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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.

Stanley Namox, Vice President

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.

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.

John West, Director

John West is Frog Clan from Fort Babine and holds the traditional name of Si’mat. John is passionate about supporting Indigenous people living in urban areas. Recognizing the ongoing historic struggles facing his people, he is committed to the Friendship Centre movement across the country and in his own community. John has four children and four grandchildren and has worked in a range of industry positions throughout his career including trucking and forestry as well as for the Lake Babine Nation. He is committed to supporting healing and wellness and believes in the importance of investing in future generations.

Kristal Grenkie, Director

Kristal Grenkie is thrilled to be on the Friendship Centre’s board, having been engaged in activities of the Centre for over 30 years.  As a mother of four Indigenous daughters Kristal is passionate about creating and supporting opportunities to strengthen Indigenous people and culture in her community.

Kristal brings a diversity of skills to the board including her positive attitude, her financial knowledge and her experience working with diverse groups to identify needs and find solutions.  Kristal has 20+ years in the Credit Union systems with extensive experience in a variety of roles (Cash Services, Accounting Clerk, Accounting Supervisor, Loans Officer, Commercial Loans Officer. She completed the Credit Union Management program, an Accredited Mortgage Professional, and an Accredited Business Lender. As a Financial Literacy Coach – sponsored by the Credit Union – her role is to facilitate a wide selection of financial literacy sessions.

Always looking for ways to develop herself further, both personally and professionally, Kristal is currently enrolled in Thompson Rivers University working on a degree in Commerce and sees her position on the Friendship Centre’s board as an opportunity to give back to her community by volunteering for an organization she so strongly believes in.

Jillian Dennis, Youth Director

Jillian Dennis brings with her a valuable and unique perspective as a young Wet’suwet’en woman who was born and raised in Smithers, BC. Jillian is a dedicated Mother and Aunt and is continually seeking opportunities to be involved in activities and initiatives which are focused on improving the lives of youth in our communities. Jillian is currently the unified aboriginal youth collective Representative for the BCAAFC Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council and in this role she has been involved in the National Association of Friendship Centre’s development of a new youth leadership curriculum etc. Jillian Graduated from Smithers Secondary School She is a strong advocate for the MMIWG, affordable housing and Cultural safety within the community. Jillian is a dedicated member of the local Ewk Hiyah Hozdli drum group and in her spare time she enjoys volunteering, cultural learning and spending time with her family.