Board of Directors
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre is proud of its organizational structure, and that for over 40 years, this governance model has made our Centre accountable and transparent to its membership and provincial and federal partners.
Andrew Tom, President
With over 15 years of frontline, relevant experience in the social sector, and as a member of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, inspirational First Nations leader Andrew Tom became a member of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre’s Executive Board in 2002 and is presently serving his first term as President. Through many years of ongoing education, Andrew’s incredible competency and sound knowledge of Indigenous culture and traditions are equivalent to his sincere passion and drive. Andrew is known for his contributions to the social sector: developing and growing new programs, social and economic developments, and bringing resources to both Indigenous people and the wider community he serves. Andrew is actively involved with and has a strong understanding of the following: Housing Issues; Homelessness; Aboriginal Justice; Poverty; Poverty Reduction; Referral Processes; Family Violence and High/ Low-Risk Youth Issues; HIV/A.I.D.S. Awareness; Prevention; Addictions, Crime Prevention & Support; Government Resources; Structure; Community Wellness, and Child Welfare.
Andrew sits on the following non-profit agency boards: Wilp Si’satxw House of Purification Society; Native Courtworker ; Counselling Association; Office of the Wet’suwet’en Society.
Susie Hooper, Secretary/Treasurer
Since 2013, Susan (Susie) Hooper has acted as Secretary/Treasurer of the Board for the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, bringing an extensive history as a Committee and Board member within the non-profit sector, with expertise in Indigenous healthcare and education.
As a member of the Métis Nation, Susie has advocated for, and worked with, the Métis Nation of British Columbia since 2008, presently serving her second terms as its Northwest Regional Director and Minister of Health (since 2016) and MNBC’s Executive Secretary (since 2012); Minister of Employment & Training (since 2017). In years prior: Minister of Education (2012-16), Minister of Children & Families (2016-17), and Vice-Chair of Métis Women of BC (2008-12). Susie has developed a wide range of health initiatives
and programs for the Métis community. Presently employed as a Human Service and Aboriginal Support Worker for School District 54 (Bulkley Valley), Susie works in an alternative education setting with high-risk adolescents. In this role, she supports students in their development; and helps build a sense of belonging, safety, success and positive self-esteem while recognizing and honouring the cultural and linguistic heritage of Indigenous students. She has received five awards within Education and was awarded as Volunteer of the Year, 2016 by the Town of Smithers.
Guy Brown, Director
As a volunteer Board Member for the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre and member of the Gitxsan nation, Guy Brown works collaboratively with fellow board members to ensure proper strategic planning and stewardship of the Society. With 10+ years of activity within the non-profit sector, as well as the ability to clearly articulate ideas, options, and rationales, Guy advocates for improving the lives of Indigenous people and community members and proactively contributes to making the best, long-term decisions which will positively grow and develop a healthy, sustainable community. Combined with his contributions and insight given to the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre, Guy also dedicates his time as a volunteer with DUDES Club through Positive Living North. The objective of DUDES Clubs is building solidarity and brotherhood among vulnerable Indigenous men; to promote health through education, dialogue, and health screening clinics; to help men regain a sense of pride and fulfilment in their lives.
Kendall Strong, Director
Since 2016, Ken Strong has served the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre as a volunteer Board Member. A member of the Métis Nation, Ken’s enthusiasm, dedicated advocacy, critical thinking, understanding of Indigenous issues, and decision making have contributed to the Board’s collaborative, insightful strategic planning as well as stewardship of the Society. Ken is sincerely passionate about developing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services for Indigenous people. Ken has brought volunteer experience to the Board through his previous efforts as a Youth Council member of Mile Zero. There, he and others contributed to developing a self-governing, sustainable Nation in recognition of inherent rights of Métis citizens; also, developing opportunities for the local Métis community by providing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services.
Stanley Namox, Director
Stanley Namox joined the Board of Directors in November 2018 and brings with him a valuable perspective and a wealth of experience. Stanley has over 30 years of public service experience, 20 years of which was spent as a Health Care worker in the Bulkley Valley. His considerate and respectful approach to care for the vulnerable, and his passion for working toward solutions to social challenges, has made him an extremely valuable asset to the many organizations he has been involved with; including the Brain Injury Society, Smithers Community Services, Northern Health and The Salvation Army. Raised to always respect human dignity and choose sensitivity and kindness, for as long as he can remember, Stanley has been helping others. Stanley’s community service roles include providing training
for young healthcare workers in the importance of culturally sensitive approaches to caring for indigenous elders. As a fluent speaker of the Carrier language, Stanley has much experience as a translator for elders within the medical system as well as providing culturally safe supports and encouragement for people with disabilities to become self-sufficient despite their daily challenges. Stanley is passionate about holistic community health and for ensuring those who are most vulnerable in the community; the elderly, homeless, and those with disabilities, are respected and nurtured. Stanley currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and Positive Living North and is known in the community as an active advocate for Indigenous culture and language, always open to teaching and sharing his cultural wisdom and language.
Jillian Dennis, Youth Director
Jillian has been enthusiastically welcomed by the board of directors at the Friendship Centre as our newest Youth Director. She brings with her a valuable and unique perspective as a young Indigenous woman who was born and raised in Smithers, BC. Jillian recently graduated from Smithers Secondary School and is passionate about programs for youth. She is particularly excited by the opportunity to gain mentorship from experienced board members and learn more about how the Friendship Centre is run. Jillian is continually seeking opportunities to be involved in activities and initiatives which are focussed on improving the lives of youth in our community. Interested in art, writing and sports, and always keen to get involved in helping and caring for others, Jillian brings her quiet confidence and genuine desire to make a difference to the Friendship Centre’s Board.