The Winnipeg Foundation’s
Fast Pitch 2020

A community competition where everyone wins!

Congratulations to all presenters!

On Feb. 26, 12 presenters delivered powerful, high-energy cases for support – in three minutes or less – with $26,000 in prizes at stake.

The evening’s prize winning Showcase pitches were:

  • Grand Prize ($10,000) – Snowflake Place for Children and Youth Inc.
  • People’s Choice ($6,000) – Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.
  • 1st Runner Up ($6,000) – Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba
  • 2nd Runner Up ($4,000) – The WRENCH

Listen to all 12 pitches and interviews with the winners in a special episode of BeCause Radio – A win-win for charities at the Fast Pitch 2020 Showcase.

Fast Pitch 2020 participants

2020 Organizations/Presenters

African Communities of Manitoba Inc. (ACOMI)

ACOMI is an umbrella organization dedicated to serving the African communities across Manitoba. Over the past 21 years ACOMI has been at the center of serving, promoting, and advancing the unity of African communities in Manitoba. They have been engaged in initiatives that improve the lives of people of African heritage, fostering their capacity to contribute to local community economic development and making a positive impact in the province. ACOMI provides transition support to several ethno-cultural grass-roots African community organizations by facilitating community gatherings, hosting capacity building sessions, bridging community divides, connecting families and individuals to resources, and providing support systems.

Presenter: Mandela Kuet, Acting Executive Director

The Arthritis Society-La Societe D’arthrite

More than 6 million Canadians that is 1 in 5, including 210,000 Manitobans of all ages, children, teens and adults have arthritis. Arthritis is Canada’s most common chronic disease with more people living with arthritis than cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke combined. The Arthritis Society invests in cutting-edge research, proactive advocacy and programs and services like our Childhood Arthritis Camp Limitless to deliver better health outcomes and improve quality life for people affected by arthritis.

Presenter: Mia Dunn, Revenue Development Manager

Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute Inc. / L’institut De Femmes Canadiennes Musalmanes

Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute strives to create a sense of community that supports and strengthens refugee and newcomer women and their families so that they can make informed decisions. CMWI works to foster sound emotional health, stability and personal development, to achieve self-sufficiency and financial independence.

Presenter: Humaira Jaleel, Chief Operating Officer

Career Trek

For over 20 years Career Trek has built a reputation for developing and delivering high quality, high impact programming with a focus on career exploration and career development. Working in partnership with community, schools, post-secondary institutions, business, and funders, Career Trek is supporting participants in the enhancement and acquisition of the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the 21st century job market. Involvement in Career Trek programming provides the opportunity for participants to gain valuable employability skills and creates an awareness and understanding of a unique range of job opportunities from trades, to technology, to STEM, to aviation and aerospace, to the arts & humanities.

Presenter: Rhonda Taylor, Chief Executive Officer

E-Quality Communication Centre of Excellence

The Resource Centre for Manitobans who are Deaf-Blind (RCMDB) is a division of the Equality Communication Centre of Excellence (ECCOE) and is dedicated to supporting adults who become Deaf-Blind. Services include supporting daily living, advocacy, public education, and consultation to government, healthcare providers and other community organizations. Specific knowledge and training is required to work with this community. They provide individual support and group summer and winter programming as well as community outings. They send out quarterly newsletters and provide the community with general news updates not easily accessed by Deaf-Blind individuals. RCMDB exists to reduce the isolation these individuals experience on a daily basis.

Presenter: Angela Mayen-Obregon, Coordinator with RCMDB

Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba

Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba provides programming, support and advocacy for individuals impacted by learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. Their goal is to empower and foster self-worth and independence for Manitobans living with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders to allow them to reach their potential.

Presenter: Karen Velthuys, Executive Director

Manitoba Brain Injury Association

Manitoba Brain Injury Association (MBIA) is a not-for-profit community organization with a mandate to provide education, support, and awareness on acquired brain injury.

Presenter: Gladys Hrabi, Executive Director

Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association

Manitoba Riding for the Disabled Association provides accessible horseback riding for children aged five – fifteen years of age. They have over one hundred volunteers including therapists, instructors, side walkers and leaders. The benefits to riders are not only physical, but also psychological and social.

Presenter: Kristy McFee, Executive Director

Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc.

