everyone deserves support

Our Team

Board of Directors

Our Society is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors. View our Board policies here.

Our bylaws

Our constitution 

If you are interested in joining our Board:

volunteer job description

application

become a Society member

Cool Aid board director Timothy Fitzgerald

Tim Fitzgerald

Board Chair

Tim was raised in the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. After an exciting career in cyber security, and a 13-year stint living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tim and his partner Erika returned home to raise their family. Tim’s older sister was a client of Cool Aid services for many years. His connection to Cool Aid and to the mission of this indispensable organization is both longstanding and deeply personal. Tim is proud to be a part of the Cool Aid team and committed to the health, wellbeing and success of this organization and the people it supports.

Janet Donald

Janet Donald

Past Board Chair

After touring Cool Aid's Rock Bay Landing in 2016, Janet was so impressed with the compassion and professionalism of the staff and leadership that she wanted to contribute in whatever way she could. Since then, she has collaborated with Board colleagues to support Cool Aid in its work with those who have been impacted by poverty, colonization and stigma. For paid employment, Janet has held a number of positions with the provincial government, currently as an executive director in the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. In her spare time, Janet enjoys spending time in her garden, cycling, and trying to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.

Dave Fracy

Dave Fracy

Board Secretary

Dave grew up on Vancouver Island and was raised by his single parent father. Dave knows first-hand the impact of food and shelter insecurity and has long-been aware of, and impressed by, the work that Cool Aid does in those areas. With the help of his father and student loans, Dave was able to complete a degree in Political Science at the University of Victoria. He is now a partner with Hatch Muir Financial Group where he works as a Financial Planner. Dave enjoys working with families and their finances as much as he enjoys seeing clients of Cool Aid safely housed.

Sharla Godmaire

Sharla Godmaire

Board Treasurer

Sharla is a Chartered Professional Accountant working at Grant Thornton. Her focus is on tax compliance for small to medium sized owner-managed businesses, as well as the taxation of trusts and individuals. Sharla was originally drawn to Cool Aid through her personal experiences living in the downtown core and meeting many Cool Aid clients over the years. What keeps her engaged now is the meaningful ways in which Cool Aid is able to provide support to the community through the wide array of service offerings.

Cool Aid board director Kirby Hayes

Kirby Hayes

Board Director

Kirby moved to the traditional territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples in 2016 after completing her studies at Dalhousie University on the traditional territory of the Mi'kmaq people. Kirby is a lawyer at Cook Roberts LLP and she practices family law and general civil litigation. Kirby has experience in mental health law and restorative justice.  She is inspired by the strength and perseverance of Cool Aid's clients. She is grateful for Cool Aid's selfless staff and generous donors.  

Soki Kaur

Board Director

Soki was born and raised in Singapore and has been living in Victoria for almost 40 years. Having experienced and struggled through poverty, colonialism, racism, discrimination, and inequities in labour and services, she strives to provide whatever supports she can to make a difference in her community. She has raised funds to support families and individuals who need food, housing, mental health services and social inclusion and she has volunteered for many causes to support immigrants and refugees, children and youth in care, seniors, racialized girls and women, and people of colour so that they can access the same or equivalent services as those who are privileged.

Lisa MacIntosh, Cool Aid Board Director

Lisa MacIntosh

Board Director

Lisa comes from a real estate sales background and is passionate about all things housing related. She currently works at managing residential rental properties. She sees Cool Aid as an indispensable organization that is changing lives by offering housing, medical/dental support, and community connectedness. Lisa is particularly proud of the reconciliation and anti-racism work that Cool Aid is doing. There is a way to go but the board and staff are committed to doing this important work.

Tracy Martell

Board Director

Born and raised in Victoria, Tracy's roots in the traditional territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples go back many generations. Various progressive leadership roles during her long nursing career have helped her develop the capacity to understand issues from differing and often conflicting perspectives while remaining compassionate and solution-focused. Holding a Master of Arts in Leadership, she is an Executive Director with Island Health and works with diverse stakeholders across the region, building consensus to overcome complex challenges in health care delivery while maintaining an optimistic outlook and sense of humour.

Joni Persad

Board Director

Joni is grateful to live in Victoria on the traditional lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples. She holds a MA in liberal studies, a BA in history, and a Diploma in interior design. After a fulfilling 20+ year career in design, sales, and marketing, she is currently a social work student at the University of Victoria. Joni is a queer feminist who values anti-oppressive approaches to practice and believes home and belonging are basic human needs fundamental to maintaining well-being. She deeply values the Cool Aid community and feels privileged to contribute to Cool Aid’s mission.

Sadaf Pourmand

Board Director

Sadaf is originally from Iran, but was raised on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. She is a lawyer practicing at Hutchison Oss-Cech Marlatt. Sadaf is passionate about social change and is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion for all in her community. She is inspired by the work done by Cool Aid, and is grateful for the clients, staff, donors and general community for their ongoing support.

Leigh-Anne Soles

Board Director

Born and raised in Victoria on the traditional lands of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples, Leigh-Anne has a strong connection to the community that Cool Aid serves. Leigh-Anne is a Chartered Professional Accountant working at Grant Thornton and specializing in external audit, where the majority of her clients are local not-for-profit organizations. She feels fortunate for the opportunity to serve as a Cool Aid board member and looks forward to working alongside the dedicated staff, volunteers, and fellow directors to advance Cool Aid's mission and impactful initiatives.

