Board of Directors & Staff

Discover Our History & Our People

History

Mission Community Skills Centre Society is a not-for-profit organization which was incorporated under British Columbia’s Society’s Act on May 17, 1995 as a joint initiative between the citizens of Mission, Human Resources Development Canada and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. The purpose of the Community Skills Centres strategic initiative was to broker or provide employability programs and training in rural communities. At the onset, the Society offices, contracted and business services were provided in Mission.

In 1999, the Society opened an office in Abbotsford to deliver employment assistance programs under federal contracts. This program ran until 2008.

From November 2002 to 2015, the Society contracted with federal and provincial government to deliver employment assistance services in Langley and Aldergrove. This represented a significant expansion of the services of the Society to new communities.

During 2006, the Society merged its training services with the Fraser Valley Community Education Centre Society; a ten-year veteran in provincial and federal training programming focusing on vocational training and job finding programs in the Fraser Valley.

In 2011, the Society partnered with Agassiz-Harrison Community Services Society, Free Rein Associates Training Inc. and Win Resources to create the Fraser Valley Employment and Services Co-operative through which the Society was successful in becoming the lead service provider of the WorkBC Employment Services Centre for the Mission area in 2012 to 2019.

Since its inception in 1995, the Society has always delivered at least one employment assistance contract (federal or provincial) in each fiscal year and usually more. The Society has had facilities and offered services in the communities of Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, Hope and Chilliwack with itinerant services in Aldergrove and Maple Ridge. Programs and training served thousands of individuals in these communities.

The Society works with clients diverse in demographic, economic status, ethnicity, gender, disability, and multi-barrier challenges. All program delivery has included the social aspects of interpersonal relationship building, resources, bridging to social services and building the labour market capacity of the community.

Board of Directors

Robert Waycott

(Board Chair) – Robert Waycott has served on the Board of Directors of Mission Community Skills Centre since 1999 and as President since 2003. Robert has over thirty five years’ experience in labour market adjustment programming including industrial adjustment and skill development. Robert currently is involved in Immigrant Accreditation Support and Business Development Consulting Service. Robert holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from UCLA.

Moe Gill

(Director) – Moe was born in Punjab, India, arrived in Canada in 1955, and moved to Abbotsford in 1975. Moe has served on Abbotsford City Council since 1996.

Moe has served on many Boards and Regional Committees including: Traffic Safety Advisory Committee; Delta Heritage Airpark Management Committee; Matsqui Dyking, Drainage, and Irrigation Committee; AgriFair Board; Fraser Valley Regional District Board; Glen Valley Dyking District Committee; Local Court of Revisions for Frontage Tax, and the Parcel Tax Review Panel.

Moe has also served with many organizations, including: Fraser Valley Cold Crop Growers Association; Fraser Valley Strawberry Growers Association; B.C. Raspberry Growers Association; Federal Agricultural Employment Services; MSA Museum Society; Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association; Abbotsford-Matsqui Rotary; Dashmesh Punjabi School; and the Abbotsford Foundation.

Amar Rai

(Director) – Immigrating to Canada from the UK in 1995, Amar has been a resident of the Fraser Valley since 1998. Graduating from the University of the Fraser Valley in 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree Amar currently works for an Asset and Infrastructure Finance Management company whose portfolio includes the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre. His previous community engagement includes the Abbotsford Multicultural Festival and the Abbotsford Youth Commission among others. A new Director to the Board, Amar is looking forward to advancing the goals and objectives of the Mission Community Skills Centre Society.

Ken Peterson

(Director) – Ken holds a BA in English and Asian Studies from UBC and an MA in Adult Education. He completed his course work on his Doctoral programme and, after a leave to intern and lecture, joined the Canadian Penitentiary Service (Correctional Service of Canada). He taught at BC Penitentiary from 1972 to 1975 and then became an Assistant Warden, Deputy Warden, long term Acting Warden and Warden at various federal correctional institutions from 1975 until 2000.

Since retiring in 2000 Ken has presented personal growth workshops and has been involved in community volunteerism. He was a Director of the Clayburn Village Community Society from 2006 to 2016, member of the Senate of Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village in Chehalis BC. since 2008, and a Director with the Abbotsford Multicultural Society from 2010 to 2016. Ken Peterson is an experienced Level II Personality Dimensions Facilitator and a facilitator for Choices Seminars Unlimited, Adventures of a Lifetime, and Foundations for the Future.

