First United is proud of the diverse talents and life experiences of our leadership and staff.
Read on to get acquainted with our leadership, management, and governance teams and their rich experience from across the charitable, private and public sector.
The Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne
The Rev. Dr. Carmen Lansdowne joined First United as Executive Director in 2017. An ordained minister in the United Church of Canada and a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, she brings a breadth of experience both in theology and community service to the pivotal role at the busy East Hastings Ministry.
Born in Alert Bay, BC, Carmen grew up in the United Church and was involved in the church in a variety of ways. She has served on the Executive of the General Council, as United Church representative to the Executive and Central Committees of the World Council of Churches, and currently sits on the Theology, Inter-church, Interfaith committee of the national church. She holds a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and speaks, writes and publishes across North America on issues of indigenous theology and indigenous-Christian relationships.
Director of Community Ministry
Cheryl is from Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, is a respected voice and teacher on behalf of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and has traveled to over 600 Indigenous communities raising awareness and understanding of Indigenous issues. She is a founding board member of NAIITS, an Indigenous learning community; an Associate Professor at Regent College; earned her Doctorate from The King’s University, and Master of Divinity from Regent College. Her doctoral work presents an approach to First Nations ministry from the foundations of Indigenous worldview and values.
Cheryl served two terms as a band councillor for her community of Nadleh Whut’en First Nation from 2014-2018, is currently serving as a Strategic Associate as the Indigenous Relations Specialist with Canadian Baptist Ministries, and is an award-winning singer/songwriter.
Director of Programs
Keely has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over sixteen years and has served in roles at Riverview Hospital and Coast Mental Health. She holds a Community Social Service Worker Diploma from Douglas College, as well as an Advanced Citation in Co-Occurring Disorders. She also holds certificates in drug and alcohol counselling and motivational interviewing I and II from the Justice Institute, as well as multiple certifications related to frontline work and harm reduction.
Mayleen Ahoy, BA, CPA, CGA
Director of Finance
Mayleen Ahoy came to be the Director of Finance of First United Church Community Ministry Society via her role in the Finance Committee. Born and raised in Vancouver, Mayleen brings with her many years in accounting in different industries; She hopes to marry her passion for First to her skills and experiences. Mayleen is so proud to be able to tell her daughter of her work here at First United and that all endeavours that seek justice and compassion are worth our time and effort. When not working, Mayleen can be found trying to reclaim lost hobbies while accumulating many more that involve her husband and daughter.
Director of Facilities
Director of Development
First United Church Community Ministry Society is governed by an elected volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of representatives from the United Church of Canada, as well as committed community volunteers with expertise in the legal, financial and management sectors.
- Dr. Heather Clarke, Chair
- The Rev. Dr. Brian Thorpe, Vice-Chair
- Jacob Black-Lock, Secretary
- John Christie, Treasurer
- Jean Budden
- Scott Griffin
- Jeremy Hermanson
- Elizabeth Kerklaan
- Kathy Kwon
- David Munroe
- Paul Mitchell-Banks
Non-voting board members
- Treena Duncan, Executive Minister, Pacific Mountain Region, The United Church of Canada
First United Church Social Housing Society is governed by an elected volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of representatives from the United Church of Canada, as well as committed community volunteers with expertise in the legal, financial and management sectors.
- Elizabeth Kerklaan, President
- Alison Lindsay, Treasurer
- Rosemary Collins
- Maggie Knight
- Chris Munroe
In compliance with its Conflict of Interest policy, First United discloses the details of payments for products or services made to board members or companies in which board members have an interest. First United’s bylaws prohibit any payment for products or services made to board members or companies in which board members have an interest. First United’s finance policies allow for board members to have access to reimbursement of reasonable expenses related to the governance and oversight of First United; in the past fiscal year no reimbursements have been claimed.