BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Margo Wagner
- chair
Margo Wagner

Margo Wagner was acclaimed as the chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust board of directors in Spring 2019. Chair Wagner has been the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) Electoral Area H Director since 2011. Wagner has served as the Vice Chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District since 2012. She has been the Chair of the South Cariboo Rural Caucus for the past four years and is the current CRD’s Finance Committee Chair; a position she has held for the past two years.

Chair Wagner has played an integral role in the Interior Health strategic planning group in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals to the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Wagner is the only elected official on this inter-divisional strategic marketing committee. In 2014, Director Wagner became a member of the Orange Shirt Day Committee. Orange Shirt Day, which is an annual event on September 30, is held in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children's sense of self-esteem and well-being, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters. She also serves on an active working group within the CRD to improve working relationships with First Nations.

Chair Wagner is the Safety Officer and a First Responder instructor for Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Department and a retired Registered Nurse. She is the President of Canim Lake Community Club and Captain of the Canim Lake Citizens on Patrol. With a keen interest in hockey, Wagner has held positions on numerous Boards for Hockey Alberta for 13 years. Margo and her husband Brian, have two adult children, both of whom still live in Alberta.

Lori Ackerman
- vice-chair

Mayor Lori Ackerman is a proud resident of the Peace Region who has lived in the area since 1980, most of those in the “Energetic City” of Fort St. John. In 2019, she was acclaimed by the board as the new vice-chair.

Lori was first elected to City Council in 2005 and started serving as a Director for the Peace River Regional District in 2006. Lori represents the community on many local, regional and provincial boards and committees.

Since becoming Mayor in November 2011, Lori has been appointed to the Province’s Local Government RCMP Contract Management Committee and is a member of the Steering Committee for the BC Mayor’s Caucus.  Lori presides as the Chair of the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Northeast Regional Advisory Committee and in 2009 was nominated by her peers to be one of the elected officials to represent Northeast BC on the Northern Development Initiative Trust Board.

Over the years, her volunteer work includes, Emergency Social Services; Scouts Canada; was a founding member of the United Way Cabinet in Fort St John and chaired the community’s Homeless Shelter committee to name a few.

Lori’s background is in marketing, economic development and small business counseling and she is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Governance Essentials Program.

She held the position of Executive Director of Sci-Tech North, a non-profit organization that offered support to entrepreneurs and innovators in the Northeast from 2002 to 2013.  Prior to this, Lori was the Family Service Director at the Salvation Army giving her a robust perspective of the community.

In recognition of her community involvement in 2002 and 2012, Lori received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2005, she received the Silver Acorn for her distinguished service to Scouting.

Lori is a firm believer that BC can harvest it’s natural resources and with the use of innovative BC born technology, doing it more efficiently, effectively and leave a lighter footprint.

Wendy Benyk
- finance committee chair
Wendy Benyk

Wendy Benyk was appointed to the Trust's board in 2014 and was elected acclaimed as the finance committee chair in 2018. In 2019, Benyk was acclaimed by the board for a second term as the finance committee chair.

Benyk is the chief executive officer of Lakes District Maintenance Ltd., a highway road and bridge maintenance company. Previously, Benyk was a Senior Audit Manager at KPMG and BDO Dunwoody.

Active in her community, she is also Director of ICA BC Benevolent Fund and Vice President of Burns Lake and District Community Foundation. Benyk was previously vice president of BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association and president of Canadian Parents for French. She holds her Bachelor in Science from Brandon University and her Chartered Accountant certification from the Manitoba Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Lyn Hall

Mayor Lyn Hall has been an active member of the Prince George community for over 30 years. Lyn first entered local politics in 2001 when he won a seat as a school trustee on the Prince George School Board. He spent 10 years on the board holding various positions, including chair and vice-chair.

In 2011, Lyn ran and successfully won a seat on Prince George City Council. As a Councillor, Lyn was a member of several committees and community groups. He ran successful campaigns for Mayor of Prince George in 2014 and 2018.

Alison Hoskins

Alison is a proud resident of Prince George and is committed to her community and Northern BC. She has been with Integris Credit Union since 2005 as Controller and then as Vice President Finance since September 2014. In 2018 she took on the strategic leadership position at Integris when she became CEO. Alison is a CPA and worked for 10 years in public practice accounting with both audit and tax experience, completing her CICA In-depth Taxation Speciality in 2001.  Alison has attended CUES CEO Institute I & II in 2014 & 2015, earning the designation of Certified Chief Executive.  Alison brings expertise in accounting and financial reporting as well as a strong background in strategic human resource development and organizational behaviour to her pragmatic leadership at Integris.

