The four people joining Okanagan College’s Board of Governors may be fresh to the role, but they are familiar names in the region.
David Porteous, Juliette Cunningham, Shelly Cook and Tina Lee have each been appointed to the College’s Board by the provincial government for one-year terms that began at the end of July.
“I’m looking forward to Juliette, Tina, Shelley and David starting their work with the Board,” says Okanagan College Board of Governors’ chair Chris Derickson. “I know their experience will yield insights and perspectives valuable for our Board.”
Lee is an experienced communications and strategy professional from Penticton whose human rights and development work has spanned six continents and has ranged from influencing United Nations activity to developing municipal community engagement processes.
Cunningham is a current City of Vernon Councillor, Vice-Chair of the Regional District of the North Okanagan, Vice-Chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board as well as a business owner. She also has an extensive history of working with non-profit Boards such as the Women’s Centre, Junction Literacy, People Place, Museum and the Early Years Council.
Porteous is an employee group benefits consultant and writes for a quarterly senior’s magazine on health and benefits issues. He co-founded McIver-Porteous Insurance Services Ltd. In the 1980s and was president of Working Enterprises Insurance Services Ltd. He also started Canadian Administrative Underwriting Services Inc. and Working Enterprises Consulting & Benefits Services Ltd.
Cook is an Okanagan College alumnus and has more than 20 years’ experience working with disadvantaged populations in institutional and community-based settings in B.C. and Ontario. She has a master’s degree in Human and Social Development from the University of Victoria and is currently completing her PhD in Community, Culture and Global Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, Cook was executive director of the John Howard Society in Kelowna for 11 years. In 2017, Cook received a national award for innovation and urban sustainability (Dr. Alex Aylett Scholarship) related to her community-based research efforts. She was the candidate for the BC NDP- Kelowna-West in the 2017 general election and the 2018 by-election.
Cunningham and Lee each hold a bachelor’s of arts degree from Simon Fraser University.
“I am very familiar with the contribution Okanagan College makes to the community and the region,” says Cunningham. “I am eager to work with Chris, the other board members and administration to ensure its continued success and development.”
“I’ve watched Okanagan College develop its profile in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, and I am excited to learn more about the institution and bring my talents to the Board table,” says Lee.
Porteous shares the others’ interest in the contribution Board members can make to OC’s success.
“This is an organization that is very clearly connected and supportive of the communities it serves,” he notes. “Governance is an integral and important part of any public post-secondary institution and I am honored to have been selected to serve in this role.”
“People and organizations in this region identify with Okanagan College,” says Cook. “There are so many proud alumni and so many positive partnerships associated with the College that I know being a member of the Board of Governors will be a rewarding experience.”
Provincially-appointed Board members whose term ends July 31 are Connie Denesiuk (who served six years and was Board Chair from 2016 to early 2018) and Joe Maciel (who was appointed in 2014). Vernon’s Riminder Gakhal completed her 16-month term with the Board at the end of 2017. Board Vice-Chair Gloria Morgan has been reappointed to July 31, 2019.
Other appointed members of the Board include Charity Gerbrandt and Robert McGowan. Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Education Council Chair Christopher Newitt are also members of the Board. In addition, there are two student members, a faculty representative and a support staff representative, all elected by their respective constituencies.