About Us



During the late 1980s through 1990s several multi-stakeholder, community-based groups were formed in an effort to address the pressures of oil and gas development. These groups were similar in that they were seeking more communication and opportunities for greater cooperation.

In 2002 several of these groups along with related government and industry organizations came together at a conference to share ideas. They realized they were on to something- the simple idea that stakeholders coming together in a respectful manner could make a real difference in ensuring community engagement. In 2003 they began a formal collaborative process to develop a new provincial, organization that would help support, coordinate and grow this emerging network of groups which were beginning to refer to themselves as ‘synergy groups’.

In 2006 Synergy Alberta was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit society and marked its first year hosting the Synergy Alberta Conference. Existing and newly developed groups across the province joined the Synergy Alberta network. Today Synergy Alberta continues to provide guidance and support to its member groups and newly developing groups and offers tools, resources and networking opportunities across Alberta.


Vision & Mission

Our Vision

Alberta communities use the synergy model as supported through Synergy Alberta as a catalyst to achieve a principled, balanced and sustained approach to resource development for Albertans. Working together we can achieve more.

Our Mission

Synergy Alberta fosters and supports mutually satisfactory resource development outcomes in Alberta communities by providing information, mutual learning, communication, skill development, facilitation and resources.

Our Guiding Principles

  • Respect - Participants in Synergy Alberta are respectful to one another
  • Transparency - Participation in Synergy Alberta is open to all stakeholders
  • Accountability - Synergy Alberta serves its members, funders and stakeholders
  • Responsiveness - Synergy Alberta strives to meet the changing needs of its members and stakeholders

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of 10 members with four community representatives, three industry representatives and three government representatives.

Community Representatives

Community Representatives

Brenda Knight

Elected Term 2019-2022

Brenda Knight is pleased to be a part of synergy and believes that synergy groups are a great resource to both oil companies and landowners. She is a born and raised Albertan, 3rd generation on the family farm. Brenda's career was as a municipal administrator for many years and for the past 7 years she has been a Lacombe County Councillor.

Brenda and her husband Leonard raised 4 children on a cow calf farm with Leonard also working in the oil patch for 35 years. As a landowner, Brenda is familiar with oil wells, pipelines, risers and other infrastructure of the oil field as well as the challenges of land leases and compensation.

Community Representatives

Gerry Laslo

Elected Term 2019-2020

Gerry has lived in west central Alberta for the better part of 40 years. During this time he has been focused on Indigenous issues and has been the CAO of three different First Nations, as well as a member of a variety of advisory groups and Boards of Directors. Gerry has been acknowledged by Synergy Alberta with a Pioneer Award for his strong efforts in helping building the organization. He has also been recognized with the Dr. Martha Kostuch Environmental Stewardship Award by the Rocky Mountain House Chamber of Commerce. Gerry presently is an independent consultant working with and assisting Indigenous groups.

Gerry remains a Community minded individual with a social conscience volunteering his time for meaningful local issues. He was the founder of Communities Celebrating Life, a suicide awareness initiative, and continues to promote and support local social issues.

Community Representatives

Bryce Liddle

Elected Term 2018-2021

Bryce Liddle farms east of Ponoka with his wife Bonnie. Bryce is going into his fifth year as Ponoka County Councillor for Division 1 and has also been the deputy Reeve for 5 years.

Bryce currently sits on a number of boards - Rimoka Housing board for seniors housing in Ponoka and Rimbey; Ponoka Seed Cleaning Coop; Ponoka Coop Oils board; President of the Ponoka Rural Crime Watch. He is also involved in the Ponoka Agricultural Service board and the Calumet Synergy group.

With his job as a county councillor, Bryce is also involved in a great number of other community projects. He believes he can have a role in Synergy Alberta as a voice for agriculture and that he also has an understanding of people living in rural Alberta who aren't directly involved in agriculture.

Community Representatives

Fraser Stewart

Elected Term 2018-2021

Fraser is a strong supporter of numerous community volunteer organizations. Currently involved the Waterton Advisory Group, which is how he got here. Fraser has represented the skiers, shareholders, and cabin owners of the Castle Mountain Community for 9+ years. An avid skier, Fraser is starting his 37 year volunteering with the Canadian Ski Patrol, as a patroller, 1st-aid and CPR instructor and a mentor to recruits. As well as the Pro Patrol for 6 years in the infirmary.

