Sandra is the Founder and CEO of the PEPPER POD. Besides being the favourite human of Gunther the Wonder Dog, she is the bestselling author of Out Standing in the Field, a memoir, soon to be a movie, about her career as Canada's first female infantry officer. Now she leads weekend retreats for women veterans to help them transition out of the military or RCMP, or simply to start a new chapter of their lives. Sandra is proud to have served in the Royal 22e Régiment, the famous "Vandoos". She sits on several Boards of Directors, including the Perley Rideau Veteran's Health Centre Foundation, the Commissionnaires du Québec, and the Regimental Senate of the Regiment de Hull.
Julia Thomas is a Registered Nurse with a background in intensive care, maternal-child health, and health education. With a BA in Psychology and a Masters of Applied Science in Nursing, supporting the empowerment, healing and wellness of others is Julia’s joie de vivre. A resident of Chelsea, Julia thanks her lucky stars that she can work and play in her own backyard everyday. This mother of two loves yoga, meditation, long hikes, trail runs and cross-country skiing. Her two beautiful boys inspire her and remind her everyday how to live in the present. Julia is a believer of miracles (large and small); of the impossible being possible; of the power of hope, curiosity and our connection with each other and nature. For Julia, every birth, every bloom, every season, every life transitioned and transformed is a breathtaking miracle!
Linda is an Actuarial Fellow who has recently retired from Mouvement Desjardins. For 36 years she has been amazing with numbers, but now she wants to coordinate the million ideas we have at the Pepper Pod to build a strong network of women veterans. What lights her soul on fire? Seeing women grow exponentially, creating opportunities for this growth to happen, and being instrumental in bringing a project to life.
Ross is a Canadian Armed Forces veteran who served in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering field. Car and tank geek extraordinaire, he likes most things that have a zillion moving parts and make a lot of noise. He counter-balances all that geekiness with a passion for nature photography and is the loudest, boldest, and biggest champion of diversity that we can count on for support. The world is a better place for women because of people like Ross.
His real title should probably be VP - Spiritual Guide. Marcellin designed the first Lifeshop 50 years ago and more than 4000 participants have benefitted from his dedication to these retreats. He has trained six facilitators over the last 20 years to continue his work, and I (Sandra) have been blessed to be one of his "protégés". He will continue to coach us at The Pepper Pod and participate in the lifelong learning that we so crave here.
Naji keeps us on the straight and narrow when it comes to finances. He is a whiz with black and red pens! In addition to teaching at Ahunsic College, he is the author of multiple books on International Commerce. He has raised two strong daughters and is a self-proclaimed feminist who sees the Pepper Pod as a beacon of hope for women veterans excited about their life’s transitions.
It has given me tools and thought processes to analyse and evaluate what is important. I have the ability to draw out potential options and not limit my logical mind. – K