Newly Elected Members of the AGS Board of Governors

Iain McIver, Board Chair

Iain has one child at Aspengrove and has been volunteering at the school in a number of capacities since 2010. A practicing lawyer since 1990, Iain focuses his considerable experience in the areas of personal injury law, commercial litigation and employment law. He’s a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association and the Law society of British Columbia and is also a trained mediator. He brings a wealth of legal experience and knowledge to the Board and is keen to put his skills to work helping the Board realize the milestones and goals set out in the strategic plan. In his spare time Iain likes to spend time with his family and take part in numerous sporting activities including skiing, softball and hockey.

Anthony Lee

I am interested in participating on the Board, as I believe education is critical to economic mobility and empowerment. I also believe education is one of the most cost-effective means of tackling the social problems of the present and preparing for a future that will be riddled with complex problems. My career has taken me to all parts of the world and has exposed me to a variety of different industries and institutions and the one common factor to the success and failure of strategic goals – corporate or policy – is the investment in education. I am specifically interested in Aspengrove as my children attend the school and I believe the Nanaimo community needs an institution that provides a quality education program.

When my children were part of the public school program of district 68 I spent any spare time I had trying to work with the administration to improve school programs. My experience with this work has led me to conclude that my energies are better spent with an independent school. I believe I can help as I think we are at a critical point in the growth and development of Aspengrove. We are at the next evolutionary phase and I can help us through this period by bringing an outsiders viewpoint, ideas and perspective. I have worked as a consultant for many years, helping companies and government agencies solve their critical business issues. And in the last five years I have managed my company’s growth from a 3M to 30M dollar enterprise that now has offices in 3 countries. Working with people with different perspectives and conflicting personalities can be a challenge but I enjoy that challenge and I am good at aligning people to a single vision.

My two favourite hobbies are fishing and reading. I am an avid reader and if I had the time I would be on the rivers and oceans fishing for all types of critters. My latest personal project is creating a culture of volunteerism and charitable giving; focusing this effort mainly on the people of my company. I believe that everyone that participates in our collective human civilization has a responsibility to each other and the planet they live on. It is through our selfless actions that we define who we are. I am at the age in my life where I have to stop and look at what is going around me in the periphery instead
of being narrowly focused on my personal needs.

My education background is a degree in CompSci from Queen’s University and I am a regular contributor to this institution, especially with the health and wellness initiatives.

Conan Graham

It is with great excitement that I am submitting this request for consideration to the Board. I share this statement with a sense of great pride, particularly because when my wife, Kim, first suggested suggested that our daughter attend Aspengrove I can honestly say that I was actually opposed to the notion. Having grown up as a “public school kid” from a middle class Winnipeg family and witnessing a few negative experiences with friends and colleagues that had children in private schools, I developed a low opinion of private school culture and more specifically, the behaviour associated with children who attended. With that, it was with some resistance that I agreed to our family meeting with Elizabeth Reay for entrance to JK4.

From the beginning of our initial meeting it was clear that something very different and special was in front of us. Elizabeth conversed with Olivia in such a caring and mentoring manner. She explained Aspengrove’s vision and the value proposition associated with joining such close-knit community and accepting culture. This was not the kind of conversation I thought I would experience. Completely devoid of elitism, this discussion was of caring, supportive and most importantly, incredibly authentic and sincere. We saw Olivia’s immediate enthusiasm and were convinced this was an environment that our child would thrive within.

Fast forward to grade 4. It has been just over 5 years and I have witnessed how Olivia and many other children have excelled and developed into confident, curious, caring and truly wonderfully human beings. I reflect back to my initial reservations and ill-conceived notions, realizing how amazing this journey has actually been for our daughter. I’ve watched how these Aspengrove children carry themselves in society and see that their behaviour, their gift, is one that gives back. These children truly impact the world the world they live and sharing the knowledge of this gift with other families is
something I would really like to be a part of. 

Reflecting on these past few years also places a focus on the need to invest in the school’s future. Aspengrove has entered a new phase in the school’s lifecycle and with that I would love to collaborate with the Board in clearly defining the growth strategy moving forward and most importantly assist in the execution of that plan. Possessing a diverse business background, I believe my experiences would offer a unique skillset towards this initiative. From strategy creation and business development, to capital raising and real estate development, I would help position the school responsible and
sustainable growth.

I’m well aware that qualifications and fit are very important for the Board, particularly as needs change throughout an organization’s lifecycle. As for a quick overview of academic and professional credentials/qualifications, I hold a BA Administrative Studies, Master Business Administration, Masters Certificate in Project Management and an PMP designation. Professionally, I am currently the Chief Operating Officer of Element Lifestyle Retirement Inc. (TSXV listed development company), responsible for a portfolio of intergenerational, aging in place retirement communities with a valuation of
approximately $600M. My work in this position has been spread amongst setting up joint venture partnerships and development opportunities in both China and Canada, raising private/public capital ($30M-150M), liaising with politicians and city planning representatives within the jurisdictions of the respective projects and direct oversight of the teams responsible for executing sales, marketing, operations and project development.

Previous to my current role I have over a decade and a half of experience in scaling technology companies across Western Canada and business consulting experience spanning organizations such as Enbridge Pipelines, The Four Seasons Chiang Mai and locally with Vancouver Island University. From start-ups to billion-dollar enterprises, I have collaborated with organizations in navigating the path to new levels of excellence.

Outside of work I thoroughly enjoy family time, close friendships, sports and the outdoors. We live in the Fairwinds Community, so heading down to the driving range or getting in a round of golf is a usual occurrence. Winter days spent in the Alpine of Mount Washington and Whistler is another passion, along with year round road cycling and as of recent, a bit of target shooting at a local range and some fishing.

A further personal note. It wasn’t until what I classify as “later in Life” that Kim and I decided to have a child. That decision and journey has truly been such an incredible blessing in my life. Kim and I absolutely love watching Olivia develop in life with such a strong growth mind set. This mind set has been instilled not just by our family, but also fostered within the greater community that she spends a large part of her life within – The  Aspengrove Community. I remember chatting with Olivia’s teachers a few years ago regarding a challenge she was having where she said “it always helps when you have a village to care for and mentor our children”. That comment has always stuck with me. I’m proud we are part of that village and in summary, look forward to the opportunity of joining the Board and being much more proactively involved in charting the course of our very special school.

Peter McKenzie

This year my wife Jennifer and I are entering our ninth year at Aspengrove, with our son Cameron in grade eight, daughter Laura in grade five and our youngest daughter Olivia in
grade three.

Our family believes strongly in the development of well-rounded students with a strong sense of community. We believe Aspengrove shares these aspirations and therefore we continue to support the school in whatever way we can, whether it be committees, volunteering at events, assisting in classrooms or financially. 

Over the years at Aspengrove, I have sat on several school committees including seven years on the Campus Development Committee (CDC), five Years on the Finance Committee and one year on the Advancement Committee. I have also previously completed a three-year term on Aspengrove’s Board.

Professionally, I am a vet with a speciality in Aquatic Animals, having worked in both private and governmental capacities over the years. Currently I am the Senior Vice-President of Business Development for a Global Veterinarian Pharmaceutical Company specializing in Aquatic Animal Health Solutions.

I have been very encouraged by the developments at Aspengrove over the past few years and would be honoured to be a part of the long-term development and vision of the school.