VIU Scenery

Member Biographies

George Anderson, Vice-Chair

George Anderson is a Lawyer, Former City Councillor and Regional District Director, and musician who was born and raised in Nanaimo. Mr. Anderson is passionate about community involvement. He has volunteered for several organizations including: the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island, the Salvation Army, Vancouver Island Multi-Cultural Society, and the Ontario Justice Education Network. He has been recognized as Junior Citizen of the Year by the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and in 2016 he was presented with the BC Achievement Award by the Lieutenant Governor of BC. In his spare time, George enjoys cycling, travelling, skiing, visiting art galleries, and trying new foods. Mr. Anderson also has a love of music. He plays five musical instruments and has had the honor of playing with the Juno award winning group VEJI. Mr. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vancouver Island University and a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Nate Bello

Nate Bello was an Instructor at the College of New Caledonia, a Director with the Cariboo Regional District and the Mayor of the City of Quesnel. Active in his community, Mr. Bello was a Member of the Vancouver Island Workability Society and the Columbia Institute. He was also President and Director of the Social Planning and Research Council, Vice - Chair and Director of the Northern Development Trust Initiative, and Vice – Chair and Member of the University of Northern British Columbia. Mr. Bello holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum Development from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Fordham University.

Karen Bittner

Karen Bittner was raised a farmer’s daughter in small town Saskatchewan.  After high school, she completed her Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation (now known as Chartered Professional Accountant) and Master of Business Administration.  For the first 20 years of her career, she served as a public servant in management roles firstly for the City of Regina and, later, the Government of Saskatchewan. In 2008, Karen moved to Vancouver Island accepting a Director role with Vancouver Island Health Authority in the seniors’ portfolio.  She later served as the Executive Director of the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association and, currently, is an accountant in private industry.  Karen and her husband have also pursued one of their “bucket list” items by starting a small farm outside of Mill Bay. 

Karen learned early in life that if you want your community to serve you, you must serve your community.  In Saskatchewan, she volunteered for numerous boards and organizations including the 2003 Grey Cup, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, TCU Financial Group and the Society of Management Accountants of Saskatchewan, serving as its President in 2007.  In 2007, Karen was conferred a Fellow of The Society of Management Accountants of Canada for her contributions to her community, her employer and the accounting profession.  She has continued her volunteer work in the Cowichan Valley and is proud to serve Vancouver Island University.

Johnny Blakeborough

(Member biography to follow) 

Kiera Brown

(Member biography to follow) 

Dr. Brian Dick

(Member biography to follow) 

Erin Egeland

Erin Egeland is an Accounting Professor and past Chair of the Accounting program in VIU’s Faculty of Management. She also teaches in UBC’s Diploma in Accounting Program and is a module workshop session leader for the CPA Western School of Business Professional Education Program. Erin has over 16 years of teaching experience and specializes in Income Tax, Fraud Investigation, and Managerial Accounting. Erin has been a visiting scholar with several of VIU’s international partner institutions and served on many committees including the Faculty of Management Curriculum and Education Standards and Graduate Business Studies Strategic Planning Committees. She was also selected as an external BBA program reviewer for North Island College in the Fall of 2020 and is a current member of CPA-BC’s Indigenous Initiatives Task Force. Prior to teaching, she worked for nine years as a Federal Tax Compliance Auditor with the Canada Revenue Agency. She is the past - President of her local Minor Hockey Association and serves as Secretary/Treasurer for the Association of Certified Forensic Investigators of Canada and Reel Causes Society in Vancouver. Erin has lived in the Cowichan Valley for almost thirty years wither husband and three boys, and is grateful for the beautiful outdoors where she finds time to kayak, hike, and bike when taking a break from her UBC Doctoral studies.

Colin Gabelmann

Born in London, England in 1944, Colin Gabelmann moved to Osoyoos, BC with his mother in 1947 where he grew up on an orchard with five siblings.  He attended Elementary school in Osoyoos, High School (Grades 10 to 13) in Oliver, and UBC (1964-1967) though he did not complete a BA.  Gabelmann worked for BC New Democratic Party (1967-70) and the BC Federation of Labour (1970-1972; 1976-1978).  He was elected MLA in North Vancouver Seymour in 1972 and elected MLA in the North Island from 1979-1996.  Gabelmann also served as BC’s Attorney General from 1991-1995; worked as an advisor for two Coast Salish First Nations (1997-2002); and has served on various Boards including Pacific Racing Association, The Land Conservancy, John Howard Society North Island (currently) and John Howard Society BC (currently). His interests include reading, public policy, gardening, travelling, kayaking and skiing.

