Our Team

Our board of directors is currently made up of six awesome individuals who have been inspired to do this work based on their own unique life experiences and worldviews. You can read more about them below!


Cara Ginter

Cara was a student at the University of Manitoba when she helped launch Rise Above. She is currently a wearer
of many hats – working in a financial institution full time, running her own business on the side, and writing
fiction in her spare time. She hopes to go back to school to pursue her masters degree in history in the fall of 2019.
She loves the work that Rise Above does, and intends to remain a part of this team for many years to come.


Emily Haakman

Emily helped found Rise Above as a student at the University of Manitoba. She is now a Registered Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and works with many human rights groups in the community. In her spare time, she enjoys going to festivals and spending time with her family and fiancée, Trevor. Emily has found her niche working with young families and single parents, and is inspired by the hard work, passion, and sacrifice of our bursary recipients.


Jo Haakman

“I’ve never been a single parent. But as a mother of four I know how difficult it can be to make ends meet.” Jo
strongly believes a post-secondary education is one of the best ways to empower single parents to create a better
future for their children. She works full-time as a paralegal and enjoys spending time with her husband, kids and
4 grandchildren. Jo’s most prized possession is a dollar-store award from her grandson for making the best
muffins ever! Jo has been with Rise Above from shortly after it’s inception.


Starla Ginter

Starla is one of Rise Above’s co-founders.


Desiree Blanc

Desiree joined Rise Above board of directors in early 2018.


Garth Dyer

New to Winnipeg, Garth grew up in a small town in northern Alberta. Having been raised by a single mother and recalling her struggle to pursue post-secondary education with two young children, Rise Above's mission resonated with him immediately. Her example as a selfless, responsible, hard working and dedicated mother have been a source of inspiration throughout his life. Garth has explored a variety of careers over the years from insurance saleman, to semi-truck driver, to milkman. Most recently, he completed an honors degree in molecular genetics and is currently on leave from medical school in Edmonton; opting to be close to his new wife Dayna during her medical residency placement in Winnipeg. In his spare time, Garth enjoys spending time with his friends, family, and his cat Ashley. He also enjoys reading, running, video games, and spending time in nature.