Board of Directors
Aaron Stone, Board Chair — Mayor, Town of Ladysmith
Mayor Aaron Stone is currently serving his second term as the Mayor for the Town of Ladysmith. Elected as the Trust's Board Chair in 2020, he has been a Board Director since 2014. Aaron, who grew up in Ladysmith, is the president and general manager of Uforik Computers Inc. in downtown Ladysmith.
Mayor Stone has had a wide ranging career having served as Vice President of Business Development for Global Media, Director of Interactive Technology and Marketing for the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies in addition to consulting work for professional sports and marketing companies in the US. In 2003, he “retired” to Ladysmith to be closer to his family and start a new business.
Mayor Stone has been actively involved in community development serving as school PAC Co-Chair and member of the Ladysmith Working Group on schools, Director and later President of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and Director of the Ladysmith and District Credit Union.
Aaron believes that locally driven regional economic development initiatives provide strong returns. Enabling community driven initiatives and seeing regional value through a local lens has created a growing network of economic successes that benefit all communities in the coastal region the Trust serves.
John Jack, Board Vice Chair — Chair, Alberni Clayoquot Regional District
John Alan Jack was raised in the Parksville-Qualicum area and currently resides there with his wife, daughter and son. He graduated with Distinction from what is now VIU in the field of Global Studies. Since then, he has been deeply involved with his tribe, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN), in modern treaty negotiations and ratification with BC and Canada, achieving self-governance in 2011.
John has served as an elected Member of Council for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations since 2009. His portfolio has included every major file and he is currently responsible for external relations with the federal government, serves as HFN representative and chairperson of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, and is responsible for Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ co-management relationship with Steelhead LNG. He was elected to the Trust's board of directors in 2018.
John is passionate about true and meaningful reconciliation with First Nations encompassing political, social and economic aspects. He believes there should be more focus on the advancement of economic reconciliation, specifically how First Nations can be better integrated into the economy as principals and decision-makers. In addition, he believes education and exposure to the wider world is central to the advancement of reconciliation in BC and Canada.
Megan Hanacek, Board Treasurer — Appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
Megan Hanacek was appointed to the Trust's board by the Province of BC in 2018. Born on Vancouver Island and raised in Port McNeill, she is a professional biologist and forester, business owner and TV personality.
Megan is the CEO of the non-profit Private Forest Landowners Association and owner of an environmental assessment firm. For over 25 years, she has led project work with the provincial and federal governments, private industry, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and academia throughout British Columbia. Previously, Megan was a forest stewardship specialist with the Association of BC Forest Professionals, Managing Director of the Association of Professional Biology of BC, and planning forester with the Ministry of Forests.
Currently residing in Port McNeill with her husband and children, she is a strong voice for rural communities and sustainable resource-sector management and development.
Sierra Acton, Board Secretary — Area Director, Cowichan Valley Regional District
Sierra Acton is the Shawnigan Lake Area B Director of the Cowichan Valley Regional District, one of the largest electoral areas in British Columbia. She and her husband moved to Vancouver Island, via East Vancouver, in 2014. They had a long family history to the area and always longed to live in Shawnigan Lake. With a degree in the arts from the University of British Columbia, Sierra spent the early part of her career working for a private company in Richmond, B.C, where she helped grow the business over 15 years from a small independent shop to the largest of its kind in Canada. Starting off in a small company allowed Sierra to hone her entrepreneurial skills, as she was involved in every area of the business, from marketing to strategic planning.
Sierra’s foray into politics came when she was appointed as interim director of the CVRD’s Area B in 2017. At the time, Sierra was helping rally the community to stop a contaminated soil permit in their watershed. Three elections and six years later, Sierra has remained committed to environment and social causes in her community. In 2018, the community led the Think Shawnigan Design Plan, a design process that used community input to envision and create a shared 20 year plan for the village core and waterfront area in Shawnigan Lake. Since the creation of the plan, two separate initiatives have begun through the support of Island Coastal Economic Trust.
Sierra is driven to make positive and long-term changes in her community through personal engagement and out-of-the-box thinking. As part of the Trust's board, Sierra is excited about the diverse and innovative thinking around Trust-supported projects and believes they “truly help make a difference in community members lives, at a community level. I am honoured to be part of this important economic driver for communities of Vancouver Island.”
Vickey Brown — Mayor, Village of Cumberland
Mayor Vickey Brown was elected to the Trust board in November 2022. She resides in the Village of Cumberland, with her husband and two teenage sons. Vickey has been a Councillor since 2018 and, more recently, was elected as mayor in October 2022. Mayor Brown has an educational background in Environmental Studies and Political Science, with a postgraduate diploma in Community Economic Development and a Public Leadership Credential with the Harvard Kennedy School.
