LVI Board & Coaching Team

The team behind Leadership Vancouver Island is made up of dedicated community leaders and change makers who are passionate about leadership and the vital impacts it has on Island communities.

As an entirely volunteer organization, these Coaches and Board Members combine their wealth of knowledge, expertise and personal networks to support LVI’s mission of inspiring and generating capacity for outstanding leadership, learning and service on Vancouver Island.

Curriculum and Coaching Team:

Leesa Vreugde. PCC, ICF, CACC, CTI Leadership

Coach's Coach

Leesa Vreugde. PCC, ICF, CACC, CTI Leadership

Coach's Coach

Leesa Vreugde is a dynamic and forward-thinking Certified Professional Coach, driven by a belief that there is always more to uncover beyond the surface. Armed with a robust educational foundation, including a CPCC from the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and the prestigious Co-Active Leadership Immersion Program, Leesa is also recognized as a Certified Professional Coach by the esteemed International Coaches Federation.

Unveiling Potential through Thoughtful Coaching, Leesa’s coaching philosophy is rooted in the idea that coaching is a deeply thought- provoking and creative process, capable of inspiring individuals to harness their personal and professional potential to the fullest. As your dedicated partner on this transformative journey, Leesa specializes in identifying,

clarifying, and achieving your goals, infusing each step with a powerful blend of guidance, support, and empowerment.

With a multifaceted background, Leesa is not only a beacon of leadership in the coaching realm but also a Certified Level 3 Medical Responder, adding a layer of compassion and agility to her skill set. Leesa’s impact extends beyond coaching, as she has also demonstrated her expertise as a Real Estate Advisor since 2006. In fact, she has taken on the role of Managing Broker and owner of Humanistic Realty, an executive and leadership coaching business tailored specifically for Real Estate Professionals.

In today’s complex and evolving landscape, Leesa Vreugde embodies the essence of compassionate, agile, and emotionally intelligent leadership. Her mission is to shape positive change within families, corporations, and communities, fostering a new generation of empowered individuals who embrace growth and transformation. As a Professional Coach and accomplished Real Estate Advisor, Leesa is dedicated to not just setting goals and creating outcomes, but also to guiding personal change and nurturing holistic success.

Cindy Thompson. M.Sc., R.C.C., CEC, ICF

Program Coach

Cindy Thompson. M.Sc., R.C.C., CEC, ICF

Program Coach

Over the last 30 years Cindy has been fully immersed in the psychology of transformation, overcoming adversity, capitalizing on strengths, and discovering possibilities. Having worked alongside thousands of individuals Cindy has an undeniable belief in human potential.

As co-founder of Thompson Leadership Coaching and the sole proprietor of a private practise in Parksville, B.C., Cindy understand what it takes to be a leader and business owner. What she brings to a coaching relationship is an unique blend of fine tuned listening skills, strength-based questions, and a relentless belief in possibilities.

Don’t let her soft-spoken demeanor fool you! as a thinking partner and coach, Cindy is prepared to ask the hard questions so that clients get out of their comfort zone, lean into challenges, and stretch their limits.

With a specialization in Resilience, Cindy invites clients to shift from “Surviving to Thriving.” It is within these conversations where work/life balance is established, possibilities are discovered, and burnout can be prevented.

Cindy can also be found behind the microphone of “A Resilience Project” podcast. This is as space where guests share their greatest adversities and the resilience practices they have come to rely on. Several experts have also spoken about their recommended practices for developing a resilience skill set. With each conversation Cindy and her team are committed to growing Radical Resilience around the world.

After all, adversity is inevitable while resilience is a practice!

 

 

 

Carmel Ecker. ACC, CACC, ICF

Program Coach

Carmel Ecker. ACC, CACC, ICF

Program Coach

Carmel is a CTI-trained Life Coach with a passion for self-leadership based in a strong future vision and core values. When people know what they want and why they want it, both personally and organizationally, the path forward is clear.

As a parent and business-owner, Carmel has used the principles of leadership to make tough decisions and to help her clients do the same. She uses a 5-part framework to help her clients lead in all aspects of their lives, helping them to escape indecision and overwhelm while building strong habits that lead to both short-term and long-term results.

She is an avid mountain biker and personal growth junky, with a penchant for singing and organizing. Everything she does is motivated by her desire to set the best possible example for her 10-year-old son.

Arjuna George. ACC, CEC, ICF

Program Coach

Arjuna George. ACC, CEC, ICF

Program Coach

Arjuna has over 25 years experience in management and leadership positions for helping people grow and prosper in life and work. In 2021 he retired from the Fire Service after 24 years of exemplary service. Since retiring he has transitioned to executive coaching and consulting focusing on emerging leaders who want to learn how to master their stress and become more resilient.

