The top ten of Compassion Canada’s CEO Succession Gala

The torch was officially passed at a special event to mark this milestone in Compassion's history.
  • By: Alyssa Esparaz
Allison and Barry pose in front of a blue Compassion backdrop.

{5 minute read}

On October 25, Compassion staff and friends from across Canada and around the world gathered to mark a significant milestone in Compassion Canada’s history: The retirement of Barry Slauenwhite from the role of President and CEO, and the induction of Allison Alley into the role. Allison is Compassion Canada’s fourth President and CEO. Here some of the top moments and memories from the event!

1. Gathering and connecting with friends and colleagues from across Canada and around the world.

Two guests pose during the pre-event mingling time. Four guests pose during the pre-event mingling time. Three guests pose during the pre-event mingling time.
Tim Hanna holds a microphone, addressing the guests.

Compassion Australia’s CEO Tim Hanna shares some words on behalf of Compassion’s Global Partner Alliance.

We were thrilled to welcome CEOs, country directors and colleagues from all 14 of Compassion’s Global Partner Alliance countries and several field countries. It was a blessing to celebrate and support Allison and Barry together as a global Compassion family.

2. Being hosted by the Chair of our Board of Directors, Ian Lawson, and member of our Board of Directors and the Chair of the CEO Selection Committee, Dr. Marie Geschwandtner.

Emcees opening the evening.

3. Celebrating with Compassion International’s President and CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado and President Emeritus Dr. Wess Stafford.

Dr. Wess Stafford, Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, Allison Alley and Barry Slauenwhite pose in front of a blue Compassion backdrop.

Left to right: Dr. Wess Stafford, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, Allison Alley, Barry Slauenwhite

We were honoured to have both the President and President Emeritus of Compassion International, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado and Dr. Wess Stafford here to celebrate with us!

Dr. Wess Stafford offers applause during the event programme.

4. Barry’s wife Sharon and their daughters Krista and Heather look back on the past 36 years.

Sharon addresses the guests, sharing about the memories, challenges and joys of the past 36 years.

Sharon addresses the guests, sharing about the memories, challenges and joys of the past 36 years.

Through video and a heartfelt speech, Barry’s wife Sharon shared how God impressed on both her and Barry individually that they were to serve at Compassion Canada as a couple. She recalled the words of Randy Stonehill’s song “Who Will Save the Children?”, which served as a catalyst for the confirmation that Barry should accept a job at Compassion.

“But we are His hands, we are His voice, we are the ones who must make the choice. And if it isn’t now, tell me when? If it isn’t you, then tell me, who will save the children?”

Randy Stonehill, “Who Will Save the Children?”

Sharon shared about the sacrifices they made as a family in order to allow Barry to travel across Canada to share about Compassion’s ministry and told stories of fond memories from her international travels with Barry to various Compassion centres around the world.

Sharon, Heather and Krista pose for a photo during the pre-event mingling time.

Sharon, with the Slauenwhites’ daughters, Heather and Krista.

Their daughters Krista and Heather also shared about their experiences growing up with a dad whose job was to lead an organization that releases children from poverty in Jesus’ name. They shared how Compassion became a passion of their own as they grew up in such proximity to the work their dad did.

5. Barry shares some words of reflection and expectation.

Barry shared fond memories of the past 36 years of ministry and committed to support and cheer on Allison as she leads Compassion into this next chapter.

Read more about Barry’s 36 years with Compassion

6. Hearing stories of children who are connected with Compassion’s local church partners around the world.

A woman stands on stage with the photo of a Compassion-sponsored child, Karunia, on the slide behind her.

Compassion Canada’s Executive Director of Engagement, Deb Wilkins, shares the story of Karunia.

We heard the stories of children who have experienced unimaginable challenge—and are experiencing hope and love through Compassion’s program at a local church in their community.

7. Music and poetry from guest artists.

Three musicians play on stage. Jay Calder plays guitar on stage.

We were thankful to be joined by Jay Calder, Trevor Dick, and Jacob Moon and the Commissionaires, who each shared their musical talents.

Hanesa holds a microphone, sharing her poem.

We were also thankful to be blessed by the talents of poet and spoken word artist Hanesa Banks, who shared a compelling poem about compassion and the power of making connections across borders, socioeconomic status and ways of life.

8. Reflections from Tommy, Allison’s husband.

A portrait of the Alley family in front of a blue Compassion backdrop.

Allison and Tommy with their two daughters, Irelyn and Scarlett.

Tommy, Allison’s husband, shared about how the place where he and Allison met—in Honolulu, Hawaii while they worked and volunteered with Youth With A Mission—served as the spark that, many years later, would call them into ministry to children living in poverty with Compassion.

Tommy shared about how their own daughters served as the inspiration for them to consider children around the world who did not have the same opportunities as their two girls.

“Luke 12:48 says, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ Those words began to plunge deeper into our everyday as we looked at our things, we looked at our daughters, looked out at the world around us and wondered to ourselves, ‘What about the children who’ve never felt what it’s like, or will never get the chance to be known, loved and protected? What about them?'”

 Tommy Alley

He shared excitement for the years ahead as Allison leads Compassion Canada.

9. Allison shares about her journey to Compassion and the way forward.

Allison holds a microphone and speaks to the guests in attendance

Allison shared about her personal calling to Compassion, and how time she spent in Thailand sparked her passion to end poverty in the lives of children.

She reaffirmed Compassion’s commitment to being Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based. She shared her vision for seeing every child released from poverty in all its forms, every Christ-follower engaged in God’s mission of compassion and justice, and for every life to be transformed in the process.

10. Dr. Geschwandtner leads a prayer over Allison and her family.

A group stands on stage praying for the Alley family.

We know that it is important and powerful to pray for our leaders. This moment of prayer over Allison and her family was an important way to honour and support her in her first official moments as Compassion Canada’s President and CEO.

We hope you’ll join us in continuing to keep Compassion’s leadership in prayer!

We’re thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our past and embrace our future.

We look forward with anticipation for what God is going to do in this next chapter of Compassion Canada’s story.

Read more in our press release


Photos by Matt Sharpe, Cynthia Bendle (One-12 Photography) and Andrea Bartholomew