VIU Scenery

Member Biographies

Jean Crowder

Jean Crowder is a retired Member of Parliament for the Government of Canada, where she served over 10 years. Prior to serving as a Member of Parliament she was a City Councillor for North Cowichan. Active in her community, Ms. Crowder is a Board Director for Providence Village Housing Society, and has been Chair of Volunteer Cowichan, United Way and the Pacific Childcare Society. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Rachel Dalton

Rachel Dalton is currently a Business Advisor and Client Accounting Service for Meyers Norris Penny Accountancy and Business Advisory Firm. Previously she was an Accounting and Office Assistant for Vancouver Island University Student Union. Active in her community, Ms. Dalton is a Mentor Team Lead for CPA Martin Mentorship Program. She holds an Advanced Business Technology Degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and her Bachelors of Business Administration Degree from Vancouver Island University.

Linda Derksen

Dr. Linda Derksen has been a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Vancouver Island University since 2003. She earned her PhD in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California at San Diego, where she was supported by over $190,000 in Canadian and American scholarships. She also holds a BA and MA in Sociology from the University of Alberta. She boasts an impressive scholarly publication record in front line journals including the American Sociological Review, the Encyclopedia of Sociology, Social Studies of Science, Implementation Science, Nursing Research and more. Her research interests are diverse, including the history of DNA profiling, the CSI effect, knowledge utilization, hierarchical linear modelling, seniors’ caregiving networks, and bibliometric analysis. One of her early (1993) publications on recycling behaviour has been cited over 500 times, and has influenced recycling policies worldwide. Dr. Derksen has volunteered her time to do community-based research, including Nanaimo's "Safer City" initiative, and as lead researcher on the successful Gabriola Island Transportation survey. Chair of the Department of Sociology from 2005-2011, Dr. Derksen is an experienced leader, bringing to the board expertise in governance, leadership, data collection and analysis, organizational knowledge diffusion, and a deep understanding of the role of universities in contemporary society. She is passionate about the unique learning experiences VIU provides, and is unwaveringly committed to her students’ success. She has mentored many of Sociology’s most successful students, including a former student who won VIU’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Early Achievement Award.

Warren Erhart

Warren Erhart, a graduate of Malaspina College and recipient of the VIU Distinguished Alumni award in 2011, is the President & CEO of White Spot Hospitality.  In 1990, after spending 14 years with the Keg Restaurant group, Warren joined White Spot as the Division General Manager.  In 1994 he was promoted to President and CEO. White Spot Hospitality is now over a hundred locations in Canada and Asia, and will serve over 17,000,000 guests this year. A major factor in Warren’s success has been his ability to build relationships, with employees, guests, and business partners, and his passion for giving back to the community. Warren is a past chairman of the Canadian Restaurant Foodservice Association where he has served on this board since 1993. He was also inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2010. White Spot recently celebrated its 85th anniversary, making it one of North America’s most enduring and best loved restaurant chains.  White Spot has been the recipient of many industry awards and most recently recognized at the Gold level as one of Canada’s Top 50 Best Managed Companies, received the Canadian Franchise Association’s Award of Excellence for the Traditional Franchises/Mature/Established Category, and is recognized as one of BC’s Most Loved Brands. Mr. Erhart was appointed to the Board July 31, 2014.

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.

Eliza Gardiner

Eliza Gardiner is a professor in the Theatre Department, in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, at Vancouver Island University; she teaches theatre history, public speaking and applied drama. With her MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and her BFA in Film from York University, Eliza’s scholarly focus on fifth century Attic tragedy has evolved into inter-disciplinary, arts-based research featuring participatory theatre methodologies and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Eliza presented on “The Power of Indigenous Theatre” at the Arts and Humanities Colloquium, was VIU’s United Way Campaign Associate for two fall fundraising campaigns, and served as chair of the VIU Faculty Association’s Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee from 2012 to 2107. With a passion for post-secondary education, Eliza supports student learning as tutor in the Writing Centre, recently joined the Criminology Department on its field school to Arizona to study corrections facilities, and has attended international delegations to Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. A commissioned playwright and past children’s theatre director, Eliza enjoys a summertime gig in the Business Department at Shambhala Music Festival, and is current General Manager of Nanaimo’s professional theatre company, TheatreOne. Eliza is honoured to serve as faculty representative on VIU’s Board of Governors.

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.

Erralyn Joseph

Erralyn Joseph, Snuneymuxw First Nation councillor-elect Thomas, 27, is the youngest member of the SFN council. She is also wrapping up her term as the female youth representative for the BC Assembly of First Nations. She graduated from UBC law school last year with a focus on business law and says she hopes to use her expertise to improve her community.

Makenzie Leine, Chair

Makenzie Leine is a Registered Professional Forester, has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Business Management from the University of Alberta, and is currently practicing in the private sector. Makenzie has extensive experience communicating internally, with the public, various levels of government, and the media as well as environmental management. Makenzie also is the Chair of the Canadian Women in Timber and the Canadian Women in Timber – Vancouver Island Branch, a non-profit organization focused on youth education on forest resource management. Ms. Leine was appointed to the Board December 31, 2013.

Louise Mandell, Chancellor

For three decades Louise Mandell has devoted her professional life to the advancement of Canada’s Aboriginal and Treaty rights. She was one of the founding members of the Mandell Pinder law firm, which began in 1983 with a focus on assisting Aboriginal peoples to achieve recognition of their title and rights and to develop prosperous, sustainable communities. Since then she has devoted her efforts to implementing constitutional change, and has been one of the major conceptual thinkers in the area of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. She has made presentations to Standing Committees of the House of Commons and has been a regular speaker on every aspect of native rights at conferences – both nationally and internationally. Mandell is an engaging public speaker and writer and is committed to passing on her knowledge through her involvement in continuing legal education workshops and forums. Mandell received a Degree in Education at UBC before graduating from Law School, and was selected by UBC Faculty of Law as one of the two outstanding alumni from each decade. In 2013, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs honoured Louise by creating “The Louise Mandell Legal Research Collection”. In 1997 Mandell was appointed Queen’s Counsel and in 2001 was awarded the Georges Goyer Q.C. Memorial Award for exceptional contribution to the development of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights jurisprudence across the country. On January 1, 2011, Mandell moved out of the day-to-day practice of law – she remains connected in the esteemed capacity of ‘partner emeritus’ to the firm.

Manley McLachlan, Vice-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, he 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.

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. For more information on President Saucier, please visit