Candidate Bios

There are 9 director positions, two youth positions, and one staff representative position up for election.

Director Candidates

Annie Danilko

I’ve been involved with Britannia for many years. I first volunteered with Off the Grill and then with the Seniors, Elders and Advocates (SEA) Committee. I ran for the board in 2017 to represent the SEA Committee and ensure that there would be dedicated spaces and resources for seniors—and especially low-income seniors—in Britannia’s future.

I have been President for the last year as we’ve been working on the rezoning phase of the Renewal. All five partners are dedicated to reconciliation through the Renewal process—and as a member of the Haida Nation, I am happy to help guide the reconciliation process.

I am on the SEA, Board Development, Planning and Development, Finance, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression, Reconciliation in Action, and Arena Committees. It’s been so important to me to hear first hand what people’s needs and wants are for the future of Britannia so that I can best represent the community as we move forward with the Renewal.


John Flipse

John is passionate about Grandview-Woodlands. He has been the Treasurer on the Board of Management for his last 4 terms. A native Vancouverite and world traveler, John moved to Commercial Drive 22 years ago and has never looked back. Becoming a father 18 years ago was John’s main motivation for helping initiate the renewal of Grandview Park and his desire to complete the revitalization of Britannia Community Centre. He has been active on the Britannia Planning and Development Committee since 2010 and sat on the Grandview Woodlands Area Council as both a Board Director and a member of its Heritage Subcommittee.

John brings to the Britannia Board a strong desire to renew and revitalize Britannia Centre and leverage its unique structure to create a multi-purpose recreational facility that will serve the growing needs of Grandview-Woodlands residents.

Farren Gillaspie

My 1 ½ terms on the Britannia Board have been an incredible experience. I have been involved with the Anti-Racism and Oppression Committee, the Renewal Committee and the SEA Committee. My main focus over the last few months has been with the Pool and Fitness Committee and the Reconciliation in Action Committee. I’m inspired by the dedication and integrity of my fellow board members. It has been a continuous learning curve and seldom a dull moment! I am dedicated to preserving and encouraging the diversity that makes Britannia unique and special.

I have lived in the Britannia area for twenty years, with my partner and rescue dog. As the three amigos, we are constantly walking the neighbourhood and actively support Neighbourhood Watch.


Pat Hogan

I believe in creating and working in community. It’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding to know that together we can and do make a difference.

I’m a longtime member of Quirke, the Queer Imaging & Riting Kollective for Elders, which has been meeting in Britannia’s AML Lounge for 16 years and before that at the 411 Seniors Centre. Having served on Britannia’s Board now for 2 years and the Arts & Culture Committee, I have a better understanding and appreciation for the incredible work that Britannia has done and continues to do for the Grandview Woodlands neighbourhood, as well as to all who call Britannia their home community.

Much of my paid work is and was also my activism: the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective; co-organizing and running a transition house for women in Vernon; writing grant applications, establishing and running education courses for housing co-op members; founding a music/cultural events production company; owning Josephine’s, a Commercial Drive café; founding and co-organizing BOLDFest, a 17-year-old conference and gathering for older lesbians.


Sonia Massaro

I’ve lived and worked in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood for most of my life. Britannia played a central role in my childhoodI spent a lot of time in the weight room practicing gymnastics as a preteen and teen, with Giles spotting my practice (thanks Giles!). I took skating lessons at the ice rink, swam in the pool, and learned how to play pool and foosball at the Teen Centre. The library has always been my refuge. I was even on the high school gymnastics team in grade 11. As an adult, I volunteered at the Al Mattison Lounge with the seniors.

I’d like to be more engaged within the community and I'd like to be a voice for the community centre that was so central to the many phases of my life. I currently work in the neighbourhood as a building manager in the non-profit housing sector, and I’d like to gain some experience volunteering as a Board member so I can be a stronger advocate for the community in general. This neighbourhood is my community and I want it to be the best it can beand I’d like to contribute in any small way I can.


Craig Ollenberger

My name is Craig Ollenberger. I'm a local community organizer and have lived on the Drive for nearly twenty years. My wife Sheila and I have raised our three children here. We all spend a lot of time at Britannia.

I've been on the Brit Board for many years and I still find that everyday I learn more about the amazing breadth of things Brit does for this community. I'm really proud to be part of helping that work to happen.

