Kelowna emergency shelter society names new executive director

The Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society has hired a longtime local communicator as the new executive director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.

The society's board announced it has hired Karen Mason to replace the three-person leadership team that had been running the socity.

“The board is delighted to have found a professional with the business knowledge, public relations and marketing expertise, community connections, and passion for the cause Karen brings to the table, and we’re looking forward to the energy and fresh perspective she offers,” said president Karen Stiewe.

A 16-year resident of Kelowna with more than 23 years experience in journalism, strategic public relations and communications, Mason brings a wealth of valuable skills to her new role, said Stiewe.

Mason recently spent seven years with Disney Club Penguin here in Kelowna , where she conceived, executed and managed the popular virtual world’s public relations and communications strategy, playing a critical role in its global growth and success.

Mason has also worked with organizations such as the BC Wine Institute, Sun-Rype Products, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, and technology startups Hoopla and Just Be Friends.

In addition to being a career communicator, Mason is a lifetime volunteer with a proven commitment to the shelter’s mission and vision.

“I’m a big believer in the value of relationships, the power of community, and doing meaningful work that aligns with my values,” said Mason. “After volunteering at the shelter for more than a year, I’m excited to put my passion for helping change the lives of women and children to work full-time, and can’t wait to get started.”

The appointment of an executive director marks a significant structural change for the shelter, which had operated under a three-person, shared leadership team. With the retirement of two of the three managers, however, the board decided shifting to an executive director-led model would help the organization continue to grow and thrive while meeting ongoing need in the community.

For the last 34 years, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter has provided free, safe, confidential counselling and support services, and short term housing to women and children experiencing relationship abuse.


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