Board of Directors – Director biographies

In Alphabetical order:

Adel Gamar

Adel joined the board in February, 2018. Raised in Coquitlam, he fondly remembers his days attending Ranch Park Elementary, Charles Best and Centennial. A proud product of SD43, Adel’s first job was delivering the Coquitlam NOW near his home in the community of River Heights.

Adel is CEO and Co-founder of Gamar Leadership Group Ltd., a boutique firm that specializes in leadership and management consulting. Over the course of his career, Adel has advised and coached senior leaders of Fortune 500 companies, higher education, nonprofit organizations, and governments worldwide. He served as Education Specialist at UNESCO, Policy Fellow at Harvard Law School, and has taught leadership and negotiation at Harvard.

A passion for education and social development keeps Adel deeply involved in local postsecondary institutions and youth sports. He is a faculty member at the UBC Sauder School of Business where he teaches leadership, and he serves on the Douglas College Board. He also coaches girls’ basketball with the Tri City Youth Basketball Association and is actively involved with the Tri-Cities Female Ice Hockey Association.

Adel holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He also holds an MSc in Educational Leadership and Management (Leicester) and a B.Ed. from the University of Calgary.
Adel and his wife Naomi are proud parents of five daughters.

Trish Mandewo

Trish joined the board in February 2018.  She is a speaker, facilitator, serial entrepreneur and author (of the upcoming The Art of Building a Successful Business: An Immigrant’s Perspective). She is the licensing owner of Gymbus Entertainment, co-founder of a non-profit Women’s Collaborative Hub, which focuses on women’s empowerment through leadership training and mentoring, and CEO of Ubuntu StratEdge, a performance-enabling company powered by practices and methods that are evaluated by reliable performance assessments complete with metric, scales and reporting.  Ubuntu StratEdge focuses on culture, diversity, managing gender complexities as well as overall organizational effectiveness.

Trish graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a pre-med Biology Degree and from University of Central Oklahoma with a Clinical Laboratory Science degree. She further trained in medical microbiology and embryology and worked in the field for 10 years. She has won numerous awards, including the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants, Tri-Cities Champions for Young Children Award of Excellence. She recently received Canada 150 Sesquicentennial pin for leadership and community service.

She is involved in many community initiatives and she currently sits on four boards: City of Coquitlam Multiculturalism Advisory Committee; Tri-City Transition Society, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit (chair); Ministry of Children – Tri-Cities Early Childhood Development Community Committee. In the past, Trish served on other boards, including :Autism Speaks Canada – Corporate Sponsorship chair for Vancouver walk; the Valley Women’s Network – Core Committee Website coordinator; TCC Toastmasters International; Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Immigration and Trade Committee Chair; Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Ambassador; 2016 BC Senior Games Competition Chair; Coquitlam Tennis Club President; Tennis BC Director for Ladies Tennis Inter-Club League; and North East Tennis Society, Fundraising chair.

Trish is married to Alexander and they have a daughter, Alexandra.

Justina Mark

Justina Mark is a Chartered Professional Accountant and was a Senior Manager in the Mergers and Acquisitions (Tax) department of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Prior to pursuing an accounting designation, she was a mortgage specialist and financial advisor with TD Canada Trust. In 2014 Justina decided to leave public accounting practise so that she could spend more time with her young children.

Justina is an active member of Walton Elementary School PAC; she sits on the Fundraising Committee and is Co-ordinator of the After School Program. She has been involved in numerous fundraising efforts for different organizations through the years including canvassing for donations for the Greater Vancouver Citizens Advocacy Society, organizing silent auctions and charity golf tournaments and chairing the United Way Campaign at PwC.

Justina was born and raised in Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver to attend the University of British Columbia.  She graduated in 1995 with a B.A. in International Relations.  After travelling the world,she settled in Coquitlam with her husband. She enjoys traveling, learning languages, knitting, crocheting, dancing, hiking and attempting DIY projects she finds on Pinterest.

Linda Meneghello

Linda Meneghello has resided in Coquitlam for the past 27 years. She is married to John and has two children who were raised in Coquitlam and now also reside in the Tri-Cities area.

Having spent 39 years in the financial-services industry as an employee of Royal Bank, Linda is currently a Mortgage Specialist servicing the Lower Mainland of B.C.. She holds a Financial Counselling Diploma and also an Associate Diploma in the Institute of Canadian Banking. Previous to being a mortgage specialist, Linda was a Manager Personal Banking in several branches in the Lower Mainland.

As a Life Member of Kin Canada, Linda has spent many years volunteering in community service and also on the executive of B.C.District for the Kinsmen Association. She is also involved in many aspects of fundraising and is a leader in the charity initiatives at Royal Bank. As a founding member of the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Golf Classic, Linda has helped raise in excess of $175,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and raised awareness in the community about this life-threatening disease.

Along with her husband John, Linda is involved in many aspects of service work in the Coquitlam community. In fact, before joining the board, she had served on the Grants Committee of the Coquitlam Foundation for eight years.

