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Board of Directors

The SPARC BC Board of Directors brings a strong background in the area of social policy and social justice and reflects the social and geographic diversity of BC. The time, expertise, and experience that they volunteer to SPARC BC is invaluable to our organization and is fundamental to the work that we do.

 

Hugh Kellas - President, West Vancouver, BC
Hugh joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2012 and has served as the Treasurer/Secretary for the past six (6) years. Hugh became SPARC BC’s President in 2018. Trained as an urban planner, Hugh held a series of positions within Metro Vancouver, including the Manager of Policy and Planning, and currently provides consulting services. Active in his profession, Hugh is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and a past president of both CIP and the Planning Institute of British Columbia. Hugh has also served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. Hugh brings extensive knowledge of urban and community development.

Sharlene Frank - Vice-President, Comox, BC
Sharlene joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2013 and has served as a Vice-President since 2018. Sharlene also serves as a member of the Board's Nominations Committee. Previously, Sharlene served as a member of the Finance Committee. Sharlene is a member of the K’ómoks First Nation and holds a Master’s of Public Administration. Sharlene has a long history of working in the area of community development and has worked with Aboriginal communities for more than 20 years to help them to define and develop their programs, services, and vision. Sharlene has played many different roles from researcher, policy analyst, educator, mentor, advocate, to elected leader and Task Force member. Sharlene has observed that, over the course of her career, she has come to appreciate the need for a continual process of developing, evaluating and refining a holistic view on community development.

Christene Walsh - Vice-President, Kelowna, BC
Christene joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2014 and has served as a Vice-President since 2018. Christene also serves as the Chair of the Board’s Nominations Committee. Previously, Christene served on the Board’s Governance Committee and the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee. Christene is a registered social worker (MSW) and currently employed with the Regional District of Central Okanagan [RDCO] as Manager, Police/Community Support Services. Previously Christene held a number of community development roles within the Central Okanagan’s social services sector. Prior to joining SPARC BC’s Board of Directors, Christene worked with SPARC BC’s research team in looking at the issues of hidden homelessness and family homelessness in smaller communities and urban centres outside of the Lower Mainland. Christene has a strong commitment to social justice and has worked in a broad range of roles in mental health & substance use services, palliative [cancer] care, hospital social work and child protection (Aboriginal communities).

Cameron Gray - Secretary/Treasurer, Vancouver, BC
Cameron joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2011 and has served as the Secretary/Treasurer since 2018. Cameron also serves as the Chair of the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee. Cameron previously served as the Chair of the Governance Committee. Cameron is the former Managing Director for the Department of Social Development for the City of Vancouver and the former Director of the City’s Housing Centre. Cameron holds a planning degree and a diploma in urban economics and is recognized for his knowledge and expertise in the area of housing affordability and homelessness. Cameron is also recognized for his commitment to social justice and for his significant contribution to the development and implementation of innovative strategies and approaches in the field of housing.

Beverly Onischak - Castlegar, BC
Beverly joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2016 and serves as Chair on the Board's Governance Committee. Beverly is a retired Nurse with more than 40 years of practice in acute care and complex care. Bev is also an educator with experience in providing instruction for nursing students. Bev has a long history of advocacy on issues of accessibility and disability. Bev currently serves on a number of Committees including the National Committee for Persons Living with DisAbilities. Through her work, and various labour and union affiliations, Bev has championed womens’ rights, and has worked to address issues around occupational health and safety including the working conditions for short-term and part-time instructors. Bev is active on the Castlegar and District Social Planning Council and is a member of the Castlegar Mayor's Abilities Awareness Advisory Committee. Bev is also an active community volunteer who enjoys the Garden Club and Friends of the Library.

