Notice of Annual General Meeting

Vancouver Pride Society Annual General Meeting

Thursday, December 10, 2020

7:00pm – 9:00pm (PDT)

Virtual via Zoom

A Letter to our Members

Dear Members,

The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) invites you to attend the annual general meeting (AGM). VPS will provide an update of the 2020 major events, financial statements and review of the annual report.  Please note due to COVID-19 Vancouver Pride Society’s Annual General Meeting will be held virtually via Zoom. 

Key agenda items include:

  • Review of 2020 activities and Financial Statements
  • Election of Board of Directors – Bios of nominees below

To be eligible to vote at the AGM, members must be in good standing with their annual fees paid (lapsed members must renew their membership via the Wild Apricot website beforehand). 

Zoom Attendance 

Please register your attendance at the AGM here.

You will be sent a confirmation email 48hours before the meeting outlining the following: 

    • Zoom ID – Attendees can log in via their computers or telephone for accessibility 
    • Member Status with Zoom Voting instructions 
    • VPS Annual Report 2020
    • Agenda
    • 2019 Meeting Minutes 
    • Copy of the Financials

If you have any questions or concerns please contact the AGM Committee by e-mail at office@vancouverpride.ca

In Pride,

Catherine Jenkins and Michelle Fortin 

VPS Co-Chairs

Election of Board of Directors

Vacant Directors positions:

  • 2 x Co-Chairs – 3 year term
  • 1 x Secretary – 2 year term
  • 3 x Director at Large – 2 year term      


Michelle Fortin (She/Her) – Co-Chair Candidate

I’m Michelle Fortin and I am hoping to continue for a second term in the role of co-chair with Vancouver Pride.  I am excited for the opportunity to continue some of the amazing work being led by staff including conversations around inclusion, belonging and equity in the community.  I am very aware that as a settler to these lands that I have much privilege and much to learn.  I have had the chance to see how our work in Vancouver can provide a template for smaller prides across the country around engagement and process.  I am really proud of this organization and would love to participate in bringing human rights conferencing and Canada Pride to Vancouver.  I feel good about my commitment to the organization over the first three years in this role and look forward to giving my all for the next three.

Thank you.

Catherine Jenkins (She/Her) – Co-Chair Candidate

Catherine Jenkins has served as interim Co-Chair for the Vancouver Pride Society since June of 2020, and previously served as a Director at large since February 2017. During this time, she has served on the Finance committee. She has previously volunteered at a number of community organizations including PFLAG Vancouver for several years, and was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in 2018. Catherine currently works at Trans Care BC where she supports peer & community initiatives for trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit community across British Columbia. She is also active in engaging in advocacy efforts around blood donor deferral criteria for gay and bi men who have sex with men and trans people and has advocated for trans women on the City of Vancouver Women’s Advisory Committee. Catherine has previously been an award-winning scientist, studying the cell biology and genetics of acute leukemias. Through these experiences, she has developed a breadth of leadership, critical thinking, communications and project management skills that she hopes will serve the Vancouver Pride Society well if she is elected.

John Whistler (He/Him) – Secretary Candidate

I am seeking the nomination as Secretary for a third and final time. It has been an honour and wonderful experience for the last two terms to be part of Vancouver Pride and to work with the passionate and dedicated staff, volunteers and other directors.

My offer to Vancouver Pride is to continue to lead on governance, policy development and organizational procedures. I am also interested in providing governance support for Fierté Canada Pride and Interpride. I believe strong governance is important for VPS and the Pride movement to be sustainable and to be able to continue to advocate for queer rights.

Now retired, my work experience has mostly been in business training, process and systems management.  I have served in the past on a number of not-profit society boards and am currently the treasurer of the Green Party of Vancouver.

My family settled in BC in the early 1900’s and I had the privilege of growing up in Vancouver with abundant opportunities. I am grateful that my experiences coming out and managing HIV were easy, mostly as a result of being a part of a supportive queer community. I attended my first Vancouver pride parade at Nelson Park in 1980, or so, and have attended most parades since then.