Linda Reimer

Linda is the former MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam, having been elected to the Legislative Assembly in May 2013 and serving until April of 2017. During her time as MLA, she served: as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development; on the Cabinet Committee for Secure Tomorrow; the Public Accounts Committee; the Parliamentary Committee for Youth Mental Health; and the Parliamentary Committee struck to examine Local Government Campaign Finance Expenses. As well, she began an Urban Caucus and served as Urban Caucus Chair until April 2017.

Prior to that, Linda served two terms as a Coquitlam City Councillor, where she chaired the City’s Multiculturalism Advisory Committee for four years, and the School District-City Liaison Committee for one term and as a City representative on many other committees. She also served during that time and prior to for 5 1/2 years on the BC College of Teachers as an Appointed Councillor. Prior to that and as a volunteer, Linda was Chair of the School District #43 Parent Advisory Council and Co-Chaired Bakers Corner Preschool, in addition to being involved in school PACs Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, and hockey and lacrosse teams. Prior to her volunteering, and her kids being born, she was a banker for approximately 10 years.

Linda is a graduate of Simon Fraser University with a major in business and minor in criminology. She is a long time Rotarian, serving with the Rotary Club of Coquitlam for 12 years where she is currently President Elect.  In addition she serves as a Board Member on Tri-City Transitions and several local riding associations.She has been married to Les, a realtor for 36 years, and has two grown sons, Gord and Bill.

Roch Ripey

Roch joined the board in 2017 and became chair on July 1, 2018. He and his wife have lived in Coquitlam since 2011 and have two young children. He is a partner in the law firm of Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP where he practices intellectual property law and is a co-chair of the Vancouver Technology group. Roch obtained his law degree from the University of Victoria and prior to that obtained an electronics engineering degree from Simon Fraser University. He has retained his interest in all things technological and is active in the BC technology industry, in particular with the BC Tech Association and Accelerate Okanagan.

Roch is a co-author of Video Game Law, 2nd edition, published by LexisNexis. He is also a past chair of the Intellectual Property Section of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) and is the current chair of the Information, Technology and Communications committee of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.

Sid Sharma

Sid joined the board in September, 2018. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (Hon.) degree from Delhi University, a Management Accounting qualification from CIMA U.K., with a certificate in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and is a CMA, CPA in Canada. Sid is a successful entrepreneur, with over 15 years of expertise in the healthcare, not-for-profit, public-practice, high-tech and investment industries. Sid’s career began as an accountant in the U.K. and India; later, he was a group financial controller in Zambia and chief financial officer in Thailand. In Canada, Sid was director of finance and corporate service with the College of Registered Nurses of B.C., and then founded his own business-consulting firm.

After moving to Coquitlam, Sid launched Europa Language School and is also a part-owner of a preschool and daycare in Coquitlam. As well, Sid is director of finance for Centric Health – surgical division, overseeing ambulatory surgical centres in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto. He was instrumental in transitioning the surgical centres from private entities to a publicly traded parent company.

Sid immigrated to Vancouver in 2008 with his wife and two daughters. The family moved to Coquitlam in 2012. On the weekends, Sid can be seen in dog parks with his Husky-Malamute mix, “Nanook”.

Colleen Talbot

Colleen was born and raised in Eston, Saskatchewan before moving to Edmonton to attend the University of Alberta. She earned a Diploma in Dental Hygiene, moved to Vancouver and worked in that field for several years. Colleen has lived in Coquitlam since 1978 and has two grown sons. Since 1980s, she has been active in the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Associations in B.C. and nationally, serving as president of both associations. She has sat as a member of the Coquiltam Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, and is a past chair of both the Coquiltam Public Library Board and the Coquitlam Foundation. She is currently secretary-treasurer of the Coquitlam Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her service to the community.

John Wolff

John joined us in early 2018, bringing with him extensive business and non-profit-board experience. He served 29 years as Executive Manager in Finance with BC Tel and TELUS and 15 years as Financial Consultant with Investors Group.  In the non-profit sector, he has been a board member of: the Telecommunications Workers Pension Plan; the Lutheran Church in Canada pension plan (including Chair of Investment Committee for two years and Chair of Board for three); and Board Chair, Surrey Urban Mission Society-April 2011 to April 2016. He served 18 years as member of the Church Council (Martin Luther Vancouver, King of Life Coquitlam), including 13 years as Chairperson. He has been: MC for Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life-Coquitlam; a board member of SHARE Family and Community Services in the Tri-Cities (including Chair of the Board for four years); and a member of the Employer Advisory Council of the SFU Business Co-op program.

As well, John was the 2010 Chamber Member of the Year, Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. He also was the 2011 recipient of SHARE’s Gertie Grosser award for “outstanding community volunteer,” was voted Favourite Community Volunteer 2013 by Tri-City News readers and was a 2014 finalist in the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Community Spirit Excellence Award. He is currently a Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Ambassador; Board Chair of the Lutheran Church in Canada pension plan; and a Member of the Tri-Cities Leadership Committee. His educational and professional certifications are: BA, CMA, CFP, EPC, CPA, and RRC. John is currently Principal of JDW Collaborations providing consulting services on Corporate Governance and Policies as well as Social Profit Transformation.