Staff, Board and Knowledge Philanthropists
Our Staff and Contractors
Johan Stroman, Information and Referral Manager – Operations
Johan has worked as teacher and education resource developer for the past 20 years. In addition to working at the Resource Centre, Johan is a consultant supporting teachers and students with sustainability education projects on and off coast. In addition he does program development, community engagement, research and writing on sustainability and community development. He has worked with local government, provincial agencies and the Coast Car Co-op.
He brings a compassionate view to caregiver and senior support after having helped navigate his father through through medical services for Cancer treatment and his mother through Dementia assessment and residential care over the past decade.
When not at work, Johan can be found exploring the trails and beaches on foot, e-bike or skis with his family. His young son and daughter keep him both young and old in Gibsons alongside his wife.
Kara McDougall, Information and Referral Manager – Legal and Communications
Kara originally hails from Vancouver and moved to Sechelt with her family in 2015. She has a degree in International Studies and Sustainable Community Development. Kara has over 12 years experience working in program and project management, community engagement and sustainability in post-secondary education, local government and non-profits. She also works at the Sunshine Coast Capilano University campus as an educational planning and academic advisor.
At the Resource Centre, Kara oversees the Community Information Hub and Legal Information programs, helping clients access information on social, legal and government services both locally and provincially.
In her spare time, Kara loves to dance, bike, hike and do ocean swims and forest walks with her family and friends. She volunteers as a Treasurer for the Les Petits du Pacifique daycare Board and as a ski coach with the Dakota Ridge Nordics.
Ken Carson, Community Legal Advocate
Ken has been a resident of the Sunshine Coast for almost 20 years and has more than 25 years of legal advocacy experience in the field of human rights, and, most recently, on the Indian Residential School file where he worked to ensure that Survivors of those schools receive fair compensation in Canada’s largest class-action Settlement Agreement.
He passionately believes in the principles of natural and restorative justice, reconciliation with First Nations and the empowerment of those people economically and socially marginalized. Speaking truth to power, ethical behaviour, the dignity and worth of all people, equality of rights, equal access to services, and the rule of law are, for Ken, foundational principles that ensure the well-being of communities and the resiliency of its social fabric.
Ken has also worked as a cross-cultural trainer/facilitator having worked with groups as diverse as former combatants from Northern Ireland, indigenous peoples from the Amazon Rain Forest and the Blackfoot culture of Southern Alberta. As the former manager of the World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Ken recognizes the importance of the preservation of culture heritage for future generations.
During Ken’s ‘downtime’ he enjoys wildlife photography, computer art and gardening. He also volunteers with Seniors and is a member of the Advisory Planning Commission (Area E) for the Sunshine Coast Regional District.
Michelle Bruecker, Seniors Initiatives Manager
Michelle Bruecker is a passionate advocate for seniors’ rights with a focus on intergenerational community building and the integration of technology in improving our ageing population’s quality of life. Michelle has 35 years experience as a leader in industry, the public and non-profit sectors.
Her career began as a Human Resources Manager before starting her own web design company. She has worked with RCMP Victim Services and later joined Vancouver Coastal Health’s Practice Support Program in Vancouver as lead for the North Shore, consulting, coaching and training family physicians to build capacity in their practices.
Since 2015 she is the manager of the Sunshine Coast Better at Home Program, supporting seniors’ ageing in place while remaining connected to the community. Over the years the program has received several grants which helped Michelle enhance the programs capacity such as Neighbourhood Meet & Greets, Tech Tutoring, and the development of a Seniors Resource Toolkit.
Michelle loves hiking in our local forests and mountains, circle singing, writing and swimming. You can also find her in her garden, which is her favourite performing art; respectfully nudging the landscape into a retreat for the body, mind and spirit.
