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. 46

Nursing students gain hands-on experience taking the pulse, blood pressure, and heart rate of our high-tech patient simulators (HPS) – computer driven human-like mannequins that can cry, sweat, bleed and even talk!

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    Gail Sparrow

    Langara Alum | Indigenous Leader

    Gail Sparrow is a former Chief of the Musqueam First Nation. An alumna of Langara, she returned to the College as an Elder-in-Residence, helping to provide a supportive environment for Indigenous students. She played a key role in strengthening the connection between the Musqueam and the College, educating the Langara community on the history, culture, and teachings of the Musqueam and the land on which the College is located. Gail was also instrumental in Langara receiving its Musqueam name, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, which means house of teachings. Outside of Langara, she has been a passionate community advocate as a Native Employment Specialist with Canada Employment and Immigration Centre, Project Manager with Tribal America Consulting Los Angeles California, Community Development Director with the Musqueam Indian Band, Owner with LIFT Computer Institute, and as the President and Owner of Native Personnel Services.

  • Gerda Krause

    Gerda Krause

    Current Employee | Science Educator

    Gerda is the Dean of Science at Langara. She started at the College in 1977 as a Biology Instructor and has gone on to take on roles of ever increasing responsibility, including Biology Department Chair, Math & Sciences Division Chair; Education Council Chair. From her contributions to the Langara Academic Plan process; one of the founders of the 49 Women in Science giving circle; a champion for the creation of the Langara Retirees group; and her committee work as a member of the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer, as well as countless other committees, Gerda has left an indelible mark on Langara. Outside of the College, she is an active community volunteer for education and social justice causes; volunteering her time to run girls’ clubs for local Mennonite Churches; assist transition house residents to access post-secondary education; and do committee work on the bi-national (US & Canada) Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Board. Gerda holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Botany from UBC.

  • Avram Agov

    Avram Agov

    Current Employee | Scholar & Humanitarian

    Avram is an instructor in the Asian Studies department at Langara College and part of the Langara Asia Field School program. He received a BA in philosophy and history at Sofia University and was a visiting scholar at Columbia University on a Fulbright Fellowship. Avram worked at Samsung Electronics in Korea for six years and is the author of several academic papers on North Korea. He worked with the Eugene Bell Foundation on humanitarian programs to assist those from North Korea, especially in the area of tuberculosis. He has an MA in Regional Studies East Asia from Harvard University and a PhD in History from UBC. He did his specialization at Jiatong University in Shanghai and completed his postdoctoral programs at Harvard and UBC.

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