board of directors
Anyone wishing to join NACL's Board of Directors must first be a member in good standing. If you meet this criteria and would like more information about joining NACL's Board of Directors, please contact our Executive Assistant, Marlena Stewart, for more details and/or to get an information package.
Our Current Board - 2022/2023
KIRSTEN J. MADSEN
MARGARET (MARG) FRASER
JACQUELINE (JACQUIE) HOWARDSON
DANIEL (DAN) JOHNSTON
Daniel (Dan) Johnston was elected to the NACL Board of Directors at their meeting held on April 27, 2015. Dan's daughter has attended our Actions Day Program for over ten years. Along with his wife Trish, Dan is very involved with the COCO Cafe, a social enterprise they co-created with three other families in Cedar with the objective of providing employment and social integration opportunities for persons with diversabilities within their community. Dan is a lawyer with over 35 years of experience. While Dan's initial practice focused on corporate/commercial matters, it has evolved over the years. Dan now practices primarily as a mediator, dealing with a wide range of aboriginal, environmental, corporate/commercial, public policy, and labour issues across Canada, with a specialty in large, multi-party conflicts. With Dan's extensive legal background and social enterprise experience, we have been extremely fortunate to have him on our Board.
John Jessup retired in 2000 from the City of Vancouver Housing Centre, where he was the Lead Housing Development Project Manager. He then came to Nanaimo to become a private housing development consultant, promoting and developing non-profit housing projects north of the Malahat, accessing Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and BC Housing funding programs. For the past 15 years, he worked with persons served, families, and senior staff at NACL to pursue development of a townhouse project for young adults, which ultimately came to fruition as the Uplands Drive Housing Project – and had its first tenants move into their new homes as of October 2020. John has advanced degrees in Economics, Community Planning, and Performance Accounting for Police Services from UBC, Western Ontario, and Simon Fraser Universities. While at the City of Vancouver for over 25 years, he was a Senior Social Planner in the Social Planning Department, being responsible for community services and affordable housing initiatives. Given his background and long-term involvement with NACL, John looks forward to further enhancing and extending housing, support, and care services to persons with diversabilities and their families in Nanaimo. John officially joined NACL’s Board of Directors on July 28, 2021.
kirsten j. madsen
Kirsten J. Madsen is the mother of a lovable but challenging son who has multiple diagnoses and special needs. She has been a full-time practicing trial lawyer for over 30 years. She is also a trained family mediator. She and her husband and their son relocated from Vancouver to Nanaimo in 2011 for a different life. While in Vancouver, Kirsten served on the Board of the Developmental Disabilities Foundation, and is still a long-term, active volunteer with the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada. Kirsten is also a past Board member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and has held various elected positions through the Canadian Bar Association. For many years, Kirsten was also volunteer legal counsel for a program run by the MS Society of BC. Kirsten has presented on legal topics related to disability as a lawyer, as well as from a personal perspective of having severely disabled special needs child. When not doing other things, you can find Kirsten with her son searching for animals like Canada geese, seagulls, and deer around Departure Bay. Kirsten was elected to NACL's Board of Directors at our Annual General Meeting on September 23, 2019.
MARGARET (MARG) FRASER
Marg Fraser is the mother of Leanne, a woman who currently receives services at NACL and is a resident of our Uplands Housing Project. Marg, along with her husband Dave and her daughter Leanne, have been longstanding members of NACL – and have supported our housing project since Day One. In the last five years of her career, Marg was the manager of Nanaimo Mental Health and Addictions, and previously had an extensive career in mental health and addictions services both in Nanaimo and Victoria. In her retirement, Marg enjoys being both a member and the Treasurer of the Zonta Club of Nanaimo, which is a worldwide organization working to improve the lives of women locally and internationally through service and advocacy. Her spare time is filled with looking after her two “little” granddaughters – keeping her as busy as she was while working, but absolutely loving it! As stated in her application, Marg fully appreciates NACL’s work, and is extremely grateful for the support her daughter has received. She welcomes the opportunity to give back by joining the NACL Board of Directors. Marg was officially added to our Board as of December 16, 2019.
Neil Cutler grew up having Left-Hemi Cerebral Palsy. As a result, he has become passionate about the quality of life and the sense of connection for people with diversabilities. He is a Community Support Worker working for Nanaimo Supportive Lifestyles and has been running Nanaimo Community Dances, which has offered free/by donation dances to the Community Living BC (CLBC) community since 2006. Recently, as a result of COVID-19, these have become weekly virtual dances – drawing people from around North America. He is also a certified yoga therapy teacher, and a crisis worker who enjoys sharing wellness practices with his clients with diversabilities. In addition, he was the proud recipient of the Community Social Services Employers Association’s Hero Award of Excellence, which he received at their October 2022 conference. Neil believes strongly in a sense of inclusion for everyone, believes strongly in the values of NACL, and brings a strong passion for creating accessible, inclusive opportunities for the community. Neil officially joined our NACL Board as a Director on September 21, 2020.
JACQUELINE (JACQUIE) HOWARDSON
As a longtime community volunteer and director on several local boards, Jacquie Howardson brings a rich, diverse, and varied background to the NACL Board of Directors. A BA in Anthropology and MA in Environmental Education have fueled her enthusiasm to absorb and share knowledge acquired through both the formal institutions of learning and informal hands-on experiential learning. Having experienced educational opportunities from First Nations Elders in Alert Bay and during field trips to Peru and Kenya, Jacquie learned that the common thread running through all of these very diverse communities of people is that they have rich and valuable cultural and life knowledge to share, plus they want homes, stability, happiness, and the opportunity to blossom as individuals while realizing their full potential…which deeply parallels for people with diversabilities. Through extensive local volunteering, from chairing a Neighbourhood Association to being a past director of the John Howard Society, and by sitting on various City and other committees regarding homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues, Jacquie has gained extensive community hands-on knowledge on many complex social issues here in Nanaimo. She looks forward to contributing to NACL in its mission to support their diverse and vibrant community with dignity that is grounded in inclusivity and respect. Jacquie joined our Board of Directors as of April 9, 2022.
TRACIE ST. LUKE
Tracie has been employed at Coastal Community Credit Union for 27 years, with the past eight as their Relationship Centre Manager - passionately supporting the member experience at all 24 retail locations up and down Vancouver Island. Tracie became aware of the impacts of NACL while working downtown in 2014, witnessing a gap supporting day-to-day banking for individuals with diversabilities. The needed experience is two-fold - cultivating a personal experience for those attending for “quality of life and sense of routine,” plus the need to provide an effortless experience for those may become anxious in a financial institution - setting this interaction up for success through communicating with those experts in-the-know, like NACL. Tracie has resided in Nanaimo for 30 years with her husband Riley and her two children, Carson and Taylor. Tracie’s 20-year-old son Carson is new to attending NACL's Actions Day Program, where he is actively applying new skills at the FoodShare program - which is a great introduction to the workforce. Tracie has been an active parent, volunteering and fundraising for events like the Autism Expo and Autism Walk and Bounce. Tracie is passionate about enhancing services to individuals with diversabilities, and meeting them where they are in their journeys into adulthood. NACL is a space where she hopes to influence awareness and support people with diversabilities to feel valued, recognized, and connected - where kindness delivers a sense of pride in our community and their lives. Tracie loves living on Vancouver Island and the outdoor recreation it provides. She also appreciates quality time with family and friends, good food, and music. Tracie St. Luke became NACL's newest Board member on December 6, 2022.
TRACIE ST. LUKE