Helen Greaves, Board of Directors President, joined the SOICS board in September 2013. Helen retired in 2011 after 30 years as a member of the Alberta Law Society, which included 20 years in private practice and 10 years as the Assistant Senior Council of Legal Aid Alberta’s Family Law Office at Edmonton. As the Assistant Senior Counsel position Helen managed the day-to-day operations of this office that delivered family legal services to Legal Aid clients. Additionally the position involved work on a management team for the development of policies and programs for Legal Aid Alberta’s provincial delivery of family law services.
Prior to and during Helen’s professional work she served on several boards and most notably as the President of the Alberta Basketball Association. In the late 1980s she was recognized for her work in Alberta basketball with an Alberta Achievement Award in the service category. In addition to her private law practice business Helen jointly owned a successful Edmonton cafe in the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Helen has an understanding of a range of business practices as well as an understanding of the need to build relationships to be successful. Her involvement with marginalized clients provides an understanding of barriers as well as a knowledge that support, education and programs can assist individuals to reach their potential.
Doug Holmes, Board of Directors Vice-President, is a local councillor in Summerland and founding co-chair of the Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group. He is a global expert on ‘e-government’ and author of the international business best-seller, eGov: e-Business Strategies for Government (2001). He worked in business development for Microsoft Corporation for 10 years and was previously editorial director of a British publishing firm. Based in London and Paris before settling in the Okanagan, he has served on working groups for the United Nations, OECD, European Commission, and Commonwealth Secretariat. Doug has also worked as a newspaper and CBC radio journalist in London, Bucharest, Hong Kong, Ottawa, Yellowknife and Inuvik. His first book, Northerners: Profiles of People in the Northwest Territories (1989), is based on interviews from the North. Doug has a degree in journalism and political science from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a post-graduate diploma in creative writing from Humber College in Toronto. He has visited more than 90 countries.
Jean Makosz has over 30 years of experience as an educator and school administrator in the U. K. AB and BC. She has worked in English, French Immersion and Aboriginal school programs, and as a University Associate advising student teachers at the University of Calgary. She previously chaired the Calgary Chapter of the Educational Society, Kappa Delta Pi. She received an M.A. from the University of St.Andrews and an M.Ed from the University of Calgary in Educational Leadership. An immigrant to Canada herself, she brings an international perspective to her role as Board Chair of S.O.I.C.S. She is committed to helping newcomers integrate successfully into Canadian Society. In addition, she is intent on contributing to the local community by coordinating the One to One Reading Program at the school on the Penticton Indian Band Reserve and by volunteering with the South Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association.
Moises Fernandez came to Canada in 1975 as a skilled immigrant from the Philippines. He first settled in Vancouver, BC, but later moved to Penticton attracted by the sunny weather and mild climate. He offers a different perspective to the SOICS board with over 40 years experience as a civil engineer in Canada. During his extensive experience in his field, he upgraded his training in different design systems and engineering strategies to meet the Canadian landscapes and conditions. He is set to play a key role in developing guidelines for our organisation’s building structure, design and construction. Recently, Moises completed a volunteer missions project in a rural community of the Panay Island, Philippines, building a childcare centre. He is passionate about raising the awareness of the talent and value that Skilled Immigrants contribute to their communities in Canada.
Mark Cheung immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1980 and came to live in Penticton at that time. By profession, Mark is an accountant who has held multiple controller positions with various businesses and government-funded operations. In his long and successful career, Mark has mentored numerous entrepreneurs to start or expand their own businesses including opening a restaurant, a clothing store, motel, real estate, etc. He is a strong advocate of supporting start-up businesses because he appreciates individuals who put in their time, commitment and labour to contribute in local economies. He brings with him a wealth of experience in real estate and insurance and generously donates his time as treasurer for the MS Society as well as other non-profit organizations.
In his spare time, Mark enjoys to cook authentic Chinese cuisine and has professional training as a chef. During his cooking sessions, he often shares background information on the defining factors of Chinese cuisine, which varies with each region’s geography, climate and availability of fresh products and ingredients
Jim Insley is a retired deputy superintendent for School District 53 who has had a rich tapestry of different roles in the last 36 years. He brings to the board a wealth of experience, having helped implement programs in areas such as early childhood education, aboriginal programs, literacy programs, distance learning as well as overseeing and preparing programs for immigrant students. The latter, combined with his having been both a teacher and a principal, made him an invaluable contact for our SWIS in SD53 and now SOICS can benefit as a whole from what he has to offer.
Larry Morgan and his family moved to Penticton in 2002, and he has spent the last twenty years working in management, for a number of national companies, as well as spending many hours involved in volunteer community service. Currently he is a Financial Consultant working locally. Larry’s expertise is in management transformation, and change management. He has sat on numerous boards including community sports, and environmental foundations. He has played, coached, and acted as executive, in community soccer programs throughout British Columbia for over 40 years. Larry has a strong passion for the promotion of new Canadians, and the value they bring to our community.
Jacqui Lloyd is an Electronics Engineering Technologist who worked in numerous telecommunication projects in developing nations around the world. To be successful, she had to be culturally sensitive and a flexible thinker especially as a female manager in a Muslim-dominate country. She knows personally how challenging settling into a new culture and trying to fit in can be. Much of that learning curve resulted in humorous and somewhat embarrassing stories she is happy to share. She has had in-depth dealings with the immigration process when bringing her husband to Canada and in attempting to have her son’s half brother and sister visit Canada. Currently she is working as an HR and Safety Manager for a large modular home builder in the Okanagan. She is passionate about seeing new Canadians fill the looming gap in the employment marketplace by influencing the systems in communities (town/province/country) to support smooth transitions through skills/training/job mapping.
Petra Veintimilla is local town councilor in Oliver, home to SOICS’ second office. Petra grew up in Oliver, and along with her husband has chosen the beautiful little South Okanagan community as the place to raise their two young boys. She enjoys working alongside her parents at their family business, Alberto’s Decorating Centre. She has studied and worked abroad, spending as much time as possible in Ecuador, her father’s birth place and her home away from home.
Petra is Past President of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, having served 2 years as President and a total of 6 years on the board. She is on the Festival of the Grape Executive Committee (a festival that attracts more than 3500 people annually), and is an active member of the Oliver Business Association. We are delighted to have Petra on our board to reflect the interests of our Oliver and Osoyoos area clients.