Board of Directors

Nicolas Haddad

After sixteen years in banking and consultancy, Nicolas pivoted his career by developing “Farmer’s Meal” – a meal production and delivery service of Mediterranean inspired dishes and delicacies. With a passion for cooking and industrial food background since childhood, it was an easy choice to make. Nicolas is a passionate advocate for disability awareness, having served as a member of several groups including HSBC Employee Recourse Group, Translink and the Burnaby Accessibility Group. His ultimate goal is to lead by example, inspire others and expand the outlook of diversity, accessibility and ability in the workplace.

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.

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

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.