Our Team

Meet the Board of Directors

Mary O'NeillMary O’Neill, President

An educator for almost 40 years, Mary has worked as a teacher, counselor, vice-principal and principal with the Coquitlam School District, concluding her career as the principal of Dr. Charles Best Secondary School. Since retiring in 2014, Mary works intermittently on a contract basis with the school district and is also an Associate Faculty in the MEd School Counselling Program at City University of Seattle (Vancouver campus).

Maria Tanaka, Treasurer

Jessica Spraggs, Secretary


Sister Denece Billesberger, Sej.

Sister Denece has been a pillar of the society from its inception.  As a retired teacher and guidance counsellor, she helps with programming at Talitha Koum.  The Sisters of the Child Jesus, of whom she is a member, have a long association with the Maillardville (Coquitlam) community who have lived and served at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish for over 100 years.

Brenda Beck, Board Member

Brenda Beck is a strategic planning consultant who heads a Coquitlam-based firm.  She holds certifications in architecture, engineering, and facilitation and provides facilities planning services primarily to institutional clients.  Brenda has also been active as a volunteer with several not-for-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland and is pleased to be supporting Talitha Koum women as a volunteer driver and board member.

Sylvia Wallace, Board Member


Terry O’Neill, Board Member 

After an awarding-winning, 35-year career in journalism, Terry O’Neill served two terms on Coquitlam City Council before retiring in 2018 to focus on people and projects closer to home and closer to his heart. He has been honoured for distinguished citizenship and humanitarianism by both the Canadian Red Cross Society and Canadian Blood Services. He is the founder of Blooms into Rooms: The Easter Flowers Project.

Meet Our Staff

Talitha Koum is staffed, whenever possible, by alumni who serve as program director, facilitator, and evening/weekend support workers. Our employees/alumni continue to give support to help refine our program and ensure that it continues to be relevant and successful.                                         


Odo Nkum, Executive Director

Jodie Gruninger, Outreach Coordinator/ Facilitator

Jodie is the Outreach Coordinator and Facilitator of Talitha Koum Society. She has a passion for working with women in addiction and her willingness to share her personal story are instrumental in leading other women on their journey of recovery.   A graduate and former client of Talitha Koum Society, Jodie’s success with the program brings a positive wealth of experience and knowledge.

Terri-Lynne Schack, Program Director / Facilitator

Terri-Lynne is the Program Director and Facilitator of Talitha Koum Society. 

Program Support Staff

Anji Bergh, Evening Support Worker

Rhea Eve, Evening and Weekend Support Worker

Kyla Gillespie, Weekday and Evening Support Worker

Jessica Jackson, Evening and Weekend Support Worker

Nicole Walker, Weekday and Evening Support Worker

Lindsay Yamamoto, Evening Support Worker

Melissa Rousom, Casual Staff

Office Support Staff

Sandra Uzelac – Office Assistant

Anastasia Ponomarenko – Bookkeeper