The Board of Governors is responsible for the overall stewardship of York House School
The Board of Governors is composed of 12 elected Board members, as well as three Advisors: the President of the Parents’ Association, the President of the Alum Association, and the Chair of the YHS Foundation. The Immediate Past Chair is also a member of the board for the duration of their two-year term.
All Board members are unpaid volunteers who give generously of their time and resources in support of the school. Most Board members have already participated extensively in school activities as volunteers prior to joining the Board. Previous Board members have come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences; most are parents, past and current, and some are also alums. They are united in their desire to see York House School as the best place for educating girls. They wish to see the school empower girls to achieve their full potential, and be prepared to be effective in a rapidly changing world.
The Board of Governors is responsible for the overall stewardship of York House School. The Board sets policy directions through strategic planning and goal setting to ensure the financial stability of the school and to advance the school’s mission and vision. The Board is also responsible for appointing the Head of School to whom it delegates authority over the administration of the school and matters of curriculum and staffing. In keeping with the membership requirements of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), the Board oversees the school and remains at arm’s length from the administration.
Board of Governors 2023-24
List of 15 items.
Joanne Lee-Young '90, Board Chair
Chair, Head Evaluation Committee, Strategic Planning Committee Member, Governance Committee, Neighbour Committee, all board committees (ex-officio)
Joanne was elected to the Board in May 2019. She served as an ex-officio board member and Advisor since 2017 in her capacity as President of the Alum Association and has served on the alum executive since 2014. She has served as Board Vice Chair, and on various Board committees, including the ad hoc Head Search Committee and as Chair of the Neighbour Committee. Joanne is a journalist in Vancouver and previously worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia. An alum from the Class of 1990, Joanne graduated from Queen’s University and started her career as a news assistant at The Globe and Mail’s Beijing bureau. Later, as a Hong Kong-based staff reporter/contributor at various regional and American business publications, she covered job culture/management at start-up companies, as well as investment banking and consumer trends. For over a decade, she has been on staff at The Vancouver Sun, where she has focused on BC companies, Asia-Pacific trade, as well as local community issues. She specializes in telling the stories of individuals to better understand change. At YHS, Joanne has volunteered in different roles to bring together new families, current students, and alums. She and her husband Philip Tulk have two daughters at York House: Frances (Class of 2022) and Pippa (Class of 2023).
Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera, Vice Chair
Member, Governance Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Head Evaluation Committee
Indira was appointed to the Board in March 2017 to fill a casual vacancy and was elected as governor in 2019. Indira served as the 12th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta, from 2005-2015. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Research at the University of British Columbia. Indira is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her groundbreaking work on process engineering of materials and in 2002 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. She is currently a Senior Advisor for Bennett Jones LLP and also serves on the boards of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International, TransCanada as well as the Asia-Pacific Foundation, and the Rideau Hall Foundation. She has devoted her career to advancing innovation in higher education and the private sector. In 2014, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US, the profession’s highest honour. Indira was Chair of the World-wide Universities Network, consisting of nineteen universities from around the world. She has also served on numerous committees including the Prime-Minister’s Advisory Committee for Renewal of the Public Service; a Presidential Visiting Committee at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the Conference Board of Canada; Canada’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Council; the Minister’s advisory committee on Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy and the Public Policy Forum. Indira has a grandchild at YHS: Anila in Grade 6.
Kathy was elected to the Board in 2022 and served on the Finance Committee before being appointed Treasurer. She is Vice Chair & Head of BC Capital Markets at CIBC World Markets with 25 years of experience in investment banking. She leads teams in North America to offer companies with advisory services in debt & equity financings and mergers & acquisitions in sectors such as technology, telecom, consumer retail, industrial products, and forestry. Kathy is on the Board of Governors and is Vice-Chair of the Business Council of British Columbia. She is on the board of CIBC World Markets Inc., is a Partner of Social Venture Partners Vancouver, and sits on the Chairs’ Council of Science World. She is also past Board Member of St. George’s Foundation and was Chair of their Investment Committee. BC Business Magazine recognized Kathy’s dedication to mentorship and diversity when they named her one of BC’s most influential women in finance. She holds an MBA (Honours) from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance (Honours) from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. Kathy and her husband, David Ferguson, have a Yorkie daughter – Alexa in Grade 10, and two sons in university.
