The Backbone of CPABC
Our Board of Directors is a group of benevolent professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to help us achieve our goals at Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia. They include lawyers, accountants, business leaders, and other highly knowledgeable individuals who all believe in making a difference in the lives of those living with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Our Directors often stay behind the scenes but are the integral backbone of CPABC.
Peter Brown | President
Peter was born with cerebral palsy. Named “Peter Graham” he was immediately put up for adoption. He spent the first few months of his life in the foster care system. Subsequently the Brown family took him in and ultimately adopted him. Thus, Peter Graham Brown.
The Browns raised Peter and their five children in Richmond and North Vancouver. As occurred in the 1960’s, Peter’s had delayed access to the public-school system due to his disability and limited support. Despite this, Peter became a dedicated student and an active participant in his community. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Simon Fraser University, Peter completed his law degree at the University of British Columbia.
Peter practiced law for over 30 years, spending most of his career in Vancouver at the Public Guardian and Trustee, Child and Youth Services. There, Peter worked on behalf of children in care, returning to his roots and allowing his destiny to come full circle.
Now retired, Peter Brown maintains a position on the City of Vancouver’s Persons with Disabilities Access Committee. He is a member of the City of Vancouver Accessible Strategy Task Force. Over the years, Peter has played an active role in the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC. He is enthusiastic to join the Board and be able to continue his advocacy for people with disabilities. As someone who has successfully overcome vulnerabilities and marginalization in the face of those saying he could not, Peter hopes to inspire those who also face these barriers. Peter is a true example that anything’s possible with hard work, dedication and a good sense of humour.
Peter is married to his wife of 27 years, Michele, an elementary school teacher. He is father to Ashley, who is following her father’s path into the legal profession.
Martin van den Hemel | Vise President
A communications expert with a long history of community involvement, Martin is a recovering journalist who was privileged to work for his hometown of Richmond for 25 years. He founded the non-profit Richmond Sentinel newspaper, where he served as the publisher, managing editor and sales manager. Today, he’s the communications director of GOKABU Group, a tech start-up in Richmond working in the ride-hailing space. He’s also on the board of RAPS (Regional Animal Protection Society).
Graham McGowan | Treasurer
Graham is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) who currently works in the Vancouver office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a senior manager in the private company services group. With over 10 years of experience in public practice, Graham is always ready to take on new challenges, support his colleagues, and care for the needs of his clients. He appreciates the opportunity to be on the board of CPABC and will strive to provide the same level of support and care to the organization.
Thomas Bell | Secretary
Thomas Bell has extensive executive business leadership experience as a senior officer and director for public and private companies in the entertainment and hospitality, financial services, mining exploration, renewable energy and fire safety product industries. He has utilized his vast skills in operations, regulatory compliance, corporate finance and media in his volunteer work with youth sports organizations and as a board member of Variety the Children’s Charity. A father of two, Thomas’ main directive is for all children to have every opportunity to live their lives to the fullest in a safe and caring environment.
Rebecca Cynader | Director
Rebecca is a tax lawyer and partner at Scion Law LLP in Vancouver. She advises individuals, private companies, trusts and non-profit entities on navigating the complex Canadian tax system and meeting governance obligations. Rebecca is a frequent speaker and writer on Canadian tax matters and has completed the CPA Canada In Depth Tax Course. Rebecca is passionate about helping people and is delighted to be a member of the board of CPABC.
Ross McLean | Director
Elizabeth Langtry | Director
Elizabeth has lived experience of cerebral palsy. Growing up across four provinces and territories, she became keenly aware of the beauty and challenges associated with cerebral palsy. With a mother who is a constitutional lawyer, Elizabeth learned to advocate for herself from an early age. She also understood the importance or advocating for others along the way.
With a desire to support the community, Elizabeth has found her home in the non-profit world. After completing her education in human resources, Elizabeth found the perfect balance in volunteer engagement.
As a member of the board for the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, Elizabeth looks forward to continuing her advocacy for cerebral palsy in a meaningful way for the community
Mary Kathleen Renaud | Director
Kathleen Renaud is a public sector lawyer who previously volunteered for the CPABC’s Art Without Limits Program. Her professional background is in anti-discrimination education and advocacy, which she aims to apply towards advancing disability rights. Kathleen is engaged in social justice issues such as reframing accessibility as a collective responsibility, not as a burden placed solely on those requiring it. She is humbled to advocate for the cerebral palsy community as a member of the CPABC Board of Directors.
Karin Pasqua | Director
Karin Pasqua is a Universal Design and Accessibility Specialist with over 20 years of experience working with the disability community. She started her career in adaptive recreation and has since worked for notable not-for-profits in fund development, special events and program management. In recent years, she has taken her experience and professional background and applied it to work with cities and developers to create universally designed spaces, programs and events. Karin likes to say that she is part engineer and part occupational therapist. She has a natural affinity for adapting an environment and turning what some see as complex access problems, into thoughtful barrier-free solutions.