Board of Directors 2018-2019

Susan Tatoosh, Chair
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society - Executive Director

Susan is of Shuswap ancestry and a member of the Hupacaseth First Nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Territory. For the past 35 years, she has been actively involved in community work in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Susan’s volunteer work has been at all levels — community, municipal, provincial and national — serving on boards, committees, task forces, panels and at round table discussions. She is currently the Executive Director of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. She has worked with the federal government via the Northern Native Development Corporation, the K’ensu Development Corporation and Aboriginal Personnel Services. As well, she has represented numerous Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal civic organizations, including: the Urban Native Indian Education Society, the Urban Native Youth Association, Aboriginal Community Careers Employment Services Society and the YWCA, among many others. Susan was recognized for her over-30 years of voluntary contributions to the community when she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.

Jennifer Forbes, Vice Chair
Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society

Jenna Forbes is a proud Indigenous woman with roots in the Gitksan, Tsimshian, and Haida Territories of BC. Jenna is the Executive Director with the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society (VATJSS) and has now been in this role for 1.5 years.  Prior to this role, she was the Senior Justice Advisor for 8 years. In her current position as Executive Director, Jenna uses traditional Indigenous Transformative approaches to support community members in conflict with the law.  Primary services at VATJSS include Alternative Measures, Support for Indigenous Community Members in Provincial Community Corrections, Homelessness Prevention, Self Sufficiency, Law Education, and various crime prevention projects.  As well as being Vice Chair for USF, Jenna also volunteers as a Board of Director for Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society(ACCESS), Metro Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Executive Council (MVAEC) and she is the assigned Representative for the Aboriginal Housing Steering Committee (AHSC) at the Metro Vancouver Homelessness Partnership Strategy.

Stewart Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer
Manager Community Investment – Indigenous Partnerships Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity)

Stewart is a community banker with Vancity (Vancouver City Savings Credit Union) one of the largest member owned financial organizations in Canada. His mandate at Vancity is to broaden and deepen the Credit Union's involvement with Aboriginal communities in and beyond the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people where Vancity is located. Working in the financial services sector for the last 20 years, Stewart has a strong background in economic development, project finance, and corporate lending, as well as a keen awareness of the importance of relationship building. His clients have included First Nation Governments, Aboriginal and First Nations Development Corporations, Aboriginal Social Service agencies, and First Nations/Private Sector Joint Ventures. Stewart is active in the East Vancouver community where he lives, and serves on the boards of a number of community and arts organizations.

Ross Ramsey, Director
Ross specializes in improving the performance of organizations.  His public and private sector career throughout Canada and the US for the past 35 years has focused on board governance, healthcare, foundation development and organizational effectiveness.  He held senior government positions in Nova Scotia, Manitoba (CEO of a Crown Corporation) and Alberta. He was also President and CEO of a private family foundation in BC before entering private practice as an organizational effectiveness consultant.

Ross served as Chair of the Board of two national organizations:  Community Foundations of Canada (1998-2002) and the Canadian Addictions Foundation (1980-1981). Other contributions include: Director, Centre For Sustainability; Advisor, Kakawis Family Development Centre; Member, Youth Advisory Committee, Vancouver Foundation; Director, Rediscovery International Foundation; Native Alcohol Abuse Program Regional Advisory Board (Prairie);

Ken Clement, Director
Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network – Chief Executive Officer

Ken Clement of Ktunaxa First Nations ancestry has resided in Vancouver for 35 years and is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) and contributor to the leadership of numerous Aboriginal organizations serving Aboriginal people in Metro Vancouver region.  He has offered steady executive guidance to Aboriginal organizations and has been involved in the Aboriginal HIV and AIDS movement since 1980.    Currently Ken is involved with the National Aboriginal Council on HIV and AIDS (NACHA) and collaborates with many of Canada’s leading National and International Aboriginal organizations to advocate on this health issue for Canada’s Aboriginal people.

Ken has a vested interest in Indigenous HIV/AIDS prevention, intervention and treatment, and has taken a diligent approach to improving health outcomes for Indigenous communities, friends and individuals.

At the outset the uncertainty of the HIV/AIDS epidemic generated great fear and it was evident supports were required.  Since the beginning Ken has been directly involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy for Indigenous communities, families and individuals.

Ken’s introduction to formal education began with a decade spent in Residential School.  His personal experiences within this education system led to the strengthening and resiliency of his character which is the foundation for his passion and commitment to social justice issues.

Serving as the first ever Aboriginal Trustee of the Vancouver School Board, Ken worked tirelessly to enhance the educational system’s ability to provide an opportunity to succeed for every student, regardless if where they live in the city, their income level or cultural background, particularly amongst Aboriginal students.

Ken’s efforts have provided a much needed voice for the advancement of social justice, health, housing and educational conditions for Aboriginal people.  He sees the work in these areas and others as inspiring and empowering Aboriginal people to dream of a better, forward-looking life, while being respectful of the grounding and family-based communities and traditions they value.
Ken is currently a Director on the ACCESS Board, National Aboriginal Council of HIV and AIDS, Nation Partners of HIV/AIDS in Canada, International AIDS Society Planning Committee, and Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Director Council, International Indigenous Working Group, Vi Fineday Emergency Shelter Society, and is President of both Lu’ma Native Housing Society and Circle of Eagles Lodge Society.


Lou Demerais, Director
Vancouver Native Health Society – Executive Director

Mr. Demerais was a founding member of Vancouver Native Health Society, serving on its inaugural board established in 1990. He became executive director in early 1991, the year the society began developing and offering programs and services.

Mr. Demerais began his adult life as a newspaper journalist and eight years later became involved in Indigenous political/social affairs, first with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (1972 – 1975) as administrator, and then as national consultant on Native people and the criminal justice system in Ottawa (1976 – 1979) with the Ministry of the Solicitor General. He returned to Vancouver in 1980 as director of Native Programs for BC Legal Services Society before taking positions of public affairs officer with the Assembly of First Nations and the Indian Association of Alberta (1983 – 1988). Mr. Demerais worked again for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs from 1988 to 1991.

Mr. Demerais was co-chair of the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council from 2012 to 2015 and has been a member of the Cedar Project’s advisory council since it began in the mid 1990’s. He served from 2002 – 2007 as Aboriginal co-chair of the Metro Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Strategy. His volunteer work has included membership on the boards of the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society, the Bantleman Court Housing Society, Britannia Community Centre, the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Metis Family Services Society of BC.

He is currently Chair of ACCESS (Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society). Mr. Demerais has served as a member of the UBC President’s advisory committee on Aboriginal Affairs.

Mr. Demerais was a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal commemorating her 60th year as Canada’s Sovereign.

Joe Mazza, Director
 Vice President, Operations & Engineering at Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.

Joe is currently the Vice President, Operations & Engineering at Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.  Joe brings over 20 years of experience in the utilities, energy, and infrastructure industries, including a background in operations, engineering, business development, major projects, safety & environmental management, stakeholder & indigenous relations, and regulatory affairs.  Previously, Joe has held management and engineering positions with KPMG, FortisBC, and Husky Energy.  He holds B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering (honours) from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Royal Roads University.  Joe has been on the Board of USF since 2016.