2016 Board of Directors Election

VOKRA will be holding its 2016 Annual General Meeting on October 13 at the Hastings Community Centre. Anyone can attend our AGM, however in order to vote you need to become a society member. Membership is only $10 and is a great way to show your support for VOKRA.

Thursday, October 13
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
Hastings Community Centre, Room 9, 3096 E Hastings St., Vancouver

At the AGM we will be electing a new board of directors. Board membership is a leadership position within VOKRA that guides the organization to achieve its mission. The 12 Directors act in a position of trust for the community and are responsible for the effective governance of our organization.

Current board members seeking re-election:

headshot_coTasha Bukovnik

Tasha’s been volunteering with VOKRA since 2014 and was asked to fill a board vacancy in August 2016. She’s a public relations professional and co-leads VOKRA’s integrated communications and marketing team along with Majid Khoury. As co-lead, Tasha oversees all of VOKRA’s social media activities, coordinates the quarterly Mewsletter, manages the blog, coordinates the development of marketing materials, helps promote events, handles media relations and generally supports other VOKRA teams with whatever they need. Tasha also sits on the fundraising committee and her main focus is to manage VOKRA’s direct fundraising initiatives and appeals. When not volunteering, Tasha loves hanging out on the couch reading or knitting with her CH cat Bran and she’s also in the middle of yoga teacher training.

ShelleyShelley Dowson

After volunteering for more than seven years, Shelley has pretty much done every job imaginable, including cat care, foster coordinator, adoptions interviewer, adoption contracts, driving and transporting cats to the vet, to her current role of overseeing VOKRA’s Operations Centre. Being organized and thrifty are just some of the traits that led Shelley to not only work tirelessly setting up the Operations Centre, but be the brains behind some of VOKRA’s successful past events, such as the Pride Parade and VOKRA’s first Christmas Craft Fair. Running the daily care at the Ops Centre has shown Shelley how rewarding her work is and, after working her 12 hour a day job, she can be found working nights or weekends on whatever needs to be done at VOKRA. She’s also a foster parent for the more difficult older kitties. Shelley’s VOKRA cats, Chookah and Ubu, always keep her on her toes and have become her greatest pals. When this former Saskatchewan girl isn’t at home with them, she can be found searching the thrift stores for the best deals, usually finding something VOKRA could use.

Karen smilingKaren Duncan

Karen, along with Maria Soroski, founded VOKRA in 1999 with a mission: specializing in homeopathic care for kittens that needed around the clock treatment. With the assistance and training from Arbutus West Animal Clinic, Karen was able to make her dream a reality. Over the years, Karen has seen VOKRA expand and grow with a team of volunteers and she could not be more thrilled to have the Operations Centre which has enough space to allow for storage and room for volunteers. While Karen devotes her time to caring for VOKRA’s many charges, she always finds time to show her own cats love.

LucyLucy Hough

Lucy was inspired to become involved with VOKRA during our annual Walk for the Kitties event and has been on the board for the past two years. Lucy recently stepped down from the adoptions team where she was the link between many cats and their foster parents and also helped cats and kittens make the transition to their forever homes. Along the way, Lucy has also responded to emergencies, new foster parents and everything in between. This SFU graduate is also proud to be a director for an organization that is no-kill, one of VOKRA’s main principles. With her years with VOKRA, Lucy has carefully screened hundreds of adopters and follows strict qualifications on who will help our cats thrive and flourish in their forever homes. As a mom to four rescue cats herself, Lucy knows the importance of proper and through screening. When she’s not spending time with her cats, Lucy can be found soaking up the Vancouver sun in her garden, enjoying a run or relaxing with yoga.

cheryl_rogers_headshot (2)Cheryl Rogers

As a CPA and our current treasurer, Cheryl is certainly a business-savvy volunteer. Cheryl, a graduate of SFU, keeps all fiscal matters and policies running smoothly. Her business skills melt perfectly with her passion for helping to reduce the population of homeless cats; which is what inspired her to begin volunteering with VOKRA. She loves being a part of a charity that works to prevent the overpopulation of cats, but it’s the supportive and lasting care that she’s most proud of. Cheryl has a jam packed schedule of working and volunteering, yet she and her six cats manage to find time on weekends to relax and read.

photo(73)Maria Soroski

Maria co-founded VOKRA with Karen Duncan in 1999, after years of volunteering with cats and kittens. While volunteering, Maria saw a desperate need to develop a holistic approach to cat and kitten care, as well as a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program in order to keep the feral and homeless cat population down. After VOKRA’s inception, Maria’s dream started coming true. Local shelters were seeing a dramatic drop in feral cat and kitten numbers in Vancouver – something Maria is proud to have helped with. She paved the way with VOKRA’s founding values and continues to ensure that as a no-kill organization, the TNR program is one of the best in BC. With a passion for giving homeless and feral cats a happy and healthy life, Maria always ensures VOKRA uses organic and nutritious food for all cats. With VOKRA keeping her busy, the former prairie gal loves to reward herself with time spent at home relaxing with her cats.

