Keir Macdonald recently joined Phoenix after several years with the Lookout Society, where he held positions as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer and before that spent four years with BC Housing. His background includes legal practice and a passion for human rights law and social justice, as well as a solid track record of leadership in times of significant change. Keir holds two undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts and is currently in his final year of a Masters of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University.
“The Phoenix Society is a ‘best-kept secret.’ I’m looking forward to bringing the work of this essential organization to more people in our community.” In this time of an unprecedented overdose crisis and homelessness, quality organizations like Phoenix are needed more than ever. “I am excited to work with the exceptional management team and staff to help the organization meet the challenges of the next decade,” says Macdonald.
Keir was appointed by the Board of Directors and has demonstrated leadership and technical competencies with his skills, knowledge and ability to follow through with the Phoenix mission, vision and values.
The CEO is the Phoenix Society’s most senior role and requires strong leadership skills and the ability to develop and maintain a culture aligned with the organization’s core values, gain the support and commitment of staff, and volunteers, while working effectively with internal and external stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.
Keir has been with the organization since 2018.
Trudi Shymka has worked with women and children experiencing homelessness in the Downtown Eastside for over 25 years, expanding women-only shelters and developing minimal-barrier services that provide support and opportunities for women to build on their strengths and move towards a better life. For the past decade Trudi has led a portfolio that also includes health and housing services for seniors, people with mental wellness challenges, and end of life care at Bloom Group Community Services Society.
Currently, Trudi serves a member of the Downtown Eastside Coalition of Women Serving Agencies, sits as vice-chair of the Homeless Services Association B.C. and formerly served on the Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House Board.
“I have a strong drive to provide opportunities for community engagement for individuals who face barriers. One of the biggest motivators to me is peoples’ willingness to open their lives and ask for assistance and share their stories. I just feel so honoured and respectful of that,” she remarks. “Most of us who live lives of privilege don’t have to do that, and when you can create a trusting environment where people feel like they can open up and then identify what their next steps are, that’s what’s really kept me in the work as well as supporting and improving the systems that make those opportunities. I think as I’ve moved away from frontline work I am now really focused on creating work environments to sustain the staff that are willing to do this work.”
Trudi has been with the organization since 2021
Even in the buttoned-down world of financing — She is a CPA, CGA — Kim takes time as a CFO to know the residents at Phoenix, and she appreciates hearing their stories. “I’ve been able to combine my financial expertise with a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” she says.
Kim has over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held senior financial positions with not-for-profit and First Nations organizations.
When she started at Phoenix, some 17 years ago, the administration was in a warehouse and programs were running out of residential housing. Kim considers herself fortunate to have been able to work closely with founders Michael and Ann Wilson, helping bring their visions into reality.
Now Kim is proud that what used to be a single recovery home has expanded to become a facility that not only treats addiction but that also addresses a monopoly of issues including homelessness, poverty, health and education.
She believes the success of the program comes from the way the organization listens to clients and puts their needs first. “Everyone is a unique person with unique needs,” Kim says. “every person has their own individual needs, which we do our best to meet.”
Although Phoenix is currently at capacity, staff — and residents — agree that the model works and that it could be expanded. “We have something here that is special, anyone can benefit from what is offered.
Kim has been with the organization since 2001.
Stephanie Volpiana came to Phoenix with extensive knowledge and experience, including a Bachelor of Arts, a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification and a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification. Additionally, her hard work led to being awarded the BC Housing Excellence Award for Corporate Performance in 2015.
Stephanie worked at BC Housing for ten years and decided to move into the non-profit sector after obtaining her PMP in 2016.
“Nonprofit is about giving back, being able to work with people who need and appreciate the help. I’m hands on helping people here at Phoenix. I can physically see the impact I’m having on those who need the most help” says Stephanie.
Stephanie is not new to the world of addiction. Her brother battled with addiction for most of her young life until receiving help of his own. “I feel like I have done a full circle. I didn’t understand addiction and was unable to support my brother the way he needed back then. Phoenix has taught me critical information that has helped me to mend my relationship with him. Working here has really opened my eyes to the struggles people in addiction face. I am so fulfilled that my skillset has led me to be a part of a solution for many. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
Stephanie’s first Phoenix project had her leading the Phoenix House renovations back in 2019 which assisted Phoenix to support ten additional stabilization beds for people trying to beat their addiction. Many projects later, Stephanie added Operations to her portfolio where she led Phoenix to a full three-year CARF accreditation status. Now, as the Director of Operations, Stephanie continues to support Phoenix’s growth in helping those most in need.
Stephanie has been with the organization since 2019.
Along with a deep compassion for those facing mental health and addiction issues, Ryan brings years of leadership experience in the ‘for impact’ sector to the role of Interim Director of Programs for Mental Health and Addictions at the Phoenix Society.
A committed professional, who combines a broad range of leadership expertise and experience in therapeutic intervention disciplines, Ryan has a collaborative leadership style and a proven ability to build solid relationships and gain buy-in within a diverse set of stakeholders. He enjoys opportunities to address new challenges requiring creativity, breaking existing paradigms and thinking strategically.
Ryan has always been deeply committed to both his family and community and has held several counselling and management positions throughout the years at Phoenix. He believes his experiences in these roles have helped him to develop a personal philosophy that lends to the innovation of mental health. “The rejuvenation of citizenship requires the attention in each facet of daily life including therapeutic intervention, housing, economic status, criminal recidivism, and community connection.” It is through these principles that human beings can find “fertile ground to cultivate a meaningful lived experience.” Ryan has dedicated his career to the flourishing of human potential.
Ryan is the proud father of Mackenzie and lives with his fiancé Marina. When he is not working, he is playing baseball, golf, kayaking, and hiking. He is a MAL candidate at Royal Roads University, carries a CCAC designation from the CCACF and has a diploma in professional counselling from VCCT.
Ryan has been with the organization since 2015.
Penny Hill began her career in health care 30 years ago as a Registered Nurse in the United Kingdom and continued this path in Canada, when she arrived with her family in 2004.
She has held several leadership positions, most recently as manager for health care in two correctional facilities in the lower mainland.
Penny has a broad understanding of the entire health care continuum from tertiary/academic settings to community, rural, remote and Indigenous health care. She gained her Health Visiting Diploma and started her journey into seeking a greater understanding of mental health, addictions and sexual health needs. Penny worked as the clinician and leader for the “Choices Clinics”. In partnership with the municipality, Health and Education to opening the first “One stop “clinics within colleges and schools designed for easy access to health care.
“I’ve had the privilege of living and working in some of the most beautiful places in British Columbia and now I have the opportunity to continue building a relationship-based care model for the clients within Phoenix Society.”
Penny’s passion is providing continuous quality improvement opportunities that drive client and employee engagement. She comes to Phoenix with a Bachelor of Arts, Social Dimensions of Health from Sheffield Hallam University and a Masters of Leadership for Health Care from De Montfort University.
Penny is Phoenix’s first Director of Clinical Services and with the growing organization her experience, wisdom and passion will assist in purpling the vision in helping more individuals with complex needs.
Penny has been with the organization since 2021