The University of British Columbia, a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world and the second largest university in Canada, has appointed Barbara Meens Thistle to the critically important position of Vice President, Human Resources.
With more than 62,000 students from 160 countries on two major campuses and 15,000 faculty and staff plus 300,000 alumni, UBC has an annual operating budget of $2.5 billion with more than $580 million in annual research income making it one of the top global post-secondary institutions.
Barbara Meens Thistle brings a quarter century of senior leadership experience—including at some of B.C.’s largest public sector organizations—to UBC as the new Vice President, Human Resources.
“Barbara will be a valuable addition to our executive team and I have full confidence she will be able to build on the excellent progress made by Lisa Castle, former vice-president of human resources, to make UBC a rewarding and fulfilling place to work,” said UBC President Santa J. Ono.
Meens Thistle currently holds the position of Vice President, Central Services at the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) where she has responsibility for a diverse portfolio including all aspects of Human Resources. She also has extensive experience as a senior leader in the energy sector, including at Emera Inc., Nova Scotia Power, and Westcoast Energy. Together with past roles at B.C. public sector organizations including ICBC, the Provincial Health Services Authority, Powerex, and BC Hydro, Meens Thistle brings a wealth of experience in the areas of strategic planning, change management, operational excellence, procurement, health and wellness, and safety.
“I’m thrilled to accept this new challenge to lead human resources programs and services at UBC, one of the province’s top employers,” said Barbara Meens Thistle. “UBC has one of the largest workforces in British Columbia and I look forward to continuing efforts to making the university an inspiring place to work that also supports faculty and staff wellbeing, resilience and commitment.”
Meens Thistle is a long-time champion of equity, diversity and inclusion. Throughout her career, she has worked collaboratively with senior leaders and employees to create and implement relevant, aspirational and comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategies.
In 2016, Meens Thistle was voted HR Professional of the Year by the BC and Yukon chapter of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources and a Fellow in the Canadian Board Diversity Council. Meens Thistle is also an active volunteer in her community as a board director with OceanWise (Vancouver Aquarium) and with Big Sisters of BC, Lower Mainland.
UBC has consistently been recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers, as well as one of Canada’s greenest employers, best diversity employers, and top employers for young people. Additionally, people in Metro Vancouver have named the university a Dream Employer for several consecutive years.
PFM Executive Search led an international recruitment process with UBC President, Santa Ono as the Chair of the Search Committee. Our firm is a recognized leader in working within the post-secondary sector, identifying and recruiting top leaders who enhance the stature of institutions. PFM is know for facilitating inclusive search processes for client groups in the higher education sector.