Vickey’s work experience is primarily in non-profit leadership and small business, and she has almost 20 years’ experience in non-profit and social enterprise boards. She served a four-year term as School Trustee representing the Village of Cumberland, which was after chairing the Cumberland Community School Society Board for four years. Mayor Brown recently retired from her seat as President on the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, where she sat for the past six years. She is currently serving her second term on the Board of First Credit Union where she has completed all three levels of the Credit Union Director Achievement program.
Mayor Brown brings a wide skill set to the Trust Board, including business development, marketing and promotions, strategic planning, policy development, governance, and human resources. Vickey is passionate about the Trust’s work.
“I have seen the impacts of the Trust's work in my own community and beyond. I am keen to support coastal communities through our programs.”
Martin Davis — Mayor, Village of Tahsis
Mayor Martin Davis has been Mayor of Tahsis since 2018, prior to which he served as Village councillor. Elected to the Trust's board in 2021, Martin is also Chairman of the Strathcona Regional District Municipal Services Committee, President of the Canadian Cave Conservancy and Coordinator the Batcaver Program.
Martin grew up in Ontario, moving out to British Columbia in 1999. He has 40 years of experience in the forest industry and is also a small business owner. A lifelong environmentalist, he has worked with government in developing karst management policy resulting in the protection of thousands of hectares of rare old growth karst ecosystems on Vancouver Island.
Martin believes the Trust is an excellent high-value mechanism for social and economic progress. He sees the Trust as a flexible and effective regional tool to help advance economic development initiatives, build capacity and provide financial support for small communities to enhance tourism and other economic opportunities, as well as improve their overall quality of life.
John Elliott — Appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
John Elliott was appointed to the Trust's Board by the Province of BC in 2021. He served as Chief Councillor for Stz'uminus First Nation for 11 years. Under his leadership the Stz’uminus community embarked on a journey to self-sufficiency through economic development. Previously, John was an Elected Councillor and a Fisheries Guardian for Stz’uminus First Nation.
Active in his community, he volunteers by gathering traditional foods for Elder and teaching youth traditional harvesting for Stz’uminus First Nation. Previously, John was Chair of board of Coast Salish Economic Development Corporation and a Board Member for Kwumut Lelum Child and Family Service. He also shared the Chair position with the Ladysmith Mayor on the Naut’sa Mawt Steering Committee. John holds an Aquaculture Diploma from Malaspina College.
Roger Kishi — Appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
Roger Kishi was appointed to the Trust's board by the Province of B.C. in 2019. A resident of Cumberland, he is the Director of Homeless and Housing Programs at Wachiay Friendship Centre in Courtenay. He is also active in the community with the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, Social Planning Council, Community Health Network and M’akola Housing Society Board.
Roger served for two terms as Councillor for the Village of Cumberland, representing the Comox Valley on a number of local government committees. He also served as Vice-Chair of the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District and on the St-Joseph’s hospital Board.
Prior to moving to the Comox Valley, Roger worked at St-Paul’s hospital, served as Chair of the North Vancouver Social Planning Advisory Committee and as a Trustee with the Library Board. Roger also spent 15 years in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve as a combat engineer.
Roger believes in the Trust's community-centered decision-making process, where investments are directed to a wide range of economic development and community building initiatives.
Leonard Krog — Mayor, City of Nanaimo
Mayor Leonard Krog joined the Trust's board in the Spring of 2022. Leonard, who was born in Nanaimo and raised in Coombs, has been the mayor of Nanaimo since 2018. Prior to his election, Mayor Krog served as MLA for Nanaimo. He was also first elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1991 and served as the BC Government Caucus Chair. He previously served as the Official Opposition spokesperson for Justice (Attorney General).
Leonard is deeply rooted and committed to his community. He was the Past Director and President of the Mid-Island Consumer Services Co-operative, Chair of the United Way for Nanaimo and president of numerous other community organizations. Mayor Krog is also an avid and eclectic reader, and enjoys reading everything from history and biography to environmental literature.
Mayor Krog has been a practicing lawyer in Nanaimo since 1980, working alongside his wife and son, both of whom are also lawyers.
Leonard believes the benefits of the Trust to the Island cannot simply be measured in mere statistics around jobs and dollars. In Leonard’s view, the lives of people in our varied communities have been often profoundly improved with the help of the Trust and, as he notes, “who wouldn’t want to be apart of that?"
Barry O'Neill — Appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
Barry O’Neill was appointed to the Trust's board by the Province of BC in 2018. As the former President of CUPE British Columbia, he has extensive experience in labour relations, mediation, conflict resolution and building relationships with the public and private sector.
