Governance and leadership - board of directors

Governance and leadership

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.

Board members

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 - Board of Directors

Ellen Pekeles – North Vancouver, BC

Serving second term after a one-year term: 2014–2017

With twenty years of executive leadership experience, and 9.5 of these 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 roles with Canadian health authorities. Ellen’s first passion is downhill skiing, but you will also find her hiking, biking, running, swimming and practicing yoga.

Phil Arrata - Board of Directors

Phil Arrata – Vancouver, BC

FAC and HRCC 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 - Board of Directors

Daniel Blanche – Montreal, QC

Vice-chair, GC and HRCC 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 currently the CEO and President of the Computer Research Institute of Montreal (CRIM). 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 - Board of Directors

Rob Campbell – Richmond, BC

FAC Chair
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.

Jonathan Gallo - Board of Directors

Jonathan Gallo – Edmonton, AB

FAC and NC member
Serving second term: 2014–2017

Jon is a Chartered Accountant, and principal of his own accounting firm. Prior to completing a MBA, he was a decorated Officer with the Canadian Forces. An avid outdoorsman who recently summited several peaks in the Jasper region, Jon believes in responsible business practices and protecting our wilderness. Jon is the proud father of three young children and tries to get them in the outdoors as much as possible.

Shawn Mitchell - Board of Directors

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 brings several years of leadership and governance experience to MEC. He also holds a Masters of Public Administration from Queen’s University. Shawn has held senior management roles in communications, HR, and public affairs with WWF and Edelman PR, and is currently the Executive Director for the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association. Shawn is committed to quality gear and excellent service while minimizing social and environmental impact.

Tamara Paton - Board of Directors

Tamara Paton – St. Catharines, ON

HRCC Chair and GC member
Serving first term: 2014–2017

Tamara shares her love of the outdoors with her young family and she spends any free time she can get hiking, cycling and geocaching with them. Her love of the outdoors feeds her desire to create a positive difference for her fellow Co-op members. With an MBA from The Wharton School and both Chartered Director and Chartered Financial Analyst designations, Tamara has 15 years of experience advising clients in media and retail and bringing digital strategy and oversight to a variety of boards. Tamara is committed to helping MEC build strong connections among its members, products, and causes, all with the goal of getting more Canadians active outdoors.

Judi Richardson - Board of Directors

Judi Richardson – North Vancouver, BC

NC 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 - Board of Directors

Kathy Uher - Toronto, ON

GC 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.

Senior managers

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.

David Labistour - Chief Executive Officer

David Labistour

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.

Alex Buhler - Information Technology

Alex Buhler

Information Technology

Alex is responsible for MEC’s enterprise wide IT strategy and operations. He holds over 15 years’ experience in senior management roles, and has been responsible for implementing strategic direction and managing complex assignments. Alex is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the CIO Association of Canada Vancouver Chapter and the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the BC Information Security Management Systems Group. Alex enjoys leading an active outdoor lifestyle with his family.

Jeff Crook - Buying and Design

Jeff Crook

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.

Anne Donohoe - Communications and Marketing

Anne Donohoe

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 Faryon - Operations

Gary Faryon


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 McGlashan - Governance

Shona McGlashan


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.

Cathy Smith - Human Resources

Cathy Smith

Human Resources

Before coming to MEC, Cathy held various senior director positions in HR at companies including the Bank of Montreal and London Drugs. Under Cathy’s people leadership, MEC has been recognized and rewarded as being an employer of choice, and was named as one of the Top 100 employers in Canada for 2010 & 2012. Cathy is active in her community – she sat on the BC Labour Relations Board as a member representative for 3 years, and on the North Shore Family Services Board as a director for 4 years. She recreates by enjoying long hikes with her dog, skiing, snowshoeing, and cycling.

Sandy Treagus - Finance and Administration

Sandy Treagus

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 Blair - Strategic Integration Officer

Nancy Blair

Strategic Integration Officer

Nancy is responsible for helping MEC deliver on its strategic growth objectives and key enterprise-wide projects and embedding an agile, collaborative culture at MEC.

Nancy has over 25 years of consulting and corporate experience across strategy, human capital and banking.  Previously 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 has also held strategy consulting positions at McKinsey & Company and her own consulting firm as well as the senior strategy role at The Antioch Company, a Minnesota based global consumer goods company.  Nancy is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys skiing, biking, kayaking and hiking up mountains.  Her new favourite outdoor activity is teaching her young son Ethan how to ski.

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.

Board, Director, and leadership job description (PDF)

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 2015-2016 FAC are: Rob Campbell (Chair), Phil Arrata, Jonathan Gallo, Ellen Pekeles

FAC job description (PDF)

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 2015-2016 HRCC are: Ellen Pekeles (Chair), Shawn Mitchell, Tamara Paton, Judi Richardson

HRCC job description (PDF)

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.

Members of the 2015-2016 GC are: Shawn Mitchell (Chair), Phil Arrata, Daniel Blanche, Judi Richardson

GC job description (PDF)

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 2015-2016 NC are: Tamara Paton (Chair), Daniel Blanche, Jonathan Gallo and two members-at-large, Dan Rollins and Kevin Thompson.

NC job description (PDF)