Aspire Richmond

Leadership Team

Chief Executive Officer – Shannon Crofton

For many who receive support from Aspire, Shannon has been there every step of the way. Shannon started with the organization in 1991 working at Pendleton House which provided respite for children at that time. Since then Shannon has worked in programs supporting individuals from childhood through every stage of adulthood, and has been instrumental in the growth of programs and supports offered by Aspire.

Shannon believes that the lifelong supports offered by Aspire is what makes the organization unique, but also ensures that individuals and families are encouraged to plan, learn, dream and grow. From supporting a child to learn new skills, to empowering people through Community Inclusion programs, Shannon is committed to ensuring that Aspire is there; providing diverse programs with the same goal – to encourage the people we support to live rich, fulfilled lives.

Shannon served as Acting Executive Director beginning in January 2020 and was appointed CEO in October of the same year. She has demonstrated unwavering leadership leading the organization through an unprecedented health crisis, while continuing to focus on delivering services that make Aspire a leader in the community living sector.


Director, Respite and Quality Assurance – Sue Jones 

Trained as an early childhood educator, Sue joined Aspire Richmond in 1995 as a preschool teacher with Treehouse early Learning Centre. Treehouse was her first experience working with children with additional support needs, and Sue realized immediately that this was her true career path. She is passionate about connecting with those we serve, encouraging their personal growth, choice, and decision making and supporting them to thrive and lead connected and happy lives.

Sue has first-hand experience about the importance and value of early intervention and lifelong supports for people with developmental disabilities. Many children she taught in preschool are now in adult programs with Aspire. These lifelong connections are greatly valued by Sue, the individuals and their families.

Sue was promoted from pre-school teacher to senior counsellor to program manager. In 2007 she was appointed Director of Children’s Services and Quality Assurance. In 2021, Sue became the Director of Respite Services and Quality Assurance. A large part of this portfolio allows her to focus more on Aspire’s broad Occupational Health and Safety program and ensure that Aspire meets the requirements for accreditation by CARF to secure continued funding and ensure program excellence.


Director, Supported Living and Staff Training – Melissa Irving

Melissa joined the Aspire team in February 2018 as Director of Supported Living and Staff Training. In 2020, she assumed responsibility for the Home Share program, thereby completing Aspire’s Supported Living network. With over 20 years of experience in the field, Melissa has extensive expertise in delivering services to a diverse range of populations, including those experiencing concurrent disorders, homelessness, addiction, poverty, developmental disabilities, brain injury, as well as members of the deaf community.

Throughout her career, Melissa has played a critical role in the development and growth of non-profit organizations in various areas such as housing first, supported independent living, day programs, and outreach. She is committed to delivering flexible, individualized programs that meet the changing needs of the individuals served.

Melissa’s previous role as Supported Independent Living Manager at Strive Living Society, and her experience in staffed residential programs, make her an ideal Director for Aspire’s Supported Living program. In her role, Melissa oversees the delivery of a range of housing options for adults with developmental disabilities, including Home Share, Independent Living, and eight supported living homes. Additionally, as Director of Staff Training, Melissa is responsible for ensuring that staff are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitude to provide exceptional services.


Director, Children’s Services – Carrie McLellan-Haqq

Carrie has spent more than two decades helping families to access inclusive child care, while actively advocating for increased early intervention supports for children with developmental delays/disabilities.

Carrie began as a Supported Child Development Program (SCDP) Consultant with Developmental Disabilities Association in 1998 and in 2003 became the Program Manager. She joined the Aspire team in 2005 when the contract for SCDP was awarded to Aspire and continued in the role of Manager. In the fall of 2018, she was promoted to an Operations Director position, overseeing various Aspire Programs.

Educated as a Special Needs Early Childhood Educator (SNECE), Carrie has been part of SCDP since it was introduced by the Province in 1996; working in a City of Richmond purpose built child care centre as an additional teacher for children with increased support needs. Before that, she worked in other community living agencies as a key worker in residential and community inclusion programs for adults with developmental disabilities. In addition, she was a leader in numerous City of Richmond Community Centres in preschool and school age programs.

Carrie has participated on many regional SCDP committees over the years and was instrumental in the creation of the SCDP contract development for sub-contractors and facilitated training in 2006 through-out the province. She has worked to ensure that child care programs in Richmond receive the training and supports necessary to allow all children to belong and be included.

Carrie takes pride in watching children and their families grow and learn from the time they begin to receive early intervention services. She believes that the relationships developed during the early years form the backbone of supports for children and their families, ensuring that they will be well served over the course of their lives.


Director, Community Support – Justin Byers

Justin Byers has spent his entire professional life working in environments geared towards supporting those with diverse abilities. He began his career in the community living sector as a residential support worker, later serving in a leadership role as manager of multiple residences for adults in supported living environments.

More recently, Justin has spent several years on the funding side of support services in his role at BC Housing. In this role he oversaw contracts, funding and general operations for dozens of non-profit organizations throughout the Lower Mainland, many of which have a particular focus on providing safe, stable, and supported housing for people experiencing homelessness.

Justin studied Communications and Business Studies at SFU and has combined his education with experience working in the public sector, bringing a wide breadth of expertise to Aspire. Justin takes pride in helping organizations of all sizes build capacity, take on new challenges and create additional resources for those who benefit most from them.

Justin joined Aspire in March 2021 and is excited to be part of a team with a reputation as a leader in the community living sector. As Director he oversees Aspire’s Community Inclusion programs and is committed to ensuring that every individual in LIFE Day Services, Outreach and Employment Services is supported to achieve their dreams.