The NPA is still alive, even if it only has one member on city council

The Vancouver NPA issued a news release announcing that 20 people have stepped forward to contest the 11 positions on the board.

Some of the names are reasonably well known, such as former NPA council candidate Sean Bickerton and communications consultant Bob Ransford, who chaired Peter Ladner's campaign to oust Sam Sullivan for the party's 2008 mayoral nomination.

Others are daughters of former NPA politicians (Meredith Ladner and Melissa De Genova).

In addition to De Genova and Ladner, several other young political activists are  seeking NPA board positions, including the  party's social-media expert, Gavin Dew.

De Genova ran for park board in 2008, as did two other candidates for the NPA board: Naresh Shukla and Sharon Urton.

Conservative activist D.J. Lawrence and Doug Leung, husband of former park commissioner Heather Holden, are also seeking spots on the board.

One of the surprising names on the list is Kirk Miller, the long-time chair of the Agricultural Land Commission. Incoming  Volunteer Vancouver president Chilwin Cheng is also seeking a board position.  The complete list of candidates appears in the NPA news release below:

Candidates for Board of Directors; Annual General Meeting reminder
Dear NPA Member,

We're pleased to announce the names of 20 candidates for our NPA Board of Directors. Their names and bios are listed below. Only eleven positions are open at the December 29th AGM. More details are available about the meeting and the open board positions on our website. The Annual General Meeting details are as follows:

Date: Monday, December 29th, 2008
Registration opens: 3:00pm
Meeting begins: 4:00pm
Location: Hellenic Community Centre
St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
4500 Arbutus Street
Vancouver, B.C.

We hope you can come out and join us on the 29th. Coffee, tea and sweets will be provided.

Candidates for the NPA Board of Directors
Sean Bickerton
Sean Bickerton was an NPA candidate for City Council this past election. Currently Managing Partner of web software studio Kulture Shock Media, Sean Bickerton has an extensive background in the performing arts and entertainment, having spent twenty years in New York City as a Vice President of Columbia Artists and head of IAG, producing international concert tours for some of the world’s greatest artists and orchestras. A Vancouver native, Sean Bickerton studied violin at UVic and UBC, played violin professionally in the Victoria Symphony, ran the Vancouver Youth Orchestra and Courtenay Youth Music Camp and worked for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Vancouver Recital Series.

Involved in community throughout his life, Bickerton was a founding member of the South Fraser Regional Crisis Line, and, as President of Gays and Lesbians of UBC, helped implement some of the city’s first safe-sex campaigns. Today he volunteers with Union Gospel Mission. and spearheads efforts to clean up his Tinseltown neighbourhood.

Chilwin Cheng
Chilwin Cheng is President, Paradigm Shift Solutions Inc. and Legal Process Solutions, two Vancouver technology start ups. Before that, he was Chief Legal Counsel, and General Manager, Western Region Market Regulation Services Inc., the independent regulator of Canada's stock exchanges. He is the incoming President of Volunteer Vancouver, the former President of the John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland, MOSAIC, a former director of the Yaletown Business Improvement Association, Roundhouse Community and Arts Centre, and the City of Vancouver Diversity Advisory Committee. He is a regular volunteer instructor with Volunteer Vancouver and Simon Fraser University, teaching courses on leadership, governance, and business execution. He is also politically active, having participated in civic, provincial, and federal campaigns. He received his LLB from the University of Toronto and his MBA from Simon Fraser University.

Michael Davis
If elected to the board I will work toward two objectives:

Support our elected caucus. The four NPA members that have been elected will be challenged to meet all their obligations and will require a high level of support if they are to effectively hold the Vision/COPE team to account.

The second, but arguably more important, goal is to rebuild broad based community support for our party and candidates through community outreach.

I have many relevant skills including an interest in effective governance for non-profit organizations. Since 2004 I have been a volunteer board trainer for Volunteer Vancouver, teaching effective board governance to various non-profit organizations.

I am a professional communicator and can effectively assist the NPA to build cohesive messaging and communication strategies. I also have extensive professional experience in strategic planning: identifying organizational goals, creating strategies and supporting tactics to achieve those goals and setting up evaluation methods to monitor progress along the way.

Since 2004 I have been a Senior Counsel and Director of Operations at one of western Canada’s largest communication and reputation management firms. Prior to joining that firm, I owned and operated a small communication and web-design firm. I was a provincial level campaign manager in 2001.

I have been a long time supporter of the NPA and its candidates through campaigns, direct support of the party and as the primary organizer of the community forum in 2003. I hope you will give me the opportunity to help again.

Melissa De Genova
Melissa De Genova was the youngest candidate running for office with the NPA team in the November 2008 election. Melissa came very close to being elected to the Park Board and understands the importance of representing and engaging youth in politics and government. Melissa's involvement in politics started at a very young age, through her father Allan, who was elected to the Park Board for 16 years.

