Northern Development board selects new CEO

August 15, 2016

Earlier this year, Northern Development Initiative Trust announced that our current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) would be retiring this fall and that the Trust would commence the search for her replacement.

The Trust’s Board of Directors has selected a new Chief Executive Officer to succeed retiring CEO Janine North and ensure a smooth transition of leadership this fall. Joel McKay, the Trust’s Director of Communications, will succeed Ms. North as CEO beginning October 3rd, 2016.

McKay joined the Trust’s executive team in 2012, and since then has been responsible for leading the Trust’s communications and marketing, economic research and analysis, as well as the Fabulous Festivals and Events funding program. Prior to joining the Trust, McKay was an award-winning business journalist in Vancouver specializing in coverage of the province’s natural resources industries, notably forestry, mining, oil and gas and renewable energy.

The decision follows a rigorous three-month selection process that fielded potential succession candidates from across British Columbia.

Ms. North will remain CEO until the transition date, helping to ensure the Trust continues to deliver on its mandate to strengthen and diversify the economy in central and northern B.C. Ms. North’s decision to retire comes after more than a decade of service to the Trust, and is driven by her personal desire to spend more time with her family and other board and personal commitments.

Since 2005, the Trust has used its resources to approve more than $150 million in funding for more than 2,000 projects throughout central and northern B.C.
In that time, the Trust has leveraged $1.2 billion in new investment to the region and helped diversify the economy. Today, the Trust is sustainably managed with a capital base in excess of $250 million and two dozen programs and services that foster collaboration, sustainability and diversification in the region’s communities.


“On behalf of the Board, I congratulate Joel on being selected to lead this great organization and continue its service to the people, communities and businesses of central and northern BC. Joel’s demonstrated commitment to the Trust and his desire to help grow BC’s central and northern economies will serve the Trust well. Congratulations Joel and we, the Board, look forward to continuing the wonderful achievements the Trust has been able to accomplish under the exemplary leadership that Janine North so capably provided since the inception of the Trust.” – Evan Saugstad, Board Chair

“Joel has a passion for northern communities and building a stronger economy. He has the vision and service ethic that will drive Northern Development to continued success over the next decade. I am thrilled that he will succeed me as CEO in the fall.” – Janine North, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust

“I feel honoured to have been selected to lead the Trust into its second decade. The north is my home, my family’s home, and I believe very passionately that the best economic decisions for the north should be made in the north. I look forward to continuing to serve our board of directors and collaborate with our regional advisors to ensure the Trust is responsibly responsive to the needs of communities throughout central and northern B.C.” – Joel McKay, Director, Communications

Joel McKay hires

Joel McKay bio:

Joel McKay joined the Northern Development executive team in June 2012, where he handles the Trust’s communications and marketing, economic research and analysis and the Fabulous Festivals and Events grant program. Joel was previously Assignment Editor at Business in Vancouver Newspaper where he was responsible for leading a team of journalists. Prior to that, Joel was the Natural Resources Reporter at Business in Vancouver covering forestry, mining, oil and gas, fisheries and First Nations issues across the province. For the past four years Joel has led a successful communications services program that has provided public relations capacity to small local governments and First Nations throughout rural B.C. Joel is editor of the Small Town P.R. Playbook, a Jack Webster award winning journalist, was named one of Prince George’s Top 40 Under 40 business leaders in 2013, an alumni of the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and a regular columnist for Business in Vancouver focusing on economic and northern issues. Joel holds a Bachelor of Applied Journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.