Board of Directors

Art Jonker

Art Jonker is a multidisciplinary artist and sits on the Boards for ConnecTra and Vancouver Adapted Music Society (VAMS). In addition to helping guide, the vision of the two organizations, Art also attends as many ConnecTra events even generously providing one of his artworks as this year’s Abilities Expo and Job Fair prize, and VAMS events. He believes in the importance of having an organization that stands for encouraging and facilitating social life, employment and entrepreneurism in the disabled community.

Jerry Gosling

Jerry Gosling was born, raised, and educated in Abbotsford, BC and is now retired there. He is 84 years of age, married (63 years) and has one daughter and three adult grandsons, all of whom have university degrees. He retired from BC Transit in 2001 and serves or has served, on several boards in executive positions, both local and provincially:

• The Council of Senior Citizens of BC (COSCO) as one of the general Vice Presidents
• A COA with the Senior Advocate
• Past President of the BC Old Age Pensioners Org.(BC-OAPO) where I served as President for 5 years with full term (June 8, 2022)
• Past President of the BC Gov’t retired employees assoc.(BCGREA)
• Past Vice President of the Canadian Hard OF Hearing Assoc.(CHHA) and
• Past President of the MSA Museum

He presently teaches courses with COSCO and has taught courses with UVIC where he was a Master Trainer. in BC he has been involved with seniors since retiring in 2001. He keeps involved with the issues that seniors encounter.

Samantha Riesco

I first participated in ConnecTra as a student looking for work and found the support, friendships, and resources for jobseekers invaluable.  
Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to share ideas and perspectives as a member of this wonderful group advocating for the disability community.  
In my free time, I can be found exploring my neighbourhood on my SideStix, and am a frequent library visitor! I find joy in being out on the water with family and friends in a kayak, outrigger, dragon boat, or just for a swim!  
I am passionate about mental health and my work with the BounceBack team and believe everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance should have access to the care and supports they need to thrive, from beginning to end and all that is in between. 

Samantha Riesco Smiling Face

Catherine Pope

Catherine is a city councillor with the District of North Vancouver and mom of a teenager. Her passion for social justice, advocacy and mental health has driven her communications and journalism career for over two decades. As an award-winning reporter for Global TV, she told stories that gave the vulnerable a voice and paved the way for change. Among the highlights was a major expose on a Crown corporation (CLBC) that led to increased funding and improved care for the developmentally disabled.
A communications, government and media relations consultant for the last decade, she has led public awareness campaigns at labour unions, and nonprofits, including the BC Human Rights Commission.

Catherine Pope

In Memoriam

Stephen Street

ConnecTra Society experienced a great loss with the passing of Stephen Street. Steve started working with ConnecTra in 2006, helping to create a program that would increasingly meet the needs of people with disabilities. From organizing the yearly Abilities Expo and countless ConnecTra workshops to overseeing the Employment Mentorship Support Project, Steve was involved in every aspect of ConnecTra Society and made an impression on everyone he met.

Steve was incredibly proud of his “ConnecTra Success Stories”, and loved to share the achievements of people who had grown through their involvement with ConnecTra Society. Steve was a passionate advocate for people with disabilities, sitting on numerous boards to advocate for the needs of people with disabilities in the Vancouver area.

Away from ConnecTra, Steve was an actor and appeared in over 50 musical theatre performances. There were times when these two worlds would meet. Normally clean-shaven, Steve would sometimes show up in the ConnecTra office with his hair dyed and a beard growing as he prepared for his next role. This was just one of many ways that Steve always proudly showed his commitment to his love of theatre, and at the same time, introduced anyone he could to it.

Steve built a big network of friends and colleagues many of whom gathered to support him as he dealt with his cancer diagnosis. Our colleague and friend will be greatly missed and there will certainly never be anyone else like him.

Terry LeBlanc

The Disability Foundation was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Terry LeBlanc on December 19th, 2022. Terry’s impact on the Disability Foundation, our affiliated Societies, and the disabled community is impossible to measure. He was a mentor to so many, always available to share his experiences in the hope that they would help someone else.  

One of Terry’s favourite things was a conversation with friends, whether in a garden or overlooking the water at Jericho Beach. He was an avid gardener, competitive sailor, and ASABC’s top sip ‘n’ puff sailor. Terry had a great sense of humour and was a loyal Canucks fan. His leadership was felt throughout all of the Foundation’s societies as he played a crucial part in creating the Disability Foundation, served on multiple boards for many years, and helped in the development of the Martin 16 and the sip n puff device.