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Board Bios

Am Johal


Am Johal works at the Vancity Office of Community Engagement in the SFU Woodward's Cultural Unit. He has previously worked on the Vancouver Agreement in urban economic and social development. He was the co-founder of UBC's Humanities 101 program and was Chair of the Impact on Communities Coalition. He has been an advisor to two provincial cabinet ministers representing Transportation and Highways and Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers. He has undergraduate degrees in human kinetics (UBC) and commerce (Royal Roads University), an MA in international economic relations from the Institute for Social and European Studies in Hungary and is currently a part-time PhD student in Communication and Media Philosophy at European Graduate School in Switzerland.

Sean Markey


Sean is a professor with the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University. He received his PhD in Economic Geography in 2003 and holds a Masters in Environmental Studies. Sean's research concerns issues of community economic development, regional development, and community sustainability. He has published widely and he is the principle author of Second Growth: Community Economic Development in Rural British Columbia, and co-editor of The Next Rural Economies: Constructing Rural Place in Global Economies. In addition to his academic experience, he has worked in the credit union sector, responsible for community and alternative financing and social enterprise development. Sean continues to work with municipalities, non-profit organizations, Aboriginal communities, and the business community to promote and develop sustainable forms of community development. He is currently a board member for Vibrant Surrey, a local coalition seeking to reduce poverty.

Alice Miro


Alice Miro is Project Manager, CLASP Initiative---Built Environment and Health at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Prior to this role, she led Smart Growth BC's Healthy Communities initiative and co-authored the guide, "Creating Healthy Communities: Tools and Actions to Foster Environments for Healthy Living."

As The Food Project's Manager of Foundations Relations, in 2005-2007, Alice Miro raised $1.3 M for food security initiatives aiming to promote access to healthy, local food for all. She also worked for several years at the University of BC Sustainability Office, writing project proposals, consulting the public on social, economic and ecological issues, and involving neighbors, businesses, academics and students in the sustainability of our communities.

Andrea Seale


Andrea is Director of Development for the David Suzuki Foundation. As a professional fundraiser, she connects donors with the nonprofit organizations that make communities healthy and vibrant. She has helped raise millions of dollars for a variety of causes through her consulting firm Blueprint Fundraising and Communications and has also held leadership positions with Ecojustice, The Banff Centre, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Modo (the Co-operative Auto Network).

Bob Elton


Bob Elton was CEO of BC Hydro from November 2003 to December 2009. Before that he was Chief Financial Officer of that organization. His career includes 5 years as Chief Financial Officer of Eldorado Gold Corporation, a mining company, and over 20 years with Price Waterhouse Coopers, where he was a partner from 1987 to 1996. At BC Hydro, Bob focused on a balance of strong financial performance, leading environmental standards and building strong First Nations and Stakeholder relationships. His recent Board and Community involvements include: Director Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, Vice Chair of Simon Fraser University; Director of the Board of Minerva Foundation for BC Women, Chair of BC Immigrant Employment Council, and Director of Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions; and he has an extensive career as a coach for women's and girls' soccer for over 25 years. Mr. Elton holds a Master of Arts from Cambridge University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia and an ICD, Directors Education Program.

Bob Ransford


Bob Ransford, of Counterpoint Communications, is a senior communications consultant and urban designer with a certificate in Urban Design from Simon Fraser University and trained in charrette planning at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. He Specializes in navigating the complex public processes surrounding urban development issues and complicated land use challenges. Bob has over 25 years experience in business and public relations. His earlier career pursuits were in journalism and public affairs. He continues to write regular bi-weekly column in Vancouver Sun newspaper and is a regular contributor to NUVO Magazine and Montecristo Magazine, writing on a range of topics including architecture, design and urban living.

Bob is a recipient of the Commemorative Medal for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Commemorative Medal for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, both awarded to Canadians who have made significant contributions to their fellow citizens, their community and Canada. Bob has a long record of volunteer service, he is currently serving as a Trustee on the Granville Island Trust, as a Director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver Foundation, as a BC Director of Portage - a youth substance abuse treatment program and and as a Director of Small Housing BC. He is also a past commissioner on the Vancouver City Planning Commission and the past Chair of the City of Richmond Heritage Commission.

