Meet Decoda’s Board of Directors!

Decoda’s volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of distinguished leaders whose commitment and strategic decision-making positively impact communities across British Columbia. The dedication, commitment and wisdom they bring to Decoda not only guides our work but reflects our values.

“We are proud to work with such knowledgeable and generous individuals,” said Decoda Executive Director Sandra Lee. “We are so grateful for their guidance and commitment to literacy and literacy advocacy.”

We welcome three new Board Members: Eunice Bantok, Tracy Defoe and Lynn Green and express our gratitude for the continued service of Dr. Ralf St. Clair and Manmeet Bhatia.

In 2023 we bid farewell to our past board members: Valerie Overgaard, Grace Kuo, Ann Cooper, Leslie Landell. Thank you for your service!

Below, take a moment to get to know Decoda’s current Board and why they are passionate about supporting literacy.

Dr. Ralf St. Clair, Chair

In the two decades since earning his PhD, Ralf has been involved in many fascinating projects and in universities in three countries: the UK, the US and Canada. Some highlights of Ralf’s career include an EU-funded study of vocational adult education across Europe, managing an extensive skills survey in Scotland for the Scottish Government and a large-scale exploration of educational aspirations in deprived areas of the UK. Ralf is former Dean the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. One of his favourite things to do is write books. He has four single-authored books out so far, and always has a sharp pencil to hand! One of his favourite genres is detective stories and he hopes one day to have time to write one.

“It’s a great honour to serve as the Chair of the Decoda Board. Adult and family literacy are threads running throughout my career as a non-profit worker and academic, and represent central aspects of my view of the world. I appreciate the work of Decoda and the wider literacy field in BC and Canada so much, and look forward to seeing how it develops over the next few years. One area for us to be thinking about is how literacy work aligns with reconciliation and language revitalization as parallel pathways to a fairer society and a just settlement with the First Peoples of our beautiful land.”

Manmeet Bhatia, Secretary-Treasurer

Manmeet headshotWith nearly 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, Manmeet brings a depth of expertise to Decoda. He has held various executive and senior leadership positions during his career, including President and Chief Executive Officer for Fiduciary Trust Canada, Senior Vice President at Aviso Wealth and Chief Investment Officer for Qtrade Financial Group.  Manmeet has earned several industry designations, including Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and CFA Certificate in ESG Investing among others. He’s a graduate of the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba (Bachelor of Commerce).

“Unlocking the power of literacy not only opens doors to knowledge and opportunity but can also fuel our collective imagination and help transforms lives.”

Eunice Bantok, Director

Headshot of woman.With over eight years of experience in public administration, Eunice is a skilled Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) who currently serves as the Budget Manager for the School District of Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows. Concurrently, she lends her expertise to Mom2Mom Charity in Vancouver as a dedicated Board of Director. Beyond her professional roles, Eunice is passionate about financial literacy, actively participating in CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy Program to empower others with her knowledge.

“Literacy plays a pivotal role in empowering individuals to navigate the complexities of our world. Literacy serves as a cornerstone for learning, enabling access to information, education, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. By promoting literacy initiatives, we invest in both the individual and societal advancement, fostering informed citizenship and driving social progress.”

Dr. Pat Campbell, Director

Portrait of a woman standing against a beige background wearing a blue scarf.In 1981, Pat began her teaching career as a CUSO volunteer in rural Nigeria. Later, Pat became a reading specialist and coordinated an urban adult literacy program. In 1996, Pat co-founded Grass Roots Press, with the dream of creating a collection of books for adults with low-literacy skills. She faced a steep learning curve as she transitioned from the field of education, where she had earned a doctorate degree, to the publishing industry. During the past two decades, Pat has engaged in several research and development projects in the areas of health, reading, and assessment. She is the author of Teaching Reading to Adults: A Balanced Approach, which was based on a large-scale SSHRC study.  In 2012, Nunavut College approached Pat to create their intake assessment based on her experience developing the Canadian Adult Reading Assessment and the Diagnostic Adult Literacy Assessment for Beginning Readers.

Pat is semi-retired and enjoys teaching yoga, gardening, and swimming in the Salish Sea year-round with a group of human “seals.”

“I joined the Decoda board because I believe in the organization’s values: inclusion, resiliency, integrity, optimism, and collaboration. Over the past four decades, I’ve seen literacy programs expand to embrace the workplace, the family, the community, and the digital world. Educators have entered into discussions about the intersections of literacy and health, soft skills, artificial intelligence, homelessness, and diversity. Sometimes, reading and writing assessment and instruction disappears beneath these critical issues. I joined the board to advocate the importance of reading and writing, in the hope that it remains an important component within literacy programs.”

Tracy Defoe, Director

Tracy Defoe headshotTracy brings a practitioner perspective to our Decoda board. She has been teaching adults for more than 40 years, starting at UBC’s English Language Institute, retiring in 2023 from Capilano University’s Community Development and Outreach Department where she taught in and managed a Community Adult Learning Program among other duties. Tracy is a specialist in workplace learning, and literacy and numeracy are foundational to her practice. She works as a consultant and coach through TLFI The Learning Factor Inc. She has a BA in French, and an MA in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) both from UBC.

“Literacy means participation and possibilities. It’s an honour to join the Board to support BC’s literacy organization in making participation possible for everyone.”

Lynn Green, Director

Lynn GreenOver her forty-year career as an educator and administrator in public education, Lynn has assumed a variety of leadership roles with the Vancouver Board of Education including Associate Superintendent (2008 – 2010), Staff Development Consultant, District Principal (Counselling and Support Services), Secondary School Vice Principal & Principal, and Learning and Development District Administrator. She has also been a teacher and counsellor in elementary and secondary schools in Ontario and BC. More recently Lynn served as President and CEO of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education (2010 – 2013) and has offered education consulting services to such organizations as the BC School Trustees Association and the Take A Hike Foundation. Community volunteer experience include North Shore Restorative Justice Board of Directors (2016 – 2020) and Hollyburn Community Services Society Board of Directors (2016-present). Lynn received a Bachelor of Arts (1967) and a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology (1984) from the University of British Columbia.

“As an educator I had heard about Decoda for many years and was very pleased to be invited to join the Board. My hope has been that while they’re in school young people wiould develop the literacy skills they need to thrive throughout their lives. However, for many reasons that doesn’t always happen, and having access to Decoda’s programs in so many communities in BC can be life changing.”

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