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

Coach's Coach

Leesa Vreugde

Coach's Coach

Leesa Vreugde believes the there is always more beyond the surface and believes coaching is a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire you to maximize your personal and professional potential. Leesa will be your partner on the journey toward identifying, clarifying and achieving your goals. Professional coaching focuses on setting goals, creating outcomes and managing personal change.

“I believe that in the history of my life, so far, there has never been a more important time for compassionate, agile, and emotionally intelligent leaders. Leaders of positive change for families, corporations, and communities. My clients come to me from all over the world seeking clarity and solutions to their situations. For me, being able to help, to be the talisman for my clients and to do this kind of work fills me with gratitude. To impact people and assist in shifting their lives, in an area of such vast and incredible beauty, and with overflowing pride to be a third-generation Island Girl, I could not ask for a more beautiful life.”

Leesa Vreugde is a PCC accredited coach by the International Coach Federation. 

She is the Managing Broker of Engel and Völkers Vancouver Island North, has an independent coaching practice Morning Owl Coaching and in her spare time is a Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical First Responder. 

 

Cindy Thompson M.Sc. ACC, RCC

Program Coach

Cindy Thompson M.Sc. ACC, RCC

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!

 

 

 

Tammy Phye

Program Coach

Tammy Phye

Program Coach

Tammy is a Certified Professional Coach, she has a passion for leadership and people living their “Best Life” these were key aspects for her starting her business over 20 years ago and began her entrepreneurial journey at age 12. Embracing change, which has been a big part of her life personally and professionally.

Tammy works with a solution focused approach to her coaching, where she coaches entrepreneurs, leaders and teams to gain clarity, embracing change to create a win-win, for the organization, individuals both professionally and personally.   She supports “Yes” to creating A Rich Fulfilling Life, whatever that means to her clients.  Incorporating curiosity, an understanding  of values, the importance of change becomes more clear and aligned.

During Tammy’s down-time she enjoys time with her family, outdoors on her motorcycle, being with her horses or just hanging out in nature.  She loves travel, yoga, having fun and is a life-long learner and explorer of life.

Carmel Ecker

Program Coach

Carmel Ecker

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

Program Coach

Arjuna George

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.

Carole Moore

Program Coach

Carole Moore

Program Coach

There was a time, when many people started asking me, “so, when are you going to Retire?” and making comments such as, “Aren’t you Retired yet?” or “Still working, huh!” accompanied with a look of derision.

Ahhhh, that ‘R’ word.  What did it mean? From where I stood, it seemed to be full of change and ultimately, loss.  Loss of purpose; loss of action; loss of connection.  Or did it mean more?  More freedom…to do what? More time? Really?   More connection?  How so?

I loved my work.  I had made a difference for others throughout my career.  In this next chapter I wanted to create purpose, contribution, and fulfillment.

Around the same time, I took a close look at my life.  I recognized that although there were lots of great things about my life, the old patterns of self-doubt, self-judgment, overwhelm and people pleasing lingered and robbed me of joy.   With fewer years ahead than behind, I chose to embark on an intensive year of self-discovery, self-development, and personal transformation through the Accomplishment Coaching Coaches Training Program.  I renewed my commitment to my life’s purpose, reinvented my life to include a thriving coaching career as well as the gifts of this chapter of my life and re-kindled my own fire of connection, excitement, and fulfillment.

I love it when others find their greatness and design their life from their highest and best selves.  As I work with others, I  also work with myself to create the life I have always desired.  Coaching provides  a way for me to continue to strengthen my skills, expand my heart and enjoy all that life has to offer.

I look forward to meeting and working with you in this unique and valuable program.