Michelle Ostrow '89, Past Chair
Member, Governance Committee, Head Evaluation Committee, Strategic Planning Committee
Michelle was elected to the Board in 2015. She served as the Chair of the Board from 2020-2023. Michelle previously held the roles of Vice Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee, Chair of the ad hoc Head Search Committee, and Chair of the Head Evaluation Committee. She was very involved in the development of new board policies and the revision of the Society Bylaws. Michelle is a YHS alum (Class of 1989) and completed a law degree at Dalhousie University (2000). She was called to the bar in British Columbia (2001) and has worked in private practice as a corporate commercial lawyer and as in-house counsel, including with The University of British Columbia. Michelle currently practices law with KazLaw Injury Lawyers. She and her husband Marc Kazimirski have two children, a Yorkie daughter Sophie (Class of 2022) and a son at St. George’s.
Chair, Governance Committee, Master Planning Advisory Committee Member, Facilities and Maintenance Committee, Head Evaluation Committee, Strategic Planning Committee
Shamir was appointed to the Board in November 2017 to fill a casual vacancy and was elected as governor in 2019. He served as a member of the ad hoc Head Search Committee as well as on numerous committees. Shamir holds an MBA, Harvard Business School, and HBA, Ivey School of Business at Western University, and is CEO, Domain Capital Corporation. Domain is an Exempt Market Dealer originating commercial mortgage securities and managing funds in excess of $300 million. Prior to this, he has been Senior Vice President, Investments & Operations, Larco Investments Ltd., for over 15 years. Before Larco, Shamir was Managing Director of Soros Real Estate Partners/Westmont in Tokyo. Earlier in his career, he was also Chief Financial Officer & EVP, Corporate Development at UniHost Corporation, then the largest public hotel company in Canada. Shamir is Chair of Admissions at Harvard University for British Columbia. He is also on the national audit committee of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He and his wife Sophia have a son who recently graduated from St. George’s School, and two Yorkie daughters: Mishal (Class of 2023) and Ava in Grade 11.
Gina was elected to the Board in 2020 and served as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Ginais the Founder & CEO of Yumasoy, an innovative consumer packaged goods company making Om Noms, an innovative plant-based meat alternative and prior to that she wasthe CFO of Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster leading a new model of investment to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Canada. She has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneurial leader starting her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Creating a positive impact in the work she does has driven Gina to have a varied career from leading the Digital Transformation of a global industrial company to taking a poorly performing asset and turning it into a globally recognized software company. Gina graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator. She had the distinction of receiving BC’s Top 40 Under 40 Award as well as BC’s Most Influential Women in Finance award. She and her husband, Cameron Carter, and have two Yorkie daughters—Zoe (Class of 2022) and Julia (Class of 2023).
Kate was elected to the Board in 2018. She served as Vice Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee and was a member of the ad hoc Head Search Committee. Kate is an assurance partner at PwC with over 20 years of experience working in diverse global PwC offices including London, Frankfurt, Washington, DC, and now Vancouver. She leads audit teams and assists companies with their risk assurance, internal audit, internal controls, and corporate governance requirements. Kate is passionate about diversity and has been a mentor under the PwC Women in Leadership program for the past 10 years where she is a formal coach to a number of partners and staff. Kate graduated from the University of Warwick (UK) in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts. She is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (BC), Certified Public Accountant (Colorado), Chartered Accountant (UK), and an Internal Audit Practitioner (2017). Active in the local community, Kate has been a board member with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice for the past six years where she is Vice-Chair, Audit Committee Chair, and Treasurer. She is also a past director of Zing Children’s Choir. Kate and her husband, Nick, have a Yorkie daughter—Zoe (Class of 2022) and a son at Vancouver College.
