Historic Joy Kogawa House Society: Board of Directors, 2021

Matt Canute, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Matt Canute, chair
Director since 2014

Matt notes that the art of writing is an incredibly underrated skill these days, and at the same time, he finds that the most effective way to improve something is to join with others who devote their lives towards improving skills and abilities in this area.

Other reasons to get involved are that the story behind the house offers an incredibly important message today and that preservation as a place of writing means that similar stories are shared.

Joan Shigeko Young, Education Chair

Joan Shigeko Young, education chair
Director since 2008

Joan is a founding director, who became interested in Historic Joy Kogawa House when she taught Joy Kogawa’s children’s novel, Naomi’s Road, to her class of Grade 3 and 4 students in Richmond, BC. Joy Kogawa’s stories resonated with her because her mother and family were among the 22,000 people of Japanese descent who were stripped of their possessions and forced to spend the war years in internment camps.

Joan believes that this dark period in Canadian history needs to be told so that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated. As the descendent of a survivor, she brings a unique perspective to the Board.

Matt Canute, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Richard (Sue O) Lee, treasurer
Director since 2020

Richard is an accountant at Gregory, Yick & Associates, a member of CPABC, a contractor at CPA Canada, and a finance committee member at City on a Hill Church Foursquare.

He brings financial management and strategic planning skills and in return enjoys learning about the Vancouver writing community, deepening his understanding of Japanese Canadian history, and building skills in non-profit financial management.

Melody Pan, Communications Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Ayomide Olorunsanya, secretary
Director since 2021

Ayomide is passionate about adding value to her environment and often finds opportunities to contribute to societal development.

She is a qualified lawyer from Nigeria, currently being assessed by the National Committee on Accreditation to qualify to practise in British Columbia, and a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Nigeria (ICSAN).

Lenore Rowntree, Member at large of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Melody Pan, communication chair
Director since 2015

Melody read Joy Kogawa’s Obasan in high school, a novel that opened her eyes to the realities of the Japanese Canadian internment, a subject that was not otherwise discussed in school. She became interested in Japanese Canadian history and culture, and enjoys supporting efforts to share the subject with others.

Melody brings technology and cybersecurity expertise, as well as proficiency in Japanese-to-English translation.

Todd Wong, Past Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Todd Wong, past chair
Director since 2007

Todd is a founding director, having worked tirelessly in 2005–2006 to protect the house from demolition.

A library worker and community activist, he also leads Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, hosts the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns–Lunar New Year dinner, and documents his misadventures in multiculturalism – arts, culture, food, dragon-boating, travel, and more – at gunghaggis.com.

Lenore Rowntree, Member at large of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Helen Gowans, member at large
Director since 2021

Helen has participated at Historic Joy Kogawa House for many years, from yarnbombing the Kogawa cherry tree in 2011 to writing with the weekly Wednesday writing group. Travel and cultures have always been an interest for her; as a physiotherapist, she was able to experience both.

In retirement, she has spent more time writing and, in 2020, won the Pandora’s Collective poetry prize.

Lenore Rowntree, Member at large of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Patricia Stapleton, member at large
Director since 2021

Patricia is a retired elementary school teacher with an interest in Japanese Canadian history, having learned about the contributions of Japanese Canadians while teaching at Manoah Steves Elementary in Richmond.

She grew up in the countryside and loves to be outdoors, now running four times each week. She also loves to be organized and has taught in Ireland, Ontario, Saudi Arabia, and BC.

 

Todd Wong, Past Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Anitasharuma (Anita) Yoshizuka, youth representative
Director since 2021

Anita grew up in Tokyo and is currently a student at Point Grey Secondary School. A third-culture kid who is half-Japanese, she is interested in learning more about Nikkei culture in Canada, improving vital decision-making skills, and understanding firsthand the critical role history plays in our lives.

Anita helps connect us with high school students and youth.

Todd Wong, Past Chair of the Board of Directors at Historic Joy Kogawa House Society

Lindsey Pagnucco, member at large
Director since 2021

Lindsey is a retired children’s / teen services librarian with Vancouver Public Library who also was involved with fundraising and marketing for VPL.

Born and raised in the Marpole-Oakridge area, she not only very interested in Vancouver history but committed to addressing historic wrongs. She is a long-distance runner so has staying power!