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BCRPA Board of Directors

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Introducing the 2023 / 2024 BCRPA Board of Directors

2023 2024 Board Cropped

Left to Right (top): Jill Lawlor; Lauralee March; Mary Morrison-Clark; Devon Guest; Elizabeth Ayers, President; Kelsey Johnson; Jordan Petrovics; Steve Kellock, President-Elect; Katie Fenn, CEO

Left to Right (bottom): Neal Aven; Aggie Weighill

Learn more about the Board Directors

Elizabeth Ayers Web

Elizabeth Ayers
General Manager, Community 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 the General Manager, Community Services for the City of Richmond. She has been an active participant and leader in BC’s recreation and parks sector for over 30 years. Elizabeth is passionate about enriching communities through the delivery of parks, recreation, sport and culture and believes in using a community development approach to our work. Elizabeth is an innovative and inclusive leader who believes in the power of people and teams to create healthy, active and engaged communities.

She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of British Columbia.  Elizabeth is a marathon runner, triathlete and can be found enjoying our parks and trails with her two golden retrievers.

Elizabeth has served as a BCRPA Board Director from 2018-2022 and as President-Elect from 2022-2023. This is Elizabeth’s second year as Board President.

Steve Kellock Bw Web

Steve Kellock
Director of Recreation, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation

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 Director of Recreation for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Steve is passionate about recreation and community development and is a champion of inclusion and equity, with a focus on recreation and parks for all. He brings over 25 years of experience to the President-Elect role, with an emphasis on engagement, community development, board governance models, and regional collaboration.

Steve served as a BCRPA Board Director from 2017-2021, and President-Elect from 2021-2022. Steve returns in his second year as President Elect for the 2023-2025 term.

Abby Fortune Web

Abby Fortune
Director, Community Services, District of Ucluelet

Read how Abby got involved with Recreation & Parks

Recreation has been my entire career. I started volunteering at a summer camp at the age of 13 and haven't looked back! After working in a variety of municipalities in the lower mainland, I was accepted to the Community Recreation Programming Diploma Program, at VCC - Langara Campus and followed this with the Leisure Studies Co-op degree program at UVIC with a minor in Sociology.

My work, education and career have all been focused around recreation and my personal life has revolved around recreation as well. Soccer, sailing, hiking, running, theatre and choir, as well as exploring are some examples that have all contributed and been fundamental to who I am. I was even the first female soccer referee in the Province of BC in the early eighties.

My early career, after university, saw me working out of Sport BC with Wheelchair Basketball and Special Olympics. My husband and I then transitioned to Ucluelet on Vancouver Island in the early 90's. I was fortunate to land the job of Recreation Programmer for the District of Ucluelet. Thirty years later, we have a community centre and full staff compliment under my management as the Director of Community Services.

Throughout my career BCRPA has always been very important to me as a governing body for the industry, in addition to being a support and knowledge resource. I have served as the Vancouver Island Regional Liaison for a number of years, and also served as a BCRPA board member from 2011-2013.

Recreation has grown and changed over the years. I strongly believe that recreation is an essential service for any community, now more than ever.

Abby's Profile and Competencies

Abby Fortune is the Director of Community Services with the District of Ucluelet. She has over 40 years of experience in both public and private recreation and a strong working knowledge of municipal government. Abby has focused her career on being a team player while working with and advocating for small town and rural recreation as the key to community health and well being. Leadership, mentorship and accessibility advocacy have also been an important part of her career. She strongly believes that Recreation & Parks are an essential part to any community.  

Abby served as a BCRPA Board Director from 2011 - 2013, and as the Vancouver Island Regional Liaison from 2021 – 2023. This is Abby's first year as a returning BCRPA Board Director.

Aggie Weighill

Aggie Weighill
Professor of Recreation and Tourism Management, and Director of the World Leisure Centre of Excellence at Vancouver Island University

Read how Aggie got involved with Recreation & Parks

I became involved in recreation through Junior Forest Wardens, a forestry-focused youth group that my parents were leaders of. We spent time camping, hiking, and going to camp which sparked my love of planning and leading.

While at university I spent my summers working at sleep-away and day camps before becoming a program supervisor and leisure scholar. My first recreation research project focused on assisting single moms in my hometown to secure a site for a preschool playground.

When I did my recreation management degree 25 years ago, I expected to have a career in municipal recreation. Little did I know that my contributions to the field would come from designing curriculum, conducting research, and educating future recreation professionals.

Since returning to Vancouver Island University (VIU) (formerly Malaspina University-College) in 2005, I’ve been privileged to teach and learn with incredible leaders who are making a difference all over the world. After nearly 20 years of working with an amazing group of colleagues, students, and community partners I am more passionate about what we all do than ever before.

In my role as Director of the World Leisure Centre of Excellence, I am focused on researching and advocating for the essential role of leisure and recreation services in the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

I truly believe that leisure matters for us all, now more than ever before.

Aggie's Profile and Competencies

Aggie Weighill is Professor of Recreation and Tourism Management, and Director of the World Leisure Centre of Excellence at Vancouver Island University. She has over 20 years of experience as an educator, focusing her energies on teaching courses in leadership, program planning, environmental stewardship, research methods, data analysis, and community development. Aggie focuses on researching and advocating for the essential role of leisure and recreation services in the health and well-being of individuals and communities.

This is Aggie's second year as a BCRPA Board Director.