Open every day of the year, Ndinawe is an immediate and reliable place of safety, connection and support for youth during times of high risk and often when other resources are unavailable to them. They operate a Safe House, Second Stage Home, and Tina’s Safe Haven, the 24/7 drop-in as well as Ndinawe’s Child and Youth Care Certificate Program. Ndinawe also provides community outreach, recreation and healing opportunities and access to whole family programming. Ndinawe is located in the North End of Winnipeg and each month provides connections and services to over 650 youth and annually Ndinawe provides over 10,000 meals to the youth attending their centers.

Presenter: Susan Berthiaume, Coordinator

Snowflake Place

Snowflake Place coordinates and collaborates with their partners to address the needs of child abuse victims or children who have witnessed violent crimes. As the only child advocacy centre in Manitoba, they help to minimize system-induced trauma by providing a child-friendly setting for child victims or witnesses and their families.

Presenter: Christy Dzikowicz, Executive Director

Wolseley Family Place

Wolseley Family Place is a family resource center which provides holistic supports for families with young children. They provide supports ranging from basic needs (food, clothing, computers), to education (early childhood education, parenting classes, personal development workshops), to personal support (advocacy, listening), to pre-employment programming. They offer a safe place where families can connect with other families and reduce social isolation.

Presenter: Emma Fineblit, Executive Director


The WRENCH builds stronger healthier communities by removing barriers to building and repairing bicycles – with a focus on youth. The WRENCH utilizes bike parts reclaimed from the waste stream to create a wide variety of programming aimed at educating youth, empowering volunteers and providing people with affordable, sustainable active transportation. They envision a world where everyone is empowered to experience their community by bicycle.

Presenter: Patrick Krawec, Managing Director

2020 Coaches

Peter Anandranistakis

Peter is an associate lawyer at MLT Aikins LLP and has assisted businesses of all sizes with their commercial law needs, including in relation to real property and business acquisitions and dispositions, property development, and financings. Peter was born and raised in Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba for his undergraduate and law degrees. Peter considers coaching with the Fast Pitch program a great way to use his skills and knowledge to give back to the community and has been a coach at Fast Pitch since 2017.

Alexandra Aquila

Alexandra was born and raised in Winnipeg. She attended the University of Manitoba, graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts, major in Spanish/minor in Italian. She attended the University of Kent in England where she obtained an LL.B. (Hons.). She returned to Canada and began articling in 2014 and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2015. She is currently an associate lawyer with Pitblado LLP and practice in the area of family law. Outside of work she is involved in several other activities including sitting on the committee for the Guardian Angel Gala (2018 and 2019) and is a newly appointed Board Member to the Jubilee Fund. She has been a Fast Pitch coach since 2019.

Olivia Baldwin

Specializing in strategic communications, issues management and stakeholder and government engagement, Olivia offers nearly 20 years of successful management of large-scale, complex projects involving high-level executives and government officials. An experienced and respected communicator, Olivia has served in a number of high profile roles with various levels of government and in large corporate environments. A busy mom of two, Olivia spends her non-working hours exploring Manitoba’s outdoor playground with her kids. She is active as a volunteer on a number of boards and coaches several community sports teams. Olivia was a Fast Pitch coach in 2019.

Florence Carey

Florence is a lawyer with a passion for the charitable sector. She was a partner with MLT Aikins LLP working with small business and charities until December of 2019 when she left to explore ways to have more impact and engagement in the charitable sector. While her next phase is not yet fully formed, she is very excited about the possibilities for new opportunities! Florence has been involved with Fast Pitch since the first year, and has been a coach in all but one year.

Angela Cassie

A sought-after speaker on leadership and museum practice, Angela Cassie has presented to audiences across Canada and around the world. As a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ inaugural leadership team, she was instrumental in the work to open the first new Canadian national museum in 45 years. An active community volunteer and TedEX Winnipeg alumnus, Angela serves as Vice-President on the Board of la Société de la francophonie manitobaine. Angela was honoured at the National Black Canadians Summit for her work in the promotion of human rights. She is currently participating in an Executive Development program through McGill University’s Executive Institute.

Alicia Coulson

Alicia is a diversely talented Winnipeg local. With ten years of sales and coaching experience, she brings a wide array of skills up to bat as a coach. As an artist, she has been showcased in Nuit Blanche, and has performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, the Master Playwright Festival, and Pride Winnipeg Festival. She currently serves as Artistic Director for the local theatre troupe Beau Theatre Co. and hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba.

