Board Nominee Bios
Get to know the new applicants to board and re-connect with the current board members up for renewal.
New Board Applicants
Pam Costello – I have worked at Aunt Leah’s Place for 17 years. I started off as a Support Worker at Aunt Leah’s House for teen moms. From there I was a Support Worker in the Support Link Program and have also worked as a Family Support Worker. Since 2007 I have been a certified doula for current and past moms of our programs and have been at around 25 births. I have been the Director of Operations at Aunt Leah’s for the past 6 years. I believe in changing the thinking and perception of the community about youth in and from foster care. It would be an honour to work alongside youth in and from care to help them ensure their voices are heard.
Kim Lee – Hello! My name is Kim and I am a second generation foster kid and also a former MCFD child protection social worker. I was born in Saskatoon and then we were made ‘Continuing Custody Order’ wards a few years after we moved to Kelowna. This meant both my sister and I aged out of the system at 19 – just as many of you have also done!
I was able to obtain by BSW from UBC Okanagan in 2011 and worked for MCFD for just over two years on the Aboriginal teams in both Williams Lake and Penticton before deciding that child protection was not a job for me! While struggling to find a place to best use my skills and passion for YIC issues I found, shining like a beacon, the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks. I joined the BOD and never looked back! Working alongside MCFD and other stakeholders with young people in and from care made me realise that together we really can tackle the big issue and change policies for the BETTER! I stepped down to have a kid but she’s now a defiant two-year old so I am definitely ready to get back to it!
Alexis Martin – I am a former youth in care, turned leadership development coach and business consultant, passionate about revolutionizing the child welfare system. Born in Vancouver, raised in Manitoba, I am FINALLY moving back to Vancouver in fall of 2018 – and would love to become a part of the Fed family!
A few folks who have a really good memory may remember me from the fall of 2015 SCM when I had the privilege of joining the Fed briefly to support and co-facilitate the Fed strategic planning discussions. That was a lot of fun, and I was so inspired by the great ideas and passion shared by everyone involved.
Not too many years ago, I was the youth outreach worker for VOICES; Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network. In that role (in addition to planning and attending a ton of fun events for youth in care), I learned a lot more about the various systems and people that influence the experience of youth in care. I decided I wanted to build the skills and knowledge to be able to make system level change; and so I became a business consultant for a large professional service firm. In this role, I have had the opportunity to work with government and service delivery agencies to redesign systems and processes to better meet the needs of children and youth in care. I have helped design several pilot programs focused on creating better outcomes for youth in care and better supporting families to stay together.
I probably sound rather “business-y”, and I can be when I need to be – but I am usually rather playful and enjoy being silly. The strongest and most meaningful connections often happen when you are having FUN. Some of the things I have the most FUN doing include: improve (attending or performing), board games, being in nature (can’t wait to get to beautiful British Columbia!), and crafting – in particular scrapbooking and card making.
Renewing Board Applicants
Debbie Cox - The voices of young people in and from care are making a difference at every level in our communities. As board chair, I am honoured to have the opportunity to contribute and learn from each of you. It’s my hope that my experience listening, sharing and building collaborative relationships will bring value to the work of the Fed and help provoke dialogue and action.
With a degree in communications, specialized training in facilitation and collective impact, a deep understanding of global expectations, and more than twenty years’ experience bringing corporations, communities and governments together to tackle challenging issues, I bring a strong commitment to fostering positive change for people and communities. As a person with strong connections to youth in and from care, and as president of James Laurence Group, a company that helps drive change through communications, engagement and performance management, I am excited about the direction the Fed and its members are taking. I see the next few years as a time to build on the strong foundation that has been established.
From my roots in small northern communities and my experience bringing together different perspectives and interests, I’ve learned to believe that together we can achieve great things. My goal for this year is to help BC’s youth in and from care continue to grow stronger and to help ensure your voices are celebrated across the province and the country.
Katelyn Crabtree – I was driven to be on the Board because I am enthusiastic about the abilities of youth to initiate and drive change. As a multicultural, First Nation woman from a smaller community who is now working as an urban professional, I look forward to bringing my experiences to connect with and assist youth in care with reaching their goal.
I am a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn traditional teachings from my mother and elder community members. I graduated from the Juris Doctor program at the University of Victoria. I recently practiced Aboriginal Law with a private firm and am now working with the City of Vancouver as Manager of Indigenous Relations. Prior to this I worked with the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, as well as with Native Child and Family Services of Toronto for a semester during law school. I currently volunteer with the YWCA Aboriginal mentorship program, Circle of Sisters.
Gary Tennant - My work has been in child and youth care, starting when I volunteered at a neighbourhood house in my teens, as I worked in group homes and school programs and later when I taught child and youth care at Douglas College. Working at the College gave me the opportunity to get to know many of the youth serving programs in the Lower Mainland. One year I worked at Pace, a program for young children and their families. Another year I had an educational leave and I worked with the Native Health Safe Houses with youth 16 and younger.
I enjoyed work in child and youth care very much. Some of the highlights of teaching for me were when we were able to develop programs for community people – the longest running example was our Working with Street Involved Youth program which was designed for people who had been through some of the life issues of the youth and who wanted to work with street-involved youth. It was remarkable to work with people with so much commitment and understanding.
Now, I am retired, married with three grown-up children in their thirties. I go on adventures with my partner, read, go to the gym, sometimes play the fiddle, hang out with friends and work on the Fed Board.