The Centre has assembled a talented and experienced team of staff and associates. We are also very fortunate to have a fantastic, knowledgeable Board of Directors.
Cheeying is the executive director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, and has over 20 years of experience in community planning, engagement and sustainability. She provides strategy, creative process design and engagement for local governments, private sector clients, and non-profit organizations. She develops and executes innovative community development focused programs to support community goals, and works with multi-interdisciplinary teams to deliver project desired outcomes.
Prior to her role at the Centre, Cheeying was the Executive Director of Smart Growth BC, the leading province-wide non-governmental organization advancing sustainable land use and development that was largely responsible for getting ‘smart growth’ into planning practice in BC.
Cheeying is currently part of the BC Partners for Social Impact. Previously, she served as a member on the Prime Minister’s External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, on a term on the Board of Vancity Credit Union and Vancity Enterprises, and as a member of the Mayor of Vancouver’s Greenist City Action Team. Cheeying is a frequent speaker on leading practices in sustainability strategy, engagement and community planning.
Planning and Engagement Specialist
Shannon has worked in sustainability planning and management since 1996, in both the local government and corporate sectors. With the Centre, Shannon specializes in designing efficient and effective public engagement processes, helping organization create order and alignment through strategic planning, and planning for healthy sustainable communities. She holds an IAP2 Certificate in Public Participation, and a degree and post-baccalaureate diploma in environmental science.
Prior to working with the Centre, Shannon worked with the Resort Municipality of Whistler beginning in 2001 on various sustainability initiatives, including policy development, staff training and community engagement. In 2003, her main focus became co-managing the creation and implementation of Whistler2020 – Whistler’s award-winning sustainability plan and engagement process. Shannon’s work in the sustainability field began in Vancouver with Vancity Credit Union’s Corporate Social Responsibility Group, where she co-developed and managed the social and environmental audit and reporting process – the first of its kind in Canada.
Shannon skis and bikes and enjoys her community’s other amenities with her young family.
Community Planning and Monitoring Specialist
Dan has 15 years experience in the sustainability field and specializes in community and neighbourhood sustainability planning, developing implementation tools, monitoring and evaluation systems, and community energy /GHG reduction plans and programs. Dan works primarily with municipal governments in tourist-based economies where he also assists in evaluating tourism development and supporting the creation of tourism master plans. Dan also delivers on-the-ground municipal sustainability projects as well as greenhouse gas reduction training, using a business case approach, and coaching to businesses in the Whistler area.
Dan is a whiz at tying planning to on-the-ground action. Dan co-developed and delivered a citizen task force led action planning program for Whistler’s award winning community sustainability plan, Whistler2020, and developed the community’s comprehensive and robust economic, social and environmental monitoring and evaluation system, upon which many other communities and organizations model their monitoring program. Dan has also worked with the Fairmont Hotel and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resorts on strategy development and marketing.
Dan has lived on and off in Whistler for 20 years, only moving away to pursue his tourism commerce degree in Victoria, and his master’s degree in business and environmental policy in Sweden, as well as for other tourism business opportunities.
Engagement and Communications Coordinator
Kim hails from Guelph, Ontario, but has resided in the Sea to Sky region for the past decade. In that time, she has worn many hats, working primarily in the non-profit and public sectors in executive director, program manager, and grant writing roles. She also volunteers for the Red Cross and Whistler Community Foundation alongside other community champions in the service of sustainability, community resilience and social change. Her belief in the transformative power of dialogue has evolved over the years through extensive community development and facilitation work in both rural and urban settings. In 2012, this entailed the completion of a 1177 km run and series of community dialogue sessions for clean energy across British Columbia.
Presently, she is nearing completion of a PhD in Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto. Her research explores how the learning we do together and in community engaged spaces contributes to systems-change and sustainability transitions. At the heart of Kim’s work is the creation of dynamic and user-friendly evaluation approaches that support such learning.
