Hope Roberts, Finance & Administration

Director of Finance & Administration, Hope Roberts has more than 20 years of experience in financial management for the not for profit sector. Hope holds a Certified General Accountant designation. She manages a strong finance/administrative team and prepares a $23.85 million budget for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Hope brings a balance of extremely strong accounting knowledge coupled with strong systems implementation and effective personal leadership skills. Hope came to Cool Aid in 2011, and has renewed the accounting systems and policies since her arrival.

Hope is extremely adept at presenting financial information in an accessible and holistic way. She works hard to demystify the budgeting and accounting process for managers and volunteers on our Board of Directors. Hope is an avid dog trainer who balances her busy work life enjoying the outdoors and her Retrievers!

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Don McTavish, Residential Services

Don McTavish, Emergency Shelter ServicesDon has worked with the Victoria Cool Aid Society for 17 years, during which time he has been dedicated to the provision of housing and shelter for those most marginalized in our community.

Don is the Director of Residential Services and it was in this role that he was part of the team that envisioned and planned the purpose-built Rock Bay Landing facility that offers 84 shelter beds, 23 units of transitional housing (known as the Next Steps program) and two units of family shelter (the only ones in the Capital Region District). He  oversees all of Cool Aid’s shelters and housing programs, leading staff as they work together so that no one forced to sleep on the street or go hungry.

Don works closely with other agencies in this city dedicated to the elimination of homelessness.

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Ed Jones, Information Systems

Ed Jones, Information SystemsEd Jones is Manager of Information Systems at the Victoria Cool Aid Society. A graduate of Royal Roads University with a Microsoft Computer Systems Engineer certificate, Ed has been managing IT systems at Cool Aid since 2001. Ed has developed the IT department at Cool Aid from a two-server system to a network of 11 servers. His department provides technical support and assistance to 280 employees. He is responsible for IT supplies, purchasing, planning and is currently developing an intranet site to improve staff communication and client services. Ed is dedicated to enhancing access to technology for staff as well as clients who use computers in Cool Aid programs.

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Irene Haigh-Gidora, Community Health Services

Irene Haigh-Gidora on the streetIrene Haigh-Gidora is the Manager of Community Health Services for the Victoria Cool Aid Society. Irene has worked for over 30 years with the homeless and marginalized population in community health settings in Winnipeg and Victoria.

Irene developed and continues to manage the Cool Aid Community Health Centre comprised of a Medical Clinic and Dental Clinic employing 37 multidisciplinary staff, including seven doctors, advanced practice nurses, pharmacist, dentist, dental hygienist and alcohol and drug counsellors who provide assessment, treatment, counselling and referrals to the downtown street population. She also manages Cool Aid’s REES program (Resources, Education, Employment & Support) which partners with mental health consumers to provide services to aid clients in managing their mental illness.

Irene is a seasoned leader who effectively manages a multi-disciplinary team of professionals in a very dynamic environment. She brings grace, compassion and caring to her work and is well respected by clients, staff and volunteers.

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Melanie Fleming, Director of Human & Strategic Resources

Melanie Clarke, Human Resources & DevelopmentMelanie Fleming joined Cool Aid in 2000, with many years of administrative and change management experience in corporate leadership roles. Melanie is responsible for human resources, strategic planning and community relations.

As a long-standing member of the British Columbia Human Resource Management Association, Melanie is committed to cultivating positive relationships and high standards of professionalism and service delivery at all levels of the organization. During her time, Cool Aid’s employee pool has flourished from a small, dedicated team into a diverse group that spans a wide variety of professions, service models and buildings in the Capital Region.

Proud to be part of such a strong team, Melanie remains committed to improving services and supporting her colleagues by cultivating strategic vision, accountability and life-long professional development. In 2013, Melanie successfully completed the Strategic Management Certificate Program through Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of British Columbia.

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Kathy Stinson, CEO

Kathy Stinson, Executive DirectorKathy Stinson is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) and has been providing leadership in the not-for-profit and public sectors for over 25 years. Kathy is well respected in Greater Victoria through her work with Boys and Girls Club Services, where she was Finance and Operations Leader until 2003. After a brief but rewarding stint with the Government of Nunavut, Kathy returned to BC’s Capital to work for the Victoria Cool Aid Society and has been their CEO/Executive Director since mid-2005.

