Meet the Executive

Meet the Executive

Meet the Executive and Members of the Club’s Standing Committees – the diverse and multi-talented group of women volunteers who run our dynamic club!


President – Ann Brown
I have had a long-time love for the Comox Valley and was delighted to finally move three years ago from North Vancouver to join my husband, daughter, granddaughter and our two poodles. I started work as a computer programmer when we still used punch cards, became a consultant and coach, and eventually landed in healthcare with leadership development and organizational change. I enjoy all that the Valley offers, especially the local produce and wine and love to cook whatever the season makes available. Newcomers’ has brought me new friendships and I look forward to resuming social gatherings and in-person meetings.


Vice President – Shelley Marshall
I was born in Sudbury, Ontario, raised in Montreal, Quebec, and after attending university, I moved to Toronto to pursue my business career. I left my job to raise five children and later became a Holistic Nutritionist. I made my way to the Comox Valley in February 2020, joined Newcomers’ and immediately found a wonderful group of caring and supportive women and created many close friendships that I cherish greatly. I have completely embraced the island lifestyle and am up for any adventure that this beautiful island has to offer!

Vice President – Nell van Wyngaarden
I was born to Dutch immigrant parents on a fishing boat on the Caribbean Sea and after two years on the island of Sint Eustatius, we emigrated to southern Ontario, where I lived until I moved to Halifax to attend university. After taking a break to raise five children, I found work as a journalist with CBC Radio. That led to a career in communications in NB. When it was time to retire, I made the trek across Canada to live on my daughter’s property in Royston. The Comox Valley Newcomers’ Club has been a godsend, bringing me many dear friends who helped me settle into my new BC home.

Treasurer – Miriam Myers
I started my life in a prairie farm family living just southeast of Regina. I spent most of my working career in finance and human resources, raising two children along the way. I moved to Comox Valley in August 2017 and joined Newcomers’ Club the following year: best decision ever! I’ve made so many fabulous friends and acquaintances. I absolutely love the natural beauty of this location. I keep myself busy with a part-time job, grandchildren and board activities as well as Newcomers’ events and hobbies.

Secretary – Betty Koch
I grew up in Saskatchewan, graduated from Secretarial College and even though I had jobs where I met amazing people, learned new business skills, and handled interesting projects, my entrepreneurial spirit led me to also have a business of some sort on the side. I even had a small-town grocery store for a while. I fell in love with Vancouver Island when I came out to visit siblings in Parksville & Gabriola so when a major change occurred, the island seemed the perfect place to start my newly single life. I have never regretted that decision. I joined Comox Valley Newcomers’ Club this past March and have already met some amazing people and look forward to creating more connections!


Membership Chair – Jennifer Blues
I moved to the Comox Valley from Prince George with my husband Frank and daughter Heather in June 2019. We lived in Prince George for 34 years, after making an earlier move from Scotland in 1981. I retired from a 20-year career in local government as a service representative in 2015. In January 2019, we came to visit Courtenay for a week to check out the area and ended up buying a house! We quickly found a new community through the Newcomers’ Club. I started by being active in weekly walks and other activities and now appreciate being able to contribute to the organization by volunteering on the Executive.

Membership – Janet Bond
I was born in Edmonton and met my Australian husband while completing my Computer Science Studies. Shortly after we married, we moved to Sydney, Australia, where I enjoyed working and traveling around the country. After a few years, we decided Vancouver was where we wanted to be and lived there for 30 years, mostly in North Vancouver and White Rock. During this time, we also had a home in Courtenay, which meant we often came to the Comox Valley. As we approached retirement, we decided we were ready for island time and moved to Comox in 2018. We love the Comox Valley where I enjoy walking, downhill skiing, reading, and cooking. Most of my interests include a glass of red wine!

Membership (Name Tag Coordinator) – Sharon Nixon
Originally from the island, I have spent the last forty years living on the mainland in Tsawwassen with a short period of time spent in Calgary and Edmonton. I moved back to the island in 2018 with my husband, Dyrl. We are thrilled to be home and have enjoyed getting to know the island again. Our children and their families reside in different parts of Canada now, and they love to come and visit us here! The Comox Valley Newcomers’ Association has been a lifeline to me and all of us new to the area. I have been involved in many of the wonderful activities it has to offer and encourage you to join in where and when you can.

Hospitality – Lori Novak
Originally from Ontario, I spent 43 years living outside of Canada, mostly in Germany but also in South Africa and the USA. Our moves provided me with interesting professional opportunities such as teaching English as a second language, working as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor for the Blind, and as the Admissions Counsellor at an International School. After retiring, we were keen to move to Canada and be closer to our sons’ families in Ontario and Oregon. I enjoy reading, working on my pottery and birding skills, gardening, walking on the beach and hiking in the woods and mountains. I truly appreciate Newcomers’ for the many new friends who help me explore our beautiful Comox Valley.

Activities Chair – Heather Schoenberg
My first trip to the Comox Valley was in 1990 when our family spent a week at the Kye Bay Guest Lodge, followed by a visit to Hornby Island. From that point Gregor and I eyed Vancouver Island as our ideal retirement spot. In 2019, we followed our dream and bought a new home in Cumberland. We managed a brief taste of Valley life before the pandemic shut us in. We are happy to have both our children back in Canada after living abroad for several years. Our son Geoff and his partner live in Toronto, and our daughter Katie and her family are right here in the Comox Valley. I joined Newcomers’ shortly after moving here and keep busy with choirs, cycling and hiking and recently took up the ukulele.

