPAO and is completing the requirements for the leadership level of certification.

Julie has volunteered for literacy programs since she was in high school. Growing up in a small town in the southern U.S. gave her insight into how low literacy touches every part of person’s life. She began volunteering for The Literacy Group in 2019 and continues to see how important literacy is in finding meaningful work and dignity as a human being.

Emily Grzyb Board Director

Emily Grzyb

Director

Emily  is a proud member of the board of the Literacy Group and has tremendous respect for it’s ongoing contribution to literacy in the Waterloo Region. As a credentialed teacher with over fifteen years of experience in education, Emily is committed to supporting literacy in her community. In 2020, Emily founded Grand River Tutoring, a Kindergarten to grade 12 tutoring company located in Cambridge. Prior to that she has a background in both Adult and Elementary Education in both Toronto and California. She has worked as a general classroom educator, adult educator and now she specializes in supporting children to gain skills and learn to love reading.

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