2017 Board of Directors

Photo credit: Callanan Photography

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce held their 2016 Annual General Meeting on December 7th, with Mayor Maja Tait presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of the new 
2017 Board of Directors.

From left:  Dan Houle (Director), Shandra Collins (Director), Alayne MacIsaac (Director), Steve Grundy (1st Vice-President), Beth Cougler Blom (Director), Kerry Cavers (President), Michael Russo (Director), Linda Ferguson (Director), Les Haddad (Director), Lorna Danylchuk (Director); Absent:  Alison Forster (Director), Gillian Dixon (Director)

2017 Chamber Board of Directors
Join our Team...Make a Difference in our Community!

In accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, nominations for members to serve on the 2017 Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is now closed.  This two-year term commences after being sworn in at our 2016 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in the Harbour View Room.  

We are very pleased to announce and welcome our 2017 Board of Directors!

  • Alison Forster, Oomphatico™ 
  • Dan Houle, Prestige Oceanfront Resort
  • Gillian Dixon, Point No Point Resort
  • Les Haddad, Sooke Delivery Guy
  • Linda Ferguson, Linda Ferguson SKIN
  • Lorna Danylchuk, Your Perfect Gift
  • Shandra Collins, Focus Driving School

We are also thrilled to accept the return of the following Chamber Executive and Directors who will be continuing their term into 2017:

  • Kerry Cavers, The Uncommon Carrot (President)
  • Steve Grundy, Royal Roads University (1st Vice-President)

We are pleased to welcome the following additional Board members appointed by the President in January:

  • Nick Gakena, Secretary
  • Nick Callanan, Director

A Director of the Chamber is committed to major responsibilities in our community and must be prepared to accept the following responsibilities:

  1. Be free of serious commitments to other organizations, and be prepared to commit approximately 8 to 10 hours per month to Chamber work. This includes attendance at Board meetings and Business Mixers, as well as other Chamber sponsored events and Committee meetings. Some meetings or events may take place during business hours.
  2. Be aware of a modest financial commitment, including expenses for attendance at occasional Chamber events.
  3. Be self-motivated and have the ability to lead other people in the challenging work projects that he or she accepts. Benefits of serving as a Director include holding a leadership role in the community and the exciting opportunity to continue to attract and encourage more sustainable businesses, as well as offering new ideas that will positively affect our community and our businesses.

We encourage members to consider joining the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in the future and be directly involved in helping make Sooke a more vibrant community!

Applications for new Board of Director members for 2017 were accepted until November 23rd, 2016.  Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the Chamber office for more information about the responsibilities of a Board member with the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.  

In the event there are vacant Executive or Board positions available throughout the year, according to our Chamber Bylaws, the President can appoint additional Directors without following the nominating or voting processes.


Kerry Cavers President Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyKerry Cavers, President

Kerry Cavers (nee Reid) has had the pleasure of calling Sooke home since July 2012. Kerry moved over from North Vancouver to take the next step in her ten-year career in commercial real estate and support her husband in his new role in the BC Ombudspersons’ office. In the fall of 2013, Kerry welcomed their first child and shortly thereafter decided to make the move back to being her own boss. She became a Licensed Mortgage Professional and chose to establish herself with an office located here in Sooke. Not a newcomer to building a successful business, Kerry previously owned and operated a wedding and event planning company for five years on the mainland. Her varied professional experience has taught her the importance of having a supportive business network and resources like the Chamber. Kerry joined the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 2014 as Treasurer, moved into the President position in December 2015 and again in December 2016. It is her goal as a President to build upon the current level of support offered to our local businesses and lend her event management expertise to offer Sookies some new and exciting events.

*Photo credit:  Callanan Photography

Steve Grundy, 1st Vice-PresidentSteve Grundy Director Photo credit to Callanan Photography

As the Chief Academic Officer of Royal Roads University, Steve Grundy has been appointed 1st Vice-President of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.

