VIU Scenery

Member Biographies

George Anderson, Chair (On Leave)

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.

Karen Bittner, Acting Chair

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.

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.

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.

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.

Chris Jaeger

Chris Jaeger has been a member of the Faculty of Management for almost 20 years. He teaches in both, the Marketing and Management Departments.

Chris teaches mainly in Nanaimo, on the traditional lands of the Snuneymuxw.  He recognizes too that VIU has a presence among the Quw’utsun, Snaw-Naw-As and Tla’amin peoples.  To all, he offers his thanks for the many opportunities he, along with so many others, enjoy in being able to teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

Chris has come to the VIU Board of Governors after spending 10 years of being a member of various academic governance committees including, Education Standards, VIU's Senate and the Planning and Priorties Committee.

Chris is committed to ensuring the promises of learning, studying and academia are within reach of as many people as possible. He appreciates how transformative attaining successful education outcomes can be, not only for students, and their families, but also for the instructors and the staff who work to create meaningful programs and to deliver them.  It is in this spirit that Chris shares his thoughts with his colleagues on the Board and envisions VIU's future growth.

Pankaj Jangir

Pankaj Jangir is a legal professional hailing from a remote farming community in Northern India. Currently he is pursuing MBA from the Faculty of Management. With a strong background in law, Pankaj brings a unique and valuable perspective to his role as both a legal professional and a passionate advocate for student needs.

Through his experiences as a practicing advocate, Pankaj has honed his analytical skills and collaborative approach, ensuring that all voices are heard and respected in critical decision-making processes. His dedication to fostering positive change and championing student interests is complemented by his passion for photography and music, which have cultivated an eye for detail and creativity that enhance his approach to governance.

As Student Governor, Pankaj is committed to being a steadfast advocate for student rights and well-being, working diligently to promote a harmonious and inclusive academic environment. Collaborating with the Board of Governors and the student body, he aims to uphold principles of fairness, transparency, and excellence within the university community.

With his resolute commitment to positive transformation, Pankaj is poised to make a meaningful impact in his capacity as the Student Governor, contributing significantly to the growth and success of Vancouver Island University.

Manley McLachlan

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.

Cole Reinbold

Born in Nanaimo and raised in Fort St. John, Cole Reinbold is a diligent fourth-year Bachelors of Business Administration student with a major in Marketing at Vancouver Island University (VIU). Cole is passionately involved in many facets of student life. As the Senior Community Leader for VIU Residences, they play an instrumental role in building community and fostering a positive living environment. As Chairperson of the VIU Students' Union (VIUSU), Cole is an advocate for student rights, working tirelessly to represent their peers at the administrative, and political level. Their leadership extends further as a Director-at-Large for the BC Federation of Students, and as a member of the Senate.

Cole's approach is characterized by creative thinking, always challenging the status quo through innovative ideas and student advocacy. Their commitment to their fellow students' well-being and educational success has earned them a reputation for integrity and resourcefulness.

In their spare time, Cole enjoys nurturing their artistic side through painting, perfecting the art of bread-making, and cherishing heartfelt conversations with their Mum and Sister. These hobbies reflect Cole's multifaceted personality and the balance they maintain between their professional commitments and personal life.

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.