Board of Directors
Norm Carruthers – Foundation President
A newcomer to our Board in 2013, Norm Carruthers strongly believes in local community development. Before moving to the Comox Valley, he was heavily involved with the Osprey Community Foundation in Nelson. BC as well as serving on the Boards of the Nelson Museum, Art Gallery and Archives Society, and the Centre for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Leadership (a non-profit society researching and supporting the volunteer sector). Locally, he is also on the Board of NIC’s Elder College.
Now retired, finished his career as the City Manager for the City of Nelson and prior to that held a number of senior administrative positions within the City of Calgary. He has also been a management consultant for several years on both a full and part-time basis, specializing in strengthening local government and the non-profit sector. And, he has been an academic, teaching at UBC, Queen’s University (Kingston, Ont.) and the University of Calgary. (He has a Ph.D. from the Business School at the University of California, Berkeley – in Urban Mathematical Economics – he argues that in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity such as this, you might as well study what you can’t learn elsewhere!) Obviously Norman brings a wealth of experience to the Comox Valley Community Foundation.
Harry Panjer – Vice President
Harry Panjer, PhD, FSA, FCIA, CERA, HonFIA is a resident of Comox. He holds the title of Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo. He has taught actuarial science in universities in the US and Canada for 40 years, 29 of which have been at the University of Waterloo. He has published many books and articles on the subjects of insurance and risk management.
Dr Panjer has served as President of two major professional actuarial associations, the Society of Actuaries (US) and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and on the Executive Committee of the International Actuarial Association.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of Comox and previously served as the founding Chair of the Centre Wellington Community Foundation in Ontario. He was also instrumental in the establishment of two other foundations: The Actuarial Foundation (US) and the Actuarial Foundation of Canada.
Brenda Kelm – Treasurer
Brenda moved to the Comox Valley in 1994 leaving behind the crowds, malls and traffic of the big city of Calgary to enjoy not only the beautiful location but the resounding community spirit in the valley. Brenda is a Chartered Accountant and partner at Presley & Partners. She has been accountant, auditor, tax and business advisor, committee and board member for business and non-profit organizations in the valley since moving here. She is currently also a board member for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation. In her spare time, Brenda enjoys exploring the many beach, mountain and park trails with her husband and two spoiled giant dogs.
Valerie Porteous – Secretary
Valerie Porteous moved to the Comox Valley in 2002. She retired from corporate life in 2009 and acquired a local business in 2013. Widowed in 2006, Valerie decided it was time to give back to the community she had grown to love. Now, volunteerism plays a key role in her life; most recently for for the Comox Valley Shellfish Festival as well as Nautical Days where she is serving a 3 year term as Parade marshal. As well as the CVCF Board, Valerie is on the board of the Comox Business in Action Society where she served as President in 2013. An active member of St John the Divine, she also volunteers for many church events. An avid reader, Valerie enjoys gardening, hiking and travel. One of her favourite sun spots is Dominican Republic where she has sponsored a foster child for more than 10 years.
Born and raised in the Comox Valley, Steven Cochrane has long standing roots when it comes to his commitment to community involvement. His father George was involved in local government for many years and devoted countless hours and dedication to various service organizations within the Valley. Steven learned at a young age, the value of giving back to the community you live in and the importance of inclusiveness with all stakeholders when making decisions. Volunteering within the local youth sporting community has always been of special interest to him over the past 20+ years and he always strives to create an environment of fair play and excellence while developing future leaders through sport.
Steve is currently the Manager of Information Technology for Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres and has served on its corporate Board of Directors for the last eight years; most recently taking on the Board Chair position. His cumulative knowledge, skills and experience in business, technology, strategy and sound governance for both profit and non-profit organizations are the key assets he brings in assisting any group in achieving their present and future goals.
Steve currently sits on both the Investment and Marketing Committees for the CV Community Foundation Board. He has been married to his wife Andrea for 24 years and has three children who all attend local college and high-schools within the Comox Valley.
