PHS Community Services Society

PHS Management Team & Board of Directors

For more information about the PHS management team or board of directors, please email

Management Team

Jennifer Breakspear

Executive Director

Susan Alexman

Director of Programs

Andy Bond

Senior Director of Housing

Devinder Sekhon

Senior Director of Finance, Social Enterprise and Administration

Dr. Christy Sutherland

Medical Director

Shelley Bolton

Social Enterprises

Scott Douglas

Technical Services

Christian le Nobel


Matt Camirand

Housing and Housing Support Services (Vancouver)

Phong Lam


Coco Culbertson


Russ Maynard

Policy and Research

Avery Taylor

Housing and Housing Support Services (Victoria)

Board of Directors

Glenn McCurdy - Board Chair

CEO, Canadian Special Purpose Vehicles, Bouygues Energies and Services Inc.

Previously worked in top levels of management (CEO and Vice President) across multiple companies, with a focus on providing strategic, operational and financial leadership. Has also been employed by Vancouver Coastal Health in a senior capacity, and served on the Board of the Vancouver Food Bank.  Glenn is a CPA CA and received his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School.


Maureen Collier - Chair of the Risk, Finance & Audit Committee

CPA, CMA (retired)

Maureen Collier is a retired financial management professional CPA CMA with thirty years’ experience in not for profits, cooperatives and social enterprises both in public practice and in industry. She has served on not for profit boards, including the REACH community health clinic and Modo the car coop. Maureen has worked in the inner city for several years as the Finance Manager for Tides Canada Initiatives Society, as an accountant for the Tradeworks Training Society and as the Finance Manager with BOB – Building Opportunities with Business Inner City Society. Prior to that, she was the Controller for Family Services of Greater Vancouver. She understands the challenges of operating within a government-funded charitable model, while trying to build successful enterprises that achieve multiple objectives.

Nathan Edelson - Chair of Social Enterprise Committee

Senior Partner, 42nd Street Consulting

Formerly the City of Vancouver’s Senior City Planner for the DTES. Over 25 years working to improve housing, social services, health, arts, and safety issues within Vancouver communities. Current Senior Partner, 42nd Street Consulting, and Adjunct Professor, School of Community and Regional Planning working on many initiatives including the RePlanning False Creek South, the original neighbourhood surrounding Granville Island and securing jobs for people with challenges to employment through major development.

Dr. Thomas Kerr

Dr. Kerr is Co-Director of the Urban Health Research Initiative at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (Division of AIDS). Dr. Kerr has extensive research experience in the areas of health psychology, behavioural science, community-based research, and public health, especially in evaluating programs and treatments designed to address addiction, injection drug use, and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Kerr has a long history of involvement in healthcare issues in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Several years ago, he collaborated with other scientists and community members in an effort to alert policy makers to the health and social emergencies in the neighbourhood. This work involved demonstrating the scientific basis for several public health interventions, including the expansion of Vancouver’s needle exchange program and the initiation of a scientific pilot study of North America’s first medically supervised safer injecting facility.

Alona Puehse

Executive Director – Corporate Development, Open Door Group

Alona Puehse graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Business Administration on 2004, following a Diploma of Technology, International Trade and Transportation Logistics in 2001 and is currently completing her MBA.

Alona joined Open Door Group in 2009 after 10 years of working globally in private sector business development. Open Door Group is the largest non-profit employment service provider in British Columbia and has been serving the Downtown Eastside community since 2003. Alona started out working front-line, connecting job seekers living with disabilities to employment opportunities and working with employers to tap into non-traditional talent pools. She became Director of Public Relations and Corporate Development in 2010. In 2013, she became Executive Director – Corporate Development overseeing human resources, stakeholder and employer engagement, communications, public relations, information technology and labour market development services. She is also responsible for all Business Development initiatives including securing new contracts, collaborations with different community partners and the management of Open Door Ventures C.C.C. Ltd., Open Door Group’s subsidiary company and one of the first Community Contribution Companies to be incorporated in British Columbia. Alona also sits on the Employee Action Committee, which has a mandate to increase employment opportunities and outcomes for persons with disabilities and the Disability Supports for Employment Advisory Committee with the Vancouver Foundation.

Rebecca Schalm, Ph.D.

Management Consultant (Organizational Psychologist) Founder & CEO, Strategic Talen Advisors Inc.

