Keir Macdonald recently joined Phoenix after several years with the Lookout Society, where he held positions as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer and before that spent four years with BC Housing. His background includes legal practice and a passion for human rights law and social justice, as well as a solid track record of leadership in times of significant change. Keir holds two undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts and is currently in his final year of a Masters of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University.
“The Phoenix Society is a ‘best-kept secret.’ I’m looking forward to bringing the work of this essential organization to more people in our community.” In this time of an unprecedented overdose crisis and homelessness, quality organizations like Phoenix are needed more than ever. “I am excited to work with the exceptional management team and staff to help the organization meet the challenges of the next decade,” says Macdonald.
Keir was appointed by the Board of Directors and has demonstrated leadership and technical competencies with his skills, knowledge and ability to follow through with the Phoenix mission, vision and values.
The CEO is the Phoenix Society’s most senior role and requires strong leadership skills and the ability to develop and maintain a culture aligned with the organization’s core values, gain the support and commitment of staff, and volunteers, while working effectively with internal and external stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.
Keir Macdonald started his role of Chief Executive Officer in 2018.
Even in the buttoned-down world of financing — She is a CPA, CGA — Kim takes time as a CFO to know the residents at Phoenix, and she appreciates hearing their stories. “I’ve been able to combine my financial expertise with a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” she says.
Kim has over 25 years of experience in accounting and finance, and has held senior financial positions with not-for-profit and First Nations organizations.
When she started at Phoenix, some 15 years ago, the administration was in a warehouse and programs were running out of residential housing. Kim considers herself fortunate to have been able to work closely with founders Michael and Ann Wilson, helping bring their visions into reality.
Now Kim is proud that what used to be a single recovery home has expanded to become a facility that not only treats addiction but that also addresses a monopoly of issues including homelessness, poverty, health and education.
She believes the success of the program comes from the way the organization listens to clients and puts their needs first. “Everyone is a unique person with unique needs,” Kim says. “every person has their own individual needs, which we do our best to meet.”
Although Phoenix is currently at capacity, staff — and residents — agree that the model works and that it could be expanded. “We have something here that is special, anyone can benefit from what is offered.
Kim has been with Phoenix since 2001.
Nate is the Director of Operations at the Phoenix Society managing Human Resources, building operations, events, governance and implementing positive based curriculum for not only the residents but staff as well. Nate is responsible for the physical and administrative operation of the Society’s strategic mandate in support of its mission and vision.
Nate could see how the people he referred to treatment sometimes struggled under the constraints of such a deficit-based system. Nate saw a different way of treating addiction and homelessness, he believed in allowing individuals to discover their strengths and using them to their full capacity.
The Phoenix Society has a high success rate not only by achievements within the organization but with the individuals who make it what it is today. “A lot of recovery is deficit-based,” Nate says. In his years of working with the population he noticed the model of ‘this is what’s wrong; this is what you have to fix.’ “But at Phoenix,” he explains, “you’re a person with strengths when you get here.”
The benefit of working from strengths is something that Nate profoundly believes. A former director of programs at the Abbotsford Salvation Army, he is a person who had made his career goal into helping people achieve their full potential.
Phoenix is a place where residents can gain the ability to live a purposeful life, and staff can grow as individuals as well.
Nate has been with Phoenix since 2016
Daniel is the Director of Programs responsible for transitional housing, corrections, employment, addictions services and clinical matters. Working in a multi-service organization requires him to function independently while managing multiple leadership and management functions.
His own experience with recovery makes him more empathetic and understanding. He also credits his training with giving him the knowledge to do the job. A graduate of Royal Roads University, with a Masters in Leadership, he earlier received international certification in addictions counselling.
Daniel believes every individual as unique. And that approach fits in well with the Phoenix recovery philosophy. “We don’t typecast anyone,” he says. “Everybody is different and they don’t have to recover in exactly the same way. We’re providing a unique treatment to people facing substance abuse,” he says. “This isn’t just a job; I belong to a community who cares about people.”
He appreciates that the model is strengths-based — focusing on what people are good at — and the organization as whole focuses on this module.
“Going into recovery doesn’t have to be an experience of pain and suffering,” he says. “There is support and there are people who genuinely care. This isn’t something you have to do alone.”
Daniel has been with the organization since 2017