Our Team

VIEA President and CEO

Julie Sperber
250-667-5225 / Email Julie

A successful entrepreneur and community economic development leader, Julie is an innovative thinker and can see pieces of a puzzle fitting together to grow opportunity through partnership. As a key community connector her leadership is sought out for initiatives and projects for the island.

Julie has worked internationally in the hospitality industry and has held management roles in the non-profit, manufacturing and hospitality sectors. Her most recent position was the Executive Director of the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce where served for more than four years Her contributions there have provided entrepreneurs and community organizations to grow their capacity, through guiding successful funding, skills training and investment opportunities.

She has also been a studio-based artist and teacher, with a retail gallery and workshop both in Victoria and on Gabriola Island. She has established herself as a successful entrepreneur, having built three businesses as owner/operator, which have all had further success.

In 2015, Julie transitioned to working for non-profit organizations with a focus on economic development, which combined her management and entrepreneurial experience with her passion for contributing positive impacts to her community. Julie has always been an active member in the communities she has lived and has been a volunteer and board member for numerous organizations over the past 20 years.

Senior Advisor

George Hanson, M.Sc.
250-667-5225 / Email George

Well known for his achievements in community, organizational and economic development, George has a reputation for getting things done and ‘making a difference’. He has consulted for corporations, community organizations, district, municipal, provincial and federal governments on Vancouver Island and beyond. George has led a comprehensive urban renewal project to considerable, award-winning success—attracting significant business and redevelopment investment while helping to guide design policy.

He has served on numerous community committees charged with improving social, educational and economic conditions . He served as President of the Business Improvement Areas of British Columbia for two terms; served on Boards of the Oceanside Development and Construction Association and Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association; is a founding member and former Chair of YES Nanaimo; is a member of the Habitat for Humanity property Acquisition Committee; and is Vice-President of the Nanaimo Foundation.

George is the former Managing Director for the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership, former Development Manager for InSight Developments. He is Managing Partner of Clayton Consulting and President of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

Executive Assistant

Diana Jolly
250-240-9450 / Email Diana

As a born and raised Vancouver Islander Diana is passionate about her role supporting Vancouver Island Economic Alliance and its initiatives. 

Prior to working at VIEA, Diana worked for 15 years at the Career Centre, a WorkBC Centre as a the Employer Services Coordinator and with the Provincial Government in various administrative roles.


Board of Directors

VIEA’s Board of Directors is comprised of a cross-section of public and private representatives, drawn from across Vancouver Island, who provide a wealth of business, community, and local government experience.

Shannon Baikie, Co-Chair North Island Employment Foundations Society Campbell River
Dan Hurley, Co-Chair Hurley Martin Group Gabriola Island
Katie Bishop, Chair-Elect Self-employed Victoria
Julie Scurr, Treasurer Coast Salish Insurance Duncan
Janet Bonaguro, Director ThinkSpace Performance Inc. Cumberland
Kristi Fairholm Mader, Director Scale Collaborative Victoria
Dirk Heydemann, Director HA Cyan Creative Inc. & HA Photography Nanaimo
Elizabeth Johnston, Director Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness Victoria
Angela Smith, Director Creative Exposure Inc. Port Hardy
Chris Theeparajah, Director Export Development Canada Victoria
Joel Thompson, Director Redline Management Services Inc. Cowichan
Dr. Nicole Vaugeois, Director VIU Nanaimo
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