British Columbia Regional Board of Directors
The BC Region is guided by a dynamic board of professionals, whose expertise touches on all aspects of our conservation work. These highly respected individuals volunteer their time to assist the Nature Conservancy of Canada in making the best decisions for conservation in British Columbia.
Jill Bodkin is a corporate director, including being Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Westport Innovations, and Vancouver Opera. She is a Director of Valemount Glacier Destinations and Exro Technologies, President of Yaletown VCC (institution and entrepreneur funded venture capital fund, investing in clean technology companies), and Governor (Past Chair) of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Her continuing career in business, media and public policy in North America and Asia includes serving as Deputy Minister of Financial Institutions and Chair of the British Columbia Securities Commission, Corporate Finance Partner in EY, Director for Canada of PBS Seattle, Director of Laurentian Bank of Canada, and Chair of the British Columbia and Canda environmental assessment for the $700 million Celgar project, an early CITIC investment in Canada. She builds growing companies through her holding company, Golden Heron Enterprises.
Ian Barnett has worked across Canada in land and water conservation for 38 years as a biologist and senior executive leader at Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. He has an avid interest in birds and the outdoors and wide-ranging knowledge of natural history and conservation initiatives across the country.
Ian has travelled extensively throughout Canada’s provinces and territories on foot, bike, canoe, kayak, horse, aircraft and automobile. He has also pursued his bird and wildlife interests in Africa, Australia, South America, Central America, the Arctic and throughout the US and Mexico.
Ian makes his home in Kamloops, BC, and enjoys diverse year-round outdoor activities with his wife, four daughters and six grandchildren. He recently retired and continues to pursue and share his passion for conservation and the natural world.
Lesley Bentley grew up in West Vancouver, spending her summers sailing the BC coast. As an adult she became an avid hiker, boater and nature traveller.
Professionally, Lesley began work at the CBC as a radio producer for a BC-based current affairs shows. Later she moved into the volunteer sector, where she has been a board member of the Vancouver Museum, St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church and St. George’s School, serving as board chair for three years. Most recently, she has climbed in the Purcell Mountains and hiked the Nootka Island Trail.
Thomas (Tom) William Ferries
Tom Ferries is a chartered accountant with over 25 years of senior operational and financial leadership experience. Since April 2004, he has been president, CEO and director of National Energy Equipment Inc., where he sets and implements strategy and oversees daily operations. In addition to the NCC BC Regional Board, Tom currently serves on the board of the Children’s Arts Umbrella Association. Previously he served on the boards of the Vancouver Opera Foundation (as chair of the Investment Committee and Secretary and Treasurer), the Vancouver Opera Endowment Trust, the Vancouver Opera Association and the British Columbia Institute of Technology Foundation.
Tom holds an honours bachelor of arts degree in economics from the University of Guelph (1986), qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990 and was elected to Fellowship by the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
J. Michael Gallagher, Ph.D.
Dr. J. Michael Gallagher is chair of the board of NGV Global, as well as an advisory board member for Agility Fuel Systems, a leading natural gas fuel systems company. He is a former senior advisor, president and chief operating officer of Westport Innovations, where he worked to encourage the global adoption of natural gas in clean transportation systems, and former board chair of Cummins Westport Inc. He serves on the boards of the Vancouver Opera Foundation and the Health Arts Society, and sits on both the national and regional (BC) boards of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Karen Hamberg is an experienced clean technology executive with nearly 20 years of global experience in the deployment of clean transportation technologies and the policy and regulatory frameworks required to advance market share. She is currently Vice-President, Sustainability and External Affairs at Westport Fuel Systems.
Karen was named to Canada’s Clean 50™ in 2017 for her contributions to advance sustainability in the transportation sector and to Canada's Clean 16TM for 2019 for her work on stringent clean transportation regulatory frameworks. She was a member of the Government of Canada’s Economic Strategy Table on Clean Technology.
She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of CALSTART in Pasadena, California. Karen is serving as Chair of the 2019 United Way of the Lower Mainland Campaign Cabinet, after receiving the 2016 President’s Award of Distinction. She joined the board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada in September 2019.
Eliza Mitchell is a rancher in the remote Tatlayoko Valley in the West Chilcotin. Her ranch lies between NCC’s Lincoln Creek and Tatlayoko Lake Ranches. She has just completed two terms on the National Board of NCC and is currently a director of both the W. Garfield Weston Foundation in Canada and the Garfield Weston Foundation in the UK.
Robert M. Shaunessy
Robert M. Shaunessy brings extensive business experience to the NCC BC Region board of directors. Bob has been a co-founder and/or director of a number of corporations, including Rio Alto Exploration Ltd, Trigger Resources, Midway Energy Services, Renaissance Wine and Spirits and Rondo Exploration Ltd. Currently, he is the owner and co-founder of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Ltd and the president and CEO of Shaunessy Ranch Ltd. Since 2013, Bob has focused on serving on not-for-profit boards (generally as an advisor on advisory board positions), such as the Columbia Valley Hospice Society, Western Sky Land Trust and the Greenways Trail Alliance. Bob lives in Invermere, BC.
Janice Wattis’s love of nature led her to study earth sciences and to work as a park interpreter for the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. She studied law in Victoria, BC, practicing for many years in Vancouver and Oakville, Ontario. Most recently, Janice served as vice-president, legal, with an international engineering firm, providing professional services in the natural resource industry sectors. She has wide experience in risk identification and management, compliance matters and professional management.
Janice has been a long-time supporter of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and was thrilled to join the BC Regional Board in 2015. She has also served on the Chimo Community Services Board (Richmond, BC) and the PTA of St. Gabriel’s School (Bridgetown, Barbados). She has participated in Vancouver’s Giving Circle and has raised funds for other charitable organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
In her spare time, Janice hikes, swims, kayaks, snowshoes and travels.
Bruce is a significant philanthropist in Vancouver, a partner at the law firm MLT Aikins and a former managing director at Goodmans LLC. He is a past-chair of the Vancouver Opera Foundation and the Vancouver Art Gallery. In addition to a deep love of the arts, Bruce is passionate about nature and animals.
After leading Vancouver Opera for 17 years, James Wright retired from the company in June 2016. He currently sits on the TELUS Vancouver Community Board and recently completed a two-year term on the Vancity Community Foundation board of directors. Jim is a birder and served as a volunteer on the Vancouver planning committee for the 27th International Ornithological Congress held in Vancouver in August 2018. He is also a member of the National Arts Centre’s Creation Fund advisory committee. Jim serves as a field consultant with Opera America and has recently facilitated meetings in New York City, St. Louis and Dallas, and is a mentor for Business for the Arts artsVest program. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for service to peers, community and to Canada.