Board Members:

Craig Richardson

Board President

Craig Richardson

Board President

Craig Richardson has been a public safety professional for over 30 years. He began his firefighting career in 1990 with the City of Surrey Fire Department. Craig’s family relocated to Parksville in 2003 and he joined Nanaimo Fire Rescue in 2005 where he held several leadership roles and retired as fire chief in 2017. He has a passion for lifelong learning and holds a master’s degree in leadership and training from Royal Roads University. For more than 20 years, Craig has travelled throughout Canada and internationally educating fire and emergency first responders on a wide variety of topics including leadership and fire service administration. During his tenure at Nanaimo Fire Rescue, Craig led a team that created the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy (VIERA) which is an internationally accredited fire training academy serving Vancouver Island fire departments.

In retirement, Craig has not slowed down. He spent a year working in Saudi Arabia as a Fire Operations Advisor for the large petrochemical company, Saudi Aramco. Upon return from the Middle East, he served the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) for a year as Director of the Fire and Safety Division which is the Provincial Fire Academy. He continues to teach and consult in the fire and community safety field and has been an elected member of the Pro Board Committee on Accreditation, the international accrediting body for fire academies around the world, since 2009. Retirement allows Craig to increase his community service and he is very honoured to serve alongside his fellow LVI Board members. Finally, Craig has succeeded Russ Burke in the Board President role for 2021 and is grateful for the guidance and learning opportunities shared with Russ during this transition.

Russ Burke

Recruitment & Sponsorship Chair

Russ Burke

Recruitment & Sponsorship Chair

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.

Janet Sheppard

Curriculum Chair

Janet Sheppard

Curriculum Chair

Janet has devoted her career(s) to supporting adult learners in a variety of contexts. After a 30 year career in higher education, offering counselling, learning support, and career and life development courses, Janet retired to pursue her love of learning and became a Certified Executive Coach. 

Leadership begins with leading self, becoming the best version of ourselves in this moment. Janet’s passion lies in helping to facilitate insight, confidence and growth in people who want to contribute to their relationships, to their organizations, and to their communities. 

Working with Leadership Vancouver Island has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Janet also chairs the Curriculum Committee and sees LVI as providing powerful integrative, experiential learning opportunities to emerging leaders on Vancouver Island. 

When not working with clients or volunteering in her community, Janet can be found in her garden, with her family, or walking trails with friends and her dog, Chappy. 

Dirk Heydemann

Director at Large

Dirk Heydemann

Director at Large

Dirk is a professional image consultant who assists his fabulous clients with their marketing and promotional needs through digital imagery. Dirk of HA Photography has successfully organized and executed photo shoots for large national corporations, non-profits, and local small businesses. Dirk’s images have been published locally, nationally and internationally in magazines, annual reports, books and billboards as far away as China.

When Dirk is not photographing or assisting as a board member, he can be found being with his family. Dirk and his wife Ronei have vibrant and charming daughter Kaita who continues to be an inspiration to them both. They enjoy long road trips, exploring the world, sleeping in and laughing. Dirk loves playing music and jamming with friends and playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Dirk has continually given back to the community over his 25 years of shooting professionally. He has donated his expertise and professionalism to The Vancouver Island Symphony. The Child Development Centre and Run for the Cure and the BC Summer Games, just to name a few. Dirk was a participant of the Leadership Vancouver Island curriculum 2016 -17, an invaluable experience that has been beneficial to his personal and family life as well has his business. Dirk believes leadership plays an important roll in advancing one’s own personal goals and making our community a more vibrant and inclusive community for all. It was a natural progression for Dirk to join the board of Leadership Vancouver Island. He is excited about the opportunities LVI has to play a more prominent roll in our community

Bradd Tuck

Recruitment & Sponsorship

Bradd Tuck

Recruitment & Sponsorship

Bradd Tuck is an alumnus of Leadership Vancouver Island and serves on the board as Recruitment and Sponsorship Chair. After completing the LVI program in 2020, Bradd was drawn to stay connected and involved with the organization. The program was a catalyst for change and growth in both his professional and personal life. Wanting to give back to LVI, Bradd volunteered as an alumnus during Orientation and on the Community Project Task Force. Never being one to shy away from a job, Bradd gratefully accepted a nomination to the board in 2021.

