Board of DirectorsMeet our board members
University of the Fraser Valley
Craig Toews is the Vice President External at the University of the Fraser Valley. Craig has been with UFV for 34 years and brings extensive experience and a deep understanding of the post-secondary environment and the Fraser Valley to his leadership role. Responsible for fostering the UFV brand and heading up key areas including community engagement and government relations, he also oversees alumni relations, fundraising, communications, marketing, ancillary services, and property development for the university. Embracing life-long learning, Craig completed his MBA during his career at UFV and is a strong advocate for providing opportunities for students to gain experiential learning in our community – “it is one of UFV’s greatest strengths”.
His collaborative leadership style and the years spent building strong community relationships, long-term collaborative partnerships, and resource development for educational and economic development demonstrates his commitment to students and our community.
Involved in many initiatives in the Fraser Valley, Craig is passionate about community engagement and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship across the region. He serves on numerous boards across the Fraser Valley and is an advocate for good governance. “I am grateful for the amazing people I get to work with across different sectors, with a huge appreciation for the businesses that make our community an amazing place to live, work, play and learn.”
Memento Mori Studios Inc.
Chris Gauthier is the co-founder and President of Memento Mori Studios Inc., a tattoo, piercing and jewelry business with locations in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.
Chris, originally from Montreal, relocated to Abbotsford as a young child and has proudly lived here since. As a youth, Chris learned to play the drums and dreamed of becoming a professional musician. His father was a great musical influence on Chris throughout his life.
As he got older, Chris transformed his passion and creativity into his vision of Memento Mori Studios Inc., a safe space for people of all backgrounds and orientations to come together and adorn themselves with art. His wife of 16 years is his business partner and together, they built their successful corporation. Memento Mori Studios Inc. was named the 2018 Abbotsford Arts Council Arty Award recipient.
Chris believes in supporting his community and enjoys getting involved whenever he can. He supports many local organizations and non-profits such as Archway Community Services, Abbotsford Hospice Society and Abbotsford SPCA. He became a Chamber member shortly after opening his business in 2011 and has been a Director since 2017. Chris was elected Secretary in 2021 and is chair of the Chamber’s Not for Profit Committee. He also represents the Chamber on the city of Abbotsford’s Reaching Home Community Advisory Board.
Chris is committed to being his authentic self both personally and professionally.
Mierau Contractors Ltd.
Kevin is the President of Mierau Contractors Ltd and continues the operations of the successful Abbotsford based company that his father Larry Mierau founded in 1970. Kevin graduated from Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 1993 then completed his Red Seal Certification in Carpentry in 1996 at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).
He is actively involved in the construction industry and serves on the Board of Directors at the BC Construction Safety Alliance and participates in several other association committees. He is looking forward to continuing his role as a Director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and actively participating within the Abbotsford community.
RBC Royal Bank
In her current role as Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, Katie leads RBC Senior Commercial Markets in British Columbia region. By working collaboratively with Commercial and Personal Banking leaders as well as a robust network, Katie and her team of advisors build and execute a market strategy that supports large enterprises by delivering relevant advice, solutions and value beyond banking.
Prior to her current role, Katie led the Fraser Valley & Langley Commercial Banking Team and before that Commercial Mortgages in British Columbia to promote and deliver commercial real estate financing solutions as part of RBC’s national specialized solutions.
Katie has a passion for mentoring youth and supporting Canadian importers/exporters. She firmly believes community work is an essential and rewarding aspect of one’s life. A strong advocate for women entrepreneurs, Katie works closely with several partnerships including SheEO and Women of Influence. She has been a long-time Committee Member for Association of Women in Finance (“AWF”) in addition to her efforts in mentoring youth and graduate students through her affiliation to UBC Sauder School of Business. In 2019, Katie has had the privilege of working with BC Children’s Hospital as a Regional Champion representing RBC Commercial Banking for the 2019 fundraising campaign.
Katie holds a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences from Simon Fraser University and a master’s degree in business administration (“MBA”) from Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, in addition to her Personal Financing Planner designation. In her spare time, Katie enjoys travel, a good book, and cooking for her family and friends.
Cascade Aerospace Inc.
Mike is the Vice President of Operations Support at Cascade Aerospace Inc. After earning his Computer Engineering degree at the Royal Military College of Canada in 1987, Mike served 27 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as an Aerospace Engineer and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Mike joined Cascade in 2010 and moved to Abbotsford in 2011 as the Business Manager for Cascade’s RCAF contract. As the VP Ops Support, Mike is currently responsible for the management of all material and services required by Cascade, the maintenance of the Cascade hangar and tooling, quality, safety and continuous improvement. Mike and his team believe in using local and Canadian companies as well as helping over 150 local companies spending approximately $1M annually in the Fraser Valley on aerospace parts manufacturing, aerospace support services, parts procurement, shipping, storage, and facilities maintenance.
Mike is a two-time Olympian (1988 in Korea and 1992 in Spain) and an active member of the community. He coached his daughter’s Fraser Valley midget minor hockey team, and with the Phoenix Velo Training Group he was a member of the board and still coaches youth cycling. Mike is recognized for how much he cares about the people he works with and for his ability to inspire people to excel.
Karen L. Biggs is the Chief Executive Officer of Menno Place, a campus of care that serves more than 700 seniors with a staff of 675. Karen has more than 40 years’ experience in geriatric care. She is currently Vice President of BC Care Providers. In 2015, Karen received the Chapter Award for Distinguished Service for the Canadian College of Health Leaders, BC Lower Mainland Chapter. She was awarded the prestigious Surrey Woman in Business Award in the Professional Category in 2011.
