Thirty years of experience working with Okanagan College will serve Gladys Fraser well as she takes on the role of chair with the Okanagan College Foundation board of directors.
Fraser, from Vernon, began hiring Okanagan College graduates in the 1990s in her role as branch manager of Scotiabank in Kelowna. Impressed by the quality of the graduates, she began collaborating with the college further, including helping write the curriculum for banking and customer service and teaching a continuing studies course on exam preparation.
She joined the Okanagan College Foundation board four years ago, to support its fundraising efforts for student scholarships, bursaries and capital projects.
“I’m delighted to be named chair of the Foundation Board as I believe in the work the college is doing for students and our economy,” said Fraser.
“The college creates great opportunities for people to get a world-class education and not have to travel outside of the valley.”
Fraser’s passion for education also has her serving as the president of the District Parent Advisory Committee in the Vernon School District. Her community involvement spans a variety of sectors, including previously serving as president of the North Okanagan Hospice Society, leadership chair with the United Way Southern Interior B.C., and the vice-president of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
“Gladys brings a passion for the transformative power of education and a depth of governance experience which will guide the Foundation during this time of renewal and growth,” said Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation executive director.
“This is an exciting time for the Foundation, as we work with the community to enhance Okanagan College’s campuses and our students. I’m looking forward to working with Gladys as we lead the Foundation together.”
Fraser takes over the leadership position during the early stages of a new fundraising campaign for a Health Sciences Centre on the Kelowna campus. According to Fraser, the college fills an important gap in providing skills training, including health-care practitioners to serve the region.
“A new Health Sciences Centre is part of the renewal at the college that is so critical as our current health building is more than 50 years old,” she said.
“In the centre, students will learn in labs and simulation spaces that mimic today’s health-care settings. Our entire region will benefit from having a modern training centre.”
Fraser succeeds Sharron Simpson, who served as president since 2017, and as a board director since 2013. Fraser says she is following great leadership, as Simpson oversaw the Foundation during four capital projects and a time of extensive growth at the college.
Current Board Directors Kimberly Gilhooly (Vernon) and Alan Sanderson (Kelowna) were elected vice-chairs of the Okanagan College Foundation.
Gilhooly has leadership experience in community development and facility management, having helped oversee the operations of three new facilities. She also has extensive background in leading non-profit sport organizations, having started a national women’s coaching program for Coaching Association of Canada and founding Pacificsport Okanagan, which helps lead athlete, coach, and community sport services in the valley.
Sanderson is currently a partner with BDO Canada and previously a partner of Sanderson and Company Chartered Accountants. Sanderson is actively engaged in the community and philanthropy in the Okanagan, having supported numerous charities and philanthropic projects.
More information about the Foundation’s current Board, mission, and projects is available at www.okanagancollegefoundation.ca.