Deane Strongitharm

Board Director

Deane brings more than 40 years of experience in land use and development planning, project management, business management, resource development, resort planning, governance, and facilitation. As a consultant, he provided project management in planning and developing several of Cool Aid's supportive housing projects. He also participated in the purchase and development of the Community Health Centre. His work includes private sector, not for profit, public sector and First Nations clients. Deane has a strong interest in the community and is currently a member of the Board of the YM/YWCA of Vancouver Island and Director of the American Friends of the Victoria Hospital Foundation.

Nancy Taylor

Board Director

After a fulfilling career, primarily in international development and local government, Nancy feels fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer on the Cool Aid Board. In her work in local government, Nancy witnessed first-hand the significant impact Cool Aid has engaging with and empowering vulnerable members of our community and connecting them with housing and support services to improve their health and wellbeing.  Nancy is constantly learning in her volunteer role, and interacting with Cool Aid’s exceptional staff and volunteers and very committed Board members is incredibly rewarding.  

Kelly Weiling Zou

Board Director

Kelly is dedicated to building a just and equitable future. As a Juris Doctor/Juris Indigenarum Doctor candidate at the University of Victoria, Kelly combines her academic and lived experiences to advocate for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty. Her activism and organizing are rooted in anti-colonial and anti-racist ideologies, with a focus on environmental, racial, and restorative justice. 


Leadership

The senior leadership team (below) oversees Cool Aid operations and personnel. Together with the Board, it also guides and monitors the organization’s strategic progress.

Elin Bjarnason

Chief Executive Officer
ebjarnason@coolaid.org

Elin brings more than 30 years of leadership experience to Cool Aid. She has dedicated her career to breaking down barriers so people can receive the care and support they need, when and where they need it. She holds a degree in medical rehabilitation, an Executive Master of Business Administration, and a diploma in Chinese medicine. Elin spent more than 20 years in senior leadership roles with Island Health including in clinical operations, quality, safety, experience, and admitting and patient flow. She sees partnerships with other organizations, governments, and peer-led organizations as essential to providing the most accessible and supportive social services systems.

Mary Chudley

Director, Health and Support Services
mchudley@CoolAid.org

Mary started with Cool Aid in January 2020 and supports the health and dental clinics, the Downtown Community Centre and REES Support Services. She has a Master in Health Studies and has worked extensively with Community Health Centres in Ontario. Since coming back to BC in 2012, she has worked in policy development and patient engagement for healthcare organizations, and in engagement and communications with the City of Victoria.

Cool Aid photo not available

Melanie Fleming

Director, Human and Strategic Resources
mfleming@CoolAid.org

Melanie joined Cool Aid in 2000, and is responsible for human resources, strategic planning & community relations. Under her leadership, Cool Aid’s staff pool has grown from a small team to a diverse group of hundreds staffing a wide variety of professions, service models & buildings. She has a Strategic Management Certificate Program from the Certified Management Accountants of BC.

Wendy Fung Graham, Director of Finance & Information Services, Cool Aid

Wendy Fung Graham

Director of Finance
wfunggraham@CoolAid.org

Wendy is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 25 years of finance experience including 15 years in the not-for-profit sector working with a federal political party and a national charity. Wendy is a graduate of McGill University with a B.Com in Accounting. She feels very privileged to be a part of the Cool Aid team, striving to end homelessness.

Steven Hurst

Director, Real Estate Development
shurst@coolaid.org

Steven is a Civil Engineer with extensive experience in residential development, housing market analytics, land economics, and infrastructure. He has experience as a Development Manager, working on development approvals for multi-family projects in the Capital Regional and across Vancouver Island. He has managed housing research teams, and created housing market analytics to assist developers, lenders, brokers, and governments solve real estate related issues and illustrate changing housing trends in Toronto and other Canadian markets.

Clinton Kuzio

Director, Indigenous Relations and Program Dev.
ckuzio@coolaid.org

Clint Kuzio is Cree from Manitoba, the son of Cliff Kuzio and Vangie Johnston. He is a teacher, lawyer and former public servant with the BC Ministry of Health. Prior to joining the Cool Aid Society, Clint worked at the University of Victoria as Community Engagement Manager with the team at the First Peoples House supporting Indigenous students on their educational journey. He also teaches as a sessional instructor in the Indigenous Studies Department and focuses his lectures on helping students unlearn the false narratives taught in the Canadian school system about Indigenous Peoples and Canada.

Michelle Leitner

Director, Capital Assets and Property Services
mleitner@CoolAid.org

Michelle started working in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver in 2008, where she managed shelters, supportive housing, and a mental health drop-in centre for almost ten years. Changing direction in 2018, Michelle became licensed through the UBC Sauder School of Business in strata and rental property management services, while also working at BC Housing as a Supportive Housing Advisor, overseeing non-profit contracts. She relocated to Victoria in January of 2020 to join Cool Aid and continue her passion for providing dignified housing to vulnerable populations.

Don McTavish

Don McTavish

Director, Housing and Shelters
dmctavish@CoolAid.org

Don has a Master’s in Leadership Royal Roads University. He started at Cool Aid in 1996, working in the shelter program. He now oversees shelter and housing operations across the region and is dedicated to housing and shelter for the most marginalized members of our community. Don was part of the team that planned Rock Bay Landing, the region’s only purpose-built shelter, with 84 shelter beds and 23 units of transitional housing. Under his leadership, Cool Aid's housing and shelter program has grown to three permanent shelters and over 600 supportive and affordable apartments.