Arjuna is a Certified Executive Coach (CEC) through Royal Roads University and a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF). He is also a volunteer for the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs as a member of the Human Factors Committee as well as an advisory board member for the Canadian Talent Provider Society.

Jilly Hyndman. CPCC PCC, ICF

Program Coach

Jilly Hyndman. CPCC PCC, ICF

Program Coach

Jilly, the heartrageous coach, is a life, death and leadership coach, mentor coach, facilitator, author and parent with 20+ years’ experience creating safe and playful spaces for personal exploration. Jilly came to professional coaching after a career in media, marketing, communications, project and people management in both the public and private sectors because she longs for a world where everyone is completely themselves; where authenticity and self-expression are the norm; where being real is the highest level of achievement. Jilly loves helping people wake up to their true dreams, purpose and power and live according to the unique rage of their hearts.

Along with 1:1 coaching clients, including coaches working toward their CPCC, ACC and PCC designations, Jilly designs and leads workshops and programs, including Positively Chronic – a program to help folks living with chronic illness lighten the mental load that accompanies a long-term condition and Mortal Motivation – a program to demystify and build capacity to be with dying and death. Jilly also facilitates online and in-person and consults on change management, leadership and other people-y topics.

She’s on the faculty of Spiral Leadership, a nature-based, spirit-led, feminine-forward leadership program, and provides pro bono coaching to humanitarian staff around the world through the Humanitarian Coaching Network, to women creating sustainable pathways out of poverty through Up With Women, and to folks facing barriers to coaching through Coaching For Everyone. She’s thrilled to be contributing locally and is excited about joining Leadership Vancouver Island this year.

Rob Sinclair. PCC, CACC, CTI Leadership, ICF

Program Coach

Rob Sinclair. PCC, CACC, CTI Leadership, ICF

Program Coach

Rob is a highly sought-after human development specialist in the field of executive leadership and team performance. For the last 12 years Rob has spent his days working with leaders and teams from all over the globe – from startup founders/CEO’s and ivy-league MBA students to senior executive leaders at Salesforce, Honda, Ernst and Young, GSK, Conservation International, Roche Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft, and more.

Leveraging insights from his 25+ years in the martial arts, a degree in biology, and his studies with some of the most cutting-edge practitioners in leadership development and systems change, Rob partners with clients combining the latest advances in adult cognitive development, interpersonal neurobiology, agile transformation, and innovative systems evolution to develop more conscious leadership and create healthy, thriving organizations on behalf of a flourishing world.

Kristin Nickells. CEC, PCC, ICF, CTPC, DTM

Program Coach

Kristin Nickells. CEC, PCC, ICF, CTPC, DTM

Program Coach

Kristin’s career working with (mostly) dental professionals to be better business owners and leaders has spanned over 40 years. Her education and background in Business Administration and Accounting was the foundation for her early work with dentists. Adding a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University, designation as PCC (Professional Certified Coach) from the International Coach Federation, as well as a Certification from CTI as a Certified Team Performance Coach has enabled her to expand the services and support she gives to her clients. Kristin is also a two-time Distinguished Toastmaster (the highest level of educational achievement within the Toastmasters International organization) and has a decade long career as a professional speaker, podcaster and workshop facilitator. Kristin has had articles published in numerous professional journals and has produced a library of educational CD’s. When Kristin is not working or volunteering, she is either on the golf course, in her garden, walking her mini-dachshund, Lily, or thrifting/antiquing.

Jen Cavanaugh. ACC, ELC, Mayor Piedmont CA

Program Coach

Jen Cavanaugh. ACC, ELC, Mayor Piedmont CA

Program Coach

As an Executive Leadership Coach, Jen brings balanced energy, authenticity, and intuition for what lies beneath and within. She has her MBA from the University of Chicago and leadership certification training from the Co-Active Training Institute. She leverages her vast professional experience in consulting, general management and marketing, working for Fortune 500 companies, community- based organizations and local government.

As an executive coach, she works with mission-driven, committed clients to live and lead with self-integrity in alignment with their values. As a facilitator, coaching partner, and consultant, she supports executives and their teams to navigate uncertainty, improve their performance and effectiveness, and manifest their vision.

Jen is a long-time civic leader and public servant. She was elected Mayor of her hometown of 20+ years, Piedmont CA, by her colleagues in December 2023, after being elected to City Council in November 2016 and reelected in 2020. She is a high-impact community organizer who works to preserve the many aspects that make her community special while investing in the city’s future and working to make the city a more welcoming community to individuals with diverse perspectives.

