In November 2020, we welcomed three new board directors to the First United fold: the Rev. Jennifer Goddard Sheppard, Chief David Walkem, and Aaron Wilson.

Jennifer, David, and Aaron bring unique skills and knowledge to our organization and we’re grateful to have their expertise guiding our ship, along with our other fantastic volunteer directors. Read more about them below.

The Rev Jennifer Goddard Sheppard

Jennifer was born in Montreal, raised in Saint John, and attended University in Nova Scotia before she hit the road and really started moving around! After 38 moves, six Canadian provinces, and Bermuda for a six-year spell, she is pleased to call the lower mainland of BC “home”. Jennifer is “from away”, as she says, but spent 1998-2014 raising a family (Emily, Joy and Ben) on campus at UBC and serving pastoral charges in East Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby.

Most of her employment has been in the not-for-profit, education, and religion sectors. Some of the paid and accountable roles she has held are Residence Manager, Researcher, Director of Student Services, House Parent, Guidance Counsellor, Community Coordinator, Secretary to the Board and Minister of Religion. In 2014, Jennifer took a sabbatical from the church and began a ministry to industry in Nova Scotia. She served Michelin North America Canada Inc as Recruitment Manager, Project Manager, and Employee Relations Manager from 2014-2018. During that time, she attended Trinity United Church in New Glasgow and Pictou United Church in Pictou. In July of 2018, for family reasons, Jennifer returned “home” to the lower mainland of BC. This is a very brief glimpse into the story of her life and the person that she is. There is also an emerging singer, textile artist, comedian, and writer within her!

Chief David Walkem

David Walkem is a Councillor of the Cooks Ferry Indian Band and served as Chief from 1990 to 2018. He has an MBA from University of Western Ontario and an BSc Forestry from UBC. Prior to being elected as Chief, he worked for the federal government in native economic development and with TD Bank as an Assistant Branch Manager. Currently, he is on the Boards of Stuwix Resources Joint Venture, Citwx Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Canadian Council on Invasive Species, and the Community of Interest Panel for the Mining Association of Canada. In 2001 he was the recipient of the ‘Forester of the Year’ award from the Association of BC Professional Foresters, and in 2007 he received an award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Foundation for his achievements in the Environment and Forestry.

For community volunteer Boards, David served on the Board of the Native Education Centre in Vancouver from 1990 to 2007 and served as Treasurer and President. He was a founding Director and Co-Chair of the Stl’atl’imx / Nlaka’pamux Legal Services Society providing legal aid to aboriginal communities in the Lytton and Lillooet areas.

David lives in Spences Bridge, BC and is a proud Grandfather and Great-Grandfather.

Aaron Wilson

Aaron is a lawyer and member of the Musqueam Indian Band. He studied at the University of British Columbia where he completed a Bachelor’s degree in religion, literature, and the arts. After earning his Juris Doctor from UBC Law in 2013, Aaron completed a judicial clerkship at the Federal Court of Canada with the Honourable Mr. Justice Mandamin. He then joined Mandell Pinder LLP as an articled student and, in 2015, became an associate.

For four years from 2015 to 2019, Aaron served his community as Musqueam’s General Counsel. Aaron’s practice includes legal research, litigation, and strategic advice related to a wide variety of Aboriginal rights, title, and governance issues. Drawing inspiration from historic court cases and the achievements of his fellow band members, Aaron views the law as one means of ensuring that Indigenous communities’ laws, rights, title, and traditional governance are respected and upheld.

Join us in warmly welcoming Jennifer, David, and Aaron to the First United fold! To learn more about our senior leadership team and Board of Directors, visit Our Team and subscribe to receive our email updates about what’s happening at First United.