Karen has been a surveyor with Accreditation Canada since 2005. She chaired the Vancouver Community College Continuing Care Program Advisory Committee for 16 years. Karen holds a Masters of Health Administration; a Fellow in Health Administration (with distinction); a Certified Health Executive designation (CCHL) and is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Karen believes strongly in lifelong learning, faith-based service and in volunteering as an educational consultant, preceptor, and mentor.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley
Corina Carroll has been the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley since July 2017. She holds a degree in Child and Youth Care with a specialization in concurrent disorders. Her work began 30 years ago with youth in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver who were homeless and struggling with addiction and/or mental health. Her career continued to focus on youth until she took on a new challenge working with Newcomers to Canada who faced challenges stemming from trauma and other mental health issues. She values the various experiences she has had and how they contribute to her knowledge today.
Throughout her career, Corina has developed skills in strategic planning, quality assurance, team leadership and program development.
After serving on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Langley she knew she wanted to work in prevention and was thrilled to have the opportunity to do just that in Abbotsford. She believes strongly in investing in prevention programs and the impact mentoring has on children, youth, families, and communities
RE/MAX Little Oak Realty (Abbotsford)
Paul has a long history of customer service and leadership in the community. As a former owner of a successful retail business and as a Realtor for 30+ years he understands the importance of remaining competitive. Investment dollars are fluid and Abbotsford must be an attractive jurisdiction for investment and an attractive place to live.
Loyal clients and a reputation of getting things done have earned him recognition as the #1 commercial Realtor for 2019 and again in 2021 (FVREB based on dollar volume). His passion for the community has also led him to serve on various boards and he is a frequent real estate instructor throughout the province.
Having represented numerous families and business owners Paul knows the importance of balancing the needs of residents with the needs of commerce within our community.
Josh is the owner of Illustrate Collective, an agency specializing in digital design, strategic marketing, and political consulting. He also serves as the Assistant Nonprofit Leadership Director at Summit Pacific College, where he instructs courses on business administration, charity leadership, and strategic planning. He is passionate about the convergence of for-profit and non-profit work, and about helping raise emerging leaders in the charity sector.
Josh moved to Abbotsford in 2011 and lives here with his wife Laranda. He is actively involved in the community and serves on the boards for the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, Sport Abbotsford, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Non-Profit Leadership from Summit Pacific College, and an MBA from Trinity Western University.
Fraser Valley Indo Canadian Business Association
Ravi is the founder and owner of RS Marketing Consulting and has been working in marketing and digital media for the last 10+ years. He is also currently the Community and Special Events Coordinator at the City of Abbotsford. Before starting his own venture Ravi was the Senior Regional Marketing Manager with TELUS for 6 years.
Ravi is also the President of the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association and also sat on the Board of the Abbotsford Police Foundation. Along with volunteering his time with these boards Ravi also coaches Basketball at Rick Hansen Secondary.
He has lived in Abbotsford for 35 years and attended Rick Hansen Secondary School graduating in 2002 and then completing his Bachelor of Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Ravi is always looking to give back to his community where he was raised by encouraging and inspiring our community to achieve more.
Brittany has worked in KPMG’s audit practice for over 12 years. After starting her career in Vancouver, working primarily with large public companies, Brittany moved to Abbotsford where her focus has been non-profit organizations and family owned businesses. Brittany graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology and then completed her diploma in accounting at the University of British Columbia. She obtained her CPA, CA designation in 2013.
In her spare time, Brittany enjoys travelling, baking, and spending time with her two young daughters.
Ashdown Capital Inc.
Ryan Turner is the other partner of Ashdown Capital. Ryan spent nearly a decade working as a Commercial Relationship Manager, and the last three as a Regional Manager, leading a high-performing commercial banking team. While quickly climbing the corporate ladder, Ryan realized that his passion was for helping clients and doing what’s right for them – not doing what’s right for the bank and its shareholders. Growing increasingly disillusioned with the banks and their preoccupation with targets, Ryan decided it was time to refocus on the cornerstone of our communities, small and medium-sized enterprise owners.
As a Principal with Ashdown Capital, Ryan assists businesses in securing the right financing partner (as opposed to solely the financing partner he worked for) and advocate on their behalf to get them the solution and pricing they deserve.
Ryan calls Cultus Lake home with his wife, Angela, and their two children, Lyla
and Violet. When not running around to various kids events, Ryan spends his free time playing men’s league hockey and football, and does his best to sneak away for the (more than) occasional round of golf.
Director & Chair of Company of Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs
First West Credit Union
Sam Varing is Legal Counsel for First West Credit Union. She is deeply rooted in the Abbotsford community and aspires to help grow and develop a robust legal team for First West. Prior to joining First West, Sam was an associate lawyer with Baker Newby LLP, and managed a wide ranged business solicitor practice.
She is actively involved with the Abbotsford Chamber as the founding Chair of the Company of Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs and an appointed member of the Government Affairs Committee. While earning her Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of the Fraser Valley, Sam held a student membership with the Abbotsford Chamber. It was during this time that Sam realized the enormous potential and impact the Chamber has in the Abbotsford community.
On a more personal note, Sam was raised in a family of entrepreneurs. As such, she developed a strong belief that foundational business and entrepreneurial principles are essential for today’s youth. This led her to volunteer with Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) to bring more volunteer-oriented and business-focused educational programs to Abbotsford schools.