Board of Directors
Carin HolroydCarin and her husband Ken Coates adopted their beautiful daughter, Hana, from Thai Nguyen province in Vietnam in 2001. In an effort to say thank you for the gift of her daughter, Carin returned to Vietnam in 2005 to talk to local officials and find out how she could best help improve educational opportunities for rural Vietnamese children. Visits to numerous crumbling, dark and dingy classrooms confirmed the desperate need for new primary schools and kindergartens. VES received charitable status in December 2005 and fundraising for a primary school in Cat Ne began.
Founder and President
Carin is a faculty member in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a member of UNICEF Canada's 25th Team, a four year project developed to improving infant and maternal health in five countries in the developing world.
Ken CoatesKen Coates is a professor of public policy at the University of Saskatchewan. He was raised in the Yukon and has a long-standing interest in Aboriginal rights and northern issues. He has worked as a faculty member and administrator at universities across Canada and New Zealand. He has five children and seven grandchildren and is married to Dr. Carin Holroyd.
Carolyn WillickCarolyn Willick holds the Treasurer role for Vietnam Education Society and has done so since its inception. As part of her contribution she maintains the official charity records and ensures compliance with Revenue Canada Charities Directorate. In addition she supports annual fund raising activities.
Carolyn is a CPA and has held a variety of positions in both the public and private sector. She balances a challenging career alongside spending quality family time with her husband and two children. Having adopted from Asia, she feels particularly proud to be part of an organization that provides quality school facilities in rural less developed parts of Vietnam along with support for young girls at risk.
Lien Le KhoshnevisLien was born and raised in Vietnam. When she was 14 years old she joined thousands of refugees who had to flee their home country -- the so-called Boat People - for a better life overseas. After spending a year moving between refugee camps, Lien and her family arrived in Los Angeles. There, Lien finally had the opportunity to receive a proper education and went complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from University of California, Irvine. Lien got married and moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1998. She now lives happily with her husband and two beautiful children in North Vancouver. Professionally, Lien is a Senior Business System Analyst for Telus Corporation. She has been working in Information Technology consulting for over 20 years. Lien is a successful professional and a devoted mother and wife.
Lien has served as a board member of VES since 2005. Her unique life experiences and her ability as a Vietnamese native speaker has helped VES in many ways. Lien considers herself blessed to have this opportunity to serve the community through VES. Looking back into her past struggles, she often wonders how she has gotten here. There have been so many big-hearted people in her life who have given to her and her family unconditionally. So now Lien is on a mission to give back. VES is the means for her to make that happen.
Lois NahirneyLois Nahirney is the President and CEO of dnaPower Inc. and SkinDNA Inc. She has twins adopted from Vietnam. She has a doctorate in business and has held a number of international senior executive roles. She has been honoured with several women in business awards and volunteers extensively in the community and overseas.
As noted in her citation when she won a Women of Distinction award from the Vancouver YWCA:
"Lois has more than 25 years of global experience at the executive level of transitioning industries including shipping consulting, information technology and forestry. In her current role, she is a vocal advocate for engagement, leadership and life/work balance. In her work at Teekay, Lois helped introduce a new vision and strategic plan to address a rapidly changing industry, including facilitating a global effort to engage more than 6,000 employees from 120 ships and 26 offices around the world.
Lois has made “supporting women in business” a key focus of her career and community involvement for 20 years. She serves on numerous boards and is regularly sought out as a mentor and coach. Lois has spent more than ten years as Chair for WXN in Vancouver."
Heather BachHeather and her husband Steve brought their daughter Mia home from Hung Yen province, Vietnam, in 2001. In Vancouver, BC, Mia joined her big brother Aiden with her forever family. Inspired by the gift of Mia and the impact of Carin's work in Vietnam, Heather was honoured to join the VES Board of Directors in 2012.
Heather is the Clinical Director of the Bach Counselling Group. She holds a Master’s degree in psychology, and is Certified member with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Heather works with individuals and families on matters of anxiety, depression and past and acute trauma as well as parent coaching. She is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health and mindfulness and improving the lives of children and families. Beyond her work life, Heather enjoys time with her family, cycling, skiing, trail running, creating art and traveling.