Working with the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition and as a board member of Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre, Melissa knows how important it is to introduce fun, new and innovative ways to engage youth; encouraging young people to have a say in how their city is run. Melissa helped to organize a Model United Nations at her school from 2003-2005. In 2007 Melissa arranged a forum for young community leaders to speak to youth in Vancouver who were interested in getting involved in their communities. Aside from coordinating youth, Melissa is also an experienced fundraiser and campaigner. If elected as the Chair of the Young Non Partisan Association (YNPA) Melissa is committed to finding fresh and new avenues to engage and mobilize youth in the NPA

At 26 years old, Melissa is a recent graduate of SFU. She has managed, worked and volunteered on several campaigns at municipal, provincial and federal levels of governments. She also brings experience from her involvement in organizing, chairing and volunteering with several community youth groups. As YNPA chair, Melissa would work tirelessly to increase awareness in youth, preparing for the 2011 election. She would also encourage a greater youth membership in the NPA, and represent the next generation.

Gavin Dew
Gavin Dew graduated from UBC in 2006 with a BA, a beard, and bags under his eyes. His extracurricular education included a stint as finance director for Arts County Fair, a 14 000-person charity concert. Subsequently, he was elected Vice President Academic and University Affairs of the UBC Alma Mater Society, Canada’s largest student society. After graduating, he managed UBC’s alumni engagement for students and young alumni for two years, cultivating a broad network. In summer 2008, he spent four months backpacking throughout Europe. Upon returning, he coordinated the NPA campaign’s online strategy, an area that will be increasingly important in the coming years.

The NPA has experienced a challenging election cycle, and we face a difficult few years ahead. However, Gavin believes that the rebuilding process is an opportunity to broaden and strengthen our coalition across neighborhoods, ages, cultural groups, and beliefs. We must continue to adapt to Vancouver’s evolving demographics and increasingly competitive political landscape. We must take advantage of the rich resources available to us: smart people, great ideas, and new ways to engage the broader public. Gavin is committed to building a collaborative and successful NPA that will provide responsible, effective, and innovative leadership for Vancouver.

Manjot Hallen
Bio not yet available - see update at

Michael Huenefeld
Since 2006 Michael has been a member of the NPA Board. He was appointed to the Board in his capacity as Vice Chair of the Young NPA (YNPA). Since July 2008 he has also served as Chair of the NPA Membership Committee. In 2005 he worked as Campaign Manager of Ronald Leung’s City Council candidacy. Michael has also worked on federal and provincial election campaigns. In 2004-05 he served on the staff of the Government Caucus in the BC Legislature.

Michael’s professional history includes experience in accounting and banking. He has worked for organizations like Royal Bank and CIBC. He currently works for CSRS (Canadian Securities Registration Systems). He has completed internships at the BC Securities Commission and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Michael was born in Vancouver and has lived here for over 13 years. He holds MBA (finance) and MA (political science) degrees from SFU. He holds a BA (Honours) from UBC. Michael has a strong interest in the arts and has been active in the Francophone Cultural Centre of Vancouver. He speaks Spanish and French and has studied Japanese.

Berris Karden
I have a passion for politics and for Vancouver, and want to help shape the vision for our city past the 2010 Olympics, into the future.

For the past 8 years I’ve worked with partners to create Congo Communications, a company specializing in multimedia online communications, helping businesses & organizations (primarily in Canada, expanding reach into US), to communicate more effectively and efficiently using video messaging with an internet platform.

Through Congo Communications, I’ve worked in numerous political campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal level”¦assisting in the planning, scripting and execution of the outreach, using multimedia communication tools.

I have volunteered and worked with several charitable organizations in Vancouver, assisting them in creating a workable marketing message.

Employed in Canadian Financial Services industry for 12 years in wealth management, administration & branch management at 2 national financial services companies.

Taught several MBA level courses at a private local university. MBA, Int’l Business, in 1997 @ SFU & B. Comm, Finance, 1988 @ UBC.

A proud father of three, most of my ”˜down’ time focussed on my very young family. I enjoy running, reading, music and politics!

