The Board of Directors primary function is to ensure that the Society is being operated in a manner consistent with the Society’s overall policies, strategic goals and mission statement. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the organization on a daily basis.
If you have feedback or a complaint that relates to the actual manner in which the organization is led or managed by the CEO, then your feedback / complaint will be referred to the Board. CLSBoard@communitylivingsociety.ca.
NOTE: This email is being directed in confidence to the Director of Quality and Innovation to ensure your concerns are dealt with in a confidential and timely fashion by the appropriate party. Your feedback / complaint will be referred to the appropriate Director within the organization who is responsible for the issue in question, and that person will follow up with you promptly.
Formed by families over thirty years ago, CLS continues to be led by the principles of individual and family-driven service. The organization was originally created as a not-for-profit society and independent planning agency, to assist their children as they moved from institutions into the community. It was the strong leadership of these families that moved the government of the time to agree to re-direct funding to community-based opportunities.
Today, people who receive service and their families still participate at every level of CLS, including serving on committees and as directors on our board.
“The organization has shown itself to be creative and exceptional in providing services and supports to benefit persons served, producing bottom-line outcomes that have earned it the satisfaction and esteem of stakeholders.”
CARF Accreditation Survey Report – 2011
Listening to and building the leadership from families is a key piece of the CLS strategic plan. Families bring new ideas and advocacy to the organization. They are also the best source of support to each other. We help families to get the information and resources they need to help themselves, and one another.
There are many ways that family members can get involved with CLS. We’d be happy to talk to you about it.
Find Out More About Becoming a CLS Board Member
Our Current Board of Directors
Susan Powell, Chair
Susan has worked in a variety of positions both in inclusive education and the community living sector for the past 35 years. She began her career as a special education teacher in a secondary school in Richmond, BC. She has been a district resource teacher, inclusion consultant, university faculty member and associate dean of Community and Health Studies at Kwantlen University College. She currently is a Learning and Education Consultant.
Most recently she completed a staff training project with the BC Library Association; and created a program guide and standards on inclusive after school programs for DASH BC. She co-facilitates a Next Chapter Book Club, a book club for adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities that meets each week at a local coffee shop in Vancouver. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and a PhD in Adult Transformative Education.
Dawn Palmer, Vice Chair
Dawn is the Vice President of People Services at Langara College. She is an innovative and energetic Human Resources leader with over 25 years’ experience in all aspects of Human Resources, such as: Labour Relations, Employee Wellness and Safety, Classification and Compensation, Physician Compensation, Benefits Administration, Employee Recognition, Diversity, Strategic Planning/Policy Development, Organizational Development, Executive Search and Recruitment and Conflict Resolution/Mediation. Dawn joined the CLS Board in June 2013.
Tom Wong, Secretary Treasurer
Tom is a semi-retired PwC Consulting Partner who now advises Boards and CEOs on large and complex projects and initiatives. He has over 40 years of experience advising and implementing business and technology solutions for corporate and public sector clients. He is also a CPA – Chartered Accountant and also has a CA.IT (IT Specialization designation).
During his career, he has held a number of regional and national leadership roles at PwC, EY and CapGemini including Public Sector markets, Healthcare markets, Technology Advisory services, Program Risk Advisory services, SAP Implementation services, Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence services, and Computer Forensics services.
In addition to board advisory roles highlighted previously, Tom also serves or is serving in various capacities on a number of community and public boards including:
- Vancouver Community College – Government appointed Board Member / Finance Committee active on the Vancouver Community College Foundation – Vice Chair / Investment Committee
- Zajac Foundation – Board Member/ Treasurer
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia
A graduate in Broadcast Communications from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Ann currently works as a contract writer for a variety of clients – work that represents the latest incarnation of a 39-year career in media that has included radio broadcasting, public relations and publishing.
Ann worked for 8 years in news and foreground programming at CKWX and CJAZ radio in Vancouver. In 1985, she joined Variety – The Children’s Charity as publicist for the Variety Club Telethon, which led to her appointment as Variety’s full-time media and public relations director – a position she held for six years. In 1992, Ann left Variety to join Canada Wide Media Limited as vice-president of editorial, leading a department responsible for producing more than 40 magazines. She stepped down from that position in 2002 to focus on her family, while continuing to work for Canada Wide and a variety of other clients on a contract basis.
