Meet Our Team
Charles RobertsExecutive DirectorCharles RobertsExecutive Director
Charles Roberts is the Executive Director, and has 12 years experience in youth leadership and international team development. His passion for making a difference is evidenced in all that he does with us at Live Different. He loves spending time with his family, is married to Tricia, God’s grace on his life, and together they have 3 boys and a baby girl: Gabriel, Micah, Isaac, and Aliyah. He enjoys a good practical joke and loves any kind of off roading vehicle experience.
Christal EarleCo - Founder / Motivational SpeakerChristal EarleCo - Founder / Motivational Speaker
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Christal is the Co-founder of Live Different, as well as the Chief Spokesperson. Christal loves traveling to new places and meeting new people, loud parties, great accessories, wicked yoga workouts, and seeing lives changed! Christal travels across Canada and internationally speaking the message of hope and the power of change to both corporate and youth audiences. She also facilitates the training of road teams, students, and works with Hero Holiday. Believing that each of us can choose to "Live Different" every day, she currently lives between Dominican Republic and Canada as she is completing her adoption of her daughter, Widlene (who she likes to believe thinks that she is the coolest mom in the world!).
Ryan WoodDirector of OperationsRyan WoodDirector of Operations
Ryan Wood is our Director of Operations - He is known as the brain of Live Different. Ryan has spoken to thousands of high school students across Canada, given leadership to our road teams since 2004, has lead multiple Hero Holiday trips, and along with his wife, Michelle, he is now based in Hamilton, Ontario. Ryan is known for 3 huge obsessions: his baby girls Amelia and Gracie, his hang-gliding career (ask him how his last landing of 2007 went!), and raw fish with scandalous amounts of wasabi!
Ashley SmartIT, Media, and Marketing SupportAshley SmartIT, Media, and Marketing Support
Ashley Smart is Live Different's Media/Marketing consultant. This is a fancy title that means he is really smart and reads all the fine print that no one else wants to. Ashley is one of the original members of the Live Different team, and has invested many years into this generation in Canada through countless road trips, high school assemblies, and bad cups of gas station coffee. Ashley is married to Erin, has two beautiful daughters, Malaya and Alyssa, and they live in Kingston, the original capital of Canada (in case you were unaware).
Diane CiaralloPrograms/Office AdministratorDiane CiaralloPrograms/Office Administrator
Diane Ciarallo is our Programs/Office Administrator, which means she is always in the know. Diane has been with Live Different since September 2003, has held many different positions within the organization, and still strongly believes in the vision of Live Different! Diane is a proud Italian who loves traveling (whenever given the chance to escape the office), dancing, laughing (especially at Johnny Henderson's antics), high heels and ethnic food, but most of all loves seeing the looks on students faces when they come to the realization that they can make a difference in this world and there is a purpose for their lives! Diane lives in Hamilton, Ontario...by choice!
Mandy RousseauSchool Liason and Academy Co-ordinatorMandy RousseauSchool Liason and Academy Co-ordinator
Mandy Rousseau heads up our booking department and oversees the Live Different Academy. Originally from Simcoe, Ontario, but now living in Canada's greatest city (Hamilton, Ontario!), Mandy loves chocolate, coffee, and long walks (on the beach?). She likes to sing REALLY loud when she is alone and has a fluffy white bunny named Jonas, named after the Weezer song and NOT the Jonas brothers. Mandy loves working with youth, and playing whatever role she can in encouraging them to believe in themselves, dream big, make good choices, and change the world!
Cindy StoverCommunity Engagement CoordinatorCindy StoverCommunity Engagement Coordinator
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Cindy has been involved with Live Different for the past six years, as a valuable member of our team in a variety of capacities, including the High School teams, office administration, and student leadership programs. She has also been greatly impacted by her participation on various Hero Holiday trips, which have been integral to developing her perspective on social justice. Cindy has just completed a Master's Degree in International Development at Wycliffe College (University of Toronto), and she's surreptitiously eying Ph.D. studies in the near future...even though the thought of more school makes her want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever! Cindy is currently our Community Engagement Coordinator, which means there's a good chance you've talked to her on the phone or gotten an email from her before! She is also an avid fan of thrift store shopping, taking pictures of awkward Hamilton moments...and her favourite colour is sparkle!