Wendy was introduced to the Island life when she took a four month contract to manage the Aquatic program in Gold River in the late 70’s. She never wanted to return to the Mainland after living in paradise. She met her husband while in Gold River and together they owned two successful businesses and also managed the insurance agency during the 19 years they lived in the community.
Wendy was a Recreation Commission Board member, a VIHA Board Member and was also on the Nootka Sound Stability Colition Board while in Gold River.
In 1996 they moved to the Comox Valley and Wendy has worked as a manager of the Vancouver Island InsuranceCenter Comox Branch ever since. Life in the Valley makes it easy for Wendy to pursue her love of cycling and skiing and she especially likes the 10 minute commute to work.
Janine is a long time resident of the Comox Valley with three children born and raised here.The local environment suits her just fine as she is an avid kayaker, cyclist, skier and hiker. In addition she appreciates the variety of local artisans and musical talents. Supporting and volunteering for a number of local charities and environmental initiatives enables her to give back to the community. She entered the investment industry 15 years ago, and is now a successful investment advisor, branch manager of the Courtenay/ Campbell River offices and a director of Odlum Brown Ltd.
Exploring and learning of other cultures while off the beaten path is of great excitement for her. A few of her adventure travels include paddling the east coast of Greenland, hiking mountains in Patagonia, Chile, and cycling Norway’s windy Lofoten Islands.She loves her career and adventures, but her greatest thrill comes from her four young grandchildren. Having witnessed the huge growth in the Valley the past 40 years she agrees with the saying, bigger isn’t always better, yet is still in awe at the magnificent beauty of our surroundings and all we have at our doorstep.
Mark is a partner at the law firm Ives Burger Law where he has primarily a litigation practice. He joined Ives Burger in the fall of 2002 after practicing law in Smithers, B.C.
Mark has served as a board member of the Community Justice Center, the Comox Valley Head Injury Society, the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Society, and the Comox Valley Squash Club. He has also been a coach with the Strathcona Nordics cross country ski club and the Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association.
Mark is married to Ellen Vanderlaan who works as a public health nurse in Courtenay, and they have two boys aged 12 and 13. From cycling to fishing, skiing to squash, music to dirt biking, he and his family enjoy many of the recreational opportunities available in the Comox Valley.
Gen McNamee is a long time resident of the Comox Valley raising a busy family with her even busier husband Steve. Giving back to your community is a strong family value in the McNamee household. Gen and Steve believe in leading by example for their children. Gen’s chosen career is in the Insurance Industry and after 25+ years, as an insurance agent/agency manager, Gen is now the Commercial Lines Sales Manager for Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres.
When Gen is not working, she can be found supporting her children in their numerous activities, which almost always includes some form of volunteering. It can be as little as helping out during hockey games or tournaments, fundraising to support an Improv team getting to the National Championships in Ottawa or as big as hosting the BC Provincial Baseball championships (twice in the last 4 years). Seeing firsthand the difference that the CV Community Foundation makes in our community is what drives Gen to be on the board.
Chrissie Bowker was recently appointed as Black Press, Director of Product Development for Vancouver Island North. Chrissie came to the Comox Valley two years ago to serve as the publisher of the Comox Valley Record. Prior to Chrissie’s appointment as publisher in the Comox Valley she worked with Kwantlen Polytechnic University as director of development. Chrissie managed KPU’s major giving programs, including overseeing program goals and implementing university-wide priorities.
Former publisher of the South Delta Leader for six years, Chrissie was deeply involved in the fabric of the Delta community. Under her leadership, the paper enjoyed considerable success and built strong ties with the community. She has served on Delta’s Business Improvement Association board, Peninsula Community Foundation board, Delta Tourism committee, and Chaired an annual fundraiser in support of International Women’s Day. She currently serves on the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Comox Valley Community Foundation board of director.
