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.
Wesley Ma, Treasurer
Wesley Ma is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CA) and executive director with varied business, financial, and leadership experience. Wesley is the Director of Finance, Project Management, IT, and Corporate Services of Technical Safety BC, a provincial safety regulator. Before Technical Safety BC, he was an experienced manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers where he led audit engagements for the public companies. In addition to bringing significant financial expertise to the board, he brings an in-depth knowledge of project and risk management.
Exploration and discovery have been recurring themes in Wes’s life. In his role of director of various departments, he now supports others in their discovery and innovation. By nurturing leadership in others, Wes aims to create a culture of experimentation and learning that propel knowledge and action.
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.
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.
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.
Darius Maze is a certified fundraising professional who brings his expertise in diversity, inclusion, and social justice to community engagement and development. With over five years of experience in the social service sector, he is deeply committed to supporting communities who experience social isolation and launched A-mazing Solutions to support non-profits in building relationships with these groups.
He is grateful to be able work and play on the lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations as a volunteer and board member for the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC, the Vancouver Pride Society, the Friends of the Vancouver Public Library, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, as well as the Vancouver Foundation, Imagine Canada, and Vantage Point.