About StreetSmart Canada

Our Board of Directors

Ron Josephson – Founder

Ron Josephson is the Founder and Chair of The Gratitude Aeffect Foundation which initiates and carries out fundraising projects related to ending homelessness and hunger in Canada. In his regular life, he is a Barrister practicing law in the City of Vancouver. His involvement in projects such as the StreetSmart Canada Project goes back to when he was a student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and he chaired a student organization that raised funds to help the underprivileged black community in Cape Town.

In 2009, as a way to manifest his gratitude for his life in Vancouver and wanting to do something to help end the Vancouver homelessness crisis, Ron founded The Gratitude Aeffect Foundation and brought people together to make a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate in Vancouver. The initial project of the Foundation, the Gratitude Week to End Homelessness, played a role in focussing attention on solutions to the homelessness issue in Vancouver and reducing the timeline for its eventual solution. In 2012, Ron brought to Canada the StreetSmart Project which provides an opportunity for diners in restaurants to donate to their local food bank by adding a dollar or more to their bill at the end of their meal. This project, already successful in the UK, Australia, South Africa and India, had its inaugural launch in British Columbia in 2012. This year StreetSmart is raising funds in restaurants in BC (Vancouver and Victoria) and Ontario (Toronto and Kingston). In the years ahead, Ron has ambitious plans to have StreetSmart restaurants in every province and major city across Canada, in an effort to end hunger in families, and especially young children.

Darrell Kopke – Board Member

Darrell Kopke is the Founder and Skool Principal of institute B, a Vancouver-based accelerator of entrepreneurs and their companies. Darrell is considered one of the founding members of lululemon athletica, a Vancouver-based yoga-inspired athletic apparel retailer where he served as the original General Manager and most recently Managing Director Asia Pacific. He oversaw expansion from one store in Vancouver to 75 internationally and was a key contributor to its well renowned corporate culture of goal setting and personal responsibility. Darrell has a BComm in Marketing from Concordia University in Montreal and an MBA in Supply Chain Management from the University of British Columbia and in 2006 was named to Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 by Business in Vancouver newspaper. He is most passionate about his wife, Maria, and their two children.

Kari Kylo – Board Member

One of Kari’s greatest passions is creating the ultimate marketing plan. With over 14 years of marketing experience, Kari enjoys building a rock-solid marketing program, matching it to a plan of attack and observing the results. Since January 2007, she has owned and managed SOMA Concepts & Solutions, serving clients such as BC Hydro and HSBC Celebration of Lights. As the Marketing Manager for Brian Jessel BMW from 2000 to 2006, Kari developed and managed programs that helped the company grow to become the top-selling BMW dealership in Canada.

Kari now brings her years of experience, direction and strategy to her role as a Director of the Gratitude Week to End Homelessness Foundation.

Lexie Bernstein – Board Member

Lexie Bernstein loves shoes. And boots. But that does not mean he will walk all over you. Just the opposite, in fact. Since its conception in 2002. Global Shoe Connection has become known for its dedication to both customers and suppliers alike. Simply put, people like doing business with us. With Lexie. With every member of the team. A passionate, honest and caring business style allows Global Shoe Connection to be truly connected to its market. Today, we enjoy a strong enthusiastic following.

“We Fit” is a cornerstone of our approach. Showcasing top shoes, handbag and accessory brands, in particular those with contemporary, innovative style and quality craftsmanship, is the natural consequence of our thinking. “We fit” must enjoy equal meaning to everyone connecting to Global Shoe Connection — customer, supplier and work associate. Not surprisingly, it does.

Heather Briggs – Board Member

Heather Briggs is a creative entrepreneur with experience developing brand identities, marketing solutions and campaigns for social enterprises across Canada. She is passionate about helping organizations identify their purpose, understand the needs of the people they serve and develop plans for growth. “When a heart meets strategy,” she explains, “brands have the ability to connect with people in a powerful way”.

Her unique blend of creativity, intuition and a strategic thinking give her an ability to identify and distill complex ideas and design authentic marketing solutions. As an innovator in sustainable design, cause marketing and social entrepreneurship, Heather has played a big role in building awareness for a number of initiatives focused on wellness, sustainability, homelessness, and social innovation.

StreetSmart Project Team

John McMurchy – Chapters Director

Steve Groner – Marketing Director

Heather Briggs – Creative Director

Connie Chang – Digital Director