49 Langarans

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Gavin Jones

Langara Alum | Social Advocate & Business Leader

When social advocate and business leader Gavin Jones started the Business Administration program at Langara College, he was getting home from his bartending job after 4 a.m. Now graduated, he starts work every day around the same time. And he loves it.

“I start at 5:30 a.m. every morning, but I’m excited to get up, get in to the office and give back to the community,” Jones said.

Originally, Jones thought he’d end up back in the bar and restaurant industry, maybe opening a restaurant of his own, but he stumbled into the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS). EMBERS is a Vancouver-based charity and the only not-for-profit temporary staffing agency in Canada, and he “loved it from day one.”

Through his BBA program, Jones had the opportunity to do a group business project — writing a business plan — with EMBERS as the community partner. After he graduated, he saw the director of operations role was open at EMBERS and decided to apply. He was chosen for the role in 2018 and since then he has implemented some of the business plan he wrote out as a student.

“Expansions were a big part of that plan,” Jones said. Under his direction, EMBERS has doubled its locations, having opened a new location in Abbotsford in summer 2019 and another location in New Westminster in January.

“We want to offer our services in multiple municipalities because our impact is so huge,” he said of their mission to create opportunities for people living on low incomes. “It’s such a simple, but brilliant concept.

“EMBERS helps thousands of people facing barriers to work by offering economic and employment opportunities, including job placements, training, and support.”

Jones said the new locations are doing “phenomenal.”

“There’s so much skilled labour in the Fraser Valley and beyond for us to step in and help find employment, find work, and partner people up with great jobs.”

Ultimately, he said they’re planning to grow EMBERS exponentially, even opening up some housing for workers.

“Employment can be such a motivator to move forward with whatever people are facing, whatever stage of life they’re at,” he said. “We’re planning to grow EMBERS right across Canada.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts — NO. 7

Langara College, and the surrounding neighbourhood, are named after Admiral Juan Francisco de Lángara y Huarte, who was the head of the Spanish navy when the Spanish were charting the coast of British Columbia in the late 1700s.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

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    Kelley Lee

    Langara Alum | Global Health Researcher

    Dr. Kelley Lee is an internationally renowned expert in global health, named among the world’s 50 key thinkers on globalization, 100 Women Leaders in Global Health, and top Canadian Women in Global Health List in 2018. She joined the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in 2011 as Associate Dean, Research and Director of Global Health. She is currently a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance. Her research focuses on the need to strengthen collective action to address global health challenges including tobacco control, communicable disease outbreaks, and antimicrobial resistance. She is presently co-leading a project, in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, to study commercial tobacco use in five BC First Nations communities. Prior to SFU, she was a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK where she spent over 20 years. She was a core member of two major studies at the World Health Organization, co-establishing the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Change and Health, and chairing the WHO Resource Group on Globalization, Trade, and Health. She has authored over 120 peer reviewed papers, 60 book chapters, and 14 books. She is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, Royal College of Physicians and Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

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  • Barbara Binns

    Barbara Binns

    Retired Employee | Interdisciplinary Educator

    Barbara was an instructor and coordinator in the Langara Interdisciplinary Studies department and taught in Canadian Studies and Women’s Studies. She was an exemplar of engaged pedagogy and inspired students and colleagues through her extensive work in anti-racism, community development, human rights, and international development. A recent manifestation of this long-term work was Langara’s dynamic celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, 2019. Barbara holds degrees in nursing, education, and social work, and has received many awards and accolades for her work in the community, including the Rosemary Brown Award for Women in 2005 and the Development Education Award in 1994. She was also an Election Observer at the First National South African Elections in 1994. She has maintained close ties to Langara and is a beloved elder and mentor to many.

  • Theresa Hanson

    Theresa Hanson

    Former Employee | Athletic Director

    Theresa was the Director of Athletics and Intramurals at Langara College from 1994–2004 and is now the Senior Director of Athletics and Recreation at Simon Fraser University, overseeing Canada’s only NCAA varsity program. After her time at Langara, she worked at UBC for over ten years, as the Associate Director of Athletics, managing the operations of 29 varsity sports programs. Theresa acted in several leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics both at Langara and UBC, including CCAA Vice-President, Finance and Administration; Chair, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Finance; Canadian Interuniversity Sport Vice-President, International; Canada West Universities Athletic Association Vice-President, Sport; and member of Canada West Board of Directors. In 2013, Theresa was named Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 27th Summer Universiade in Russia. Her work ethic earned her the admiration of her colleagues at provincial and national levels. She has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Order of the Falcon Award from Langara. She was inducted into the Greater Trail Home of Champions Registry in 2014 to celebrate her career in sports administration and was also inducted into the CCAA Hall of Fame in 2017.

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