CEO update: Thank you, Dee Ann, for 15 remarkable years & Interim CEO announcement

To all of our RDN friends and colleagues: 

We wanted to share the news of Dee Ann Benard's departure from her position as Chief Executive Officer at RDN. We previously shared this news in our newsletter and more recently at our Annual General Meeting. 

After almost fifteen years with RDN, Dee Ann has decided to embark on a new and exciting opportunity. Her last day in her role at RDN was September 30, 2023, prior to starting her new role as Director of the Botanical Gardens at the University of British Columbia.

Dee Ann’s journey with RDN has been marked by remarkable achievements, starting from its inception in 2009 up until today. Her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to our organization's mission have been truly exceptional. Throughout her tenure, Dee Ann has exemplified the values of integrity, dedication, and innovation that have guided RDN in its work, and her strategic vision and tireless endeavours have shaped the organization. Her presence will be greatly missed. 

Please join us in extending our best wishes to Dee Ann as she embraces this new chapter in her life. We wish her all the success in her future endeavours!

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Belanger as Interim CEO, effective October 1, 2023, as we work towards filling this role. Lisa is our Director of Operations and has been with RDN for nearly 6 years. Her in-depth knowledge of RDN’s programs and team ensures the organization will continue to run smoothly. We’d like to congratulate Lisa on the interim appointment and extend our appreciation for all that she brings to RDN as she takes on this new role.


Kevin Shufflebotham, RDN Board Chair

More about Lisa Belanger

As Director of Operations, Lisa helps manage the RDN team in delivering its projects, capacity-building work, events, and more for rural communities. She develops processes and strategies for effective community-focused operations, organizational growth, financial resilience, and continued progress toward RDN’s goals. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta, focusing on Strategic Management and Operations with a minor in Business Economics and Law. Lisa has completed various additional training including Finance for Non-Finance Leaders, Project Management courses, Facilitation Skills, and Communication Strategies. Since 2017, she’s grown her skillset with RDN and strives to ensure that our team has what it needs to consistently and effectively deliver its work and continue to learn.

In her free time, she enjoys being out in the wilderness while hiking, rock climbing, dirt biking, snowboarding, or any other form of adventure. She’s thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to Canada over 4.5 months and completed a 100-mile ultramarathon. In 2022 she was elected to join the Board of Directors of the Great Divide Trail Association to contribute her skillset and passion to their work.

Whether working on issues that affect rural Canada or pushing her limits in the outdoors, Lisa brings a high level of organization, energy and skill to everything she does.