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BCRPA Board of Directors Election 2021 (Members only)


2021 / 2022 BCRPA Board of Directors

Donnie R
PRESIDENT

Donnie Rosa
General Manager / Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

Read how Donnie got involved with Recreation & Parks

My mom worked at the local rec centre.  After soccer practice I would ride my bike to meet her and watch the rest of the lacrosse games for the night.  It was pure joy being in that energy.  When she had to work Saturday mornings I would tag along and attend hockey drop-in for 4 hours!!!  Being at the local centre was just a normal part of my childhood.

Upon graduating from University my mom advised me not to work for the municipality as there was a glass ceiling for women; she also introduced me to the community development coordinator who offered me a volunteer opportunity. I started to help and then was offered a job.

I thought it was not possible to love what I was doing and make a living. I took the job and found it was my dream job programming for youth and seniors. Every job since has been my dream job and now I find myself making a living at what I just naturally fell into. 

Glass ceiling smashed!!

Read more about Donnie

Donnie Rosa is General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Culture for the City of Vancouver. Prior to this, she was the General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Culture for the City of Coquitlam, and previously the Director of Recreation for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. An avid hockey player and coach, dragon boater, yoga student, and humanist, Donnie is proud to be a career recreationist!

Donnie began her career in the City of Mississauga, working her way from a volunteer to Manager of the program. Later, as the Director of Recreation and Culture for the City of Brampton, she assisted the City to win the bid to deliver the Canada 55+ Games on its 20th anniversary, introduced a program to eliminate barriers to participation, and assisted in sustaining the Special Needs Adult Program Services Ontario, and also gained experience in Parks operations, operating the city’s two destination parks. Her career has been focused on driving visionary change through innovation, as well as leading organizational changes which result in greater access to recreation and culture. She is looking forward to contributing to BCRPA.

This is Donnie’s fifth year on the BCRPA Board of Directors. Donnie served one two-year term as Director, and two years as President-Elect. This is her first year as President on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Steve Kellock Bw Web
PRESIDENT ELECT

Steve Kellock
Senior Manager of Recreation Services & Facilities / New Westminster

Read how Steve got involved with Recreation & Parks

I did not take a traditional path into the recreation profession, but rather fell (or dove) into it after lifeguarding my way through my B.Sc. Biology undergrad degree. My recreation pursuits began with casual roles in both aquatics and summers spent as a day camp leader. Although I thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities, at that time they were a means to an end – to achieve my education.

When I completed my undergrad a fulltime opportunity in recreation presented itself. Less than three years into my work experience, I then landed a new role that changed my focus from program delivery to community development, reinforcing my love and desire to be a recreation professional. I found myself with a mentor who challenged and pushed me through a variety of experiences, and the community engagement work solidified my passion!

In hindsight I can now see how my early opportunities in recreation played a much larger part to engage and inspire me than I was able to see at the time, and how my early role models shaped what has become a truly fulfilling career.

Read more about Steve

Steve Kellock is the Senior Manager of Recreation Services and Facilities at the City of New Westminster. He brings over 20 years of experience, with an emphasis on civic engagement, community development, board governance models, and regional collaboration. An active member of the BCRPA for over 10 years, Steve is known for his commitment to forging cross-sectoral collaborations, and for identifying opportunities for inter-municipal recreation initiatives. As a former member of the Aquatic Programmer Core Development Committee, Steve supported aquatic leadership initiatives, agency relations, and the exchange of best practices throughout the Lower Mainland. Steve studied leadership at Royal Roads’ School of Business, through the MBA Executive Management program.

This is Steve’s fifth year on the BCRPA Board of Directors. Steve served two two-year terms as Director. This is his first year serving as President-Elect.

Elizabeth Ayers Cropped
DIRECTOR

Elizabeth Ayers
Director, Recreation and Sport Services / Richmond

Read how Elizabeth got involved with Recreation & Parks

Throughout high school and university I was a lifeguard and swim instructor.  While I loved the work, seeing children learn, watching people connect and have fun I didn’t plan to make a career of it.