Joy YuProgram Administrative AssistantJoy YuProgram Administrative Assistant
We have a confession: Joy Yu does not actually exist. Her real name is Yi-Ting Yu. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to Richmond, BC when she was 8 years old. Joy loves doing anything outdoors, playing with kids, and travelling abroad. In 2007, she visited London, ON for the first time and was introduced to Live Different during the Canadian Student Leadership Conference. That was the beginning of her new adventures with Live Different, starting with her first Hero Holiday to Dominican Republic in 2008. Since then she has moved to Hamilton, Ontario to work with Live Different and is super excited to start this new experience. Joy is known for her enthusiasm, her mega watt smile, her hip hop dancing career and her crazy 'bahaha' outbursts of laughter. We love her for all of that and for the fact that she loves us!
Johnny HendersonTeam One LeaderJohnny HendersonTeam One Leader
Jonathon Henderson VIII is originally from St. Catharines, Ontario and he is the Road Team Leader for Team One. He likes to describe himself as a "low pressure system of humour from the east crashing into a high pressure system of passion and enthusiasm from the west, stirring up an epic hurricane of awesomeness". Jacked up on caffeine, he will jump into each day with an exuberant amount of in-your-face entertainment. He has been known to churn out some life-changing infomercials for useful products such as string, lint, and 1980's love ballad compilations. He loves long walks on short beaches, Easter candy, and being a part of Live Different. His life has been changed by the power of hope and he is determined to bring that with him wherever he goes. His antics never quit, along with his overwhelming desire to see this generation rise up and rock the face off of injustice.
Cole BrownManager of Operations - Dominican Republic and HaitiCole BrownManager of Operations - Dominican Republic and Haiti
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Cole manages all of our Hero Holiday projects in Dominican Republic and Haiti. Translation: he does twice as much physical labor as the rest of us, but he gets a really good tan, so we’ll consider it even. He works hard in making sure that your trip is safe and ready for you to complete before you arrive. Cole and his wife, Nettie, live in Dominican Republic, and they are the uncontested champions of the best-dressed award in our organization. Cole is also a photographer and has a natural talent for capturing emotion in a picture so when you are on the worksite and see him coming, be sure to look like you are working hard and having the time of your life!
Nettie BrownManager of Operations - Dominican Republic and HaitiNettie BrownManager of Operations - Dominican Republic and Haiti
Nettie is our Hero Holiday Administrator and Trip Facilitator in Dominican Republic and Haiti. Nettie helps to logistically plan our Hero Holidays, works with our parents, teams, and students, and also gives leadership during our Hero Holidays. Nettie is known for her kindness, her charming personality, and great love of yoga. Nettie dreams of beaches and of riding their waves - whether on a surf board or kiting - so long as it's the ocean! More importantly, Nettie loves working with our teams, meeting each person she emails with prior to the trip, and introducing them to all the communities that she works in throughout the year.
Rose FriesenLive Different Academy AssistantRose FriesenLive Different Academy Assistant
Although she is a prairie girl, Rose loves being close to the ocean, despite how chilly it can be in Baja, California! When she isn't teaching Spanish to our LDA students, she can be found learning how to cook Mexican food and building her new home that she is about to share with her soon-to-be Mexican husband, Pedro and his two little girls. Rose loves chocolate, reading, and dreaming about the future she is building. She also loves puppies and buying garden gnomes from the the vendors at her car window at the Tijuana border crossing while waiting in line to go back and forth for Live Different's Hero Holiday groups. But for the record, she never buys puppies from garden gnomes. That would be awkward.
Frantzo BeginCountry Host - Dominican Republic and HaitiFrantzo BeginCountry Host - Dominican Republic and Haiti
We like to call Frantzo our "Fixer" - and he has greatly earned this title! Frantzo has been working with our Live Different Hero Holiday teams since 2007. Any problem you have or need help with, he has a solution in either Creole, French, Spanish, English, and German. Frantzo, his wife, and their sons Junior and Grace-Lee live part-time in Dominican Republic and Haiti. Like many of us, Fantzo has a dream, and with this dream he hopes to see Haiti a thriving and prosperous nation. We like that dream, too!