My passions are the environment, social justice, equity, inclusion and culture. I live in the West End with my husband, Joey. My bicycle is my favorite possession, as is Joey’s. Once Covid19 is history, we are looking forward to a bicycle holiday and to explore new places.

Masa Kateb (She/Her) – Director-at-Large Candidate

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  and find meaningful work that complements their professional skills while advocating for the  economic inclusion of refugees in Canada. At the Canadian Council for Refugees, she is a  Steering Committee Member of the Overseas Protection and Resettlement Working Group.  Kateb started her career in the areas of marketing and journalism, serving as Senior Regional  Marketing Executive for Hertz in Dubai, looking after the Middle East and Africa region,  volunteering for the United World Colleges international boarding schools movement, and  working as a journalist for the Syria-based Baladna daily-English Newspaper.  In her spare time, she pursues her passions in community organizing for human rights, and as  a traditional Syrian storyteller or Hakawatieh. Kateb earned a Bachelor’s in Economics from  Damascus University and is a Board Director at the Playwrights Theatre Centre in Vancouver. 

LGBTQ+ activism: 

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 while building an undercover community for lesbians at the same time. She started the Syrian LGBT  Media Monitor virtual space where she worked with another activist to translate LGBTQ+  friendly global news from English to Arabic, being one of the first virtual spaces to introduce  Arabic friendly content for the community. 

Masa arrived to Canada with the support of Rainbow Refugee Society in April 2018, and since  day one she continued her involvement with LGBTQI2S+ activism and advocating for LGBTQI+  refugees. From volunteering with the Fundraising Committee with Rainbow Refugee Society  to taking on public speaking and visiting multiple stages to advocate for LGBTQI+ refugees. She started multiple Circles of Hope to sponsor LGBTQI+ refugees come to Canada the same  way she did. She also collaborates with Pride at Work wearing her Jumpstart Refugee Talent  work hat, as well as in her personal capacity to enhance the inclusion of LGBTQI+ refugees in  the workplace. Kateb also collaborates with various LGBTQ+ organizations and grassroot movements in the  Middle East and North Africa to support fellow activists and community members with their  struggles, all within her capacity as an individual.  

Masa looks forward to being involved with Vancouver Pride Society to carry on her activism  and contribute to her community on the traditional and unceded land of the Coast Salish  peoples. 

Justin Dumas (He/Him) – Director-at-Large Candidate

I am 32 year old gay man living in downtown Vancouver with a partner named Bo and a Boston Terrier named Toby.  I was born and raised in a small Northwestern Ontario town called Sioux Lookout and have lived in Vancouver since 2008.  I retired from the RCMP in good standing after a 10 year policing career.  I also have several years experience as the owner/operator of 2 small businesses.

As a police officer, I poured a lot of myself into helping people.  When I retired early due to a medical condition I found myself looking for new ways to contribute to my community.  I have long considered VPS as a potential way to do that.  Now that I am retired I have ample time and energy to invest proper attention to a position.  I am flexible and willing to take on any role where I can contribute in a positive way.

I understand that some may be apprehensive having a former police officer on the board.  This is a volatile time where there is a complex and growing divide between police and our community.  It is clear that there is a lot of work required to say the least however, I view my past experience as an asset and useful problem solving tool, not a detriment in any way.  I am compassionate, knowledgeable, reliable, honest, realistic, a good listener and willing to take on challenges.

I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce myself and thank you for your consideration!

Orene Askew (She/Her) – Director-at-Large Candidate

Ha7lh skwayel tenuyap. skwxu7mesh xwemelchstn uxwumixw 

Orene Askew Kwi en sna Chen wa DJ O Show

Good day, my name is Orene Askew, also known as DJ O Show and I am from the Squamish Nation specifically the village of Capilano. I am Afro Indigenous and identify as two spirited. I wear many hats in the City of Vancouver which include an elected official for the Squamish Nation, a Sole Proprietor of a DJ Business for over 8 years, and an advocate/activist for The Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA2+ community. 