Manpreet Grewal - Abbotsford, BC
Manpreet joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2016 and serves as a member of the Board's Nominations Committee. Manpreet is currently the Director of Multicultural and Immigrant Services and a member of the shared leadership team at Abbotsford Community Services. Manpreet has worked in the Immigrant Integration and Diversity Education field in B.C. for the last 27 years and has been involved in developing and managing several community-based programs and strategies. Manpreet has an extensive background in advocating for programs and services to address the needs of immigrants and newcomers. Manpreet brings extensive experience in communication and has been published regularly in the print media. Manpreet also has experience in radio and public television and holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi. Manpreet also has a diploma in print journalism from the London School of Journalism and recently earned her Chartered Director designation from the Conference Board of Canada and the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University.

Susan Jensen - Prince George, BC
Susan joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2015 and serves as a member of the Finance & Audit Committee. Previously, Susan served on the Governance Committee. Susan was born in Dawson Creek and currently resides in Prince George. Susan attended Northern Lights College where she took courses in business administration and business finance. Susan has a passion for social justice and has had a long career working with seniors, adults and youth from a variety of backgrounds (abuse, criminal justice, family matters and access to benefits). Susan found her work at Legal Services as an Intake Legal Assistant to be gratifying and believes in the importance of doing good deeds for others. Susan brings extensive front-line experience and understanding to SPARC BC’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Angela Towle - Vancouver, BC
Angela joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2017 and serves on the Board's Governance Committee. As a member of SPARC BC’s Board, Angela brings extensive knowledge of the social determinants of health, the health sector, and training of health professionals. Given the role health plays, either directly or indirectly, in so many of the issues that affect society today (housing, poverty, employment and social isolation) Angela believes she can make an important contribution to SPARC BC’s Board. Angela brings a commitment to the inclusion of grassroots community voices, and a belief that different forms of knowledge (academic and experiential) are necessary to gain a more complete understanding of societal problems and potential solutions. Angela also has an extensive track record of scholarly investigation and publications, and a desire to promote and disseminate high quality research through both traditional and more unconventional means in order to reach and benefit a wider sector of society.

Tarita Davenock - Nanaimo, BC
Tarita joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2018 and serves on the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee and the Board’s Governance Committee. Tarita has built a reputation as a global expert in the field of accessible travel, and inclusive tourism. A speaker and contributor to the Huffington Post, and other travel publications; her company Travel For All is Canada's premier accessible travel agency. Tarita is sought after for her extensive business knowledge as an entrepreneur with a disability and is passionate about creating access for all.  Tarita has served in a diverse range of roles over the years in promoting greater accessibility including participating on the Accessible Tourism Committee for the Standards Council of Canada. Tarita has graduate degrees in English and Behavioural Psychology and is currently working on the completion of her Doctoral Thesis. Prior to establishing Travel For All, Tarita worked as a social worker.

Kara Keam - Vancouver, BC
Kara joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2018 and serves on the Board’s Governance Committee. Kara is a community-based advocate currently working in social housing in east Vancouver. Previously, Kara trained and volunteered with the Central Okanagan John Howard Society as a Restorative Justice Facilitator. In her role as a Housing and Outreach Coordinator for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Kara has contributed mentorship and leadership skills to the Partners in Community Collaboration (PICC), Partners for a Healthy Downtown (PHD), the Homeless Intervention Program (HIP) and Central Okanagan Recovery Home Alliance (CORHA). Kara also helped to facilitate the work of the Provincial Women's Health Strategy. Kara’s experience in this area gave her a greater understanding of the challenges and strengths of women in rural and remote areas of the Province. Kara’s areas of interest include housing, poverty reduction, and accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Marla Reed - Dawson Creek, BC
Marla joined SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in 2018 and serves on the Board’s Finance and Audit Committee. Marla is the Executive Director of the Dawson Creek Society for Community Living. Marla brings extensive knowledge of the community living movement and has worked in the social service sector for twenty-five (25) years. Over the course of her career, Marla has worked with a broad range of partners on a wide range of community development initiatives designed to promote and support greater economic and social inclusion for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Marla’s work has included the development of numerous housing options for low-income adults with developmental disabilities, families, and seniors. Marla is passionate about the inclusion of adults with developmental disabilities and seniors in the Province and is committed to creating a more inclusive society for everyone.