PHS Management Team & Board of Directors
For more information about the PHS management team or board of directors, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Housing
Senior Director of Finance, Social Enterprise and Administration
Director of Programs
Director of Human Resources
Dr. Christy Sutherland
Senior Manager of Programs
Senior Manager of Housing; Temporary Modular Housing Lead
Interim Senior Manager of Housing
Senior Manager of Programs
Senior Manager of Social Enterprises
Senior Maintenance Lead
Community Engagement Lead
Senior Manager of Housing and Housing Support Services (Victoria)
Board of Directors
Allen Garr, Chair
Allen has spent most of his career as a journalist working locally nationally and abroad. However, he has been involved with board work for the past 20 years. He was on the board of Vancouver Resource Society providing housing and support to seriously disabled persons for five years including three as President. He served on the Board of Vancity Credit Union for six years during which time he chaired the Governance committee, the Human Resources Committee and the Nominations and Election committee. As well he served on the board of Citizens Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of the credit union.
For the past two years he has been on the PHS Board during which time he served as vice-chair. Allen earned his ICD.D designation in a program offered by the National Institute of Corporate Directors through Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.
Stephen Learey, Vice-chair
Chair, Human Resources Committee
Stephen has a long history working in the Downtown Eastside. He was first hired by DERA in 1984 where he advocated for low-income residents and their concerns including conditions in SRO hotels. He went on to become Assistant Organizer to DERA Executive Director Jim Green and was part of the team who built hundreds of units of social housing, and turned the original Portland Hotel into supportive housing.
Stephen also worked for the Provincial Government working with community groups around the province. He was the Executive Director of the Urban Community Development Unit with the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women Services.
During the time he worked for the provincial government he was involved in creating and funding innovative programs for low-income marginalized communities in urban areas throughout the province. He left the province to become Executive Assistant to Mayor Larry Campbell and worked with him on driving the supervised injection site initiative. He currently is the Executive Director of the Strathcona Community Dental Clinic.
Maureen Collier, Treasurer
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 non-profit boards including REACH Community Health Centre and carsharing coop Modo. 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.
Ruth Herman, Secretary
Ruth Herman is retired lawyer who focussed on workers’ health and safety issues during her career with different unions. She was an elected Vancouver School Board trustee, a long-serving executive member of COPE and is now active in One City, whose focus is on housing and better opportunities for low income people. Ruth has also been on the board of REACH Community Health Clinic for the past 14 years, eight years as Chair, and is committed to improving health care for the most needy in our community. She also founded and continues as co-chair of the Vancouver South African Film Festival that raises money for impoverished school children in South Africa and Canada. Ruth believes in strong and effective advocacy as a way to empower people to improve their living conditions, both at home and at work.
Chair, Risk, Finance, and Audit Committee
Jeff brings extensive experience as the former City of Vancouver Director of Social Planning, having been responsible during this 11-year tenure for developing and implementing and evaluating Vancouver’s comprehensive program of social development within the City. This position provides to the City Council information, advice and policy recommendations respecting social issues, as well as providing advice and recommendations to Council on the provision of financial support to community organizations. Major areas of focus include neighbourhood initiatives, childcare programs, children, youth and family issues, alcohol and drug and mental health matters, as well as grants programs, including community services, childcare support, and capital grants considerations. Earlier professional experience includes over 20 additional years of employment in Vancouver and the broader British Columbia provincial environment, again focusing on public service-oriented initiatives.
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.
Through his work he has partnered with many organizations both government and private – and it is a 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.
Dr. Jan Christilaw
Chair, Governance Committee
Dr. Jan Christilaw has recently retired as the President of BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, after having served for an eight-year period. In addition to her extensive experience in the British Columbia health environment, Jan brings broad leadership in British Columbia healthcare issues to the PHS. Jan received her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from McMaster University, and continued her education at the University of British Columbia, receiving a Masters of Health Science Degree in 2002.
Dr. Christilaw brings a passion for women’s health issues to this position and has been very generous in providing her time to important health initiatives. She is a willing presenter at health and leadership forums, providing her broad experience in a provincial and national context. Jan is also extremely supportive of grassroots community initiatives and is committed to contributing her time and talents to PHS.
Libby Davies has a long-standing relationship, stretching back to the 1970s, with the Downtown Eastside, where she was a community organizer, before becoming an elected member of Vancouver City Council for five terms (1982-1993). She served six terms as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East (1997-2015), including as Deputy Leader of the NDP from 2007-2015, and House Leader for the NDP from 2003-2011. Her strong advocacy on critical issues affecting the Downtown Eastside and vulnerable populations across the country helped develop her key leadership role in Parliament on drug policy reform, harm reduction, safe consumption sites, sex worker rights and safety, housing and homelessness, healthcare and human rights. Libby maintained a close relationship with her riding and worked with many frontline organizations, including the PHS. She was a tireless advocate for Insite, and for human rights and services for people who use drugs. She is a strong proponent of community-based accessible services that respect the dignity and rights of people. She has extensive knowledge and experience with governance, public policy development, and working for transformative change. In 2016, Libby was awarded the Order Of Canada for her longstanding community contributions.
