Meet the Board
Meet Lisa Brown, President of OCL
When Lisa moved into the city, she chose Oliver for her home and has lived here for eight years. For the past three years Lisa has volunteered with our league and has brought her interest and passion for planning, development, transportation and the environment to the table.
“For me, community is synonymous with connection. To be connected to the space you’re in, those around you. And connection brings happiness, health, pride, resiliency, safety,” says Lisa.
An avid horse lover, Lisa spends her downtime training her three young horses on her family’s farm north of Edmonton.
What does Lisa want for Oliver? “A safe, inclusive and vibrant neighbourhood, where residents can live, work, and play. Full of amenities and public spaces that we need to have a full life in an urban place. And because I care about transportation and the environment, where we walk/bike/take transit to get around.”
Meet Mary McPhail, Treasurer
Mary McPhail, Treasurer of the League, has lived in Oliver for only three years and yet in that short time has come to love this neighbourhood. Mary chose to apply for a board position as a way to give back to Oliver, “having fallen in love with the community and everything it has provided – from parks to breakfasts to friends.”
Community means “still feeling at home after walking out from your front door. Being connected to the people and spaces around you,” to Mary. Given this, her view of Oliver 25 years from now is a welcoming neighbourhood that is “smart in its density. I hope to see it’s green spaces well-utilized by the young and old alike as a diverse community.”
Balcony gardening, board games, and culinary experiments keep Mary busy in her down time.
Meet Craig Lidstone, Vice-President
Craig has lived in Oliver for 1.5 years and sees community as “a network of people whose lives have intersected for any reason.” For Craig, being on the OCL Board is an “opportunity to invest in the growth of a neighbourhood” that has become his home.
In the coming years, Craig would like to see Oliver with “a library/rec centre/public space combination similar to the Clareview facility.” Further, he would “like to see Jasper Ave. redesigned to optimize walkability and engagement.”
For fun, Craig plays volleyball and teaches snowboarding. You may see him in the neighbourhood walking his dachshund named Winston.
Meet Erin Wright, Secretary
Erin has lived in Oliver for 3 years and owns her home. To Erin, “community is about loving where you live, giving back to the community and enjoying all it has to offer.”
With a young family of her own, it’s no wonder Erin “would like Oliver to continue to grow into a family friendly, beautiful neighbourhood with lots of natural space and local businesses” in the coming years.
Getting outside, being active, and gardening keep Erin busy.
Meet PM Edmond, Civics Committee Director
Meet Anika Gee, Director, Make Something Oliver
Anika lived in Oliver for 3 years while taking her undergrad and moved back this summer. A recent and first-time home owner, Anika believes strongly in community connection. “Community is any group of people with a common interest. Engaged, connected communities can create a safe haven, inspire championing of causes and elevate well-being. The network of people in a community keeps all its members moving towards a goal together.”
Being a director on the OCL board gives Anika “a way to better the environment in which people live their lives.”
In the years ahead, Anika hopes Oliver is as “lush and green as it is today while managing to provide residents and businesses an environment that keeps them here.”
Anika is a foodie at heart and enjoys soccer, too.
Meet Hossein Zahiri, Director of Programs & Events
Hossein has been renting in Oliver for the past 4.5 years and enjoys living here. “Living here gives you all the benefits of being in an urban centre but it also has the feel of a small town community, which is why I love living here and why I think the neighborhood is so unique.”
While being on the board was not a personal goal, doing so has offered him the opportunity to connect with his community and he’s delighted he stepped forward. “It’s especially rewarding when I see people who have showed up to some of our events and as a result have decided to volunteer their time to some of our initiatives or decided to take steps to get more in the neighborhood.”
In his downtime, Hoss practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, having spent 10+ years training and over 3 years teaching.
Meet Luwam Kiflemariam, Director of Membership
Luwam has called Oliver home for three years and believes it’s important to be active in community. “The opportunity to join the OCL Board came at time when I was ready to put my beliefs into action. I want to walk down the street and be able to say ‘hi’ to my neighbors, to feel welcomed, and to welcome people. Being part of the OCL Board allows me to do all of that.”
Moving forward, Luwam sees Oliver as a “vibrant and diverse community where people are engaged and committed to their neighborhood.”
Meet Justin Keats, Garden Director
Justin has lived in Oliver for six years and took his passion for gardening beyond his balcony and to Peace Garden Park. Twenty-five years from now, Justin sees OCL as “a forward-thinking, diverse community league that embraces community, urbanism, good design, and urban agriculture.”
Justin believes community is a place where everyone has a voice. “A place where both young and old are engaged with what is happening in their area and with each other. Where events and resources are available for you to explore and be a part of your local community.”
Justin enjoys politics, reading and drawing, and winds down with hoola hooping.
Meet Angelika Matson, Volunteer Director
A proud renter in Oliver since 2014, Angelika began her involvement with the Oliver Community League as a summer student planning events to help engage neighbours. “To me, community is an ambient feeling of support and inclusion. It’s feeling as though you have neighbours who are there for you, whether its feeding your cat while your away, advocating for smart development in Oliver, teaching English to the neighbours down the hallway, or making small talk at a community league event.”
Angelika decided to run for a position on the board as Volunteer Director to have the “ability to develop relationships with our existing volunteer base and reach out to the people in the community who would like to get involved but might not know how.”
In the coming years, Angelika “would love to see lots of spontaneous grassroots events happening, like block parties or building potlucks, walking groups, book clubs, sports teams organized by residents, lots of kids out playing in our parks, another community garden or two, sidewalk patios and more public art on Jasper, and more family friendly buildings and affordable housing so that our awesome neighbourhood is accessible to all!”
For fun, Angelika loves social media sites and the Oilers. She also enjoys cuddles with her cat, Chubbs.
Meet Lauren Veroni, Communications Director
Meet Marc Workman, Director-at-Large
A resident of Oliver for almost 4 years, Marc is an advocate of accessibility for all. As a person with a disability, he hopes Oliver is accessible to all people now and looking ahead in the years to come.
For Marc, “community is about a group of people working together to achieve a common purpose. In the case of the OCL, it’s a group of people working to make Oliver a great place to live, work, and visit.”
Marc joined the Board so he could contribute to this goal, and so he “could meet others who are willing to give of their time and talent to support the Oliver community.”
Beyond people with disabilities, Marc wants “Oliver to be a place where people at all stages of life – from families to seniors to new Canadians – feel welcome and included.”
Marc is an active volunteer supporting several causes. When not volunteering, Marc enjoys dragon boating or walking Oliver with his guide dog, Nairobi.
Meet Gregory Cook, Director-at-Large
Gregory Cook grew up in Oliver and attended elementary at Oliver School. An active resident, he has no plans to move any time soon and wants to see Oliver continue to thrive as he grows older living here.
Living in Oliver is paramount to Gregory and the sense of community and kindness in Oliver keeps him here. “While delivering prizes for a contest hosted by the league this past summer, I locked my bike next to one of the stops and then walked to the rest with a fellow volunteer,” says Gregory. “At the end of our walk I realized I didn’t have my keys for my bike lock and, well, life. In a panic and planning for the worst I rushed back to my where my bike was and there on the ground were my keys and next to them my bike. That is community. That is the kind of community I want to be a part of. That is a community I want to help grow. That is Oliver.”
An avid cycler and advocate of the “brilliant” bike network, Gregory appreciates the highly residential aspect of Oliver and wants to “expand on our sense of community and belonging. I’m very excited at the growth we are experiencing and would love for Oliver’s current vibe to be represented in that growth.”