Angelina Theilmann, Program Assistant
Angie moved to the Sunshine Coast from the Lower Mainland in 2015, and is happy to call Gibsons her home. Soon after leaving the city, she switched gears to become a full-time mom to an amazing little guy, while living for a number of years on a local farm with all of its lovable creatures great and small. Angie has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Geography, and a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a bilingual journalist at CBC and Radio-Canada before moving to the coast. Her diverse career path includes work in communications and customer service, event-planning & the non-profit sector. Angie is proud to spend some of her week working with the Sechelt Hospital Foundation, writing and creating videos.
As Program Assistant at the Resource Centre, Angie’s role is centred around helping her community members in person, online and over the phone with any questions they may have. This includes providing intake services for our community information hub, legal aid, legal advocacy and Volunteer Sunshine Coast programs.
When she is not catching up on laundry, Angie loves beachcombing and exploring nature with her son, teaching herself a new guitar tune so her friends can join in, and getting into a good book or film. Her favourite fashion accessories are ones that will not go out of style here on the coast: her bicycle, her cross-country skis and her runners.
Darcy Lawrence, Supervising Lawyer
Darcy Lawrence joined the Resource Centre as the Supervising Lawyer for the Community Legal Advocacy Program, funded by the Law Foundation of BC.
Originally from Edmonton, Darcy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta. He attended law school at the University of Victoria and has been practicing law as a litigator for 24 years. He began his career with the B.C. Crown Counsel office and for 5 years was a prosecutor in the Vancouver and Squamish courts. In 1997 he moved to the Sunshine Coast and the Sechelt Crown office.
In 1999 he left the Crown and since that time has practiced primarily in the areas of criminal defence, small claims and child apprehension at both the Provincial and Supreme court levels. He regularly assists Sunshine Coast residents who suffer from addiction and homelessness issues and he feels that his position as supervising lawyer is a natural extension of that work.
Millie Palinic, Student Legal Advocate
Millie was born and raised in downtown Vancouver to immigrant Serbian parents. She finished her undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of British Columbia and is now pursuing a law degree at UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law where she just completed her first year. At Allard, Millie has completed the Indigenous Cultural Competency Certificate program and was a clinician at the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program, one of the largest providers of legal aid in the Lower Mainland.
Throughout Summer 2020, she will be assisting our legal advocacy and legal information programs. The values she holds close to her are building community and helping others, and hopes to put them to good use during her time with the Resource Centre.
In her spare time, Millie likes to read contemporary fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction books on community and culture. She enjoys cooking and is a new sourdough starter mom because her lease does not allow for real pets. She currently resides downtown Vancouver with her partner and a growing number of plant children. She is excited to be able to join the team on the Sunshine Coast for the summer.
Connie Hill, Bookkeeper
Connie Hill is a bookkeeping expert with more than 40 years of successful experience in full-cycle bookkeeping. She has an extensive knowledge of accounting practices and procedures, as well as a substantial knowledge of a variety of computer applications, including Sage Simply Accounting, PCLaw, DropBox, Sync, Adobe Acrobat and Excel. She constantly strives to be on the cutting edge of the most technologically advanced methods for providing bookkeeping services. Connie offers clients exceptional professional service as well as absolute discretion and confidentiality. She has embraced the core values of integrity, innovation and professionalism and is dedicated to providing her clients with a service and excellence that is second to none.
Connie’s role with the Community Resources Centre is to provide full-cycle bookkeeping services to the Society. Connie lives in the heart of Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast of B.C. She has one daughter and a cat, both of whom she loves dearly.
Our Board 2019-2020
Pat Hunt, Co-Chair
Pat Hunt is excited every day about the work accomplished by the Resource Centre. Being part of a committed and passionate staff and volunteer team delivering information and referral services in many forms to individuals and groups is never dull. She believes that working with the Resource Centre board and strong partners and funders is key to giving quality service to the community.
Pat joined the Resource Centre board in August 2011. Her personal goal is to help build capacity, influence positive change, and to strengthen the lives of the people who live here by finding funding and making the connections necessary to take action.
