Our Team

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The Catalyst team offers a wealth of experience in real estate development, community based projects, social enterprises and socially progressive business. Together, we’re creating a new model for real estate development that puts people, affordability and community first.

Meet Team Catalyst

Staff

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Robert Brown

President

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Robert Brown

President

I'm very excited to be involved with an organization that is committed to creating a new model to deliver affordable housing and community spaces, while ensuring that real estate assets stay in community ownership in perpetuity.

Robert brings 39 years of real estate, business and non-profit experience to Catalyst.

Robert brings diverse experience to Catalyst. Including work in commercial real estate, market housing development, innovative green building projects, resort development, non-profit development work, and hands-on work with community-based organizations.

He trained in Scotland as a Chartered Surveyor.  After working in many aspects of UK real estate, he came to Vancouver in 1988. After eight years working in a commercial real estate brokerage, Robert created Chesterman Properties, with the goal of undertaking thoughtful, beautiful and inspiring market real estate. Between 2001 and 2008, Robert was also a partner in reSource Rethinking Building, a green building consulting firm that has assisted many large developments and developers to achieve significant improvements in building performance, with a reduced impact on our environment.

Since 2008, Robert has also brought his real estate expertise to work with a variety of not-for-profit organizations seeking to optimize their real estate assets to further their mission and create significant community benefit. It was this work that spawned the idea for Catalyst.

Robert is committed to the community in which he lives and is (and has been) involved in numerous volunteer projects, including: Compassionate Eye FoundationCanadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR); and Tradeworks Training Society.

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Robin Petri

Vice President, Development

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Robin Petri

Vice President, Development

It's great to be part of an organization that works to build stronger communities through creative real estate projects.

Robin brings extensive municipal and private sector experience to Catalyst.

Over the last 15 years, Robin has had key roles in the creation of two of Vancouver’s most inspiring communities: Southeast False Creek, and the River District.

Robin began her work at the City of Vancouver in the Engineering Department, and then moved to the Project Office for Southeast False Creek in 2005, where she was responsible for leading design and construction of parks, public spaces, infrastructure, the heritage Salt Building, as well as liaison roles with various stakeholders. In 2010, Robin was hired as Director of Development at Wesgroup Properties to play a similar role at River District, where she was soon also working on large mixed-use buildings, facilitating development and building permit processes. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering.

When not at work, Robin can be found biking with her family along the seawall or in her community organizing school events, block parties and soccer teams.

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Stephanie Allen

Vice President Project Planning & Parnterships

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Stephanie Allen

Vice President Project Planning & Parnterships

It’s a privilege to work in an organization that is committed to creating affordable housing by putting the needs of people and communities at the centre of what they do.

Stephanie works with community partners to plan affordable housing developments that will help fulfil the mission of their organization.

Stephanie Allen, Vice President Project Planning and Partnerships, started her career in real estate development in 2002 working for private sector firms where she was responsible for acquisition, development, and construction oversight of projects in BC, Alberta and Arizona.  In 2011 she joined BC Housing where her duties included delivering provincially-owned housing projects as well as working in partnership with municipalities, First Nations, and non-profit partners in BC’s North, Interior, and Lower Mainland.

 Stephanie holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, is a certified Project Management Professional, and is currently completing her graduate degree in Urban Studies at SFU. Her research focuses on how housing practice and policy can increase equity and diversity, especially as it relates to marginalized communities.

 Stephanie’s values are grounded in the belief that affordable housing should be available to all, and takes inspiration from the words of Nelson Mandela who said “overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”

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Rob Purdy

CFO

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Rob Purdy

CFO

I am excited to be involved with such a talented, creative, and passionate team.

Rob brings over a decade of accounting and finance experience to the Catalyst team including property development, construction, banking, and professional practice. 

Rob received his CA designation with KPMG in their Toronto office and then moved the UK to gain experience in corporate finance, working in both London and Edinburgh. 

Upon returning to Canada he took on the position of CFO with a Vancouver-based contractor and developer, and was involved in the successful delivery of a number of high-profile projects, primarily on the North Shore. He now shares his time between a small number of highly entrepreneurial, innovative organizations, including Catalyst. 

Rob is passionate about helping young organizations navigate their early years and is driven by innovative ideas that are bringing something new to the world.  Away from work he is an avid sports enthusiast and proud father of two young boys. 