As I was graduating I was encouraged to apply for a programming job and the rest as they say is history.  I continued to grow, learn and develop my leadership skills and as a result was able to progress through a series of more challenging positions. At one point I also went back to school part time and completed my MBA. I believe this also opened new doors for me. 

I  am so grateful for the many opportunities, mentorship, and learnings along the way. Building healthy, active and connected individuals and communities is a rewarding and dynamic adventure every day!

Read more about Elizabeth

Elizabeth Ayers is Director of Recreation and Sport Services at the City of Richmond. She has been a participant and leader in the recreation and parks field for over 30 years. Her strong background in the field has been gained from working in four progressive municipalities: Oak Bay, Surrey, Abbotsford, and Richmond. She has managed all areas of recreation including aquatics, arenas, community recreation, sports, and parks programs. She has also worked with a variety of operating models including direct delivery, contract services, partnerships, as well as the Community Association model used in Richmond. She has extensive experience working with not-for-profit boards, and is an active volunteer in her own community.

She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Victoria, a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of British Columbia, and is a Leadership Vancouver Graduate. She is a believer in continuing education and continues to take a variety of courses, and attends workshops and conferences to remain current in the recreation and parks sector.

This is Elizabeth’s fourth year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

 Karin Carlson Web Director

Karin Carlson
Director of Recreation and Leisure Services / Fort St. John

Read how Karin got involved with Recreation and Parks

I became a fitness instructor and volunteer at the local YMCA as I started university. I loved working with the members and really making an impact on their health and well-being. I originally planned to earn a science degree but because of the strong mentors I had at the YMCA, I started to consider a career in recreation, sport, and fitness. I'm so glad I decided to change my focus. I still love making a difference for people in my community, although today it is more at the community level than the individual level. It's the best job I've ever had!

In my free time I pursue mostly outdoor activities – horseback riding, combined driving (equine event), cross country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

Read more about Karin

Karin Carlson is Director of Recreation and Leisure Services at the City of Fort St. John. She highly values the expertise of her colleagues from around the province and believes that connection is one of the most important opportunities offered by BCRPA. As a business owner, former banker, and past board member of a number of non-profit organizations, including the local Chamber of Commerce, Karin brings a keen financial perspective to the Board and a very strong understanding of governance.

She has a keen professional interest in community development. With ever tightening budgets, lack of human resources, and an increasing need for a range of supports in our communities, she believes the path to solving problems is through working together – by building up the networks and social infrastructures we have in place so many of our sport, culture, heritage, and social agencies can continue to offer programs and services to those in need in our community.

This is Karin’s second year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Kelsey Johnson Web
DIRECTOR

Kelsey Johnson
Manager of Recreation, Arts and Culture / Penticton

Read how Kelsey got involved with Recreation & Parks

I enrolled in the Recreation & Leisure Management Program at Mohawk College in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, out of convenience and thinking that it would just be all fun and games. Little did I know that this somewhat whimsical decision would lead me to find my passion and purpose in life; to connect people and build community through recreation. While attending college, I had the opportunity to work at a local, and somewhat derelict, rec centre and it was a life-changing experience. That little run-down rec centre was the heart and soul of the neighbourhood. It was a safe space, a guaranteed afternoon snack, strong role-models, and most importantly, kindness and inclusion for all.

Shortly after graduation, the mountains of BC called my name, so I packed my bags with one goal in mind; to make an impact in municipal rec. It was a slightly haphazard plan at the time, but it worked out and I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I am incredibly thankful for all of the opportunities this fulfilling career has given me and ever so grateful to work with and learn from such talented professionals in the field.

It's been a fun ride so far, and I'm looking forward to all the years to come.

