Who We Are

The Friends of Banff National Park is a dynamic organization made of passionate and committed staff, board of directors and members.

Interested in become a member? Click here.


Leslie de Bie - Executive Director - leslie@friendsofbanff.com

Leslie comes from Colorado, in search of wilder mountains.  The Canadian Rockies and Banff have been home for 20 years now. She has spent countless hours exploring the backcountry, both in the summer and ski touring in the winter. Her passion for wild places and her desire to make a difference has led her to the position of Executive Director for the Friends of Banff where she is able to share her enthusiasm for the                                                    importance of our national parks with others.

Kathleen Niemiec - Retail Manager - retail@friendsofbanff.com

Kathleen is originally from Belgium, having moved to Canada almost 30 years ago.  She gladly calls the Bow Valley home, where she lives with her family and pets.  An avid gardener and outdoor enthusiast, she finds the mountains to be an inspiration in her daily life.  Kathleen’s retail experience combines fun and elegance to create an atmosphere that is respectful of the artists and customers she works with.  She finds working with the Friends of          Banff a great way to share her passion for the Parks.

Callum Snape - Retail, Social Media, and Photographer  - calsnape@yahoo.ca

 I moved from England to the Canadian Rockies in  January 2010 to teach Snowboarding and pursue my  Photography dreams. I joined the Friends of Banff  in  Spring 2011 running the Information Centre retail store, the Social Media outlets and taking photo's for the blog and website. The outdoors lifestyle brought me to Banff, I Snowboard, Ski, Hike,  Kayak, Cycle and  Para-glide. Nature has always had an inspiring presence in my life and the Friends of Banff allows me to pursue this in the workplace, helping educate others about our environment and the roles we have to play.

Allan Buckingham - Park Radio Contractor - allan@friendsofbanff.com

With a goal of educating people about the natural and cultural history of Banff National Park & the Bow Valley, working for the Friends of Banff’s Park Radio, is very different from the commercial stations I’ve worked for in the past.  For some reason I get a lot more satisfaction telling people about Clark’s Nutcrackers, pikas and trail conditions then I ever did making car ads.  Plus, I can’t think of a better way to learn about the place you live then working for the local community information station.  When I’m not at the station, you can find me out enjoying the hiking trails, skiing in the backcountry, and canoeing some of the areas spectacular white-water.

Camara Miller - Program Director, Park Radio - camara@parkradio.com

Most importantly, I enjoy design, hiking and traveling. At Park Radio, life comes first. In turn, we love the job and dedicate much of our energy producing interesting content about mountain culture, wildlife and current events.  Originally born and raised in Calgary, it didn't take much convincing to get me to move out to Banff. With a journalism degree and itchy feet, working here exercises both aspects. I look forward to Park Radio's                                              ever snowballing future!

Morgan Patterson - Producer, Park Radio - morgan@parkradio.com

I used to live in the ever growing city of Calgary Alberta, where wildlife, trees and fresh-air are scarce! I have just graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of technology, with a diploma in Radio Broadcasting. When the chance at a new job and a new life here in Banff popped up, I quickly wrapped up my work in Calgary, tried on some hiking shoes...and moved out to Banff! My goal here at Friends of Banff Park Radio is to learn about the intricacies in the National Parks Systems, so that I can teach others and get the word out on why the National Parks are so important!  As I learn things about Banff, and the lifestyle that it's people enjoy, I hope to pass on my knowledge to you!



Matt Sabucco - The Nightcap Host and Head Volunteer


Board of Directors

Connie MacDonald - Chair







Joanna Croston - Treasurer

Joanna Croston has been sitting on the Friends of Banff Board of Directors for over five years and currently acts as the Treasurer.

Joanna works at the Banff Centre as an events and sponsorship coordinator for the Banff Mountain Festival, an annual gathering of the mountain climbing and cultural community which is close to her heart.

Joanna is an avid climber and cyclist but has a special affinity for snow, so between work, she tries backcountry ski between 50-75 days each year.

