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Board of Directors

The Board of Directors governs the Chamber, as set out in our bylaws. The Board consists of the Chair, Vice-Chair and 10 Directors. In addition, the immediate Past Chair, Chief Executive Officer and the Treasurer of the Chamber are ex-officio members of the Board.

Each member of the Board has one equal vote in any proceeding of the Board, other than the Chief Executive Officer who is a non-voting member of the Board. Chamber members in good standing who are interested in volunteering for election to the Board, please contact the Chamber office for information.

Meet the 2022 Board of Directors

ryan whittle

Ryan Whittle
Chair
Partner
Areti LLP

jenifer wright

Jenifer Wright
Vice-Chair
General Manager
Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club

mary vellani

Mary Vellani
Past Chair
Senior Manager Cash Management
TD Bank

Ryan Whittle, CPA, CA

Chair, 2022 Board of Directors
Partner, Areti LLP
LinkedIn

Ryan Whittle is a CPA, CA and is a partner at Areti LLP. He has a broad level of professional experience. He completed Part 1-3 of the CPA Canada in-Depth Tax Course and acted as a tax manager at Ernst & Young before shifting back to the audit and assurance practice, and is now working with entrepreneurs to define and achieve success.

Ryan has been in public practice for 20 years, providing practical and timely business, tax, and accounting advice to private enterprises and not-for-profit organizations. Specifically, he has significant experience in providing both Review and Audit engagements, succession planning, Canadian tax compliance and facilitating correspondence with the Canada Revenue Agency. His clients cover a wide range of industries including professional services, real estate development and construction, and retail and service sectors with a variety of locally owned/managed businesses, as well as other inbound private companies.

Ryan is actively involved in the community through his directorship with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, serving on the executive of the board. Ryan previously served as Treasurer for the VRCA U40.

When he’s not working Ryan volunteers his time with the Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club as a coach for two youth soccer teams.

Jenifer wright

Vice-Chair, 2022 Board of Directors
General Manager, Westwood Plateau Golf & Country Club
LinkedIn

Jenifer Wright is the General Manager of Westwood Plateau Golf, a company comprised of two golf course, two restaurants and a second to none banquet facility. Having been with Westwood for 7 years and with over 10+ years in the hospitality and golf industry Jenifer has extensive knowledge of food and beverage as well as golf operations, business development and human resources.

Prior to perusing a career in golf management, Jenifer studied at The Vancouver Art Institute. Earning a diploma of Interior Design Jenifer free-lanced in the industry for two years before returning to her passion for golf. With her love of golf in mind Jenifer started working at Westwood in a Guest Service Desk position and quickly climbed the ranks through roles such as Tournament Coordinator, Assistant Golf Operations Manager and finally General Manager. In her role Jenifer has accomplished such achievements as the creation and implementation of a unique membership program and the continued growth and success of Westwood’s banquet facility with over 110 weddings per year.

Having been an active member of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce since 2014, Jenifer has made Chamber and Community involvement in the Tri-Cities one of her companies’ top goals since becoming General Manager of Westwood in 2015.

Mary Vellani

Past Chair, 2022 Board of Directors
Senior Manager Cash Management, TD Bank
LinkedIn

Mary Vellani is the Senior Manager, Cash Management, at TD Commercial Bank for the Lower Mainland North. She supports their commercial clients in all aspects of cash-flow effectiveness. TD provides financial solutions and makes financial dreams a reality for its business customers and their employees and families.

Mary has been in banking for over 30 years, starting her career as a part-time teller while studying Zoology at UBC and eventually becoming a branch manager. She also worked at TD’s regional office in strategy and communications prior to taking on the Area Manager Small Business role before joining TD Commercial Bank. She obtained her CFP designation in 1998 and continued her education part-time at SFU in the area of financial management.

With her husband, Riyaz, they have a daughter, Ariyanna, who is in her first year of university, studying abroad in Spain.

She is on the Port Moody Economic Development Committee and the Port Moody Police Board. She contributes to the Tri-Cities Chamber Women in Business Committee and Education Committee. Mary also sits on the Burnaby Board of Trade’s Women’s Steering Committees and continues to support the BC Economic Planning Board for AKDN by facilitating seminars on financial literacy for new to Canada groups, university and high school students, business owners, and senior citizens.

She is a member of the One TD Committee for the Tri-Cities and Burnaby.

