Board of Governors


The Board's general role is to foster the Justice Institute of British Columbia's short and long-term success consistent with its mandated objectives and accountabilities. The Board oversees the affairs of JIBC, supervises management which is responsible for day-to-day operations, and (through the President), sets the standards of organizational conduct. The Board's primary accountability is to the Government of BC, through the Ministry of Advanced Education, as identified in the Letter of Expectations as well as the Taxpayer Accountability Principles - Mandate Letter.

Related Board Documents


The Board is composed of eight or more persons appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the President and CEO. Appointed members are eligible for a maximum of six years service, in one-, two- and three-year successive terms. Board members elect the Chair of the Board annually.

Board Member Biographies

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Dr. Stephen Gamble - Chair

2018 Stephen Gamble

Dr. Stephen Gamble is currently the fire chief at the Township of Langley. He is also a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers – British Columbia Group. Previously, he worked for the City of Port Coquitlam for 14 years as a fire chief, assistant fire chief and firefighter.

Dr. Gamble has served as president of both the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and the Fire Chiefs Association of British Columbia. He has earned his Bachelor of General Studies degree from Simon Fraser University, his Certificate in Municipal Management from Capilano University, and his Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Ms. Laurel Douglas

Laurel Douglas Laurel Douglas has experience in the financial, technology, economic development and non-profit sectors and has worked in Canada, France, Germany and the UK. Since 2004 she has been CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre, an award-winning economic development agency providing business loans, advisory services, training and export support to women entrepreneurs. Ms. Douglas serves as a director of the national association of women’s enterprise support organizations,, which she co-founded in 2011. She also co-founded the WEB Alliance of Women’s Business Groups in 2009 and since 2014 has served as an organizing partner of WE FOR SHE, one of North America’s largest gatherings advancing gender equality.

Ms. Douglas has been a member of the Canadian delegation to the G20’s women’s engagement group, the W20, since 2016. She serves on the board of the Economic Development Commission of Central Okanagan, and the UBC Okanagan External Advisory Committee. She recently completed a six-year term on the provincial Degree Quality Assessment Board. In addition, Ms. Douglas has been co-founder of two tech ventures since 2018. She earned an MBA from INSEAD in France and lives in Kelowna, BC.

Mr. Len Goerke

Len Goerke is currently Chief Constable of the West Vancouver Police Department (WVPD). He has been a police officer since 1987. Prior to joining WVPD, he was Deputy Chief Constable of the Abbotsford Police Department. 

Chief Goerke is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), a past President of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP), past co-chair of the CACP Labour Relations Committee, and is an active member of both organizations serving on a variety of committees. From 2015 to July 2019, he served on the Board of Governors of the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) including time as Vice-Chair, and Chair of its Finance and Audit committee. 

Chief Goerke has recently joined the Board of the Restorative Justice Association of BC. He completed the Executive Program at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, holds a Master of Arts from Royal Roads University and a Bachelor of Arts from UFV.

He has taught as a sessional instructor at both UFV and JIBC and served as an external graduate thesis examiner for Simon Fraser University. Chief Goerke is a member of the Order of Merit of Police Forces, a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and the Police Exemplary Service medal.

Ms. Connie Kaweesi

Connie Kaweesi

Connie Kaweesi is a forensic social worker working in Fort St. John as a private clinical social worker. She also worked in the Criminal Justice system within several federal, provincial and for-profit agencies: Correctional Service of Canada, Stroh Health, Forensic Psychiatric Services and Youth Court Services. 

She was a full-time faculty member for 16 years at Northern Lights College (NLC) and currently is a sessional faculty member at both NLC and the University of Northern British Columbia. She holds a BSW (University of Victoria) and MSW (University of Northern British Columbia). 

Previously Ms. Kaweesi worked in Indigenous communities in the child welfare area of practice and recently collaborated on the development of Indigenous curriculum at Northern Lights College.

Ms. Kaweesi is a recipient of the Bridget Moran Award for her work in social work advocacy in northern British Columbia.

Ms. Maria Preovolos - Vice-Chair

Maria Prevolos

Maria Preovolos is Associate General Counsel at TELUS Communications. In her career at TELUS, Ms. Preovolos has provided advice on a variety of matters. For over a decade, she advised and supported the TELUS Board of Directors and Chief Legal Officer on governance matters, including best practices and trends in corporate governance, acting as secretary to the Board’s Audit Committee and reviewing public disclosure. 

Currently, Ms. Preovolos negotiates contracts for complex commercial transactions and advises on a range of domestic legal issues, including indemnification and limitation of liability, competition matters and privacy. She previously served as a director of Made in B.C., a non-profit arts service organization providing dance arts outreach activities throughout the province. 

