The Founders of Animo

Emilee Friesen

Founder/Peer Facilitator

Emilee Friesen is the courageous founder of Animo.

Following her own mental health challenges and the stabbing death of her best friend, Jordan, and four others at a Calgary house party, Emilee struggled with debilitating PTSD, entering in-patient psychiatric care and spending many years in therapy.

When friends asked how they could access mental health resources, Emilee decided to start a support group using techniques she learned in a previous self-help program. Recognizing the need to incorporate new tools, Emilee modernized Animo and built it into what it is today with the help of her entrepreneur mom. 

Animo’s values reflect Jordan’s spirit of integrity, authenticity and compassion by offering a safe, non-judgmental space for people to learn to be intentional and gentle with themselves and the world around them.

Emilee is a graduate of the Funeral Services Program at Mount Royal University, and still holds her licence as an Embalmer. She is also a Certified Life Skills Coach through Rhodes College and is trained as a Peer Support Worker. She lives in British Columbia with her partner, Nicolle, their dog Zoe and two cats, Pippi and Leeland.

Eunice Friesen

Founder

Eunice is an experienced healthcare provider who has spent countless hours advocating for vulnerable Albertans with medical, physical, and mental health challenges. She rarely says no to someone who needs her support, so she is thrilled to be working behind the scenes with Animo.

As a lifelong learner, Eunice is certified in Trauma Informed Care and trained as a Peer Support Worker. She also possesses a Master of Business Administration in Innovation Leadership and has completed a Certificate in Mental Health Leadership from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Eunice is a Reiki Level II practitioner and loves flower gardening and travel. She lives in Alberta with her husband, Doug, their cats, Miss Puss and Mouse, and their dog, Petey.

Blythe Friesen

Founder/Peer Facilitator

Born and raised in Alberta, Blythe is not only Emilee’s twin sister but also a vibrant free-spirit who thrives in her varied roles. As an Early Childhood Educator, she enjoys sharing the tools of Animo with the children in her care, equipping them for a future with emotional balance. Outside the classroom, she styles hair with flair as a part-time hairstylist. Her education as a Life Skills Coach from Rhodes Wellness College helps her skillfully guide Animo groups through the weekly topics and skills. When she’s not shaping futures, Blythe enjoys unwinding with yoga, exploring new destinations, playing video games, and spending time with her beloved cats, Li’l Brudder and Nandor.