The Downtown Victoria Business Association is governed by a board composed of up to 12 private-sector directors, and one appointed non-voting member from the City of Victoria, who acts as our liaison. As a business-led not-for-profit, it’s the Board of Directors who provide strategic direction and leadership to the DVBA. Our Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bray, along with a small, specialized in-house team, manages the implementation of the DVBA’s marketing, promotions, events and community engagement, and business improvement goals.
OUR BOARD MEMBERS REPRESENT DOWNTOWN
As prescribed by our by-laws, each director of the Board is elected for a two-year period. To ensure we represent our downtown Victoria business stakeholders the Board is always composed of individuals who represent:
- Small (premises less than 300 square metres) independent retailers
- Large (premises more than 300 square metres) retailers
- Hoteliers operating within the downtown precinct
- Service providers
- Restaurant/entertainment operators
- Property owners or managers
PARTICIPATE AND SERVE ON OUR WORKING COMMITTEES
We have three working committees that include at least one Board member and other volunteers from the downtown Victoria business community.
These committees are:
- Marketing – Chair, Stef Hartwig
- Culture and Events – Chair to be chosen at next meeting
- Clean and Safe – Chair currently vacant.
If you are interested in participating and serving on one of DVBA’s working committees, please reach out to email@example.com.
“Being on the DVBA Board provides me with the opportunity to actively participate in the process of creating and curating a healthy and vibrant downtown for all of us. As a small business owner, it’s easy to become isolated within your own business, participation on the Board strengthens the connections between different sectors of our business community so that at the end of the day, we all thrive.”
-Teri Hustins, DVBA Board President
Jessica Walker, President
Jessica Walker is the managing partner at Munro’s Books, the Victoria institution found on many lists of the world’s most beautiful bookstore. She has been a bookseller for 35 years, and Munro’s Books is a proud supporter of the Victoria literary arts community.
Dan Sawchuck, Vice-President
In addition to his 16 years as President of Robbins Parking on Vancouver Island, Dan also leads Platinum Parking in the US and NorTech Parking Systems in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He oversees combined revenues in excess of $100 million. Dan is responsible for the strategic direction of each of these companies, as well as their financial performance. Dan is driven to ensure that each of these businesses keeps pace with developments in technology and remains industry-leading in customer service. He keeps the companies focused on timely communication, attention-to-detail, and innovation.
Scott Cameron, CPA, Treasurer
CAMERON IZARD SNELL LLP
As a Manager at Cameron Izard Snell LLP, Scott has a breadth of experience in fostering client relationships, mentoring staff, and delivering on exceptional service. His focus includes tax planning and compliance for individuals and businesses as well as cross-border US taxation for individuals.
Born and raised in Victoria, Scott moved to Kamloops and to attend Thompson Rivers University where he graduated with a BBA, majoring in accounting. He articled at a local firm where he received his CPA designation in 2017 and moved back to Victoria in 2018 to join Cameron Izard Snell LLP.
Outside of the office, Scott spends his time with his family outdoors on the ocean, biking, or on the slopes skiing.
Anna Wray, Secretary
Anna Wray is an Associate Vice President with Colliers International in Victoria. She’s worked in commercial real estate for over 18 years, with the last 10 here in Victoria. While specializing in office and retail properties, Anna focuses most of her time on site selection for owner-users and tenants, leasing availabilities for landlords, and advising her clients on the acquisition and disposition of assets in Greater Victoria.
Teri Hustins, Past President
OSCAR & LIBBY’S GIFT STORE, KABOODLES TOY STORE
With four stores (Oscar & Libby’s, Two Otters, and Kaboodles Toystore) and close to 30 years retailing in Downtown Victoria, Teri sat on the DVBA Board as the retail representative. In 2005, the first Oscar & Libby’s opened on Fort Street, followed by a second location in Market Square in 2008. In 2018, Teri assumed the ownership of Kaboodles Toystore on Government Street; in 2022, she opened Two Otters. Teri is also an active volunteer and board member of the 9-10 Soup Kitchen. To recharge her batteries, Teri and her husband and business partner, retreat to their cabin on a remote island, to enjoy a quieter and less hectic lifestyle.
Richard manages the strategic direction and operation of the Alacrity Foundation. He also works to advise multiple companies, contribute to investment decisions and works closely with portfolio companies to connect them to potential partners and investors. Over the past three years, Richard has led the effort behind the Alacrity Investor Readiness Program, which has brought more than $220M CAD of investment into the BC technology scene.
Richard has also spent 10 years involved in real estate development in various capacities: as a builder, project manager, and investor, across Western Canada and the United States. Beginning in 2005, he began managing a $40M+ budget for a 74 lot subdivision project in Kelowna, BC to successful completion. He continues pursuing real estate projects in Victoria by developing and providing unique workspaces to the growing local technology community.
Richard holds a B.Com in Entrepreneurship from Royal Roads University and an MBA from the University of Victoria with a specialization in real estate, venture capital, and finance
Bruce Hallsor, K.C.
Crease Harman LLP
Bruce is a the managing partner of British Columbia’s oldest law firm, and has a strong background in community service, including working with youth, providing his experience to various charities on boards, and being involved in political and advocacy roles.
Bruce is a past president of the Victoria Bar Association, and also served as national Chair of the CBA’s section on estates and trusts. He has written papers and presented at several conferences on tax and estate matters. Bruce also served as President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
Bruce is also known for his leadership in politics and advocacy, as Chair of the Monarchist League, president of Fair Vote BC and Vice President of Fair Vote Canada, and as an activist in municipal, provincial, and federal political campaigns and parties who has held a number of leadership positions including BC Campaign Chair and one time federal candidate.