Ron Leger

Ron was born in Leominster, Massachusetts and moved to Canada in 1968. Ron holds a B.Comm from St Mary’s University, Certificate of Biblical Studies from Prairie Bible Institute, CGA, BC and Canada, CPA, BC and Canada. Moved to Mission in 1981 to begin work as an Accountant. Awarded with Freeman of the City, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Presidents Award Chamber of Commerce, Harold Clarke Award CGA, Paul Harris Award Rotary. He is a founding member of Rotary Midday, Founding President of Mission Foodbank Society, Director and Treasurer of St Joseph’s Food Bank, Director and Treasurer of Fraser House Society. Ron has also been involved in various other boards and committees over the years in Mission.

Sherry Cannon

Sherry was born and raised in Vancouver and moved to Mission when she got engaged to her husband, Jack,  in 1967. She worked for Scotiabank, starting in retail banking, and then transferred to commercial, where she stayed for several years. She then returned to retail banking and became a Retail Bank manager, retiring after 34 years of employment with Scotiabank. Sherry‘s husband of 32 years passed away in 2000. Sherry Is a founding member of the Rotary Club  of Mission Midday and also involved with the Mission Community Foundation. She was the treasurer of the Red Cross for a number of years.   Since retirement, Sherry can be found spending time with her family and friends, traveling, golfing and volunteering.

Jim Hinds

Jim spent 37 years with BC Hydro including First Responders and Industrial crews training in Electrical. Jim has also volunteered throughout the community including the Mission Agricultural Association (Mission Fair), and was awarded a Special Accomplishment Award from the District of Mission for hosting the District Centennial Parade. Jim and his wife were also involved with the Mission Arts Council Christmas Craft Show and in 1994 the Chamber of Commerce asked Jim to act as the Parade Marshall for the Annual Candlelight Parade. Other community groups Jim has been involved with include Research Assistant at the Mission Community Archives, Executive Committee member of the BC Custom Car Association Owners and Operators of Mission Raceway, and both Safety Crew and Head of Security for Mission Raceway. Jim, currently, is President of Rotary Club of Mission Mid-day. Jim also dedicates his time to volunteering at Hope Central and St. Joseph’s Food Bank. From 2014-2018, Jim served on the District of Mission Council. During that time, Jim served on the Joint Utilities Committee with representative from the City of Abbotsford; Council Rep for Safety and Engineering; and also served on the Fraser Valley Reginal District Board. Jim has also served on the Board of Directors of the Mission Seniors Centre for the last two years. This year Jim will be receiving a Lifetime achievement award from the District of Mission.

Gloria Tyler

I am a retired dentist and have been proud to call Mission my home since 1993.  Throughout the years I have had a career as a dental hygienist, received a Bachelor of Health Science degree and continued to get my degree in dentistry.  Along with my husband who also is a dentist, we founded Tyler Dental Artz, the Mission dental practice in which we worked together for over 20 years.  My career also allowed me to be involved with and lead dental teams to many impoverished third world countries around the world.  I am a member of the Midday Rotary Club holding positions of International Director, President and currently Secretary.  I have also been actively involved with Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry for several years being a director for at least 10 of those years.  My busy retirement years include spending time with my family and friends, volunteering and community service, golfing, cycling and travel.

Hildirene Cabeza

My name is Hildirene Cabeza, born in Venezuela, a Lawyer with 17 years of professional experience as a consultant and a trial lawyer in civil and criminal court assisting different victims. I have international experience in different legal areas as a corporate consultant. I am also the President of HC & Consultores CA in Venezuela, with 11 years in the market with allied professionals in Venezuela and internationally. Moreover, I am the Partner of the firm Legalprocess in Venezuela. Currently, all these activities are online as I have only two years of residency in Mission, BC.

I was also a member of one of the Venezuelan Chambers of Commerce for eight years, which allowed me to interact and visit other chambers of commerce in different countries to make commercial alliances and business negotiations.

The following are my certifications: Certified in Contracts, International Litigation, Arbitration and American Law, Florida International University, USA. Certified in Prevention and Legitimation of Money Laundering, Universidad Metropolitana, Venezuela; Certified in New Worker Orientation, Violence, Workplace Harassment and WHMIS with AGIS, Canada; Certified in Psychological First Aid and Caring for Others, Canadian Red Cross; Expert in project development, execution and creation, logistics and preparation of events and public shows, fundraising in international events, personnel management and publicity campaigns for eight years; Expert in corporate and commercial business assistance, which together with international professional allies adjusted to the laws of each country to, manage, assist, coordinate and supervise processes in the area of immigration, registration, legal processes, pre and postgraduate education of interest in North America, Latin America, and Europe.

