Vancouver Community College is a public post-secondary education institution. The Board of Governors administers the college, on behalf of the government of British Columbia and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training (AEST) and determines policy and reviews the college's performance as detailed in the College and Institute Act, Part 4, Section 19.
Members of the Board
Updated June 2021
Joey Hartman, Chair
Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2023
Joey Hartman retired as President of the Vancouver & District Labour Council in February 2018. She is recognized as a community and social justice activist and serves on a number of boards including the Council of Canadians, BC Labour Heritage Centre and Pacific Blue Cross. She holds a Certificate in Early Childhood Education from Capilano College.
Ajay Patel, President & CEO Ex-Officio
Ajay Patel was appointed President, Vancouver Community College, effective May 26, 2020, however, he has been leading the College in the interim position since September 2019. Previously, Mr. Patel held the position of VP, Enterprise and International Development. He came to VCC with 15 years’ of nonprofit experience in amateur sport and recreation sector. Additionally, he has 17 years of post-secondary experience, where he rose through the ranks in several positions, from an instructor to the VP, External Development. In the VP role, Mr. Patel provided strategic leadership, and contributed to the development of community relations and partnerships that supported the college's vision and priorities. Raised in Vancouver, he is a longtime eastside resident, and the product of the college system. Mr. Patel holds a Master of Human Kinetics, Coaching Sciences, from the University of British Columbia.
Libby Davies, Vice Chair Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2024
Libby Davies was a Member of Parliament for Vancouver East from 1997 – 2015. During that time she served as House Leader, Deputy Leader (2007-2015), and Official Opposition Spokesperson for Health. Ms. Davies is invited as a guest lecturer on a variety of topics related to government, situation related to drugs and HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
Elle Ting, Education Council Chair Ex Officio Member Term: January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021
Elle Ting joined the Board of Governors on January 1, 2019 as the elected Chair of the Education Council. She commenced her third term on Jan 1, 2021. Elle joined VCC as an English instructor in 2004 and was department head of Humanities for four years before becoming an Instructional Associate with the Centre of Teaching, Learning, and Research in 2015. An erstwhile career student, she completed a B.A. and an M.A. in English (UBC), a B.Ed. in Secondary English Instruction (UBC), and a Ph.D. in Media Studies (UWO). She has chaired VCC's Research Ethics Board (REB) since 2015.
Mahin Rashid Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2024
Mahin Rashid is a strategic leader, dedicating her career to organizations that create a positive impact in community. Currently, she is the Director of Business Planning and Performance at Vancity. Her previous roles include an Accessibility and Inclusion Consultant for the Presidents Group, a network of BC business leaders working to recruit and retain diverse talent, and a Director of Revenue Development at United Way, an organization focused on poverty alleviation and community development.
Mahin is a long-standing and active volunteer with a variety of organizations such as Big Sisters of Canada and the Vancouver Foundation. She has a passion for social and economic inclusion.
Mike Tourigny Appointed Member Term: September 21, 2015 to July 31, 2021
Mike Tourigny practiced law in Vancouver as a corporate commercial litigator for over 30 years. He holds a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of BC and was an active member of the BC Law Society Pro Bono legal advice program.
Mr. Tourigny worked with a major Canadian law firm, which through mergers became Lang Michener LLP in 1989 and latterly McMillan LLP in 2011. Over the years he acted as counsel in numerous complex commercial disputes involving corporate governance matters. During his tenure as a partner Mr. Tourigny spent over 10 years on the management committee of the Vancouver office of the partnership, including 6 years as managing partner of the western division of Lang Michener LLP.
Nadia Belokopitov Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2022
Nadia Belokopitov is a status member of the Haida Nation, House of Yuuglaanas, Raven Clan. She is the owner of the Cedar Root Gallery, the only 100% owned and operated Indigenous retail store in Vancouver. Ms. Belokopitov was previously a Federal negotiator with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and is an activist with the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s Inquiry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia. Nadia was the proud recipient of the 2019 Arbor Award from University of Toronto recognizing her dedication to enhancing the experience of its students.
Rene-John Nicolas Appointed Member Term: December 31, 2017 to July 31, 2023
Rene-John is currently an advocacy staff representative for the BC Government & Service Employees' Union. In the past, he was a labour relations staff representative for the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators, an articled student, and an associate lawyer for Victory Square Law Office LLP. Prior to those ventures, Mr. Nicolas worked as a research assistant for the University of British Columbia. Active in his community, he served as a past director for Tulayan, the BC Employment Standards Coalition, the Kaya Community Society, and the West Coast Domestic Workers' Association. Mr. Nicolas is involved with a number of organizations focused on migrant workers and youth in the Filipino-Canadian community. He holds his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of British Columbia.