Steve is responsible for the overall academic direction and quality of the university’s academic programs. He is particularly interested in the directions of post-secondary education, the evolution and development of on-line learning and new models of university governance and leadership. He currently serves on the boards of BCNET and the Canadian Virtual University. His research interests have ranged from synthetic chemistry to environmental science and he has travelled extensively in the Canadian Arctic and the west coast of Canada as a field scientist with a specialization in contaminant transport mechanisms. He has lived in the Sooke region for 24 years and has three grown children Gavin, Ryan and Ian and is happily married to Olivia. 

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Lorna Danylchuk Director Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyLorna Danylchuk, Treasurer

Born and raised a BC girl, Lorna moved to the island and started at Camosun in the Hotel and Restaurant Administration course in 1981; she ended in the Social Work Program majoring in Child Psychology.

Lorna moved to Sooke over 30 years ago and can’t imagine ever leaving. She has raised her son as a single mother and provided full time, as well as respite care for many foster children. Let’s just say she had the baseball team she always wanted!

In 1994 Lorna graduated from the Fraser Valley University as a Lifeskills Instructor and Job Coach, and then participated in a yearlong counselling program, then went on to volunteer at Pacific Center for the family.

In 1998 she went back to high school and graduated with honour; "yes backwards…but that’s how I roll", sais Lorna.

In 2000 she completed a certificate course as a Commissioner from the Justice Institute, and in 2001 attended a business marketing program. Are you seeing a pattern here? She knows there is none other than a huge thirst to learn new things!

Lorna also has a diploma in Event Planning/Bridal Consultant that she completed in 2007 because she didn’t have one of those yet.

After many years of cooking for various restaurants in the Interior where she grew up and on the Island, her most recent work is at Sooke’s Ayre Manor, where she has been since 2008. She received her Red Seal in Cooking from Camosun.

Started her gift basket business in 2009, Your Perfect Gift, and loves it now as much as when she first started. In 2015 Lorna became a Certified Gift Designer, (a designation recognized in the U.S.A.).

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Nicholas Gakena Volunteer Student Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyNicholas Gakena, Secretary

Nicholas Gakena is a senior at Edward Milne Community School. Over the past year, Nick has volunteered with the Chamber typing minutes for board meetings. During the summer, he worked for the Chamber as an administrative assistant and events coordinator. Outside of school and the Chamber, he devotes much of his time to various extracurricular activities, including Youth for Change, school leadership, basketball, and Junior Achievement. He will be attending university in the fall of 2017 to study finance and economics.

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Alison Forster OOMPHATICOAlison Forster, Director

Alison Forster was born and raised in Germany into an adventurous, no-nonsense British military family where strength of character, honour, loyalty and being of service are considered paramount.

Driven by a deeply-entrenched need for achievement, coupled with a zest for wanting to experience the abundance life has to offer and an unwavering fascination in human behaviour, Alison steered a profoundly humbling, rewarding and versatile professional course working in multicultural environments around the globe: ranging from the European Parliament’s participation in the Kyoto Agreement, to a Kibbutzim volunteer program in Israel, exploring the world as a seafaring HR specialist, coordinating the French Foreign Legion Association in London, managing an Olympic Ski Resort in Austria and opening a branch office for a major shipping line in Singapore, amongst other endeavours.

With the wanderlust satiated by her early 40’s, Alison moved to the west coast of Canada to cast down roots on ‘terra firma’ and embarked upon an exhilarating new life chapter as a Mindset Mercenary with OOMPHATICO™ — working with the most accelerated, cutting edge mindset mastery processes being offered today.

Dan Houle Director Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyDan Houle, Director

Dan has worked in the hospitality industry for 16 years in various positions. His journey has seen him work across the UK and France before arriving in Sooke three years ago where he now resides with his fiancée, Nicky.

