Through the collaborative efforts of numerous community partners and volunteers, Leadership Vancouver Island was founded in 2005 in response a growing need for increased leadership capacity within Vancouver Island businesses, organization, and local government.
Today, the LVI program is administered by the dedicated volunteer Board of Directors of the Leadership Society of Vancouver Island in collaboration with Community Futures Cowichan and numerous community partners.
The Story of LVI
The story of Leadership Vancouver Island’s creation and sustenance is truly a story of leadership in action. If not for the hard work and dedication of numerous individuals, the program would not be what it is today.
Cori Lynn Germiquet
The original concept for the Leadership Vancouver Island (LVI) program was proposed by Cori Lynn Germiquet, past Executive Director for the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. Inspired by what she’d learned at the Pacific Northwest Executives Conference in the United States in 2002, Cori was excited about the concept of developing a community leadership program in her home town. Such programs had existed in larger Canadian cities and in many smaller cities in the United States for some time; however, very few had been established in smaller Canadian cities and non-metropolital regions.
Lacking the necessary resources to develop a community leadership program on their own, the Nanaimo Chamber approached the BC Chamber of Commerce for assistance. The BC Chamber was successful in obtaining funding from Community Futures, Terasen Gas (now FortusBC) and BC Hydro to develop a program.
Dr. Ken Hammer
In 2004, Dr. Ken Hammer was successful in his proposal to the BC Chamber to develop the Leadership Vancouver Island program. With his team, Dr. Hammer – then a professor at Malaspina University-College – proceeded to research existing programs in Canada, the United States, Australia and other locations around the world. Taking into account what he learn, Dr. Hammer developed focus groups in locations such as Kamloops, Quesnel, and Nanaimo. The curriculum was then reviewed and approved by a committee at the BC Chamber.
In 2005, pilot projects for Leadership BC were launched in Kamloops, Quesnel and Nanaimo. It was followed in 2006 by a pilot launch in Ladysmith, championed by Ruth Malli, City Manager of the Town of Ladysmith.
Ruth Mali was instrumental in the foundation of a Leadership program in Ladysmith, which later became one of Leadership Vancouver Island’s founding partners. The leaderships programs in Nanaimo and Ladysmith were eventually amalgamated into Leadership Vancouver Island under a new entity: The Leadership Society of Vancouver Island.
LVI and VIU
In 2008, The Leadership Society of Vancouver Island approached Malaspina University-College (now Vancouver Island University) with the hopes that the college would deliver the program through their Centre for Continuing Studies. Thanks to the support of Malaspina’s staff, the program was approved.
Today, the LVI program in its entirety is worth six transferable elective credits towards any degree program at Vancouver Island University as LEAD 100 and LEAD 101.
Ricardo Monmohan and LVI West Coast
In 2013, a new program was launched on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The West Coast program continues to thrive after three years and is strongly supported by the Towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, their respective Chambers of Commerce and local First Nations in the area. The initiative has been championed and delivered by Ricardo Manmohan, who currently serves as curriculum chair for Leadership Vancouver Island.
Russ Burke has been involved with the LVI program since its inception. Experienced, wise, and down-to-earth, Russ has been instrumental in ultimately “getting bums in the seats” of the LVI program through his relationships with influencers in the community. In his capacity as Chair of Sponsorship & Recruitment, Russ has made numerous presentations to local groups, charities, businesses and government agencies as an ambassador of the LVI program. As a notable leader in the Nanaimo business community, Russ is passionate about engaging emerging leaders and providing them with opportunities to grow and learn. He previously served as Chair of the LVI Board and was involved in the transition of the delivery of the program by The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce to Vancouver Island University.
Dr. Pat Ross
Dr. Pat Ross has been a long-time supporter of the LVI program. While serving as Vice President of Student Services at Malaspina University-College, Dr. Ross contributed as Chairman of the Board, program facilitator, presenter, curriculum committee chair and took the lead to establish the LVI program on the west coast. He remains involved with the LVI program as an advisor, facilitator, and ambassador.
Bryan Webber has served as Chair of the Curriculum Committee, presenter and facilitator with LVI for many years. He most recently served as curriculum committee chair of LVI until June 2015. Bryan currently serves as advising professor with VIU’s Faculty of Management.
Leadership Vancouver Island has enjoyed the strong support of community organizations, businesses and institutes like Vancouver Island University; many thanks to VIU President Ralph Nilson for his ongoing support for LVI.
Other early supporters of the program included Hadi Abassi of Altus Truss, Mid Island Co-op, Costco, Daybreak Rotary, Coastal Community Credit Union, Community Futures, Island Radio, Clearly Interactive, Glacier Media, and Nanaimo Daily News.
Honours and Awards
The LVI program was awarded the Excellence in Social Development Award by the City of Nanaimo in 2009 for its contribution to the wellbeing, education and community programs in the City of Nanaimo. The City of Nanaimo again recognized LVI with a “Proclamation: Leadership Week 2013”, recognizing that LVI inspires and generates outstanding leadership, learning and service, and that “well-trained leaders are essential for success in today’s business world”.