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 2022-23
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 Chair of the ad hoc Head Search Committee. She 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 Yorkie daughter Sophie (Class of 2022) and a son at Saint George’s.
Joanne Lee-Young '90, Board Vice-Chair
Chair, Neighbour Committee Member, Governance 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. She has served on various Board committees, including the ad hoc Head Search Committee. 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 (Class of 2022) and Pippa in Grade 12.
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 Yorkie daughters—Zoe (Class of 2022) and Julia in Grade 12.
Kathy was elected to the Board in 2022. 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 9, and two sons in university.
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. 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 in Grade 12 and Ava in Grade 10.
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 a Yorkie daughter—Georgia (Class of 2021).
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.
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.
Member, Advancement and Major Gifts Committee, Facilities and Maintenance Committee
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 3.
Donald R. Lindsay
Member, Governance Committee, 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 recently announced his retirement as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tech 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 7.
Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera
Member, Head Evaluation Committee, Risk Management 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 5.
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 (Class of 2021) and Emmet in Grade 12.
Tanya Mehta, President, YHS Parents’ Association (Advisor)
Tanya was appointed to the Board in May 2021 as Advisor in her role as President of the YHS Parents’ Association. With 10+ years’ experience in business development, strategic planning and management, Tanya has spearheaded various startups in Canada, UK and India. Since her graduation at London School of Economics in 2010, Tanya was closely associated in creating one of the largest privately-owned food-grain storage facilities, storing 2.6 billion pounds of food (i.e. 2-pound food grain) for every Indian. She actively participated in setting up India’s largest solar project for 175 MW in the world's largest solar park. Since coming to Canada she worked in the banking industry as a Financial Advisor and founded Aright Greentech Canada in Vancouver. Her goal is to work with like-minded Ag-innovators, embarking on creating resilient food systems that are environmentally and economically sustainable and also socially just for generations to come. Tanya is now an affiliate of the program “Each One Teach One”, a not-for-profit outreach program extended from her all-girls academy in New Delhi. She is also a part of her past private school alumni board establishing mentorship, educational funding opportunities, developmental support and cultivation of community connection. She became a part of the YHS Family in 2019 and since then has actively participated in various events in the YHS community and volunteered in the classroom. She became a part of the YHS Parents' Association as VP in 2020. She and her husband, Akshay, have one Yorkie daughter—Tiana in Grade 2.
Devon Taylor '02, President, YHS Alumnae Association (Advisor)
Following her time as a Lifer at York House, Devon went to UVic where she received a BFA, with distinction, in Theatre and Acting. Instead of a career in acting, Devon spent five years as the top sales representative at a North American-wide sales company. Devon then studied journalism at BCIT and enjoyed a decade-long career in media as a talk show producer, working at both News Talk 980 CKNW and Roundhouse Radio. After having her first child, Devon decided a career change was needed. As a result, Devon found herself in the not-for-profit sector, currently working in Resource Development at the Alzheimer Society of BC.
Devon joined the YHS Alumnae Association Executive in 2019 as Vice President. She has been involved with the Holiday Market and various online virtual events. Devon is excited to be on the Committee for the 2022 York Rose Ball and is looking forward to taking the 'Barbeau Boutique - Used Uniform Shop' to a hybrid online and in-person (hopefully!) model. Devon and her wife, Jill, have two children—a four-year-old son, William, and a one-year-old daughter, Camryn, who is hoping to be a graduate of the YHS Class of 2038!
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 Grade 12 student at St. George’s and Eloise, a Grade 9 York House student.