Website – Roxane Lacroix
Originally from the province of Québec, I moved to Ontario, then to BC a few years ago. I lived on the mainland for a few years and then moved to this beautiful Island, into the Comox Valley. I love outdoor activities (cycling, hiking, photography, gardening) but also quieter one like reading and sewing; but I discovered a passion on the island for beachcombing. This island has so much to offer! Thanks to the Newcomers’ club, I was able to meet wonderful women who I now call ‘friends.’

Community Wins Chair – Sandra Vornbrock
I was born on the prairies but lived in British Columbia since 1976 and am now retired along with my partner/husband in the Comox Valley. My interests remain in the arts: fine arts, theatre, and culinary… and the Comox Valley does not disappoint. I am involved in the Community Wins Committee, the Telephone Tree and two book clubs, but very much look forward to resuming Mah-jongg. I also hope to start a Wizard (card game) group because I could use a laugh.

Community Wins – Gail Wilms
After growing up in Stratford ON, I moved to the Vancouver area when I was 11. My husband and I traveled all over BC, always thinking about where we might like to retire, finally settling on the Comox Valley. After working with computers, training colleagues in inventory systems, and travels in Canada and abroad, I feel privileged to be living in the Comox Valley, where it is safe to walk pretty much anywhere; where winters can mean skiing on Mt. Washington or playing golf in hiking boots in the Valley to deal with muddy greenways; or signing up for so many interesting courses at Elder College.

Community Wins – Shauna Trockstad
My husband, Chris & I moved to the Comox Valley in December 2017 from Canmore, Alberta. I retired from a 35-year career in healthcare, and I am very much enjoying retired life and all it brings! I enjoy golfing, hiking, snowshoeing, walking and just exploring this beautiful place we now call home. Through Newcomers’ I have developed some amazing new friendships and look forward to experiencing many more adventures!

Welcome & Life Events Chair – Denise Evans
I have worked as a clinical counsellor for more than 30 years and, in 2018, moved to the island after a lifetime spent in Squamish, BC. I love exploring this wonderful valley and taking advantage of all the new possibilities here. I am currently learning how to kayak, walking the beaches and trails, and reintroducing myself to biking on all the groomed walking and mountain bike trails. Newcomers’ is a significant part of my enjoyment with the opportunity to make new friends.

Welcome & Life Events – Eileen Shackell
Originally from Toronto, I moved to the West Coast 40 years ago and settled in Vancouver. In December 2019 upon retiring from a long career as a nurse and nurse educator, I embarked on an RV tour of North America with my husband. In December 2020, we sought out a new adventure and made the Comox Valley home. I am active in many different Newcomers’ activities while returning to work as a nurse and Covid 19 Immunizer.

Publicity – Betsy Terpsma
I am a recently retired communication and event specialist with a career spanning from the Pacific National Exhibition to the provincial government, to BC Ferries and finally the University of the Fraser Valley. Comox is my hubby John Palmeter’s hometown where we frequently enjoyed visits to his parents and friends. We made the long-planned move from rural south Langley BC to the beautiful Comox Valley in September 2020. I am now working on completing my personal event and travel bucket list while looking forward to exploring the region with the help of CV Newcomers’. Our new home includes a large garden, two rescue cats and a corgi puppy.

Communications Coordinator – Linda Rasmussen
Born and raised in Lethbridge AB, I was eager to see the world. In my late teens and early 20s, I hitchhiked across Canada and travelled through most of South America. I settled in Edmonton where I raised four children (two of my own and two stepchildren). I worked in film production and distribution, non-profit administration, and health promotion in Public Health. I was also a small business owner marketing promotional items and legal services. In 2017, on impulse, my husband and I bought a condo in Comox overlooking the estuary and the Beaufort mountains. Newcomers’ Club was a blessing, introducing me to fantastic women, new restaurants and pubs and beautiful walks.

Newsletter Editor – Jill Lunde
My husband and I moved here from Vancouver in 2019 after he retired. As a communications consultant I had been working from home for many years and, as it didn’t matter where home was, we decided to make the Comox Valley our special place. Earlier in my career I worked at CBC Vancouver and then Science World. These days I focus on writing and editing. I love reading, walking, and cycling and enjoy sharing these with other Newcomers’. I also recommend volunteering as a way to get to know others in your new community.

Safety & Protocol Chair – Debra Bunston
Hello Newcomers’! Originally from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, I lived in Calgary for 25 years before we made our long-planned move to Comox in 2018. My profession was real estate – starting with sales, then into management, education and practice policy. We love the Valley and Newcomers’ has been a big part of getting happily settled here. I’ve enjoyed many Newcomers’ events, convened the Décor Group and Friday Walks and now work with the Safety and Protocol Committee. Being involved in committees and convening activities has been a fun way to make new friends in this wonderfully welcoming group.

Safety & Protocol – Kaylene McKinnon
My husband and I bought our Comox home in the spring of 2018 after visiting only a few times and falling in love with the Valley. We moved from our lifelong home in London, Ontario to Fort McMurray Alberta in 2013 where my husband continues to run a business. I moved here full time in the spring of 2019 where I continued my 34-year Public Health Nursing career until I retired in January 2021. I joined Newcomers’ in September 2019 and made some of the most wonderful friends. I am having great adventures and sing Newcomers’ praises to everyone who is new to the area!

Safety & Protocol – Nina Sato
I came to the Comox Valley in December 2019 after living on Maui for 25 years. I retired from a career in education as a teacher and school director of a small independent school. My husband and I moved to Comox to his family home where we had visited his mother annually. I joined Newcomers’ in March 2020, just before everything shut down. Luckily, the walks continued, and we were able to keep that up through most of the COVID time. I am now a convenor for these walks and a member of the ‘Safety and Protocol’ Committee. I enjoy horseback riding, sewing, walking with my dogs, cooking, and reading.