After spending 43 years living, working, raising three children and volunteering in Ottawa, Pat and her husband picked up stakes and moved to Sechelt in 2006 to be closer to family. Although very different from living in a big city, this community has so many benefits and has been welcoming from the very beginning. Pat loved her 35 years working in recreation and sport both at the municipal and national levels.
She is an avid golfer, curler, reader, cook, friend and traveller. Pat’s three beautiful children have also led to six wonderful grandchildren and being an active part of their lives is one of her greatest joys.
Jan Bird, Co-Chair
Jan came to live on the coast in Roberts Creek in 2015. After working and living around the world the Sunshine Coast is now home and she is looking forward to giving back to the community which has been so welcoming to her. Jan’s working life has always been focused on helping individuals, communities and grass root organizations overcome disadvantage and take more control over their own lives.
In Scotland Jan worked in community development, and in organizational development and training provision for not-for-profits. She has supported partnerships enabling organizations to work together, share resources and be able to respond to major policy changes. Jan was a Fellow of the Office of Public Management in the UK where she was able to develop innovative ways to engage with communities, service users, patients and carers. She has worked for both the Scottish Government and UK Government. In Scotland she helped develop and manage a knowledge hub on tackling poverty and urban regeneration and participated in cross Europe projects focusing on Social Return on Investment. Jan also worked for the UK Government as a policy team leader to carry out a policy review and then provide evidence based policy options to tackle deprivation in the poorest neighbourhoods.
Jan is a qualified Myers Briggs consultant and NLP practitioner. In the Dominican Republic, UK, New Zealand, and now in the Canada she mentors individuals to help them make life choices, improve their relationships, their ability to communicate well, and resolve conflicts. With not-for-profits Jan helps develop effective planning processes, team-building, engagement initiatives and evaluation.
Hilary Estergaard, Treasurer
Hilary holds the position of Treasurer of the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre Society. Hilary is involved in communications and marketing, including the current review of promotional materials and website upgrade and redesign.
Hilary Estergaard is a parent, grandparent and a world-traveler with a long history of giving back to her community!
Hilary got her first taste of community service working with the Downtown Eastside Housing Association with Libby Davies. Since moving to the Sunshine Coast, she spent 12 years on the board of Sunshine Coast Community Services, including two years as Chair. Hilary also volunteered on the PAC and District PAC, chairing that as well, while both her sons attended school.
In 1985 Hilary became a co-owner of Elite Travel in Gibsons where she has been able to follow her passion for travel and visit fantastic places across most of the globe. She has also been able to send hundreds of people on spectacular trips around the world!
Originally from the UK, Hilary learned her love for travel at an early age while moving around with her military father. She moved to Canada after meeting her now-husband in Spain in 1972. He lost his travelers cheques, she refunded them and he brought her home to Canada. Married in 1973, the couple built a home in Sandy Hook and moved here full time in 1978.
Hilary loves to read, go to Rolling Stones concerts, walk, ski, swim and, most certainly, travel to the very few places that she hasn’t been.
Sue Elliott, Secretary
Sue’s board activities include a focus on communications and marketing. Sue provides monitoring of the Strategic Plan and team facilitation. Sue and Shari are the Resource Centre co-representatives on the Seniors Planning Table and Sue also chairs the communications and marketing action subcommittee for the Seniors Planning Table.
Sue Elliot’s resume of both paid work and volunteer contributions is quite remarkable. Sue, a board member with the Resource Centre since 2012, has an extensive history in education, psychology, staff development and leadership, which she is fortunately willing to share with the Sunshine Coast community.
As a lifelong, part time resident of the Sunshine Coast, Sue is well aware of the vast and varied needs of the people who live here. It is her honour to work on the board, moving the Community Resource Centre forward with the three flagship goals of Sustainability, Information and Referral, and Volunteerism. Sue relishes the constantly evolving nature of the organization; she knows that what offers the greatest impact is being responsive to the ever changing needs of the community that the Resource Centre serves.