Read more about Kelsey

Kelsey Johnson is Manager of Recreation, Arts and Culture for the City of Penticton. With over 10 years of experience in recreation services, Kelsey Johnson has proven herself to be a proactive visionary committed to advancing and advocating for recreation and community services. Recipient of the 2019 CPRA Emerging Leader Award, Kelsey has been nationally recognized as a dedicated professional who has a strong foundation in recreation services and has made significant contributions to their community.

Known for her creative solutions and strategic thinking, Kelsey is a trusted leader focused on building strong connections with staff, volunteers and community partners. Kelsey understands the importance of providing clear guidance, direction and support that aligns with organizational priorities and best serves the community. A true advocate for access to recreation, Kelsey has built trusting relationships with community and social service providers to advance access to recreation opportunities and increase overall awareness of the benefits and vital importance of recreation to communities and the greater good.

This is Kelsey’s first year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Jordopetrovics Web
DIRECTOR

Jordan Petrovics
Manager of Recreation Services / Golden

Read how Jordan got involved with Recreation & Parks

I have always enjoyed working in positions that help keep people active, smiling and having fun. When compared to many others in the world of local government, my story is unique. Over the years, the professional opportunities that have come my way have all felt like a perfect fit based on the timing in my life. With that, one opportunity has stumbled into another that has led me to the Parks and Recreation Sector.  
 
My passion for mountain biking and developing the sport helped fuel my path to the Recreation Sector.  Being involved with trail building activities some 20 years ago lead me on a path to being hired as a mountain bike patroller at Sun Peaks Resort.  From this, I started to get involved in hosting larger bike events and races.  With this event experience, I shifted my focus to sales, marketing and media relations.  As my diversity grew with promoting and working in the resort sector, it was an easy transition to shift to the world of municipal recreation.
 
When the opportunity to step into the position as Manager of Recreation Services for the Town of Golden, I jumped in, tackled the challenge and didn't look back.
 
There are so many great things about this field that continuously motivates me to do more. Helping provide a positive impact on the quality of life in my own community is a rewarding position, and it keeps me motivated to do more and encourage others to get involved.  Working with the public to make their favourite sport grow and transforming park spaces to cater to all are some of the most rewarding projects to help bring to life.
 
As a board member with the BCRPA, the last two years have provided a greater insight into all aspects of the sector and allowed me to share my passion for the sector. I'm keen to continue being involved with the BCRPA board though providing positive contributions to the sector while at the same time improving my own skills.

Read more about Jordan

Jordan Petrovics has served as the Manager of Recreation Services for the Town of Golden for the last eight years. Jordan got his start in the recreation and parks sector working for Kicking Horse and Sun Peaks Resorts in sales, marketing, media relations and events. Proud to call himself a “ski bum” back then, his early days involved sharing his research skills with the Canadian Ski Council, and helping to establish a provincial mountain bike consortium which fueled economic impact studies exploring the benefits of bringing various sports like mountain biking to communities around BC. He also had a hand in crafting the “most entertaining” freeride ski event in his region. Jordan’s experience as a member of multiple boards, clubs and organizations has made him deeply appreciate the value of a long-standing well-functioning governance board like BCRPA.

This is Jordan’s third year on the BCRPA Board of Directors. Jordan is beginning his second two-year term on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Mike Redpath 2 Web
DIRECTOR

Mike Redpath
Director of Regional Parks / Metro Vancouver Regional District

Read how Mike got involved with Recreation & Parks

After many years of competitive swimming and hanging out at the local pools, my first job was coaching local youth and high school swim teams. I think if you hang out at the pool long enough they offer you a job as a lifeguard/swim instructor – this is how I officially entered the Parks and Recreation sector.

Professionally I have been so privileged to work and learn, over the last 30 years, from leaders in the community, in parks/recreation and the public sector. I have served with and led many teams charged with providing people of all ages, cultures and abilities access to play, major events, indoor and outdoor active and passive recreation opportunities in urban settings. I love the outdoors, it is truly the best antidote for nature deficit disorder. All my life I have spent countless hours with friends and family exploring and having fun!