One of my passions is social work and contributing to help the most vulnerable; I am also a member of the Rotary Club El Tigre for four years in Venezuela, representing them for two consecutive years as coordinator of Rotary Foundation. I currently support as a weekly Rotarian to the Rotary Mission Midday, receiving recognition in February 2021 as the best Rotarian.

In addition, I volunteer at the Food Bank of Mission and am a coordinator in BC of the Venezuela Canadian engagement Foundation. Volunteering has brought me closer to the community as a new immigrant. That is why I am looking for a way to integrate my professional roots into this beautiful region.

Sabastien Onyemaobi

Sabastien Onyemaobi, better known by his middle name of Obi, is a second year political science student at the University of British Columbia. Obi is a prolific volunteer contributing thousands of hours within his hometown community of the City of Mission. He has helped organize various cultural events and volunteered as an announcer, anthem singer, and awards manager for a variety of community organizations. In 2019, Obi was offered the opportunity to work as a Constituency Assistant with his local Member of Parliament; through which he gained further knowledge of what he could do to help the community.

A youth-parliamentarian, Obi has attended the last two years of the British Columbia Youth Parliament, and was a delegate to the British Columbia Student Leadership Conference from 2015 to 2019; in addition he was an attendee to the Canadian Youth Student Leadership Conference in September of 2019.

In 2020, Obi was awarded the Youth Champion of Diversity designation, for that years Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards and was awarded a Community Service Award from the (then) District of Mission, in recognition of his continued contributions towards encouraging diversity and youth leadership/empowerment within the community.

Become a Board Member

Founded in 1995, Mission Community Skills Centre Society is a community-based resource dedicated to helping people improve their employability through quality services and training as defined by our clients.

How did we do it? Through actively supporting the development and growth of client and new and existing businesses by:

  • Encouraging people to become employed through skills training, career decision making, job search and needs determination;
  • Encouraging people to become self-employed through a formalized orientation and access to self-employment training and supports; and
  • Encouraging community partners by supporting economic development initiatives.

Our partnerships with businesses and organizations enable innovative and quality programming that respond to the needs of our clients and contributes to the economic and social health of our communities.

We are committed to excellence in all of our activities and we pride ourselves on the reputation that we have attained in the academic, business and employment communities. Our standards of service and program quality are high and these standards are reflected in the positive outcome of our graduates and participants. A further reflection of that excellence is that our trainers and staff are recognized for their skills and abilities.

As a non-profit society, we actively seek new Directors who are willing to represent the community interest in our deliberations. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply to become Directors and be available to serve on committees and/or join our Board of Directors.

If you are interested in applying, please get started below by clicking through to our information and application page using the button below.

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Staff Members

Management

Stephen Evans

Executive Director

Stephen Evans has lived in the Fraser Valley for the past 25 years. Since 1994, Stephen has worked in the field of Employment Services and Business Development Supports. Having worked as a Self-Employment Program Coordinator/Business Analyst for Community Futures, before moving on to managing several employment assistance programs, Stephen has acquired extensive experience within the employment counselling and business coaching fields. Stephen is also self-employed and has worked as an independent fruit broker. In addition, Stephen has managed a large processing business for more than five years selling locally grown food within the global marketplace. Stephen’s passion for the micro-enterprise agri-foods industry has provided him with specialized expertise within the fields of food production and human resource management. Stephen received his Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of Cape Breton (with distinction) and a Diploma in Applied Arts (Community Development) from the College of the North Atlantic.

Yu Yin Yang

Director of Finance

Yu Yin Yang has been a part of the Mission Community Skills Centre Society team since January 2004. She moved to Canada in 1997 from Taiwan and has worked in the Accounting and Financial field for more than 25 years. Yu Yin’s passion is promoting teachings from Chinese culture and sharing the culture in her community.

Diana Dufour-Zand

Manager of Employment Programs and Human Resources

Diana began with Mission Community Skills Centre Society in March 2019 and in November she was promoted to Manager of Employment Programs and Human Resources.

