The painting, “Nature’s Garden”, was created by Mary Hillhouse and Brenda Schmidt for our 2022 Art Together Show
Governance & Leadership
Get to know the dedicated volunteers who are leading L’Arche Greater Vancouver.
Board of Directors · L’Arche Greater Vancouver
The L’Arche Greater Vancouver Board of Directors governs the operations of our six homes and two community inclusion programs. This Board is also responsible for contracting with government that provides funding for the majority of operational needs.
Community Leader/Executive Director (Non-Voting Member)
Board of Directors · L’Arche Foundation of Greater Vancouver
The L’Arche Foundation of Greater Vancouver is dedicated to securing funds from individuals, grantors, corporate donations and other sources for the programs not covered by government, construction, property upgrades and other capital expenses.
Community Leader/Executive Director (Non-Voting Member)
My 25+year experience working in the area of diverse abilities stemmed from witnessing how much my younger sister developed and defied all doctors’ predictions after working with a variety of teachers and therapists. It was this experience that led me to my current profession as an Occupational Therapist. My current work involves visiting various housing models where people with ‘developmental disabilities’ live, and has inspired my vision to ‘one day’ create a new inclusive community model of housing.
Through my research and work, I learned about L’Arche and realized that my values and vision align with what is already being done. In the past year, there were a variety of different instances that kept reminding me about L’Arche so I decided that it was time to dig deeper and investigate whether my talents & time would be an asset.
I bring five years experience from my days on the Board of Directors for BC Brain Injury Association, where I loved networking, developing policy & strategy, and generating innovative ideas. As a newcomer onto the Board and to L’Arche, I am excited to see where this path will take me and how my talents will be used. I hope to help reinforce that ALL humans have diverse abilities AND something to contribute to the human race, whether in small or large communities.
In 2010, I started my journey with L’Arche as the Development Assistant, supporting fundraising events and initiatives. Every day, I was greeted by the friendliest staff and core members that would stop by the front office. Here, I learned the importance of community and empowering those in it. L’Arche also gave me the confidence and experience to support the next step of my journey.
I’ve been a proud member of the TELUS team for 9 years, working in a number of diverse roles within Customer Experience and Marketing. Currently I lead the Strategy & Program Office portfolio on the Local Content team – supporting aspiring filmmakers and content creators in BC and AB through grants and community broadcasting opportunities. At TELUS, I also serve as the National Chair of the Abilities Team Member Resource Group.
I’m so honoured to be part of the L’Arche family once again and I’m looking forward to giving back to the community.
I am a retired psychotherapist, author and educator. I also was the father of a son with disabilities. Josh taught me more about life than all of my professional training and background.
My journey with L’Arche began in March 2014, when I was invited to join the Board. I recognize and value the contribution L’Arche makes in creating a community of support for people with developmental disabilities. I’ve learned that what keeps people safe is the number of relationships they have. I also value that L’Arche recognizes the gifts and contributions of all individuals.
L’Arche is a living example of a compassionate community. Our goal to expand our mandate and expose more individuals to the benefits of living in an intentional community has the potential to transform society. It is an honour to be a part of this community.
My involvement with L’Arche spans 30 years. I have held various positions from volunteer, live-in assistant, day program support staff, pastoral presence, retreat leader, Community Leader and Board Member/Chair.
I first became involved with L’Arche in 1988, working as a live-in assistant at L’Arche Homefires in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia. What started as a one-year opportunity became a 4½ year full-time vocation, extending to active involvement over three decades. I was ordained to Ministry in the United Church of Canada in 1997, serving on both the East and West Coasts. My participation in various L’Arche communities across Canada has brought the richness of relationship and many blessings into my life. I feel immediately at home when walking into any of our communities around the world.
As a teacher, vice principal and principal with the Vancouver School Board for 37 years, I had the opportunity to work closely with special needs students and their families and the staff members who supported their learning.
In 2014, one of my teachers who had been involved with L’Arche for 30 years – Sandra Kirkegaard – asked if I would accompany her class on a visit to L’Arche. I took her up on the offer and spent a wonderful morning watching her class interact with the people of L’Arche.
I was most impressed by this visit and by L’Arche’s mission and continue to beimpressed by the dedicated and caring staff who support the people with disabilities in our homes. And I’m looking forward to my next four years on the board as our new building project becomes a reality.
Born and raised in Manitoba, I moved to Vancouver in 1993 to attend UBC. After working many years in property management, I developed my own real estate brokerage and later joined the compliance team at the Real Estate Council of BC.I took on consulting roles while raising my daughter and, in the municipal election of October 2018, I was elected as Councillor for the City of North Vancouver.
I was introduced to L’Arche in 1998 through the CBC Massey Lecture Series that presented Jean Vanier talking about his book Becoming Human. Inspired and moved by Jean’s vision, I became a volunteer and am now a member of the Operations Board. I credit L’Arche with teaching me about humility, a sense of belonging and what an inclusive community really means.
During my 40-year career teaching in the School of Health at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, I served on the board of directors for a variety of non-profit organizations.
After retiring in 2006, I came to L’Arche Greater Vancouver to serve on the Operations Board and have found it to be greatly satisfying. The work of all components of the community combine to provide a supportive and nurturing atmosphere that is well appreciated by the people who live in our homes.
I’ve been part of the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community for more than 30 years, serving in a variety of capacities, and have held the role of Community Leader/Executive Director since 2007. I’m responsible for ensuring that L’Arche’s Identity, Mission and Community Mandate are expressed in the daily life of our community.
