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Systems Expert
Nancy Mannix , Chair and Patron, Palix Foundation

Claire Niehaus, Scientific Associate, Palix Foundation

ECD Expert
Sonja Giese, Executive Director, DataDrive 2030

Shekufeh Zonji, Global Technical Lead, ECDAN

Session Description

In recent years, the Alberta Family Wellness Iniatiative (AFWI) has made significant advances towards the goal of embedding the “Brain Story” across systems to produce concrete changes in policy and practice for the betterment of individuals, families, and communities. Using the Resilience Scale as a framework, the AFWI have established a tri-fold strategy that evaluates the needs of individuals, clarifies the role of organizations and service providers, and works towards systems integration. Join Nancy Mannix to explore how the AFWI established this process and how evaluation has been critical to informing their progress.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will develop a better understanding of the following:

  • Understanding of the Resilience Scale Framework.
  • How the AFWI has mobilized the knowledge of the Brain Story and Resilience Scale at the individual, organization, and system-level.
  • The evaluation methods at each level of application and how these results inform progress.

Session Homework:
Please review the following resource before the session:

  1. Alberta Family Wellness Initiative

Watch the Session in English

Watch the Session in Spanish


Post-Session Survey:

  1. Link to the survey – Complete before May 17, 2024 to earn your certificate!
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Speaker Bios

Nancy Mannix , Chair and Patron, Palix Foundation

Nancy Mannix is the Chair and Patron of the Palix Foundation, a private foundation whose philanthropy aims to improve the health and wellness outcomes of children and families. The Foundation, through the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative focuses on creating alignment between science, policy and practice in brain development, and its implications for child development, mental health, and addiction. Nancy’s work aims to generate changes at an individual, organizational and systems level and has garnered a number of prestigious awards. Throughout her career in the charitable sector, Nancy has been involved with several organizations, including the Calgary Health Trust and the Canada West Foundation. Recently, she contributed to understanding the impact of COVID-19 on children and youth as a member of the Child and Youth Well-being Review panel. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Diego and a Juris Doctor Degree from Seattle University.

Claire Niehaus, Scientific Associate, Palix Foundation 

Claire Niehaus is a Scientific Associate with the Palix Foundation. She is a graduate from the University of Lethbridge having received her MSc in Behavioral Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr. Robbin Gibb where she studied the effects of high-CBD cannabis on the brain and behaviour. An active member of her community, she volunteers with Let’s Talk Science and Building Brains Together and serves as a Director on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge and District. Claire joined the Palix Foundation in the summer of 2022 and is passionate about applying her skills and knowledge to build resilience within her community.

Sonja Giese, Executive Director, DataDrive 2030

Sonja Giese is a social entrepreneur with a diverse career in development spanning over 30 years. She is founding Executive Director of DataDrive2030, a South African based social enterprise that supports the collection and use of high quality data to drive improved child outcomes in the first 6 years of life. Prior to this, Sonja established and led Innovation Edge, an impact first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges through seed capital and strategic support. She has consulted extensively to government, philanthropy and private sector on policy reform and systems change, led large research initiatives and demonstrated her ability to take ideas from source to scale in the various programmes that she has spearheaded. In 2023 Sonja was a recipient of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Research for her role in the development of the South African Thrive by Five Index. Sonja is a member of the technical advisory groups for the global Early Childhood Development Action Network and Echidna Giving and is a founding board member of the Bulungula Incubator.”

Explore Other Sessions

Have any questions or ideas for the series, contact [email protected].

For more resources on systems thinking, please visit the Systems Thinking for ECD webpage.