Meet the Board

Robyn Lavender (she/her)
President (2020-2022)

Connecting with folks over a cup of tea and learning the idiosyncrasies of what makes each person a unique and whole individual - is what Robyn is passionate about. She believes in the value that is gained when you combine individualism with collective community and feels that you can't have one without the other. Through many lived experiences she has seen how breathing life into our differences can create a world of compassion, trust, and a place where knowledge and growth can take place. She aims to listen to others with open eyes, a clear mind, and a heart for acceptance, and values listening with the intent to understand. In short, Robyn is passionate about people, human nature, and the path we all take in this world that makes us whole.

Robyn's start to the Deaf world began at a young age, growing up with a Deaf best friend. A seed filled with language, culture and care was planted that eventually grew into a gift that she does not take lightly. She graduated from George Brown College in 2011 and would not look back.

Robyn loves to add hobbies to a long list of things she enjoys and values skill building. Most recently she learned how to fly fish - and got a mega t-shirt-line sun burn doing it. You can also find her changing her engine oil regularly, and teaching others to do their own, or baking bagels, or sewing a onesie, or taking her role as an Aunt very seriously, amongst many other things. But also in her spare time she'd love to connect with YOU - and to chat about truly anything that's on your mind.

Alicia Ponciano (she/her)
Past President (2020-2022)

We are fortunate in Alberta to be home to many leaders in the interpreter profession. Alicia is one of them. Her humility will say her mentors are the real leaders, but she has earned her place as a one-of-a-kind mentor to a generation of interpreters. From 2018 to 2020, Alicia served as president to ASLIA. This role was preceded by over a decade of working with the board. Alicia is here to stay and we are grateful for her reliability!

Her support and dedication to the communities -- interpreting and D/deaf, local and national -- is unwavering. She has worked as a professional interpreter for 20 years and earned her COI in 2017. In 2020, she was the recipient of the Donna Korpiniski Mentorship Award.

Alicia lives on an acreage with her husband, two children. Since the pandemic, they have welcomed a puppy into their home. They enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, whether it is close to home or a long roadtrip to set up camp

Christine Kozub (she/her)
Administrative Secretary (2018-2022)

This is my second term volunteering on the ASLIA Board. I value being on the board and feel it helps me stay connected, especially during a season in my life where I have young children and it can be tricky to attend events otherwise.

I enjoy spending my time with my little family and floofy dog. I like waking up early before anyone else in the house, drinking my coffee before it gets cold and finding adventures outdoors. I like to seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth. I have been dedicating a lot of my time to unlearning, relearning and mindfulness. I value authentic connections with others and feel grateful for the people and communities that continue to teach and support me.

Noah Greenwood (he/him)
Recording Secretary (2018-2022)

Noah (formerly Aren) has been the recording secretary for ASLIA for the past three years. He enjoys keeping notes, organizing folders, and making sure all ASLIA documents look great. Noah has been a member of ASLIA since they graduated from the Lakeland College interpreting program in 2012. They decided to become an interpreter in high school when they took ASL as a second language, and realized it was their passion! Most of Noah's interpreting work is with VRS or in freelance assignments with the LGBTQ2S+ community.

When Noah isn't interpreting, he loves to write, draw, sew, crochet, and travel. His favorite place is the mountains, especially in BC or on Vancouver Island. He loves to take road trips in his VW Bug (named Tiberius) and hopes to travel more once the pandemic is over. Noah also loves coffee, cats, and spending time hiking through Edmonton's river valley with their dog, Bowser.

Laura Patterson (she/her)
Treasurer (2016-2022)

Laura believes that a small ripple can cause big waves. She uses this concept in every aspect of her life, including her work with ASLIA. She is comfortable walking between digital and analog worlds to connect with people and share ideas. Her work with ASLIA demonstrates that comfort: she explores avenues that makes operations efficient and ensures it is user-friendly to support her role as treasurer, for the board, and for members. She places high value on the relevance of the association and its members to continue enhancing professional standards as technology and society evolve.

Laura graduated from Lakeland College with a diploma in Sign Language Interpretation in 2012. In the nine years since then, she has interpreted in community, post-secondary, K-12, VRI, and VRS settings. She has served on the ASLIA board of directors for five years as Treasurer and taken on various roles in other committees. Her hope is to continue serving on the board.

In her spare time, you can find Laura at a park with a coffee in one hand and a leash attached to her dog, Linus, in the other one. She recently described herself as a "geriatric millennial" who equally enjoys technology and long walks. She is a fan of authors Douglas Adams and Aldous Huxley. Like every other interpreter, she has a love of life-long learning.

Shelly Nafshi (she/her)
Membership (2018-2022)

I live in Edmonton, I was born and raised here but left after high school and to be honest I never thought I would be back! But here I am, so deeply grateful to be close to family particularly during the pandemic. I lived in several places during my Edmonton break: Calgary, Dublin and most recently Toronto where I did my interpreter training.

I love interpreting, I think we have the most incredible job in the world. I am a mother to a twelve year old, a ten year old and a four year old. They keep me moving and keep me happy (among other things!) This is my fourth year on the board and I have felt grateful to work with such a great crew of people who care about our profession so deeply.

Hope to put more names to faces in the coming months!

Joanne Rocheleau (she/her)
Member at Large (2020-2022)

Becoming an interpreter requires a combination of skills and experiences. Along this journey to discover my own professional identity, I am thankful to those who either led or supported me. I will be eternally grateful for their coaching and guidance. It has been a privilege to promotes better awareness of and sensitivity to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community for the past 20 years.

In my spare time
I enjoy going for a walk, or for a hike to clear my mind. I love to read books on human psychology, real stories, and also philosophical reflection. First of all, I really enjoy words, but I also believe that writers help us to broaden our horizons and allow us to see perspective of a lot of things which I can use in my work.

Joanne would never pass up a glass of wine or an opportunity to buy pottery. As the mother of three teenagers, a clean bathroom is enough to bring me to tears of joy.

Vice President
Administrative Secretary
Recording Secretary
Public Relations
Professional Development