Ryan Gorder

Ryan Gorder
Treasurer
Partner & Business Advisor
MNP

adel gamar

Adel Gamar
Director
CEO & Co-Founder
GLG Ltd.

ryan jamieson

Ryan Jamieson
Director
Director, Services & Facilities
Coquitlam Public Library

Ryan Gorder, CPA, CA

Treasurer, 2022 Board of Directors
Partner & Business Advisor, MNP
LinkedIn

Ryan Gorder, CPA, CA, is a Partner and Business Advisor with MNP’s Port Moody office located in Newport Village. Ryan has over 13 years of experience providing tax planning, accounting and consulting services to owner managed businesses and non-profits across the lower mainland and British Columbia.

Ryan’s areas of expertise include corporate and individual tax planning, accounting services including reviews and compilations, and consulting with business owners on issues such as shareholder compensation strategies, estate and succession planning, sale of businesses and corporate reorganizations. As a Partner with MNP, Ryan has the resources to advise his clients in a timely manner on emerging issues in an ever changing and increasingly complex tax environment. Ryan takes pride in building strong long-term relationships with his clients to ensure they achieve their current and long-term goals.

Ryan completed a Bachelor of Accounting degree and a Financial Management diploma from BCIT and holds the Chartered Accountant (CA) and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designations. Ryan has been a member of the Chamber’s Education Committee and has served as Treasurer since 2021.

Outside of his professional career, Ryan spends lots of time enjoying the outdoors in Whistler and spending time with his wife and two young children.

Adel Gamar

Director, 2022 Board of Directors (On Leave)
CEO & Co-Founder, GLG Ltd.
LinkedIn

Adel Gamar is Co-Founder and CEO of GLG Ltd — a boutique leadership and management consultancy. He is driven to forge effective collaborations among business, government, and non-profit sectors while creating lasting and impactful solutions. Over the course of his career, Gamar has advised senior leaders of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, and governments worldwide. He served as education specialist at UNESCO and policy fellow at Harvard Law School.

While at Harvard, Gamar taught adaptive leadership and negotiation. He is an adjunct professor at UBC Sauder School of Business where he teaches adaptive leadership and management. He has made appearances on television and radio, including Global News, CBC News, and CBC’s On the Coast and The Early Edition. In 2015, he was part of a team who advised the Chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Gamar is Board Chair of Douglas College and cofounder of the Gamar Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to inspire, empower, and connect young people to make a positive difference for the greater public good.

He holds an MPA from Harvard and a BEd from the University of Calgary.

Ryan Jamieson

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Director, Services and Facilities, Coquitlam Public Library
LinkedIn

Calling Coquitlam home for more than 10 years now, Ryan Jamieson has built a reputation of deploying an open, honest, and participative style while managing through a wide variety of sectors over 20 years. He is passionate about creating welcoming, inclusive communities, helping people and organizations develop and expand lasting connections, and supporting future-focussed conversations around strategies and goals. Ryan believes strongly that inclusivity, collaboration, and education drive sustainability and success for all members of a community.

He has put these passions into practice in both public and private organizations, in BC and abroad. Ryan spent 5 years in South Korea before returning to Vancouver and completing his Master of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. Following his MBA, he joined Community Living BC in 2010. For almost 10 years, he sat on over 40 working groups and task forces with a wide variety of stakeholders ― from government ministries to community groups and private organizations. These groups tackled topics ranging from improving access to services, to analyzing data and trends, developing practices and policies, and working towards vibrant and inclusive business communities.

Ryan is currently Director of Services & Facilities for the Coquitlam Public Library, and is actively enhancing the relationships that the Library has with its many stakeholders. Upon joining the Library in 2020, Ryan quickly became engaged in the Chamber of Commerce, becoming a part of the Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, where he continues to support the Chamber in taking a holistic approach to all aspects of its business.

kelso kennedy

Kelso Kennedy
Director
Co-Founder
RedStamp Agency

jennifer mckinnon

Jennifer McKinnon
Director
Employment Engagement
& Culture Specialist
Creating Culture & Downtown Port Coquitlam BIA

K Millar

Kathryn Millar
Director
Partner
Indigenous Worx

Kelso Kennedy

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Co-Founder, RedStamp Agency
LinkedIn

Kelso Kennedy is a founder, CEO, and marketer who’s passionately obsessed with the future. He got his first computer when he was 13. By the time Kelso reached age 14 he had registered a business and was making websites for Hollywood blockbusters.

At the age of 18 he shifted to more purposeful work when Kelso and his mother started a nonprofit in the Downtown Eastside — one of the first to truly utilize peer-to-peer and social technology in Vancouver. Their model has since been replicated worldwide.

