BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Linda was born and raised in Vancouver and has spent the last 20+ years working as a residential real estate agent at Dexter Realty.
Linda loves Vancouver and wants to share her extensive knowledge and deep affection for the neighborhoods, architecture and history of the city with her clients. Her approach to client service recognizes the importance of developing strong relationships while at the same time having fun. Linda has built her business on repeat clients and referrals.
Linda attended UBC and BCIT. Prior to entering the real estate industry Linda worked for Canada’s largest video distributor. Working in this emerging industry gave her the opportunity to experience a variety of job positions requiring creating thinking and innovative approaches.
Linda is grateful to be able to give back and help to effect change through volunteer work in the community.
When not serving her real estate clients or volunteering Linda can be found spending time with her son, hiking the local trails or exploring the neighborhoods of Vancouver with her furry sidekick, Ava.
Gail’s career spanned thirty years in the Organic and Natural Food industry, including 23 years at the marketing and sales company she founded. She employed twenty five people and despite now being retired, is still a beloved member of the industry. Her entrepreneurial spirit is now channeled into mentoring and community advocacy. She also enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and birding and sports. Gail holds the position of co-chair on the Watari board is honoured to have been on the board for over 10 years.
Calvin Tompkins received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC in 1969 and earned his Chartered
Accountancy designation the same year after training with BDO Canada. His accounting career has
focused on financial reporting and audits of not-for-profit organizations. He was a founding partner of
Yada Tompkins Humphries Palmer and Co. which later merged with Ernst and Young, and in 1995 he co-
founded Tompkins, Wozny, Miller & Co. from which he retired in 2014. He has served on several boards
including six-year terms as the treasurer of the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Center of B.C.
and the Saint James Community Services Society (now the Bloom Group). He has served as treasurer of
the Watari Counselling and Support Services Society since 2012.
Dinah brings both front-line knowledge and business acumen to Watari’s Board. Having earned her
diploma in Youth Justice, Dinah worked with youth and young adults navigating the justice and social
services systems on both a volunteer and professional basis for 6 years. During this time she witnessed
the positive impact and effectiveness of Watari’s programs on the people it served. Upon returning to
her family’s business where she now oversees finance, human resources and operations, Dinah sought a
meaningful way to continue to give back to her community. Impressed and inspired by Watari’s low-
barrier, grass roots approach to service delivery, Dinah applied and subsequently joined the Board in
Sara has been a CPA since 2005. She worked in public practice for 7 years at BDO Dunwoody and KPMG working on a range of audit clients including not for profit, government and private enterprise, after which she worked in the mining industry for 8 years in a variety of financial roles. To this day she continues a role in financial oversight of investment assets that support their communities. Sara grew up in Burnaby and lived in Vancouver for almost 20 years.
Gurpreet Chopra was born and raised in Vancouver and is currently an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia in his fourth year of a biochemistry program, and is passionate about working in the community that has given so much to him in the past. He is currently doing dementia-related research at St. Paul’s Hospital and spends his free time volunteering at a needle exchange, volunteering at BC Children’s Hospital, taking calls at the Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC, and leading a humanitarian-based club at UBC focused on community advocacy following the asset-based community development model.
With Watari, he hopes to bring his experiences directly working with vulnerable populations and help grow the capacity of Watari to support more individuals of diverse backgrounds for years to come. With such experiences, he has gained valuable insight into the implications associated with addictions, mental illness, disability, inequality, sense of community, and the diverse socio-economic situations people are in that factor into the growing crises we see locally and nationally.
He was drawn to Watari because of their beliefs on empowering people by taking individualized approaches to providing services that play towards one’s innate strengths, capabilities, and desire for wellness. The philosophy behind Watari’s approach to services is something he strongly agrees with and is impressed by their long-standing commitment to bridging opportunities, resources, and choices to people in the community, as well as their active advocacy for vulnerable and marginalized people.
Gurpreet is excited and honoured to serve on the Board of Directors and looks forward to continuing and expanding on Watari’s philosophy of providing innovative, community driven programs/services.
Jessica Stewart joined the Watari board of directors in September 2019. She brings nine years of communications and content strategy experience to the board. Jessica has volunteered with various non-profit organizations, including the Elizabeth Fry Society’s Maida Duncan Drop-In Centre, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Journalists for Human Rights, and Youth Challenge International, and Kiva. She has previously been a board member for the University of Alberta chapter of Oxfam. Jessica has degrees in creative writing and psychology and is currently completing her PhD in health psychology at UBC.
Ye-Von joined the WATARI Board of Directors in 2019. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in Psychology and Health, she began working as a research coordinator at Oak Tree Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic providing specialized clinical care for women and children living with HIV/AIDS in British Columbia. Since recognizing the complex challenges prevalent in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) through her interaction with her patients, Ye-Von has focused her time and interest in volunteering with advocacy groups and organizations addressing the needs of the DTES community. She aspires to pursue a career in healthcare in hopes to provide low-barrier, on-demand care through outreach medical services.
Hi, my name is Grace Tait. I was born in Prince Rupert BC of the Tsimshian Nation, under my fathers family of Lax Kw’alaams BC. Our family moved to Vancouver, specifically in the DTES Vancouver, over 40 years ago. I am the mother of two wonderful adult children and raised my family in East Van. Now I am the proud nana to two beautiful grand-children also. I come from a hereditary Chiefs family from Kitkatla BC, on my mother’s side. My mom’s family history and lineage goes back thousands of years. I was raised to be very proud of where I come from and many Elder’s in my family, helped to raise me.
Saffina joined Watari Counselling & Support Services Society in 2020. She currently works for Reaching Home: Canada’s Homeless Strategy; a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness in the region. This culminates her two passions of finance and social services. Saffina brings knowledge from working in the financial service sector and is passionate about sustainable and impactful investing and the cooperative movement. She also has experience in the social services field; particularly with youth experiencing addiction and women fleeing violence. She has been a longtime advocate of girls and women locally and globally and is an active member of the Girl Guides of Canada. Saffina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University.
Sukhraj is a Senior Policy Advisor at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Prior to this, Sukhraj worked in Ottawa, as part of the federal government’s Policy Analyst Recruitment Development Program, where she provided policy advice and support on various domestic and international policy issues. Sukhraj holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University. Sukhraj started volunteering with Watari in 2010 and later served as a Board member from 2012-2015.
As a Vancouverite for the past 10 years, Lara is passionate about making B.C. better for all, and is commmitted to focusing on issues and opportunities that face the Downtown East Side. Originally from Abbotsford, Lara earned a Masters of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University, and holds a BA in Economics from the University of British Columbia. On the weekend, Lara enjoys swimming, reading and pottery.