President – Erika Hagen, BMus, JD
Erika is a lawyer who practices family law as a partner with Helm Family Law LLP. Erika has a practice which is devoted to minimizing conflict on her files and helping her clients move forward following difficult separations. Prior to her family law practice Erika worked on the civil litigation team at Alberta Justice, and before that as a Student-at-Law also with Alberta Justice. Erika has spent countless hours volunteering to promote and provide access to justice (presently with CPLEA, and previously with Edmonton Community Legal Centre), and participating on committees. Erika obtained her JD from Western University in London, Ontario where she was an active volunteer with the student legal clinic there, as well as with Pro Bono Students Canada (drafting Court documents for self-represented individuals) and Safe Space (providing harm reduction services and safe opportunities for socializing to sex workers). She also spent a summer working for Renee Cochard (now The Honourable Judge Cochard).
Vice-President – Ken Proudman J.D.
Ken is an Edmonton based lawyer whose practice consists primarily of divorces and separations where there are businesses, farms, complex property, tax issues, appeals, legal research, or pre-nuptial agreements. Ken was named one of the “Top 3 Divorce Lawyers” in Edmonton in 2018 by ThreeBestRated and has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Much of Ken’s time outside of the office is devoted to his passion, teaching. Ken is employed by the University of Alberta Faculty of Law as a sessional instructor, teaching Advanced Family Law. He teaches other lawyers through seminars for the Legal Education Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association and teaches the public about family law topics through many different channels.
Treasurer – Hugh Neilson, FCA, TEP
Hugh Neilson FCA TEP is an independent contractor to Kingston Ross Pasnak LLP, where he is a Director, Taxation Services. He is also an independent contractor to Video News Inc., where he serves as a member of the Editorial Board of Video Tax News, and appears regularly in that publication. Hugh has instructed courses for the Institutes of Chartered Accountants of Alberta and Saskatchewan in the area of taxation, and has presented at the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ National Conference on Income Tax, the Banff Small Practitioners Forum sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta and the Canadian Tax Foundation’s Prairie Provinces Tax Conference. His articles have been published in Law Now and Lawyers’ Weekly. Hugh is an active participant in the CA School of Business’ pre-certification education program, and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta’s Members in Tax Working Group.
Secretary – Michelle Lang, B.Sc., M.B.A, M.A., Ph.D.
Michelle Lang has over ten years of experience working in adult education. She was a tenured professor at the University of Nebraska, where she taught undergraduate and graduate art history, as well as research, writing and critical thinking skills. Prior to this she was a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and an instructor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is trained in change management and quality assurance, and holds a PhD from Bryn Mawr College, an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, and a BSc from York University. She is currently the Manager, Stakeholder Services at the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation. Previously she was a public member for the National Health Service Education for Scotland, a board member for Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton, and a member of the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals’ professional development committee.
Alex Innes, B.Ed., MBA, CMA
Alex is an accountant practicing tax in Calgary. He has had a diverse career where he has worked in a wide range of industries and professions, including education, consulting, and non-profit legal work at Legal Aid Alberta. As a consultant, Alex worked to assist with the economic development of a coastal First Nation. At Legal Aid Alberta, he worked on a variety of strategic project teams that redefined how Legal Aid provided services to its clientele. It is through this variety of work experiences that has provided him an in-depth look at the inequalities of our society and the dire need for additional supports. These experiences have informed his outlook and driven his desire to give back. Alex holds a CMA, an MBA from the Sauder School of Business, and a B.Ed. from the University of Alberta.
Giri Puligandla B.Sc., M.Sc.
Giri Puligandla currently works as Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Edmonton Region. Giri believes that involvement of the broader community and people with lived experience can create environments and service systems that promote recovery, resilience, and well-being. Prior to joining CMHA Edmonton, he held leadership roles in Homeward Trust for over seven years as Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Planning and Research, and served in a management role in Alberta Health’s Addiction and Mental Health branch. While at Homeward Trust, Giri supported the work of CPLEA to uncover interactions between housing policy and family violence. Earlier in his career, Giri was Executive Director with the Alberta Caregivers Association and Schizophrenia Society of Alberta Edmonton Chapter. He holds a MSc in health promotion from the University of Alberta.