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 Alumnae Association, and the Chair of the YHS Foundation. The Immediate Past Chair is also a member of the board for the duration of his/her 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 alumnae. 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 2020-21
List of 15 items.
Michelle Ostrow '89, Board Chair
Chair, Head Evaluation Committee Member, Governance Committee Member of all Board committees (ex-officio)
Michelle was elected to the Board in 2015. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board and the Chair of the Head Evaluation Committee. Michelle previously held the roles of Vice-Chair and Chair of the Governance Committee and was very involved in the development of new board policies and the revision of the Society Bylaws. Michelle is a YHS alumna (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 son at Saint George’s and a daughter at York House—Sophie in Grade 11.
Kate was elected to the Board in 2018 and was appointed Vice-Chair in 2020. 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 one daughter at York House—Zoe in Grade 11.
Gina was elected to the Board in 2020 and was appointed Treasurer. Gina is the 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 daughters at York House—Zoe in Grade 11 and Julia in Grade 10.
Neil was elected to the Board in 2013 and was Board Chair from 2017-2020. Currently Immediate Past Board Chair, he has served as Co-Chair of YHS 2030 Strategic Planning Steering, Chair of Head Evaluation, Chair of Risk Management, and has also served on the Governance and Finance Committees. Neil is President of Arbutus Financial Services Ltd., a comprehensive financial advisory firm with offices in Vancouver and Nanaimo. He is a born and raised Vancouverite who graduated from St. George’s School and the University of British Columbia. Actively involved in the community, Neil served for many years at St. George’s on the Society Board of Directors. He is a Past President of the Georgians (St. George’s Old Boys Association) and a Past President of the St. George’s Parents Association. Neil has served on the Board of the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society (DEYAS). He is the Past Vice-Chair of the Board of Parkinson Society Canada, headquartered in Toronto, and a Past President of Parkinson Society BC. Neil was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for contribution to Canadian communities. In his local community, Neil coaches youth sport. He and his wife Martine Blier have a son (St. George’s Class of 2015) and two Yorkie daughters—Sophie (Class of 2016) and Adele (Class of 2020).
Shamir was appointed to the Board in November 2017 to fill a casual vacancy and was elected as governor in 2019. Shamir holds an MBA, Harvard Business School, and HBA, Ivey School of Business at Western University, and has been Senior Vice President, Investments & Operations, Larco Investments Ltd., for over 10 years. Larco is a private, multi-billion-dollar global real estate company with interests in multiple operating and real estate platforms in the US, UK, and Canada. In this role, he has oversight for investment and finance decisions as well as operational oversight of hotels and gaming in North America and serves on the Executive Committee. Prior to 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 board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, BC Region, where he is Vice-Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee. He and his wife Sophia have a son at Saint George’s, and two Yorkie daughters: Mishal in Grade 10 and Ava in Grade 8.
Kimberly was elected to the Board in 2020. Kimberly is an experienced executive and strategic business leader. The skillsets she brings to the Board include Fundraising, Finance, and Strategy. She previously worked at Scotiabank as Director of Corporate and Investment Banking as well as a Director of Institutional Sales, Trading and Research. She is a current member of the Board at Arts Umbrella and was the President of the Parents’ Association at two independent schools in Ontario (St. Clement’s School and Royal St. George’s College). She and her husband Fraser Phillips have daughter Georgia at YHS in Grade 12.
Murray was appointed to the Board in 2017 to fill a casual vacancy and was elected as governor in 2018. Murray is a well-respected educational technologist, an entrepreneur in eLearning, and an innovator who has founded numerous technology and education companies. Murray began as a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at UBC in 1993 and was awarded tenure there in 1998. In 1994, his first year as a faculty member at UBC, Goldberg won the Killiam Teaching Prize at UBC. His primary research focus was examining the effectiveness of web-based learning environments. In 1998, he founded the company WebCT, a platform to enable the simple and rapid creation of web-based learning environments. WebCT grew to serve 14 million students annually at 4,000 universities and colleges in 80 countries. He launched Marine Learning Systems in 2010, a company that provides enterprise eLearning infrastructure to safety-critical, capital-intensive industries such as the maritime and mining. Over the years, Murray has received much recognition for his contributions to education through eLearning and digital technologies. In 2011, Murray was named as one of the top 15 Canadians in Digital Media; in 2004, he was awarded the $100,000 National Manning Innovation Awards Principal Award; in 2004, he was granted an Honorary Ph.D. at Southern Cross University in Australia; in 2001, he received the New Media Hyperion Award; and in 2000, he was awarded the National CANARIE IWAY Award. Although Murray has not been a YHS parent, he is passionate about education. He and his wife, Ann, have two daughters attending university, studying Science and Math, and Biology.