Katy Hamedankhah

Katy Hamedankhah is an international student here at VIU majoring in political studies and serving as a student elected Governor on the Board as well as a political science student representative of the Social Science department. She is the youngest member of her family and was born and raised in Tehran, the capital of Iran. She holds a Bachelor of Science in petroleum engineering, but after everything she has seen and experienced back home, she made the decision to pursue her true interests and passions instead. After she graduates, she wants to pursue a law degree, to start a profession as a human rights attorney to protect human rights with the care and attention they deserve. She strongly believes it is her responsibility to volunteer and assist those in need in whatever way she can. She has been volunteering for a number of years. She actively volunteered for women's safe houses and as a teacher for marginalized groups, including children of labor who lacked access to a quality education. In addition, she was a Red Crescent volunteer member and is trained in Standard First Aid and CPR.

Katy has a great passion for photography and filmmaking. Her favorite pastime is to photograph her loved ones when they are at their most relaxed and capture the beauty that she perceives in them.

John Alan Jack

John Alan Jack was born and raised in the Oceanside area of Vancouver Island. He graduated from what is now Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Distinction in the interdisciplinary field of Global Studies. John is a three term elected Councillor for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a member-nation of the modern Maa-nulth Treaty. He also represents his First Nation on the Board of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, where has has also served as its Chair since December 2016. He lives in French Creek with his wife and two daughters.

Manley McLachlan, Chair

Manley McLachlan served as President for the BC Construction Association for many years. Under his leadership, BCCA developed the Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) which includes the Immigrant Skilled Trades Employment Program, Step for Women, Aboriginal Skilled Trades Employment Program and the EU STEP program. Prior to joining the BC Construction Association, Mr. McLachlan managed the Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA) for nine years. At SCA, he promoted the implementation of information technology solutions for membership and led “Project Cornerstones”, a ground-breaking restructuring initiative designed to address change across the industry. Mr. McLachlan previously worked as an excavation and trenching contractor and a sales manager in both the automotive and communications industries.

Active in his community, Mr. McLachlan is the past Co-Chair of the Vancouver Aboriginal Strategic Employment Partnership ASEP Training Society, director for the Council of Construction Associations, the Canadian Council for Innovation in Construction and a committee member for the Innovation committee and the Human Resource committee for the Canadian Construction Association. He served on several not-for-profit organizations such as the United Way and the Canadian Diabetes Association. Mr. McLachlan holds his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.

Emmy Manson

Emmy Manson is a proud Snuneymuxw member and the Wellness Administrator of Snuneymuxw First Nation. Previously Ms. Manson was an Indigenous Navigator at Vancouver Island University and a Mental Wellness Advisor with First Nation Healthy Authority. Active in her community, she is an Elected Councillor and Team Caption of the Block Watch for the Snuneymuxw First Nation. Ms. Manson holds a Masters and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria.

Holly-Marie Page

Holly Page retired after serving a lengthy and fulfilling career representing and advocating for human rights and indigenous issues for workers and community. In her position of Aboriginal Liaison she built a bridge between members, union leadership, and indigenous communities and organizations.  Prior to her second retirement in 2020 Holly was Labour Coordinator for United Way Greater Victoria. Previously Ms. Page was Equity and Human Rights and Aboriginal Liaison Officer for the British Columbia General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) for 10 years.  She also was as a Senior Organizer and Vice President for BCGEU. Active in her community, Ms. Page was the United Way Representative on the Executive of the Victoria Labour Council and North Island representative for the BC Federation of Retired Union Members (BC FORUM) North Island Labour Council. Holly has extensive knowledge in labour law, labour relations, indigenous organizing and workplace, community, and political campaigns, and governance. 

Prior to retirement she was a member of the Aboriginal Human Rights Committees of the BC Federation of Labour, the National Union of Public and General Employees and the Canadian Labour Congress. Holly is a skilled facilitator and mediator and has taught leadership and campaigns and organizing in Canada, the United States, and Middle East. Holly was committed for years building the indigenous movement in unions and inspiring and mentoring union members to be part of the movement. She is currently a public board member of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and a member of the Inquiry Committee and Governance Committee. Holly lives in quathet Regional District in Powell River, BC.

Dr. Deborah Saucier, President

Dr. Deborah (Deb) Saucier became President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University in July 2019. An experienced administrator, accomplished neuroscientist and devoted educator, Saucier is deeply committed to student success, Indigenous education, reconciliation and community engagement. Learn more about President Saucier.

Dr. Judith Sayers, Chancellor

Dr. Judith Sayers is a member of the Hupacasath First Nation and mother of two. She was elected as the new president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in September 2017. Judith has worked as a Strategic Adviser to First Nations and corporations and is an adjunct professor at the Peter Gustavson School of Business and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She was the elected Chief of the Hupacasath First Nation for 14 years and the Chief Negotiator for 15 years. Judith’s educational background includes a business and law degree and an honourary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University. She has an extensive background of practicing law for 18 years in both Alberta and British Columbia, working in international forums, lobbying governments and other agencies for the promotion and protection of First Nations rights and title.