Meet me @

Jeevan Khunkhun
Born and raised on the east side of Vancouver, Jeevan is a true Vancouverite with an ambitious vision and passion for his city. His professional experience in small business start-up, finance, and real estate coupled with is community involvement in sport, charity, and cultural diversity provide a solid and balanced foundation for his future work with the NPA. Jeevan has been active in the Vancouver business community for over 10 years. Since 2003, he has focused on commercial real estate finance at CareVest Capital and at Royal Bank where he managed a real estate portfolio of well established developers. In 1999, Jeevan co-founded a wireless software company that specialized in developing software applications that managed wireless connectivity. He led this company from its infancy to a company which raised equity, signed licensing agreements and to the eventual acquisition of the company. Jeevan holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree in Finance & Accounting from the University of British Columbia and an MBA in International Business from the University of Manitoba. During his studies, he travelled to the US, China, and South-East Asia to gain a better understanding of global business practices and has maintained important links to these business communities. Jeevan is married, a father of two young boys (age 1 and 3) and hopes that Vancouver provides even better opportunities for his young family. As an NPA Board Member, Jeevan will bring a background of diversity, knowledge, and community connections. His leadership and reputation are well established and he will continue to work hard with the highest of ethical standards for the city of Vancouver.

Meredith Ladner
Meredith Ladner has been involved with the NPA since 2003. She graduated from Kitsilano high school only two short years ago and since then she has travelled through Southeast Asia and returned to university. She is the middle of a diploma program for Tourism management at Capilano University.

This past summer Meredith worked for an event planning company working in the sport services department helping clients find accommodations and venues during February 2010. She is still working there and is very excited about inviting the world to Vancouver in 2010.

Meredith is interested in being a voice for the younger community on the NPA board. She really feels a connection not only to the NPA but also to the youth of the community. She has been working with the NPA and learning a lot about civic issues since her father’s first election in 2002. In the last election she worked on events, called phone lists, sold memberships, entered data and did an assortment of menial jobs.

She really believes that the NPA can attract many more youth voters and workers and that it is time for a change. She is ready to work on the board to make that change.

DJ Lawrence
I’ve been a party supporter and lived in Hastings Sunrise since 1998. I’ve been active in all levels of politics since 1995, serving as federal and provincial riding presidents, most other board positions, and three times as campaign manager in East Van.

I helped many NPA candidates this election with their sign campaigns, before leaving to do relief work in Cambodia where I helped fund and build 8 houses and wells. I coach my son and daughters minor hockey teams, volunteer with Vancouver Police, and was head of civilian volunteers for the Odd Squad fundraisers for 3 years, the Chief Graham Roast, and co-chair of volunteers for the VPD Dog Squad 50th anniversary. I’m also an Emergency Preparedness instructor and trained with Canada Task Force One.

I’ve worked in Federal Government Security and Emergency Preparedness positions the last 7 years and in federal law enforcement prior to that. I hold a B.A. (SFU 1996) majoring in Political Science, with Communications and Criminology minors, plus Canadian Police College training, all of which will help me help our party.

Doug Leung
Douglas Leung’s experiences as a life long Vancouverite and entrepreneur have resulted in a deep appreciation for life in Vancouver. With thirty plus years of successful entrepreneurial experience in the strategic planning, conceptual design, development, marketing and project management of businesses projects primarily in the real estate, retail, food service, and hospitality sectors, Doug has first hand knowledge of the importance of stable, responsible, visionary and common sense civic policy making.

Being a bit of a political junkie, Doug has worked in various capacities from delivering flyers to campaign management in the federal and provincial political arenas since 1984. Having joined the NPA Board in 2006 this will be his 2nd term if successfully re-elected.

Community involvement has included serving as a Director on the Boards of Canada Place Corporation, Pacific Parklands Foundation, Central City Mission Foundation, City Centre Care Society, Vancouver Symphony Society, Endeavour Society for the Benefit of Arts, Science & Health, Independence Foundation, and the Potluck Café Society.

Kirk Miller
I am very interested in working with the NPA to help ensure that it positions itself to be an effective voice in the next civic elections. With the recent election results, I believe the NPA needs to refocus itself so that it is a more representative organization and can present a platform that appeals to a cross segment of the civic population.

Over the years, I have worked on several federal political campaigns. These have provided me with the experience to help the NPA organize themselves for the next election. I understand the needs of a campaign and the way to reach out to a broad group of people.

In my career, I worked for twenty five years with the BC civil service, all of that time with the Agricultural Land Commission. I served as CEO and Chair for approximately 10 years. In addition to my duties with the ALC, I also served concurrently as CEO of the Forest Land Commission until its demise. While both organizations were estblished to preserve either farm lands or forest lands, both organizations were essentially planning agencies which involved direct contact with over 128 local governments throughout the province. This experience provide me with insight into the needs and role of civic governments.

As a volunteer, I served on two Foundations (both as a Director and Chair) dedicated to raising funds for mentally challenged individuals, and on the Board of Aids Vancouver. I have also worked with other community health organizations.

