Our Board Of Directors

The HxBIA is a non-profit society governed by duly elected members from our local business and property owners’ community. Board members donate a considerable amount of time and effort working on your behalf, at the board as well as direct BIA funds to hire staff and implement BIA activities.  Hxbia staff take care of the day-to-day management of the organization and are responsible for implementing programs as directed by the board of directors.

Steve Johnston

Chair

Community Impact Real Estate Society | CIRES

Steven Johnston is a seasoned executive with more than 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, working to improve the social and economic circumstances of vulnerable populations.

His career has focused on community economic development and he has held leadership positions up to and including Executive Director. The majority of his experience supporting populations facing barriers to employment including concurrent disorders and homelessness comes from working in two of Canada’s most challenged and impoverished urban communities: Vancouver’s Downtown East-side and Toronto’s Regent Park.

He has developed, delivered, and led innovative programming to provide support and solutions to improve the lives of residents with a focus on income generation and grounded in a social determinants of health perspective. He serves on a number of community boards, including the Advisory Board of the Binners’ Project, and is a mentor to many organizations in the Downtown Eastside.

Steven was motivated to join the Hastings Crossing BIA in an effort to create a healthy and inclusive community where all residents can thrive and live healthy and rewarding lives.

Ash Macleod

A BETTER LIFE FOUNDATION/SAVE ON MEATS

Being at the helm of both a social enterprise and a registered charity that operate in the HXBIA, Ash has witnessed first hand how the collaboration of for profit businesses and non profit organizations results in significant change, social justice and stronger communities. It’s this vision of partnership that Ash hopes to drive in his role as Director of the Board. 

Primarily focused on food security, Ash oversees operations which provide critical meals to many residents in the Downtown Eastside, a great number of which live, shop and use the services of HXBIA members. Improving the conditions for everyone living, working or doing business in our community can’t happen without input and direction from all stakeholders and he’s eager to bring as many of those perspectives as possible to the table. 

He is involved in other organizations, like the President’s Group where at the request of the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction leaders of BC businesses push the agenda of creating more career opportunities and professional support for those with disabilities. 

He’s also a board member of Persephone Brewing – a B Corp certified brewery that focus on sustainable agriculture and community building.

Caithlin Scarpelli

Central City Foundation

Caithlin has been working in the non-profit sector for more than 22 years with a focus on and passion for women’s anti-violence work. After working on the front line for a few years, Caithlin started working in the fundraising department of a local women’s organization and finding her passion, she enrolled in BCIT’s Fundraising Management Certificate Program and graduated with honours in 2011. In 2014 Caithlin was one of 15 women across Canada accepted into the Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership program, run by the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. The year-long program is an exclusive and exciting opportunity to build on leadership skills, develop relationships with other women working in similar organizations across the country, and to learn new skills in community economic development. In 2015 Caithlin participated in the United States Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs – International Visitor Leadership Program on Preventing Violence Against Women.

Most recently Caithlin worked as the Executive Director of Communications and Fund Development at Atira Women’s Resource Society and was as well responsible for Atira Women’s Arts Society, including two social enterprises – East Van Roasters and Enterprising Women Making Art. In that role she was able to leverage her Professional Pastry Training Certificate, her passion for supporting women, and her 22 years of experience in communication and fundraising.

 In July 2023, Caithlin set up her own consultancy and is thrilled to be bringing her years of expertise to the team at Central City Foundation, MySafe Society, and a few other local non-profits. Caithlin has served on the board of the Hastings Crossings BIA since 2016 and is looking forward to building lasting relationships with the business, social enterprise and non-profit members in the Hastings Crossing BIA catchment area. When she’s not at work, Caithlin loves to bake for her family and friends, as well as spend time with her best four-legged friend, Jack. 

Edward von Dehn

Best Coast Real Estate | BCRE

Edward von Dehn grew up in Vancouver then moved to Berlin to study and work as a lawyer for many years. When he moved back to Vancouver, he switched gears and concentrated on revamping old buildings in the Downtown East Side into more vibrant centers for community and businesses.

He is interested in finding the right balance between enhancing the old character of Vancouver’s core, while at the same time trying to adapt to Vancouver’s ever-changing needs.

As a member of the Board of the Hastings Crossing BIA, he hopes to hear back from the community as to what those needs are and how best to create a better DTES.

