In our 40+ years, MEC has grown into a complex organization. But as a democratically owned business, each of us influences its direction.
On behalf of all members, the elected Board safeguards MEC’s assets and makes decisions to ensure its long-term future. Ultimately, they are responsible for MEC’s strategic direction and overall performance, and by adhering to good governance practices, they ensure MEC can accomplish its future goals and abide by our collective values.
Nine elected members guide and govern MEC according to our Rules of Co-operation, the BC Co-operative Association Act and governance practices that create the conditions for decision-making that’s consistent, responsive, and accountable.
Ellen Pekeles – North Vancouver, BC
Serving third term after an initial one-year term: 2017–2020
With twenty one years of executive leadership experience, with 10 years at Vancity, Ellen brings an in-depth knowledge of the co-operative business model to MEC. She also offers senior-level experience in human resources, operations, IT, facilities and environmental management and strategy. Previously a practicing physiotherapist, Ellen holds a Master of Health Administration from University of Ottawa and has held several senior health care roles in health authorities in Alberta and British Columbia. Ellen’s first passion is downhill skiing, but you will also find her hiking, biking, running, swimming and practicing yoga.
Phil Arrata – Vancouver, BC
FAC Chair and TC member
Serving first term: 2015–2018
Phil is passionate about retail, an ardent supporter of MEC and an avid lover of Canada’s outdoors. As a senior member of Best Buy Canada’s executive team, Phil is focused on transforming operations to enhance the customer experience. Prior to this, Phil spent ten years in strategy and operations consulting. Phil holds an MBA from Kellogg School and is an Associate Professor with UBC’s Sauder School where he teaches finance and strategy. He spends his free time running, skiing and enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two children.
Daniel Blanche – Montreal, QC
Vice-chair, FAC, GC and TC member
Serving second term after a one-year term: 2015–2018
Daniel’s passion lies in getting Canadians outdoors (and that includes his six children and his wife) and is a former member of the national cycling team. A designated director from the Institute of Corporate Directors, Daniel is a trilingual executive with more than 30 years board and management experience in the tech industry. He is a professional director serving on various boards where technology is a key strategic factor. Daniel believes strongly in MEC’s vision and values and wants all members to share this passion and commitment to their Co-op.
Rob Campbell – Richmond, BC
NC Chair and GC member
Serving second term: 2016–2019
Rob is a seasoned corporate development professional with experience in organizational transformation, operations, and finance. Rob recently realized a long-term dream of owning a business – Gibbs-Delta. Prior to this, Rob held CFO and other Sr. Executive positions with Brewster Travel Cda, CHC Helicopter, Intrawest Corporation, and Scotia Capital Markets. He holds a degree from Queen’s University, an Executive MBA from Segal School of Business, and is an ICD.D candidate. With a huge passion for the outdoors, Rob is also a graduate of the Yamnuska School of Mountaineering and an Ironman. For “fun” Rob hangs out at his off-the-grid cabin with his family. He is committed to delivering a greater diversity of quality MEC products and services.
Shawn Mitchell – Vancouver, BC
GC Chair and HRCC member
Serving third term: 2016–2019
Shawn is a lifelong backcountry explorer, passionate about the outdoors. He is also passionate about governance and the impact it has on organizations. Shawn has held executive roles in communications, HR, and public affairs with organizations such as WWF and Edelman PR, and is currently the Executive Director for the Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from Queen’s University as well as the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation. Shawn is committed to quality gear and excellent service while minimizing social and environmental impact.
Judi Richardson – North Vancouver, BC
HRCC Chair and FAC member
Serving first term: 2015-2018
Judi brings over 28 years of start-up, entrepreneurial and corporate experience to her business consulting practice and various Board roles. She has a York University MBA and certification as a Royal Roads University Executive Coach and corporate director through the Institute of Corporate Directors. As a former member of the Canadian National Ski Team, Judi remains an avid skier and also enjoys staying active in the gym and on trails, courts and golf courses. Judi is excited to support MEC’s strategic growth as a values-driven Canadian retail icon.