In 2011, Sue retired from her lengthy and rewarding career with the West Vancouver School District and became a fulltime resident of the Sunshine Coast. Sue had several different roles with the school district; Learning Assistance Teacher, School Counsellor, Co-Chair of the District’s Professional Development Committee, and Coordinator of an induction and mentorship program for beginning and returning teachers.
Sue also has an extensive variety of volunteer experience. She has served three times as President of Learning Forward BC (formerly the BC Affiliate of the National Staff Development Council), as well as three years on the International Board of Learning Forward. Sue has been on the boards of the West Vancouver Family and Youth Justice Committee and the Seaview Addictions Agency. She also sat on the Executive Committee of the BC School Counsellors’ Association, serving two terms as president. Sue has participated in numerous projects and committees, and has facilitated numerous workshops on a variety of topics. She is also involved in a program that allows her the opportunity to teach English to girls in Tanzania.
When not volunteering or working, Sue can be found travelling, gardening, kayaking, cooking, enjoying wine, and gathering people around her table to engage in good conversation.
Kira Sufalko, Director
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Kira completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, obtaining a business degree. She continued her graduate education at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina and received a dual Juris Doctor/LLM degree.
Kira began her career as an attorney working for a law firm in Chicago, and then worked in-house for large corporations including IBM, Accenture, and ACCO Brands. She focused on global contract negotiations, integration of corporate strategies, and setting corporate policy. Kira also worked with Human Resources to manage employment issues and benefits, and worked with Sales teams, Administration and Finance to address risk management and conformance with legal guidelines.
Kira is excited to work with the Resource Centre and its employees, volunteers and directors to continue the great work and service that the Resource Centre provides to the Sunshine Coast community. The Resource Centre is positioned to make a difference in the lives of numerous individuals and groups, and she looks forward to making a positive contribution towards those efforts.
Kira loves the natural beauty and serenity of Sechelt and enjoys playing golf, pickleball, hiking, bird watching, mushroom hunting and kayaking on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. She recently obtained Permanent Resident status in Canada, and lives in Davis Bay.
Shari Myhill-Jones, Director
Shari is a Registered Nurse for Vancouver Coastal Health who has spent her career supporting Seniors and their families. She started her career on the North Shore working in a Long Term Care home, discovering she had a passion for Dementia Care. She moved to the Coast with her three children in 2003 and was part of the team opening Christenson Village in 2006. She held various leadership roles including Site Manager until moving to VCH Home and Community Services in 2014.
It was there that Shari developed an interest in supporting Seniors to remain living independently in their homes as long as possible. She became a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society and co leads a Caregiver Support group. She also became a member of the Seniors Planning Table Steering committee.
In 2016, Shari returned to University completing a Master of Health Leadership and Policy in Seniors Care at UBC. Having a greater understanding of health policy and how decisions are made, together with her work on the Seniors Planning Table, led to her interest in becoming a Director with the CRC. She is currently the Co-chair of the Seniors Planning table and lead for new Seniors Initiatives.
Shari looks forward to continuing to serve the complex needs of Seniors on the Sunshine Coast through both her professional role as a Registered Nurse, and as a Director for the Coast Resource Centre.
Fran Ostry, Director
Fran moved to the coast 3 years ago. She spends Tuesdays in Vancouver as a volunteer at My Sister’s Closet, the social enterprise for Battered Women’s Support Services.
Fran has a law degree and a nursing degree, as well as a lengthy record of volunteering for various boards and committees: the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, the Dalhousie University and Victoria General Hospital research ethics committee, and the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia discipline and qualification committees. She enjoys volunteering as a means of giving to the community in which she lives, and as a means of connecting with diverse people in her community.
She has lived from coast to coast; from Montreal where she was born, to Halifax, to Markham, Calgary, Moncton, Edmonton, Halifax, Victoria, Vancouver and now Sechelt. She is glad to be finally putting down roots.