Diana is passionate about people and is a champion for their growth; whether she is advocating for clients or for her team. Diana has been in the Career Development field for almost 15 years and has worked for various organizations as Facilitator, Case Manager, Job Developer, and Program Manager.

Prior to her work in the career development field she founded a successful non-profit organization that supported women and children in crisis. Diana is a Certified Career Development Practitioner and also possess a Provincial Instructors Diploma and in 2017 she acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Adult Education as well as a TESOL.

Staff/Administration

Jason Manuel Carreiro

Facilitator/Job Coach

Jason is the Facilitator/Job Coach for the Express to Success Program, funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS). Originally from Edmonton, Jason came to Vancouver to attend grad school, and after finishing his PhD in Education at Simon Fraser University, he stayed in YVR…

Jason has been working in the fields of Education, Culture, and Employment under diverse roles for 21 years, having done extensive research, taught classes, and facilitated sessions on Resume Writing, Cover Letter Writing, Interview Skills, Professional Networking, Workplace Communication, Social Issues in Education, Curriculum Development (theory and practice), Political Philosophy and Ethics, (and more!) in Canada and abroad. There is one common thread in all of his work: to help empower people to figure out the best way for them to flourish in society.

Jenna-Mary Cruickshanks

Facilitator/Job Coach

Jenna-Mary is the Facilitator/Job Coach for the Wild Craft Foods Program, a program for Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurs. She acquired her Career Development Practitioner Certification from Douglas College and has attended the University of the Fraser Valley working towards her Bachelor Degree in Social Work. She’s also worked in Customer Service for over 10 years, including 5 years in the Beverage Industry, and 5 years in Management. Jenna’s true passion is people, helping, guiding and serving.

Her heritage lies in Newfoundland and she looks forward to getting back to the East Coast one day soon.

Jessica Dalton

Program Assistant

Jessica became a part of Mission Community Skills Centre in 2021 and currently resides on Vancouver Island. She considers herself a life-long student and is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Victoria with a focus on Psychology and Law.

Jessica has interdisciplinary experience volunteering with children here in British Columbia and across seas in Nepal and Cambodia, as well as with youth and adults struggling with mental health and addictions. She is passionate about advocating for marginalized and underserved populations by finding ways to overcome their barriers and achieve success.

Aaron Davis

Senior Facilitator/Coach

Aaron has been working in career development as a facilitator for almost 20 years. In that time his primary focus has been working in employment programs with vulnerable communities and young adults. He believes in setting the stage for people to experience epiphanies that will impact them positively and stick with them long term.

As the facilitator for the Empowering Youth Entrepreneur Program, Aaron is passionate about helping Generation Z explore the entrepreneurial skills that will allow them to develop and pursue opportunities outside of traditional work paradigms. He also believes that future-proofing your career is more than having the skills demanded by employers, it’s about not having to rely on other people to provide opportunity.

Anisha Kalsi

Digital and Social Media Marketer

Anisha graduated from the University of Victoria in 2020 with a Bachelors of Business Commerce with a double-specialization in Entrepreneurship and Service Management. During her time at the University of Victoria, Anisha was actively engaged in The Young Women in Business as the Vice President of Events; as well as the Business Commerce Society as the Director of Pre-Core Engagement. In addition, Anisha gained valuable experience through her co-ops and many work experiences at; Kater Technologies as a Marketing Assistant, The Royal Bank of Canada as a Client Advisor, Turf Team Landscaping as a Web designer, Bench as an Accounting Associate and The Laurier Institution as a Social Media and Marketing coordinator and many other businesses.

Outside of work and academics, Anisha has a passion for creativity and runs an Instagram page by the name of “our name is kaur,” which aids to support women owned businesses and their careers. Additionally, Anisha spends her time relaxing by painting. Anisha believes in creating a collaborative approach around diversity and inclusion.

Leslie Milne

Program Coordinator / Job Developer

After graduating from BCIT’s Media Techniques and Marketing Communication program Leslie went on to work for, and with, radio, TV and new media companies. Transitioning to the helping field and working for over 10 years with Mission Community Skills Center has given her a sense of fulfilment assisting people looking for career direction, job seekers and youth.

Rachelle Pflug

Program Assistant

Born and raised in BC, Rachelle is coming to us with over 20 years in the Customer Service Industry. She works as a Program Assistant for the MYST Program in Mission.

After making the decision to change careers Rachelle went back to school and completed the Applied Business Technology Program at UFV. She never wants to stop furthering her education and growing in her Industry.