Brett DyrlandProgram Manager - Motivational AssembliesBrett DyrlandProgram Manager - Motivational Assemblies
Brett wears many hats in Live Different from time to time. He has completed numerous 'tours of duty' with our road teams and has the purple heart to prove it. He has lived in Mexico and given oversight to our Live Different Academy, and he has even cleaned the bus at the end of a tour. These days, when he isn't at work with Live Different, he can be found backpacking across Asia, snowboarding in the Rockies, or leading a Hero Holiday team in Dominican Republic. He is into fast moving motorized apparatuses, streamlining technology so it is 'awesome', and entering guacamole-making competitions.
Derek BoyceFinance AdministratorDerek BoyceFinance Administrator
Derek is located in Brandon, Manitoba, where he lives with his clan (his wife Becky and sons Daxton and Noah). Derek is a computer genius and a Wheat Kings hockey fan. However, he is a part of Live Different because he truly believes in the potential of each of our lives to be a part of hope and change. In a former life, Derek was a UFC contender, but due to an unnamed injury, he has decided to pursue his fame and fortune with Live Different instead.
Kent FearonManager of Operations - MexicoKent FearonManager of Operations - Mexico
Kent is a New Zealander, through and through. So much so, that we actually call him "Kint" in honour of his cute accent. Kent is married to Kelly and together they help to give oversight to our Live Different Academy and Hero Holidays programs. Kent is a repeat offender with Live Different. We first met him in Denmark, on a high school tour. He then came to Canada and led one of our road teams for a while, left us to marry Kelly in New Zealand, and is now living in Mexico. Although he struggles with time zone confusion at times, he manages to always be ready for a good laugh, a warm chat, or a long walk on the beach. Well, ok, maybe not the long walk on the beach. Maybe not a long walk anywhere, actually.
Jamie LobbanTeam Two LeaderJamie LobbanTeam Two Leader
Jamie began his journey with Live Different in 2010 as a young, quiet, long-haired band member. After playing guitar for multiple Live Different bands, he decided it was time to take things to the next level - it was time to drive the tour bus (and actually give leadership to one of our teams, speaking, driving and sometimes doing both). After very little thought, he packed up his backpack, snowboard and guitar, and moved to Hamilton to become the Team Two Leader. It was an obvious decision for him because he is passionate about traveling and pizza (which he will get a lot of in high school cafeterias this year!) and because he could fit all three of his worldly possessions his room at our staff housing.
Through his time with Live Different's Hero Holiday program, Jamie has seen first hand the change that is happening in youth across Canada. Ever since he began as a band member in 2010, he wants nothing more than to inspire youth to change their lives and change the world. He still isn't ready to cut his hair, though.
Kelly FearonManager of Operations - MexicoKelly FearonManager of Operations - Mexico
Kelly comes to us from the paradise of New Zealand! Along with her husband, Kent, Kelly helps give oversight and support to our Live Different Academy in Mexico, as well as hosting Heo Holidays. It's no small secret that she loves chocolate, but she also likes blue skies, sleeping in, cuddling and unicorns. However, between sleeping in, overdosing on chocolate and trying to fit in time to enjoy the sun, she hasn't yet had time to cuddle with a unicorn. Kelly is a twin, a teacher, a lover of beautiful things, and most of all, she is passionate about what she is a part of with Live Different!
Heather FortinLeader of Live Different AcademyHeather FortinLeader of Live Different Academy
Heather loves playing hockey, and finding a suitable locaiton in Baja to create her own ice rink is proving to be more challenging than she thought! Before joining Live Different, Heather was a high school teacher in Canada, and is excited to be lead our Academy students during their time in Mexico. Heather is a hard core animal lover and can't imagine life without at least one pet. So for now, their dog, Maggie is an only child. Her favourite things in life are chocolate, sleeping in and running on the beach. However, she has found that you can't do all three at the same time, so she is focusing on learning how to multi-task better to make it happen!