       Ann Morrow - Parks Canada Liaison

I was member of the FOB board in the early 1990s, and have recently returned as the Parks Canada Liason. A long-time Banff resident I have worked for Parks Canada in Banff since the early 1980s. In my current role as External Relations Manager I am responsible for partner and stakeholder relations, media and public relations, communications with the regional community, and Banff National Park's volunteer program, website, and school outreach education programs. I see potential in all of these areas for working more closely with the Friends of Banff, and look forward to doing just that.

       Felicity Edwards - past Chair

Felicity holds an M.SC. in Human Ecology from the University of Calgary (1978), and an M.A in Systems in Management from the University of Lancaster (UK). She has participated in numerous professional development programs on community development, facilitation, conflict resolution, communications and business practices.
A Canmore resident for the past 22 years, Felicity has served as a volunteer board member for a number of local organizations: Past Chair of the Friends of Banff, Chair of the Board of the Chinook Institute for Community Stewardship, Business advisor to the Bow Valley SPCA. In addition she is the past Chair of the Canadian Parks Partnership (a Canada-wide volunteer organization supporting Canada’s parks, historical sites and waterways), and was Chair of the Advisory Board on Canadian Identity for the First Roundtable for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Jill Robinson - 

I moved with my son Emmett (grade 10 BCHS) to Banff in June of 2009 to join my husband, Steven Ross Smith, who is the Director of Literary Arts at the Banff Centre. We are both writers; in addition to publishing 4 books and numerous articles and stories, I have worked as a workshop leader, a university instructor (English literature/composition/creative writing), a magazine editor (Grain magazine, a literary journal), a book editor, a writing mentor, an administrator for a small press (JackPine Press), and in a bookstore (Galiano Island Books). I hope some of these skills might be of use to the Friends Of Banff. My grandparents moved to Banff in 1923--Dr. Dean Robinson was hired as a surgeon by Dr. Brett, though he (my grandfather) also did general practice. He built the building that houses the Bear and Butterfly--so that he and his 2 sons could practice medicine together after the war, which they did. Everyone in my family had moved away from Banff by the 50's, however.


Joe Pavelka - 

I have been enamored with Banff since my first visit in 1983 when I took an ice climbing course with Yamnuska Mountain School and Banff was very different at that time.  My relationship with Banff has evolved considerable since then with highlights including:

·         I am the Coordinator of the Bachelors of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership at Mount Royal University – I teach and carry out research in the areas of ecotourism and marketing

·         Successfully completed my MPHIA (now IGA) Professional Interpreter certification

·         I also teach Tourism at the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary and have since 1996 on a part time basis

·         Completed several studies of park visitation via the ETOL program at Mount Royal University

·         Co-authored a chapter titled Banff: A Case Study for the Parks & Protected Areas in Canada (Third Edition) Edited by Deardren and Rollins (2009) – the focus of the chapter was a history of balancing multiple uses in the park

·         Authored Ned: The Story of Bear 6-9-3 an illustrated children’s book

·         Authored it’s Not About Time: Rediscovering leisure in a changing world

·         I have hiked and paddled, and climbed many of the trails in the area – in and out of the park as well I use the ski areas in the park from time to time

·         In general I think I have a fairly good understanding of education in a park setting and park related setting and I believe in the work that Friends of Banff carries out.

Susan Davis Schuetz  -

    Ms. Davis Schuetz has considerable experience in the area of public policy development and reform. She has led a number of significant policy and regulatory reform projects regarding the regulation and management of natural resource industries at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. Ms Davis Schuetz has over ten years of facilitation and mediation experience in a variety of environments. She specializes in the area of multi-party conflicts through analysis, facilitation and mediation specifically as they relate to energy development activity associated with communities, First Nations, ENGOs and other stakeholders.

    Ms. Davis Schuetz has developed and implemented a number of stakeholder and Aboriginal engagement initiatives for oil and gas exploration, pipeline, power generation and power transmission companies in support of major development projects spanning both provincial and national jurisdictions. She has conducted a number of research projects for oil and gas companies, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Alberta Government such as research on the access to land issue, upstream oil and gas policy framework gaps, overlaps and misalignments, stakeholder relations policies and practices, collaborative industry approaches into sensitive land areas and industry best public consultation and Aboriginal engagement practices.

    Ms. Davis Schuetz is a graduate of Royal Roads University in the Master of Conflict Analysis & Management program where she received the Chancellors Award for highest academic achievement.