New candidates seeking election:

karen-k-2Karen Kohfeld

I have been a foster and participated in VOKRA events for about six years. In addition to being a foster, I’ve encouraged my daughter’s participation in small ways (fundraising through a lemonade stand.), helped to set up an outreach activity at my daughter’s school and done little things at Ops when I could. For a year, I served on the VOKRA Medical Research Board, which helped to put together protocols and procedures for how fosters and volunteers should deal with various illnesses and vaccinations.  I made some contributions through researching food ingredients and by beginning to establish a protocol for reporting of vaccine reactions.  Through these experiences I have gained some understanding of the operations.  Volunteer organizations are run on the backs of volunteers and I like to contribute time and energy to what needs to be done while helping to keep the positive spirit that motivates other volunteers to do what they can do, too. My background is in science and research and I’m used to thinking systematically about problems and operations.  If asked to serve on the VOKRA Board, I would come to the organization with an open mind, a desire to listen to all voices and an interest in making informed decisions that balance new knowledge with the vast experience of people who have been working with VOKRA cats for years.  Ultimately, I want to help to keep VOKRA the strong and effective organization that it already is.


Susan Pare

I have a passion for all animals and a particular love for cats. I believe in VOKRA’s guiding beliefs and principles. I have also worked as a volunteer with VOKRA in the Cat Care Division since April 2015. My background allows me to bring many skills and experience to VOKRA’s board. I’m an enthusiastic, positive and passionate professional with more than 20 years of experience in sales as sales representative, manager, coach and trainer. I have a proven track record for achieving results through developing and coaching people, as well as providing excellent customer service. Some of my accomplishments include:

  • Successfully managed a team of 30 sales representatives, which lead to double-digit growth for seven consecutive years.
  • Developed and managed a sales team of five people with the objective of becoming one of the top 10 most recognized wineries in the world.
  • Sat at executive level weekly meetings to help roll out annual strategic plans.
  • Coached and mentored sales representatives over a period of five years, which resulted in increased productivity and efficiency within the sales division.
  • Designed and introduced three sales training manuals, which successfully became part of the Company’s orientation and training program.

helenHelen Savkovic

I’ve been involved with animal rescue since 2005 when I went down to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. While there I helped with the food and water stations, as well as animal care.  That experience changed my life.

When I returned home I became involved with a local rescue where I climbed a steep learning curve. I worked on the campaign to ban the sale of puppies in Richmond pet stores and I organized our entry in the Pepsi Challenge where we won $25,000. I remained with that group until the founder retired.

I strongly believe in the cause of animal welfare and the no-kill philosophy. I’m always eager to learn from the experts, attending conferences and lectures whenever possible, as well as visiting other animal welfare organizations locally and out-of-town. I’m very impressed with the work VOKRA does and would be honoured to serve on the board of directors.

caitlinCaitlin Spelliscy

VOKRA is an organization I have always wanted to become involved with. I love cats and VOKRA does such good work to help the cats in our community. Without VOKRA there would be many more homeless cats than there currently are and many of the cats that are rescued would not survive in a shelter setting.

In my professional life, I’m a Human Resources Manager at a company with approximately 400 employees. My career in human resources has given me experience in creating policies, implementing programs, drafting procedures and the necessary knowledge of employment laws and standards. In addition to my role as Human Resources Manager, I’m a member of the senior leadership team and this means I work closely with executives and other senior managers to ensure the operations are running smoothly and employees are happy. As VOKRA grows and may hire paid employees, my human resources knowledge would be an asset to ensure VOKRA meets and abides by all employment laws and standards.

I want to be involved in making a difference in such a reputable organization and if I were elected to the board, I feel my background, knowledge and experience would add value to VOKRA’s board and operations. My love of cats and other animals is what drives me to want to make a difference in their lives!

Nominations from the floor will also be accepted at the AGM.

One thought on “2016 Board of Directors Election

  1. I have found in my years of experience, that once you go from “volunteer” to “PAID” employees, the level of genuine care (from the heart) SIGNIFICANTLY becomes ALL ABOUT THE “MONEY/BEING PAID” and no longer the “original” reason for VOKRA coming to be – all VOLUNTEER (except Veterinarians and specialists providing some pro-bono work and reduced regular rates).

    Please keep VOKRA’s integrity for the Kitties !

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