Andrew ArnalManager of Operations - MexicoAndrew ArnalManager of Operations - Mexico
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Andrew's love of off roading, his attachment to the internal combustion engine, and his obsession with tweaking his truck make the Baja a great fit for him, Heather and their dog, Maggie. Andrew loves hockey and is quite convinced that he is good at it - going so far as to trying to take credit for Heather's stellar ice moves. Andrew is also convinced that his construction background will allow him to one day build Heather the home of her dreams that she is hoping to fit all her animals into (and he is hoping she will allow him to live in as well)!
Alli TownesRoad Team AssistantAlli TownesRoad Team Assistant
Allison Towns spent the majority of her years growing up all over the Tri-City of Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo and had made a brief stop in Milton, Ontario to figure out what her newest adventure would be. Alli first encountered Live Different at a youth conference, and she was soon a part of Hero Holidays in both Dominican Republic and Thailand. Her world was turned upside down and right side up at the same time. As a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo, Alli was ecstatic (having to restrain her urge to hang up the phone and immediately break into a dance party) after receiving the life changing news that she would be a new member to the Live Different family, working alongside Team One. She is currently preparing to take on fresh and exotic things such as tour buses, high school gym stage set-ups and doing laundry on the fly.
Stephanie ByeRoad Team AssistantStephanie ByeRoad Team Assistant
Stephanie is a graduate of Ryerson University where she received a Bachelor of Fine arts in Theatre. This means she can break out into performing a musical at whatever moment she feels inspired! For the past few years, she has been leading and mentoring high-school students in the hopes that they will grow into healthy adults. Now she is excited to work alongside so many other rockin' folks, learn new skills, and to see the country whiz by from the windows on the tour bus. Steph is into reading, knitting, playing music, making people laugh (while also laughing,) petting animals, meeting new people, and building relationships. She tries not to pet animals and knit at the same time, because that is a worksite hazard for sheep and angora rabbits.
Board of Directors
Kerry BrandtChairman of Board of DirectorsKerry BrandtChairman of Board of Directors
Kerry lives in Rosenort, MB. Along with his beautiful wife, Barb, he has raised three amazing kids. Kerry and Barb had a dream of being a part of hope and change in a tangible way, so for Christmas 2008, they loaded up their family and joined us in Mexico for their first Hero Holiday. They were hooked on us from Day One :) That initial trip resulted in many more Hero Holidays and is how Kerry ended up as the Chairman of our Board of Directors. Kerry is a co-owner in Brandt Trucking, which is a family run business. He heads up sales and marketing and spends his days researching potential customers - and dreaming of when he can have his next Hero Holiday again!
Kerry and Barb have a house full of teenagers. He is a volunteer fire fighter in his own community, and from time to time, those fires are under his own roof!
As our Chairman, Kerry is excited to be a part of what is happening in Live Different. His support is evident in his kind words, thoughtful gifts and steak bbq's!
Heather GingrasBoard of DirectorsHeather GingrasBoard of Directors
Heather has spent a large part of her career in the corporate world. When she felt that was coming to an end, she felt like she truly began to do what she calls a dream come true: the abiltiy to serve on our Board of Directors and providing direct support to our staff.
Heather has been married to Rob for 30 years, and they have three kids and two grandchildren. Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, they now live in Burlington, Ontario. Heather has participated and provided team leadership on numerous Hero Holidays (last count exceeded 12). She is our resident Dr. Mom (read: nagging on health and safety!). She loves to cook and entertain - and her specialty is family dinners, where everyone is considered family. She loves good belly laughs with friends, connecting in the communities we work with through our Hero Holiday programs, and seeing lives changed through our programs. She also loves yoga and is currently working on perfecting her hand stand :)
Bill RawlinsBoard of DirectorsBill RawlinsBoard of Directors
Bill hails from Vancouver Island, where he was born and raised. For 29 years he was known as Mr. R., the teacher, and for 14 of those years he was the vice principal, and later the principal, of Ballenas Secondary in Parksville. His first loves are his 3 kids, and each of them graduated from Ballenas under his 'watchful' eye:)
Bill first collided with Live Different in November 2004, when he brought our high school presentation into his school. That collision resulted in joining Lauren (his youngest daughter) and her friend on our first Hero Holiday in the summer of 2005 in Dominican Republic. Since then, he has helped to give leadership to 19+ Hero Holiday trips to D.R. and Mexico and now we FINALLY have him on our Board of Directors!