While in Vancouver Fran worked for 5 years at the B.C. Residential Office as an arbitrator, and has arbitrated many other disputes as well. While in Halifax she worked as a palliative care nurse which was an honour to work with dying patients.
Fran has two girls and two grandchildren. She enjoys knitting and travelling.
Anne Titcomb, Past Board Co-Chair
Anne served as the Board Co-Chair for 13 years, stepping off the Board in 2019 to focus her efforts on seniors issues. She was a member of the Progress Plan management team and is an active member of the Seniors Planning Table.
Anne Titcomb has been a board Member with the Sunshine Coast Community Resource Centre since 2006. Anne was drawn to volunteering for the Resource Centre by a strong interest in the initiatives and robust programs in place designed to support the community as a whole by supporting one person at a time.
Working with the Resource Centre is a departure from Anne’s previous volunteer experience which had mostly focused on advocacy for parks and recreation. With an emphasis locally, provincially and nationally, Anne spent nine years serving on the board of the BC Parks and Recreation Association, and is a Past-President, which engaged her in plenty of healthy conversations and hard work. She also was on the board of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association representing BC and the Yukon. Both provincial and national organizations had a strong mission to “build healthy communities”.
Anne is a passionate believer in community development. Anne chaired the Parks Master Plan 2004 process and the Recreation and Parks Master Plan for 2014 process for the Sunshine Coast Regional District. She chaired the Recreation and Parks Services Advisory Committee for many years until the SCRD dissolved most Advisory Committees. She has been on the Grants Committee for the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation since its inception and has served six years on that board.
Anne has lived on the Sunshine Coast year round since 2003 but, like numerous others, spent many summer vacations on the Coast before then. Born and raised in West Vancouver, Anne has lived her entire life in BC. Due to the friendly way of life, Anne knew she wanted to eventually settle here on the Coast, in the home on Soames she has owned since 1980. Anne continues to be drawn to the spectacular views and the welcoming people who live here; she knows that here on the Coast neighbours really are neighbours and the community is an involved and caring community.
After more than 20 rewarding years as a Legal Assistant, Anne keeps busy with four fabulous grandchildren and their wonderful parents. Active with a book club, a walking group and an eventful Bridge group, Anne also finds time to travel, with marvelous trips to Kenya, Italy and the Bahamas.
Marj McDougall has been an integral part of the CRC since 1996. Marj’s background in administration and bookkeeping coupled with her natural bent for numbers, lent itself well to her role as Treasurer until 2013.
Initially, Marj was drawn to the community connections the CRC was building upon and to this day, the caring, connected community is the very same reason she stays on the Board. The personal connections that she has made with the other Board Members during her tenure have also kept her an energized and interested contributor.
Marj’s other volunteer work includes being part of Habitat for Humanity’s recycling team and facilitation of a monthly brain injury peer support group in honour of her late husband. She is also drawn to anything “green” and is a strong supporter of the David Suzuki Foundation as well as other environmental interests.
A resident for 25 years, Marj has recently discovered more of what the Sunshine Coast has to offer in terms of access to hiking, biking and walking trails. When not at the recreation centre partaking in aquafit or aerobics, you may find her enjoying Tai Chi or Zen meditation.
Tracey has been a professional in the creative industry for over 25 years, working as a creative director, illustrator, brand consultant and graphic designer in various specialized areas such as advertising design, video and mobile gaming, and kids and family marketing. Having recently launched Tracey Dear Creative, she now helps businesses and organizations build public awareness and customer loyalty through creative visual strategy.
As a ‘knowledge philanthropist’ and creative contractor with the Resource Centre, Tracey has enjoyed working closely with the Resource Centre team to refresh their brand, evolving and strengthening their visual identity within the community.
Thanks to our other Knowledge Philanthropists who generously gift their time and expertise to support our organization:
Lucie McKiernan (Policy and Procedures)