BCHF Board of Directors
Christine Coletta Chair
Owner, Okanagan Crush Pad
After running a successful marketing consulting firm since 1986, Christine Coletta and her husband Steve Lornie, launched their own wine, Haywire, in 2010 and went on to construct and open Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, BC in 2011. Christine has been recognized as one of the most astute marketing people in the wine industry and her winery has been accepted as a leader and game changer in the Okanagan Valley. In addition to being a founder of the BC Hospitality Foundation she currently sits on the board of PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society), and the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. Christine splits her time between Vancouver and Summerland.
Richard Carras Past Chair
Vice President Western Canada, Authentic Wine and Spirits Merchants
Born, raised, and educated in the lower mainland, Richard Carras is a true Vancouverite. After science studies at UBC and Hotel and Restaurant Management at BCIT in the early 1980s, he set up and ran western Canada’s first Wine Bar in Kitsilano. He then spent 17 years in wine sales, stressing wine education and quality service as the key to improving sales. In 1997 he became the first non-US employee for Robert Mondavi, working his way up to the position of Export Sales Director for Asia & The Americas. In 2006 he and partners created a new Vancouver based wine & spirits importing agency, which now has employees and offices throughout Western Canada. In addition to his profession in the wine industry, Richard is a past president of the International Society of Wine Educators, a non-profit organization dedicated to the enhancement of wine education through professional development and certification. He achieved his ‘Certified Wine Educator’ status in 1996 (only some 250 people have achieved this certification worldwide), and received the ‘Banfi Award’ for attaining the highest mark of all candidates sitting the examination in that year.
Dana Lee Harris Vice Chair
When the Vancouver wine scene began to heat up in the eighties, Dana joined her father’s import wine agency, LCP Wines International. In 2002 Dana chose to take on a new and more challenging role, becoming the Regional Manager for Western Canada at Robert Mondavi. In 2005 Dana started her own consulting business, bringing her skills and experience in public relations to businesses in the food and wine industry. She enjoys the multifaceted nature of her work, which includes planning winery events, preparing press releases, strategizing with clients, and communicating with members of the media. She is also a longtime member of the British Columbia chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier and volunteers at the YWCA as a fitness instructor.When not working, Dana enjoys spending time with her husband Dean and his daughter Emma. She enthusiastically pursues outdoor activities such as golf, biking, walking, and hiking.
Jeff Guignard Treasurer, ABLE BC Liaison
Jeff is an accomplished leader and communicator with over a decade of successful experience in government relations, political communications, and issues management. Initially from New Brunswick, Jeff comes to ABLE BC directly from Parliament Hill in Ottawa where he worked for three different Members of Parliament-including two MPs from BC. He is well-connected in British Columbia and brings a wealth of experience working collaboratively with government, business, and industry officials-particularly in the small business and tourism sectors. In his free time, Jeff is also a ranked competitive curler and has served on the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Curling Club, where he was responsible for strategic planning and membership services to the club’s 600 members. In each of these roles, Jeff has distinguished himself as an effective and highly skilled communicator whose leadership style reflects his open, collaborative, and passionate personality.
Kurtis Kolt Secretary
Kurtis is a Vancouver-based freelance wine consultant, presenter and writer who received the Sommelier of the Year award from the 2010 Vancouver International Wine Festival. Certified by London’s Wine & Spirit Education Trust and having credit in the winemaking program at UC Davis, Kolt’s enthusiasm and experience have resulted in many high-profile appearances, from being the subject of a Wine Enthusiast profile and appearing at New York’s James Beard House, to leading wine festival seminars and beyond.
Darcy Barish BCRFA Liaison
Darcy’s work in the food service industry began at a very early age, growing up in the founding family of Dickie Dee Ice Cream Ltd. Guided by his emerging passion for the industry, Darcy began his career with A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. right after graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) degree, majoring in both Marketing and Small Business/Entrepreneurship. He has been with A&W for the past 21 years in various roles covering both the Marketing and Operations departments. He is currently in charge of Operating Systems & Standards for the company.
Heather Schroeter BCHA Liaison
Heather grew up in Calgary, AB and has been loving the hospitality industry and the people in it for over 30 years. For the past 14 years she has been the General Manager at Manteo Resort in Kelowna, BC. She previously spent eight years with the Delta Whistler Resort in Whistler, BC as Director of Food & Beverage. Previous to Whistler she attended George Brown College in Toronto receiving her Food & Beverage Management Diploma as well as her Hotel Management Diploma. It all began with Keg restaurants in Calgary and Toronto where she worked in various positions over a five-year period. She is currently also serves on the Board of Directors for Tourism Kelowna and the Kelowna Hotel Motel Association. Previous board experience includes the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, go2 Tourism HR Society, go2 Health & Safety Accommodation TAC Committee and The Rotary Centre for the Arts. Her volunteer experience includes being Director for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Annual “Run for the Cure” in Kelowna for five years, Chair of “Judy’s Girl’s” Pink Party Committee, and Bike Lot Captain for the Subaru Ironman in Penticton for four years. Heather’s passion is food, wine and hospitality and is very pleased to be in the Sunny Okanagan where there are plenty of wineries, lots of great restaurants and warm weather.