Throughout the state, Jen is active in policy development and advocacy and serves on several regional boards for transportation, clean energy, and climate action and sustainability. In 2022 she received the Leadership in Action award by the Mayors and Council Members Leadership.

She is a mother to three active young adults, in various stages of finding themselves and continuing their higher education. She restores herself in nature with full-time companions Shasta and Bailey, she doesn’t take herself too seriously on the pickle ball court, and connects with her creative side as an amateur ceramicist. Jen is known for her big heart and big mind, straight shooting, authenticity, and genuine interest and affinity to serve others through her coaching and civic leadership.

Louise Owen. PCC, M. Ed, CM

Program Coach

Louise Owen. PCC, M. Ed, CM

Program Coach

Louise Owen is grateful to live, work and play on the Lukwungen (Songees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) territories of Victoria, B.C.

Louise is a certified Executive and conflict coach who has been coaching for over 18 years and currently has a PCC level accreditation with the International Coaching Association. Louise is continually learning and inspired from each person she coaches. She has a proven ability to inspire others to work through obstacles so they can unlock their potential and inspire others to do the same.

Louise recently retired from working in the Office of the Ombud at Parks

Canada where she coached civil servants at all levels in B.C., Yukon, Saskatchewan and North West Territories. For the past eighteen years Louise delivered mediation, Executive

and conflict coaching, training, group facilitation and restorative processes within unionized environments within Federal Informal Conflict Management System.

Louise has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and is certified in mediation and trauma informed coaching. For the past eighteen years Louise delivered mediation, conflict coaching, training, group facilitation and restorative processes within unionized environments within Federal Informal Conflict Management System. Prior to working for the Public Service Louise worked as a freelance intercultural facilitator , coach and trainer in Canada and overseas for international projects in the private, public, education and not for profit sectors. She counts herself lucky to have lived and worked in Kenya, Guyana, Malaysia and Ukraine.

Maria Malmgren. BA, CPCC, ICF, PCC

Program Coach

Maria Malmgren. BA, CPCC, ICF, PCC

Program Coach

I am a professionally certified coach (ICF PCC, CCPC) with over 20 years of people and change management, organizational project and event management experience. I work with senior leaders and management teams to help create systemic, mission, vision and values-aligned, sustained change. Contact me at maria@changeworks.ca if you are interested in clear, purposeful, impactful change.

Not tinkering about the edges kind of change but the kind of deep change where everything aligns and supports the person and/or the organization to move forward in a focused way.

I love what I do, who I get to work with and the big wins and small successes we co-create day to day.

Board Members:

RUSS BURKE

Past Chair, Recruitment

RUSS BURKE

Past Chair, Recruitment

Russ Burke is a recently retired career banker. Most recently he served as Assistant Vice President and Manager of Canadian Western Bank in Nanaimo, a post he has held for fifteen years. Mr. Burke is also Past President of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, where he served as a member of the executive for six years. During that time, the Chamber was recognized as the “2003 B.C. Chamber of the Year”, was a top three finalist in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Competition for 2004 in Calgary and received honorable mention at the 2005 World Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in Durban, South Africa. Under his leadership the Chamber completed a new $600,000 chamber office building construction program & related fund raising campaign. Other activities included cultural and business exchange visits to the Maples region of Quebec. Mr. Burke was honoured as Business Leader of the Year in 2011 by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce at the annual Sterling Awards and in January 2015 was granted an honorary Lifetime Membership in the Chamber.

Mr. Burke is Past Chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission which recently completed a $25 million expansion and reliability improvement project. Mr. Burke was also the Chair of the Friends of Malaspina committee, which was a successful initiative to have Malaspina University Collage upgraded to full university status. It is now known as Vancouver Island University. He was a founding member of the Invest In Yes-New Nanaimo Conference Center committee, which was successful in obtaining voter approval for the $70 million project. Russ is a past president of the Nanaimo Executive Association and served as a councilor with Trinity Catholic Church. Russ recently passed the Board President baton to Craig Richardson for 2021 and is eager to share his knowledge and passion for the program with the new Board President. Russ will continue to serve as Vice Board President and Recruitment and Sponsorship Chair. Mr. Burke was a founding member of Leadership B.C Nanaimo now known as Leadership Vancouver Island. This is a community driven, 8 month leadership training course which has graduated more than 250 candidates over the past 10 years. It is recognized by Vancouver Island University as an elective course towards a degree program or as credit for the Certificate in Community Leadership diploma.