Seung Oh Appointed Member Term: February 25, 2019 to July 31, 2022
Ms. Oh is an experienced advisor for local business owners and managers and is currently the sole proprietor of Seung Oh Ltd. chartered accounting firm in Burnaby. She is an experienced director and CFO for Canadian public companies and a seminar speaker for the Korean Canadian Business Community on business and tax related matters.
Shobha Rajagopalan Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2018 to July 31, 2024
Shobha Rajagopalan is a Director with the Society for Women Empowerment and was the Chair of the Joint Family Court & Youth Justice Committee. She holds a Masters in Science (Biochemistry) from the Kasturba Medical College (India) and a Bachelor of Science (Biology) from the Kerala University (India). Ms. Rajagopalan was a Program Manager with the Native Education College and an Anatomy & Physiology Instructor with the Canadian health Care Academy and Langara College before that.
Sue Hammell Appointed Member Term: July 31, 2019 to July 31, 2022
Sue Hammell recently retired as a Member of the BC Legislature. She was re-elected as the MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers in May 2013. She was first elected in 1991, and then re-elected multiple times. She serves as Opposition Spokesperson for Mental Health and Addictions. Ms. Hammell served in a number of cabinet positions as MLA, including Minister of Housing, Recreation and Consumer Services, Minister Responsible for Co-operatives, and Minister for Women’s Equality. In addition, she was government caucus chair and was active on several legislative committees. Ms. Hammell also worked with the Surrey Aboriginal Society as their Executive Director, where she developed the society into a modern urban centre for aboriginal people with an annual budget of over $2 million. She has been working with the Washington, D.C.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) for many years. With NDI she travelled to the Middle East five times to work with emerging political parties and female candidates. She is also a founding member of the Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women, initiated in 1999 to provide funds for projects that will assist women to realize their potential and to create a safe place for them to live and work in British Columbia. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of British Columbia, she taught in Verdun, Quebec, Courtenay and Surrey.
Dr. Paul Yeung, Support Staff Representative Elected Member Term: November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2023
Dr. Paul Yeung was elected by the Support Staff group in October 2020. Dr. Yeung has been working as a VCC support staff since 2011. He has held various positions in academia, government and the not for profit sector. In academia, he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at UBC, SFU, and Brock University and is currently treasurer of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA), as well as a board member for the Private Practitioner Chapter. In government, Dr. Yeung was a researcher to the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control (CCDPC) for the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Dr. Yeung has authored articles in refereed journals and presented at conferences in Canada and abroad.
Karen Brooke, Faculty Representative Elected Member Term: November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2023
Karen Brooke was elected by the faculty group in October 2020. Ms. Brooke has been an instructor at Vancouver Community College since 2004, first with the English as an Additional Langauge department and now with the School of Instructor Education. She has been proud to serve the college on a number of committees. She is interested in the history and mission of community colleges.
Sahil Arora, Student Representative (Downtown) Elected Member Term: November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021
Sahil Arora was elected by the student group in October 2020. Mr. Arora was born and raised in Punjab, India. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce before coming to Canada in September 2020. He has an interest in event management and has organized a number of youth oriented events in India, with the focus being education. Mr. Arora has worked with many organizations for the purpose of fundraising and supporting public welfare matters in India, which created opportunities to work with MP's and MLA's and gain knowledge of different fields. He has hosted events for Thapar University and study abroad consultants, ESS Global. Sahil's interests and work experience also includes acting and modelling.
Ladan Sahraei, Student Representative (Broadway/Annacis Island) Elected Member Term: November 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021
Ladan Sahraei was elected to the Board of Governors by VCC students in October 2020. Ms. Sahraei was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She completed her Associate Degree in physical education and was studying graphics before coming to Canada in July 2014. She is the first deaf filmmaker in Iran, where she has made several short films, as well, two feature documentaries made in Canada. Ms. Sahraei has received awards and honors for her work. Filmmaking is her passion. She studied American Sign Language (ASL) for 10 months before commencing her studies in VCC’s Basic Education program, where she has been a student for 6 years. Ms. Sahraei is a very engaged student at VCC and has been a volunteer peer helper for the past 6 years. She also has board and committee experience since 2016.
For questions relating to Board Governance at VCC, please contact Executive Assistant, Deborah Lucas at email@example.com or 604.871.7000 Ext. 8313
Public Board meetings are held on the dates listed below.
IMPORTANT: In response to COVID-19, unless noted below, Board meetings commence at 5:30pm and are conducted using the Zoom video conferencing service. The meeting link will be located on the agenda.
Please note: all persons or groups wishing to make a presentation must submit their request in writing at least 14 days in advance of the meeting date to Deborah Lucas, Executive Assistant to the Board of Governors at firstname.lastname@example.org.