Panel

Libby Davies

Libby Davies has been a social activist for 40 plus years and began as a community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1972. She was elected to Vancouver City Council for 5 consecutive terms, 1982-1993.

As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for six consecutive terms, 1997-2015, she became NDP House Leader, (2003-2011) and Deputy Leader (2007-2015).

Libby has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, housing,
peace, and social justice throughout her political life. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016. She’s is currently writing about political activism and transformative change.

Charles Gauthier 

As president and CEO, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association since 1992, Charles Gauthier has been steering the DVBIA with vision and a commitment to the future of Downtown Vancouver.  He is responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the association that has an annual budget of $3 million.

Charles has guided the DVBIA to a legacy of accomplishments and prestigious honours such as the top year 2000 award for “downtown management” by the International Downtown Association (IDA) and four Canadian Society of Association Executives’ (BC Chapter) Cornerstone of Excellence Awards in three separate categories– government relations, new program, and “above and beyond”. 

Throughout his 32-year career he has worked with non-governmental organizations. He is an active member of the International Downtown Association, having served on its Board of Directors for twelve years. He also served on the leadership team of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives for four years.He is a founding member and served as the first President of the Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebration Society.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba he has a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Manitoba.

Ginger Gosnell-Myers

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, of Nisga’a and Kwakwak’awakw heritage is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and knowledge, while breaking down barriers between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Ginger was the City of Vancouver’s first Indigenous Relations Manager where she was central to advancing Vancouver as the world’s first official City of Reconciliation, and identified opportunities across all City departments for ways that reconciliation can be advanced, and through this seen over 75 initiatives off the ground. Central to this work was the City of Vancouver recognizing that it was on unceded Coast Salish homelands – the only government in Canada to embed this truth in it’s governance, policies, and programming. She was also the City lead for identifying and implementing 28 out of the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.

Ginger worked on the Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study as both Project Manager and Public Engagement Director. The UAPS is Canada’s largest research study on Aboriginal people living in urban environments, and has become the leading research on urban Aboriginal people’s values, aspirations, experiences, andidentity. In 2010 the UAPS received the Public Policy Impact Award by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, and the IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award for not for profit organizations.

Ginger is featured in the inspirational book: Notes from Canada’s Young Activists: A Generation Stands up for Change (2007). In 2012 as part of the CBC documentary series “8th Fire”, Ginger was highlighted and profiled for her views on Aboriginal issues and relations in Canada.  Ginger is an Action Canada 2004 Fellow, former Co-Chair to the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, former President of Urban Native Youth Association, was a founding member of the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples, and sits as a Board of Director for the Inspirit Foundation and a Board Member for Greenpeace Canada.

Kira Gerwing

Kira is a Manager of Community Investment at Vancity Credit Union.  Her work involves partnering with mission-driven organisations to develop community owned real estate, focussing on affordable spaces in high environmentally performing buildings.  She works to craft effective deals that create high-value, long-lasting and positive impacts in communities.  She’s focussed on community land ownership, affordable housing, and not-for-profit real estate development as a means to address growing economic inequality in Canadian cities. 

Prior to Vancity, Kira was an urban planner in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods with the City of Vancouver. She’s spent almost 20 years working on building sustainable regional economies, communities, and neighbourhoods.  Her husband is an entrepreneur who works with her to parent two fine young children and she loves riding her bike to get around the city.

Moderator

Am Johal

Am is director of community engagement at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, within the SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit.

Previously, Johal worked on the Vancouver Agreement, a collective effort to address urban economic and social development. He was a co-founder of UBC’s Humanities 101 program and chair of the Impact on Communities Coalition. He has also been an advisor to two provincial cabinet ministers (Transportation and Highways; Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers).

Johal holds undergraduate degrees in human kinetics (UBC) and commerce (Royal Roads University), an MA in international economic relations from the Institute for Social and European Studies (Hungary) and a PhD in communication and media philosophy from the European Graduate School (Switzerland).  Am is an advisor for the Social Innovation Certificate program.