Board of Directors & Advisory Cabinet

Our Place has a volunteer Board of Directors that is dedicated to the governance and future vision of the organization.

The Board’s directors contribute to the society through their passion, dedication, experience and business acumen.

Our Place’s governance board is responsible primarily for:

  • Developing, leading and guiding the organizational vision and strategic priorities;
  • Providing guidance, oversight and evaluation of the organization’s executive director; and,
  • Ensuring organizational compliance with fiscal and legal responsibilities

If you are interested in joining the Board of Directors, please review the Recruitment Process below.

Click Here to see our Advisory Cabinet.

Margo Goodhand, Chair

Margo believes that love, community and hope can transform lives, and that Our Place provides all that and more. Prior to moving to Victoria in 2016, Margo was editor-in-chief of the Winnipeg Free Press and then the Edmonton Journal. She is the author of Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists, a history of the women’s shelter movement, and currently on a federal advisory board for the CRA; the vice-president of the Michener Award Foundation; and co-founder of the local Giller Light fundraiser for literacy. Her past board experience includes the Winnipeg Art Gallery; John Dafoe Foundation; National Newspaper Board of Governors and the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council. She was a founding member of Winnipeg’s Homelessness Task Force.


Catharine Read, Vice Chair

Catharine Read values Our Place Society’s pursuit of nourishment, hope and belonging for individuals and the community of the Our Place Family. The Society’s values and principles govern the delivery of its many, much needed programs and services.  It has demonstrated the ability to adapt and expand programs and services, engage skilled and caring staff and volunteers, and thrive in the face of the COVID-19 challenges. Catharine has worked for governments and in the private sector.  She has been Chair of an independent tribunal, Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister for the BC government (10 years) and for the Yukon government (10 years).  As a consultant, she has worked for First Nation organizations, including negotiations, governance advice and treaty implementation. Catharine is also on the Board of James Bay Community Project and she has a master’s degree in economics from Queen’s University.

Allan Saunders, Past Chair

Allan believes Our Place is a valuable and meaningful source of hope and transformation in Victoria. From 1999 to 2016, Allan was Lead Minister at First-Metropolitan United Church, which has a long association with Our Place. He encouraged the congregation’s ongoing relationship with Our Place, including the overnight shelter, volunteers for a monthly meal and helping host community events such as a mayors forum. The church also has been involved in other community outreach, including the “Out of the Rain” shelter program for street youth. His earlier years of ministry were in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Community involvement there included addictions work, a domestic violence support program and refugee sponsorship. Allan studied for his master’s degree at Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology (University of Toronto), which later presented him with an honorary D.D.

Patricia Walker, Treasurer

Patricia says that seeing the Society’s values of hope, belonging and unconditional love in action confirmed her desire to become part of Our Place. She is encouraged to see how we, as individuals, can make a difference to members of our community who are often ignored and forgotten. Retired since 2016, Patricia’s career has been spent in the area of finance and accounting, including 26 years as the District of Oak Bay’s Municipal Treasurer (now called Director of Financial Services).

Robyn Gifford, Secretary

Robyn believes that everyone deserves hope, dignity, and access to the resources they need to build their lives. Robyn is currently a lawyer with the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General, advising on environmental law issues. Prior to joining the government, she practiced civil and public litigation at a national law firm in Vancouver, and before that clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada. As a student and a lawyer, she has volunteered with many non-profit organizations that assist marginalized individuals and communities.

Lauree Austin, Director

Lauree is new to the board at Our Place and looks forward to contributing to a community with such a positive outlook. She is inspired by those who have worked hard to create a space that welcomes those in need and offers such support and hope. She is particularly hopeful to see Our Place undertaking such programs as the Therapeutic Recovery Community. Lauree is confident such a program will benefit those seeking to change from an addiction driven lifestyle.

Greg Conner, Director

Greg believes that by embracing hope and instilling belonging, we can create paths for those who have lost their way, and journeys towards self-empowerment and recovery. Greg leads with compassion and heart, and through his awareness of individual potential, inspires others to achieve positive change by recognizing their true personal value. He shares a passion with Our Place for addressing the challenges faced by our most vulnerable members of society. With over 25 years’ experience in human resources, currently as the Vice President, People & Culture at E-Comm 9-1-1, and with a strong focus on people development, Greg leverages his professional expertise in his community contributions.

Charla Huber, MA, CIHCM

Charla Huber is an Indigenous Relations and Communications consultant. She has a strong background working in both the affordable housing and non-profit sector and has a passion for Indigenous Relations. Charla has a master’s degree in professional communications and has completed a fully funded research project on Indigenous ways of communicating so employers can better support Indigenous employees. Charla writes a weekly column in the Times Colonist newspaper that often highlights Indigenous issues. She works as associate faculty at Royal Roads University. Charla is the Human Resources Committee Chair of the Victoria-Esquimalt Police Board and President of the BC Association of Police Boards. Charla’s family is from Fort Chipewyan, Alta., and she has both First Nations and Inuit roots.