Our profession is so cool – we get to develop cities, we dream, design, build, manage, operate and maintain parks, open spaces, and recreation facilities. Today I am so proud to be part of the team who are the current stewards of Metro Vancouver's amazing Regional Park system – protecting and connecting people to the region's significant parks and protected areas.

Looking to the future, our sector is key to ensuring we provide the leadership that drives important adaptation and mitigation efforts in response to the effects of climate change to preserve our amazing parks and protected areas for current and future generations to enjoy.

Read more about Mike

Mike Redpath is Director of Regional Parks for Metro Vancouver Regional District. Mike brings over 30 years of progressive experience working in the parks and recreation sector in British Columbia. He has led and participated on many teams charged with providing people of all ages, cultures and abilities access to play, major events, outdoor active and passive recreation opportunities in urban settings. He has worked with the City of Richmond, in BC for 27 years, starting as a lifeguard and swim instructor, and years later leading an award-winning team of Parks professionals that planned, developed and protected parks and open spaces and natural areas.

In his current role, he is proud to be leading the team who are the current stewards of an amazing Regional Park system that works together to protect the region's significant parks and protected areas, and connects people across 21 municipalities and over 2.5 million residents. In his expansive career, Mike has been involved in the community development, acquisition, planning, construction, operation and animation of many significant urban, passive and active parks, greenways and urban spaces in Metro Vancouver.

This is Mike’s second year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Neal Aven Web
DIRECTOR

Neal Aven
Manager of Parks / Surrey

Read how Neal got involved with Recreation & Parks

Family camping/hiking/cross-country skiing trips were a regular occurrence for me growing up and, as such, fueled my passion for the great outdoors. This interest, in turn, led me along my post-secondary path in landscape design and natural resources conservation.

When I completed my undergrad at UBC, an opportunity arose within the City of Surrey parks division and I jumped at it (even though it was largely an office-based role working with computers and databases and endless lists)! Through that experience, I came to realize how much I enjoy working and interacting with, supporting, and providing service to colleagues and residents alike!

I have been so privileged to work in such a stimulating and rewarding field for 20 plus years and I am so proud to be part of the team that plans, designs, builds, programs and operates Surrey’s extensive and rapidly growing park system. We are truly connecting people through nature and play.

Our field of recreation and parks is vital to people’s physical, social and emotional well-being and I am thrilled to be part of this ever-changing profession!

Read more about Neal

Neal Aven is Manager of Parks at the City of Surrey, where he has been working for more than 21 years, delivering professional and inclusive park services for a diverse and rapidly growing community. His approach to leadership is one of authenticity, empowerment and optimism. He has a strong awareness of current practices and trends in the parks and recreation sector and a keen interest in customer service and teamwork. He has a background in natural resources conservation, parks management and urban forestry, and has a keen understanding of environmental issues and a strong understanding of the linkages between parks, environment, tourism, education and public health. He is an active Member of BCRPA and has served on the planning committee for the 2020 and 2021 BCRPA Parks Professional Pathways conferences.

This is Neal’s first year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Robyn Mcconkey Web
DIRECTOR

Robyn McConkey
Parks Services Coordinator / Prince George

Read how Robyn got involved with Recreation & Parks

I began volunteering for summer day camps at 13 years of age and enjoyed my summers of planning activities for groups of children for eight weeks of the summer. I moved my way up as the years progressed to the position of junior leader position, then leader then senior leader then volunteer coordinator and finally summer program coordinator.

All the while funding my pursuits from high school into University of Calgary. I continued my career at the Trico Centre and worked as duty manager managing the facility and program coordinator. I enjoyed my work but had no idea a career could be carved. Key managers in that facility mentored me into a BA program in Recreation Administration from University of Alberta where I transferred to finish my degree.

