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.

Nate Bello - President Nanaimo, BC

Hugh Kellas - Treasurer West Vancouver, BC

Marilyn Belak - Vice President Dawson Creek, BC

Linda Locke - Vice President Hazelton, BC

Sharlene Frank Comox, BC

Cameron Gray Vancouver, BC

Susan Jensen Prince George, BC

Christene Walsh Kelowna, BC

Stephen T. Dooley White Rock, BC

Manpreet Grewal Abbotsford, BC

Beverly Onischak Castlegar, BC

Angela Towle Vancouver, BC


Nate Bello

Nate Bello - President, Nanaimo, BC
Nate is president of SPARC BC and is serving on a year term ending in 2018. He joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2009 and has served on the Nominations and Governance Committees. Nate is dedicated to community sustainability and has a long history of community involvement. Nate was a founding member of the Quesnel Multicultural Society, a member and Vice-Chair for the University of Northern British Columbia, Chair of the North Cariboo Post-Secondary Education Council and Vice-Principals Association and a director of the Quesnel Community and Economic Development Corporation. Nate also served two terms as the Mayor of Quesnel and three terms as a Councilor on Quesnel City Council. As Mayor, Nate was a founding member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and served on the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Hugh Kellas

Hugh Kellas - Secretary/Treasurer, West Vancouver, BC
Hugh joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2012 and has served as the Secretary/Treasurer since 2013. Trained as an urban planner, Hugh held a series of positions within Metro Vancouver, including the Manager of Policy and Planning. 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, chairing the Community Investment and Relations Committee. Hugh brings to the Board extensive knowledge of urban and community development.

Marilyn Belak

Marilyn Belak - Vice President, Dawson Creek, BC
Marilyn served nine years as a City Councilor including interim Mayor in Dawson Creek. She is an RN, retired from Hospice and Palliative Care and Community Care Nursing in 2013. Marilyn is a past recipient of Impact and Influence Woman of the Year in Northern B.C. and has also received three Misbehaving Women Awards and several civic leader citations. Marilyn is committed to the four pillars of sustainability: cultural vibrancy, economic prosperity, environmental responsibility and social justice. As a mother and grandmother with her 96 year old mother in a care facility, Marilyn is involved in advocating for excellence in quality of life from cradle to grave. She is a published poet and writer, gardener and outdoors woman.

Linda Locke

Linda Locke - Vice President, Hazelton, BC
Linda joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2009 and has served on the Finance and Audit and Governance Committees. Linda brings significant understanding of the issues and challenges of poverty and a deep understanding of the impact of poverty in smaller, rural and northern communities. Linda is a practicing lawyer and has been leading the work of the Upper Skeena Counseling and Legal Assistance Society (USCLAS) in Hazelton for more than twenty years. Linda obtained her Law Degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and previously completed a Social Work Degree at the University of Calgary. Linda also has a Diploma of Social Sciences at Mount Royal College. With her experience in family law, child protection and poverty law and her deep commitment to community, Linda brings a unique and important perspective to SPARC BC especially as it relates to Aboriginal people and communities as well as people living in poverty.

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Sharlene Frank, Comox, BC
Sharlene joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2013 and serves as a member of the Finance Committee. Sharlene is a member of the K’ómoks First Nation. Sharlene has a Master’s of Public Administration and a strong history in community development. For more than 20 years, Sharlene has worked with Aboriginal communities as a researcher, policy analyst and program administrator and has been involved in a wide range of individual and organizational capacity development issues. Sharlene’s career has included working with Aboriginal communities to help them to define and develop their programs, services and vision. Sharlene has played many different roles from 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 point on community development.

Cameron Gray

Cameron Gray, Vancouver, BC
Cameron joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2011 and serves 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 of innovative strategies and approaches in the field of housing.

Susan Jensen

Susan Jensen, Prince George, BC
Susan joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2015 and serves as a member of 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.

Christene Walsh

Christene Walsh, Kelowna, BC
Christene joined the SPARC BC Board of Directors in 2014 and has served on both the Nominations and Governance Committees. Christene is a social worker by profession, completing both a Master’s Degree in Social Work (University of Calgary) and Bachelor of Social Work (McMaster University). Christene also holds a Diploma in Regulatory Law (Seneca College) and a Bachelor of Arts/Sociology (St. Francis Xavier University). Christene is currently employed with the Regional District of Central Okanagan [RDCO] as the Manager, Police/Community Support Services. Previously Christene served as the Social Development Coordinator–a community development role within Central Okanagan’s social services sector. Christene has also worked as a social worker in mental health & substance use services, palliative [cancer] care, hospital social work and child protection (Aboriginal communities). Her primary area of interest is social justice.

Stephen Dooley

Stephen T. Dooley, White Rock, BC
Steve Dooley is the Executive Director for Simon Fraser University, Surrey Campus. Through the course of his career, Steve has worked on a number of projects with SPARC BC and is a champion of community engagement and community-based research. Steve has an extensive background in research and education including significant experience in community development and community building. Steve has a passion for supporting experiential learning and encourages students to become humble learners as they work to engage as volunteers and as members of civil society. While providing instruction in criminology and sociology at Kwantlen Polytechnical College, Steve created CIR:CLE (The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research: Community Learning and Engagement. Through CIR:CLE, Steve led a range of evaluation projects for the Surrey School District. Steve also worked with SPARC BC and other key partners on the development of the City of Surrey’s first ever poverty reduction plan.

Manpreet Grewal

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

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Beverly Onischak, Castlegar, BC
Beverly Onischak is a retired Registered Nurse with more than 40 years of practice in acute care and complex care as well as in providing instruction for nursing courses. Bev is active in working to promote and support positive policy change at a number of different levels including federally, provincially and locally. Bev has a history of advocacy on issues around accessibility and disability and is currently serving as a member of a national committee for Persons Living with Disabilities. Through her work, as well as through her various labour and union affiliations, Bev has championed women’s 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 Abilities Awareness Advisory Committee. Bev is also an active community volunteer who enjoys the Garden Club and Friends of the Library.

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Angela Towle, Vancouver, BC
Angela was nominated to join SPARC BC’s Board of Directors in June 2017. Angela has a longstanding interest and track record in public/patient involvement and health care and health professional education. Her work has focused on shared decision-making between patients and health care professionals. Angela also has a long history of work with vulnerable and marginalized populations. As the Academic Director at the UBC Learning Exchange in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Angela has initiated and led projects which seek to provide access to research and community-generated materials through an open-access repository that create further opportunities to share information and encourage greater knowledge mobilization. Angela also brings extensive knowledge of the social determinants of health and a personal commitment to the importance of the inclusion of grassroots community voices. Over the course of her career Angela has collaborated with a diverse range of groups in the community including those living with disabilities and chronic conditions. Angela has also worked with more than eighty different community-based and no-for-profit organizations. This has included work with SPARC BFC in the design of a series of community-based research initiatives focused on ways to incorporate lived experience and patient voices into the training and education of health professionals.