Michelle was elected to the Board in 2023 having served as a non-board member on the Board’s Finance Committee. Michelle is a Partner in PwC’s Deals practice, specializing in corporate restructuring and advisory services. She has more than 20 years of experience providing insolvency, restructuring advisory and distressed mergers and acquisition services. Ms. Grant also holds several national markets roles for PwC Canada relating to her industry specialties which include Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrial Products. She received her Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree from Queen’s University. She is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, and a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional (CIRP). Awards received include: Business in Vancouver Top 40 under 40; and Winner Association of Finance (BC), Rising Star Award. Michelle has been active on several Professional Boards including: ARIL Society Board; Insolvency Institute of Canada (IIC), nominating committee, policy reform committee, BC membership committee; and Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals, finance committee. She has also been active on Community Boards: Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility board member; Reconciliation Canada – board member; and Cerebral Palsy Association of BC – board member. She has two daughters enrolled at York House: Charlotte in Grade 3 and Katherine in Senior Kindergarten.
Mike was elected to the Board in 2013. He was Chair of the YHS From Local to Global Excellence (L2G2) capital campaign. He has served on many Board committees over the years and was a member of the ad hoc Head Search Committee. Mike was a professional hockey player who played in the NHL for nine years. Since retiring in 1999, Mike has been actively involved as member and chair of many boards including Camp Good Times Golf Classic and the University of Guelph Athletics Centre fundraising committee. He has served on the boards of numerous business ventures. Mike and his wife, Lisa, have been involved with York House since 2006 when they were new parents and have been major contributors and active supporters of the school ever since. They have four Yorkie daughters: Samantha (Class of 2019), Lauren (Class of 2021), Abigail (Class of 2022), and Emily in Grade 11.
Omar was elected to the YHS Board in May 2022. He is the Co-Founder, Managing Director and Chairman of the Noverra Group of Companies. He has been a CEO, partner, business owner or board member of companies in the Business Services, Private Equity, Insurance, Technology, Real-Estate and Construction Services industries. Prior to co-founding the Noverra Group, Omar was a Partner at RPO Management Consultants. His consulting advisory experience spanned the Telecommunications, Transportation, Financial Services, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Distribution, Alternative Energy, and Government sectors. Omar has served as a member of the Board, Advisory Board or Campaign Cabinet for the United Way of the Lower Mainland; the Quest Food Exchange; The Centre for Healthcare Management at the Sauder School of Business; and the BC Construction Safety Alliance. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and has served on the Board of YPO BC, as Chair of the Membership and Strategy Committees, and as Board Chair. In addition, Omar has served as a member of YPO Canada’s Board of Directors. Omar currently serves as a member of the Nominations Committee of the Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame. Omar and his wife joined the YHS community as JK parents in 2018 and have a daughter, Talia, in Grade 4.
Donald R. Lindsay
Member, Governance Committee, Head Evaluation Committee, Strategic Planning Committee
Don was elected to the Board in 2014. He was on the Board’s L2G2 Committee during its first campaign and has been a major contributor and active supporter of the school. Don recently announced his retirement as President and Chief Executive Officer of Teck Resources Limited. Before joining Teck, he was President of CIBC World Markets and led the bank’s Investment and Corporate Banking Division as well as the Asia Pacific Region. He holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) Mining Engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Board of Manulife Financial Corporation and serves as Board Chair of the Business Council of Canada. He is Chair of the International Council on Mining and Metals, and is an Honorary Governor of the Royal Ontario Museum, recently completing a two-year term as Board Chair for Mining and Metals at the World Economic Forum. He serves on the Board of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, previously serving as Board Chair when he led a successful $200-million capital campaign to build a new acute care hospital. As Chair of the International Zinc Association from 2007 to 2011, Don led the development and launch of the Zinc Saves Kids campaign, a program developed in partnership with UNICEF to address zinc deficiency, which claims the lives of approximately 450,000 children annually around the world. Under his leadership, Teck also launched its Zinc & Health program, which to date has reached more than 140 million people worldwide. Don has received a number of accolades and awards including the Nature Trust of BC Conservation Champion Award, the BC Community Achievement Award, the CIM Distinguished Service Medal, the Business in Vancouver CEO of the Year Award, and the Mining Association of BC’s Mining Person of the Year Award. He also received an Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his work with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. He received the Kathleen Beaumont-Hill distinguished alumni award from Queen’s University, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Windsor. Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal in 2002, he was honoured again with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012, and was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2014. Don has three Yorkie daughters: Julia (Class of 2016), Charlotte (Class of 2017), and Sienna in Grade 8.