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Helen Lui

Development Coordinator

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Helen Lui

Development Coordinator

I am excited about working with Catalyst to develop affordable housing through practical and thoughtful solutions that enhance our communities.

Helen is passionate about bringing positive impact through thoughtful urban development.

As Development Coordinator, Helen supports the Catalyst team in project delivery including: design development, municipal approvals and construction administration.

Helen Lui graduated from UBC with a Bachelor in Arts and a specialization in Environmentalism and Sustainability. She has worked in a variety of roles, from environmental governance, to waste management, to modular development. Prior to joining Catalyst, she worked as a green building consultant on a variety of mixed-use development projects across the Lower Mainland.

Helen is passionate about bringing positive impact through urban development. She is driven to enhancing our built environment via thoughtful and practical design and construction that is mindful of its inhabitants, communities, and partnerships.

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Scott Lee

Accountant

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Scott Lee

Accountant

I believe the work that Catalyst is doing is crucial to providing sustainable and affordable housing in our challenging real estate market and I am proud to be a part of it.

Scott provides financial and project accounting support to the management team.

From 2009 to 2016, Scott served as the Director Finance of GNW Trust – a Trust jointly owned by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and British Columbia Institute of Technology. The Trust is actively redeveloping its 14-acre property (a brownfield site formerly owned by Finning International) to create a new district for digital media companies, entrepreneurs, students and artists.

Scott is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) and graduated from Simon Fraser University with Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.

Board

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Bob Ransford

Board Chair

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Bob Ransford

Board Chair

The physical form of our settlements -- the places where people live, work, learn and play-- hugely influence how we relate to each other and build community. Unlocking the value of real estate to help shape that physical form and build community is what Catalyst is really all about.

Bob has worked in the Lower Mainland urban development sector for more than 28 years.

Bob is Vice President, Acquisitions and Investments, for Century Group, a real estate development and property management company in business in Metro Vancouver for more than 50 years.

Prior to joining Century Group, Bob worked as an independent public affairs consultant and urban designer, specializing in navigating the complex public processes surrounding urban development issues and complicated land use challenges. He has an extensive understanding of public policy development, the political process, public affairs and communications, having pursued an earlier career at a senior political level in governments in Ottawa and Victoria.

Bob has been involved as a senior advisor in municipal politics and as a journalist most of his adult life. He wrote a regular bi-weekly column in the Vancouver Sun daily newspaper on housing and urban development issues for 14 years. He is a former Commissioner on the City of Vancouver’s Planning Commission and has sat on the City’s Urban Design Panel. He was also on the Granville Island Trust for five years and was President of Smart Growth BC. He is a former Chairman and board member of EasyPark- the Parking Corporation of Vancouver, and is currently a Director on the Board of the Vancity Community Foundation, a founding Director of Small Housing BC, and is the past chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast British Columbia Foundation, where he has volunteered for more than a decade.

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Erin Tait

Vice-Chair, Secretary, & Governance Committee Chair

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Erin Tait

Vice-Chair, Secretary, & Governance Committee Chair

Catalyst provides guidance and expertise through partnerships that enable organizations to unlock value and create more efficient use of space, that will help to serve our community for years to come.

Erin is a leading Vancouver real estate development lawyer.

Erin is a partner in the Commercial Real Estate Group at Koffman Kalef LLP. She is a leading Vancouver real estate development lawyer, whose practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions and development matters. She represents clients in all aspects of real estate transactions including acquisitions and sales of office, retail, industrial, hotel and development properties.

Erin advises clients on the creation and implementation of real estate ownership structures such as joint ventures, co-ownership agreements, limited partnership and shareholder arrangements, and advises on real estate development matters including, development permit, subdivision and servicing requirements, site assembly matters, including air space parcel subdivisions.

Erin also frequently advises developers on compliance matters under the Real Estate Development Marketing Act and the Strata Property Act and prepares Disclosure Statements and purchase and sale agreements for residential and mixed use developments.

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Tim Grant

Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair

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Tim Grant

Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair

Catalyst is an advocate, advisor and partner for a wide variety of charities and not for profit organizations integral to our communities and enhances their long-term success through supporting strategic utilization of their real estate assets.

Tim brings his training as a CA to his active participation in Lower Mainland real estate development.