Caity Curtis

Caity Curtis is an improviser, workshop leader and entrepreneur in Winnipeg, MB. Her love of storytelling and spontaneous creation has led her on tours throughout North America as both a performer and workshop leader. Caity is the co-founder of The Improv Company, Associate Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Improv Festival and a long-time coach and emcee of TEDxWinnipeg. Caity is so very close to graduating from Red River College’s Business Administration Program with a major in Human Resources and Marketing. She loves to talk about dogs, and she loves to listen to stories.

Doug Darling

Doug Darling has a passion for helping connect people through story. As the Executive Director and founder of Tripwire Media Group, a video and animation company in Winnipeg that creates videos for companies all over North America (including Marks, Scotiabank and Tabasco), Doug has been spending the last few years mastering his ability to help clients make more effective and impactful videos, through his developed process in storytelling. Doug is also an Executive Producer and Coach for Muse Storytelling, a 5-time Emmy Award-winning online film school that specializes in storytelling. Now, with his Tripwire team of 17, Doug continues to help educate people, from all industries, on how emotional content (versus facts and features), is the more effective way to connect with your audience. Doug is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Clare MacKay

Clare MacKay is the Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Executive Director, The Forks Foundation. She works to ensure the organization meets its mission of being a catalyst in the downtown and a meeting place for all. She is a massive booster of all things Winnipeg and volunteers in her community: The Winnipeg Foundation, CPRS, St. Mary’s Academy Foundation, Friends of Upper Fort Garry, Canada Summer Games, Grey Cup and the Junos. She is a member of the Associates, a CreComm grad and U of M alum. She is a world traveller wannabe and loves fashion, food, friends and her family. Clare is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Sana Mahboob

Sana Mahboob started her career in Development at the University of Manitoba, while completing her B.Sc. Sana now has over a decade of experience in the education sector, working directly with various stakeholders. She is currently the President of the AFP Manitoba Chapter, and serves on a number of additional boards, ranging from sports, wellness, youth, and information technology. As an immigrant to Canada, Sana brings a diverse perspective and passion to everything she does, professionally and personally.

Matt Maruca

Matt has worked as a lawyer for over 15 years. After working in private practice, he became General Counsel for Doctors Manitoba. He oversaw the legal department and represented physicians, resident-physicians and medical students in negotiations, arbitration, court proceedings and a variety of other matters. As a senior executive, he created lasting relationships within the medical profession and helped found a Mentorship Program that has set the standard across Canada. Matt also oversaw the Marketing & Communications Department and helped build its infrastructure. Matt continues his legal work in private practice while competing the prestigious Master of Communications Management through McMaster University and Syracuse University.

Kathryn McBurney

Kathryn McBurney has more than 15 years experience with communications and public relations roles supporting organizations to tell their stories to various target audiences. In a recent position she served as Director of Accounts for a video production company providing expertise in interviewing, storyboarding and production planning of corporate videos. She is currently the Marketing and Communications Manager of Children’s Hospital Foundation Manitoba where she manages the Children’s Miracle Network portfolio to support local sick and injured children by sharing their inspiring stories and how Children’s Hospital of Manitoba helps them. Kathryn is also a meditation coach guiding individuals to add mindfulness as a support through life’s challenging moments. Kathryn is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Bhavesh Mistry

Bhavesh is a strategic human resources and organizational effectiveness leader with a broad range of experience focused on human resources, operational excellence, business planning, and research & analytics. He’s driven by the ‘why’ and ‘so what’ of how we conduct and manage business and is passionate about coaching teams to create high-performing cultures and elevate the way we work. Bhavesh is extremely excited to be part of Fast Pitch 2020 and is 100% committed to supporting the journey of our Community Leaders’ as they craft and deliver their story. Bhavesh is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Erin Romeo

After working as a lawyer and a senior leader at two global agriculture companies, Erin spends her days flexing her entrepreneurial muscles and giving back to the community. Erin launched her start up business, Pivot Turn Consulting, when she stubbornly refused to re-locate to Calgary. She and her husband Matt think Winnipeg is the best place to live and raise their son, Max. Working with clients to help tell their stories, solve their problems and engage their customers is Erin’s passion. She is thrilled to participate as a coach in the 2020 Fast Pitch competition!