Bradd has served on the board of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and chaired the Young Professionals Committee, is an organizing member of 100 Oceanside Men Who Give a Damn, and a volunteer with the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock. Bradd has previously served on the board of the Young Professionals of Oceanside and SOS Project Rebuild Committee. As a board member, Bradd hopes to continue to find opportunities to grow and learn from fellow board members, coaches, and participants. In the recruitment role, Bradd enjoys sharing his firsthand experience on how the LVI program can create positive change. Bradd loves to hear the stories of participants and what has motivated them to further their own leadership journeys. Bradd is grateful to be able to continue his own learning through working with an incredibly engaging and knowledgeable board.

Always drawn to the island, Bradd Tuck moved to Parksville in 2013 after growing up in Manitoba and graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in Social Sciences. Bradd started his career as Park Manager in Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. After he and his wife Carlea welcomed their first son, Oliver, in 2015, Bradd joined the family business, Yates Memorial Services. Bradd’s role as General Manager has cultivated a passion for team growth and development. Bradd’s family has grown to include another son, Bowen, and black lab Bentley. Bradd and his family enjoy camping, biking, and exploring the island. Bradd firmly believes that service is an integral part of being part of the business community.

“We are not a team because we work together. We are a team because we respect, trust, and care for each other.” – Vala Afshar

Trish Smith

Community Projects Chair

Trish Smith

Community Projects Chair

Trish grew up in Nanaimo and has always loved the friendliness and small town feel of this beautiful harbour city. After completing university and living in Whistler and Victoria for 15 years working in the event management field, she returned ‘home’. Trish feels fortunate to have gained experience in an industry she loves, including early days working at the Whistler Conference Centre in food and beverage, to organizing many weddings, conferences, festivals and film shoots at Royal Roads University, the Royal BC Museum and the Victoria Conference Centre.

Since returning to Nanaimo Trish feels privileged to have worked alongside some amazing volunteers and Boards of Directors to manage some pretty cool community events, including the Relay for Life, the BC Gymnastics Championships, the BC Senior’s Games and Parksville Beach Festival’s Sand Sculpting Competition. Trish works at Vancouver Island University in Human Resources organizing employee events and workshops. Outside of work, Trish enjoys mountain biking, dancing, and challenging herself with various fitness milestones, such as the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Sprint, and the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race.

Chai Marfisi

Secretary

Chai Marfisi

Secretary
Chai Marfisi is an alumnus of the Leadership Vancouver Island 2019-2020 cohort and currently the board Secretary. Giving back to the program by taking on this volunteer role is the perfect blend of leadership, communication and public speaking – all soft skills which she is always working to improve on.
Chai spent several years at Vancouver Island University (VIU) and has now returned to her legal career as a paralegal at Heath Law. Prior to that she worked in law firms in Whistler and Nanaimo. She and her husband even owned a local restaurant that served the ‘best pizza in town’.
Outside of work, Chai spends time in the outdoors hiking, camping and biking. Some of her accomplishments include completing the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle, the Whistler Gran Fondo from Vancouver to Whistler, and solo hiking the West Coast Trail in 2022. She has recently discovered indoor rock climbing and would love to transfer these skills to the outdoor rock.
Although Saskatchewan is where she grew up, her heart is out West and she spent many years in the mountains in Banff and Whistler before settling down in Nanaimo. Chai and her family are also Homestay parents to international students who attend SD68 and VIU, having hosted students from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Germany, Austria and Spain. Her family enjoys learning about the students’ cultural experiences and sharing her family’s interests with the students.

Robert Thompson

Treasurer

Robert Thompson

Treasurer

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.

Stuart Burke

Marketing Director

Stuart Burke

Marketing Director

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 Co-Ordinator

Andrea Rosato-Taylor

Program Co-Ordinator

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.