Kurt Heinrich – Senior Director, Media Relations for The University of British Columbia (UBC)

PFM Executive Search welcomes Kurt Heinrich to the position of Senior Director, Media Relations at the University of British Columbia. UBC with over 65,000 students is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranks among the 40 best universities in the world.Recognized for creating an exceptional learning environment that fosters global citizenship, advances a civil and sustainable society, and supports outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world, UBC is a premier international post-secondary institution.

PFM Executive Search was engaged to conduct a national search for this senior communications role with UBC and recruited Kurt into the position. Kurt is a seasoned communicator with extensive media relations, issues management and crisis communications experience. He joins UBC from Simon Fraser University, consistently ranked among Canada’s top comprehensive universities, where he held the role of Director, University Communications, for the past three years.

Prior to this, Kurt was the Public Relations Manager of the Vancouver School Board, one of the largest public school districts in the country. He is a past President of the Vancouver Chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society and currently sits as a Trustee on the Vancouver Public Library Board.

PFM Executive search is known for its ability to recruit senior leaders to positions in major post-secondary institutions and works closely with the Global Higher Education Practice Group of Panorama Search Partner offices around the world. Our firm is well established in working collegially and collaboratively with diverse selection committees and creating a proactive, open and transparent search process for universities and colleges.

The University of British Columbia Appoints New Vice President, Human Resources

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.

Katie White – Executive Director, Communications for the UBC Faculty of Medicine

PFM Executive Search is thrilled to congratulate Katie White on her appointment with the UBC Faculty of Medicine as Executive Director, Communications.

As Executive Director, Communications, Katie will join the Dean’s Executive Team and play a key role in supporting the goals and priorities outlined in the Faculty’s new strategic plan, “Building the Future.” She will work with their faculty, staff and partners across the province in developing a communications strategy to foster engagement and inclusivity across the Faculty and with their stakeholders.

The UBC Faculty of Medicine’s communications platform is a critical enabler of their strategic plan and Katie is very well suited for the task. She is an accomplished corporate communications and public relations professional with more than 18 years of progressive experience and leadership in communications, marketing, media relations and stakeholder engagement. Katie also serves as a member of the board of directors for Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, and vice-chair for the NEXT Leaders Steering Committee, Business Council of British Columbia.

Trish Pekeles – Director, Financial Operations for the University of British Columbia

PFM Executive Search is pleased to announce that Trish Pekeles has joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) as the Director, Financial Operations.

Trish brings over 20 years of strategic leadership in finance, both in the public and private sectors, coupled with experience across all core business functions and operations, including financial management and reporting, strategic planning, procurement, and contract negotiation. Trish joins UBC after working at BC Hydro for a number of years, where she held several financial leadership roles, ranging from Director Finance Generation, Technology, Power Smart and Partnerships; Executive Director Procurement; and Chief Strategy Officer. Previously, Trish was the Vice President of Finance and Administration with Vancouver Community College.

PFM Executive Search wishes Trish every success in her new role.

Our search firm provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations. The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.

PFM Executive Search Congratulates Gilles Lepine as the New Senior Athletics Director for the University of British Columbia

Photo Caption: Left to Right, Shelina Esmail, Partner, PFM Executive Search; Gilles Lepine, Senior Athletics Director, UBC; Louise Cowin, Vice President, Students, UBC.

Today UBC Athletics announced Gilles Lepine will take the helm as the Senior Athletics Director for the UBC Thunderbirds. Lepine, the former Director of Excellence for Laval University’s Department of Athletics, will lead the Thunderbirds Athletics program and build upon its position as the most successful university sports program in Canada. Gilles Lepine will join UBC Athletics on July 11th,  2016.

To learn more about this appointment, please click here.

PFM Executive Search wishes Gilles every success in his new role.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.