BCCDA Board Members

Tom Burnell, President

Tom Burnell is an employment services expert and the Chief Executive Officer of Open Door Group, a large non-profit that has delivered employment services in British Columbia, Canada for nearly forty years. Since joining Open Door Group in 1995, he has grown the organization from a small enterprise with a dozen employees to the largest non-profit employment service provider in British Columbia. His area of focus has been the development and implementation of strategies for persons with disabilities.

Tom has led the development of Open Door Ventures, a subsidiary of Open Door Group and one of the first Community Contribution Companies to be incorporated under British Columbia’s new legislature for a hybrid social enterprise structure.

He sits as President on the British Columbia Career Development Association (BCCDA) Board and is the recipient of ASPECT’s 2011 Values-Based Leadership Award. Tom lives in Surrey, BC with his wife, Heather.

Natalia Richer Bussard, PhD., Vice President

Natalia was born in Ruzomberok, Slovakia. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature and a Master’s degree in English and American Literature at Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, followed by a PhD. in Philosophy at Comenius University in Bratislava. In 2011, she enhanced her leadership skills by completing the Executive Leadership Certificate Program at Queens University in Canada.

While still in Slovakia. Natalia was the Director of Training and Recruitment at VUB Gruppo Intesa BCI. Her career includes work in the government, corporate banking, executive search, and private and public educational institutions in Europe and Canada. Focusing on international relations and business development, she fostered international and local partnerships with universities in addition to strategies for international marketing in Asia, Europe, Mexico, and South America. Natalia also has held positions at Fraser International College (associated with Simon Fraser University), University Canada West, and Tamwood International.

Kalvin Krause, Director

Kalvin started his career in Social Enterprise, Job Development, and Job Coaching, perhaps before those terms were coined. Later, he moved from a beachfront cottage on Osoyoos Lake to a townhouse in Fort St. John, to implement and manage an employment program for people facing significant barriers to employment. He has been challenging himself since 1980 to provide innovative employment programs throughout BC.

Kalvin runs a small business providing vocational rehabilitation services in the Okanagan and Thompson areas, and works to ensure that all of the efforts of the many people he has met in this industry over the past three decades are recognized and appreciated.

Lori Cameron, CCDP, Director

Lori brings enthusiasm, energy, and a passion for career development to her position as Team Leader of Placement Services with the North Shore Multicultural Society Work BC Employment Program, as well as to her role as a BCCDA Board Director.

With over twenty years’ private-sector experience at the Regional Director level, she is adept at managing teams, partnerships, programs, revenue, and budgets. She has developed programs and has written successful funding proposals. Her expertise in recruiting, training, coaching, performance management, and succession planning enables her to help others build successful careers.

Lori specializes in career and placement services for immigrants, guiding clients to their first Canadian work experience and toward their long-term professional career goals. She excels at analyzing, strategizing, and problem-solving, and coordinates the individual mentorship program at NSMS.

A firm believer in education, ongoing learning and appropriate credentials, Lori holds a B.A., has CDP Essentials and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) certificates, and CCDP designation.

Lori has volunteered with numerous non-profit organizations, and has served on civic committees and working groups with the District of West Vancouver, including six years as Co-chair of the Community Awards civic recognition program and current work on the Community Grants Committee.


Mike Jones, Secretary

Mike has been engaged in the Education sector for over thirty-five years, at the Middle, Secondary, and Post-secondary levels. He holds a Bachelor of Education with a major in Counselling, and pursued graduate studies in Career and Vocational Counselling.
His career has ranged from civil engineering to graphic arts, and from commercial diving to firefighting. Mike has worked extensively in Occupational Health and Safety in both industrial and academic settings. His experience in Career Education in northwestern BC includes administering vocational training, essential skills, and work experience programs; career and vocational testing; and trades and technologies careers awareness. A Certified Career Development Practitioner, he now lives in Terrace, BC and practices as an independent careers consultant. He is a longstanding member of BCCDA, a Member of the Board of the BC Career Educators Society, and a member of the National Career Development Association. He leads many professional activities for career educators in northwestern BC and regularly attends provincial conferences and workshops.

sam birkenhead

Sam Birkenhead, Treasurer

Sam is a Director of Open Door Ventures, a Community Contributions Company whose aims to develop joint for profit ventures with complimentary business to the Open Door Group/employment services sub sector.
Sam has provided employment related services to a wide range of businesses in North America & Europe for 30 years. He brings deep level knowledge of professional networks within BC and the mechanics behind executive search services.
Sam was awarded a Fellowship with the Institute of Recruitment Professionals in 2012, a Diploma in Recruitment Practice in 1988.
He has served the community as a Board Member for the Children’s Heart Network and as a leader in Scouts Canada.

Honorary Lifetime Board Member

Dr. Norman Amundson, Professor

Dept of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
E-mail: amundson@interchange.ubc.ca
Tel: 604-822-6757

Dr. Norman Amundson is a Full Professor in Counselling Psychology/Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He has given numerous workshops and seminars, and has been a keynote speaker at many national and international conferences.

Dr. Amundson is actively involved in a number of professional associations. He is the Chair of the International Committee for the National Career Development Association, and the Editor of the Journal of Employment Counselling for the National Employment Counselling Association. He also is a Governor of the Canadian Career Development Foundation. Additionally, he has been instrumental in the organization of several conferences for the Canadian Counselling Association, either chairing or assisting the program committee.

In his writing, Dr. Amundson emphasizes the importance of creativity, imagination, cultural awareness, and action as career counselling strategies. His publications include Active Engagement (Winner of the Best Book Award by the Canadian Counselling Association); The Essential Elements of Career Counselling; The Physics of Living; and several career workbooks, including Career Pathways, Guiding Circles, and CareerScope. He also has helped to prepare individual and group training materials for employment counsellors.

Dr. Amundson’s work has been recognized by the federal government. Most notable among the employment counselling programs that he has provided to private firms is SUCCESS, an employment transition program for immigrants and refugees. He also has been active in the corporate sectorm and is currently working with Van City Credit Union to enhance their recruitment and retention through the use of his workplace attractor materials.

Founding President of ENET: Audrey Pons, MEd, B.A., RRP

Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, WorkSafeBC – WCB
Tel: 604-276-3010

Audrey Pons, Past President, is the Founding President of ENET (formerly NETWERCC). A Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant and trainer with WorkSafeBC for over fourteen years, she is engaged with numerous community resources. After completing her Master of Education Degree in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, Audrey was appointed Chairperson of the Advisory Board for the Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation Degree program at Douglas College. She is active with VCC Advisory Committee for the Counselling Skills and Substance Abuse programs, and was on the Open Learning Agency Advisory Committee for students with disabilities. She also is an instructor of the Career Decision Making course at Douglas College and of the Vocational Counselling course at Vancouver Community College.

Audrey is one of the team recipients of the BC Career Development Award of Excellence for the Career Development Practitioner Program. In December 2008, she was honoured with the Netty Award for over 16 years of service to the ENET association and the career development sector. With over twenty-five years of experience in the Career Practitioner field, Audrey brings a wealth of experience and dedication to life-long learning to her students and clients.

Honorary International Directors

Dr. Spencer Niles, D.Ed., LPC, NCC

Department Head and Professor of Pennsylvania State University, Counselor Education Department

Jim Bright, BA, PhD., FAP

Partner: Bright and Associates
Professor of Career Education and Development, Australian Catholic University

To nominate a candidate for the BCCDA Board of Directors, please complete a nomination form:



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