CPI Staff

Derek Cook


Derek Cook joined the Canadian Poverty Institute in 2015. Previously he served as the Executive Director of the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, leading the Mayor’s task force on poverty reduction. Derek’s work also includes extensive experience in social research and policy development at The City of Calgary and in community development with various organizations across Canada. Currently, Derek serves on the board of Canada Without Poverty, a national anti-poverty organization. Derek holds a B.A. in Political Studies from McGill University, an M.Sc. in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph, and is a Registered Social Worker in the Province of Alberta.

Telephone: 403-410-2913
Email: Derek.Cook@ambrose.edu

Rita Yembilah

Senior Researcher

Rita Yembilah's academic and research expertise spans topics in International and Community Development including  poverty and precarious livelihoods, social conflict, African Studies, Indigenous Knowledge, Gender Education as well as interrelated topics in social problems, social inequality and social justice. She has taught at the University of Calgary, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and maintains a teaching position at Mount Royal University (Calgary)Her work with nomadic (but sedentarizing) Fulani in West Africa have brought her into contact with interesting individuals from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal, resulting in a myriad cross-cultural experiences. Over the years, she has worked as a teacher at a rural elementary school, a library assistant; a Livelihoods Development Consultant and rep. for SmartKids Ghana, a program that supports gifted poor children to remain in school. She obtained her PhD and Master’s degrees from the University of Calgary and a BA First Class Honours from the University of Ghana, Accra. 

Telephone: 403-410-2000
Email: Rita.Yembilah@ambrose.edu

Katherine Leonard


Katherine Leonard was born in Cameroon, where her parents did linguistic and community development among the Baka Pigmies. From a young age she was exposed to poverty and the power of an asset based approach to community development. In 2013 she moved to Calgary, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences at Ambrose University.

Katherine’s work with the Canadian Poverty Institute has included participatory community assessment work, and providing research support to the Energy Poverty Roundtable and the Justice Sector Constellation.

Katherine’s community experience includes living in an intentional housing unit in a Calgary Housing community, where she and her housemates build relationships with neighbours, plan and host programs, and advocate for those experiencing poverty. Through this partnership with Calgary Housing, and other community development workers, she and her housemates have had the privilege of hearing the stories of individuals in disadvantaged situations and seeing them take initiative and leadership positions in community programs and events. She has also worked with Encompass, a resource center in the NE, supporting several programs and workshops to help individuals experiencing poverty as well as provide training for faith based community workers in Calgary and with Aspen Family and Community Network Society.

Email: kleonard@my.ambrose.edu

Faculty Associates

Monetta Bailey, PhD (ABD), MA, BA
Assistant Professor, Sociology
Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 5901
Email: mbailey@ambrose.edu

Randy Poon, PhD, MBA, BComm
Associate Professor and
Program Chair, Business Administration

Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 6513
Email: rpoon@ambrose.edu

Angie Redecopp, BEd, MBA
Associate Professor, Business and
Development Studies

Telephone: 403-410-2000
Email: aredecopp@ambrose.edu

Dr. Jim Cresswell PhD, BA
Assistant Professor, Psychology
Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 6904
Email: jim.cresswell@ambrose.edu


Alex Sanderson, PhD, MSc, BA
Associate Professor, Psychology
Behavioural Science Program Chair
Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 5907
Email: asanderson@ambrose.edu

Beth Stovell, PhD, MCS, BA
Assistant Professor, Old Testament
Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 3995
Email: bstovell@ambrose.edu

Colin Toffelmire, PhD, MA, BTh
Assistant Professor, Old Testament and
Program Convenor
Telephone: 403-410-2000 ext. 6916
Email: ctoffelmire@ambrose.edu