Tim Grant is Vice President, Investment with PCI Developments Corp., a privately owned Vancouver, B.C. based real estate developer & investor specializing in urban, transit oriented, mixed-use development, including some of Vancouver’s most notable projects in this discipline. PCI frequently works in partnership with institutional, public or private investors and stakeholders. 

Tim’s primary activities with PCI include acquisitions, asset & development management and development partnership structuring & reporting. Prior to joining PCI, Tim was a member of Colliers International’s National Investment Services Team, where he was involved in a wide variety of major real estate transactions across Canada. 

Tim is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and graduated from Dartmouth College (USA) with Bachelor of Arts in Economics, focused in Finance.

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Matthew Carter

Board Director & Projects Committee Chair

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Matthew Carter

Board Director & Projects Committee Chair

Catalyst is filling an important niche in this important space and pioneering a new model that will significantly contribute to resolving some of the challenging pressures facing our community.

Matthew is the founder and principal of MGC Projects, a Vancouver-based real estate development firm.

MGC Projects is currently involved in various market residential development projects in British Columbia.

From 2009 to 2016, Matthew served as the President of Great Northern Way Trust – a Trust jointly owned by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design and British Columbia Institute of Technology. The Trust is actively redeveloping its 14-acre property (a brownfield site formerly owned by Finning International) to create a new district for digital media companies, entrepreneurs, students and artists. Although no longer the President, Matthew continues to assist the Trust as a development consultant.

Prior to GNW Trust, Matthew served as Vice President at UBC Properties Trust, a real estate development company owned by the University of British Columbia (UBC). He led initiatives to advance UBC’s vision to build a sustainable, mixed-use community on its Point Grey campus while creating an endowment to support its academic mission.

Matthew has an undergraduate degree from Oxford Brookes University in England and is a Chartered Surveyor. Originally from the UK, Matthew worked with Citigroup in London before emigrating to Canada in 2002. He is married with three children and lives in the Douglas Park area of Vancouver.

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Dr. Mark Roseland

Board Director

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Dr. Mark Roseland

Board Director

Catalyst offers proof that there is another way to create wealth and secure affordable housing. Catalyst is at the cutting edge of a new approach to sustainable real estate development, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Dr. Roseland lectures internationally and advises communities and governments on sustainable development policy and planning. 

Dr. Roseland is Professor of Planning in the graduate School of Resource and Environmental Management and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University. The 4th edition of Dr. Roseland’s best-selling book, Toward Sustainable Communities, was published in June 2012 and released at the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability 2012 World Congress and International Researchers Symposium, associated with the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Dr. Roseland is also leading development of Pando | Sustainable Communities, a new network for sustainable communities researchers and practitioners. 

At SFU, he is a founding member of the SFU Community Trust’s Board of Directors, responsible for the award-winning UniverCity sustainable community development project.  Dr. Roseland has been cited by the Vancouver Sun as one of Vancouver’s “top 50 living public intellectuals,” and he was the 2012 recipient of the SFU Sustainability Network Award for Excellence in Research on Sustainability. In 2013 Dr. Roseland took a leave from SFU to serve a short term as City Planner for the City of North Vancouver.

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Karyn French

Board Director & Governance Committee Member

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Karyn French

Board Director & Governance Committee Member

Catalyst is taking an innovative approach, which is providing more than housing and a shelter, it is providing homes and opportunities for people actively participate in the creation of community.

Karyn is committed to affordable housing and is excited to be on the Catalyst board of directors.

Karyn has worked for over 28 years in the non-profit sector on Vancouver Island.  Fifteen of those years were focused on social housing and homelessness.  From 2000 to 2003, Karyn was the Executive Director at Greater Victoria Housing Society before moving to the Executive Director role at Pacifica Housing until 2015.  It is this experience that she brings to the board of Catalyst, which includes property management, community engagement, housing and homelessness support services, plus social housing development including new builds from land acquisition, design, construction to occupancy and renovations repurposing existing multi-unit sites to supported housing from ‘rent geared to income’ and mixed models with market/low end of market units.   

Karyn served on the board of directors of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association for seven years including two years as President.  Although Karyn is now working for Greater Victoria Police Victim Services, she continues to be committed to affordable housing and is excited to be on the Catalyst board of directors.

Karyn has an undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta and is a lifelong learner.  She is married with two sons and one granddaughter and lives in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

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