Cam Brewer


Cam is an environmental entrepreneur, green economy consultant, and activist committed to ecological and social sustainability. He has worked with many environmental non-profits including Smart Growth BC, the Canada Green Building Council, the Forest Stewardship Council, the Silva Forest Foundation, and Greenpeace Canada. He founded the Eco-Lumber Co-op, has written and spoken widely about solutions that rest at the nexus of ecological and economic imperatives, and currently consults with private-sector companies, non-profits organizations, and local governments. Cam holds a Masters of Science from the University of Oregon, and a Bachelors in Chartered Accountancy from the University of Waterloo.

Gene Blishen


Gene Blishen is currently General Manager at Mt. Lehman Credit Union (in the Fraser Valley) and President of the Credit Union Foundation of BC. He was recently a participant in Vancity's Bologna program, has worked in the Credit Union sector since 1978 (Mt. Lehman since '92, and North Peace CU since '78), and is a passionate advocate for co-ops and co-op values. He is also very active in social media (as a blogger at and has helped implement some innovative technology applications within the small rurally based Credit Union he manages. He has some formal education in business administration, with significant experience working in the CU sector, leading organizations and mentor others. Gene comes recommended through several sources internal to Vancity as an excellent candidate.

Greg McDade


As an environmental lawyer and social justice advocate, Greg provides counsel and business advice to First Nations on economic development, strategic negotiations, forestry and land use issues. Greg currently serves on the Vancity Board of Directors and strongly believes in the co-operative difference. Greg co-authored the discussion paper, Credit Unions: Governance in Challenging Times for Vancity and Mt. Lehman Credit Union.

Jean-Marc Handfield


Jean-Marc is the Vice-President of Community Member Services at Vancity. He is committed to developing a strong branch network that creates impact by increasing member well-being and helping support healthy communities, while retaining and growing our membership. He has held several leadership roles within Vancity including Visa Business and the Member Services Centre over the last 10 years. Along with his professional experience Jean-Marc has an educational background that includes a Bachelor and Master in Law from Laval University in Quebec.

As Vancity continues on its journey of redefining wealth, understanding the development of cooperatives and what we can learn from them is very important. Jean-Marc recently participated in the Bologna Co-operative Studies Program in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy to help him further understand and learn about the roots of the cooperative system.

Karin Kirkpatrick


In January of 2011, Karin began as the Registrar and CEO of PCTIA, a BC Provincial Crown Agency regulating the private post-secondary career training sector.

Previously, as CEO of the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Karin worked with provincial ministries and key members and organizations in the real estate industry across British Columbia, funding and planning sustainable and responsible land use projects.

For six years Karin was Assistant Dean at the Sauder School of Business and Director of the Centre for CEO Leadership with the University of British Columbia.

In 2011, she was appointed to the board of the Judicial Council of BC. She also sits on boards of the BC Council for International Education, the Vancity Community Foundation, and is an ex-officio board member with the Provincial Degree Quality Assessment Board. Karin is a professional member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, and the Certified Management Accountants Society of BC. In 2013, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Karin holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Human Resources, is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

Following in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial family, she was President of the Kirkpatrick Staffing Group, a company she founded in 1994 and sold in 2001.

The non-traditional start to her business career was as a musician and song-writer.

Linda Morris


As Senior Vice President of Business Development, Member and Community Engagement at Vancity, Linda has oversight for connecting members with our financial co-operative and our vision to redefine wealth. Thrilled to be a part of an organization that supports its community and is a catalyst for individual and collective well-being, Linda considers Vancity to be a visionary game-changer.

As an active member on the Vancity senior executive team, Linda leads and mentors with an energetic, dynamic and blended approach in the Business Development, Member and Community Engagement division to contribute to Vancity's bold reputation as a community catalyst and best-in-class financial institution. She and her team are responsible for engaging and growing the membership through our member experience, our products and services, and our commitment to the communities where we live and work.

Previously Linda was the CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, BC/Yukon; prior to this was Deputy Minister in the Public Affairs Bureau for the Government of BC, Vice President, Communications & Community Engagement for Vancouver Coastal Health, and Director of Public Affairs for the Vancouver Port Authority.

Linda received her MBA from Royal Roads University, MA in Canadian History from University of Toronto, and BA (Honours) in Canadian History from McGill. She also holds certificates in Executive Management, Public Administration, and Public Relations from U of T, Ryerson and York University respectively.

Deeply committed to giving back and serving the community, Linda has an extensive record of community involvement including key positions with the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the United Way. She is proud to have been part of the team that sought funding to support the PinK (Power in Knowledge) tour, an interactive travelling exhibit bringing information about breast cancer risk reduction and on-the-spot sign-up for mammogram enrolment.

Shushma Datt


Shushma's bio is under construction. Visit us again soon to learn about Shushma.