Cairine MacDonald, Director

Cairine is excited to see Our Place commit to therapeutic communities, having seen the transformative power at work in San Patrignano, Baldy Hughes and Guthrie House. She has twenty years of senior leadership experience in business and government. As Deputy Minister of Employment and Income Assistance / Housing and Social Development, she actively engaged with issues of homelessness in the Vancouver DTES, the province-wide Homelessness Intervention Project and the Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and provided oversight for BC Housing and CLBC.

Scott McGregor, Director

Scott brings over 28 years of policing experience working with the most vulnerable in our communities. As a former Senior Manager of the VicPD Community Services Division, Scott gained tremendous insight into the complexities of homelessness, mental health and addiction and developed strong and collaborative working relationships with housing, shelter and other service providers (including those with lived experience) to find practical solutions. Scott believes that everyone has a place in our community and deserves a fighting chance to make positive change in their lives.

Trevor Murphy, Director

Trevor’s professional experience ranges from working to develop and establish small businesses to managing complex services, financials and initiatives for Fortune 100 global corporations. Today, Trevor is an independent consultant specializing in technology transformation, management, sales, organizational management and governance. Throughout his life, Trevor has engaged with community-based charitable organizations, holding the belief that change starts at home, and that all small incremental societal improvements contribute to our collective wellbeing.

Mano L Sandhu, Director

A trained professional in managing human resources, finance, program management, and policy development, Mano retired as a senior manager from the Ministry of Children and Family Development of British Columbia. Since retirement, Mano has been volunteering with several community organizations, including District of Saanich on a Governance Review, India Canada Cultural Association (ICCA); Hospise, Khalsa Divan Society; Gordon Point Estates Residents Association; Integra Support Services and other community ventures.

Chad Stewart, Director

Chad Stewart is an experienced project and policy lead, specializing in public sector governance and major initiatives. He is currently Director, Road Safety Systems, at the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and was previously the executive director of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission and general manager of CivicInfo BC. Key projects that Chad has worked on include leading the development of e-ticketing and red-light cameras for the province, developing the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission preliminary and final reports, and expanding CivicInfo BC’s scope across Canada. Chad holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Victoria, as well as degrees in English and Political Science.

Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland, Director

Cheryl sees Our Place Society as an organization whose mission deeply resonates with her core values of compassion, service, family, integrity, perseverance, and well-being. With a shared goal of providing hope and a sense of belonging to Greater Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens, she feels the work is heartfelt and challenging.
With over 35 years of public service experience in the government and not-for-profit sectors, Cheryl brings a unique perspective on the intricacies of public service, public policy and the complexities of collaborating across diverse groups. As a former Deputy Minister, she facilitated the co-creation of a shared strategy, which has aided British Columbia’s Advanced Education System in being more responsive to and inclusive of Indigenous Peoples. She has a strong belief in collective power and the innovation that can be achieved through these principles. Cheryl currently serves as a member of the federal audit committee for the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Advisory Cabinet

Along with our Board of Directors, Our Place has added a strategic advisory group of volunteers who act as ambassadors with the purpose of helping raise philanthropic donations and community profile for the organization. The advisory cabinet consists of:

Angela Bassage, former VP International, McDonald’s Corporation

Ian Batey, Executive Director, Police Victim Services of BC

Trudi Brown, KC, Lawyer with Brown, Henderson, Melbye

Colin Gilroy, Realtor, VictoriaHomesNow/Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty

Pete Jando, Branch Manager and Director, Odlum Brown Ltd

Kyle Loree, Director, IT Infrastructure and Security at JEA

Peter Powell, former Burns Fry Vice Chairman (now retired)

Terry Scandrett, Chair of the Foundation for the Victoria Symphony

Mike Shannon, Executive in Residence, Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre, UVic

Maureen Shaw, Member of the Canadian Hall of Fame of Occupational Health and Safety professionals

John Wilson, Past Chair, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce/Owner of Wilson’s Transportation Group

Missing from Photos:

Lee King, Director of Vancouver Island Operations, Lookout Society

Ian Robertson, CEO of Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

Jennifer Vornbrock, Executive Director, UVic Dept of Community and Government Relations

Recruitment Process

The Our Place Society Board of Directors are elected by the members of the society at the Annual General Meeting each September. Nominations are open to any member of the society who is in good standing and whose expression of interest to stand for election has been submitted to the Chair of the Board Recruitment Committee no later than July 31; nominations from the floor will not be accepted.

In their expression of interest, candidates are asked to state why they would like to serve on the Our Place Society Board and accompany their expression of interest with their CV.

Candidates will be interviewed by the Board recruitment committee to determine if their skills and experience match those identified by the Board as needed for the coming year. The Board strives for a diversity of experience and backgrounds and may make recommendations to the membership of which candidates they feel are best positioned to serve the Society to ensure the Board is representative and capable of carrying out the functions of a governance board.