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Member Biographies

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.

Terence Fitzgerald

Terence Fitzgerald is presently a Screenwriter. He is currently publishing a children’s book series entitled BeBe and Miko. In the past, he was the President of US Operations for a Dussault Apparel Inc, a high-end, premium clothing line. He was the President, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Creator of Todd McFarlane Entertainment Incorporated, a film and animation studio whose premiere title, Spawn sold 1.7 million copies, Issue #1. While working for Todd McFarlane Entertainment, he produced music videos for Korn and Pearl Jam which earned two Grammy award nominations. Mr. Fitzgerald is a board member of the Vancouver Island University Alumni Association board and a graphic design mentor at Vancouver Island University. Previously, he was a board member of the Radio Malspina Society (CHLY 1.1.7 FM). He holds his Graphic Design diploma and Fine Arts diploma from Vancouver Island University.

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.

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.

Claire I. Moglove, Vice-Chair

Claire I. Moglove retired from the practice of law at the end of 2014, after a 34 year career, most recently in Campbell River, British Columbia.  Claire’s focus during the past 15 years was on collaboration, mediation and negotiation.  In addition to her legal career, Claire served two terms on Campbell River City Council (2008 – 2014) and three years as Chair of the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital Board.  Claire was a Director with AVICC (Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities) from 2011 – 2014 and UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities) from 2012 – 2014, rising to the position of Second Vice President at UBCM in 2014.  Claire holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Law degree, both from the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Ralph Nilson, President

Dr. Ralph Nilson has experienced a successful and impressive career as a leader in post-secondary education in Canada and the US for over thirty years. Prior to joining to Vancouver Island University in January 2007, Dr. Nilson was Vice President, Academic at Acadia University; Director, Indigenous Peoples Health Research Centre at the First Nations University of Canada; and Dean and Professor for the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina. An advocate for public engagement, Dr. Nilson is committed to supporting life-long learning and growth through post-secondary education. He values student access and student success. He believes partnerships are essential in post-secondary education and strives to foster collaborative relationships with the communities served by Vancouver Island University.

Jonalan Oddleifson

As a Chartered Accountant, founding member of Shelter Point Distillery and a consultant on several local real estate development projects, Jay brings a wealth of diverse expertise to the VIU Board. He has extensive experience in the travel and tourism industry, including more than a decade as CFO and Director of Planning & Development for Mount Washington Alpine Resort. A dedicated community man, Jay is a director of the Comox Valley Economic Development Society, treasurer of the Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club and chairman of Vancouver Island MusicFest. Mr. Oddleifson was appointed to the Board July 31, 2014.

Imtiaz Taj

Imtiaz Taj (Im) was born in Karachi Pakistan, he moved to US in 1985 to attend Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He left Bloomsburg in 1990, with BA’s in Theatre Arts, Economics, Journalism and Fine Arts Photography, and moved to Pittsburgh where he worked as an Actor and Director. He started working at Geneva College in 1992 as Technical Director and Facilities manager for the Theatre Department. While at Geneva, Im also studied Comparative Religion and Elementary Education. He moved to Rochester NY in 1999 and worked as an Actor, Production Manager and Loans Manager. Im moved to Toronto in 2003 and to Powell River BC in 2008 where he started his theatre company, Ravens Call Theatre. Im has acted in over 200 productions and Directed 43 productions. He became a Canadian Citizen in 2013 and started school at VIU Powell River in January 2014. Im has served as External Relations Manager for VIU WUSC, as VIU Student Ambassador and Orientation Leader since moving to Nanaimo in Summer 2014. He also worked as an Enrolment and Retention Assistant with Faculty of Social Sciences and currently he is serving as a Student Faculty Representative for Psychology in the Social Sciences Deans Council.

Allan Wiekenkamp

Allan Wiekenkamp, CA TEP CFP, is the President of Sum Consulting Limited, a Nanaimo based consultancy firm specializing in financial services for international private clients and family offices. He is an enthusiastic entrepreneur who has founded 2 successful offshore financial services companies and is active in giving back to the community through volunteering on several local boards. Mr. Wiekenkamp was previously the Managing Director (and founder) of FORS (Family Office Reporting Services) that provides accounting and investment reporting services to individuals, family offices and trust companies throughout the world. He spent 5 years with Ernst & Young in Bermuda before staring FORS. Mr. Wiekenkamp is also a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, The Bermuda Institute of Chartered Accountants and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Bermuda. In 2010 he received the early achievement award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia. Mr. Wiekenkamp was appointed to the Board January 31, 2013.