Bill's passion for Live Different's vision and mission is evident in innumerable ways. He loves working alongside our staff and volunteers, loves witnessing the impact that our work has and we love him because, well, it's impossible to NOT love Bill!
Does he have any regrets when he looks back over his life? Only one - and it is kind of our fault. He wishes we would have existed 30 years earlier so he could look forward to another 40 years of fun and impassioned service!
Lorraine ZanderBoard of DirectorsLorraine ZanderBoard of Directors
Lorraine Zander is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Faze Magazine, Canada’s leading youth publication that currently boasts over 500,000 readers coast-to-coast. Lorraine is a highly sought after youth culture specialist and has been a guest expert on many programs delving into teen issues, including Muchmusic, MTV, ET Canada, Global News, Canada AM, and CBC Radio.
Lorraine and her husband, Paul live in Toronto, Ontario. They are the proud parents to their extremely loving parrot, Coco. She has many interests that vary from running marathons to cupcake making (and no, those two are not a conflict of values!) and she loves the work that she gets to do mentoring and leading young women.
Lorraine has joined us on Hero Holidays in Dominican Republic and has been a valuable member of our board since 2006. We love her and all that she brings to the table. Especially if it involves her cupcakes :)
Jon PlettBoard of DirectorsJon PlettBoard of Directors
Jon has four loves: Aelea (his wife), COFFEE, making a difference in his world... and COFFEE. Jon is the proud and passionate owner of Johnny's Java in Winkler, Manitoba. Born in Bolivia, Jon spent part of his childhood between there, Mexico and finally, Canada. (Be sure to ask him about his experience as a child soccer star and actor in Mexico!)
Jon first spent time with Live Different as a full-time musician and speaker on tour in 2009 and we didn't want to let him go! Since then, he and Aelea have been on Live Different Hero Holidays in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Thailand.
Jon is convinced that each of us have a part to play in changing the world around us and making it a better, safer place for the generations to follow. Through their business, they are continually supporting local and international humanitarian organizations, allowing their customers to be part of a bigger picture.
Jon is excited to be a part of Live Different's Board of Directors. As a believer in our vision and programs, he wants to help out where he can. We are proud to have him on the team.
Did we mention that he happens to enjoy the occasional cup of coffee?
Alison WillisBoard of DirectorsAlison WillisBoard of Directors
Alison Willis lives in Burlington, Ontario. She loves people and animals - including her husband Terry, their children Parker, Robby, Jackson and Andia, their dog Missy and yes, even their ungrateful cat, Tiger. Life before children involved working in the Social Services field providing advocacy, case management and support circle facilitation to many wonderful and unforgettable people. Although most of her time is now devoted to organizing the family’s crazy schedule, she also loves spending time at her local YMCA spinning, stepping and working as a part of their terrific Membership Team.
Live Different came into her life in 2011 when she and her oldest son, Parker, embarked on their first Hero Holiday. Alison was profoundly impacted by the experience and inspired by Live Different's staff, interns, participants,and local community members. In her own words, she was impressed by the integrity and scope of the organization and she just couldn’t help but add one more thing to the mix: joining our Board of Directors!
Kim McIntyre-LeightonBoard of DirectorsKim McIntyre-LeightonBoard of Directors
Kim's first encounter with Live Different was when she and her family joined us for a Hero Holiday in Mexico in 2008. Bitten by the "hope" bug, she has returned many times as a volunteer to our Mexico location, and even taken the risk of hosting our road teams in her home in Winnipeg!
For the past 12 years, Kim has been the CEO of WASO (Work and Social Opportunities), which supports adults living with intellectual disabilities. She comes to us with a wealth of experience in board governance, and has focused experience in areas of finance, ethics, and human resources for non-profit agencies. We are glad to have her and look forward to working together in the days ahead.
Carol LyndeBoard of DirectorsCarol LyndeBoard of Directors
Carol comes to Live Different all the way from Toronto, Ontario :) She is currently the President and COO of Brandes Investment Partners and Co. Carol encountered Live Different through a referral from a staff member and an introduction to some of our team. She is excited to be a part of Live Different and getting involved in what we are about - and we look forward to having her expertise and enthusiasm!