In 2005 Kelso started Mango Ideas and carved out his niche in the world of tech as a service. This earned him a nomination for Canada’s Top 25 Under 25. As he built up Mango he fell in love with the science of marketing, and in 2012 he co-founded the digital agency RedStamp from his apartment in Klahanie.

Running fully bootstrapped, they managed to double the business size every year to over 35 people while servicing the largest tech companies in Silicon Valley.

All these adventures have taught Kelso things an MBA never could. The few things he didn’t learn through the School of Hard Knocks, he picked up later in life in his classes at Harvard.

Jennifer McKinnon

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Employment Engagement & Culture Specialist, Creating Culture & Downtown Port Coquitlam BIA
LinkedIn

Jennifer is a BCIT graduate in Human Resources and working towards her Operations Management credentia. She is a Director for the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce ― chairing the Membership Experience Committee and Ambassador Team. She sits as the Chamber representative board member for the Coquitlam Foundation, as well as a knowledge philanthropist and facilitator with Vantage Point and Past President of the Rotary Club of Coquitlam Sunrise.

Jennifer owns Creating Culture, an HR and Community Relations consulting company. She offers a professional but personal approach to recommending best practices on maximizing employee and workplace potential, and provides high-level support to execute full-cycle recruitment and performance management processes. She also runs the Downtown Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association as its Executive Director ― supporting, promoting, and advocating for the business members of downtown PoCo.

Jennifer is an active member and volunteer in the Tri-Cities community, speaker, and mom to a teenage daughter. Passionate about efficiency, yoga, writing, reading, and giving back (not necessarily in that order) she lives every day to help others and enjoys mentoring and encouraging those looking to grow through professional projects and personal goals.

Kathryn Millar

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Partner, Indigenous Worx
LinkedIn

Kathryn is the operating partner with a locally owned and operated family-run corporation called Indigenous Worx, a business consulting firm committed to furthering the Indigenous economy, working with First Nations communities and their business corporations throughout western Canada. Indigenous Worx is also the parent company for a destination management collective designed to manage the post-pandemic traveller landscape called Travel Local.

With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, Kathryn offers tremendous business and leadership value to her clients and the industry. Her hotel and restaurant experience includes stints at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, The Fairmont Empress, The Olympic Hotel Seattle, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, The Westin Ottawa, the Westin Edmonton, and the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel.

Living and working in destinations throughout Canada has provided her with a platform to engage in the business community through active involvement in BIAs, Chambers, or DMFs in every city she has lived in. This has resulted in 14 diverse board seats in major Canadian destinations.

Community engagement and volunteerism is also a fundamental part of Kathryn’s everyday life. She lives these values in a variety of ways. Through her five years as a head coach with Coquitlam Metro Ford, building community easter-egg hunts for 35 neighbourhood children, and creating a fundraiser for a local women’s shelter, Kathryn is always looking for ways to shape a vibrant community.

Kathryn is excited to be a part of the active business community that the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has built.

ryan oake

Ryan Oake
Director
Mortgage Broker
Oake Mortgage - Dominion Lending Centres Producers West

Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson
Director
Managing Partner
BTM Lawyers

vivien symington

Vivien Symington
Director
Owner
Club Aviva

Ryan Oake

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Mortgage Broker, Oake Mortgage – Dominion Lending Centres Producers West
LinkedIn

Born and raised in Coquitlam, B.C., Ryan grew up playing competitive hockey in Coquitlam and graduated from Centennial Secondary in 2011.

After taking a year off to travel and gain work experience, Ryan then graduated from Capilano University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. While attending Capilano University, Ryan also received his Mortgage Broker Licence from UBC Sauder School of Business. Working as a Mortgage Broker while attending Capilano, Ryan has now been an active Mortgage Broker for eight years and runs his own company alongside his father: Oake Mortgage—Dominion Lending Centres Producers West.

Still residing in Coquitlam, Ryan has been a member of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce since 2017 and has been actively working with the Tri-Cities Young Professionals and currently sits on their committee. With an active interest in meeting new businesses, as well as their owners, Ryan is eager to continue his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce here in the Tri Cities.

Daniel Richardson

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Managing Partner, BTM Lawyers
LinkedIn

Daniel Richardson is a lawyer and managing partner at BTM Lawyers LLP. BTM Lawyers is a full-service law firm located in Port Moody. The firm has serviced Tri-Cities businesses and residents since 1979. BTM Lawyers is a longstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce and is very active in the Tri-Cities community. Since Daniel joined BTM Lawyers in 2010, the firm has nearly tripled in size and is continuing to grow.

