Board of Directors
- Karim Kassam - Chair
Karim is Chief Commercial Officer of Optima Living Retirement Communities. He has extensive international experience, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, across a range of sectors, including commercial real estate, government and retail.
Karim sits on the Board of the Chrysalix Energy Limited Partnership and was previously a member of the Vancouver Economic Development Commission.
He has an MBA from Queens University and completed the Executive Leadership Development program at Harvard Business School.
- Eileen Stewart - Vice Chair + Secretary
Eileen is the former chair of the Women’s Health Research Institute – the research arm of BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. She has a strong background in looking out for the interests of women – spending 7 years on the board of the YWCA of Vancouver, including time as Chair.
Eileen owns a human resources consulting practice, and in her (not so) spare time, she teaches Ikebana (Japanese flower design).
- Warren Beach - Vice Chair
Warren Beach is the Chief Operating and Financial Officer for Hold it All Inc. He is an accomplished finance executive with over 24 years of experience in senior financial roles.
He started his career as an accountant at Ernst & Young and was Chief Financial Officer of Sierra Systems Group Inc., and most recently TimberWest, Western Canada’s largest private timber and land management company.
He served on the Cabinet of the United Way for 7 years, serving as Cabinet Co-Chair in 2011, and is currently also a Board Member of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Vancouver.
Warren is a dedicated cycling enthusiast.
- Marina S. Matei - Treasurer
Retired Vice President and senior institutional portfolio manager at Phillips Hager & North Investment Management, and former director at the western Canadian operations of a major national consulting company.
Since moving to Vancouver in 1982, Marina has been involved with the Boards of the Green Thumb Theatre for Children, and the Vancouver Playhouse. She has volunteered with a variety of local community organizations including the United Way and the BC Cancer Foundation.
- Dee Brown
Dee joined the TELUS Community Investment team in November 2012 to lead the creation of the local and regional cause marketing programmes, national marketing campaigns and communications strategies. In this time Dee has led and developed a high performing team and developed and launched multiple campaigns that showcase the philosophy of We Give Where We Live.
Dee grew up in Wellington New Zealand and graduated from Victoria University, Wellington, with a first class Bachelor of Commerce and Business degree with honours in Marketing. Dee also completed the International Executive Programme at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.
Dee now resides in North Vancouver with her husband and their three children and loves to ski, travel the world, spend time with friends and eat great food.
- Jill Diamond
Jill Diamond is the Executive Director of the Diamond Foundation, a private family foundation established to improve the quality of people’s lives in Greater Vancouver. Prior to joining the foundation, Jill ran a marketing communications consulting business and worked in advertising, direct marketing and the design industry in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Jill is committed to giving back to her community and supporting those in need. She has served on many boards including that of Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, Big Sister’s Honourary Board, Jewish Family Service Agency and B.C.Womens Newborn ICU Campaign Cabinet.
Jill earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies at University of California Santa Barbara and a Master’s degree in Marketing from Northwestern University in Chicago.
- Dr. Ellen Giesbrecht
Ellen is Senior Medical Director, Acute Perinatal Programs at BC Women’s Hospital. Prior to taking this role, she spent seven years as Head of the BC Women’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In May 2013, Ellen received her Canadian Certified Physician Executive designation, a national certification recognizing excellence in leadership through education and leadership assessment.
- Kevin Howlett
Kevin Howlett is Air Canada Senior Vice President, Regional Markets and is responsible for the strategic direction of Air Canada’s regional operations and the relationship with current and future regional carriers operating on its behalf.
With over 35 years of related experience in the airline industry Kevin is based in Vancouver, and also works to strengthen regional business and community relationships.
Educated at the University of Prince Edward Island and Dalhousie University, Kevin holds the CHRP designation, is a member of the Conference Board of Canada, and FETCO. In addition, he is a board member of APDC and a member of ACELD International Advisory Council.
