Board of Directors
Meet our Board of Directors
Meet our Board of Directors
Leslie’s career in education and social services spans more than 30 years, in both Alberta and BC. During that time, Leslie’s roles included coach, teacher, counselor, board member, professor, and community leader. She believes that everyone has strengths and gifts to bring to communities and in the value of lifelong learning.
Provincially, Leslie was part of a team that wrote the BC Foster Parent Education Curriculum and served on the BC Parent Visioning Working Group, and the Vancouver Island Child Welfare Advisory Committee.
Leslie is committed to working with others to bring community-based social services together in finding innovative ways to meet the increasingly complex needs in the community and to build upon the strengths of people in the community. As a result, she is part of the organizing committee of the local Community Boards in Action initiative in Duncan that brings board directors and senior staff together with business and local government sectors in dialogue about social and economic challenges, and opportunities facing citizens in the Cowichan region.
As a director of Board Voice, Leslie serves on the Advocacy Committee and worked with communities across BC to produce There is a Better Way: A BC Framework for Wellbeing. She has presented to a number of organizations and written opinion pieces in the Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, and local papers on the need for common principles to guide policy development. Leslie also serves on Board Voice’s Membership Committee. Currently, she is involved in working with other board directors and senior staff in developing the Building Better Boards initiative focused on strengthening and bringing together the volunteer boards that govern B.C.’s community social service organizations.
In retirement, Leslie is an active community volunteer, serving as Board Chair at Clements Centre for Families, as a collaborator for Governance for Our Kids Climate, and as Co-Chair of Board Voice Society of BC.
Richard and his wife, Nancy, have been involved in caring for adults with developmental disabilities for over 10 years. His involvement includes Operation Track Shoes and home-sharing. Richard joined the board of Clements in 2008. As well, he is heavily involved in Rotary, both locally and internationally.
Carreen is a telecommunications professional at TELUS who believes in giving back to her community and has a diverse background in leading teams in the areas of Procurement, Network Planning, and Regulatory. She also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Calgary.
Carreen comes to the Cowichan Valley from Calgary where she previously volunteered with organizations there including as a board member for Carya and as Committee Chair for the Fashion with Compassion fundraising event, which supported Breast Cancer Supportive Care.
Carreen’s demonstrated curiosity, passion for learning, and natural leadership skills have provided her with opportunities to thrive in a variety of areas and she applies these same attributes to supporting organizations in her community.
Catherine is a retired nurse clinician with extensive experience in special needs/psychiatric pediatrics, psycho-geriatrics, and the mother of an adult child with developmental challenges. In the past, she served as a founding board member of Giant Steps West Program for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and as a board member of a child development center. Currently, she serves as a resource parent of the Family Support Institute and has obtained her Master Gardeners certification! She is married to a physician/musician active in the Cowichan Valley.
Catherine views board service as an excellent way to have a substantial, and ongoing impact in the community. She is passionate about the organization’s particular cause and mission and is proud to be a member of the dedicated team of concerned and engaged individuals on the Clements Centre Society Board. Catherine looks forward to being able to participate in identifying long-term goals, seeking out diverse opportunities for collaboration, as well as potentially implementing innovative strategies for lasting change.
Born in Kamloops, Ray lived in various communities throughout BC before finishing up his secondary schooling at the former Malaspina College. He completed the Renewable Resources Program at Selkirk College in Castlegar and worked for the next 7 years for Habitat Protection with the then, BC Environment. After a personal tragedy, Ray sought out travel opportunities and volunteered with Humana in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where he discovered his passion for working with youth and the community. Upon returning to Canada, he was able to work/train as a Youth Worker through a Service Canada Program and was part of a team that created 4 successful, neighborhood youth drop-in programs in Nanaimo. Ray then worked as a Project Leader with the National Katimavik Program before landing his dream volunteer job as – Project Coordinator with Right to Play in Juba, South Sudan. Upon returning to Canada, he was very fortunate to get a spot in Vancouver Island University’s Child and Youth Care First Nations Program where he received a Citizenship Award as well as the Governor General Award. Over the last 15 years, Ray has worked for a number of local non-profit organizations including the Cowichan Intercultural Society and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Building on the foundations of the Inclusive Leadership Program founded by mentor Dr. Linda Hill, Ray developed the Compassionate Leaders Program which received a National Award for Best Youth Practice. Now helping people into a new vehicle at Discovery Honda, Ray is very excited for the opportunity to return to the board of the Clements Center and be a part of a fantastic team in co-creating an inclusive Cowichan where everyone can experience a sense of belonging and value.
Huy ch q’u
I have lived in the Cowichan Valley for 27 years.
Currently, I’m the Executive Director at Cowichan Independent Living, a disability resource Centre in Duncan. Also, very involved with the local Special Olympics, the local coordinator for the past 7 years as well as a 5-pin bowling coach. I have been lucky to have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls, and, the best part, 8 grandchildren. I have known Clements Centre since my youngest daughter started to participate there in 2001. I strongly believe in every part of Clements Centre and all the incredible programs, the inclusive environment, and the positive atmosphere.
With over 40 years of personal and professional volunteer experience combined with governance education and hands-on experience, Nicole Diachuk has resided in Maple Bay since 2019 and is a proud employee of Island Savings, A Division of First West Credit Union as the Director of Retail Banking leading highly engaged and successful teams in Nanaimo, Chemainus, Lake Cowichan, Cedar, Duncan & Mill Bay. Nicole spent the past 9 years ( past Vice Chair 2018 – 2021) as a Board of Directors with the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank ( COCFB) raising food, funds & awareness to alleviate chronic hunger in Kelowna & surrounding areas. Nicole is committed to sharing with the Clements Centre Society her financial industry business acumen, including a background in senior leadership roles, strategic planning, human resources, budgeting, fiduciary duty, and decades of proud volunteerism and Board governance.
Spencer absolutely loves practicing law in his hometown, but it feels like it came about by some happy accident. Some people dream of being a lawyer from a young age. Spencer is not one of those people. Spencer’s university roommate was in law and convinced him to apply almost on a whim. Even during law school, he didn’t envision himself practicing law. After a couple of years of practicing litigation and family law at an established firm in Abbotsford, one out-of-the-blue phone call led to him moving back to Duncan to continue the practice of Robert Whittome who was retiring.
Spencer is the proudest of his kids and is so grateful to be raising his young family in the Cowichan Valley. He and his wife, Aubrey, have the four most amazing kids on the planet (he might be a little biased!): Harper, Eli, Caleb, and Roman. If you’re lucky, you might see them around the office.
One of the things Spencer loves most about his job is the freedom it provides to give back to the community he loves. He is on the board of directors of the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Association and the Clements Centre Society. On Saturdays, you can find him coaching kids’ soccer. He also loves volunteering through his local church congregation.
Dr. Nancy Dower is a retired pediatrician, with a sub-specialization in cancer and blood disorders. She also collaborated on many scientific projects with her husband, a retired professor of biochemistry. Since retirement, she has served as the training officer for the Cowichan Power and Sail Squadron, a founding Director of the Quamichan Lake Neighbourhood Association, and a Rural Ambassador to the Municipality of North Cowichan Official Community Plan.