About Us

Board of Directors

Michelle stands against a white wall and smiles at the camera. She has short grey hair, and is wearing a dark blue t-shirt with a light purple Vancouver Pride logo on it.

Family, community, social justice, travel and fun.

Contact Michelle via e-mail:
mfortin@vancouverpride.ca

Co-Chair
Michelle Fortin

As a queer woman living in Vancouver I am honoured to have the opportunity to be part of this renewed Pride board. I have been involved in community activism most of my life and bring a background of both board (Dyke March/CCEC Credit Union) and non-profit executive management to the position. My goal is to stay curious while being strategic in the role and I’m committed to supporting staff and the organization to be a stronger reflection of our incredible and diverse community. Thank you for the chance to serve.

 

 

Catherine stands against a beige wall, and smiles at the camera. She has long brown hair and bangs, and is wearing glasses and a dark blue t-shirt with the Vancouver Pride logo in purple on it.

Catherine previously helped with the Vancouver Pride Society Parade Working Group before joining the Board.

Contact Catherine via e-mail:
cjenkins@vancouverpride.ca

 

 

 

Co-Chair
Catherine Jenkins

Born and raised on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Kwantlen, Katzie and Tsawwassen peoples, Catherine is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Vancouver Pride Society team.

Her passions are peer and community supports for trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit people, human rights, and equity and inclusion. Prior to her current work in public health, she was an award-winning scientist who earned her PhD in Interdisciplinary Oncology from the University of British Columbia while at the Terry Fox Laboratory in the BC Cancer Agency. She has governance experience through her work on the Pride board, as well as in student government and in political organizing. She was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from the Governor General in 2018 for LGBTQ advocacy and for supporting efforts for cancer research, crisis lines, senior care and mental health resources. Catherine loves running, Disneyland, reading, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.

Abdollah stands against a wooden fence and stares that the camera. He is wearing a dark blue t-shirt with the Vancouver Pride logo on it in light purple.

As a newcomer, coming from human resource management background, I decided to fit myself into the society by being actively engaged in the LGBTQ2s+ community and involved in different activities, including voluntary work at local community and organizations.

Contact Abdollah via e-mail:
afooladkhai@vancouverpride.ca

Treasurer

Abdollah Fooladkhai

Being elected as a new board member at Vancouver Pride Society, will not only open new doors to new opportunities for me (for which I will always be grateful) but will also be a platform through which I can demonstrate and practice my leadership skills, contributing to my community both responsibly and ethically.

I also would like to express my appreciation for the opportunities that I was given in the United Arab Emirates, which truly equipped me with necessary skills for my new role.

Back then, I was fortunate enough to gain hands-on experiences and improve on my knowledge, skills and abilities in different areas. I owe this all to the culturally diversified environment of the UAE and considerable level of tolerance among the people of the country, which taught me life lessons of openness, kindness and importance of giving back.

John stands in front of a pink flower bush and stares at the camera. He has short grey hair, and his armsare by his side. He is wearing a dark blue t-shirt with a purple Vancouver Pride logo on it

John joined the Board in 2016 and is excited to take on the Secretary role. He will also lead the Governance Committee which is reviewing business management strategies and processes.

Contact John via e-mail:
jwhistler@vancouverpride.ca

Secretary
John Whistler

Passions he brings to the Board include building sustainable urban environments, social equity, social justice, and grass-roots community engagement.

John is a third generation Vancouverite, graduated in Business Administration at Simon Fraser University and is now retired. He is also a director of PEDAL which operates Our Community Bikes, is the Treasurer of Green Party of Vancouver and the Vancouver Centre Green Party Electoral District Association. John’s favorite activity is to explore the world by bicycle.

 

A dynamic performer and inspirational speaker, Orene incorporates the
teachings she has learned into everything she does.

oaskew@vancouverpride.ca

Director
Orene Askew

Orene Askew, also known as DJ O Show, is a passionate and energetic DJ and inspirational speaker. She is the recipient of a 2015 Indigenous Business Award and
2018 Stand Out Award from the Vancouver Pride Society.

O Show is Afro-Indigenous and a proud member of the Squamish Nation, as well as an elected member of the Squamish Nation Council.

 

As an experienced journalist, community organizer and human rights activist, Masa brings passion and drive to the work that she does.

Contact Masa via e-mail:

mkateb@vancouverpride.ca

Director
Masa Kateb

Masa Kateb is the Manager of Projects at the refugee-led Jumpstart Refugee Talent, where she helps resettled refugees on the West Coast fulfill their potentials in Canada’s economy.