A leader within the Credit Union system and within our region, Alison is a strong supporter of the North and can often be found volunteering her time for various organizations.  Her strong alignment with the cooperative principles and values based leadership, have built a solid foundation for genuine concern for community which shows in all she does both at work and in our communities.

Alison is a proud mom of two boys and in her spare time, they can be found enjoying the beauty of the area, skiing in the winter and mountain biking during the summer months.

Carol Leclerc

Carol Leclerc, first elected as Mayor of Terrace in 2014, served as a Terrace City Councillor from 2002-2011. She has served as a Director and Alternate Director for the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Chair and Vice Chair for the Northwest Regional Hospital District, Director for Northern Health, Director for BC Transit, Director for Northern Development Initiative Trust, and as a member of Northern Development Initiative Trust’s Northwest Regional Advisory Committee. She has her Masters of Arts in Professional Communication from Royal Roads University.

Carol is passionate about her community having served with many committees and organizations. Carol enjoys walking, hiking, and dragon boating and is an active member of her Rotary Club.

Barry Pages

Barry has been lucky enough to serve as an elected official for the Village of Masset since 1993.

From 1993 to 2000 Barry served as a councillor, from 2000 to 2011 Barry served as Mayor, from 2011 to 2018 Barry served again as a councillor; and recently in 2018 Barry was re-elected as Mayor of Masset.

Barry has also served as a director on the North Coast Regional District since 2000, and since 2002 Barry has been the Chairman of the North Coast Regional District (formally Skeena Queen/Charlotte Regional District). Barry has also served on numerous other boards including the Northern Development Trust Regional advisory committee, the NW Regional Hospital District (currently chairman) and the Municipal Finance Authority.

The community of Masset has been home for Barry and his family for most of his life. Barry has raised three children in Masset and continues to love the community of Masset with his wife Denise and 11 year-old daughter Sofia.

Barry has lived in Masset through various economic cycles and has given him a better understanding of the challenges smaller communities face. Barry works as a Business Accounts Manager for Northern Savings Credit Union, which provides him with the opportunity to work in all communities on Haida Gwaii.

Mark Parker

Mark Parker has been the Director of Electoral Area “D” (Fraser Lake Rural) with the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) since 2015. He is also vice-chair of the board and Chair of the Rural/Agriculture Committee. Mark is a lifelong resident of the Fraser Lake Area where he lives with his two daughters and operates the family farm located on the north shore of Fraser Lake.

Mark recognizes the significance of agriculture in the region and was a leader in the regional district forming an agriculture committee and advocating for an agriculture coordinator position pilot project with Northern Development Initiative Trust.

As the representative and advocate of Area “D”, Mark attends meetings with the Village of Fraser Lake, Stellat’en First Nation and Nadleh Whut’en First Nation to discuss common goals and concerns in the area. He is a member of the Fort Fraser Local Community Commission and attends meetings to provide support and discuss topics of interest to the unincorporated community of Fort Fraser. In 2019, the regional district completed a $3.7 million water project in Fort Fraser which was primarily funded from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The project was a great accomplishment and will ensure clean and safe drinking water for the residents for years to come.

Wayne Plenert

Wayne has lived in Dawson Creek for over 40 years where he helped raise a family, was active in a Mennonite church. He is a mediator, instructor, conducts review panels and is a retired BC and Yukon lawyer.

Legal highlights involve family law and insurance work across B.C. and the Yukon. After obtaining his LLM (ADR) in 2002, Wayne’s professional work has involved mediation, conflict system design work, and teaching mediation skills and conflict and leadership training in B.C. and Alberta, as well as chairing mental health review panels. In 2019 Mediate BC presented him with its Susanna Yani Mediator of Excellence Award.

Board highlights include Peace Energy Cooperative (facilitating the hearings for the B.C.’s first functioning Wind Turbine Project); Dawson Creek Hospital Board (chairing their expansion project); Mediate BC and BC Mediator Roster Society as vice chair and president, where he helped with new Standards of Conduct, discipline process and enforcement; system design development for mediation; and presentations and training across the province; and Lakeview Credit Union (general governance).