Rachelle is really enjoying her time at Mission Community Skills Centre with assisting in the progress of individuals’ job growth and their new career paths.

Gerry Sinclair

Job Developer/Coach

Gerry works with the Manufacturing Youth Skills Training program (MYST) with Mission Community Skills Centre Society.

Gerry is a transplanted Saskatchewan Prairie person and has been making BC his home for the past 15 years. Moving to BC opened up enormous opportunities for education so, as a lifelong learner, he returned to school. He is a Career Development Practitioner and holds his Provincial Instructors Diploma. He has held positions as a Wage Subsidy Coordinator, Case Manager, Employer Liaison and Job Developer (Coach).

Previously, Gerry has worked in Customer Service/Support and retired from Law Enforcement in 2004.

Susan Smith

Operations Support / Administrative Assistant

Sue is originally from the United Kingdom but has been a resident of Mission for over 23 years. Sue completed her Career Development Practitioner Certification at University of the Fraser Valley in 2003 and has worked in the employment services field since 1999 assisting individuals with their job search and career planning.

Karina Urbanoski

Facilitator/Coach

Karina is a Career Development Practitioner who was inspired to pursue this line of work because she is dedicated to supporting people to step into their next employment or career move. Karina has thirteen years’ experience working with diverse groups of people such as women, youth, and people with barriers.

Karina has been a Program Facilitator with Mission Community Skills Centre Society since April 2020 and is passionate about helping young adults feel equipped to be successful in their own life, and empowered to be able to make confident decisions. Karina feels working with Mission Community Skills Centre is the perfect platform because it allows her to have fun, be creative, and continue to experience mutually transformative relationships.

Josie Van Patter

Food Hub Manager

Josie joined Mission Community Skills Centre Society in 2021 as the first manager of the new Fraser Valley Artisans Food Hub. Following the legacy of both her grandmother and mother who were both Chefs, she has been a proud Certified Chef for eleven years. A Mission residence since 1985, she became the Kitchen Manager and head chef at Cedar Ridge Golf Course where she successfully led the kitchen for seven years.  Josie also owned and operated The Party Chef Catering and was the Kitchen Coordinator at Mission Senior Activity Center.

Josie rounds out her professional history with 20 years of experience as an Insurance agent, 5 years as the owner of a popular Maple Ridge fabric store, and as a volunteer for St. Joseph’s food bank. Her education includes a degree in psychology. Josie is also an avid golfer with a proud Samoan heritage as a native of the Island of Samoa the heart of Polynesia in the South Pacific.

Daina Whitlock

Operations Support / Administrative Assistant

Daina has been in the Customer Service industry for 29 years. After moving on from her long time career with Safeway, she completed the Applied Business Technology Certificate program at UFV. She is enjoying being a part of the Mission Community Skills Center and assisting in the development of individuals job search and their new and exciting career paths.

Juamana Risheq

Work Experience Coordinator/Job Developer

Jumana joined the Mission Skills Community Centre in 2021 as the Work Experience Coordinator/Job Developer for the Express to Success Food Hub Work Experience Program.

Jumana is a first-generation Canadian citizen she is originally from Jordan as a second-generation Palestinian Refugee and has been a resident of the Unceded territories of the Lekwungen peoples commonly known as Victoria, British Columbia since 2012. Jumana has worked in grass-roots initiatives since her youth. Her experience includes program and participant coordinator in the Jerash and Zarqa Refugee camps,  skills and education program coordinator in the Women in Education Non-for-profit focusing on education for Palestinian women,  program and volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, and program design and coordination for skills & employment training program at the youth and women empowerment centre for Tibetan refugees in Nepal. She completed her diploma in Western Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Permaculture and Resilient Ecosystem design in 2019 and has since been the program assistant and coordinator for local food sovereignty initiatives such as the Iye collective Palenke Produce Boxes, Creative director of the 2020 CRFAIR Good Food Summit Savoury Stories segment, and Creative Director of the Iye Collective Living in Liberation project.

Jumana is passionate about the power of our food systems to re-design more socially and ecologically just and reciprocal systems. She is dedicated to her guiding principle of reconnecting medicine from the earth with medicine for the earth while creating safe and reciprocal opportunities for underserved youth to contribute, and enrich food systems through employment opportunities, art, and community building.

Get in Touch

Whether you are looking to hire your next great employee, or want to get the skills you need for the job market, we are here to help. Contact us today!