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.
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
The Rev. Jim Hatherly
The Reverend Jim Hatherly is a United Church minister for 34 years and joined First United in 2017. Jim has served in rural, suburban, and overseas ministries and comes most recently from almost seven years of service as a prison chaplain in Manitoba. Jim’s prison ministry focused on interdisciplinary approaches to working with those struggling with mental illness, addictions, and with sex offenders. Jim is very pleased to be with the team at First, tapping back into his family and ministry roots here, including street ministry work on the Downtown Eastside. He is looking forward to helping provide a space for those seeking “safety and dignity for body and soul.”
Director of Programs
Keely has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over 16 years and has served in similar 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.
Director of Finance
Mayleen E. Ahoy, BA, CPA, CGA
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 People and Culture
Natalie Gobis Cutayne
Natalie joined First United Church Community Ministry Society in November 2016 after 25 years in public sector Human Resources management. Natalie holds a BA in Leadership from Trinity Western University that complement her education in Human Resources from BCIT and certifications in Mental Health from Douglas College, and Addictions and Co-Occurring Disorders Counselling from Vancouver Community College. She recently completed the Organizational Coaching Program through UBC.
In serving First United as the Director, People & Culture, Natalie leads by example and communicates with a view to aligning employees across project teams and departments to meet organizational goals. Along with a genuine passion for people, a deep curiosity and a reputation for ‘getting things done’, Natalie respectfully provides mentorship and coaching to our leadership team, managers and employees. Her collaborative style enhances our labour relations and employee engagement. Her daily practice is guided by her belief that within a supportive, inclusive environment, every person, with their unique strengths, has an opportunity to learn and grow, and contribute.
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.
Senior Property Manager
Housing Services Manager
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.
Stan Lanyon, President
The Rev. Dr. Brian Thorpe, Vice-President
Jacob Black-Lock, Secretary
Jean Budden, Treasurer
(Designate of the Executive Secretary, BC Conference of 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