Russ is a past director of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, who’s objectives are to promote a sustainable and diversified economy, regional leadership, strong communities and First Nations development. Mr. Burke served 9 years as an Honorary Colonel of the 39 Signal Regiment, Canadian Armed Forces and has conducted a goodwill tour of CFB Camp Julien, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Russ is married with three children, all of which are graduates of Vancouver Island University. He is an avid golfer, photographer, fisherman & enjoys mountain biking.

Robert Thompson

Program Chair, Recruitment

Robert Thompson

Program Chair, Recruitment

Robert Thompson was born and raised in Ucluelet and considers Vancouver Island to be ‘home’.  His career as a civilian member of the RCMP lead him to Dawson Creek, Chilliwack and finally Nanaimo.  With over 30 years in the field of telecommunications including his role as manager on Vancouver Island, Robert considers himself to be a life-long learner.

Regardless of his location, Robert has naturally sought out community involvement. Whether in Kinsmen Club, Rotary, or serving as chair of the YMCA in Chilliwack, Robert believes in leaving the world a better place for our next generations.  Inspired by the vision and mission of Leadership Vancouver Island, Robert is honoured to join the board as treasurer and part of the recruitment team.

Married to his wife Cindy for over 30 years, Robert finds great joy in witnessing the growth and development of their two adult children. Robert is currently involved with the Arbutus Toastmasters Club, is actively involved in the Comox 19 Wing Sailing Club, and is working on his third-degree black belt in Okinawan Traditional Karate.

As a visionary, he appreciates the gifts associated with big ideas, unleashing creativity, and exploring beyond traditional boundaries.  As a Certified executive coach, he partners with leaders who are focused and energized about creating a sustainable future.

Leesa Vreugde

Curriculum Chair

Leesa Vreugde

Curriculum Chair

Leesa’s transformative insights have helped the LVI Board propel the program to new heights, creating a curriculum that not only imparts knowledge but also nurtures essential skills for the leaders of tomorrow. Her dedication to fostering growth and fostering an atmosphere of open dialogue has empowered participants to embark on transformative journeys of self-discovery and leadership excellence. With the skills of an incredibly talented and focused committee the Leadership Vancouver Island Program has evolved into a dynamic crucible of ideas.

Leesa stands as a beacon of innovation and inspiration within the realm of experiential learning. Her tireless dedication, coupled with her boundless enthusiasm, has enriched the Leadership Vancouver Island Program, ensuring that it continues to shape the leaders of today and tomorrow. Her commitment to understanding the unique needs of each participant has facilitated the creation of a learning experience that is as personalized as it is impactful.

Patty Lew-Lapointe

Patty Lew-Lapointe

Megan Lum

Megan Lum

Stuart Burke

Marketing Director & Social Media Coordinator

Stuart Burke

Marketing Director & Social Media Coordinator

A Graduate of the Digital Media Studies program at Vancouver Island University in 2011, Stuart is a Videographer, Graphic Designer, Sound Engineer, & Social Media Marketer. Stuart has been working with Leadership Vancouver Island’s recruitment team since 2011 producing video content promoting the program. In the spring of 2022 Stuart joined the LVI board in the role of Marketing Director. Stuart has worked in sales at Gregg Distributors since 2013.

Andrea Rosato-Taylor

Program Coordinator

Andrea Rosato-Taylor

Program Coordinator

Andrea Rosato-Taylor is now retired after spending the last 35 years in marketing, sales, and Publisher of various newspapers.

She retired in June of 2021 as the Publisher of the Ladysmith Chronicle and Group Publisher of Cowichan Citizen.She has been working in media for 35 years. In her various roles with newspapers in San Francisco, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island – she has created and implemented many multi-media products that vary from event marketing, airport signage, creating new digital products for the recruitment category, specialty features, magazines etc.Her “Why” is” you get the community you want by participating in it.”She is not only passionate about newspapers and multi- media but is passionate about community.She has been the Chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Director on the Dragon Boat Society, Board of Trustee of the North Cedar Water Board, “Woman of Note” and Chairperson for fundraising for the Vancouver Island Symphony,  and is past  President of the Downtown Ladysmith Business Association.

She currently is a director on the board of Ladysmith Health Auxiliary, Vice President on the board of Arts Council of Ladysmith, Director on the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, Director on the board of the Downtown Ladysmith Association and is on the board of the Vancouver Island Symphony.

She launched a product 6 years ago in Central Island “ Boulevard Magazin” and she is still active in the marketing and distribution of that product.