Our Board

United Way’s volunteer Board of Directors sets our direction, takes responsibility for financial decisions and performance, and is accountable for achieving organizational objectives. Their diverse skillsets, experience, and areas of influence are critical in helping us build a strong community for all.

Lisa Arora, Chair

Visual Facilitator/Mediator, Get The Picture

Born and raised in Victoria, Lisa has a deep love for the city, the people in it and the will to build a bright future for EVERYONE.

As a child raised in poverty, Lisa overcame many challenges in life with help from others, including services funded by UWSVI. That’s why Lisa is compelled to volunteer with UWSVI – she passionately shares the belief that ALL people deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Lisa is a consultant and experienced visual facilitator who helps executive teams and boards around the globe to mine their diverse perspectives, align on a desired future and focus on strategic action. She is also a certified mediator who uses visual communication to make the process of resolving disputes more effective.

Lisa earned a B.Ed from UVic and before becoming a Mom worked for 3e Training Inc. delivering Financial Management Curriculum to the government of BC. In those days, she was volunteering on the board of the Single Parent Resource Center on the Board of Directors, and the International Forum of Visual Practitioners.

Lisa believes that post-pandemic, community needs have never been greater and that they can be addressed only through the power of working together. That’s why Lisa encourages you to join UWSVI’s amazing community of dedicated volunteers and donors. Get involved with the United Way movement – volunteer your skills, become a donor, join a committee and experience the infectious hopefulness for the future that happens when we come together in a ‘united way.’

Victoria Schmid, Vice-Chair

CEO, BC Health Care Occupational Health and Safety Society

Victoria Schmid is first Chief Executive Officer of the recently established BC Health Care Occupational Health and Safety Society. The Society was created by the Provincial Government and its key stakeholders to collaboratively improve the health and safety of everyone who works in healthcare in B.C. Previously, Victoria was Vice President of Pandemic Planning and Executive Lead, Experience for Island Health where she led the health authority response to COVID and immunization efforts, as well as patient and staff experience. A dietitian by training, Victoria quickly realized a passion for change leadership and moved into leadership roles in The Saskatoon Health Authority, supporting quality, safety and patient and family-centred care. With the addition of staff safety to her portfolio in 2013, she took on the lead for creating a provincial safety alert system that brought patient and staff safety together. Victoria and her family moved to Victoria in 2015 where Victoria took on the Executive Director role in Quality, Safety and Improvement for Island Health. Victoria pays careful attention to the people, the system, and its many parts, which allows her to be creative in seeing possibilities and problem-solving. Victoria holds a clear vision of a better tomorrow and aligns teams to that vision. Victoria is passionate about family, connection and community, and spends her free time with her two kids and dog exploring local beaches, playing tennis and looking for the best ice cream shops.

Alana Gallagher, Treasurer

Alana is an approachable, personable and accomplished financial executive who recently retired as CFO at BC Ferries. She has a B.A. in Economics (with distinction) and Master of Business Administration from the University of Victoria.  She is also a graduate of Rotman Directors Education Program and holds an ICD.D designation.

Family and community have always been close to Alana’s heart. She grew up on southern Vancouver Island as one of eight children and she and her husband chose to return to this area to raise their family.  She sees joining the UWSVI Board as an extension of her commitment to work for strong and healthy communities.

Samer Akouri

General Manager, Harbour City Kitchens

Samer is the General Manager at Harbour City Kitchens and has over 20yrs of experience in the construction industry. His career in the industry has concentrated on Vancouver Island and includes growing several companies that support the local economy. He currently serves as a board member at Vancouver Island Construction Association and is a former Board member at AWMAC-BC. He graduated from UBC in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Samer has a lifelong passion for learning, teaching and mentoring.

Samer has lived in Victoria since 1986 when he immigrated from Lebanon. He hopes to contribute to the local community through this posting.

Samer lives in Mt Tolmie with his wife Alesha and daughters: Isabella and Madison.

