After recently increasing our Board from 9 to 12, Brightside is very excited to welcome five new outstanding individuals to our Board of Directors:
- Frank Chong, BC Financial Services Authority
- Aran Clarke, Concert Properties
- Darren Sauer, Wales McLelland Construction
- Alison Silgardo, Senior Services Society
- Joan Braun, Vista Law Group
One goal that we strongly believe in is that our team should reflect the broader communities we serve, and that includes our Board of Directors. Adding to an already impressive group of Directors, these five individuals were thoughtfully recruited with the lens of adding greater diversity to our Board, and while building out skills that are essential to our growth and how we serve our residents. Our Board now includes an equal distribution of female/male members, a higher proportion of visible minority members representing one third of the Board, two new members with specific background in representing seniors and seniors’ rights, and new members getting their first board experience who add key skill-sets that will compliment staff expertise at a senior level.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are critical to the success of Brightside and our ability to continue to create affordable homes for those struggling with the demands of market housing. So, as a Board and Executive team, we have been meaningfully reflecting on diversity and inclusion in the context of our operation, our residents, and our communities. We engaged leading diversity and inclusion specialists to help us learn from leaders in the field, and figure out how we could improve our practices. Throughout our organization, diversity and inclusion are key priorities.
We know that diversity and inclusion have to be thoughtfully considered throughout our organization. So, we are in the very early stages of creating our first diversity and inclusion strategy, a long-term action plan designed to ensure that critical lens is brought to everything we do. There is a lot we need to do before we get there, so we’re taking our time to get the long-term plan right.
But we also know there are real things that we can do right now to improve on our policies and practices. We’re working to improve diversity and inclusion at Brightside more immediately by:
- conducting an organizational assessment, including interviews and focus groups with staff and existing Board members;
- updating our policies and procedures through a diversity and inclusion lens;
- promoting staff internally to improve team cohesion and foster a sense of inclusion; and
- investing in inclusive practice development and learning opportunities for the entire Brightside team.
Looking outwardly, we know diversity and inclusion aren’t only important to who we are, but also matter significantly to how we go about our external engagement. One of the real gaps that we identified was our relationships with First Nations communities whose unceded land we operate on. Building more meaningful, lasting relationships with local First Nations is a priority for Brightside. It’s a priority not only to ensure that we’re considering First Nation input for our plans, but we believe they have a wealth of knowledge that will bring an important Indigenous perspective to our organizational policies and practices. We are working to open channels of continuous dialogue, while taking tangible steps on issues like integrating the principles of UNDRIP within Brightside.
Meet our newly appointed Board members:
Frank Chong is Vice President and Deputy Superintendent (Financial Institution Regulation) with the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA). The BCFSA is the provincial regulator responsible for credit unions and trust companies, insurance companies, pension plans, mortgage brokers and the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Frank is also Vice Chair of the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR). He has participated in a number of industry working groups and is a member of the CD Howe Financial Services Research Initiative. Frank has 19 years of experience within the financial services sector. Prior to BCFSA, Frank held finance and management roles at a B.C. credit union, a chartered bank and an insurance brokerage firm.
Frank is a long-time resident of Vancouver and an active member of his community. He joined the Brightside Board with a desire to play an active role in local affordable housing. In his spare time, Frank works on his garden and loves to explore his City.
Aran Clarke is Director, People Experience at Concert Properties. She is a seasoned human resources professional with deep experience with change management and transformation projects and initiatives. Her passion is people and supporting leaders and organizations to align their people related strategies with future organizational goals.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Post Diploma in Human Resources. In 2018, Aran completed the Leadership Academy, a program sponsored by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values and curated and taught by MIT.
Aran has had the great fortune to work with several different organizations and industries over the past 15 years ranging from aviation to banking and now real estate. Aran currently leads the People Experience department at Concert Properties Ltd.
She is mother to two talented elementary school aged daughters and on weekends she can be found reading a good book, running or ferrying the girls to their various pursuits.
Darren Sauer is a leader in the construction management and property development industry, with over 15 years of experience in this dynamic and challenging area. As the Director of Development with Wales McLelland Construction focused on business development and preconstruction, he strives to understand clients’ and stakeholders’ needs and objectives, leading and driving projects forward.
Darren has always recognized the construction and development industry is more about building relationships and trust, than it is about bricks and mortar and brings these values to Brightside. He also brings expertise of all facets of development, gained through working on large scale, multi-year, complex rezoning and subdivision projects at one of western Canada’s largest private developers.
A recent graduate of the Executive MBA program from Simon Fraser University, Darren holds a PMP designation as well as a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours from BCIT.
Alison is the CEO of Seniors Services Society of BC. Alison is a Certified Executive Coach with a BA in Psychology and an MA in Leadership. She is knowledgeable in leadership and team development strategies. She is an established management professional with over 17 years in the private, public and not for profit sectors. Alison has had a diverse background spanning three continents Asia, Europe and North America in multiple sectors, Banking with Citibank Zurich (Risk Management), HSBC in India, Real Estate with Colliers, O&Y Enterprise, BC Housing and in the non-profit sector in leadership roles at Phoenix Society and as the past CEO of Pacifica Treatment Centre Society.
In her consulting work, Alison specializes in working with leaders, entrepreneurs and high-potential individuals within organizations to unlock their potential and deepen their knowledge and skills to maximize the impact that they can have in their position and to build the future state that they are seeking. Alison brings all of her 25+ years of professional experiences to her work. Alison brings a depth of cultural sensitivity from her global work experience in a diverse range of organisations.
Alison’s work has included strategic planning and visioning in operations, knowledge exchange and training as well as evaluation, implementation and audit in these sectors. Alison participates on a number of local and provincial level committees and groups with a focus on enhancement of system delivery.
Her mission in her role leading Seniors Services Society is to enhance the quality of daily life of low-income senior renters by developing a blue print for their care, knowledge exchange and training and developing a framework for implementation of a system of care for this group of seniors.
Alison’s enjoys volunteering and has served on the Boards of organizations like Dixon Society for women fleeing abuse and SHARE Society.
Joan Braun, LLB, MSW, LLM is a lawyer and mediator in private practice in Vancouver. She has been mediating since 2004 and currently practices at the Vista Law Group. Joan also has extensive experience in management in the justice sector and in organizations that deliver legal services to seniors. She was the executive director of the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta from 2013-2015, where she oversaw the final two phases of a three-phase project on using the law to prevent elder abuse. In an earlier position, she served as the Executive Director of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (BC CEAS) where she established a specialty legal aid clinic for older adults. She completed a Master of Laws degree in 2011, with a thesis on elder mediation. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, with a dissertation on human rights law, elder law and disability law issues.
These new Board members have been added to the team of current members:
- Greg Tooke, (Brightside Chair) Consultant / Light Trail Consulting
- Frode Skulbru (Brightside Vice Chair) Partner / Modalis Infrastructure Partners
- Jack Wong (Secretary/Treasurer) Retired CEO/ Real Estate Foundation of BC
- Genine McCurdy (Past Chair) Retired Portfolio Director, Government of Canada
- Vija Poruks (Board Member) Project Manager
- Willa Choy (Board Member) Internal Auditor / Technical Safety BC
- Mark Lester (Board Member) SVP, Colliers International
Biographies of the current Board Members can be found here.