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Meet the team

At the heart of the DVBIA is its amazing team. From economic development and community safety to placemaking and events, our team are experts in their field with a shared goal of making downtown Vancouver a fun and welcoming place to be.

CHARLES GAUTHIER, MCP

President & CEO

Charles holds a Masters of City Planning from the University of Manitoba and has been steering the DVBIA since 1992! He’s been the recipient of Business In Vancouver’s prestigious ‘40 Under 40 Achievement Award’ and the Downtown Vancouver Association’s President’s Award, in addition to other accolades. He has served on numerous boards during his career, including the Business Improvement Areas of BC, the BC chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives, and many more.

JANE TALBOT, CPHR

Vice President & COO

Jane is responsible for keeping the day-to-day operations of the DVBIA running smoothly. She joins the DVBIA from the world of philanthropy, having held senior roles at the BC SPCA and the Positive Living Society, and is passionate about making the world a better place— for humans and their furry friends alike. Jane holds a Masters of Arts degree in International Relations from Webster University and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University. 

KEYANNA RUSSELL

Administrative and HR Assistant

Keyanna is responsible for everything administrative in the office and helps coordinate the operations of HR within the organization. She pursued a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and French at Mount Allison University and soon after discovered her passion for Human Resources at Camosun College when completing her Post-Degree Diploma in HR Management and Leadership. 

HEATHER MCKENZIE-BECK

Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications

Heather looks after the DVBIA’s diverse range of communications initiatives. From social media to thought leadership to strategic planning, she strives to ensure that the great work of the association is shared with Vancouverites in a meaningful way. Heather has a Master of Arts in Communications and experience in a wide range of industries, including financial services, education advocacy, non-profit communications, and agency-based PR work.

JOSHUA DAVIDSON

Communications and Graphic Design Lead

Joshua works alongside Heather in communications while also working as the DVBIA’s graphic designer. He collaborates with the Economic Development team in designing the DVBIA reports while producing all other print and digital graphics for the wider teams. Joshua studied Literature at Lincoln University and has moved to Vancouver from London, England.

SOFIA LARATTA

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Sofia takes care of the DVBIA’s social media channels and provides support to Joshua and Heather with communications, events, and marketing initiatives. Sofia moved from Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver in 2015 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from Capilano University. While working in Vancouver’s tourism industry, Sofia gained an enormous love and passion for the city and all that it has to offer.

GAVIN DUFFUS, MPL*

Economic Development Manager

Gavin wants businesses in Vancouver to thrive. To this end, he helps ensure that downtown Vancouver is an attractive and affordable place to set up shop. Gavin fosters synergistic commercial opportunities through outreach and networking. Trained as an urban planner, Gavin enjoys collaborating with stakeholders and policymakers to improve civic regulations. 

JAMES ANDERSON

Research and Data Analyst

James works with the economic development department to collect, visualize and interpret data, highlighting downtown’s livability, economy, and public spaces. James received his Master of Human Kinetics from the University of Windsor, where his research focused on the socio-economic impacts of sports events. Before starting at the DVBIA, James worked in the sports sector, analyzing membership and performance data to inform the governance of a National Sport Federation.

NIKOLA FISCHEROVA

Membership Engagement and Economic Development Lead

Nikola started her career at the DVBIA as an Administrative Assistant in 2017, but her passion for planning and membership brought her to the economic development team. Nikola’s primary role is to support the DVBIA members, including onboarding new members and retaining current ones. In addition to her membership role, she develops and manages programs to support the recruitment and retention of retail, restaurant, entertainment and office tenants.

ANDREW NAKAZAWAM, M.PL

Placemaking and Public Spaces Manager

Andrew manages the DVBIA’s placemaking and public space portfolio and is responsible for overall program vision and direction, long-range planning, and strategic partnerships. With a people-first approach to improving the downtown core, Andrew and his team collaborate with property owners, member businesses, and local makers and creators to enhance underutilized spaces, streets, laneways, and plazas. Andrew comes to the DVBIA with a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University.

WINKI TAM

Placemaking and Public Spaces Lead

As Lead in the Placemaking team, Winki oversees the implementation of public space transformations, installations, and programming while also supporting Andrew in strategic planning. With a background in project management, Winki has organized fundraising events across 30 cities in B.C. and design projects across three countries (Mauritius, The Netherlands, U.K.). Her mission is to make Vancouver the world’s best rainy city to play and live in.

CLARE WARNER

Placemaking and Public Spaces Coordinator

Originally graduating with a BSc in Geology from UCC Ireland, Clare decided to call Vancouver her home in 2015. Clare brings the strategic vision of the Placemaking department to life through her exemplary organizational skills, creative problem solving, and positivity. Her favourite downtown places include atop Harbour Centre’s lookout for the birds-eye view of city life, the unique DVBIA laneway projects, and any bench that allows her to take in the North Shore mountains.

CHARLENE ABELLANA

Acting Manager, Community Safety

Charlene looks after all things related to Community Safety for the DVBIA . Part of her job is  overseeing various projects and initiatives by building relationships that help make the Downtown Community safe and welcoming for all. She works directly with the teams to provide support to our Downtown members and community. Charlene joins the DVBIA with a background in Operations, Public Safety, Recruitment and HR.

WASEEM LAHER

Acting Operations Lead

Waseem sees the daily operations of the Community Safety Team. He works closely with Charlene to ensure that member safety concerns are addressed and things run smoothly with Community Safety Team. Waseem has a strong background in both the safety and customer service industries. He started at the DVBIA as a Downtown Safety Ambassador and displayed a strong passion for making downtown a safe and enjoyable place to be.