Chair of the board
Laura joined the board of Seva Canada in 2011 after years of volunteering with Seva. In 2016, she became Board Chair.
Laura brings a unique perspective to the board, having been introduced to Seva in early childhood, witnessing her parents volunteer at various Seva programs abroad. In completing her Master’s thesis in Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, Laura worked with Seva's Guatemalan partner Visualiza. She returned in 2010 to support a proposed program in San Marcos, Guatemala.
Her endeavours outside Seva have included management consulting in Vancouver, and policy development, project management and program administration in Toronto at Ontario’s cancer agency.
Currently, Laura is the Project Manager for a provincial Advance Care Planning Initiative at the BC Centre for Palliative Care, a non-profit funded by the Ministry of Health in support of the BC Provincial End of Life Action Plan.
Laura has lived in South Korea, Spain and Berkeley and has travelled for pleasure across the globe. She and her husband Emanuel have been calling Vancouver home since 2015, after a honeymoon that included a trip to one of Seva’s key partners, Aravind Eye Care System hospitals in Madurai and Pondicherry, India.
John Andru is Associate Director, Major Gifts for the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
Raised in Burnaby, British Columbia, John attended UBC, and completed a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in Marketing. A seasoned fund development professional, John has worked for a number of organizations over the past 10 years including the BC Cancer Foundation and UBC.
As someone who is highly myopic, John understands firsthand the importance of primary eye care, which is why he chose to start supporting Seva a few years ago. In 2014, John also had the opportunity to visit a primary eye care clinic supported by Seva in rural Nepal, which was a very meaningful experience that helped him see firsthand the tremendous work Seva does. John was delighted to be invited to join the board in 2015.
One of John’s greatest passions is traveling to new and interesting places. John has visited more than 40 countries on 6 continents. He hopes to visit more Seva supported clinics around the world in the future.
Ben Capps is a manager in assurance, with a focus on owner-managed companies at Smyth Ratcliffe LLP.
Raised in Clearwater, British Columbia, Ben attended Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, completing a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then joined BDO Canada LLP in 2005 and completed his Canadian Chartered Accountant designation in 2009. Ben joined the Seva Canada board in 2015 to help the team reach their goal of drastically changing the lives of people in need through eye care programming.
Ben relocated to North Vancouver in 2011 with his wife Zoe. Together they enjoy spending time skiing and visiting Tofino.
Paul Courtright is the Director of the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) and a professor at the University of Cape Town. He and his wife, Susan, established KCCO in Moshi, Tanzania in 2001 and lived there until 2012; at the present time he is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He started work in the eye care field in 1979 as a Peace Corps volunteer working with leprosy patients in South Korea. After completing his Masters and Doctorate (1988) he has worked in Egypt and Ethiopia (1 year each), Malawi (4 years), and Tanzania (11 years). He is a member of ITI's Trachoma Expert Committee, on the editorial boards of Ophthalmic Epidemiology and International Health, and was the recipient (with his wife) of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Blindness Prevention Award (2008). He has two sons, Jim (age 23) now a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, and Tom (age 21) finishing university in the US in June 2014. About the time Paul and Susan move back to North America both sons will likely be living in Africa. Paul has been working with Seva Canada since the mid 1990s, at that time to design the Tibet Eye Care Assessment. He has been an avid fan of Seva Canada for many reasons, including the professional way in which Seva Canada approaches its engagement, the willingness to respond to needs identified in the field, and the willingness to invest in new ideas, new areas, and new people.
Charles Diamond is the Vice-President and General Manager of National Holding Ltd.
He has held a number of senior finance-related roles in both the mortgage finance industry and the agricultural industry for over 25 years. Prior to this, Charles spent a number of years in public practice with both large and medium sized chartered accounting firms.
Having spent over 20 years supporting local charities, Charles was looking to broaden his horizons by supporting a global initiative. Shortly after, he was approached to take on the role of Treasurer at Seva Canada.