Bruce was named among the “Top 40 under 40” for Vancouver Island in 2007. He has won the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals for community service, and was awarded a Queen’s Counsel designation in 2016.
Kristen Kitchen leads the Leasing Department at Jawl Properties, Victoria’s largest developer, owner and manager of commercial real estate in Victoria, BC. Prior to this she was a Director in the Real Properties Division with the Government of British Columbia where she oversaw aspects of planning for office space for over 30,000 public servants spanning the entire province. Kristen has worked in numerous facets of the commercial real estate industry in Calgary, AB and Victoria, BC including leasing, sales, marketing and management. She has volunteered with many organizations in Victoria such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Urban Development Institute and is a past board member for Dance Victoria. Kristen has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary. Originally from rural Alberta, Kristen has called Victoria home for 11 years now and is proud to be living and working in one of the most beautiful, innovative, and vibrant cities in Canada.
Sophia Pugh is an accomplished strategy and sales effectiveness professional who has led multiple teams in developing strong customer value propositions to drive strong business results. Sophia is Scotiabank’s District Vice President for Vancouver Island where she is responsible for both Retail and Small Business Banking.
Educated at McMaster University where she studied Mathematics, she employs strong analytical skills in managing her market, leveraging data drawn from both inside and outside the organization. Sophia has held a number progressive roles at Scotiabank in areas where she:
- Led Data Management & Governance policy development and implementation
- Led development in Data warehousing;
- Implemented Enterprise-wide regulatory projects; and
- Led Global sales force effectiveness teams.
Prior to joining the bank, she worked in aerospace and for major technology firms.
THE DRAKE EATERY AND HERALD STREET BREW WORKS
My wife, Lee and I have worked side-by-side since opening our first restaurant in 2002. We opened our first downtown venture, The Drake Eatery in 2014. We were both excited and nervous about how our concept would be received in an already thriving Food & Beverage market in Victoria. We were pleasantly surprised by the welcome and support we received from a number of the other small business operators within the downtown core. That sense of camaraderie inspires us to work diligently, not only for the success of our two businesses but for our fellow downtown business operators as well.
Jeff Bray, Chief Executive Officer
Jeff joined the Downtown Victoria Business Association, first as the interim Executive Director in November 2017. He joined the association permanently in April 2018.
Jeff Bray grew up in Vancouver, B.C. After graduating from UBC, he embarked on a 13-year career with the BC government. In 2001, Jeff was elected the MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. More recently, Jeff was the Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Shaw in BC. Community-oriented, Jeff is the Co-Chair of the Coalition to End Homelessness, Former Vice-Chair of the Royal BC Museum Foundation, Former President of the Former MLA Association of BC, and Former Vice-President of the North Quadra Community Association.
Alison Gair, Executive Assistant
Alison Gair has been with the DVBA since early 2006. Alison manages the administration of the office and works with the team to provide support for ongoing projects. The voice on the phone and the friendly face you see in the office, Alison is an integral part of the team with a strong background in all things downtown.
Rob Caunter, Clean Team Manager
Rob Caunter has been with the DVBA since 2008 and manages the seven-person Clean Team. When not in the office, Rob can be found meeting with business, property owners, and the City of Victoria to keep our downtown streets clean and safe. Rob is the staff liaison for the association’s Clean, Safe, and Sustainable Committee. To find out more about Rob and the Clean Team’s positive impact on downtown, go here.
THE CLEAN TEAM IS ON DUTY FROM 8 AM UNTIL 4 PM EVERY WEEKDAY.
- City of Victoria – 250-361-0466 – public property
- DVBA – 250-386-2238* – private property within the DVBA boundary. View our Boundary map.
*If the Clean Team is unable to remove graffiti, they will offer alternative removal options – including providing free labour to paint over the tag if your business and/or property provides the paint. Call our team today.
Becca Blachut, Marketing Manager
Becca is a graduate of the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business. She also holds a post-graduate Certificate in Professional Communication Management from Royal Roads. She began working for Downtown Victoria as an intern in 2018, writing the weekly events newsletter and curating events. As Marketing Manager, Becca now leads all marketing and communications activities at the DVBA. Becca loves her job for the variety of responsibilities it offers, and for the wonderful people she meets and interacts with daily. Plus, the fact that she gets to bring her beloved rescue pup, Mona, to the office with her every day makes the job truly perfect!
John Kletke, Community Resource Coordinator
John comes to the DVBA with over 20 years experience working with small business, non-profits, and diverse stakeholder groups to build relationships and strong communities. His experience in events planning, chairing committees and adult education have enabled him to deeply understand stakeholder needs, and bring people together to create and grow relationships through sharing. With formal education in health care, adult education and non-profits, John can’t wait to meet his downtown Victoria neighbors and work together to make the best downtown Victoria yet!
Madison Sutcliffe, Member Engagement Coordinator
Madison comes to the DVBA with a diverse background and skillset. She has over 14 years experience in the food and beverage industry, holding positions ranging from dishwasher to small business owner. She’s passionate about building community and is particularly driven by the power of storytelling as it’s often the key to connection and belonging – no matter how diverse circumstances may be. Madison brings her education in arts, culture, and design to her daily work, and she looks forward to learning about each member’s story and vision so we can continue towards the best possible version of downtown Victoria.