Jasmine Dadachanji

Lawyer, Ministry of Attorney General

Jasmine is pleased to call Victoria home and has been actively involved in her community in various ways from a young age.  Professionally, after a few years in private practice Jasmine joined the Ministry of Justice and her work has spanned areas including Corrections, working and negotiating with Indigenous groups and industry regarding natural resource development, and developing Canada’s first online tribunal.  Her work now focusses on the development of legislation across a variety of sectors.

Jasmine is committed to UWSVI’s vision and mission of a safe, resilient, and happy community where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential.

Dr. Deborah George

Deborah holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Victoria where she also taught part time for some 17 years. Prior to that she was with the BC Government spending most of her career in the area of science and technology, with seven years as an Assistant Deputy Minister. She finished her final assignment with the Provincial Government in 2000.

Deborah’s volunteer work spans over 20 years including strategic planning with non-profit organizations, and extensive board, committee and event work. She has just completed six years as President of Pacifica Housing where she has been on the board of directors since 2005, and also volunteers with the Victoria Hospice Society. Past board appointments include the areas of education, venture capital, research and development and pension trusteeship.

Molly Harrington

Molly Harrington is a long-term Victoria resident who enjoys hiking, dogs and gardening in our beautiful southern Vancouver Island region.  Molly is also a recently retired provincial public servant with over 15 years experience as a social policy assistant deputy minister.  Molly served as the policy lead for poverty reduction and supports for low income adults in BC.  In this role she led BC’s first disability strategy and poverty reduction strategy and legislation.  This included leading extensive public engagement with citizens, NGOs, academics, municipalities and First Nations and indigenous groups.  Molly also served as the lead for the B.C. Basic Income project.  This included the establishment of an expert panel which advised government on a basic income approach in B.C. including comprehensive reforms to supports for low income residents.  Molly also led the Crown Agencies Secretariat for government and established a modern system of crown agency governance for the province’s crown corporations based on leading international standards.  She continues to be engaged with the disability and poverty communities in Canada providing advice on topics including the emerging Canada Disability Benefit and basic income and poverty in Nunavut.  Molly was inducted into the provincial government BC Hall of Excellence in 2021.

Captain (N) J. Jeffrey Hutchinson

Base Commander, CFB Esquimalt

Jon Jeffrey (Jeff) Hutchinson, a native of Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia, joined the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1991 and immediately underwent Basic Officer Training in Chilliwack, BC.  He thereafter completed two years at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, BC and finished his undergraduate education at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, ON in 1995, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

After completing basic naval officer training at NOTC VENTURE, Captain (Navy) Hutchinson transferred to the east coast and earned his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in HMCS Montreal in 1997.  Thereafter he received his Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer’s and then his Fleet Navigating Officer’s qualifications and served in both instances in HMCS Halifax.  In 2000, Capt(N) Hutchinson went ashore to serve as a Squadron Commander at the Royal Military College of Canada.  In 2003, he returned to HMCS Halifax to serve as Deck Officer.  He received his Operations Room Officer’s qualification in 2006 and transferred to the west coast where he served first as Weapons and then Combat Officer in HMCS Vancouver and as Operations Officer for Sea Training Pacific.  Capt(N) Hutchinson was appointed Executive Officer in HMCS Calgary from July 2011 to October 2012 and in HMCS Algonquin to June 2013. He was appointed Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg in January 2016 and deployed in company with HMCS Ottawa to the Indo-Asia Pacific region in 2017 where the ship conducted exercises and operations with the USN, JMSDF, RAN, the Armada de Chile and ROKN, and PASSEXs with the navies of India and Sri Lanka. In June 2018 Capt(N) Hutchinson was promoted to his current rank following his command of HMCS Winnipeg

He is a graduate of the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, graduating in 2011 with a Masters in Defense Studies. Capt(N) Hutchinson completed his Senior Military Education as part of the Naval Command College at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Capt (N) Hutchinson has worked in a staff capacity for the Director Defence Program Coordination and was appointed as the Director Naval Strategic Management in March 2019 at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, ON.