Over the last few years, I've become quite deeply involved in the Britannia Renewal process, a role I've found really interesting and valuable. The Renewal is a chance for Britannia and Vancouver to make real steps along a path to Reconciliation and to strengthen our work in this community for generations to come. I hope you'll all continue to put your trust in me to represent this community and guide Britannia into a new era.

Ashki Shkur

My name is Ashki Shkur. I use she/her pronouns and I am a grade 12 student at Britannia Secondary School. When I moved to Canada in 2017 from Kurdistan, the Britannia community welcomed me with open arms, and it is for that reason that I want to represent my community in return.

I have countless volunteer experiences within and outside of Britannia, but most importantly I have been on the board as a Youth Representative for two years. I am currently my student council president and I am the founder of two organizations (The Ripple Effect and Girls Can Talk Society). After two years of mostly listening and observing, I am excited to run for a director position with more knowledge and experience. Thank you for your time—and if elected I can’t wait to have the opportunity to work with you!


Matt Smith

Hello, my name is Matt Smith. I live on William Street in Grandview-Woodlands with my wife, two kids, and our dog. I currently volunteer as a soccer coach with Britannia Community Centre’s Micro Footie league, frequently use Britannia’s pool and library, and my children are regulars at Funseekers Daycamp.

I also volunteer with the City of Vancouver’s Emergency Support Services and in the past I have been a board member of the Hastings-Sunrise Community Policing Centre, the Impacts of Olympics on Community Coalition, and Think City. I recently completed an MBA certificate and have a MA from U of T’s Department of Geography and Urban Planning. Professionally, I provide budgeting and business planning services to non-profits and progressive enterprises.

Britannia Community Centre is a vibrant and essential hub of the Grandview-Woodlands community. As the Renewal progresses, I would be proud to bring my skills and learnings to the board and participate in sustaining and growing the role Britannia plays in our community.


Oliver Tennant

My name is Oliver Tennant and as it relates to the Britannia community, I am a few things. Firstly, I am a neighbour that lives only two blocks away and visits Britannia multiple times a week. Whether it be to go to the pool, library, skatepark or field, Britannia has become a big part of my day-to-day life, as well as source of my community and extracurricular activities.

Secondly, I am an avid skateboarder and co-chair of the newly formed Britannia Skateboard Committee—Britannia's most recently recognized Committee! Our mission is to build partnerships with other Britannia community groups, ensure a safe and clean space for all ages and abilities at The Courts skatepark and work towards the implementation of a skatepark within the Britannia Renewal.

Thirdly, I am a real estate development industry professional with 5 years experience managing development permits, building permits, rezonings and overall project design of developments in a variety of asset classes and housing types. I was invited to apply to become a member of the Board of Directors at Britannia and eagerly applied, as I look forward to putting my efforts into making Britannia the best it can be over a two-year term.


Naina Varshney

Naina Varshney is a long-time user of the facilities at Britannia Community Centre and has been a Director on the Britannia Board of Management since November 2017. A resident of the neighborhood for over 30 years, she presently sits on the Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Committee and Grandview Woodlands Food Connection Advisory Committee. Naina is passionate about accessibility, placemaking, and innovative design, and strongly supports creating equitable and inclusive gathering spaces for the community. When not volunteering or working as an accessibility consultant, you can find her gardening, painting, and enjoying live music on the Drive.



Youth Candidates

Grace Caruso

My name is Grace Caruso and I am a grade 11 student at Britannia Secondary. I was born in Vancouver and grew up in the Grandview Woodland area where I participated in events and activities happening at Britannia. I am the Editor of the school newspaper and an executive of Leo club, the volunteer group at my school. Britannia has always felt like home to me and opened up many doors for youth in the community. I want to give back as much as possible and share my voice, along with others, to represent and include youth.


Emma Xu

Hello! I am Emma Xu (she/her) and I am a grade 11 student at Britannia Secondary School. I am currently involved in many clubs and activities at school, such as being on the Community Committee on Student Council, President of Green Club, Recycling Manager, and Secretary of Britannia Secondary’s 2022-2023 Student Council. 

I would love to be part of Britannia’s Board of Management because I want to give back to the community where I feel safe, loved, and where I call home. I will listen to the voices of the youth in our community. I will do my best to represent the youth in our community. I will speak up for the voices that need to be heard. Thank you for this opportunity to contribute more to the community.