49 Langarans

49Langaran

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. 26

Every year exceptional Langarans are recognized through the Outstanding Alumni Awards. Past winners include comedian Colin Mochrie, former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, and broadcast journalist Simi Sara.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • 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.

  • Wawmeesh Hamilton

    Wawmeesh Hamilton

    Langara Alum | Journalist

    Wawmeesh is an Associate Producer with CBC Radio Vancouver. He is a contributing writer for CBC Indigenous, CBC Radio, The Tyee, and the National Observer. Wawmeesh was also a reporter and photographer at The Discourse, where he wrote about reconciliation and urban Indigenous people and issues. A graduate of the Langara Journalism program and the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, Wawmeesh is an advocate for increased deeper journalism in Canada about Indigenous people, communities and issues. He has worked with Journalists for Human Rights to cover Indigenous youth projects across Canada and he lectures nationally to journalism students about deepening their knowledge about Indigenous people and communities and about creating relationships with them. He was the architect of and contributor to the 2018 Jack Webster Award-nominated The Discourse — CBC Indigenous Series Reconciliation in small towns: Is it happening? He has also won multiple awards for both his writing and photography from the BC-Yukon Community Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.

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  • Linda Arnold

    Linda Arnold

    Retired Employee | Degree Program Champion

    Linda was the Associate Vice-President, Academic at Langara. Starting as an instructor in the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics, Linda primarily taught outdoor recreation, park planning and management, leadership, and other curriculum. She later became the Department Chair, Division Chair, and the Dean of Instruction. During her time at the College, she played a critical role in establishing the College’s first baccalaureate degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing; in the creation of the inter-institutional Bachelor of Performing Arts program; and supported the development of the Bachelor of Recreation Management program. She was also involved in the establishment of a number of non-degree certificate and diploma programs. Linda was a long-time contributing member of the Langara Council and Langara Education Council. She was part of the Langara Faculty Board of Directors and the Association’s bargaining team that established Langara as an independent public post-secondary institution.

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