In basketball, Wayne played in the Canada Winter Games, BC Northern Winter Games, BC Winter games with a Prince George team, and in the World Masters Games in 2005.

Fred Sam

Fred Sam is from Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation which is situated adjacent to the District of Fort St. James. Fred is proud to belong to the Beaver Clan and he strongly respects their traditional governance. Fred currently serves on the Nak’azdli Whut’en Council until 2021.

Fred is married with four children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. He has been the Chief of Nak’azdli Whut’en for nine years from 2007 until 2016. While he was the Chief Fred was part of the negotiating team to resolve an Impact Benefit Agreement with Thompson Creek Metals who owned the Mt. Milligan Mine at that time. At the same time their negotiating team were also in discussion with the Province of BC to come up with an agreement called the Economic Community Development Agreement (ECDA). These agreements are still in place and are a great benefit to their community.

Fred has been the President of the Carrier Linguistic Society for a number of years; he truly enjoys being on this society as he deeply cares about their language and would like to be part of the solution in retaining it for years to come. Fred enjoys volunteering at the local elementary school because he wants the best for the community's students and it ties in with their language and culture.

Fred looks forward to using his skills and experience to help people and communities move forward.

Dan Rose

Dan Rose is the vice-chair of the Peace River Regional District Board and is serving his second term as director for Electoral Area 'E'. Dan resides in Groundbirch with his wife Wendy, where they operate a successful cattle ranch and small oilfield business. They have a daughter and two sons who all live in the Dawson Creek area.

Dan is a strong advocate for rural communities and understands the challenges they face. As an elected director, he believes that all levels of governments are accountable to the people that elect them, and as such, it is crucial that they communicate, engage and consult with residents throughout the planning process.

Dan's political interests include solid waste and recycling, drinking water access, agriculture, taxation, planning, rural connectivity, health care, seniors' housing and open and transparent communication. Dan chairs the Solid Waste Committee, Regional Parks Committee, Chetwynd Civic Properties Commission, Healthcare Scholarship Committee and sits on various other committees and working groups.

Sally Watson

Sally has lived in the 70 Mile House area since 1986 and is committed to the community and the region, promoting initiatives that improve the economy and communities throughout central and northern B.C. In addition to her role as a Director of Northern Development, Sally also sits on the board of the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition and is a member of several committees for the Thompson Nicola Regional District, including the Solid Waste Management Committee, Regional Parks and Economic Development Committee and Policy Review Committee. Sally has been a member of the Cariboo Chilcotin Lillooet Regional Advisory Committee since 2005. In addition to her community work, Sally is a Canada Post mail carrier in 70 Mile House. Sally also enjoys graphic design, riding her horse and spending time with her soon to be seven grandchildren.

Julie Ziebart

Julie Ziebart, CPA, CA, is a Partner in MNP’s Fort St. John office. For more than 20 years, Julie has been helping SME’s in a range of industries, including oil and gas services, improve and grow their businesses.

Committed to a high level of client service, Julie takes the time to forge close relationships and makes a point of being accessible and responsive. She delivers comprehensive assurance services such as financial statement and tax compliance reporting and strategic tax planning, and advises on all aspects of planning for and operating a successful business.

Julie’s experience includes working with Indigenous communities and businesses. Her understanding of the unique needs of Indigenous clients allows her to offer insight and solutions customized to their needs and designed to help them achieve their objectives.

Designated a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in 1998, Julie first earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. She has completed the CPA Canada In-depth Tax Course. Julie served on the executive committee of Synergy FSJ, the junior division of the Chamber of Commerce. Julie was elected a director of the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce beginning in the 2013 - 2014 year, and is currently tasked as the Board President and Chair. In 2015, Julie accepted the appointment to the University of Northern British Columbia Board of Governors. In 2018, Julie accepted the appointment to the Board of Directors of Canada's Digital Technology Supercluster, which, through ambitious, collaborative partnerships, facilitates and funds projects that develop digital products and platforms to transform industries and propel the economic growth of Canada.

Julie is dedicated to efforts to improve her community and create change in the world. Through her active membership in Rotary International, Julie has been able contribute for over a decade, including the conceptualization of the annual Rotary Mother’s Day Run, which will enter its 10th year in 2021.