Most recently, in July 2021 Capt(N) Hutchinson  was appointed as the Base Commander of CFB Esquimalt.

Jeff is married to his beautiful and talented wife, Jin.  They reside together in Esquimalt, BC with their two daughters, Hayden and Scarlett.

Karren LeGear

Director Of Operations, RFDM Solutions

Karren is the Director of Operations at Victoria-based digital marketing and technology solutions firm RFDM Solutions. She has an established reputation for relationship building and frequently attends the Viatec roundtables for insight and discussion and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce events to connect with other members of the local business community. Her background in hospitality management and administration helped her to hone the soft skills she uses to champion RFDM’s strategic partnership program while also managing client relationships, hiring, and business operations. She is an innovative and versatile leader, both in the workplace and as a mentor for Locelle.

When not shaking hands and winning hearts and minds, Karren revels in the many delights the West Coast has to offer, enjoys snuggles with her pint-sized pup, and heads off on family adventures near and far.

Steve McKerrell

Businessman

Steve McKerrell spent more than 20 years as Executive Chairman of one of Canada’s leading health supplement companies, following a career in the remote sensing industry, and is currently involved in the development of personal electronic healthcare devices and other initiatives.

Mr. McKerrell is a 2013 recipient of The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, having served his community as a volunteer on numerous boards and committees over the past 3 decades.  In 2014, Steve completed eight years with the Victoria Foundation including two years as Board Chair.  As well as holding a board seat with UWSVI,  he serves on the board of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Centre and until recently as chair of both Victoria Hospitals Foundation and the Foundation for the Victoria Symphony.

Mr. McKerrell lives in Oak Bay with his wife Barbara and their dog Jeb. He has two adult daughters, Tricia in Calgary and Dianne in Oak Bay.

Steve is always ready to serve the community he loves and looks forward to supporting a successful future for UWSVI and those it serves.

Kathy MacNeil

President and CEO, Island Health

As an experienced healthcare executive with 30 years of progressive leadership experience, Kathy came to Island Health in 2015 as the Executive Vice-President, Quality, Safety & Experience from Capital Health in Halifax where she had served as the          Vice-President of People since 2008. Her background and experience in the areas of leadership and organizational development, systems design, human resources and change management allow her to lead people effectively, always focusing on people at the heart.  Kathy holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership (Health Specialization) from Royal Roads University, and a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS. She is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Kathy and her husband Pat live with one of their three daughters in James Bay.

Kirk Mercer

Labour Representative

Kirk Mercer was re-elected Vancouver Island Regional Vice-President, at CUPE BC’s 57th Convention in 2021. He has been a proud CUPE member at the University of Victoria for 17 years. He currently serves as President for Local 951, and is also the Chair of the CUPE BC Skilled Trades Committee. Kirk previously held the positions of 1st Vice-President and Deputy Chief Steward for local 951 and has served as an experienced member of the Negotiations Committee from 2009 to present.  In his role he continues as chair of the South Vancouver Island United Way Labour committee and as member of the Board of Governors and looks forward to working with the other Unions.

Bruce Williams

CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

Bruce Williams is fond of saying “I spent the better part of my life in Southern Ontario, but have spent the best part of my life on Vancouver Island “. His career in broadcasting involved being an on air host for radio and television, a content producer, government liaison, business development manager, and a member of the senior management team with Bell Media on Vancouver Island. Since moving here in 2001, Bruce has used his communication and networking skills to immerse himself in local non-profit culture as a Board member, committee member, guest MC, fundraising auctioneer, keynote speaker, moderator, mentor, strategist and facilitator. Bruce is a champion of community volunteering who remains connected to and understands business and issues in communities across Vancouver Island. He has transitioned into a new career as an engagement professional, community and communications strategist and consultant, and community/business advisor all while continuing to be actively engaged with United Way Greater Victoria as Co-Chair of the Campaign Cabinet for this final year.

Learn more about UWSVI and what we do.