Bill Senghera Director at Large
Bill has worked with White Spot Restaurants for over 40 years and is there current Business Consultant/Risk Manager. He closely works with the franchisees, insurers and legal teams. As well Bill oversees the Health and Safety portfolio for the brand. Throughout the years Bill has lent his time and expertise to many non-profit organizations. He is Past President of Variety “The Children’s Charity” of British Columbia (January 2014-December 2015) and continues to serve on the board since 2009. Bill has also worked on committees with Go2 HR, including the Health and Safety Technical Advisory Committee for the Food and Beverage Sector, and the Technical Advisory Committee. Bill brings his expertise in board development, governance and strong interpersonal skills to the BCHF. He has received many awards with his work with Variety including 2010 Corporate Hero Award, 2015 Variety BC Barker of the Year Award and the 2016 Variety International Presidential Citation Award. During his spare time Bill spends time with his family, and enjoys traveling and golf.
Mark Hicken Director at Large
Mark is a lawyer providing services to the wine industry through his own law practice, Vintage Law Group, located in Vancouver, BC. Mark has a B.A. (Honours) from UBC and a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of B.C., the Canadian Bar Association, the International Association of Wine Lawyers (Association Internationale des Juristes du Vin) and the American Society for Enology & Viticulture. He has also completed the Wine Executive Program at the University of California, Davis. Mark is frequently quoted by Canadian and U.S. media on wine industry issues. He speaks often at industry conferences and trade events. He is also the founder and co-chair of the annual BC wine law conference held each spring in Vancouver.
Chris Bradburn Director at Large
Chris began his career in the hospitality industry as a waiter in Whistler at Araxi Restaurant + Bar. After becoming a certified Sommelier in 2002, Chris continued to move through the industry sharing his talent and skills through various organizations until 2013 where he became the current Regional Operations Manager for Milestones in BC. Along with more than a decade in the hospitality industry and a background in English Literature, Philosophy and Theology from Concordia and the University of Victoria, Chris has brought his experience and passion to the BC Hospitality Foundation in order to make a positive impact on the board.
Rowena Veylan Executive Director
Rowena, a Certified Fundraising Executive, joined the BCHF in March 2017 and was most recently Senior Director, Development and Communications for the MS Society of Canada, BC & Yukon Division, a post she held since 2014. Prior to joining the MS Society, she was the principal of RA Consulting and worked with organizations to build fundraising capacity and increase revenue. She has also free-lanced with KCI (Ketchum Canada) where she worked almost exclusively on capital campaigns. Her experience across all areas of fundraising, including acting as a member of senior management teams, dates back to 2003, with roles at RA Consulting, KCI (Ketchum Canada), the Alzheimer Society of BC, Oxfam Canada, and the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Annabel Aspler Operations Manager
Annabel was born in the UK but has lived in Canada most of her life. As a Certified Meeting Professional, Annabel’s 20+ year career in the Hospitality and Event Industry has provided opportunity to grow relationships, organize events and lead teams across Vancouver to success. In her downtime, Annabel enjoys training for long distance triathlons, running, traveling and spending time with her young family. Annabel joined the BCHF team in March 2016.
Bing Smith Beneficiary Liaison
Bing started in the hospitality industry as a summer relief driver at C.S. Ruby Distributors Ltd in April 1970, moving from driver to service tech to sale rep to Sales Manager after completing a Sales & Marketing degree from U.B.C. He created and held Canada’s 1st distributor buying show in 1977 and in 1982 took the Vitality program out of Ruby Food Services and created Total Beverage Systems Inc.(TBS). In 1985 TBS added Boyd Coffee and Bing was the 1st person in western Canada to sell airpot and thermo brewing systems which became the preferred method of brewing coffee. In 1999 Total Beverage Systems was purchased by Vitality Foodservice Canada. In 1996 Bing became a director of the Vancouver branch of BCRFA and in 2004 created the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame with the support of Don Monsour (this is the 1st and only Restaurant Hall of Fame in Canada). In 2006 Bing retired from the Board of the BCRFA and was inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2007, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Leeann Froese Marketing Manager
For the past 19 years Leeann has worked with Canada’s best-known wineries to dream, shape strategies, and communicate key messages.
Leading the BCHF marketing team and at her own company, Town Hall Brands, Leeann’s role is to manage client projects and create and oversee brand strategy. She is a bonafied #winelover and was on the original committee that established the BC Hospitality Foundation and is a member of the BC Chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, a society of professional women that promotes the education and advancement of, and supplies advice and assistance to women in careers related to food, wine, hospitality, and nutrition.
Sujinder Juneja Communications and Industry Relations Manager
Sujinder is honoured to manage communications for the BCHF, as he leads media relations activities at Town Hall Brands. Sujinder loves talking it up on behalf of others, and also enjoys music, food, beer, and wine. He is a French Wine Scholar, (FWS), in the middle of his WSET Diploma. When he’s not working, Sujinder can be found spending time with his family at their Bowen Island home.
BCHF Advisory Board
George and Trudy Heiss
Mark von Schellwitz