Our Board of Directors

Lyall Knott is a native Vancouverite and was educated at the University of British Columbia where he graduated with a B.Com (’71), and LL.B (’72). He graduated with a Master of Laws from University of London in ’73. In 1985 he was appointed to the rank of Queen’s Counsel. He has served on a number of corporate and charitable boards including EXPO 86 Corporation, Vancouver Port Corporation, Canada Place Corporation, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., Child Foundation and UBC Foundation. He is a Fellow of Royal Roads University. Lyall Knott was formerly an Honourary Captain of the Canadian Fleet Pacific, Royal Canadian Navy. He currently serves as the British Columbia Provincial Chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council. Lyall Knott is the Honourary Consul for the Republic of Tunisia in British Columbia and Yukon.

George Gaffney retired from the Royal Bank of Canada, Ontario in December 2000, where he was responsible for the overall management of the Bank’s consumer and business operations in the province. In addition to sitting on the board of the Rick Hansen Foundation, George is Governor of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Eric is a Chartered Professional Accountant, Fellow Chartered Accountant and an ICD.D of the Institute of Corporate Directors. He joins RHF with invaluable experience and knowledge of the financial sector. Most recently, he worked at KPMG LLP as a Senior Audit Partner, providing financial expertise to many clients and representing the firm in the community, including at various industry associations. In addition to his significant professional accomplishments, Eric is greatly committed to effecting change through volunteer work in the community.

Perry Goldsmith is the founder and owner of Contemporary Communications Ltd., an independent public relations agency. He is also the founder and past owner of the National Speakers Bureau, Canada’s original speakers bureau. An active member of his profession and community, Perry has served on the National YMCA Board of Directors; Vancouver YMCA Board of Directors; Board of Trustees for the Vancouver Art Gallery; Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association (BC division); past president of the Public Relations Global Network and as a founding Director of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Society of Canada.

Deborah Apps is a charitable sector leader with more than 30 years’ experience in government, health care, education, and the arts. Deborah joined the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) as President & CEO in September 2008, and before that served on the Board of Directors for three years.

Prior joining TCT, Deborah was Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Relations for the Calgary Health Region (CHR), responsible for strategic communications, community outreach, and philanthropy. During her tenure at the CHR, she oversaw the rebranding of the Health Region, and provided executive leadership for the launch and successful completion of Reach!, a $300 million+ joint fundraising initiative between the Calgary Health Region and the University of Calgary.

Prior to this, Deborah served as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. Under her leadership, the Foundation completed the most successful fundraising campaign for pediatric health care in Alberta, raising more than $55 million in support of the new state-of-the-art Alberta Children’s Hospital. While living in British Columbia Deborah served as Executive Director of the University of British Columbia Alumni Association for nine years, and Director of External Relations at Pearson College. She also consulted in the not for profit community.

Deborah has a strong record of accomplishment in organizational leadership, strategic planning, fundraising and change management.

In 2012 Deborah was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her commitment and dedication to the Trans Canada Trail legacy project, and her extensive and ongoing work in the charitable sector.

As President of the Media Business Unit at Rogers, Rick Brace is responsible for driving strategy and overseeing operations for the company’s robust portfolio of media assets, which includes 42 TV stations, 51 radio stations, 56 publications, digital media, subscription-based content services, the Toronto Blue Jays, and Rogers Centre.

Rick is an accomplished business leader and innovative pioneer with more than 40 years of experience in the media industry. He has a strong reputation for building brands, changing perceptions, and attracting and mentoring top talent.

Prior to joining Rogers, Rick was with Bell Media/CTVglobemedia for 13 years in senior leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including President of CTV and President of Specialty TV. Rick also played a founding role at TSN, joining the network in 1984 as Deputy Head of Sports and eventually becoming President of the network in 1998 through 2000. He began his career in 1975 at the CBC, working as a technician followed by roles in TV production. He stayed with the public network until 1984. Rick resides in Toronto with his family and devotes time to numerous charitable organizations, including his role as Chair of the Advisory Council for the Rick Hansen Foundation and as a Trustee of the Canadian Wildlife Foundation. Rick also serves on the President’s Council of Ryerson University, his alma mater.