Chrissie will take a leadership role in the development of the North Island digital platform, specialty publications, and community events for Black Press in the North Island region. Chrissie’s skill set is uniquely aligned with the development of community events. With the collaboration of sales and editorial across the region, she will continue to grow the Local Hero Awards, International Women’s Day events, Readers’ Choice Awards, and Valley Vonka campaign, as well as seek new initiatives and partnerships across the region.
Bio coming soon…
Kris Trudeau is a local business owner who moved to the Comox Valley in 2011. Upon her arrival, she started Halftone Pixel Website Design and works with businesses locally as well as across Canada, helping them improve through comprehensive website development and functional graphic design.
Kris has served on several Comox Valley boards, including the Young Professionals, Women’s Business Network, Toastmasters and Business Network International. She has donated services to groups like Comox Nautical Days, YPCV and Double Waters, and supports local charities like YANA, CV Transition Society, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Dawn to Dawn and Rotary. Kris has been recognized through several awards and nominations including: CV Record’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Web Designer, twice finalist in VI’s 20 Under 40, recipient of Top 40 Under 40 and finalist for Best New Business in the CV Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards.
Kris has been a member of the CV Community Foundation since 2016 and is thrilled be a part of such a wonderful team. Kris’s preferred charitable efforts involve helping the few people who can impact the many, which Kris feels sums up the efforts of the CVCF to a tee.
Joan has travelled the world and lived in many exciting places but is proud to call the Valley home. A talented artist, Joan worked for many years in the theatre and motion picture industry in both Canada and the United States.
Joan is currently a Service Provider for Community Living B.C. supporting two individuals with developmental disabilities to live successful and fulfilling lives. She shares her passion for fitness and sports with them through Special Olympics, snowshoeing on Mount Washington and cycling. Having grown up in a family that was deeply committed to community service, Joan continues that tradition. She was President of the Comox Valley Association for Mentally Handicapped People, and now, In addition to the Community Foundation, she is President of Abbeyfield House Society.
Joan’s creativity, tenacity, and ability to motivate others to participate in her endeavours to make the Valley great make her an exceptional community leader.
Aniel obtained a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Victoria and an LL.B from the University of Ottawa. He completed his articles with the Toronto office of a national law firm before returning to his home town to join the firm of Swift Datoo. He was called to the bars of both Ontario and British Columbia in 2006.
Aniel represents clients on a wide variety of legal matters ranging from small civil disputes to large commercial acquisitions and has appeared before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the BC Employment Standards Tribunal. He is a past President and Director of the Comox Valley Community Justice Centre, an executive member of the Comox Valley Branch of Kidsport BC, a proud junior soccer coach and a member of the Canadian Bar Association.
Frank Denton is a long-time resident of the Comox Valley, moving to the community in 1975 to start a consulting engineering and surveying practice on behalf of, Vancouver based, McElhanney. He had a 33-year career with McElhanney, focused on transportation and municipal engineering, culminating as a senior vice-president with responsibility for 100 staff throughout BC and a principal role in the overall management of the company. He retired in 2008, but remains active with the company, on a part-time basis, as chair of its holding company board.
He has a broad range of skills outside his chosen field, including knowledge in the fields of accounting, commercial and contract law, project management and real-estate development.
His previous volunteer contributions include executive roles with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (President 2010/11), the Comox Bay Sailing Club (Treasurer 1996 to 2015, Commodore 1987, 1990 and 2016) and the Courtenay Rotary Club (President 1996/97).
Matt started his career with Coastal Community in 2004 and joined the wealth management team shortly after. He is now a Private Wealth Advisor where his expertise lies in financial planning with personal and business clients.
Matt has many achievements which include being nominated for the Top 40 Under 40 by the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2012, and awarded Vancouver Island’s Top 20 under 40 in 2016 for business accomplishment and community leadership. In 2016, he was recognized as one of 30 advisors in Canada by Credential Financial. Matt is often quoted in local and national news regarding his mastery in financial planning.
Matt grew up on the island enjoys to golf and fish. He explores everything the island has to offer such as hiking, snow sports, and camping with his wife, and their two daughters.