Kirsten was elected to the YHS Board in May 2023. She is an unconventional tech leader. From a professionally trained chef, she navigated a significant career pivot to become one of Vancouver’s most celebrated tech execs. She has over 30 years experience in technology, software development and development operations as well as IT infrastructure and services including cyber security. Kirsten has held executive positions most recently at SAP and Vancity, driving transformational change and developing high performing, engaged teams. Apart from being regarded as an energetic, inspiring and authentic leader, Kirsten is a highly engaged community leader: immediate past chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, past co-chair of the Government of BC’s Presidents Group which champions accessible and inclusive workplaces, member of the Government of Canada’s Task Force for Women in the Economy, member of the BC Government’s Provincial Accessibility Committee, SFU Beedie School of Business Advisory, and director of Science World. A recipient of many awards, Kirsten has been recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction, received a Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business award and has been named to BIV BC500 in 2021 and 2022. She is also an in-demand speaker with more than 35 engagements a year. She is a YHS alum (Class of 1983) and her daughter, Olivia, is a member of the Class of 2023.
Helen Shen, President, YHS Parents' Association (Advisor)
Helen joined the Executive Team of the YHS Parents’ Association (PA) in 2021 and was appointed the PA President in 2023. Prior to her current role with the University of British Columbia, Helen has over 10 years of experience in the K-12 education system in BC, as well as experience in guiding transformational changes for publicly listed companies and private companies. Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in Political Science and International Relations, a Master of Laws from Tsinghua University, and a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University. In addition to serving on the Board of Vancouver Bach Choir, Helen is also active in the community through her involvement with the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association, Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC, Project Management Institute, and Association of Change Management Professionals. Helen and her husband, Vincent, have two daughters at York House – Liana '31 and Sienna '35.
Connie Chan, President, YHS Alum Association (Advisor)
Connie joined the Alum Association Executive in 2019 as a director at large and has been involved in the Holiday Market, the Used Uniform shop, Alum Day and other Alum Association events.
After her time as a York House lifer concluded in 1995, Connie continued her education in the United States graduating from Wellesley College and the George Washington University Law School. Connie has been practicing corporate and commercial law in Vancouver since 2006 in both private practice and in-house roles. She is currently Senior Legal Counsel at the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink).
Connie and her husband Herbert Chan have two children, a son who attends Eric Hamber Secondary School and a daughter, Adele who is a member of the YHS Class of 2031. Connie has previously served as a board member of the Vancouver Bilingual Preschool and as a YHS class parent.
Margot Keate West '93, Chair, YHS Foundation (Advisor)
Margot graduated from York House in 1993, and is the great-niece of YHS founder Gretchen Meilicke Hyland. After leaving YHS, Margot pursued a BAH in Art & Architectural History from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, which included a term at the International Study Centre, Herstmonceux, Sussex and later an M.Sc. in Architectural Conservation from the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies, University of Edinburgh. Upon returning to Vancouver Margot took over the family design firm Keate & Co. Designers from her father, and is lucky enough to count many YHS families and alums as clients. She designed and oversaw the installation of the YHS Alumnae archives and museum in 2010. Margot and her husband Ben West (St. George's ’92) have two children—Lachlan, a recent graduate from St. George’s and Eloise, in Grade 10 at York House.