Daniel’s practice focuses on personal injury, construction and civil litigation. He cares about his clients and is passionate about providing quality service and obtaining great results. Daniel is also a strong believer in supporting local business and ensuring that the Tri-Cities continues to be Metro Vancouver’s best place to live, work, and play.

In addition to being an owner of one of the Tri-Cities’ largest law firms, Daniel lives in Anmore with his wife, three young children, and dog.

Daniel currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Chamber’s Government Relations Committee. He is also a member of the B.C. Trial Lawyers Association, the New Westminster Bar Association, and the Business Networking International (BNI Dynamo, of which he is also past president). Daniel previously acted as the Chair of the Board of Directors of KidSport Canada and was a volunteer Big Brother with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver.

Vivien Symington

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Owner, Club Aviva
LinkedIn

Vivien Symington has 50 years of gymnastics experience and earned BA/BPHE degrees from Queen’s University.

Established in 1986, Club Aviva is a large family-owned and operated gymnastics facility, offering a wide variety of unique programs to promote healthy physical and emotional lifestyles.

In 2002, Vivien invited the Empowering Steps Movement Therapy Program (ESMT), a unique child centre intervention for children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

Vivien is an active volunteer with Coquitlam Festival Society (since 1992), Kids Brain Health Network, Gymnastics BC, and Simon Fraser Society. In 2017, she was inducted into the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame as a Community Builder and Club Aviva won the best BC Gymnastics Club of the Year.

She believes that society is vital to building a strong sense of community and shared goals. She strives to provide an inclusive centre in Coquitlam offering a safe and nurturing environment to promote the empowerment and health of all participants no matter what their abilities.

vineet verghese

Vineet Verghese
Director
Vice President
Commercial Financial Services, RBC

Vineet Verghese

Director, 2022 Board of Directors
Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, RBC
LinkedIn

Vineet Verghese is Vice President, Commercial Financial Services at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). RBC is a longstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce and is very active in the Tri-Cities community. Vineet has served as a director on the Chamber board for the past year.

At RBC, Vineet took over leadership of the Business Markets team in February 2019. He has since been actively involved with his team of 14 Business Account Managers in supporting small businesses in their markets, many of whom are members of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Vineet and his family emigrated from Dubai, U.A.E to Canada in 2009. He, along with his wife, two children and the family dog have been residents of Pitt Meadows for the last 10 years.

Vineet currently sits on Council and serves as Treasurer for Riverside Community Church in Port Coquitlam. He is a member of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Regional and Civic Affairs Committee. He also serves as a Vice President — Memberships and Sponsorships, Ascend Canada — Vancouver Chapter, a not-for-profit Pan-Asian leadership organization. In addition, he serves as a Director with Millennium Relief and Development Services (Canada).

On behalf of RBC, Vineet supported the Trade Accelerator Program (2017–19) in BC, a program offered by World Trade Centre Vancouver in conjunction with the Toronto Board of Trade, where he helped enlist businesses for each cohort, spoke on topics such as financing, FX and trade finance and coached participants with their export plans with the goal of accelerating their exports. Vineet is also actively involved with supporting businesses in the local community on their business strategy and growth planning.

Leslie Courchesne

Leslie Courchesne
Ex-Officio, Non-Voting
Chief Executive Officer
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce

Leslie Courchesne

Chief Executive Officer, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce
LinkedIn

A seasoned leader with a proven track record in board operations, organizational leadership, policy and program development, as well as government and stakeholder relations, Leslie Courchesne has nearly 30 years of experience in the public sector.

The former Executive Director, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Alumni Association and Director, Alumni Relations, BCIT, Courchesne has also held the roles of Executive Director, University Relations, and Director, Marketing and Communications with the University of the Fraser Valley, in addition to spending the first decade of her career in BC Government communications.

With a diverse background, Courchesne has a strong passion for building community and developing relationships around meaningful conversation.

As Chamber CEO, she works closely with the Chamber’s Board of Directors, members, government officials, and stakeholders to advocate for and prioritize the needs of the Tri-Cities business community.

Courchesne holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communication) from Simon Fraser University, and a Master's in Marketing from Heriot Watt University. She has lived in Port Moody for 20 years with her husband and two children.
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