United Way Updates Name and Grants Ivan Watson Honourary Life Membership at 84th Annual General Meeting

June 16, 2021 / by United Way

Local volunteer developed national framework, published charity’s history and oversaw first unified brand of United Way Centraide Canada from coast to coast

At the 84th Annual General Meeting, United Way officially changed its name to United Way Southern Vancouver Island (UWSVI) to better reflect the communities south of the Malahat it serves. UWSVI also recognized Ivan Watson as an Honourary Lifetime Member.

Ivan Watson has volunteered with United Way for the past 23 years – and has also left a legacy in the national United Way movement. Examples of Watson’s invaluable contributions include demonstrating his ongoing commitment to helping vulnerable populations by building a national youth engagement strategy, helping to develop the first unified national brand framework for United Way Centraide across the country, and writing, researching and presenting the charity’s national history for its centennial celebrations.

Watson was initially drawn to United Way’s spirit of collaboration and powerful model for making a difference in communities across Canada.

“I believe strongly in the essential values of unity and common cause which are reflected in the name United Way,” he explains. “This organization has played a leading role, year after year, decade after decade, in bringing people and partners together to address challenges common to us all; to build bridges to each other, and to provide a helping hand to the most vulnerable among us. That’s the magic of working in a United Way.”

Watson sat on the national board of directors, where he chaired the National Strategic Marketing Committee (2010-15) and helped to develop the first unified brand for United Way Centraide Canada. He also chaired the UWSVI board of Directors for two years (2017-19). Outside of volunteering with UWSVI, Watson works as a marketing and communications strategist at Camosun College.

At this morning’s AGM, Lisa Arora was named the Chair of the Board of Directors. Lisa is a 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 through her consulting firm 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.

Two new directors joined the Board of Directors of UWSVI: Ali Nozari, a wealth advisor, and finance professional Martha Thomas.

Returning Board members are:

• Jasmine Dadachanji
• Mackenzie Edwards
• Dr. Deborah George
• Kathy MacNeil
• Steve McKerrell
• Kirk Mercer
• Sharon Moysey
• Bruce Williams

Mike Macdonell was thanked for his leadership over the past years as our Board Chair and previously Vice-chair and for his enthusiasm and volunteerism. Paula Carey, former Board Director, was also thanked for her dedication and commitment serving on our Board.

Photos: Ivan Watson; Board Chair Lisa Arora.


United Way Southern Vancouver Island (formerly United Way Greater Victoria) is a trusted leader, influencer and catalyst for change. United, we accelerate change to improve the lives of our neighbours who need it most, making our local community stronger. We believe everyone in Greater Victoria, which includes 13 municipalities and 11 First Nations and the Southern Gulf Islands should have the opportunity to reach their potential. Our priorities are focused on assisting isolated seniors, families in need, diversity, equity and inclusion and individuals struggling with mental health challenges and/or addictions. Last fiscal year, United Way raised $6.2 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and 200 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. Through our community partnerships, over 125,000 people on Southern Vancouver Island received support. Show your local love today by making a gift to United Way at www.uwsvi.ca