Board of Directors
Joe Fiorante is a Vancouver native and the managing partner of Camp Fiorante Matthews, a Vancouver law firm which specializes in complex aviation, product liability and class action cases. The firm has an extensive history of pro bono representation of the disadvantaged and representation of victims in mass tort and product liability cases. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and Litigation Counsel of America and a former Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Aviation and Space Law group. Joe and his wife Karen Chua have been married for 20 years and have four school age children. His interest in Guatemala stems from his back packing travels in the country in the early 1990′s.
Nicole spent her professional career as a Project and Product Manager for Telus Communications in Marketing. In 2002, Nicole left the business world to focus on her family and support various charitable organizations through her volunteer efforts. Over the last 10 years Nicole has been very involved in both local and international not for profits. Her passion for helping others in evident in everything she does. Nicole and her husband Paul became involved with Project Somos in the beginning of 2011 and their commitment to the Project will be further solidified with a visit to Guatemala in August 2012. Nicole is very excited to be helping make the Project Somos dream a reality.
Maria Jácome came to Canada as a refugee from Guatemala when she was a child. She is currently an elementary school teacher in Burnaby, and a proud mother of a 12-year-old boy. Maria is motivated by her love of children and her strong belief in Sustainable Community Development. She enjoys working with children and helping in the community any way she can. Maria has always been passionate about giving back to her homeland, a passion which is evident in the infectious energy that she brings to Project Somos.
Greg Kemp has been continuously engaged in the non profit sector for over 30 years, in many capacities including work as a volunteer, board member, founder, and executive director. In the private sector he has also had a wide spectrum of successful venturesincluding; an organizational development consultant; partner in a successful dealership selling homeopathic diagnostic software; owner and operator of an organic farm; cofounder of a retail and wholesale import giftware business; certified Waldorf teacher, and home renovation and repair business. Greg is fluent in Spanish.
Denis (father of Heather, Executive Director and Founder of the Society) is an experienced hands-on Human Resources professional with a commitment to helping others help themselves. He has used his expertise as a Board member with a number of not-for-profit organizations that have a focus on helping women and children. He has been a Board member since the Society was founded in 2001.
Now retired from the role of an independent career coach, Denis continues to be actively involved in his church. He lives in Burnaby but since losing his wife in 2011 he has been travelling extensively visiting family members in Canada, US and Guatemala.
He is committed to visiting the Project in Guatemala for at least two months every year (in 2013 he will be on site for a total of four months). He is looking forward to meeting the children that will live in the Children’s Village in the near future. He wants to be known as “Abuelo” (grandpa) to the kids.
Michelle is the Director of Community Performance at Traction on Demand, a mom to two young kids, and a volunteer with several non-profit organizations. She is the former Executive Director of the Take a Hike Youth Risk Foundation where she was responsible for all Foundation operations such as fundraising, donor communications, volunteer management, and program growth.
Michelle’s experience also includes project management and workshop delivery for SMB Non-Profit Services, a fundraising consulting company; stakeholder relations for the Pace Group (PR firm); coordinating the youth engagement component of the Champions for Children & Youth Summit; and marketing for the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and TNT Productions for events such as Victoria’s FolkFest and Whistler’s World Snowboard Championships.
Michelle earned her BA in Communications and Sociology from Simon Fraser University, where she also played on the varsity softball team. Her enthusiasm for adventure has taken her across Canada, Europe, Central and South America. Her passions include camping, playing hockey, and supporting great causes to achieve their mission.
Jennifer developed a passion for Guatemala at a young age. During the Guatemalan civil war, Jennifer’s grandmother found homes in Canada, including her own, to house Guatemalan refugees. Years later, Jennifer’s stepbrother was adopted from Guatemala before adoption out of the country was no longer allowed. As a little girl, Jennifer always thought about the children who could not be adopted, the ones who had no hope of a home or a family. Recently, Jennifer graduated with an Associate of Arts Degree in Global Stewardship, where she spent two years exploring different methods of sustainable community development. After volunteering at the Project Somos site in 2011, Jennifer has become devoted to the Project Somos cause. Jennifer is extremely excited about the future of the Project and is honored to witness the growth of the Project on the Board of Directors.
Past Board Members
The Compassion Fruit Society Board of Directors gratefully acknowledges the work and dedication of past board members who enabled us to get where we are today.