Leadership+

First United is proud of the diverse talents and life experiences of our leadership and staff. Our management team carries rich experience from across the charitable, private and public sector.

Interested in joining our team? View our current opportunities here.

 

Executive Director

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 Finance

Fraser Sharpe, CPA, CA

Fraser joined First United as the Manager of Accounting in September 2010 and was appointed to the position of Director of Finance in February 2012. Fraser possesses over 20 years of accounting experience in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. After graduating from the University of British Columbia he articled with a public accounting firm in Vancouver and obtained his designation as a Chartered Accountant. During his career Fraser has held various positions including Manager of Accounting, Corporate Controller, Director of Financial Reporting, Project Manager & Financial Analyst.

Program Manager

Keely Hale

Keely has worked in the mental health and addictions field for 16 years, and is currently the Programs Manager at First United. This role will shift to include the proposed Drop-In facility, and will be renamed MH&A Drop-In Manager.

Keely has worked in similar roles at Riverview Hospital and Coast Mental Health, and 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.

Advocacy Manager

Didi Dufresne

Advocacy Manager Didi DuFresne has worked for First United since August 2010 and previously served as an advocate at DERA. She has a wide range of poverty law experience particularly in residential tenancy and welfare, and her primary responsibilities are to act as an advocate on issues related to welfare, EI, residential tenancy, disability, CPP, immigration and WCB. Didi has a law degree from the University of Victoria.

Resource Development Manager

Natalie Lanoville

Natalie has been employed in non-profit administration for over 30 years, working at The Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Women in View, The Children’s Festival and Kinesis Dance. Experience in the for-profit world includes corporate computer instruction and internet marketing. Her post-secondary education is in performance music, and she toiled as a singer in Vancouver for over 20 years (before coming to her senses).

Housing Manager

Wendi Lawrence

Wendi has been the building manager of our two buildings in the Downtown Eastside since October 2011. Her prior career background was in home support for several community agencies and administrative support and supervision with the Ministry of Social Development for over twenty-four years.

Property Manager

Franca Sorace

Franca has worked in Property Management since 1996 and holds a Community Economic Development Certificate from SFU.  She is also furthering her education in the accounting field with a long-term goal of a CPA Degree.

Board+

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.

Board

Brian Thorpe, President

Stan Lanyon, Vice-President

Ariel Creighton, Secretary

Judy Graves

Scott Griffin

Mark Paetkau

Paul Scipio

Lydia Taylor

Marion Young

Non-Voting

Rev. Sally McShane

Rev. Doug Goodwin

(United Church of Canada BC Conference representative)

Jean Budden

(First United Social Housing Society representative)

Housing Board+

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.

Board

Zoe Bake-Paterson

Robert Gary Begin

Jean Budden

Rosemary Collins

Elizabeth Kerklaan

Alison Linsay