Jeremy Sawatzky

Jeremy Sawatzky is a Senior Advisor at Longview Communications and Public Affairs. He has over 18 years of experience in media relations, corporate and crisis communications, public affairs, government relations and the fields of broadcasting and journalism. Jeremy has worked in both the public and private sector and is proficient in developing and executing high-profile strategies and plans that advance his stakeholders’ goals and objectives. He played a vital role in managing and overseeing media relations and corporate communications during BCE Inc.’s acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services in 2017, and has a strong understanding of how to navigate complex issues within the political, business and media landscapes. Jeremy is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Nick Slonosky

Nick is an experienced lawyer who has recently retired from inhouse corporate counsel after 40 years. He is a long term resident of Winnipeg with degrees in commerce and law from University of Manitoba and a Masters from University of Colorado at Boulder. He worked for a major financial services company. He enjoys volunteering and supporting community causes. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. He and his wife Liz have two adult children and live in Linden Woods.

Clint Unrau

With over twenty years of experience in sales enablement in the telecommunications and finance industries, Clint Unrau has developed expertise and a reputation as a sales enabler, always focused on helping others meet their goals. After years of professional experience with corporate enterprise selling teams, Clint and his family took a 13 month break from the rat race to sail throughout the Caribbean. Back in Winnipeg, Clint found Sandler Training and now lives what he shares. Sandler training is all about helping others be successful by utilizing proven techniques, demonstrating effective behaviours and ensuring you maintain the attitude needed for success.

Chris Vajcner

Chris is the director of partner support at the National Screen Institute (NSI) – Canada’s oldest national training school for writers, directors and producers working in film, television and digital media. She builds and maintains relationships with government and industry supporters and oversees the fulfillment of deliverables for all partners and NSI. She started at NSI in 2003 and has been involved with revenue development, sponsorship, communications and all the challenges and rewards that come with raising money for a not-for-profit. Through Frontier College, a national literacy organization, she volunteers at English Café helping new Canadian adults practice their English.

Kirk Vilks

Kirk is an associate with Fillmore Riley LLP who practices primarily in the area of civil litigation. He is also on the board of directors of the Manitoba Rowing Association and volunteers for Fillmore Riley LLP’s United Way campaign. Kirk is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Courtney Weinstein

Courtney Weinstein is an associate lawyer at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of corporate and commercial law, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, corporate reorganizations and commercial real estate transactions. Courtney currently sits on the Board of Directors of Agape Table, the Cabinet for Women Against Multiple Sclerosis (WAMS), led by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and is actively involved in various fundraising initiatives for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. Courtney is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch is a pollster with Probe Research, where she works with many non-profits to better understand what Winnipeggers really think and how shift public opinion. Before joining Probe, she spent 14 years as an award-winning reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, covering politics and public policy. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta and Columbia University in New York. She serves on several local boards, including the West End Cultural Centre and Westminster Housing Society. Mary Agnes is a returning Fast Pitch coach.

Brent Wennekes

Wennekes is a business and project developer with a career background in technology, research, innovation, and commercialization. His past experiences include performing as vice-president of Innovate Manitoba, research manager with Red River College, and director with the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Association of Internet Providers. With Mitacs, Wennekes leads the development of new research partnerships between industry and academia to de-risk research and innovation for industry and not-for-profits from all sectors, while supporting student research and career development. Wennekes supports several committees and not-for-profit organizations, including North Forge’s Ramp Up Weekend, and the Winnipeg Foundation’s Fast Pitch competition for local charities.

Brad Zander

Brad is a Partner with the law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP. His practice is focused on corporate, commercial and securities law. Until 2014, he practiced law in Toronto with Stikeman Elliott LLP. Brad graduated from Brandon University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and received his Juris Doctor from Dalhousie University. Brad currently sits on the Board of Governors of Brandon University, the Board of Directors of Curl Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg’s Advisory Committee on Heritage, Culture and Arts. Brad first volunteered with Fast Pitch in 2016 and was a coach to the 2018 Showcase Winner, Candace House.

Erin Zorde

Erin is a lawyer at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP. He practices primarily in the areas of labour, employment and human rights law and civil litigation. Erin is a member of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE), which is the leading management side labour and employment lawyers organization in Canada. In the community, Erin serves as the Director of Fundraising for the Special Olympics motionball Committee in support of Special Olympics Manitoba/Canada. Erin also coaches Special Olympic basketball with The Razorbacks.

About Fast Pitch

The Winnipeg Foundation’s Fast Pitch is a coaching program to help build the capacity of, and create visibility for, Winnipeg’s charitable sector. Fast Pitch is part of an international movement that helps organizations create powerful, high-energy cases for support, delivered in three minutes or less!

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