Ken Millen, originally from Alberta, is a compassionate individual who now resides in Kelowna. Throughout his life, Ken has dedicated his time and expertise to various organizations aimed at making a positive impact on society.
Ken’s philanthropic journey began when he started working with World Vision, a global humanitarian organization that focuses on poverty alleviation and development projects. With a genuine passion for helping others, Ken actively contributed his skills and resources to support World Vision’s mission of improving the lives of vulnerable children and communities worldwide.
In addition to his involvement with World Vision, Ken has also been an integral part of the Fat Cats Children’s Festival. This festival is a beloved annual event that brings together families and encourages creativity, play, and community engagement. Ken’s contributions to the festival have helped create memorable experiences for children, fostering their imagination and overall well-being.
Furthermore, Ken has been actively involved with Rotary, an organization that strives to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to engage with the arts. Through Rotary, Ken has played a key role in promoting inclusivity and encouraging individuals with disabilities to express their creativity in various artistic forms.
However, amidst his commitment to these noble causes, tragedy struck Ken’s life in 2021. His beloved daughter, Dakota, tragically passed away that year, leaving a profound void in his heart. This devastating loss has undoubtedly shaped Ken’s perspective on life and has further strengthened his resolve to make a positive difference in the world.
Despite enduring such a profound personal loss, Ken remains resilient and determined to honor his daughter’s memory by continuing his involvement with organizations that make a difference. He is an inspiration to others as he channels his grief into making a meaningful impact on the lives of those who need it most.
Today, Ken Millen continues to reside in Kelowna, embracing his role as a compassionate advocate, inspiring others to join him in creating a kinder and more inclusive world.
R.L. (Ray) Préfontaine – B.A., B.Comm. (Hons.)
Ray is a self-motivated, entrepreneurial, reliable and trusted senior management and executive professional with over 36 years of experience in managerial and directorship roles in the manufacturing, financial services and mineral exploration industries and with numerous non-profit, charitable and community-based organizations. Throughout his career he has demonstrated an ability to plan, implement and execute effective decisions regarding general management, financial statement and profitability analysis, investments in capital markets (including an IPO and acquisitions), accounting, regulatory and legal matters, commercial and agricultural banking and lending, credit management and collections, human resources, marketing and new business development. Ray has identified, acted and delivered upon opportunities that enabled the growth of shareholder, financial and human capital for both employer companies and consulting engagements.
Ray attended the University of Manitoba where he earned bachelor degrees in Economics and in Commerce. During his university years, he loyally served Canada for 5 years as a commissioned naval reserve officer and as a ship’s navigator having earned several promotions in rank from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman to Midshipman and finally to Sub-Lieutenant (R) upon earning a Queen’s Commission.
Ray currently serves as a director on several boards including the Kelowna-based board of the Dakota Foundation for Bi-Polar Awareness (est. 2022 – providing hope, resources and support to bi-polar afflicted people in the Okanagan Valley) and on the Winnipeg-based boards of Marymound Inc. (est. 1912 – assisting inner-city and aboriginal children and families who are dealing with socio-psychological challenges) and the Société Historique de Saint-Boniface (est. 1903 – historical, archival and genealogical society). He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Manitoba Métis Federation. Ray is fluently bilingual in both English and French and has worked extensively at senior levels in both languages.
Judy Neiser is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of leadership in business, marketing, and communication in the charitable sector. She has extensive success in fundraising, major gifts, capital and annual campaigns, and grant writing. Judy has worked with public, private, and family foundations throughout her career as well as with public, private, and family owned business models. Judy believes in the importance of being donor-centered and evaluating impact and results. With a background in finance and administration, she has received professional education through the Institute of Corporate Directors, focusing on NFP Governance Essentials from the University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management and Ivey leadership. Prior to her current position, Judy held senior administrative positions with CANFOR, interim positions with the Northern Health Authority and served as the Executive Director for the Prince George Community Foundation from 2008 to 2013. She also led the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation for all of Northern BC for 10 years before relocating to the Okanagan. Most recently, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Okanagan Foundation and currently, she is President and Founder of Hello Impact Consulting, where she is helping to create impact through her work with community minded clients. Her passion for healthcare, where it meets education and community was a natural fit for the Dakota Foundation for BiPolar Awareness.
Andrew Gregson is a businessman, consultant, teacher and author. Andrew was educated at 2 Canadian universities and then took his second Masters degree in Economics at the London School of Economics. Andrew has worked in the UK, Canada, US and Cayman Islands.
Almost everyone is touched by bipolar illness and Andrew is no exception, having colleagues in university and employees who suffered and took their own lives. Andrew’s role in the Foundation is to make the organization as professional and accountable as possible.
Edward H. Taylor, Ph.D.
is an associate professor, mental health clinician and researcher, past Director of the School of Social Work, at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBC), and currently the Associate Dean for the Faculty of Health and Social Development, UBC. Additionally, Dr. Taylor serves as the Co-Director of the UBC Interprofessional Mental Health Clinic. Previously, he was an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus. During his work in Minnesota Dr. Taylor conducted program evaluation research for the State’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division, provided training across Minnesota on evidence based treatment methods, and co-authored the State’s youth mental health comprehensive assessment instrument.
Dr. Taylor has been quoted as an expert on youth/school violence and mental illness by Scientific American, Psychology Today, Eric Publications, NPR, Voice of America, ABC News, and numerous newspapers.
former Board member CMHA, technology Executive