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.

Fiona Cubitt

Dr Fiona Cubitt is the Executive Director of Indigenous Policy and Engagement at the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills where she leads a team who work collaboratively with Indigenous organizations and communities to implement government’s commitments through implementation of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to ensure that the post-secondary education and training system is relevant and responsive to Indigenous people.

Fiona has worked in the area of Indigenous post-secondary education and training since 2013. Prior to that she held positions at the Ministry of Agriculture, managing a team of Industry Specialists across the province as Senior Manager of Agriculture Development, and working with First Nations, local government and communities as the Aquaculture and Communities Specialist to integrate community interests into provincial decisions on aquaculture shellfish and finfish aquaculture.

Originally from Scotland, Fiona has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Ph.D. from Glasgow University. She worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia where she conducted research on the social and ethical concerns with aquaculture She is very grateful to now live on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen people; the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

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.