I’m passionate about the mission of L’Arche, which celebrates the unique value of every person, regardless of age, race, religion or ability. I continue to be inspired by the wonderful people at L’Arche, our vision of building community together, and the hope it brings to a world that so often emphasizes difference.
Currently I serve full-time as an impartial, independent labour-management arbitrator. My legal career has included provincial and federal employment related tribunal positions. I have helped resolve hundreds of disputes as a mediator, fact finder, investigator, neutral evaluator or facilitator. I have written over 850 published binding decisions; contributed books and articles on employment law issues; and drafted collective bargaining, employment standards, workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety legislation. As counsel, I represented unions, employers and employees.
As satisfying as this work can be, each life needs so much more. I am lucky to have had a joyful marriage for 40 years. My wife and I have a wonderful adult daughter on her life’s adventure and, recently, our third canine family member.
My personal goals include being happy and healthy, which must include doing good things for others. There is no better place to do good things for good people than in the L’Arche community. I learned this during my time as a Board member from 2006 to 2012 and some work with the community since that time.
It is exciting how much the L’Arche Greater Vancouver community has matured and extended itself into the broader community with selfless, ambitious goals to serve. It is humbling to be asked and have a second opportunity to be part of building the community as a member of a Board with such committed individuals.
During my 45 years as a school teacher in the Burnaby district, I found great reward in volunteering my time both within and outside the education system. I established district-wide volleyball tournaments and track meets, while organizing outdoor education field trips for many years. I supported fundraising initiatives for the Burnaby Children’s Fund and Burnaby’s first Fine Arts Elementary School at Confederation Park School.
My wife Pat and I have four children. Our daughter Erin (40), who lives with a developmental disability, led us to become founding members of the Family Support Institute (FSI) and serve as Regional Resource Parents to this day. I served on the FSI Board of Directors for almost 20 years, as well as the Vela Microboard Association and Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network. Currently, I am a member of the board of Community Ventures in Port Moody.
Nate is based out of Vancouver B.C.
His journey as an entrepreneur started at 20 and has never looked back. He is currently a managing partner at Audiospace where he focuses on business development for the last 12 years. In 2016 he also began consulting for small and medium size businesses in Vancouver ranging from construction, hospitality and media. His consulting has successfully focused primarily on business re-organization, logistics and turnaround strategies with real world implementations/execution.
Nate became aware of L’Arche through an associate and immediately felt a kinship to the ideals that L’Arche represented such as providing safe environments that allow those that need help to succeed in life and enjoy the same opportunities that most take for granted. He is humbled to be a part of the L’Arche family and hopes he can learn, contribute and most importantly live up to the L’Arche values.
Nate was born in Vancouver but spent his childhood in India growing up in the city of Calcutta and later going to public school in Mussoorie, a hill station in Uttarakhand which lies at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range. These experiences at such a young formative age, even to this day defines his personal struggles and growth in his journey as an individual. There is no surprise that with this childhood he is nomadic at heart and sometimes restless in life feeling lost in translation. His outlet is to travel, discovering different cities and finding new experiences that challenge his existing cultural views and beliefs. At home one of his passions is tending to tropical and desert plants providing him with the calm he needs while saving and preparing for his next journey.
With a brother who has mental illness, the mission and vision of L’Arche touched my heart and led me to join the Foundation Board in 2016. L’Arche’s vision of mutuality and solidarity with persons who are marginalized resonates with my own. I am thrilled to immerse myself in the work of this community and to bring my breadth of professional experience in financial services.
Since completing a Bachelor of Commerce and MBA in Manila, Philippines, I have worked for more than 25 years for Canadian, American and Asian Banks. I am currently a Commercial Account Manager with Vancity Savings Credit Union.
I have worked in a variety of volunteer roles outside of L’Arche including: Director/Past President for Soroptimist International of Vancouver, Financial Literacy Volunteer for Junior Achievement of BC, and Financial Literacy Volunteer for Vancity Savings Credit Union.
As a Director of the L’Arche Foundation of Greater Vancouver since September 2018, I also serve on the Campaign Executive Team. I was introduced to L’Arche in February 2018 and was drawn by the opportunity to bring my expertise to the expansion project.
I am the former Executive Officer of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, a position I held until retiring in October 2016. Associated with my work with the Real Estate Council, I have served as the President of the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, Chair of the Canadian Real Estate Regulators Group, and Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for the Marketing Programs at BCIT.
As a volunteer, I have served as a Governor of BCIT, past President of both the BCIT Alumni Association and the Western Institute of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and past Director of the Vancouver Club and of the North Shore Community Foundation.
I am a retired social worker who worked in the tri-cities communities and Burnaby for many years. My first involvement with L’Arche was through my sister-in-law Linda who has a developmental disability. Linda lived her whole life with her parents and extended family.
Her parents were aging and the family was thinking that one of us would have to share our home with her. A worker from BACI (Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion) suggested to us that we look at L’Arche as a possibility for Linda. We did and decided to give it a try.
When Linda was moving into her new home at L’Arche I began to get emotional and wondered if this was the right thing to do. It was then that a L’Arche staff member put her arm around me and said “it’s okay, Linda has just grown up and is moving into her own home.” We have not looked back. This model is outstanding. That was 16 years ago, and then I was subsequently asked to join the Board of the L’Arche Foundation of Greater Vancouver. I’ve served as a Board Member and Board President. This organization more than meets its mission statement, it is truly a humanitarian group of people doing what they do best.
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