Through a combination of work experience and education, Charles is able to bring a level of sophistication to Seva’s financial management and administration, helping to free up their limited resources and focus on their mission: delivering eye care services to people in need.
Susan Erdmann is originally from Pennsylvania. She has a liberal arts degree from Wagner College, New York City and has done post graduate work at Indiana University and the New York School of Design. Until recently she owned her own design business in Vancouver which took many awards and prizes for innovative designs. Susan has been involved in sight work most of her life, having helped her father’s Lions Club raise funds and collect eye glasses as a school girl in Pennsylvania. She has been involved with Seva for over twenty five years, first as a donor, then volunteer and in 2001 joined the Board of Directors. She is an avid photographer and writer and has travelled the world seeking adventure and discovering how the human family expresses life. Most importantly now she also travels to see Seva's work in the field. Susan contributes to Seva’ s public awareness through her presentations on Seva’s work, particularly in Tibet and Nepal where she has travelled and stayed for extended periods of time, experiencing the everyday lives of the people Seva serves. Her interests include art, traditional cultures, music, dance and classical Indian music as well as swimming and her cat Shima.
Sasipriya (Sashi) is currently a Senior Faculty at Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology (LAICO), a unit of Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India. She heads up consulting services for developing sustainable eye hospitals in the not-for-profit sector. During her tenure at Aravind, Sashi was involved in various projects including tele-ophthalmology, pediatric eye care, human resource development, and primary eye care services. For Sashi, volunteering on a not-for-profit board like Seva Canada is a natural extension of her beliefs in giving back to the community. In her spare time, Sashi likes to study history, dabble in photography and is an amateur trekker who is planning to scale Ladakh in the future.
Harish Krishnan is Associate Professor in Operations and Logistics and Director of the Centre for Operations Excellence at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.
Born and raised in India, Harish moved to US for graduate school and received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He has been at UBC since 2002. He also has been a visiting scholar at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, India.His research and teaching work focus on understanding how organizations of all types can become more efficient in achieving their mission. Inspired by the Aravind Eye Care System’s innovative approach to delivering cost-effective and high-quality eye care to everyone in need, Harish became interested in supporting like-minded organizations and is delighted to be able to help Seva Canada further its mission of restoring sight and preventing blindness.
Harish lives in Richmond, BC, with his wife and son.
Nancy Mortifee brings to Seva extensive experience in the social sector and event production. She joined the board in 2006 and has held the position of chair for five years.
Nancy is the Dean of the Wellbeing Project, a global program supporting the inner wellness of some of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs and social change leaders. The Wellbeing Project (www.wellbeing-project.org) is a co-creation of Ashoka, Esalen Institute, Fetzer Institute and Synergos Institute.
Nancy was the founding Executive Director of Goldie Hawn's Bright Light Foundation, both in Canada and the US. An educator for many years, she designed the research-based Mindfulness Education (ME) Program and is co-author of "Mind Power for Children- A Guide for Parents and Teachers" now translated into five languages. Nancy produced Canada's Sacred World Music Festival for five years and the highly celebrated musical tribute to His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and UBC.
Nancy is a director of the Somerset Foundation and member of the Ashoka Support Network. She lives with her husband Peter in Vancouver, close to their four wonderful daughters. One of Nancy's greatest joys is travelling to Seva sites around the world.
Sheila brings extensive Human Resources knowledge and experience to the Seva board, having been a Director of Western Management Consultants and VP Human Resources with Galian Photonics.
As a consultant, Sheila focuses on leadership development, succession planning, and building performance management systems. Her work with large and small organizations from various industries and sectors means she knows what it takes to be successful in a wide range of organizational situations and functional disciplines.
Sheila has worked with a UN organization in Cambodia and provided consulting support to the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Seva’s partner organization in Tanzania. She also served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA Vancouver and chaired its Human Resources and Compensation Committee for two years.
When she is not working with Seva, Sheila enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and travelling.