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, 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 range 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.”
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.
David began his career working at the Nova Scotia Psychiatric Hospital in 1987 and has been working in the fields of Addictions, Mental Health and Criminal Justice, in a variety of progressive roles, since that time. David graduated with his Bachelor of Social Work in 1994 and graduated with his Master’s in Social Work and a Collaborative Program in Alcohol, Tobacco and Psychoactive Substances from the University of Toronto in 1995. Following graduation, he helped develop new substance abuse treatment approaches for youth at the Addiction Research Foundation (ARF). Following the amalgamation of ARF, with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, David helped develop the first Drug Treatment Court in Canada, which combined treatment and therapeutic jurisprudence. In 2000 he was recruited by the Department of Justice Canada to develop the Drug Treatment Court in Vancouver. After successful development and operation of the program, David was recruited to MPA Society as Executive Director where he provided leadership for 13 years and oversaw the agency’s significant growth and achieved CARF Accreditation without any recommendations for improvement.
David is the recipient of the Deputy Minister Award – Award for Leadership and Teamwork, Department of Justice Canada, Top Innovator in Health Care Award, Health Employer’s Association of British Columbia and the Meritorious Service Medal, Governor General of Canada.
In 2021 he opened David MacIntyre Consulting ([email protected]) to assist nonprofit and government agencies with management, policy, program development and interim leadership. David joined Phoenix Society in 2022 as Interim CEO to provide leadership through the recruitment and leadership transition.
Kasimir Kish joined Phoenix after working with the City of Vancouver’s Non-Market Housing Operations and John Howard Society. Earlier in his career, he mainly worked in project management and later in residential and multi-family real estate sales and development.
He became involved in the volunteer non-profit housing world in 2014 as a Board Director for a local affordable housing provider. He currently serves on an Acquisitions and Asset Management Committee.
Kasimir holds a BA from UBC and has completed the Social Housing Management program at Langara. He is also a certified practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Housing Canada.
Kasimir has been touched by addiction which includes the loss of a relative who was not able to access support services. This makes the Phoenix mission even more prescient for him.
Kasimir hopes to make a big impact at Phoenix by supporting and strengthening what Phoenix has already been doing so well, for so many years. “I have the privilege of seeing and feeling the positive impact that Phoenix makes in peoples’ lives.”
Kasimir has been with the organization since 2022.
Louise began her psychiatric nursing career back in the early 2000’s in the UK. Graduating from Coventry University and moving to Canada 3 years later, Louise has worked in a variety of Mental Health and Substance settings all over the lower mainland.
Louise has held a variety of roles, from front line nurse to clinical manager in the Downtown East Side to managing and setting up various programs serving the demographic Phoenix Society so proudly supports. Most recently she was a Manager within a Health Authority setting overseeing Acute and Tertiary MHSU services for the Tri-Cities and Fraser Valley areas. She is no stranger to building relationships with communities and their stakeholders, working with various municipalities and their services to develop new projects and programs.
She has a broad range of knowledge and experience that encompasses the client at the centre of the programs she leads and develops. “The demographic we serve is more complex than ever before, we need to look at the bigger picture in order and shift our programs to suit their needs and remove the barriers to service.”
Louise is Phoenix’s first Senior Director of Clinical Services and as our programs expand and grow, Louise’s knowledge and expertise of clinical services will allow for growth, wisdom, and passion in the services we deliver.
Samantha is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and also holds a designation with the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM-SCP). Samantha has a Master’s degree in Personnel
Management and a 20-year HR career distinguished by commended performance and proven results. Her experience ranges from working in start-up companies and well-established organizations, diverse public, and private sectors, i.e., non-profit, health care, financial services, retail, transportation, and hospitality. She has an extensive background in HR generalist affairs, including experience in employee recruitment and retention, training and development, benefits and compensation, labour relations, performance management, workplace investigations and HR records management, and HR policies development. She has been successful in developing HR statistics and trend analyses reports, HR forms, streamlining HR procedures and facilitating skills development training.
“Giving back to the society is something I would like to do in this stage of my career. For many years being a care giver to both my parents who had complex health concerns, had a tremendous toll on me. Having lost both my parents and appreciating all the supports they received from the community, helped me to appreciate the invaluable services that non-profit organisations extend to the vulnerable population. The loss of my parents also inspired me to continue to grow my career in the non-profit sector. Helping people achieve their dreams to me is the most rewarding.”
Samantha is passionate about people development, diversity, and inclusion, supporting managers and staff in achieving their goals while striving for excellence.