A lifelong learner, Kathy earned a graduate certificate in project management from Royal Roads in 2001, and is currently pursuing a diploma in Urban Land Economics through UBC. Kathy is also participating in the CIH Canada Western Founders program, and is excited to be working towards achieving the CIHM designation.

Kathy served two terms on the board of the BC Non Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) from 2009 to 2014, including two years as Chair. Kathy also served on the board of Leadership Victoria where she held the position of Treasurer for five years.

Kathy’s work has helped to build the capacity of Greater Victoria to identify and confront some of its key challenges. Whether leading initiatives like the creation of the Access Health Centre or working collaboratively with community groups like the Downtown Service Providers, or the Coalition to End Homelessness, Kathy has a talent and passion for bringing people together, helping the community create a better future.

In 2012, Kathy was honoured at the Victoria Leadership Awards with the inaugural United Way of Greater Victoria award for Collaboration and Partnership; and in 2013 Cool Aid received the Victoria Foundation Community Leadership Award.

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Rene Peloquin, Director

Rene Peloquin 2016Senior Consultant, Queenswood Consulting

René Peloquin is Cool Aid’s past Board Chair, a member of the Bar of British Columbia, and works as a partner in Queenswood Consulting, a firm that focusses on public policy and planning, particularly in areas that impact real humans. René has been involved with Cool Aid in a variety of ways for almost 20 years. His other volunteer passion is to help organizations in the community that focus on the arts.

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Arleen Pare, Director

Arleen Paré, DirectorWriter / Retired Social Worker

Arleen Paré is a Victoria poet and novelist with a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria. She has a Masters of Social Work from McGill University and a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia in Adult Education.

Arleen worked for two decades in Vancouver Community Mental Health Services and Programs, ultimately serving as Director of Mental Health Housing for Vancouver Coastal Health.

She moved to Victoria in 2003, and became a writer. Her first book, Paper Trail, was a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Award for Poetry and won the Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2008. Her novel, Leaving Now, was released in 2012. Her third book, a collection of poetry called Lake of Two Mountains, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry in 2014. He Leaves His Face in the Funeral Car was released in 2015 and The Girls with Stone Faces will be released in 2017.

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Sandra Govender, Director

Sandra GovenderRealtor, Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty

Sandra came to the island in 2005 and joined Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in 2009.  Prior to moving to Victoria, Sandra worked with Vancity for 10 years as the Treasury and FX Operations Manager.  Always the entrepreneur, she ran her small business in Victoria for several years before moving into Real Estate.  Previous experience with Vancity has shown her how important it is, as a business owner, to give back to the community.

Sandra is excited to join the Board of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and is looking forward to being part of this well respected and effective organization that is committed to helping those who need it most.

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Norman Gidney, Director

Norman Gidney, DirectorRetired Journalist
(Times Colonist and Founding Editor of Douglas Magazine)

Norman Gidney has been a newspaper reporter since student days at UBC in the late 1960s, mixed with time at The Canadian Press news service and a four-year appointment in corporate communications at BC Transit.

He edited two local magazines for a total of nine years, Victoria’s Business Report and more recently, Douglas magazine.

Widowed and remarried, Norman and his wife Mary have four grownup children between them and live in Metchosin where he volunteers as a Trails Coordinator.

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Heather Brazier, Chair

Heather Brazier, DirectorExecutive Lead
Integrated Policy, Legislation and Operations Division
BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Heather Brazier, with a 20+ year career in the BC public service, has considerable experience in social policy and finance.

She has held several senior leadership positions in the public service, including Director of Social Policy at Treasury Board Staff, Executive Director of Housing Policy and Project Director for the Impaired Driving Initiative. While at Housing Policy, Heather was honoured to be a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness, Mental Illness and Addictions, and subsequently, a member of the inaugural management committee for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Working on housing issues was one of the most rewarding experiences of Heather’s career. She believes strongly in a housing first approach, as housing is absolutely fundamental to people’s well-being and to their ability to receive additional supports. In her role as Director on the Victoria Cool Aid Society Board of Directors, Heather is excited to be part of a community of caring individuals working to assist our less fortunate neighbours.

Heather is Chair of the Victoria Cool Aid Society Board of Directors.