Kristie Perrotte
With seven years of marketing, public relations and communications experience, Kristie Perrotte brings a love for politics, an inquisitive mind and a passion for Vancouver. A UBC graduate in Political Science (2002), Kristie offers a young and vibrant perspective to the NPA organization coupled with a background in communications. She has played a valued role in municipal, provincial and federal politics and was most recently involved in organizing special events for Suzanne Anton ´s re-election to City Council. Kristie is currently the National Public Relations Manager for Robert Half International, a Fortune 500 company and worldwide leader in professional recruitment and staffing. Her role primarily involves media and community relations, social marketing and business development. Kristie will offer the NPA a unique perspective on social and community marketing complimented with a young and professional outlook to Vancouver municipal politics.

Bob Ransford
Bob Ransford has over 28 years experience in business and public affairs. He is a communications professional and an urban designer who specializes in dealing with complicated land-use and urban development challenges. He writes a regular column on urban issues in the Vancouver Sun newspaper and is a contributing writer to magazines. Prior to launching his own consulting business eight years ago, Ransford was a senior executive for 12 years with both private and public companies in the real estate development industry. During the 1980s, Ransford held a number of senior positions as an advisor to politicians in the federal and provincial governments. He worked on Parliament Hill in Ottawa between 1981 and 1986, and he joined the Office of the Premier of the Province of British Columbia in 1986 as an Executive Assistant where he served for two years.

Ransford has also worked as a journalist in radio and community newspapers.

Active as a volunteer strategist in politics at the national, provincial and municipal levels, Ransford has assisted with communications and strategy in more than 65 election campaigns. He is also a director of numerous community service organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Farmers’ Market Society, Smart Growth BC and the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

Keith Roy
Keith Roy is a realtor with Macdonald Realty. Born in Vancouver, Keith graduated from Vancouver College high school and attended Universities in Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. He is an active member of the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre Board of Directors and a frequent Park Board facility user. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Vancouver-Arbutus, a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for community service and the Chairman of the Vancouver Branch of the Monarchist League of Canada. A long time advocate for the NPA, Keith ran for a Park Board nomination this year on a platform to promote improvements in community centre infrastructure, enhance the public's experience with Park Board facilities and ensure our Olympic facilities are transitioned into a Vancouver recreational legacy. Keith and his wife Sarah enjoy rollerblading on the seawall, swimming in the Kitsilano outdoor pool and cycling through Vancouver's many bike routes. Keith and Sarah live in East Vancouver.

Naresh Shukla
My name is Naresh Shukla and I migrated from India to Vancouver when I was just 16 and have been currently living in Vancouver for the last 35 years. I have been very involved in the business community, as I have been operating a local business for over 35 years. I have a family with one son who is currently attending U.B.C. I have served with and volunteered for many community and charitable organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Rotary Club (Fraserview), President of VHP Hindu Temple, my son's elementary school, and I am currently active in the local merchant business association. My hobbies include sports and recreation, as I try to live a healthy lifestyle. I have been an active member of the NPA and this year I was also a candidate for NPA Park Board 2008.

Deborah Spafford
Deborah Spafford was an avid supporter of Clr. Suzanne Anton as a member of the core committee of that successful campaign team. Her background in Event Management, developed having owned and operated her own conference services business, is an asset to any endeavor. She currently works with Sutton Group as a licensed realtor out of the Kerrisdale office. Both careers have enabled her to develop strong skills in marketing communications. As a volunteer, Deborah has done a great deal of work with the Canadian Cancer Society, most recently with Camp Goodtimes (for critically ill children). Especially now, the NPA Board must provide its incumbents with dedicated support as they serve the city. Deborah hopes to be at the forefront of re-building the NPA, first by examining its vision and values, then by helping to communicate that message to City of Vancouver residents. She is committed to making the City of Vancouver a greener, cleaner and safer place to live.

Raj Taneja
Bio not yet available - see update at

Sharon Urton
As NPA members, we all recognize that this is a time for regeneration in our party. This will take considerable rebranding and rebuilding over the next three years by positive people working together towards a common goal.

The election results in no way capture the unifying synergies of our City. The ways in which the NPA is labeled and characterized in no way reflects my experience of how aligned our team is with Vancouverites working to subdue rhetoric and overcome social and cultural barriers of all kinds. We must rebrand.

We have three years to build sincere connections with our communities. Over thirty years of experience in facilitating progressive programs throughout Vancouver’s communities will help me play a prominent role in this process. We must rebuild.

My training in sport science and economics and my professional background in recreation and sport gives me the opportunity to feel the pulse of the city while it grows through the experience of the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics. We must parlay the emerging citizen engagement around sports, arts and culture into our membership.

In line with the spirit of Olympianism, we can lead the building of united communities that embrace our social and cultural diversity. These ideals can be leveraged to help us create a respected and respectful civic party that people want to join; a party that puts people first, invites diversity and inspires accomplishments without resorting to empty rhetoric.

Together let’s get the job done!