Ida Chong first entered public life as a municipal councillor for the District of Saanich serving one term from 1993-1996. During that time she was also appointed a regional district director for the Capital Regional District (CRD) from 1995-1996. Most recently, Chong served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the Province of British Columbia representing the constituency of Oak Bay-Gordon Head for seventeen years (May 1996-May 2013) during which time she served in Cabinet for ten years.

Sally is the founder and Managing Director of Kaldor Brand Strategy and Design. She has guided the firm’s strategic and creative development since establishing it in 1996. Prior to starting Kaldor, Sally built a reputation for creating effective brand marketing materials for advertising and marketing campaigns, web design and corporate communications in a variety of design firms in Canada and her native England.

As the wife of Rick Hansen, Amanda Hansen shares her husband’s determination to turn big dreams into reality, and brings that energy to the Rick Hansen Foundation board. As a founding board member for the Life Network based in Toronto, Amanda was instrumental in assisting the fledgling channel gain its broadcasting license. A mother to three daughters, Amanda has a particular passion for children’s issues serving as Director of the Rick Hansen School Program from 2002 – 2006, Honourary Spokesperson and board member for Kids Help Phone (BC), Co-host of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon, and chair of her local Parent Advisory Committee.

Amanda recently returned to her professional roots and is currently working as the sole charge physiotherapist at Richmond Lions Manor a residential care facility where she works with an aging population and on a specialized Alzheimers unit.

Brian Hesje is recently retired Chairman of the Board of Fountain Tire and past CEO of that company. He is also Chairman of the Board of ATB Financial. Brian is on the boards of four private companies and is on the Board of Directors of Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions. Brian is past Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Brian earned a Bachelor of Education and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, obtained his Chartered Accountant designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta and was admitted as a Fellow to the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Alberta. He was awarded an Alumni Honour Award by the University of Alberta in 2000.

In 2003 Brian was awarded the Canadian Institute of Retailing & Services (CIRAS) retailing award. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Augustana Campus, U of A in 2008.

Prior to joining Fountain Tire, Brian was a partner in an Edmonton Chartered Accountants firm and an instructor with the Faculty of Business at the University of Alberta.

Kimberly Kuntz is a Partner at Norton Rose Fullbright Canada LLP, where she represents executors, trustees and beneficiaries in a variety of estate and trust-related disputes. Kimberly also assists clients in disputes involving the interpretation of wills and trust instruments, matters involving suspected undue influence or incapacity of testators and settlors of trusts, and applications for committeeship of incapacitated adults. She is also regularly asked to provide advice on litigious matters relating to the administration and regulation of charities, not-for-profit organizations and other tax-exempt organizations.

More recently, Kimberly was appointed to the British Columbia Law Institute Project Committee investigating Common-Law Tests of Capacity. Kimberly was part of the committee engaged in a two-year project to examine the legal tests that determine when a person has the mental capacity to carry out a variety of transactions. Kimberly assisted the project to consider and evaluate draft legislative reforms, and their report was published in September 2013.

Kimberly is a graduate of Queen’s University and was called to the bar in 2000.

Tod Leiweke was named Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League (NFL) in July 2015. Prior to joining the NFL, Tod was the CEO of Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment which includes the National Hockey League's Tampa Bay Lightning. Tod was previously the CEO of Vulcan Sports & Entertainment and oversaw all aspects of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, National Basketball Association's Portland Trailblazers, the Rose Garden, Qwest Field and Washington Event Center.

