Rachel S. Forbes — President
Rachel is the Executive Director of Grizzly Bear Foundation, a charity dedicated to grizzly bear welfare in Canada. Previously she was the principal of Sharp Six, an agency that provided capacity building services such as governance workshops and grant writing to community-driven organizations. Rachel’s family has roots in commercial fishing and she was raised in a small community on the Sunshine Coast that is dependent upon the health and sustainability of the marine environment. She has over 15 years of experience working with different types of organizations, including serving as a board and committee member for various charities, non-profits, and corporations. Rachel has a bachelor of arts in geography and communications from Simon Fraser University. Her law degree from the University of Victoria focused on environmental and Aboriginal law, both of which she gained experience in while working with environmental law groups and a law firm that focuses on Aboriginal law. Rachel enjoys mountain biking and Olympic weightlifting. She lives in Strathcona with her handsome partner, their perfect furbaby, Muppet, and a non-fur baby arriving mid 2017.
Ken Coach — Vice-President
Ken is president of the communications firm Media Coach Inc. He is a Vancouver native whose first career as a journalist took him across North America before it brought him back home. He spent 20 years working in virtually all aspects of news and current affairs in print and broadcast journalism. After starting out as a reporter for a small Vancouver Island newspaper he worked his way up to senior news management positions at CBC and CTV National News. Ken then “switched sides” to become a media trainer, presentation coach and outrage manager. He has provided presentation and media training to corporate and academic leaders, politicians, celebrities and many not-for-profit organizations. Ken is skilled and experienced in messaging, communications strategy, issues management and media relations. He has developed effective strategies for contentious issues and crisis situations affecting a wide variety of clients.
Aaron Nabata — Treasurer
Aaron is assistant controller at SilverCrest Metals. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant, with public practice and industry experience that focuses on financial reporting and auditing and assurance. Aaron has taken the board position of Treasurer at Georgia Strait Alliance. He was born and raised on the West Coast, growing up on Vancouver’s beaches. He loves to cycle, hike, consume political news and read non-fiction.
Kathy Fletcher — Secretary
Kathy founded and was for 20 years executive director of People For Puget Sound, a citizens’ organization formed to protect and restore the southern portion of our Salish Sea—a role that saw her working closely with GSA over many years. She retired in 2011. Kathy lives in Seattle and has a second home in Vancouver. She has a long-standing connection with BC and passion for our marine waters: for decades she has spent much of her time at her family’s cabin in Desolation Sound and sailed the waters of Georgia Strait and beyond. Prior to People for Puget Sound Kathy chaired Washington State’s Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, served on the White House Staff, handling environmental and natural resource issues, has taught environmental policy and non-profit management at the University of Washington, worked for the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental organizations, and headed up environmental, energy conservation and other programs at Seattle City Light, along with serving on many non-profit organization boards. Among her many honours, Kathy has been named a “Hero of the Seas” by the Blue Frontier Campaign, and has received a lifetime achievement award from Restore America’s Estuaries.
Lesli is president of Boldt Communications. She has over 20 years experience in marketing communications and community relations, and over a decade of experience in consulting, with clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Lesli founded Boldt Communications in 2001, and has also taken time to manage the City of Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Games-related communications, and to direct marketing and communications for Vancouver Public Library. Before founding Boldt, she worked in public affairs at Vancity Credit Union, and held several progressive communications positions with the B.C. government between 1992 and 2001. She lives in Vancouver, B.C.
Karen has recently retired from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. She was invited to participate on the steering committee of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Team in 2009 and also represents CEP on the Climate Justice Project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Karen is the labour representative on the Board of National Institute for Disability Management and Rehabilitation as well as the Pacific Coast University. Karen is a past President of Dogwood Initiative as well as having spent 3 years as the Chair of SCOE, the provincial NDP’s Standing Committee on the Environment for an Ecologically and Economically Sustainable Future. Karen has more than 30 years of labour and community activism. She and her partner Wally have 2 adult daughters and one grandson and live in Saltair, BC.
Marisa is an associate at Lidstone & Company, a law firm in Vancouver that primarily acts for municipalities and regional districts around the province. She has particular expertise advising clients in relation to freedom of information, labour, employment and human rights, land use and environmental law matters. Marisa completed her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia and her law degree at the University of Victoria, where she was actively involved with the Environmental Law Centre and the Legal Information Clinic. Outside of her law life, Marisa has worked at a language development lab at UBC, taught English in Korea, and worked with a group of Vancouver cyclists to bring more cycling-inspired community events to the city. Marisa is a third-generation Vancouverite and is still proud to call Vancouver home. She enjoys hiking, camping, and hanging out at the beautiful beaches around the Georgia Strait with her husband and two sons.
Paula is the Finance Coordinator at Mountain Equipment Co-op, and shares MEC’s passion for getting Canadians active and outside. She joins our Board with a desire to inspire youth to engage with GSA’s programs and to become advocates for environmental protection of the Strait. With a degree in Media & Public Interest from Western University, as well as practical experience in both professional and volunteer-based communications and event planning, she is excited to help facilitate community events and fundraisers and to create new outreach opportunities for GSA.
Advancing the principle ‘connect to protect,’ she believes that enabling and inspiring people to sail, fish, paddle, swim, and play in the Georgia Strait will be critical to saving it. She is passionate about using creative, grassroots strategies to bring people together—both online and in person—to discuss the issues, share their passion, and ultimately celebrate the Strait!
David brings two decades of experience in the field of non-profit environmental research and management to the Board. He worked for over twenty years at the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, starting as Research Director, and later becoming the Executive Director. During that time, he also served as Environment Director for the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union. In both capacities, David spearheaded environmental campaigns related to fish habitat protection on issues that included poor logging practices, pulp mill pollution, sewage and industrial pollution, hydroelectric developments, agriculture, aquaculture, and urbanization. David was also the editor of The Fisherman, an award-winning fishing industry newspaper that focused on important issues to commercial fishermen and fish plant workers. He has also worked in research, policy analysis and advocacy on social issues such as housing, poverty, and worker health. David is an avid hiker, tennis player and he is the keyboard player for the Left Coast Labour Chorus. He lives in North Vancouver.
Leslie brings over two decades of experience as an entrepreneur in the world of human resources management. She founded The Organizational Culture Group Ltd. a training and development firm focused on creating engaged and compassionate service cultures. She established a publishing house in 1999 that would launch nonfiction authors and fund and house research to support change tools. She has worked with clients including TELUS, IBM, MAYO Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Fairmont Hotels, Manulife Financial and many others. She received her formal Nursing education from the University of Alberta and attended Simon Fraser University for further education in Publishing as well as corporate ethics and marketing. In 2005 she worked extensively with television, radio and print media as Executive Producer of a 5 part TV series for Omni Television and Detroit Public Television. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (2010-2015), she is a financial supporter of the PIVOT Legal Society and the Vancouver chapter of DRESS for SUCCESS, an organization focused empowering women to achieve economic independence. A boater since 1969, a water skier since 1972, a scuba diver since 1985, a kayaker since 1997. Leslie has played in the ocean since youth and believes “without healthy water the world is adrift”. Leslie and her husband live in Lions Bay.
David is principal at First Nations Emergency Responders, and president of W. Dusk Energy Group; an Indigenous-owned firm that works with communities to build solar, wind, hydrokinetic and harmonic energy projects. He has also served as interim Executive Director for the Centre for Native Policy and Research. David is dedicated to developing Indigenous businesses in the environmental and clean-tech industries. He is Mi’kmaq, and was raised in Vancouver.