(l to r: Debby, Sam, Val, Marnie, Leanne, Mary-Alex)
Mary-Alex Willer was appointed as the Executive Director of Open Access Resource Centre (OARC) in January 2023. Mary-Alex is a Registered Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), and received her Master of Science from University of North Dakota. She then began her augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) journey working as a SLP in the St. James School Division. While there, she thoroughly enjoyed supporting school-aged children with a variety of communication difficulties. She joined OARC in 2019 to focus more specifically on AAC, and trains and mentors students’ teams in the programming and use of their speech-generating devices.
Speech - Language Pathologist
Val joined the OARC staff in August 2007. She brings with her an extensive knowledge of Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) having specialized in the area of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for the past 14 years. With a strong comittment to enriching the lives of non-verbal individuals through the proper use of SGDs she is an integral part of our organization.
Speech - Language Pathologist
Samantha Walters joined our team as a Speech-Language Pathologist is November 2022. Sam worked as a rural clinician for 5 years in the Interlake in both the education and health care settings. She has also worked in the private sector. Sam brings with her experience working with a number of AAC users and their support teams in schools, homes, daycares, nursery schools and community settings. She is passionate about empowering others on how to build communication skills in everyday life! Sam is also an acting instructor for youth in Winnipeg.
Assistive Technology Specialist
Leanne brings more than 15 years of experience creating, implementing, and delivering training programs. She has been supporting special needs families, and their teams, since joining OARC in 2018. She brings extensive knowledge of AAC and SGD’s, and provides the unique perspective of also being the parent of an AAC user. Leanne specializes in real-life modeling, introducing AAC to preschools, and incorporating literacy instruction. Leanne also manages most of OARC's social media.
Marnie spent 7 years coordinating the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba's annual stationary bike race fundraiser before returning to OARC in 2014. She has previously served on OARC's Board of Directors and worked part-time as an administrative assistant at OARC. Marnie's adult daughter communicates using a speech generating device and first borrowed a BIGmack from OARC's lending library back in 1995.
Debby Wile began her Administrative Assistant position in April 2022. Debby has 15 years’ experience in accounting and administrative work environments. In her previous life, she worked as a graphic artist after graduating from Advertising Art. If you need to contact the office it will likely be Debby who answers your call and points you in the right direction.