Rebecca Schalm, holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and has assisted organizations for over 20 years in building talent capability to enable organizational strategy. She is the founder of Strategic Talent Advisors and prior to that she was Chief Human Resources Officer of Finning International Inc. Rebecca has held a number of board positions in the not-for-profit sector and currently sits as the Chair of Vantage Point. She is passionate about governance and the leadership role board members can play in contributing to an organization’s ability to fulfil its mission. She brings deep knowledge in human resources, organizational behaviour and leadership and a desire to serve the community in support of our most vulnerable citizens.

Flavio Caron

Business Owner

Flavio Caron is the son of an Ojibway mother and Italian-Canadian father. He started Flavio Caron consulting in 1997 which provides custom-designed and delivered training, facilitation and consulting services. Over 19 years his business has provided economic and employment development for over 25 Aboriginal First Nations and communities. Additional programs designed have focused on inner-city and youth, new Canadians and transitioning professionals.

Flavio has given back to communities through volunteerism in many capacities. He has served on numerous Boards dedicated to serving the interests of human potential in justice, sports, economics and housing.

Through his work he has partnered with many organizations both government and private – and it is philosophy of interdependence that guides his professional and volunteer activities. Most recently he has acted as the lead consultant for Aboriginal Housing Management Association’s 2015 strategic plan renewal. He understands the key role housing plays in creating stability and assisting individuals to begin, or enhance, their growth. He brings expertise, passion, personal skills and knowledge with Aboriginal issues, social enterprise and mental health.

Linda Day

Executive Director, Aboriginal Mother Centre Society

Linda Day is a member of the Oneida Nation, a matriarchal society where she follows her mother’s clan; she is of the Wolf Clan. Linda has devoted her career to working for the advancement of First Nation people in a variety of disciplines, including health, education, employment and social welfare. She attained a Master of Arts degree in Gerontology from SFU focused on healthy aging. Her 2001 thesis was “The Relationship Between Residential School Attendance and Health Status in Later Life Among First Nation Elders in BC”, a topic that has since gained notable discussion re reconciliation.

She has been employed at the University of Toronto where she was the Senior Analyst with the Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the University of British Columbia where she was the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Women’s Health and Healing Research Group. Most recently, Linda was the Deputy Executive Director at Vancouver Native Health Society and since September 2015, is the Executive Director at the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society. Linda acknowledges that much healing between Aboriginal people and Canada is taking place

now and that much more healing and rebuilding will be necessary to close the extreme gaps that currently exist between Aboriginal people and the rest of the population. She believes that with the right mix of people and service providers in the downtown eastside, the healing and rebuilding there is possible.

Allen Garr

Allen is an experienced Corporate Director, and the effective Chair of several Board governance committees, providing leadership to significant Vancouver community organizations. Previous and current career experience includes significant efforts with the Vancouver Courier to keep Vancouverites informed of issues which affect them in their communities.

Dr. Gabor Maté

Public Speaker; Author; Consultant; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Criminology, SFU

Gabor Maté M.D. brings, 20 years in Family Practice, 7 years’ experience as the Medical Coordinator, Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital, 3 years as the Family Medicine Consultant, Department
of Psychiatry, St Pauls’ Hospital and 12 years as the staff physician at PHS. He is currently Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University. Dr. Maté is the co-founder of Compassion for Addiction, a new non-profit that focuses on addiction.  Dr Maté regularly addresses health professionals across North America and internationally on issues of addiction, mental health, child development, and stress/illness. As an author, Dr. Maté has written several bestselling books including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, His works have been published internationally in twenty languages. His book on addiction is used in several institutions of higher learning and in many treatment facilities in North America. Dr. Mate is able to provide a bridge between the Board and PHS staff and, given his knowledge and experience of the PHS history and culture.

Yasmine Rolleau

Yasmine is a highly accomplished business executive, with experience in strategy and operations. Other expertise includes obtaining grant funding and accessing financial resources in the healthcare and related fields. Yasmine has been involved with healthcare issues in Vancouver for many years, with a particular interest in healthcare technology and evidence-based decision making.

Meaghan Thumath

RN, BSN, MSc PH Nurse and Senior Practice Leader, BC Centre for Disease Control, Provincial Health Services Authority

Meaghan Thumath is an HIV nurse clinician whose clinical, research and educational focus has been on improving systems of care for people who use drugs. An adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia and a former senior health care leader with VCH and PHSA she has over 10 years of HIV and substance use experience in program implementation and evaluation in Canada, Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She is currently a Trudeau Scholar at the University of Oxford evaluating harm reduction oriented interventions to support mothers who use drugs. Meaghan is passionate about the role PHS can play in increasing access to health and social care for people in Vancouver and globally.