Heather has a BA in Economics and a Masters in Public Administration, both from the University of Victoria. She is an avid skier and sailor, and is the Treasurer for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

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Claudia Wilimovsky (past Chair)

Claudia Wilimovsky (Past Chair)Independent Communications Consultant

Claudia Wilimovsky is an independent consultant who specializes in communications, project management and human resources.  Prior to becoming a consultant she worked in various communications positions for the BC provincial government. Claudia currently works part-time for the BC Representative for Children and Youth.

Claudia has been on the Victoria Cool Aid Society Board of Directors since 2006, and was Chair of the Board from 2009 to 2012. She currently holds the position of Past Chair on the Board. In her address to the Annual General Meeting in 2012, Claudia said: “It is exciting to be a part of a highly dynamic organization that together with its partners makes substantial progress – year after year – to end homelessness in the Capital Region.”

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Larry Beatty, CA, Treasurer

Larry Beatty, CA, TreasurerGrant Thornton

Larry Beatty is a Chartered Accountant and has worked with a variety of clients including private companies, not for profit organizations, professionals, proprietors and the public sector. Larry moved to Victoria in 2002, after obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan. His expertise includes audits and reviews of small to mid-sized corporations and charities, personal and corporate income tax preparation and planning, as well as providing estate, financial and trust planning services.

In addition to his position as Director on the Victoria Cool Aid Society Board of Directors, Larry holds the position of Treasurer and Special Events Support on the Prodigy Group, which is a network of emerging professionals with ties to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. He is currently Director/Treasurer for City Green Solutions. Larry has been involved in various volunteer positions such as Kid Sport Victoria, Maritime Museum of BC and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also enjoys staying active in a variety of sports including hockey, baseball, skiing and golf.

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Rick Marshall, Secretary

Rick Marshall, SecretaryRetired Civil Servant

Rick Marshall retired in 2014, after 25 years with the Ministry of Health, most recently as Associate Director of Policy. Prior to this Rick worked for several years in non-profit service agencies in Manitoba and Victoria.

Rick has served on Boards of various non-profit social service organizations, including the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, The Law Centre and the Capital Region Housing Corporation.  He was appointed by municipal Council to sit on the Oak Bay Parks & Recreation Commission, and also serves on the Board of the Board Voice Society of BC. Rick has broad experience with community-based human service agencies dealing with social planning, services to seniors, alcohol abuse, mental health, housing, employment, criminal justice, legal aid and services to Aboriginal people.

His expertise as a public-sector manager/policy consultant and analyst with strong applied skills in the areas of organization analysis, policy development, program planning and implementation, and issues of access to health services, assist Rick in his role as a Director.

Rick joined the Board in 2010, and is proud to support Cool Aid’s commitment of clear and principled accountability to our clients, community, supporters and funders.

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Angela Williams, Vice Chair

Angela William, Vice ChairChief Operating Officer, Museum Operations, Royal BC Museum

Angela Williams has spent more than two decades improving organizations by putting their people first. Angela is passionate about guiding the power of people and their ideas, and as the Executive champion for the Royal BC Museum’s site development and renewal project, leads a team of professionals who oversee: property management and operations; risk management and security services; human resources and volunteer services; marketing and corporate partnerships; public and media relations; information technology; exhibitions; visitor services, collections access services; and the Royal BC Museum’s fundraising program.

Angela’s work in the human resources field has been recognized through recognition from the BC Human Resource Management Association as a 2006 Award of Excellence finalist; and her championing of sustainability initiatives within the Royal BC Museum earned her recognition by BC Hydro as a Powersmart finalist in 2009.

Angela joined the Royal BC Museum Corporation in 2003 after 14 years in human resources and information technology departments at three provincial ministries. She has received a masters-level certificate in leadership from Royal Roads University; is a designated Canadian Human Resource Professional (CHRP); studied business and accounting at Camosun College; and studied Sciences (Math and Physics) and English at the University of Victoria. Williams is also an active volunteer in the community, acting as Vice Chair of the Victoria CoolAid Society; and was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Tourism Industry Association of BC in 2013.

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Bradley Clark, Director and Past Chair

Bradley Clark, Board ChairInvestment Advisor, Raymond James Ltd.

