Board of Directors and Support Team
RJ (Bob) Smith, BCom., MBA, FCCHL
Bob Smith began driving for the VCDS in 2017, after being attracted to the charity by a news segment featuring its services. He was immediately impressed by the patients he drove and wanted to continue being a helping hand at a difficult time in their lives. 2017 was a year of immense growth for the society, and not long after, he was asked to take the position of Board President. Ever impressed by the work of the Board’s dedication and outstanding service to their community, Bob is delighted to be able to work with the cadre of Board members, dispatchers, drivers and support volunteers as the organization continues to grow and serve a community of patients in need.
Executive Vice President
George McAffer works with VCDS President, Bob Smith, in drafting strategic initiatives as the society’s Executive Vice President. George leads the fundraising and grant application activities which have played a large role in the financial successes of the organization. As an early member of the VCDS executive team, George was instrumental in developing the Bylaws, Policies and Procedures in use today. George is also the VCDS Legacy Giving Director.
Director - Secretary
Mac’s involvement with VCDS started in 2019 as a volunteer driver in Langley. He went on to become a relief dispatcher for the Tri- Cities area and then shifted his volunteer efforts over to helping with grant applications. When the decision was made by VCDS in 2020 to acquire a Donor Management System he took responsibility for setting up and implementing the system. He worked on other initiatives and joined the VCDS Board in 2021.
Director Driver Operations
Bill joined the VCDS as a driver very close to its inception in early 2016 and volunteered to assist at the Board level soon after, ultimately accepting the role of Director Driver Operations. This position includes the coordination of driver recruitment among the various dispatch regions; receiving and processing applications from potential drivers and arranging for interviews and orientation drives for those applicants, as well as supplying them with driver’s kits and PPE packages.
Liaising with the dispatch team and their needs and concerns is also an integral part of Bill’s position. He helps produce an internal, monthly newsletter to keep drivers and other members up to date with VCDS operations.
Tom Akam, CPA, CA
Tom Akam joined the VCDS as part of its Board of Directors in 2017. Tom has played an important role in managing all aspects of the society’s financials. He works closely with the Board of Directors to safeguard the organization’s finances, ensuring a long future for the society.
Director at Large
Dean Callaghan, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Dean Callaghan has been a Director with VCDS since 2019. He started as a volunteer driver in 2018 and soon became involved in advocating for support from the medical community and contributing to grant applications. Dean completed a BCAA Child Passenger Safety Educator Course and helped train other VCDS volunteer drivers on regulations and proper installation techniques for child car seats. The training has allowed VCDS to offer safe travel options for very young cancer patients. Dean has also created a Donor Stewardship Policy for VCDS.
Director of Technology
In addition to being a VCDS driver, Dave Ludwar’s key Board responsibilities are in ensuring the Society’s operations are taking advantage of today’s technologies, including dispatching, donor management, driver management, and e-commerce initiatives. Providing information related to operations and industry protocols to management and the Board are also part of his activities.
Dave has been behind the successful implementation of the Ride Scheduler dispatching system, the Little Green Lite Donor management system, using an automated funds transfer system to facilitate driver expense payments, and has created numerous internal documents and templates to facilitate Board reporting.
Director at Large
Larry Coleman’s role with the VCDS is an important one. As a volunteer driver, he has driven more patients to and from appointments than anyone else within the Society––all while fulfilling his Director at Large position. Additionally, Larry helps with driving training and working fundraising events, frequently appearing as a spokesperson for the VCDS with local media, including Global Television and many local newspapers.
It was during a Global TV interview when Larry was asked why he works with the VCDS and he said: "Because its the right thing to do".
Director at Large
Gord is a Senior Consultant with a broad and diverse background in business and IT consulting. He has held executive and managerial positions in global and local corporations. Gord has worked with public and private sector clients to develop and implement strategies and solutions that deliver business value and position the organization to evolve, compete and thrive. He was an Industry member of the BCIT Computer Systems Advisory Committee for more than ten years. He is passionate about working with people and organizations to help them grow, achieve success and fulfill their potential.
Director at Large
Andréa F. Milman, MEd
Andréa joined the VCDS board in the Spring of 2021 as a way to give back to her community. Andréa believes in the availability of supportive services for those living with cancer as necessary and valuable. She hopes to assist with fundraising endeavours, as well as to offer support with other board initiatives.
Special Advisor to the Board
Danielle Richards | RN, BScN, CTCM&H, MA
Danielle Richards provides the VCDS with her counsel and guidance as we continue to ensure our infection control procedures and patient transfer processes are as safe as they can be. Danielle holds a BScN from UBC, is a registered nurse and has a Master of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding. She has worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Angola and for the Public Health Agency of Canada in its Quarantine Program during the pH1N1 outbreak. She is an Infection Control Practitioner with Providence Health Care. Danielle is the Coordinator of Education, Orientation and Special Events. Beyond her education and training responsibilities with Providence Health Care, Danielle’s skills include surveillance, outbreak management and response. She has a number of certifications, significant international experience and numerous awards for her contributions.
Melissa Godinho, RN, BSCN, CON(C).
RideScheduler Coordinator, Dispatch Trainer & Resources
Melissa assisted the VCDS’ initial administrative functions and manages the online dispatching system, Ride Scheduler. She is currently a Registered Nurse at BC Children’s Hospital in the Oncology, Hematology, and Bone Marrow Transplant Department. Melissa has worked in the nursing profession for several years with experience within the specialties of medicine, oncology, and palliative care. It is from her foundational participation on the front-lines in the public healthcare system that inspires her dedication and advocacy to community service. Melissa is a resident of Vancouver.
Rick Janssen is responsible for the timely compilation of VCDS monthly expense reports. The data is used to provide a comprehensive and innovative compilation of all the data required for management and analysis of VCDS operations and the use in all fundraising endeavours. Rick is retired after spending his career in the information technology sector. He has also been a driver for the last 4 years.
Online Communications Officer
Liesa Billings uses her expertise in communication design, branding, and marketing. Liesa looks after newsletters distribution, social media, and website development while working closely with board members on various other projects as they arise. She joined us in early 2017 and is committed to improving the lives of those in her community and beyond saying, "The Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society as a whole has been an absolutely joyful experience for me as I further develop my skills in the non-profit sector". She resides in Tsawwassen.