Jill Lawlor

Jill Lawlor
Senior Manager of Community Services, District of West Vancouver

Read how Jill got involved with Recreation & Parks

I fell in love with recreation when I was 17 years old teaching swimming lessons, lifeguarding and seeing the impact aquafit classes had on people living with Parkinson’s. As a lifeguard, I was trained to prevent accidents and that stayed with me, because I believe recreation is preventative medicine.

Throughout my career, I have worked in all aspects of recreation and community service with both the YMCA and municipal government. I love the impact that we have in municipal government and the ability to collaborate across multiple departments and creating communities that are truly welcoming, inclusive, accessible, and vibrant.

In addition to my municipal recreation experience, I am a Director with Camp Latona, an overnight summer camp on Gambier Island working with people from all backgrounds, including vulnerable youth and families supporting groups like Children’s Organ Transplant Society and BC Children’s Hospital. My 16 years of experience in the camping industry has demonstrated the positive impact nature, play and social connections can have on improving the lives of children and families. I believe strongly in breaking down barriers and creating more opportunities for everyone to play and experience the outdoors.

Jill's Profile and Competencies

Jill Lawlor is the Senior Manager of Community Services with the District of West Vancouver. Jill has over 30 years of recreation and progressive leadership experience working with community and governance boards. She has worked in all aspects of recreation and community service with both the YMCA and municipal government. As a Métis woman, she is sensitive to creating communities that are culturally safe and welcoming for everyone. She loves the impact that recreation has within municipal government and the ability to collaborate across multiple departments to create communities that are truly inclusive, accessible, and vibrant.

This will be Jill's second year as a BCRPA Board Director.

J Petro Headshot2

Jordan Petrovics
Director 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 with the Town of Golden for the last eight years. He 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. Jordan also had a hand in crafting the “most entertaining” freeride ski event in his region.

This is Jordan's sixth year as a BCRPA Board Director. He has served on the board since 2019.

Kelsey Johnson Web

Kelsey Johnson
Director of Community Services, 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 the Director of Community Services for the City of Penticton. With over 15 years of experience in recreation services, Kelsey Johnson has proven themself 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.

This is Kelsey's fourth year as BCRPA Board Director. They have served on the board since 2021.

Lauralee March Web

Lauralee March
Community Recreation Manager, Township of Langley

Read how Lauralee got involved with Recreation & Parks

I was lucky enough to find positions that allowed me to remain a pool rat and a gym rat throughout my later high school and university years. I worked at the pool as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and aquatic fitness leader and on the fitness side as a weight room and group fitness leader. After funding my way through school, it was too late to leave this industry as I was hooked on the good people, sense of community, and buzzing nature of the field.

I count myself very fortunate that I had mentors who believed in me and offered me a full-time role right out of school. The years after that really have just flown by. I have worked and/or volunteered with private enterprises, municipal organizations, non-profit organizations, and charities. What I enjoy most is the connections, watching leaders learn and grow, and serving the community.

Still a pool and gym rat...!

Lauralee's Profile and Competencies

Lauralee March is the Community Recreation Manager with the Township of Langley. Lauralee has over 20 years of experience working in the recreation and parks sector, all within the province of British Columbia. She has worked and/or volunteered with private enterprises, municipal organizations, non-profit organizations, and charities. Her BCRPA experience includes volunteering at BCFit®, presenting multiple times at Ripple Effects and serving on its conference planning committee.

This is Lauralee's third year as a BCRPA Board Director. She has served on the board since 2022.

Mary Morrison Clark 2024

Mary Morrison-Clark
General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Culture, Burnaby

Read how Mary got involved with Recreation & Parks

I think it all started when I quit swim club at age 13 and my mom signed me up for bronze medallion, as soon as she could. While in high school, my first job was as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor at the South Slope YMCA in Vancouver.

While in university, I worked in aquatics at the Arbutus Club, a Ski Instructor at Blackcomb Mountain, and a staff member at a summer camp in Howe Sound. Once I finished university, I moved to Whistler for a short career in the ski industry before getting hired as a Day Camp Leader for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, which is where my recreation career in local government started.

I was fortunate enough to grow my career at the same time that Whistler was opening its recreation facilities and developing parks in the community. Then of course, there was the 2010 Games – that was a whole different learning experience. I have had the privilege of seeing how community members thrive and develop through the programs and services offered through recreation and parks, which is what keeps me motivated to continue to contribute to the sector.

Mary's Profile and Competencies

Mary Morrison-Clark is the General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Culture with the City of Burnaby. Prior to this role, she was Abbotsford’s General Manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture for four years. Prior to working in local government, she worked in health care for 19 years; 17 of those as a recreation therapist working with people with physical disabilities and mental health challenges. Mary believes that exceptional people are the key to exceptional parks, recreation and culture services, and prioritizes strong leadership, building a safe work environment, creating a culture of innovation and trust, and supporting an environment where skills and talents can thrive.

This is Mary's second year as a BCRPA Board Director.

Neal Aven Web

Neal Aven
Director 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 the Director of Parks at City of Surrey where he has been working for more than 25 years. Here he delivers 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 recreation and parks sector and a keen interest in customer service and teamwork. He is an active Member of BCRPA and has served on the planning committee for the 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 BCRPA Parks Professional Pathways conferences.

This is Neal's fourth year as a BCRPA Board Director. He has served on the board since 2020.