Professor Colleen Nelson is the founding Executive Director of the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre - Queensland and Chair of Prostate Cancer Research at Queensland University of Technology. Since arriving in Australia in 2007, Prof Nelson has received substantial awards from the Federal and Queensland Government, PCFA, Australian Cancer Research Foundation, and Cancer Australia for research and infrastructure. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious Smart Futures Premier’s Fellowship as Queensland’s top Scientist.  Prior to her appointment in Australia, she was a founding scientist of Vancouver Prostate Centre, a National Centre of Excellence in Research and Commercialization. Prof Nelson has been the Chair of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative and is on the Scientific and Medical Advisory of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Canada for the past 4 years. She is now serves as a International Strategic Adviser for Prostate Cancer Canada. She works closely with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and has been a co-organizer of their international conferences and assists in their fund raising activities. She is passionate about prostate cancer advocacy and regularly disseminates information to men’s and prostate cancer support groups, travelling to regions of Queensland for prostate cancer education to the community.

Suki Sekhon is the President and CEO of CRS Group of Companies, which operates in business related to acquisitions, management, development, leasing and construction of commercial, residential and recreational properties. The company has a diverse portfolio managing retail shopping centres, office buildings and warehouse buildings. Mr. Sekhon’s business portfolio includes over 25 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry during which he has conducted business with notable organizations including; BC Government, Sun-Life Financial, RBC Bank, CIBC Bank, The Jim Pattison Group, Kingswood Capital Corporation, City of New Westminster, Bentall Kennedy, Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, City of Surrey, Whitespot, Volkswagen, BMW and many other major corporations and individuals.

The Sekhon family has supported several charities over the past 20 years including; B.C. Children’s Hospital, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS), Variety Club, Rick Hansen Foundation, Special Olympics BC, BC Cancer Foundation, Honor House Society, Ronald McDonald House BC, Whitecaps Foundation, West Vancouver Field Hockey Club, UBC Basketball, Powell Place Shelter for Women and many other local charities.

Louise Turner is the COO of Pacific Health Innovation eXchange (PHIX) in British Columbia. She began her career as a fast track civil servant in the British government negotiating international trade deals. In Canada, Louise applied her deal-making skills to international mergers, acquisitions and corporate venture capital investments for Newbridge Networks Corporation and other high tech businesses. Louise has a BA (Hons) from Liverpool University, an MBA from Cranfield University and is a Certified Executive Coach. Louise has served as a governor on the Board of York House School for eight years.

As President & Chief Executive Officer of Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union, Tamara Vrooman believes that banking has a vital role in developing a healthy society—building the well-being of people and, at the same time, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the communities in which they live and work. This summarizes Vancity’s vision of redefining wealth.

Under Tamara's leadership, Vancity has gained international recognition for its values-based banking model—from becoming the first Canadian financial institution invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of the world's leading sustainable banks and banking co-operatives, to an invitation from the Vatican to participate in a summit about creating a more inclusive economy.

Tamara's achievements include leading Vancity to become the first carbon-neutral financial institution in North America, the largest private-sector living wage employer in Canada, and one of the first mainstream financial institutions to launch an alternative to predatory payday loans—the Vancity Fair & Fast Loan™.

Before joining Vancity, Tamara served as Deputy Minister of Finance for B.C. from 2004 to mid-2007, and as Secretary to the Treasury Board, as well as Deputy Minister and Executive Financial Officer for the Ministry of Health.

Tamara lends her voice and leadership experience to issues related to women, families and children with a particular focus on issues related to equality, inclusion and empowerment. She has been recognized for her leadership with multiple awards and honours and is a frequent speaker at local, national and international conferences and symposia.

Mr. Greg Yuel, a resident of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan. As President and CEO of PIC Investment Group Inc., a privately held Venture Capital Investment company, Mr. Yuel is responsible for investment management, operational management, growth and profitability of the PIC Group and its subsidiaries.

PIC Investment Group Inc. provides management service to the companies it owns and invests in, including its subsidiaries; Round Table Management, PIC Flight, Adventure Destinations International, Hydor-Tech, Panther Industries, ClearTech Industries, Caron Transportation Systems, Central Aircraft Maintenance, and Kreos Aviation.

PIC Investment Group also invests in business by way of capital loans, bridge financing, inventory financing and angel investments. Mr. Yuel serves on several charitable organization boards including the Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Edwards School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and many others.