Nathan Edelson is a Senior Partner with 42 Street Consulting – a company that focuses on planning for inclusive communities. He is also an adjunct professor at the School of Community and Regional Planning where he teaches the Social Learning Studio and is on the Advisory Committee for the Indigenous Planning Program.
He worked for the City of Vancouver Planning Department for 25 years. For much of that time he was the Senior City Planner for the Downtown Eastside, where he managed many issues related to housing, social services, health care facilities, community arts, community economic development, food security and public safety – within the context of the Four Pillar Drug Strategy. Here he also chaired the Vancouver Agreement’s Economic Revitalization Task Team and had opportunities to work on many initiatives with senior government and communities, including PHS.
Cheyenne was born in Salmon Arm and is a status member of the Tootinaowaziibeeng Treaty Reserve in Manitoba.
Cheyenne is a registered nurse who works in the area of addiction and substance use care in Vancouver. In her current role as the Director of Activities and Development with the BC Center on Substance Use (BCCSU) and the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse, she oversees development and dissemination of evidence-based clinical guidelines, practice tools and policy briefs. She is also the Director of the BCCSU’s Addiction Nursing Fellowship Program and is passionate about providing health care provider and public education to reduce stigma and improve the addiction system of care in BC. She is also and is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia and actively collaborates with interdisciplinary researchers across Canada.
Chair, Fundraising Committee
Ben Milne was born and raised in the Lower Mainland. His post-secondary education was at Simon Fraser and UBC where he received an M.A. in women’s studies and an M.B.A. in human resources.
Ben’s work experience is mainly in human resources and sustainability. He was responsible for global HR at InterWrap, overseeing 1600 employees in Canada, the US, China and India. Currently, he works at the Milne family charity, Unbounded Foundation, which manages active and passive investments, funds research on substance use and supports organizations such as Pivot and Union Gospel Mission.
Ben has been involved with the Simon Fraser Students’ Society, serving on the board of directors, including a period as Chair. He also served as a board member at Pacific Cinematheque, a non-profit Canadian film institute, and is currently Treasurer of the Action at a Distance dance company and a board member of the BC Centre for Disease Control Foundation for Public Health.
He’s a proud father of one daughter and enjoys running and travel.
Risk, Finance, and Audit Committee
Adam is Anishnaabe from Curve Lake First Nation, an Aboriginal Lawyer and founder of Munnings Law.
He has acted as general counsel for Aboriginal communities on economic development, specific claims, reserve land management, employment, governance, accommodation of Aboriginal rights, and negotiations and agreements with government and industry. In June 2015, Adam completed his MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership at Simon Fraser University, to better support his client’s business needs. This paved the way for founding Munnings Law in 2016, a boutique Aboriginal and Business Law firm.
In addition to the PHS Board, Adam serves as Chair of the Vancouver Aboriginal Health Society, as a member of Canadian Bar Association British Columbia (CBABC) Provincial Council, and as a member of the Curve Lake First Nation Finance Committee. He previously served as Chair of the CBABC Aboriginal Lawyers Forum, Chair of North Shore Restorative Justice and as President of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association. Adam has written articles, and presented at professional education courses and as a guest lecturer at University of British Columbia and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
He has recently started fly fishing, hunting and powerlifting, and enjoys the outdoors, camping and finding time for travel with his wife and dogs.
Risk, Finance, and Audit Committee
Arushi is passionate about sustainable health solutions for vulnerable communities.
She holds an Economics degree from Vassar College in the US and an MBA from the Richard Ivey Business School. She has worked across sectors including retail, real-estate, manufacturing, healthcare and the non-profit arena. At KPMG she worked with complex organizations including provincial ministries and major hospitals, assisting decision making, clinical redesign and strategic planning. She has local and provincial healthcare experience, including as senior strategy advisor for the introduction of diabetes prevention technology at BC Children’s Hospital and on a health startup accelerator for the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute. She has prior experience working with a neuroscience startup that improves the lives of people with brain injury.
Arushi also has international experience, which includes consulting with the World Bank, and has lived in the US, UK, South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt. As a keynote speaker across BC schools and universities, Arushi focuses on diversity, social inclusion and the arts. Her novel When Morning Comes, set in apartheid-era South Africa, has been reviewed internationally.
Jennifer Vornbrock brings 17 years of public service experience to PHS, with expertise in management of the impact of government policy on lawmakers at all levels. She brings an extensive knowledge of health and social policy issues, including healthcare, housing and homelessness issues, social and economic development, post-secondary education, and issues affecting children, youth and women’s services issues.
Jennifer is currently employed in Victoria with the University of Victoria, providing services to the University at the local, regional, provincial and national level. Jennifer had recently worked for the Mental Health Commission of Canada, as well as for Vancouver Coastal Health in a number of capacities over an eleven-year period, dealing with a broad range of issues in the ever-developing area of providing health services to the residents of the Downtown Eastside. Jennifer is a passionate advocate in the mission of improving the lives of those served by PHS.