Orene is seeking nomination as a Board Member for the Vancouver Pride Society because she believes in representation. She comes from a diverse background and feels like she would be able to speak up for each intersection. Inclusion is important in this day and age and she has great perspective also being from one of the 3 host nations the city of Vancouver resides on. She would like to seek the board’s nomination because she wants to seek more opportunities for her people. She has run her DJ Business for a while now and believes it’s time for the next generation to take over. Being born and raised on the traditional territory of The Skwxu7mesh (Squamish) people has given her proper insight to what is missing from organizations in Vancouver, where she can help bring change. 

These attributes, along with the Education and Experience Orene has, she feels like she would be a great candidate as a Board Member of the Vancouver Pride Society and looks forward to planning for the future.

Claire Ens (She/They) – Director-at-Large Candidate

My personal and professional background stem from trauma-informed, client-centered, anti-oppression, women-centered and harm-reduction philosophies, which inform my work ethic and practices in empowering vulnerable populations. and applicable knowledge are grounded in a multidisciplinary, psycho-social approach. These guiding principles, with the addition of my experience working with marginalized youth, women and families, I believe provide a formidable combination of knowledge and skills to efficiently and effectively carry out the responsibilities of the Director at Large position at VPS. I have worked in the non-profit sector for the entirety of my career; my focus has been on working with homeless, street-entrenched, mental health and substance-affected youth, women and families. Currently, I run several programs out of Directions Youth Services as a Senior Manager there, ranging from a residential youth safehouse, a daycare and young parent program attached to Richmond Secondary School, an emergency youth shelter, and 24-hour drop-in centre for youth ages 13-25. I have oversight of the largest programs within the division, including administration ,operations, human resources, budgeting and finance, recruitment, disciplinary measures, grant researching and writing, and expansion of existing programs. 

Prior to this experience, I ran a Women and Children’s Shelter and Transitional Housing unit out of The Bloom Group Community Services Society as the Case Manager, where I oversaw a case-load of 32 families in the shelter and 12 units in the transitional housing program. This position gave me oversight of a number of sub-programs as well, including a housing outreach program, transitional housing staff, early childhood educators and frontline support workers. 

My experience with the Fraser Valley Youth Society (FVYS), a non-profit in the Fraser Valley that provides drop-in services to LGBT2SQ youth, has greatly contributed to my knowledge and experience in youth/family work and program operations and administration. During my three years with the FVYS, I was responsible for providing our youth with low-barrier, safe, supportive and nonjudgmental spaces with which to engage, interact and grow. I developed positive rapport with the youth, and nurtured a strong sense of independence, self-determination and community. A key component to my role as coordinator was program development – in particular, creating and facilitating education and training workshops, as well as designing the FVYS annual program evaluation, and FVYS annual general report. Using my position, I advocated on behalf of vulnerable youth, including sitting on care teams, working with MCFD and VACFSS, and mediating family conflict. Moreover, my organization skills were practiced as I worked effectively within a team of three to create the Fraser Valley’s first annual Pride Celebration, for which we were granted the Excellence in Youth Advocacy award by the BC Civil Liberties Association .Pertinent to the financial sustainability of the program, I assisted a team of professionals in securing long-term funding for the society, expanding our single location into multi-city drop-ins throughout the “Bible Belt” of BC (Mission, Abbotsford and Chilliwack). 

In addition, my professional history has been generously enhanced through the WISH Drop-in Center Society, a non-profit in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that provides women-centered, low-barrier, harm-reduction and trauma-informed services, conflict resolution, crisis intervention, resources and referrals for women-identifying sex workers. Here I collaborate within a team of professionals to maintain a nonjudgmental, safe and supportive space of respite. Critical to WISH is teamwork with staff and other service providers to create effective means of care for vulnerable women, ranging from securing housing, employment, detox, treatment and recovery for those experiencing mental health and addictions, to providing support through legal processes with women experiencing conflict in the criminal justice system. 

Finally, my volunteer experience was bolstered by two terms as the President of the Vancouver Dyke March – I originally sat in this role as the Secretary in 2016, and moved into the President’s role the following year. Here I was able to dive deep into the by-laws and constitution aspects of nonprofits, giving me insight into the behind-scenes work that so often goes unnoticed and unrecognized. I can’t say enough about my time on this board, apart from that it was important work that gave me experiences to carry over into any number of roles within non-profit organizations and community work.