Mike was elected to the Board in 2013. He was Chair of the YHS From Local to Global Excellence (L2G2) capital campaign. 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 who graduated in 2019, Lauren in Grade 12, Abigail in Grade 11, and Emily in Grade 9.
Joanne Lee-Young '90
Chair, Neighbour Committee Member, Advancement Committee & Head Evaluation Committee
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 Alumnae Association and has served on the Alumnae executive since 2014. Joanne is a journalist in Vancouver and previously worked as a foreign correspondent in Asia. An alumna 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 alumnae. She and her husband Philip Tulk have two daughters at York House: Frances in Grade 11 and Pippa in Grade 10.
Donald R. Lindsay
Member, Governance Committee and Head Evaluation 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 is 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 who graduated in 2016, Charlotte who graduated in 2017, and Sienna in Grade 5.
Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera
Chair, Risk Management Committee Member, 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 3.
Gaynor was elected to the Board in 2020. She has served on the Risk Management Committee since 2016. Gaynor is a lawyer, called to the bar both in British Columbia (1996) and the Yukon (2011). She is a partner at Whitelaw Twining and practices civil litigation. She believes in serving one’s community and empowering women. Her volunteer work at YHS includes serving as a Class Parent, and leading school tours for families. She also volunteers as a mentor and speaker at the UBC Allard School of Law and as a mentor through the Women’s Law Forum of the Canadian Bar Association. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Peter S. Hyndman Mentorship Award, an annual recognition conferred by the Vancouver Bar Association on a lawyer who has distinguished themselves as an exemplary mentor. Gaynor, and her husband Gordon Eng, are the proud parents of two Yorkies: Kadyn in Grade 12 and Emmet in Grade 10.
Farrell Eckman, President, YHS Parents’ Association (Advisor)
Farrell is currently the President of the YHS Parents’ Association. She has been a YHS Class Parent, a volunteer in the classroom, and organized the very first Welcome Back BBQ in 2015 for families, which has since become an annual tradition. She joined the PA as Vice-President in 2016.
Farrell grew up in Vancouver just down the street from York House School. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC and has continued studies in Human Resources. During her career, she has worked in both administration and HR policy and planning for a health services consulting firm.
Since having children, Farrell has become inspired by volunteerism. She began fundraising for the MS Society in 2005 and has served the local community as Secretary and then President of the Savary Island Property Owners’ Association.
Farrell is honoured to support York House School and its students, teachers, and administration by liaising with parents, organizing events, working with volunteers, and fundraising for scholarships, school projects, and equipment. She has two daughters at York House: Georgia in Grade 8 and Jamie in Grade 6.
Courtney (Smith) Cousineau '99, President, YHS Alumnae Association (Advisor)
In 2017, Courtney joined the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine as the Alumni Engagement Manager and is currently seconded into the role of Associate Director Alumni Engagement. Having previously worked with the Alumni Engagement team for UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science for four years, the part of her job she enjoys the most is having the opportunity to chat with alumni and hear their stories about their connections to the school and to each other. In between her years at UBC, Courtney had the pleasure of working at Vancouver College in the role of Communications Officer.
A graduate of Queen’s University (BAH’03) and York House School, Courtney has fond memories of her time at both of her alma mater schools and enjoys spending time giving back and volunteering. Most recently, she co-chaired the 2017 York Rose Ball and has been involved in helping to organize Alumnae Day. During the summer months, she can be happily found most evenings on a baseball field playing slo-pitch with her husband Matt Cousineau VC ’95.
Stevie Bryson Mitchell '61, Chair, YHS Foundation (Advisor)
After attending UBC, Stevie pursued a career in the investment business in Vancouver, Montreal, and New York before returning to Vancouver where she first worked in advertising. Stevie later became a writer and columnist for a variety of local and national publications and then a partner in an international award-winning multimedia production company specializing in corporate and special event communications. She was also Executive Director of a local non-profit dedicated to raising funds for the arts, sciences, and health communities in the lower mainland. Stevie has maintained strong ties to York House School as Past President of the Alumnae Association, Alumnae Co-Chair of the L2G Capital Campaign, Past Co-Chair of the 2007 and 2012 York Rose Ball, and as a Trustee of the YHS Foundation.