Masa was an underground activist within the LGBTQ+ community in Syria before and during the war. She co-founded a safehouse for the LGBTQ+ community of Damascus, as well as started Syrian LGBT Media Monitor virtual space to translate LGBTQ+ friendly global news from English to Arabic. Since arriving in Canada in 2018 with the support of Rainbow Refugee, Masa has continued her advocacy for LGBTQ+ issues and human rights as a whole.

 

Danny stands against a white wall and smiles at the camera, wearing a dark blue t-shirt with a light purphand is raised, and he is pointing at his shirt,le logo on it. His left

Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker, storyteller and an LGBTQ-refugee activist.

Contact Danny via e-mail:
dramadan@vancouverpride.ca

Director
Ahmad Danny Ramadan

His English debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, continues to receive raving reviews.He also translated Rafi Badawi’s 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic.

As an LGBTQ activist, he has been involved in coordinating online and on the ground efforts to support Queer and Trans identifying refugees from Syria to immigrate to Canada. Danny runs the annual fundraiser An Evening in Damascus to support those efforts. Since May 2015, he has raised over $100.000 to support a total of eight other LGBTQ-identifying Syrian refugees; and participated in efforts to ensure safe passage to 24 Syrian Queer and Trans refugees to Canada.

His public speaking and storytelling made him a regular presenter in conferences, conventions and storytelling events across Canada. He was a keynote speaker at QMUNITY’s IDAHOT Breakfast, the Liberal Party Convention, Six Degrees Conference, among others. His TEDx talk has gathered thousands of views on YouTube.

He was appointed Grand Marshal for the Vancouver Pride Parade 2016; he was awarded the StandOut Award for his social activism, the RBC’s Top Immigrant in Canada award, and the Bonham Centre Award for Excellency. Ramadan lives in Vancouver since his arrival to Canada in 2014.

 

With years of experience working in the non-profit sector and with marginalized groups, Claire has extensive knowledge and experience that they bring to all work that they do.

Contact Claire via e-mail:
cens@vancouverpride.ca

Director
Claire Ens

Claire has worked in the non-profit sector for their entire career, focusing mainly on homeless, street-entrenched, mental health and substance-affected youth, women and families.

Through her work and involvement with various organizations including the WISH Drop-In Center Society, Fraser Valley Youth Society, and being the President of the Vancouver Dyke March, Claire has gained invaluable experience and knowledge. They practice anti-oppression, trauma-informed and harm-reduction philosophies in all work that she does.

 

Andrea stands in front of some white flowers and smiles at the camera. She has long brown hair with pink tips, and is wearing a dark blue t-shirt with the Vancovuer Pride logo on it in light purple.

Diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression work have been woven throughout Andrea’s entire career.

Contact Andrea via e-mail:
aarnot@vancouverpride.ca

Executive Director
Andrea Arnot

Before coming to Pride, she was a Program Manager at Richmond Multicultural Community Services where she designed and implemented events, conferences, workshops, dialogues and opportunities for new immigrants and existing residents to interact, often using arts-based methods of engagement.

In her work at VPS and volunteer work as an event producer with the Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society, Andrea gets the most excited about creating the “container” for others to express themselves. She spends a lot of her spare time in costume and enjoying her west end neighborhood. A giant stuffed unicorn has become a permanent fixture in her dining room.

Become a Board Member

Are you interested in running for a position on the Vancouver Pride Society Board of Directors?

Serving as a volunteer Board Member can be a rewarding and fun experience where you can meet a variety of interesting people.

The Board of Directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting, which is held in the late fall, though sometimes Directors may be appointed mid year if there is a vacancy. The VPS Bylaws require a member to be a member for at least 60 days before they can be a Director and to complete a nomination application.

People that are interested in becoming a Board Member should review the Board Terms of Reference and review the VPS Bylaws, prior year Financial Statements and Annual Report on the VPS Public Disclosures and Policies page. We also encourage potential Board Members to attend a few Board meetings in advance to gain a better understanding of the board culture and operations to ensure there is a good fit.

VPS accepts applications to join the Board of Directors at anytime of the year, because the process will often take a number of months. This is also part of a succession strategy to ensure there is board diversity and that the directors have a comprehensive set of legal, financial, personnel management and governance skills.

If you are interested please send an email request for the “Board Nomination and Declaration of Eligibility Form” to nominations@vancouverpride.ca to begin the application process.