Team Member Type: Board of Directors

Firas Abbasi

Firas spent over a decade working for the BC Investment Management Corporation (BCI). There, he was responsible for the materials sector within the internally managed active Canadian equities portfolio. He also provided tactical and strategic sector investment strategies for multiple portfolios totaling ~$11 billion. In 2018, he started his portfolio management consultancy practice, where he advised discretionary portfolio managers with ~$300mm in AUM on asset allocation and fundamental investment processes.

Following his role at BCI, he worked in business development within the NGO sector, partnering with UNEP, UNIDO and the National Resource Defense Council to develop sustainable small-scale gold mining projects in nine countries as part of the planetGOLD program funded by the Global Environment Facility.

In 2021, he joined Qwest Investment Fund Management and is now serving as the Portfolio Manager, overseeing a series of short-duration investment portfolios.

Firas holds an MBA from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

 

Troy Barnes

Troy is a member of the Klahoose First Nation on his father’s side and has connections to Homalco First Nation on his mother’s side. He recently accepted a position with Provincial Health Services Authority joining their People & Culture Indigenous Recruitment & Employee Experience team as an Advisor. Most recently he was with Island Health where he worked in a similar role, connecting with Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth (central Vancouver Island) communities, and advocating for systemic change. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with a major in First Nation Studies and a minor in history from Vancouver Island University. Troy has also worked with North Island College as an Indigenous Educational Advisor. During his tenure at NIC he helped students develop education plans, explore career paths, and assisted Indigenous students with their transition to college.

 

Nate Bello

Nate Bello is an educator.  His career started as an elementary teacher for the Central Coast School District in the Wuikinuxv Nation (Rivers Inlet), then became the Aboriginal Education Coordinator and afterwards Principal of Alternative Education for Quesnel School District. He served on the Board of Governors for the University of Northern British Columbia including time as vice-chair. He also was an instructor at the College of New Caledonia for a season.

Nate was active in anti-racism education as well as multiculturalism throughout his career.  He was also a force in many non-profit societies including the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, the Northern Development Trust Initiative, the Columbia Institute and the Vancouver Island Workability Society. He was instrumental in the creation of a permanent post-secondary facility in Quesnel, the North Cariboo Community Campus, which houses UNBC and CNC.

He was also active in civic politics serving three terms as city councillor and two terms as mayor of the city of Quesnel and also was the town’s representative to the Cariboo Regional District.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Fordham University in New York City. Nate immigrated from the United States in 1970 and became a Canadian citizen in 1975.  He holds a Teaching Diploma and a Masters of Education in Curriculum Studies from the University of Victoria.

Monica Cox

 

Although the majority of Monica’s family live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Monica was privileged to grow up in Victoria on the beautiful traditional territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. After spending several years at the University of Calgary completing graduate work, Monica returned to Victoria where she worked with local First Nations and urban Indigenous organizations to develop and deliver community driven projects.  For the past twelve years Monica has worked for the provincial government and held positions at the ministries of Children & Family Development, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and Public Safety and Solicitor General).   In her most current role, Monica is the Executive Director of Indigenous Policy & Engagement at the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

 

Allan Coyle

Allan Coyle is an accomplished communications and marketing professional and an experienced post-secondary administrator.

From 1998 until 2021, he served as a member of the executive of Okanagan College, and Okanagan University College.

He completed his tenure at Okanagan College as Associate Vice President External and Strategic Initiatives with responsibility for institutional communications, media relations, government relations, branding, and marketing. During the latter years of his College career, he also served as interim Vice President Students (2019-20), Acting Director of Student Services (2017) and Regional Dean (2018).

From 2019 until retirement, he served as the chair of the BC Colleges Communications Leads committee and as advisor to the President of BC Colleges. He also served as a member of the Government Relations Committee of Colleges and Institutes Canada.

Coyle also served eight years as director of the Kelowna YMCA until 2013. Other volunteer roles included being a director of the Kelowna Yacht Club Board of Directors (1992-94), a member of the Public Relations Committee, the Campaign for Cancer Care (1994-96), and as a director of the Okanagan Summer School of the Arts (1992).

Coyle ran a successful public relations, marketing and media relations consultancy from 1996 until 2000, with clients including the regional office of Human Resources Development Canada (and its 40 associated service providers), municipal governments and a major magazine publisher. He also served as a contract trainer for Thomson Newspapers, specializing in editorial development.

Coyle’s successful business venture followed on the heels of a 15-year career as a journalist and editor, working for a range of newspapers and magazines starting in Medicine Hat with Southam Newspapers and concluding in 1996 in Kelowna as the Metro Editor for Thomson Newspapers’ Daily Courier. He edited seniors magazines, and a successful business magazine. He was also a freelance writer with several feature-length stories published in Beautiful BC Magazine and other national publications.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Victoria (1980), and attended Fraser Valley College from 1976-1978.

 

Chad Hoskins

Chad Hoskins is the Executive Director of StudentAid BC with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST).  StudentAid BC helps students with the cost of post-secondary education through student loans, grants, and scholarships. Chad joined the public service in March 2009.  Prior to accepting a position with AEST, Chad was an Executive Director responsible for the Province’s Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and has worked in other roles at the Ministry of Citizens’ Services and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.  Before a career in the public service, he was part of the Corporate Governance team at Vancity Credit Union.  Chad is passionate about post-secondary education, policy development, and leadership.  Born and raised in Victoria, Chad holds a Bachelor Arts (History) and a Master of Arts (Political Science) from the University of British Columbia.  Outside of work, he is very involved with the Victoria soccer community as a coach, player and club board member.