Married for 38 years and the mother of two adult children (including a daughter who is supported by CLS), Ann has been a lifelong advocate of an inclusive community that respects and supports the rights of people with disabilities to live full, active lives as contributing members of society – values she share with CLS.
Arlene has been a Family Support Worker with the MSA Society for Community Living for over 13 years, providing guidance and support to family members of supported individuals. Her daughter Natalie was supported by the Community Living Society under the Individualized Funding Project (IF). Arlene is an Advisor to both the Mission and Abbotsford Self Advocate Groups, and is a Board Member with the Abilitas Foundation. Arlene is a returning CLS Board member.
Susan is an experienced commercial real estate lender, having spent over 30 years working for financial institutions in Vancouver, of which the last 15 years have been with Vancity. She has experience working with for-profit and not-for-profit real estate development and investment organizations, and has had the opportunity to finance a variety of innovative housing projects. Her work with housing specialists aligns with her belief everyone deserves a home to call their own. Currently she is completing her Master of Arts degree in Leadership. Susan and her husband live in Langley with their two sons and one small dog, who bring them endless joy!
Vikas began his career with Novartis, a Swiss Pharmaceutical company, after graduating from the IMBA program at Schulich School of Business in Toronto. Vikas worked in marketing and finance roles for Novartis in the UK and Switzerland, and ended his career with Novartis as the Head of North East Asia. After living in 8 different countries, Vikas and his wife, Junko, decided to move back to Canada and settled in Vancouver in 2007. He took a year off during which he bicycled across Canada. In 2008 he purchased an IT business and grew that from a team of 9 to 25. He has recently retired and is now looking forward to volunteering with the Community Living Society. Vikas believes strongly in making available everything possible to help every citizen achieve their true potential.
Reba is the Manager for Student Engagement at Langara College. She has worked in the post-secondary sector for 25 years in many facets of the student experience, in particular Student Recruitment, Counselling, Aboriginal Services and Student Engagement. Reba is recognized by her peers and family as a fierce advocate for ensuring that the rights and needs of those around her are equally recognized and respected.
Reba has been a Home Share provider for ten years and enjoys the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those she supports, and their families. Reba is married and is the mother of two young adults. She is pleased to have a more formalized role on the Board of the Community Living Society after years of supporting youth sport and extracurricular activities.
Brian Salisbury retired in June, 2014 having spent over 30 years working in the community living field. He began his career as a service broker with the Community Living Society in 1984 but left in 1989. Since then he has worked in a variety of roles which have included international policy consultant with a focus on service brokerage and individualized funding and Instructor in the Community Support Worker Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. His most recent work began in 2001 when he joined a community collation to help create Community Living British Columbia. Formal work roles at CLBC included Director of Strategic Planning and Director of Individual, Family and Volunteer Engagement. Brian lives in Langley with his wife Trish who has two sisters who live with a developmental disability, both of whom live on the same family property.
Brigitte joined the CLS Board of Directors in 2018. Brigitte is the mother of Jon who is a charming, autistic, smart and happy individual supported by the CLS. Jon and Brigitte moved to Vancouver in July of 2016. Since this time, a lot of progress and opportunities entered their lives! Brigitte’s primary goal is to get involved, give back and make a difference everywhere she can. At work, she is a dependable employee, dedicated and committed and intends to do the same in the community. During the course of her career, Brigitte has worked for large corporations and small business and has acquired a very diverse, interesting and unique set of skills that she intents to use to advance causes that are close to her heart.
Briano Barillaro was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia and has been supported by CLS for 9+ years. He is a self advocate who joined the CLS Board in early 2019 after earning his provincial security license. Briano completed security training and worked for 3 years as a contract security guard while living with the challenges of Autism and Tourettes. As a person with autism, Briano wants to ensure that all people feel safe, supported, and heard in their community and in life at large.