- Nicole LegaultNicole’s company, Ouessan Consultants Corporation, which offered services in the fields of HR Management, Strategic Planning, Project Management and Meeting Facilitation recently closed, although Nicole continues to provide services for a few, select clients.Nicole is President of the Auxiliary to BC Women’s Hospital + Health Center. She joined the Auxiliary in 2012 and has contributed to numerous fundraising events as well as the ongoing revenue-generating activities and initiatives of the Auxiliary.Nicole is also very active in other community leadership roles: she is Vice-President of the Chambre de commerce francophone de Vancouver; she holds the position of Treasurer for the Fondation des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique; and she is the Director of the Centre de leadership et d’évaluation. Nicole is also an accomplished Aqua-fit instructor.
- Geoff Lyster - Chair
Geoff Lyster is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, with nearly 20 years experience in the areas of corporate mergers and acquisitions and franchising.
His leadership roles include former President of the Vancouver Bar Association; former Chair of the Business Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association - B.C. Branch; and former President and current Director of Endeavour for the Benefit of the Arts, Science and Health.
- Dr. Deepak Manhas
Dr. Deepak Manhas is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics and a clinical neonatologist with the Division of Neonatology, BC Women’s Hospital. He was elected as Program Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine with the Division in July 2016.
Dr. Manhas completed his Pediatric Residency and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Sub-Specialty at the University of British Columbia. He has strong interest in neonatal resuscitation and pursued a third year fellowship training of neonatal resuscitation and simulation in Portland after completion of his training with UBC. He is currently completing his Masters of Medical Education with Maastricht University, Maastricht, NL.
He is chairman of the Neonatal Resuscitation Committee.
- Jennifer Randall Nelson
Jennifer is a Senior Communications Consultant with Bloom Communications, which she has operated for the past eleven years. Her clients include the Vancouver Public Library, the YMCA, the Canadian Cancer Society, Downtown Vancouver BIA, the City of Burnaby, UBC, Vancity, among numerous others.
Her passion for her community, however, led to her creating a non-profit organization, BabyGoRound, which is dedicated to providing families in need with equipment, clothing, and products for their infants and young children, assisting close to 900 families per year. During her career, Jennifer has volunteered her time to many worthwhile causes and events.
Jennifer is committed to giving back to her community and supporting those in need.
- Les Staff
Les is the News Director/Executive Producer for CTV News Vancouver, and has held this position since 2012.
He joined CTV Vancouver in November of 2007 to work in the local newsroom for the host broadcaster of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Prior to this, he was News Director at CTV Saskatoon. Over his two decades in television news, Les has worked as a reporter, anchor and producer.
Receiving his education at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Les hails from Regina, and began his career in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, one of Canada’s smallest TV markets. He has also worked in this country’s largest market, Toronto.
While working as a reporter, Les won the Radio and Television News Directors Award (RTNDA) for Investigative Reporting. His documentary, “Nowhere to Hide” explored the terrifying reality of women being stalked by men. Following the documentary, legislative changes were made to tighten up the laws prohibiting this crime to better protect people from harassment.
Les is also active in charitable endeavors in the Metro Vancouver area. He has been a member of the Hope Starts Here Campaign Cabinet since 2013. The cabinet, working under the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation is raising 17 million dollars for equipment for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Les is also an avid supporter of the BC-SPCA; as well as actively involved in Habitat for Humanity of Great Vancouver.
Les is married to his wife Corry and they share their lives with three spoiled dogs.
- David Yochlowitz
David graduated from the BCIT Administrative Management Program in 1987 and completed his BBA shortly after. He joined the family business, ABC Recycling full-time in 1988 and became the CEO in 2000. ABC is a 4th generation, 102 year old company. They have 9 locations in B.C. and Alberta, with over 200 employees.
David has served on various Industry, community and charitable boards. He is a past president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI); a past VP of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI); served on the BCIT Alumni board from 2006 to 2008, taking the role of VP in the final year, and is presently a member of the BC Women’s Hospital Foundation Neonatal ICU Campaign Cabinet.
- Linda Zhu
Linda Zhu is a Partner at Mao & Ying LLP. She has a combined 19 years of experience in public accounting in Canada and China and holds the title of Canadian Chartered Accountant and the certificate of Public Accountant of US (Illinois).
Ms. Zhu is also a board director of Canadian-Chinese Professional Accountants Association.