Brad Clark is a Financial Advisor at Raymond James and has worked in the Investment Services industry since 1997. Brad graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2000 with a BA in Economics. He additionally completed his certification in 2009 to become a Certified Financial Planner. A firm believer in continuing education, Brad continues to enhance his experience and expertise through currently working on attaining the designation of Chartered Investment Manager.

Brad takes pride in community involvement and currently serves as the Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Victoria Cool Aid Society and he has been a member since 2008. Brad is also proud to support the 2012 Midget AA BC Hockey Championships.

Originally from Toronto, Brad enjoys spending time with his wife, Jody, and his two daughters, Ava and Aislynn. When he is not working with clients, Brad enjoys golf, hockey and travel.

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Conversation with FairWay Woods Senior Jerry Dyment

If you had told Jerry Dyment ten years ago that he would soon be living on long-term disability, as one of the first residents of Cool Aid’s FairWay Woods facility for seniors at risk, he wouldn’t have accepted it.

He was a successful entrepreneur who had once had partnerships in two grocery stores, a father of three, an active community contributor in the Toronto area, and a former church elder and Sunday school teacher. How could he possibly have predicted that a “new start” in BC would end with a diagnosis of severe bipolar disorder at the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s Eric Martin Pavilion?

Jerry had been given the diagnosis once before, after he asked his brother to check him into a Mississauga, Ontario hospital. But the bipolar label didn’t make sense to him then and he refused to let it stick. “I just didn’t know what it was. I understand manic-depressive, but how the hell can I be manic-depressive?” he recalled. His biggest fear was that they would commit him for psychiatric treatment.

It wasn’t until he immigrated to BC, where the bipolar diagnosis came up again, that Jerry realized things were never going to be the same. “I moved here from Toronto, and I was hoping to get restarted in a small business of some kind and unfortunately, or fortunately, I ended up in the hospital and they sent me to Eric Martin,” he recounted, sitting at the table in the patio garden outside FairWay Woods.

This time he got it; a new phase of life had begun.

A decade later, at 66, Jerry is wiser — a man you can tell has not been defeated by his condition, who has instead learned more about himself by adapting to a radically changed mode of living. He’s not a businessman anymore, but he is a family man still.  He continues to contribute to his community in new ways… none of which would be possible without the stable home base he’s found at FairWay Woods in Langford.

One of the things he’s had to confront is booze. Alcoholism and drug use are, for many, ways of coping with underlying problems. Jerry didn’t see his use of alcohol as anything but a normal, even cultural trait. He remembers as a teen, growing up in Prince Edward Island, watching his uncles imbibing out of a brown paper bag by the threshing machine in his grandfather’s barn.

“You learn those habits, that’s what my doctor says. I guess my Dad — I’d seen his habits — so you just carry on… It’s hereditary in that sense.” But liquor, it turned out, was a self-administered antidote for a serious disorder that would not go away.

But neither his bipolar diagnosis nor continued bouts with alcoholism are going to ruin Jerry’s life — not now. The first thing you notice when you enter his third floor corner unit at FairWay Woods is the collection of framed photos on a small hall table. Children and grandchildren are clustered together in this crowded space — reminders that he’s connected to a network of people he cares about, and who care about him.

Without a place to call home — a secure kitchen, living and dining area, bathroom and bedroom — that kind of simple shrine to family would not be possible. That’s why the Victoria Cool Aid Society thinks facilities like the 32-unit FairWay Woods are so important: you can’t begin building a life until you are in a place you can call your own.

Jerry agrees. “For me there couldn’t be anything better,” he said of FairWay Woods. “It’s totally perfect. In fact, the whole health and social system opened its arms to me and I need to always be willing to make it part of my life.”

Residents are provided one meal a day and have access to facilities that include a TV-computer room and a fitness room. Jerry is also thankful for the staff at FairWay Woods. “We’ve got people here who’ve got years of experience in the field,” he said. “People can come here and be safe; I can come here and be safe.”

His own experience with Cool Aid has convinced Jerry to volunteer so the organization can do more. He noted that Cool Aid is part of the Coalition to End Homelessness in Victoria by 2018. Said Jerry, “We’re working at raising $4 million to get the housing in place that gives people someplace to live.”

It’s a big challenge, but Jerry knows better than most that we have to begin somewhere.