Senior Management Team
President & CEO: Deborah Apps
Deborah Apps is a charitable sector leader with more than 25 years’ experience in government, health care, education, and the arts. Deborah joined the Trans Canada Trail as President & CEO in September 2008. Before assuming the role of CEO, Deborah served on the Board of Directors for three years. Deborah brings a strong record of accomplishment in organizational leadership, strategic planning and change management to the Trans Canada Trail.
Prior to joining TCT, Deborah was the Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Relations for the Calgary Health Region, overseeing strategic communications, community outreach and philanthropy. During her time at the Calgary Health Region, she was responsible for regional communications, the Health Region’s rebranding, as well as providing executive leadership to the launch and successful completion of Reach!, a $300-million fundraising initiative between the Calgary Health Region and the University of Calgary.
Previously, Deborah served as the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation completed the most successful fundraising campaign for pediatric health care in Calgary, raising more than $55 million in support of the new Alberta Children’s Hospital and its programs.
Through her active engagement as a volunteer and professional leader in the communities where she has lived, Deborah has developed an international network of senior corporate and government leaders, local and national philanthropic organizations, and community philanthropists that speak to her reputation as a collaborator and her ability to bring people together in support of organizational vision.
Vice-President, Resource Development: Simone Hicken
Simone Hicken is a fundraiser with more than twenty years’ experience. Prior to joining the Trans Canada Trail, Simone was responsible for the raising of major gifts at the David Suzuki Foundation for eight years, and has also held senior positions at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, McMaster University, the University of British Columbia and the BC Wildlife Federation.
Simone has a BA from the University of Toronto in International Relations, Public Policy and Administration. She has managed major capital campaign initiatives, including working with and supporting national campaign chairs. She has extensive experience with fund development and campaign infrastructure, from donor research to cultivation, solicitation, national recognition programs and stewardship initiatives.
Simone joined Trans Canada Trail in March 2013.
Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer: Lori Spence
Lori Spence is a Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years of experience managing the finances of non-profit organizations in Canada and the United States. She began her career with Deloitte Touche and worked as an auditor for several years before entering the philanthropic field. She has worked with numerous organizations from small community-based groups to large national institutions including the Kidney Foundation of Canada and St John’s Ambulance.
She has served as a volunteer Treasurer for several organizations and participates in several local fundraising activities. Her experience is varied and includes managing large government contracts, implementing financial reporting and control systems, developing policies and procedures and creating efficient work environments.
Lori joined Trans Canada Trail in November 2008.
Director of Communications: Gay Decker
Gay Decker is a public relations professional and writer with twenty years’ experience in public and private sectors, holding senior communications positions with Matrox Graphics, Canadian Heritage, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has also run her own business, providing communications and copywriting services to not-for-profits, small businesses and large corporations.
In addition to her professional responsibilities, Gay is delighted to have served on the boards of the International Association of Business Communicators of Newfoundland and Labrador and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.
Gay has a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and English literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland, a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a post-graduate teaching certificate from Cambridge University. She is currently pursuing a fine arts degree at Concordia University.
An enthusiastic outdoors person, she likes nothing better than a fresh breeze on her face and the adventure of a good long hike.
Gay joined Trans Canada Trail in January 2013.
National Director of Trail: Jane Murphy
Jane Murphy brings to the organization experience in the field of recreation, tourism, non-profit and community development. She has assisted organizations in leadership-development initiatives, member and volunteer relations, and planning and program development. Prior to working for TCT Jane spent more than 10 years in the voluntary sector, including work with the New Brunswick Trails Council Inc. While at NB Trails she successfully developed and implemented a provincial trail wellness program and coordinated the development of major destination trail projects throughout New Brunswick. As part of her role as National Director of Trail, Jane is the current president of the Atlantic Canada Trails Association, which is working closely with Tourism Atlantic-ACOA and other partners.
Jane obtained a degree in Recreation Management from Acadia University with subsequent studies in Tourism and Leadership. In her spare time she enjoys cycling, gardening, yoga and reading. Jane also spends her time making crafts out of reclaimed materials and is a featured artisan in the Chal-Baie Artisan Boutique in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Jane sits on the Board of Directors for Recreation new Brunswick and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. She is currently attending the University of New Brunswick, working on a Certificate in Adult Education.
Jane joined Trans Canada Trail in November 2008.
Director, 2017/Special Events: Aynslee KyteAynslee Kyte has over 20 years of event project management success in large-scale, complex projects, including the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards; and, the 2011 World Bank Annual General Meeting. She has extensive experience working with various stakeholders, including all levels of government, and the private and not-for-profit sectors.