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SHRC Announces New Executive Director

The Self-Help Resource Centre’s (SHRC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Chrystal Dean as the new Executive Director.

“We are excited to have Chrystal join the SHRC team in an exciting time for growth and expansion,” said Michelle Westin, Vice-President of SHRC. “Chrystal brings great energy and a wealth of experience building and growing community and service organizations through partnership.”

The Executive Director of SHRC is responsible for providing overall direction and management of the organization, as well as the implementation of a new strategic plan.

Chrystal’s experience includes the role of WorldPride Manager for Pride Toronto, where she steered one of the largest international events ever hosted in Toronto, with over 2 million participants, and a $719 million economic impact, and serving as Vice-President of TasPride in Australia through a transition from small community organization to presenter of major events on the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBT) calendar, including a two-week arts and cultural festival.

SHRC strengthens communities across Ontario by promoting peer support groups that facilitate positive outcomes for people who are facing diverse life transitions and challenges. This is done in collaboration with dedicated staff, volunteers, partners and community members through outreach, networking, capacity building, consultation, resource development, and knowledge exchange.

“Chrystal will be looking to build new partnerships and opportunities to promote peer-support as a part of everyday life, whether in the workplace, at home, or anywhere in between,” said Westin. “As the capacity of services is constantly stretched, there is a great opportunity for support in the shared knowledge and lived experience of individuals.”

Chrystal said, “I am thrilled to take on the role of Executive Director. I believe in the power of community, and I’ve seen how the people of Toronto and greater Ontario can come together to create a place where everybody feels welcome.

When people gather with common purpose and experience, movements are created. Communities build organically, and are based on the idea of peer support: “I belong here; these people understand what it’s like to be me in this time.” We all seek this support every day, in all kinds of ways. And it’s essential for our health and wellbeing.”

A big thank you to outgoing Executive Director, Mark Freeman, whose passion, commitment and energy for self-help and peer-support took SHRC into new places in the past year!

Watch this space for exciting news about programming and partnerships in the coming months!

About Chrystal

Chrystal has spent the last nine years working with producers of arts and culture in Toronto, London and Australia to entertain, educate and transform lives by providing a platform to those global stories and voices yet to be heard. Her most recent role as WorldPride Manager for Pride Toronto saw her steer one of the largest international events ever hosted in Toronto, dubbed an historic and overwhelming success. In 2014, Chrystal was listed by Toronto Star as one of eight local heroes for her commitment to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBT) community, was officially recognized by the City of Toronto for her contribution to WorldPride, and received a “Rainbow Warrior 2014” award “for outstanding support for international LGBT solidarity and LGBT culture” as awarded by the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network.

As Vice President of TasPride in Tasmania, Australia, she saw the non-profit organization through a transition from a small community organization to a presenter of major events on the national LGBTIQ calendar, including a two-week arts and culture festival. She spent five years working for the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts running signature recognition events and conferences for the sport and recreation, and screen (film, television and digital media) industries. Here she created a department-wide, 80-strong community-of-practice for event managers, to share knowledge, education opportunities and support.

Chrystal specializes in capacity building, strategic partnerships, brand, and marketing communications. She holds a BA in Communication Studies, with majors in Public Relations and Media Production. She is passionate about equity, education, self-determination, and social justice.

For more information

Contact: shrc[AT]

Full press release here.

Photo credit:

Thanks for your support!


The Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon’s 5K Charity Challenge was a huge success for the SHRC. It was a beautiful morning, we had a great group of board, staff and family members out on the course, and we surpassed our fundraising goal. So thank you to all of our sponsors who made this possible.

For many on our team, it was our first time doing a 5K race. And what was so amazing–and several members on our time commented on this–was how much easier it was to run with a group of people than it had been training for the race alone. Learning how to run is so analogous to learning how to incorporate healthy activities into our lives, and it’s always easier with the support of a group of peers.

We’re looking forward to next year’s!


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