Kathy Uher - Toronto, ON
TC Chair and NC member
Serving first term: 2016–2019
Kathy brings over 18 years experience leading complex, strategic initiatives and holds an MBA and PMP Designation. In her role as VP in the financial services sector she has accountability for governance, financial management, program delivery and benefits realization for enterprise wide initiatives. Kathy has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys hiking, kayaking, cycling and spending time with friends and family on the lake in cottage country. She is committed to preserving MEC’s core values while supporting growth and encouraging more Canadians to be active and enjoy the outdoors.
BOB WALLIS – VERNON, BC
FAC and NC member
Serving first term: 2017-2020
Bob has over 25 years of executive leadership and board experience in various industries, corporate structures and countries. His passion revolves around matching member needs and expectations with creative solutions. He has a degree in Business and Commerce from the University of Alberta and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. He enjoys the outdoors through a variety of activities including fly fishing, cycling, hiking, back country skiing and golfing.
KATHY WESTON - TORONTO, ON
GC and HRCC member
Serving first term: 2017-2020
Kathy brings 25 years of executive retail experience with a track record for delivering impactful growth and transformation strategies. She has led Strategy, Buying & Merchandising, Finance, Operations and Human Resources teams in start-up and high growth retailer companies. Kathy has been a long time MEC member and is passionate about supporting MEC in its focus on delivering exceptional member experiences and future growth. She shares her love of the outdoors with her husband and four children. Kathy also serves as Vice Chair of University of Toronto Press Board and Chair of their Audit Committee. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto and is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CA with an ICD.D designation from the Rotman School of Management.
United by their desire to make MEC successful, our senior leaders are tasked with embracing change, seeking out new ideas and finding talented people to keep the Co-op humming.
Chief Executive Officer
David brings both passion for outdoor adventure and extensive retail business experience to MEC. Over the past 25 years he has worked with companies such as Adidas, Marks and Spencer’s affiliate in South Africa, and Aritzia in Canada. David was the first CEO to be hired from within MEC, and in his former capacity as senior manager of Buying and Design he was instrumental in leading the renaissance of MEC-brand products as well as several product sustainability initiatives. David presently sits on the Outdoor Foundation Board and the Outdoor Industry Association Board. A former competitive windsurfer, David takes any opportunity to stay fit by going to Crossfit, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, kite-surfing, and by snowboarding with his two sons.
Buying and Design
Jeff started at MEC in 1993 and holds a Resource Management degree from the University of Western Ontario. Jeff brings his passion for product and building the MEC brand to the Buying and Design department at MEC, where he has the responsibility for creating, buying, and allocating all the products MEC sells. Jeff is an avid road rider who is passionate about supporting cycling races in the community. He most recently competed in the Whistler Gran Fondo.
Communications and Marketing
Anne is responsible for supporting the continual evolution of the MEC brand as well as ensuring MEC’s marketing communications are authentic and relevant. Anne has more than 15 years’ experience in brand management and customer relationship marketing. Previously, Anne was the Director of Brand Strategy for South East Asia at Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consultancy. Anne also held several senior positions with Intrawest, culminating in Director of Customer Relationship Marketing for the destination resort company. Anne is passionate about exploring new hiking trails around the globe, but is now treasuring her time at home in North Vancouver introducing her two girls to the great outdoors.
Gary has been a proponent for positive change and member service excellence within MEC for over ten years. Previously, Gary held various positions with Hudson’s Bay Company and its family of stores including Zellers, Simpsons, and The Bay, including Regional Merchandising Manager for The Bay’s Ontario region. In addition to regularly cycle commuting from his home in Richmond, Gary enjoys coaching his kids’ soccer team and spending time with his family outdoors.
