As a newly formed charitable organization, Soaring Spirits Canada has established an autonomous Board of Directors of Canadian representatives.
Charlotte Paul, Chair of the Board
Charlotte Paul is an associate portfolio manager, financial advisor and founder of Perspective wealth management of Raymond James. She is also someone who knows firsthand the emotional stress that the death of a partner brings. When she was just 31, Charlotte she lost the person she thought she would be spending her life and growing old with. Bryan’s death opened Charlotte’s eyes to the tremendous challenges that widows can face financially following the death of a partner and has made it her mission to help other widowed people as they navigate the world of finance on their own. Charlotte has lived in Vancouver, Toronto and recently returned to reside in her hometown of Victoria, BC. When not at work she enjoys spending time with her English bulldog, Benedict.
Jodi Skeates, Vice-Chair of the Board
Jodi Skeates’ husband suffered an anoxic brain injury during a technical diving accident and died in 2017. It wasn’t until she attended Camp Widow in 2019, that she found the support and understanding she’d been lacking as she struggled with PTSD and trauma from lengthy repatriation, government investigations and media attention. Jodi is Senior Counsel at Manulife. She lives in Burlington, Ontario with her four cats (Missy, Bella, Tippy and Smokey) and her Boxer (Bandit). Jodi is a founding Director of Soaring Spirits Canada.
Monica Brightwell, Secretary
Monica Brightwell is an Environmental Advisor and has been an avid volunteer within her environmental community. From 2009 to 2015 Monica took a break from volunteering to spend more time with family after her husband was diagnosed with ALS. After 5 years of learning how to be a spouse first and a caregiver second, Monica’s husband, Roger, passed away after choosing not to continue his care. Monica’s journey from there has led her to become involved with a local grief centre as a volunteer facilitator and with Soaring Spirits.
Holly Wagg, Treasurer
Holly Wagg is a professional fundraiser and currently is a Partner and CEO at Good Works. She’s has more than 20 years of experience in the charitable sector with a particular expertise in annual giving that spans direct mail, digital and legacy fundraising. She’s a widowed, and re-married, mother of six (two adopted, one bio and three step-children) who does an abundance of CrossFit, yoga, hiking and eats of all the dark chocolate to stay grounded. Holly’s incredibly brilliant wife – her name was Julia and we also called her the Ringleader of Magic – died in 2017 from leukemia.
Michelle Dippel, Ex-officio Soaring Spirits International Board
Michelle Dippel grew up in Austin, Texas, attending Crockett High School and the University of Texas at Austin. She began her career in environmental consulting and has been in the transportation infrastructure business for 25 years and works for HNTB, a national infrastructure firm. Michelle is the President of HNTB’s Mid-Atlantic Division and is based in Washington D.C. She is a founder and at-large board member of Soaring Spirits International, USA and has been on the SSI board since 2008. She served on the founding board of the Heart of Texas Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar and on the board of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, where she was the incoming mobility committee chair. She earned her Master of Arts in anthropology and a Bachelor of Arts in archaeological studies from the University of Texas.
Michelle’s interest in Soaring Spirits originated in her own experiences as a widow – her first husband Daniel died from throat cancer in 2005 – and her desire to make the tragedy of dealing with grief and loss more manageable and less lonely for others.
Michele Hernandez, Executive Director Soaring Spirits International