The Semiahmoo House Board brings together a strong range of skills and experiences, including business, education, social work, property development, municipal politics, real estate, retail management, and health services. The Board consists of 10 elected members, with an additional 3 that can be appointed on a yearly basis.
The Board practices policy governance: they spend time consulting the community and learning about current issues in community living and inclusion so they can create a vision for the organization that is innovative and forward-thinking.
R.J. (Rich) Gorman has live in Surrey for 30 years. He and his wife Judy have been married for 38 years and have six daughters including one who works at Semiahmoo House. Rich retired after a lengthy career as a senior executive in the retail industry. He attended BCIT and UBC where he studied business administration.Rich has a passion for helping people and sharing his experiences. He is dedicated to helping individuals to reach their full potential and leadership capabilities.
Jan Holt has been an educator at Southridge School for ten years, initially as Head of the English Department and currently in the position of Senior School Academic Director. During her time at Southridge she worked closely with Doug Tennant. As Doug was leaving Southridge to take up his position as the Executive Director of Semiahmoo House Society Jan felt it would be an opportune time to become part of the Board of Directors and continue the work Doug started in building strong links between the School and the Society. Jan noted she has always been impressed by Semiahmoo House and the work we do and very much wanted to be a part of the organization, learning and hoping to contribute to the important role the Society plays in our community. Jan has been a Board member since May of 2012.Jan is married to Peter and they have three adult sons.
Dave joined the board in the fall of 2014 after gaining some exposure to the good work that Semiahmoo House Society was doing from his children; one of whom had attended a program and another whom had done some volunteer work for the agency. He is the Senior Vice President, Finance of Mercer International Inc.; a Nasdaq traded global producer of softwood pulp, green electricity and chemicals. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance from the Sauder School of Business (UBC) and has completed advanced management studies at London Business School. He currently serves, or has served on corporate boards in the bio-technology, energy and pension management spaces along with non-profit boards of entities providing neurological research, child development and counseling services. Dave has lived in Surrey for over 10 years with his wife Denise and two teenage children; one of whom has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Baksho’s daughter Manjeet is a participant in various recreation and leisure activities provided by Semiahmoo House Society. When the family moved from Nanaimo, the transition was especially hard on Baksho’s daughter. While the family settled into their 'new lives' (new school, new place of work) Manjeet was very much isolated for the first year until they found Semiahmoo House Society. Baksho appreciates the opportunity to give back and enjoys volunteering as it provides self-fulfillment and meaning noting it is a pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors for Semiahmoo House Society as this is an opportunity to give back to an organization that has given so much to her daughter’s life. Baksho has been a Board member since 2008 and serves as the Board liaison to Inclusion BC.
Alex Magnussen has been elected by the Self-Advocate Caucus as their representative on the Board. Alex has presented about autism to staff, self-advocates, school children, and various other groups. He looks forward to being the voice of self-advocates on the Board and has an interest in doing more advocacy work in the future. Alex is an accomplished artist who has been featured in various galleries.
Colleen has a daughter with a developmental disability and is a strong advocate for a family voice in Community Living. She and her husband recently started the Family Alliance Network consisting of family members that have children or siblings with developmental disabilities. The group meets regularly to discuss issues and to learn from and support each other. Colleen has taught and facilitated workshops on oral communication and presentation skills in Canada and the United States for nearly 30 years. She has worked with college and university students, faculty, professionals, community groups, and even taught public speaking at a maximum security prison. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Washington in speech communication and education.Colleen was elected to the Board at the 2013 Semiahmoo House Society annual general meeting.
Teresita Aristizabal has been involved with Semiahmoo House Society since 2005 as a volunteer. She initiated and organized “Miles for Smiles,” a successful South Surrey run that raised funds for Rec and Leisure Services. She has recently completed her Bachelor of Commerce at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and is looking forward to contributing to Semiahmoo House Society as a Board member.
Bea Hadikin has lived in White Rock/Surrey most of her life. She is a retired Principal from the Surrey School District, most recently working at Semiahmoo Secondary. In her 32 years with the district, she also worked as a teacher and vice-principal. In all of her roles, she treasured her contact with youth, the excitement of problem-solving, and the opportunity to build positive futures. She now has the wonderful gift of time and wants to give back to her community. She feels that the work Semiahmoo House Society does fits with her beliefs and practice.
For over 25 years Ian provided leadership in organizations that make Metro Vancouver a better place to live. He held various senior positions including Chief Financial Officer at Metro Vancouver and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at TransLink. He was President and CEO of TransLink from to 2009 to 2015 and retired from that organization in December 2015. He currently is employed with the BC Utilities Commission
Ian became aware of Semiahmoo House Society by witnessing the positive impact it makes on the day-to-day life of his friends. He hopes that by serving on the Board he can leverage what he learned and practiced in his public sector career to support the continuing success of the Society.
Ian and family have lived in South Surrey/White Rock since 1987 and he is a graduate of UBC and holds CPA, CA and ICD.D designations.
My interest in Semiahmoo House Society began when my daughter enrolled in programs at Semiahmoo House. I am passionate about the rights of people with developmental disabilities and have done advocacy work in the area of independent living and the need for rent supplements to provide opportunities for individuals to grow and thrive in their own homes. I serve as chair of the Community Living BC (CLBC) Surrey/Delta/White Rock Community Council. I also sit on the Peninsula Homeless to Housing Task Force.
Prior to retirement I served as Manager of Administrative Support Services with the Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service for sixteen years. When I retired, I decided to continue to work in the area of administrative support services, working on a contract basis for not-for-profit organizations.
In the 1990’s, I attended Capilano College, receiving a Certificate in Local Government Administration. During my time with the Fire Department, I also completed the Auxiliary Firefighter Training Program. More recently, I completed training in advanced policy governance and person centered thinking.
My husband and I live in White Rock and enjoy being near the ocean and the many parks and hiking trails in the area as well as being close to my daughter who is living independently with support.
2016 – Present
Nicole Russell feels privileged to be a part of such a wonderful organization. She has witnessed first-hand the amazing impact that Semiahmoo House Society plays in individuals’ lives and the community as a whole. Nicole’s sister, Jennifer, has been a participant in various Semiahmoo House programs for over 20 years. Nicole attributes her sister’s growing confidence, life skills and community involvement to the tireless advocacy and support of Semiahmoo House.
Nicole Russell is a partner at the firm of Graves & Russell, Barristers and Solicitors. Nicole’s growing legal practice is based in South Surrey, focusing on Wills & Estates.
Nicole has also been a facilitator at Anti-Harassment and Discrimination workshops for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia
Nicole and her family have lived in South Surrey area for the past 25 years.