Shona is responsible for providing effective support to MEC’s board of directors based on robust governance practices. She was previously the Executive Director for the Vancouver Police Board and, before emigrating to Canada, served as a clerk in the UK Parliament, providing professional and procedural support for committees of MPs and the House of Commons Commission. Shona is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Governance Professionals of Canada (GPC). She tries to inject some serenity into life with two small children by means of a regular yoga practice, and enjoys hiking and kayaking around British Columbia.
Finance and Administration
Sandy has over 15 years’ experience in senior financial management and administration. Besides overseeing MEC’s finance and accounting functions, Sandy plays a key role in developing business, financial, and strategic plans, and managing MEC’s real estate acquisition and development. Sandy holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Post Graduate Diploma in accounting from the University of Cape Town. He is a registered Chartered Accountant in good standing. Having always been an athlete, Sandy regularly runs, cycle commutes and on several occasions made the 25km trip to work by a mix of sea kayaking and on foot.
Nancy is responsible for MEC’s enterprise-wide IT strategy and operations. She has over 25 years of leadership experience across strategy, transformation and talent. Nancy was a consultant at McKinsey & Company and her own strategy consulting firm, as well as held the senior strategy role at The Antioch Company, a Minnesota based global consumer goods company. Also, she was the Calgary office leader of Egon Zehnder International, one of the world’s leading global executive search firms, where she consulted with Boards and senior leadership teams on talent, succession and team effectiveness. Nancy is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys skiing, biking, kayaking and hiking. Her new favourite outdoor activity is teaching her young son Ethan how to ski.
Nahal manages the rich human talent within our Co-op’s stores, head office and distribution centres. She helps ensure that our people possess the attitude, skills and experience to serve our members’ diverse needs. By removing barriers that prevent employees from being engaged and empowered, MEC can better deliver on its purpose. Prior to joining MEC in summer 2017, Nahal was with the multinational retailer Tesco in Prague, where she held several senior human resources roles. Among other points of pride, she was integral to building a service-centric culture among 120,000 employees based in Central Europe and Asia. After living abroad for 20 years, Nahal is delighted to have returned home to Vancouver. Whether it’s running, hiking, yoga or meditation, Nahal likes to get outside as often as she can.
Board committees, Director and leadership positions
The Board Job Description sets out the scope of its overall responsibility. Individual directors and those in leadership positions, such as our Chair or the Vice-Chair, have job descriptions too.
Finance and Audit Committee (FAC)
This committee oversees financial management, enterprise risk management, and due diligence in the execution of major financial decisions. They oversee financial reporting processes, internal controls and our annual external audit service engagement, process and results.
Members of the 2017-2018 FAC are: Phil Arrata (Chair), Daniel Blanche, Judi Richardson and Bob Wallis.
Human Resources and Compensation Committee (HRCC)
This committee supports the Board’s mandate in the areas of organizational performance, human resource and compensation policy and CEO recruitment and performance management.
Members of the 2017-2018 HRCC are: Judi Richardson (Chair), Shawn Mitchell, Kathy Uher and Kathy Weston.
Governance Committee (GC)
This committee is accountable for supporting the Board’s governance mandate and operations. This includes implementing and monitoring the governance framework at MEC, Board performance evaluation, Director development and training and Board compensation.
Member of the 2017-2018 GC are: Shawn Mitchell (Chair), Daniel Blanche, Rob Campbell and Kathy Weston.
Nominations Committee (NC)
This committee is responsible for supporting the Board’s mandate in the areas of: Annual General Meeting and other democratic member participation activities, Board candidate nominations and elections, and Administering MEC Rules.
Members of the 2017-2018 NC are: Rob Campbell (Chair), Kathy Uher, Bob Wallis and two members at large, Graham Allen and Judy Martin.
Technology committee (TC)
This committee supports the delivery of the Board’s mandate by providing oversight of MEC’s systems projects and other technology-related issues.
Members of the 2017-2018 TC are: Kathy Uher (Chair), Phil Arrata and Daniel Blanche.