Our Board of Directors
ChairDevon is the co-founder and director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in the Vancouver area since 2004. Under his leadership the school has become a centre for swordplay with over 200 active students, a store, and an arms and armour museum. The Academie is currently the largest Western Martial Arts centre in the world; a model that Devon hopes to help others achieve as the Western arts grow in popularity.
Ash MacLeod (representative of Mark Brand)
Food, fashion, fun. Mark Brand is an entrepreneur who is actively shaping the future of the Downtown Eastside. After being recognized as the top bartender in Vancouver Mark opened his first restaurant, Boneta in 2008, which burst onto the scene racking up an impressive 20 major industry awards that year. Not happy to rest on his laurels Mark launched Sharks and Hammers, an urban clothing line and other popular restaurants, the Diamond and Sea Monstr Sushi. Then in 2011 Mark’s biggest profile project began when he saved the iconic Save On Meats and reinvented it into one of the busiest diners in the city complete with a local food security hub and centralized space and services for local restaurants and food carts on the upper floors. Mark is committed to the wellbeing of the places and people that make East Vancouver a place he is passionate about. He has committed himself to hiring locally and is closely involved in food security and food access work in the DTES. Learn more at markbrandinc.com.
Caithlin began volunteering at Atira Women’s Resource Society at age 13 providing afterschool childcare for moms accessing services at one of Atira’s second-stage housing programs, as well as in the administration office filing and cleaning. She gained part-time employment at age 15 and continued to work on a part-time basis until 2003 when, after finishing a professional pastry program at the Art Institute of Vancouver, she started work as the children’s community kitchen coordinator, a job she adored. When funding was cut for that program a few a years later, she went to work assisting Atira’s then fundraiser and over the next seven years and after completing the Fundraising Management Certificate Program at BCIT, grew into her current role as the Director, Communications, Development, Fundraising. Working in an environment that promotes equality for women has always been her passion and she continues to work every day in the struggle to end violence against women and children.
In 2014 Caithlin was accepted into the Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership program, run by the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. The year-long program is an exclusive and exciting opportunity to build on leadership skills, develop relationships with other women working in similar organizations across the country and to learn new skills in community economic development. In 2015 Caithlin participated with the United States Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs in the International Visitor Leadership Program on Preventing Violence Against Women.
Caithlin not only works in the neighbourhood, but is also a resident for the past four years. She is thrilled to join the Hastings Crossing BIA board of directors and is looking forward to learning from the other members as well as to contributing to the success of the BIA.
Gordon moved to Vancouver in June 2016 and the first event he attended after his arrival was a HxBIA meetup at Lost + Found cafe. A former lawyer in financial services, he moved here with his family to launch Brave, a platform coop to build a kinder, more resilient world through urgent acts of kindness – Brave is currently focused on how the platform can empower residents of the DTES. Gordon believes our technology can be used to drive, grow and spread innovation in impact – and that we have a moral imperative to focus our technology on the “bottom billion”. He’s also a big believer in the power of organisational structures to drive societal change – the platform coop model (where users own the digital platforms they use) being one of those. Gordon also sits on the board of StartingBloc, a US-based Fellowship program for social impact leaders. He’s thrilled to join HxBIA and discover how he can contribute to the strength of the board.
Minna Van is the cofounder of one of the very first coworking spaces in the world. Established in 2006, The Network Hub now has 9 locations all over Canada. As an executive director of West Coast Foundation and programming director of Chinatown House, Minna is currently working on multiple initiatives in Vancouver Downtown Eastside to support immigrant and refugee women and bringing technology fluency to DTES. Minna's current hobby is developing holography and blockchain technology to facilitate the delivery of vaccines in rural cities in developing countries.
Steven Johnston is a seasoned executive with more than 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector,
working to improve the social and economic circumstances of vulnerable populations. His career has focused
on community economic development and he has held leadership positions up to and including Executive
Director. The majority of his experience supporting populations facing barriers to employment including
concurrent disorders and homelessness comes from working in two of Canada’s most challenged and
impoverished urban communities: Vancouver’s Downtown East-side and Toronto’s Regent Park. Steven was
motivated to join the Hastings Crossing BIA in an effort to create a healthy and inclusive community where all
residents can thrive and live healthy and rewarding lives.