Ms. Preovolos graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto.

Ms. Bernadette Spence

2018 Bernadette Spence

Bernadette Spence is currently the chief executive officer for the Vancouver Aboriginal Child & Family Services Society. Previously, she worked as a consultant for various First Nations and government organizations. Ms. Spence has also worked as a child protection consultant for the Ministry of Children and Families, a social development operations specialist for the Department of Indian and Northern Development’s BC Region, and a training program coordinator for the University of Manitoba.

Active in her community, Ms. Spence serves as a member of the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council and the Delegated Aboriginal Agencies’ Directors Forum. She is also a director for the Community Social Services Employers Association of BC.

Ms. Spence holds her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba and her Master of Social Work from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. John Stubbs

John Stubbs 2019Dr. John Stubbs is a retired professor of history and past President and Vice-Chancellor of Simon Fraser University. A long-time university executive and educator, Dr. Stubbs has served as President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University, Associate Dean of Arts at the University of Waterloo, Governor of Sir Sandford Fleming College, and as a member of the executive of the Council of Ontario Universities. He has taught politics and history at Trent University and history at the University of Waterloo. He is the author of numerous articles and papers on British political history and the history of journalism.

Dr. Stubbs is a former director of BC Hydro and the Laurier Institution. In the past, he served as a director for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and the Business Council of British Columbia. Dr. Stubbs holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University.

Ms. Samina Tajwar

Samina Tajwar

Samina Tajwar was most recently in the role of Director, BC Science Policy Fellowship Program at Mitacs Inc., where she managed a strategic partnership with the Government of British Columbia. The partnership piloted a program integrating academic research and evidence-informed policy-making at the provincial level. Prior to that, she was the Director of Integrated Business Planning at Mitacs, where she led the executive team through a three-year project integrating and streamlining the organization’s business systems.

Ms. Tajwar is an active member of her community, leveraging her skills to advocate for educational and city planning improvements. She is a certified Project Management Professional and holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of British Columbia, as well as an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Michel Tarko

Michel Tarko

Dr. Michel Tarko was first appointed by the JIBC Board of Governors as President and CEO in October 2012 for a five-year term and was reappointed to a second five-year term in July 2017. From September 2009 to his first appointment, he served as JIBC Vice-President, Academic. From 2005 to 2009 he was Associate Dean and Dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences at Douglas College. Before his roles in academic leadership, he served as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences at Douglas College from 1988 to 2005.

In his role as VP, Academic at JIBC, he led the approval of the Diploma in Health Sciences (Emergency Medical Services) and the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies degree. He was also involved in granting graduate certificates in Complex Trauma & Sexual Abuse, Dynamics of Conflict, and Intelligence Analysis & Tactical Criminal Analysis.

As President and CEO, Dr. Tarko has led the development of the JIBC 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and the new 2020-2025 Strategic Plan with the JIBC Board of Governors, and partnership development between JIBC and other public post-secondary educational institutions in BC, across Canada and internationally. He aims to create pathways for student and faculty exchanges and applied research initiatives in the context of public and community safety. He is also continuing to build relationships and partnerships with business and industry where JIBC can be a solution to priority issues related to community and public safety training, education and applied research.

Dr. Tarko served as a member and vice-chair of the Board of Directors for the Post-Secondary Employers Association (PSEA, 2014-2016). He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), the national association representing Canada’s public community colleges, institutes, CEGEPs and polytechnic teaching universities, representing the British Columbia Association of Institutes and Universities (BCAIU). He also serves on the Board of Directors for the BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) and more recently he has joined the Board of Directors of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.

Dr. Tarko earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Education (Curriculum & Instruction) from the University of British Columbia. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Manitoba, as well as a Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing from the Manitoba School for Psychiatric Nursing.

Ms. Claire Wang

Claire Wang is the Director of Finance and Operations for the Burnaby Hospital Foundation, Fraser Health Authority. Ms. Wang oversees all financial, accounting and corporate planning activities, risk management, human resources, information technology, and funding from private and public sources. Previously, Ms. Wang worked for School District No. 45 for over a decade and was responsible for managing $9 million in annual revenues and more than 600 international students. 

Ms. Wang recently retired from her two-year term as Chair of the Finance, Audit and Investment Committee, and Treasurer with SFU Childcare Society. She helped the non-profit organization achieve a substantial improvement in financial reporting, budgeting, internal controls and strategic planning. 

Ms. Wang holds a Certified General Accountant designation, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Queen's University and Bachelor of Business Administration (major in accounting) from Simon Fraser University.

Last updated March 27, 2020