MPA Society Board
David has served as a member representative on MPA’s Board of Directors since 2012. Having benefitted profoundly from MPA’s services, it was—and remains—David’s desire to contribute to the organization’s continued growth and development through service to the Board. Working alongside such an amazingly-giving group of highly-skilled volunteers on MPA’s Board is a privilege. Outside MPA, David’s interests include information technology, anything with buttons or knobs (physical or virtual), learning and teaching, nurturing things, and human rights and social justice, with a focus on LGBT2Q+ issues.
Asher brings with him 20 years of corporate finance and risk management. He holds a MBA from the Manchester Business School and is a CPA and CIA. He is currently the managing principal of Boardroom Management Advisory Ltd. Prior to that, he had held key financial positions at both publicly-traded and private companies. Having first heard of the MPA Society through a family member, Asher feels a strong urge to be part of this meaningful mission. He is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow board members to continue the greater cause of creating a more inclusive community.
Damian is a retired businessman having owned and operated D & J Utility Land Consulting Company for the past several years. His company provided property consulting services to both BC Hydro and B C Transmission Corporation. In prior years Damian was the Properties Division Manager at BC Hydro. As Properties Division Manager, he oversaw the management all of BC Hydro’s real estate assets including the purchase and sale of all land, buildings, transmission and distribution line rights of ways and reservoir lands. Damian has a keen interest in mental health matters as he has advocated and continues to advocate for family members who have mental health challenges. He recognizes the difficulty many people have in navigating our mental health system, including gaining access to appropriate housing and having support needs met. Damian is a graduate of the Diploma Program in Urban Land Economics-University of British Columbia.
Richard is a Two-Spirit Finnish/Cree artist—a father of four and a grandparent of two. He was born in Vancouver and adopted at two months by a Mennonite couple. He attended a private Mennonite school where he was bullied for four years. Being part of the Sixties Scoop, he discovered his Indigenous heritage at the age of thirty-two. This information was redacted from both his hospital and adoption records. These astonishing findings changed everything—he had to rethink his identity. His art practice centers within this unique personal narrative. A graduate of Emily Carr University, his accomplishments include the IDEA award 2014 and the BMO 1stArt Award 2015 (BC). His work has been shown in more than twenty-two exhibitions across Canada and the in USA and viewed by more than 250,000 gallery visitors. Richard is sensitive to those whose journeys are affected by mental illness as he shares their struggles and challenges. After overcoming and achieving much, it is his desire to give back generously of his time by sharing a wealth of life experiences for the betterment of others.
Melissa is a strong believer in volunteerism and sharing skills with the local community. All people need to feel valued, need a place, need a home and a sense of belonging. Healthy communities recognize that everyone has a contribution to make. Some community members may require a bit more support and some may be able to contribute a bit. Melissa is keenly interested in supporting the MPA Society to achieve its mission.Melissa has previously served on the Boards of the Dr. Peter Aids Foundation and the College of Physical Therapists of BC. Melissa works for BC Hydro in project delivery and has a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts.
John was the Chief Legal Officer with six major corporations in British Columbia, Ontario and the United Kingdom. His experience spans the retail, building products, food processing, shipping and energy industries. He also has significant and varied corporate governance experience. Since 1981 he has been a lawyer and more recently became a certified director. John has been a director of other not for profit organizations. He is passionate about helping people with mental health challenges, mainly as a result of the experiences of members of his family.
Ron has worked in the finance/tax industry for over 35 years, most recently with the BC Financial Services Authority and the Canada Revenue Agency. Ron holds an MBA in addition to various other specialized credentials and has been a part-time instructor in introductory finance at BCIT. Ron has previously served as a director in the non-profit sector and views mental health issues as being critically important. Born and raised in Vancouver, Ron enjoys a variety of outdoor activities and to travel. Ron also serves as a volunteer with a national registered charity dedicated to ageing people and ageing dogs.
Jan worked for many years in the health care field as an admin assistant in medical administration, the last number of years being in outpatient psychiatry. Now retired, she enjoys many outdoor activities such as swimming, cycling, gardening, and ocean side and forest walks. Jan has been an active member of the MPA Resource Center (RC) for the past few years and a member of the MPA Society for 16 years. The outreach program at Jan’s church contributes to MPA’s homeless outreach program and general membership at the RC. The community garden plot for the RC has been on their church grounds for nine years. The MPA Society has been very supportive to Jan over the last few years and she is now looking forward to an opportunity to give back to MPA as a Board member. Jan hopes to be an example to change the face of what "mental illness" looks like; working towards change and against stigmatization.
Matt Toma is a CPA, CGA with over fifteen years experience in not for profit accounting and financial operations, and is currently employed with the Federation of Post Secondary Educators, a provincial labour relations organization. Previously, Matt has served on the Board of Directors of the Hastings North Community Policing Association as well as Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. Born and raised in Vernon, BC, Matt has lived in Vancouver since 1997. Having experienced mental illness and the complexities of mental health care directly and on a personal level, Matt's interest in joining the Board of MPA is founded on a strong belief in the need to improve these services. Matt feels the values and philosophy of MPA are an excellent match with his own, and is looking forward to contributing positively to ensure the long term success off MPA. When not crunching numbers, Matt can be found rollerblading, attending a BC Lions game, or chasing one of his two cats off the furniture.
Edmund is a pharmacist, who is currently working for Shoppers in operational leadership roles. He previously was a pharmacy associate owner, and worked to provide quality healthcare to his community. Edmund is excited to work with the MPA Society team and to collaborate with those involved with the MPA Society..