Charlotte Lewthwaite

Buy Social Canada

Charlotte Lewthwaite is the Manager of Community Benefits and Partnerships at Buy Social Canada. Her current role includes working with large-scale developments to implement Community Benefit Agreements in the City of Vancouver, as well as advocating for and implementing social procurement policy across Canada. 
 
Prior to her work at Buy Social Canada, Charlotte led a successful social enterprise and supportive employer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She has extensive experience in property maintenance, specifically managing multi-City sanitization responses to disease outbreaks in SROs, shelter facilities, and senior’s care homes. In addition, she has worked closely with those suffering from compulsive hoarding disorder and navigated multi-stakeholder, supportive housing and refugee encampment moving projects.
 
Charlotte continues to shape her professional and personal work around  building community capital for local businesses and residents to thrive. 

Jodie Giesz-Ramsay

Cannabis Culture

Jodie Giesz-Ramsay is a local business owner and longtime advocate for cannabis law reform and civil liberties. She has owned and operated Cannabis Culture Magazine, Pot TV, and Cannabis Culture Headquarters stores and lounges since 2009.

For twenty years, Jodie has engaged in many forms of activism including political election campaigns, presentations to government bodies, and frequent appearances in the media and at events worldwide. 

Jodie believes in the transformative power that small businesses can have in their neighbourhoods, and supports fellow entrepreneurs and community advocates who contribute to the cultural and economic vibrancy of our city.

Theresa Mura

The Gallery George

Theresa Mura is the Gallery Director at The Gallery George, which showcases local established and emerging painters, designers, photographers, sculptors and more. The Gallery is housed in a beautiful building filled with artist studios where many of the artists carry out their art practices on site. Theresa is also an event producer and curator and has been a freelance graphic, interior and custom designer for over 30 years. She has also served on the board of WE Arts for over 10 years.

Cullin David

Calabash Bistro

Chef Cullin David, an Executive Chef with a passion for authentic island-inspired cuisine, hails from Vancouver, drawing from his rich Caribbean heritage. Growing up in a family of skilled cooks, his culinary journey began early, inspired by his grandmother’s West Indian cooking. His dream materialized with the launch of Calabash Bistro in 2010.

A graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Vancouver Community College, Cullin honed his skills in classic French techniques while nurturing his love for Caribbean flavors. His professional path includes stints at renowned establishments such as Giraffe Restaurant, Blue Note Jazz Bistro, The Reef Caribbean Restaurant, and Provence Restaurants, where he thrived under the guidance of acclaimed chef Jean-Francis Quaglia.

Beyond his culinary prowess, Cullin is a self-professed sports enthusiast with a compassionate spirit. He champions love and integrity, values he embodies in both his personal life and culinary creations.

Cullin David’s journey as Head Chef and part-owner of Gastown’s acclaimed gem, Calabash Caribbean Bistro, intertwines food, drinks, and roots in a celebration of human experiences—a culinary harmony that invites one to dance to the flavors of life. “Food. Drinks. Roots. It’s food you dance to.”

Rebekah Peters

Lowtide Properties

Rebekah Peters is a Senior Property Manager with Low Tide Properties, owner of 108-112 West Hastings and 152-156 West Hastings. She has nearly 12 years of experience managing commercial property in Vancouver and the lower mainland. Her focus is aligned with Low Tide’s people first philosophy where tenant partnerships are top priority.

Low Tide is intentional about pairing excellent spaces with the right tenants to enhance neighborhoods and build communities of like-minded visionaries. They understand the importance of people who are passionate about their business and desire community, which is why they put their tenants needs first.

As a board member of the Hastings Crossing BIA, she hopes to bring the same sense of care to the neighborhood and assist in creating a community where businesses and residents thrive.

 

Cy Naumenko

Spot Solutions

Cy Naumenko is the founder and operator of Spot Solutions, a software development firm located in the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Area.  Spot Solutions builds software to make businesses more efficient and has both clients and staff throughout Western Canada, including numerous clients with mandates to support the DTES community.

 Cy is a Professional Engineer with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto.  He has lived in East Vancouver for more than 30 years and has operated his business in this area for over 20 years.

 Cy believes businesses play a vital role in fostering community resilience and economic diversity.  They contribute to the local economy by creating jobs, supporting neighborhood character, and providing personalized goods and services, ultimately forming the backbone of a thriving and interconnected community.  Cy will work to create an environment where businesses can thrive in the HxBIA.