BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Friends of Granville Island is led by a Vancouver-based, volunteer Board of Directors. FGI Board of Directors is designed as a round-table urban think-tank to help facilitate progress. FGI Board members are inspired by the possibilities of re-visioning; are community and solution-oriented; and can see a gap in the current notion of ‘public realm’ which needs stewardship and re-imagination.
FGI is recruiting Board members from diverse fields of interest to help lead the re-visioning of Granville Island, a significant Vancouver public place. Granville Island is in a unique position, at this particular time, to be a model for the values, beliefs and change we want to see across the country, but it needs visionary leaders to come together.
Please contact us if you or someone you know would be a good fit for the Board.
BOARD DIVERSITY STATEMENT
FGI’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive organization begins with setting the tone from the top, starting with the Board of Directors, whose governance criteria will include a Board Diversity Policy.
We acknowledge that good governance principles require independence, transparency, flexibility and diversity at the Board level. The FGI Board strives to ensure that its membership reflects diversity in its broadest sense.
A combination of culture, demographics, skills, experience, race, age, gender, education, professional background, and lived experience are important for providing a range of perspectives to overcome challenges, improve the organization, and support good decision making.
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sonia Strobel | President
Sonia Strobel is co-founder and CEO of Skipper Otto, one of the first Community Supported Fisheries in the world. For the past 13 years, she has worked to build a just and equitable seafood system, supporting 40 fishing families in coastal and Indigenous communities, providing traceable, sustainable seafood to thousands of members across Canada. Sonia’s strong core values and vision, and her ability to rally a team through her collaborative, progressive leadership style are powerful tools for bringing about social change. She is a creative problem solver, enthusiastic innovator, and champion of social and environmental justice.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Sonia’s life-long love of Granville Island is coupled with extensive life experiences and connections she has built with her diverse portfolio: co-founder and CEO of Skipper Otto, high school art and literature teacher, volunteer, world traveler, parent, and community advocate. Sonia is on advisory committees with the Fisheries for Communities Coalition, the Local Catch Network, and Slow Fish Canada. She is a fellow with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a business mentor with The Forum. She is eager to bring her skills, connections, and experience to Friends of Granville Island to help co-create its inspiring future.
Cloe Aigner | Vice-President
Cloe is the co-founder of FGI and served as the Interim President in the first two founding years on the Board of Directors. By trade, Cloe is a creative and a communications specialist. She works on specialized projects in writing, design, photography, research and teaches as a college instructor, psychotherapist and health educator. Cloe was project manager and art director of the Granville Island Works initiative (2009-2015) in collaboration with the Granville Island Business and Community Association (GIBCA) and co-founder of the Granville Island Vision Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and communications, and a master’s degree in education from Simon Fraser University.
Cloe’s artistic upbringing and training in her father’s stained glass studio was formative and her first fine art book, Artistic Glass: One studio and Fifty Years of Stained Glass was released in 2020. She has a passion for arts, culture, community and creating space and place for these to flourish, aware that at the core of any creative community is the wellbeing and care of the community. She would be delighted to continue on the Board for another term to offer her previous experience, along with her dedication for FGI and Granville Island.
Mat Cocuzzi | Secretary
Mat Cocuzzi is Facilities and Project manager at SFU, where he is able to develop and create engaged multi-use spaces that speak to their users. His portfolio at SFU encompasses all of the Vancouver Campus, including SFU Woodward’s School for Contemporary Arts, as well as SFU at 312 Main. He has also worked on committees and strata organizations, identifying issues, encouraging collaboration, and turning conflict into cooperation.
Mat is also an art hobbyist and local creative. He connects with the board’s mandate for supporting local creative control of Granville Island. He believes that Granville Island, as cultural and artistic hub of Vancouver, is a very unique and special place in the City of Vancouver, with a lot of unrealized potential. Mat feels that as the space develops and continues to evolve, it is important that this is done strategically, through a local lens that allows the talent, charisma, and genius of Vancouver to ruminate, emerge, and flourish throughout Granville Island, the city, and beyond. His skillset is varied and wide-ranging.
Brooklyn Obrecht | Treasurer
Brooklyn is a multi-media artist, with a brilliant business sense, a flamboyant flare for bright colours and childlike playfulness. She explores the joy of creating, drawing inspiration from the beauty that nature provides and from collaboration with other creatives.
Brooklyn has years of experience in management, HR and administration. Over the years she has immersed herself in the Granville Island community in her work creating artist acrylic paints. Brooklyn served on the FGI board of directors over the last two founding years as treasurer and wishes to continue on in this capacity as FGI enters a new chapter of growth. She spent the past two years, bringing her creative thinking, varies skills, and experience working on Granville Island to the FGI Board of Directors.
Gloria Venczel |
Urban Designer + Placemaking Facilitator
Gloria Venczel, BES., B.Arch., RPP, MCIP, Principal, Urban Designer + Economic Vibrancy, is the founder of Vibrant Places Inc., rethinking cities + neighbourhoods for economic + social resiliency in the time of climate change, (post)covid and the Internet of Things. Gloria is an award winning professional. She has 10 years of experience as a former Intern Architect and over 15 years of expertise in pedestrian oriented urban design + urban planning, placemaking and public space programming for people vibrancy as a registered urban designer/urban planner. She has a public-friendly track record in community engagement as a specialized consultant, former municipal urban designer/ development planner
and as the immediate past Thought Leader for the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Metro Vancouver's "Built City Speaker Series”, a public/professional forum for capacity building on walkable, vibrant, affordable sustainable cities.
Gloria’s true passion is in enhancing social connectedness and social resiliency through providing an urban design + urban planning context where a “sense of belonging” and a “sense of place” is possible, to strengthen the fabric of civil society, as well as to help mitigate the impacts of loneliness. Gloria also brings her economic development insights through the lens of urban design/planning strategies for small business vibrancy, as they are not only the backbone the backbone of the Canadian economy, but they also provide most of the Third Places or public spaces along streetscapes, where neighbours meet to build community. As a new Board Member of FGI, Gloria sees tremendous green cities leadership potential for the Friends of Granville Island as an urban innovation + demonstration lab for public spaces and culture, with Granville Island being one of the most successful urban public markets and cultural hubs in North America
Rowan King holds multiple positions in the Communications, Marketing, and Facilitation realms of the non-profit sector. He is Vantage Point’s Communications Manager, and Tech Host and Video Captioner for HSABC. As Communications Manager, Rowan co-led the creation of an accessibility guide and subsequent training sessions to enhance the organization’s capacity to embed universal design practices, and initiated Vantage Point’s internal equity, decolonization, and inclusion team to facilitate positive systems change.
Rowan’s greatest achievement to date, is the creation of an annual winter sponsorship program between 2017-2020 in which allies purchased gender-affirming wear for over 70 transgender and gender-diverse youth around the globe.
As a dedicated learner, Rowan has a diploma in Library & Information Technology, and certificates in Mental Health First Aid and Basics of Inclusive Design for Online Education. He is passionate about public policies and equitable access to information. Rowan remembers trips to the Kids’ Market before theatre classes at Arts Umbrella fondly, but these days he enjoys excursions to Granville Island with his fiancé to support local artists and artisans.
Rowan is honoured to be a part of Granville Island's re-visioning efforts and is curious how Granville Island could bridge more of a gap between “isolated” and “accessible”, in order to preserve its own unique culture and yet make it a space that people can appreciate and participate in regardless of age, ability, socio-economic status, or background. Rowan sees opportunities in creative, universal design with infrastructure, as well as initiatives to make the space more environmentally conscious in an immersive way.