My early career started as a program leader and coordinator with the Trico Family Leisure Centre, City of Calgary Parks and Recreation, University of Calgary Be Fit for Life centre until my move to Prince George. My now husband had landed a great job after finishing his degree in Prince George and I followed to work for a few years before our travel adventures began. I couldn’t believe my fortune at landing a job in community recreation with the City of Prince George in 1999.

We fell in love with Prince George’s natural beauty and my husband and I and our three teenage boys enjoy outdoor activities in all the seasons. Now twenty two years later I am just as passionate about community recreation as when I began and looking forward to what comes next.

Read more about Robyn

Robyn McConkey is Parks Services Coordinator for City of Prince George. She has been serving in this role for the past 5 years, but has also been fortunate to work in many areas of recreation with the City, including the City’s beautification and financial assistance program, community development, and direct program delivery. She is passionate about building community pride through engagement, ensuring opportunities for recreation and promoting the use of parks, trails and sport fields. She has been an active member of BCRPA and has served as Regional Liaison for the Cariboo region.

This is Robyn’s first year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

Suzanne Samborski Web
DIRECTOR

Suzanne Samborski
Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services / District of Saanich

Read how Suzanne got involved with Recreation & Parks

An Accidental Career, Deliberately

My career in community began without me realizing it.

A teenager, I was hired as a summer lifeguard at the outdoor pool in my hometown, Melville, Saskatchewan. By the third summer I was pool manager. These were great jobs, hooking me on community development and recreation as a professional career.

To pursue the field, I graduated with a Diploma, Recreation Administration from Saskatchewan Polytechnic (then SIAST). (As part of my investment in life-long learning, I’ve since earned a BComm (Royal Roads University) and an MA (University of Victoria).)

With my new diploma I headed to Alberta for my first full-time recreation position, Executive Director and Pool Manager for the Athabasca Landing Pool Association. Two-years later, I was selected by the City of Grande Prairie as Aquatics Coordinator, then to The Calgary YMCA as an Aquatics Director and finally to the Town of Edson as Recreation Coordinator. There, I found a mentor, the Town Manager, who saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. He gave me license to explore community development and create new relationships with community and business leaders.

British Columbia then called, with the Township of Esquimalt naming me Manager, Recreation Services. Challenged to lead the transition into and out of a major facility reconstruction project while maintaining programs and services, I also led two strategic planning initiatives, a new parks, recreation and cultural services master plan and a five-year youth strategy. When the department's Director was seconded elsewhere, I was appointed Acting Director and upon his return, I was named the Town’s first Director, Community Redevelopment and Sustainability.

Next stop, the City of Nanaimo as Senior Manager, Recreation and Culture with a mandate to focus on community development, organizational development and customer experience. This strategic work enabled me to interact with community groups and organizations, government ministries and agencies and private sector leaders committed to building healthy communities. Subsequently, I was appointed Director, Strategic Relations, Culture and Heritage.

Today, I’m the District of Saanich’s Director, Parks, Recreation and Community Services where I combine my strategic thinking skills, relationship building experience and commitment to exceptional public service and progressive best practices to lead a dynamic, innovative team committed to providing inspiring places and spaces for individuals, families and neighbours to connect and grow in an environment and a community where everyone belongs.

As part of Saanich’s corporate leadership team, I’m helping shape the District’s reconciliation work with the seven First Nation’s whose territories envelope Saanich. This eye-opening assignment, focused on listening, understanding and recognizing, is rich with learning and appreciation. My other corporate responsibilities range from spear-heading the District’s response to the Regina Park Homeless Encampment resulting in a BC Supreme Court order that the unauthorized camp be dismantled, to charting the District’s response to the COVID pandemic, a global event that has given us all the greatest permission to change.

Read more about Suzanne

Suzanne Samborski is Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services for District of Saanich. Suzanne has almost three decades of increasingly responsible local government leadership and management experience in Alberta and British Columbia, including 18-years on Vancouver Island (Esquimalt, Nanaimo and Saanich). She is a community builder that is committed to providing the community with inspiring places and spaces, with opportunities for individuals, families and neighbours to connect and grow, and to create an environment where everyone feels like they belong.