Starting out chopping vegetables at a small restaurant in England, he now manages the sales and marketing division of West Coast Grill Food and Beverage. The business started out here in Sooke at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort as a single entity and has since expanded to five locations across BC, propelling Dan’s career along with it. He hopes to share his knowledge of business and team management, along with experience in PR, sales and marketing with the business community of Sooke.

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Gillian DixonGillian Dixon, Director

Gill was raised in Sooke and comes from several generations of independent business owners and volunteers.  After graduation it did not take her long set out to see the world and go traveling.  She recently returned to Sooke after a 16 year absence where she lived in London UK, NYC and Toronto managing internationally recognized restaurants for Michelin Star chefs.  Gill currently works at Point No Point Resort as a manager in addition to being enrolled in the MA of Tourism and Hospitality program at Royal Roads University.  Through her studies, Gill focuses on tourism through community planning and collaboration.  She strongly feels that Sooke has the potential to grow through a unique independent business mix without hindering the qualities we all know and love.  She is very excited to return to home and be a part of a community that has so many possibilities and opportunities for long-term sustainability.  

*Photo credit: Stephanie Hull, Centric Photography

Linda Ferguson Director Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyLinda Ferguson, Director

Linda Ferguson runs a Fashion Design business and a Skin Care business (Linda Ferguson SKIN) in her home studio. After graduating from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario in 1979, she has been dressing the female body. Her mission is helping women transition from “Frump to FABULOUS” regardless of their age or dress size.

When Linda is not creating something gorgeous in her studio, she is volunteering in the community, gardening or beautifying her home.

In Ottawa where Linda grew up, she was the Special Events Coordinator for a Political party where she was responsible for finding the location, entertainment and catering for a major fund raising event. She was also part of a committee that hosted a major fund raising event for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, that consisted of a grand Fashion Show in the foyer of Parliament Hill in December, 2000.

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Leslie Haddad Director Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyLes Haddad, Director

After growing up near a small farming town in Manitoba, Les joined the navy at 18 and worked as a marine mechanic for five years. He became a small business owner in 1994 when he bought a mobile vending cart franchise and started a small hauling business. Ten years later, Les married and started a family. After five years as a full time, stay at home dad, he restarted his delivery business, Sooke Delivery Guy, on a part time basis.

Les has lived, worked and volunteered in Sooke since 2001, and looks forward to being of service to the Chamber.

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Shandra Collins Director Photo credit to Callanan PhotographyShandra Collins, Director

Shandra is the Owner of Focus Driving School, located in beautiful Sooke B.C.  

After moving to Sooke almost 5 years ago, Shandra found she loved it here so much, that this is where she wanted to begin the next chapter of her life, and open her own driving school.

As a professional tractor/trailer driver in Alberta for over 20 years, she has gained invaluable safe driving experience and tips she can now pass on to students. “It is this experience that I am able to pass on the importance of safety on the roads to my students. I am committed to accommodate every student's unique needs.”

Shandra hopes to make Sooke safer one driver at a time, and looks forward to helping the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce; one of the best on the Island.

*Photo credit: Callanan Photography

Aline Doiron, Office ManagerAline Doiron Office Manager Photo credit to Callanan Photography

Prior to relocating to Sooke, Aline gained over 16 years experience in the land development and construction sector in an executive administrative position. Once settled in the local area, she wanted to integrate herself into the community. She went to WorkLink Employment Society in Sooke where she was accepted into the Job Options program. Sooke Harbour House was looking to fill a front desk position and she was hired on the spot. As much as she enjoyed working for Frédérique and Sinclair, she was called in for an interview for an administrative position at the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce and accepted the position in the summer of 2013. A year later she was given a very favourable performance review, was awarded a new contract and promoted to Office Manager.

The main point of contact and continuity piece for the Chamber, Aline enjoys working with the business community, helping them succeed in their business and looks forward to working with the new Chamber Board of Directors in 2017 to help make Sooke an even more vibrant community.


*Photo credit:  Callanan Photography