Barry has long been involved in community economic development and was one of the founders of the “10 Percent Shift”. This initiative was presented throughout Canada and focused on supporting community leadership, youth entrepreneurship, incubation models and community focused procurement models. He has been recognized for the development of “Spot the Hazard” occupational health and safety program and negotiated and implemented one of the first gender-neutral job evaluation processes in British Columbia.
Originally from Cape Breton Island, Barry now resides in Lantzville with his family. He believes that communities are the true engine of our economy and advocates for collaboration between government and stakeholders in achieving strong, transparent and sustainable communities.
Michelle Staples — Mayor, City of Duncan
Mayor Michelle Staples served seven years on Duncan City Council before being elected to her first term as Mayor in 2018. She is the Executive Director of Social Planning Cowichan, and has been involved in community development in the Cowichan Valley for the past 20 years. She was elected to the Trust's board in 2018.
Mayor Staples is currently serving as Chair for the Duncan Community Sustainability Advisory Team, and previously served as Chair of Environment, Totem and Tourism Committee for the City of Duncan. She is also a small business owner, diversity educator and facilitator for Cultural Connections Cowichan focused on youth and intergenerational leadership.
Michelle holds a BA in Applied Communications, Counselling and Diversity Training, and is currently obtaining a Masters in Integrated Studies for Community Development and Administration. She believes in continuing ICET’s legacy as a partner with communities and catalyst for economic initiatives in the region.
Silas White — Mayor, Town of Gibsons
Silas White was elected to the Trust's board in November 2022, shortly after his election as mayor of Gibsons and his appointment, by Council, to serve his third year as a Director at the Sunshine Coast Regional District. Silas was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast, and served as a Sunshine Coast school trustee 2005–2014. In 2014, Silas was elected to Gibsons Council.
Mayor White holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Victoria and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UBC. He has worked as a book publisher and editor for leading Canadian publishers Nightwood Editions, Harbour Publishing and Douglas & McIntyre; a contract negotiator for the provincial government; and a local government consultant in housing, economic development, public engagement and Indigenous relations.
In Coastal economic development, Mayor White founded a successful advocacy group for the attraction and retention of young families on the Sunshine Coast, served on the board of Sunshine Coast Community Futures, and helped to start the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization (SCREDO) in 2016 and the Island-Coastal precursor to the BC Social Procurement Initiative (BCPSI) in 2018.
Silas has a lifelong passion for the hard-working history, culture and character of BC’s Coastal and Island communities, and is excited about the Trust's role in the region’s 21st-century economic transition and security.
Additionally, the Chair of each Regional Advisory Committee serves on the Trust’s board as an ex officio member:
Bob Wells, Regional Advisory Committee Chair — Mayor, City of Courtenay
Mayor Bob Wells was elected Chair of the North Island – Sunshine Coast Regional Advisory Committee (NISCRAC) in July 2020. He has been Mayor of Courtenay since 2018 and served as Chair of the Comox Valley Regional District in 2018-2019. Previously, he served on Courtenay City Council from 2014-2018.
A resident of the Comox Valley since 2001, Bob has an extensive technology and entrepreneurial background. In the mid 90’s, Bob worked at the BC Ministry of Education and at some dot com companies, after which he took a job at Shaw Cable in a technical leadership role with Internet and Digital TV. In 2006, Bob created My Tech Guys in Courtenay. It was named one of BC’s best managed companies and the province’s fastest growing company in 2010. Mayor Wells was also recognized as one of BC’s Top 40 under 40 in business, as well as the Comox Valley Chamber Small Business of the Year.
Mayor Wells is passionate about his community. Driven by his love for bringing people together to solve difficult problems, he is actively involved as a volunteer in community development and youth initiatives.
Mark Swain, Regional Advisory Committee Chair — Mayor, District of Lantzville
Mayor Mark Swain was elected Chair of the Central South Island Regional Advisory Committee (CSIRAC) in July 2020. He has been Mayor of the District of Lantzville since 2018.
Mark is originally from New Zealand, immigrating to Canada when he was seven years old. He grew up in Campbell River, then lived in Victoria and Vancouver, before returning to the Island in 2002, then to Lantzville nine years later. Mayor Swain has a background in Science-Kinesiology and practices in the functional assessment of injured persons and workplace ergonomics.
Mayor Swain has been actively involved in his community, coaching youth and serving on the Regional District of Nanaimo Board. He also supports small scale agricultural use of private property in Lantzville.
Mark is deeply commitment to helping Lantzville enhance its economic resiliency by developing the village core area for the local community. He believes in the Trust's continued efforts to diversify the economies of Central and Northern Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast through a community-centred decision-making process.