This is Suzanne’s first year on the BCRPA Board of Directors.

 


BCRPA CEO

Rebecca Pic Cropped

Rebecca B Tunnacliffe

Read Rebecca's Bio

With a career leading provincial organizations at the executive level, Rebecca Tunnacliffe is best known for her engaging, inspirational and creative leadership style. Rebecca’s reputation is built upon a long-standing and tenacious commitment to advancing the vision of organizations and the interests of their constituents. Her strategic and tactical approach to administration elicits greatness from individuals and teams alike.

As CEO of the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association, her focus has included broadening relationships within provincial government and other sector partners, strengthening and engaging Association members, increasing funding and program opportunities, and creating a high-performance and inspired team culture at the board and staff level.

In her former position as CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia, Rebecca raised the profile of the profession and the voice of the professionals. Membership quadrupled in her term, member services deepened and diversified, and members considered her a role-model of leadership. Similarly, in her position as the first Chief Staff Officer with the University Women’s Club, Rebecca established a strategic plan with operational goals that both met and anticipated members’ interests.

Rebecca holds a Master of English degree from Queen’s University, worked in publishing, and as an Associate Producer for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She can often be found cycling, enjoying her yurt, or exploring the parks and trails around her home on Bowen Island.


The CEO's Third Thursday Missives are sent monthly to BCRPA Members by email. They can be found here (Members-only resource).

 


Our Past Presidents

BCRPA Past Presidents & Years Served

We feel it is important to recognize those whose dedication and hard work have helped lay the foundations for our excellence.

  Trisha Davison 2019-2021
     
  Jennifer Wilson 2017-2019
     
  Heather Turner 2016-2017
     
  Darryl Condon 2015-2016
     
  Ron Higo 2014-2015
     
  Gord Pederson 2013-2014
     
  Murray Kopp 2012-2013
     
  Leslie June 2011-2012
     
  Dean Gibson 2010-2011
     
  Lori MacKay 2009-2010
     
  David Graham 2008-2009
     
  Tom Osborne 2007-2008
     
  Patti Murray 2006-2007
     
  Susan Mundick 2005-2006
     
  Doug Henderson 2004-2005
     
  Kate Sparrow 2003-2004
     
  Ken Kreiger 2002-2003
     
  Betty Johnston 2001-2002
     
  Kate Friars 2000-2001
     
  Barry Reid 1999-2000
     
  Monty Holding 1998-1999
     
  Patti Hunter 1997-1998
     
  Earl Erickson 1996-1997
     
  Anne Titcomb 1995-1996
     
  Brian Storrier 1994-1995
     
  Agnes Szilos 1993-1994
     
  Janna Taylor 1992-1993
     
  Ken Yates 1991-1992
     
  Nancy Chiavario 1990-1991
     
  Ron Austen 1989-1990
     
  Mike Murray 1988-1989
     
  Doug Brimacombe 1987-1988
     
  Kevin Pike 1986-1987
     
  Gary Young 1985-1986
     
  Bob Vaughan 1984-1985
     
  Eric Broom 1983-1984
     
  Mike Brow 1982-1983
     
  Al Argent 1981-1982
     
  Doug Thring 1980-1981
     
  Marguerite Morrison 1978-1980
     
  F. Jack Boutilier 1977-1978
     
  Norma Sealey 1975-1977
     
  Bill Webster 1973-1975
     
  Les Spooner 1972-1973
     
  Bert Linder 1971-1972
     
  Harold Moist 1967-1971
     
  Gordon Squire 1966-1967
     
  Al Thiessen 1965-1966
     
  Don Cunnings 1963-1965
     
  Bruce Saunders 1962-1963
     
  Elmo Wolfe 1960-1962
     
  Ray Gould 1959-1960
     
  Bob Osborne 1958-1959

 


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