Kim currently resides in Pemberton with her wonderful husband, Nate and daughter, Olivia, where picking raspberries and riding bikes is a favourite pastime.
Corporate Administration and Policy Specialist Director, Snowberry Consulting Ltd
Sustainability and Engagement Specialist
Sustainable Community Development and Project Specialist
Marketing and Business Strategist
Ione Smith, MSc, PAg
Director, Upland Agricultural Consulting Ltd.
Pieter van Gils
Economic and Finance Consultant
Storyteller and Social Innovation Strategist
Board of Directors
Vice President of Finance and Operations, Tourism Whistler
Heather worked in many financial positions at Tourism Whistler before her turn at Vice President of Finance Operations. After living in Canmore, Banff and now Whistler, Heather has grown a passion for mountain resort communities. She is also a lifelong learner with an MBA and CPA and CGA designations. Heather previously sat on the local Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) board and now lends her keen sensibilities to the WCS board with regards to finance.
Arthur DeJong (Ex-Officio)
Senior Planner Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler City Councillor
Arthur DeJong has been with Whistler Blackcomb for 40 years. Through various roles including Ski Patrol Manager and Mountain Operations Manager for Blackcomb, Arthur has gained an exceptional familiarity with our mountain terrain and a deep understanding of the workings of the mountain ecosystem. His expertise on climate change strategy includes working with all levels of government including the UN.
Arthur pioneered work in the area of environmental planning on Whistler Blackcomb which has led him to his current position of Sr. Manager of Planning. In this role, Arthur works to marry planning techniques that both improve the guest experience and respect the natural environment.
Arthur has been an active member of the Whistler community for many years and believes that the key to effective planning is openness and community involvement. He also dedicates volunteer time to crisis line counseling and international aid programs.
Karen Elliott was elected as Mayor of the District of Squamish in October 2018 after serving as a member of Squamish Council from 2014-2018. She moved to Squamish in 2012 after spending six years abroad in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to her Council duties, from 2016 – 2018, Karen served as the first Ombudsperson for Quest University Canada, working with students, staff and faculty to ensure policies and practices were fair and followed the principles of natural justice. Karen has 15 years of consulting experience as a specialist in organizational effectiveness and leadership development, but put this work on hold in late 2019 to focus on her community responsibilities. She has supported clients with strategic planning, team and leadership development, change management and large group facilitation. When she is not at work, Karen enjoys spending time with her family and friends outside, or eating good food, or both.
Manager of Park Planning and Design, City of Coquitlam
“WCS is a leader in inclusive community planning. I am proud to support this participatory engagement work that is planning for a better world.” ~ Andre
Andre is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (MCIP) as well as a Landscape Architect and a member of the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA) and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA). Andre previously volunteered as a director with Tourism Harrison Hot Springs and Community Futures North Fraser.
Former Mayor of Whistler, Sustainability Champion
“I joined the WCS board because of my strong belief that action at the local level can be a catalyst for system change.” ~ Ken
Ken has been a board member (among other responsibilities) of Smart Growth BC, Fraser Basic Council and Community Energy Association Mayor’s Council. While Mayor, Ken was responsible for the adoption and implementation of Whistler 2020, and the creation of Whistler Centre for Sustainability. He has extensive experience with community planning issues, strategic planning at the local level and innovation.
CEO MarketWurks.com - a Farmers Market Management Software and Consultancy Co.
“I was appointed to the board in 2008 as a council representative. I selfishly remain in order to continue to work with our incredibly talented and resilient staff along side a multi talented Board of Directors.” ~ Chris
Chris served as a municipal councillor from 2008 – 2011, which offered him a unique opportunity to work with RMOW staff and VANOC officials to facilitate the execution of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To Chris, the experience demonstrated the potential of the human spirit and the responsibility to leave our world a better place for all that follow us. Chris has a passion for local economic development and food security, and has served as a mentor and presenter for the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.
President, Ziptrek Ecotours
Principal, New Climate Strategies