Representing the Southern Alberta rural viewpoint and continuing the work already started by Synergy Alberta.

Fraser retired after serving the residents of Lethbridge for 32 years, with the Lethbridge Fire Department. His career included working on the Ambulance, Fire, Rescue, Aerial trucks, and the Water Rescue Team. Culminating his career, Fraser taught fire safety, accident and injury prevention, to industry, business, students and people of all ages.

Fraser and Monica have called Castle Mountain Resort home, or Heaven, for six years, with their two dogs.

Industry Representatives

Community Representatives

Vanessa Cartwright

Elected Term 2017-2020

Vanessa Cartwright is a Community Relations Coordinator At Keyera Energy Ltd. since 2013. Vanessa has worked in the oil and gas industry with landowners and community stakeholders since 2004. She has been involved with four Synergy Alberta groups across Alberta since 2013.

Vanessa enjoys her role in community engagement and working with communities and municipalities to facilitate long term meaningful relationships. She seeks to understand the culture and values of communities to support development that respects the unique character of each community.

Originally from Calgary, Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen's University and a Master of Arts, Dispute Resolution from the University of Victoria.

Community Representatives

Kelly McTaggart

Appointed Term by Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) 2017-2020

Kelly McTaggart currently serves as the Advisor, Exploration & Production Engagement for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the voice of Canada’s upstream oil and natural gas industry.  In this capacity, Kelly leads CAPP’s stakeholder engagement efforts in communities impacted by oil and gas development and acts as a CAPP spokesperson.

Prior to joining CAPP in  May 2018, Kelly spent 5 years working for Spectra Energy and Enbridge in Fort St. John, BC and Calgary in Indigenous and Community Relations for Major Projects. She has also worked in private practice providing consulting services for stakeholder engagement on municipal and industrial projects.

She is a transplant from Ontario and has worked in five different provinces representing resource development interests, and has called Western Canada home for the last decade.

Community Representatives


Elected Term

Government Representatives

Community Representatives

Arlette Malcolm

Appointed Term by Alberta Energy Regulator 2019-2022

Arlette Malcolm is the Director of Indigenous and Regional Engagement for the Alberta Energy Regulator. She has spent the majority of her professional career in the public service supporting natural resource ministries to build positive working relationships with indigenous communities.

Arlette is ‘mostly’ from southern Alberta and considers herself a prairie girl. However she has worked across Canada including far northern Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. The scope of her resource management experience includes agriculture, forestry, hydro, recreation and tourism and the energy sector. Her past roles have leveraged her training in facilitation and interest based negotiations, her experience as a registered professional planner, and her background in ecology.

Arlette joined the Alberta Energy Regulator in January 2015 where she and the passionate staff in her group are striving to continuously improve the AER’s approaches to engagement and the experience that indigenous communities and stakeholders have with the energy regulatory system. A key to achieving this goal is understanding people’s values, acknowledging their concerns and demonstrating how those were considered. Arlette is new to Synergy Alberta and looks forward to exploring the potential of this partnership and how we can achieve common goals.

Community Representatives

Peter Dobbie

Appointed Term by Alberta Agriculture 2018-2021

Peter J. Dobbie, Q.C., was appointed as the Farmers' Advocate for Alberta in April of 2012 bringing to the position more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer advising farmers and agribusinesses, and as a resident of rural Alberta.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario, as well as a Bachelor of Law and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a lawyer advising farmers and agribusinesses in financing, purchase, sale, leasing, surface rights, dispute resolution, succession planning and estate administration matters, giving him direct knowledge of the laws and regulations.

He also has years of experience as a volunteer with organizations such as the Rotary Club of Vegreville, the 4-H Foundation of Alberta and the Vegreville and District Chamber of Commerce, and as a Commission Member of the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission.

Community Representatives

Karen Henderson

Appointed Term by Alberta Energy 2019-2022

Karen Henderson is the Associate Director, Community Relationships and Monitoring with Alberta Energy. She has an extensive career with the Alberta provincial government; most recently, she was part of the Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat which collaborated with ministries, industry, communities and stakeholders to address the various impacts of regional oil sands development. As a new Synergy Alberta board member she is looking forward to being part of this dynamic group.

Partners & Support