RAPS Board 2020

FearnEdmondsFearn Edmonds
Board President and Executive Board Member

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Fearn has been with RAPS for more than 20 years (since it was Richmond Homeless Cats) and has been instrumental in the organization’s growth as it has become the large, multifaceted organization it is today.

She is proud of the diverse and talented team of individuals RAPS attracts, each of whom is advancing the mission of the organization every day. Fearn believes in providing the tools and opportunities for all individuals to reach their greatest potential. She brings a background in marketing, public relations and community social services to RAPS and is committed to continuous learning and development to improve the various ways she benefits the animals and people she serves. As Chair of the Board, Fearn is a leader and a role model in the community, educating the public and providing advocacy for animals.

Catherine EllesmereCatherine Ellsmere 
Vice President and Executive Board Member

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Catherine has been involved with RAPS for more than 15 years and has served on the board for almost the entire time. She brings to the organization a strong business management, marketing and communications background, having worked in management and supervisory capacities for several large retail chains and having owned and operated her own successful business for the past 25 years.

In addition to serving on the RAPS Board, Catherine has volunteered with the Sanctuary and with the Thrift Store. She is committed to seeing RAPS continue to grow more efficient, provide more opportunities, and improve the quality and care for all animals in the community.

Rebeka Breder B.A. Joint Honours, J.D.
Board Member  

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Rebeka Breder has been recognized as one of Canada’s 25 most influential lawyers. She is possibly the country’s foremost expert in animal law. After practising for over a decade in a large, leading downtown Vancouver law firm in animal law and civil litigation, Rebeka draws on her extensive experience to offer efficient legal representation as a founding lawyer at Breder Law, Western Canada’s first law firm to focus exclusively on animal law.

She has experience at all levels of court and various tribunals. Rebeka’s passion for animal protection and welfare started at an early age, while she was growing up in Montreal. Rebeka is known as a trailblazer in developing Animal Law in Canada. She founded the first Animal Law section of the Canadian Bar Association in Canada and is the founder and current Chair of the Animal Law section, B.C. Branch. She dedicates a lot of her time to animal protection causes and sits on the Board of Directors of the Vancouver Humane Society.

Rebeka’s animal law practice includes: defending “dangerous” dogs, veterinary malpractice suits, general urban animal and wildlife matters, challenging government over the protection of animals, breeder disputes, condominium disputes involving companion animals and pet custody disputes. Rebeka acts exclusively in matters that can develop the rights and welfare of animals. See practice areas here.

Rebeka is a founder of the UBC Animal Law course, and she has been an Adjunct Professor. Rebeka is also a frequent lecturer at various speaking engagements and schools. The media also often interviews her on various topical issues in the news.

“Rebeka Breder has worked with RAPS on a number of issues over the years and are delighted to welcome her to the Board of Directors,” says Fearn Edmonds, RAPS’ president. “It is a testament to the professionalization of RAPS and the esteem in which our organization is held that we are able to attract top individuals like Rebeka to serve with us and advance our no-kill mission. RAPS is in a time of exciting growth and change. With Rebeka’s expertise, we are more equipped than ever to launch full-steam into our very bright future.”

MargaretMargaret Leathley   
Board Member

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Being on the RAPS board for more than a decade has equipped Margaret with knowledge of all the important facets of the organization and confirmed how important animal welfare is to her and all who volunteer beside her.

The vision that has always driven RAPS as an organization is now ensuring even more achievements and seeing dreams become reality. Margaret has spent three decades working at the University of B.C., most of those years in the Pension Office, where her first love is helping the staff at UBC in their plans for retirement. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Management and Professional Staff as a member-at-large and sits on various committees dealing with benefits, employee engagement and policies and procedures. On the animal side, Margaret has two cats who love her husband (who is allergic to them) more than they love her, which is why she loves her time at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary – “cats that will let me pet them and want to be with me! What a wonderful feeling – nothing like it in the world.”

Keith Liedtke 
Board Member and Capital Campaign Committee

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Born in Montreal and raised in a small town just north of Toronto, Keith attended Centennial College of Applied Arts & Technology, majoring in Journalism. At the age of 21, Keith opened his own travel agency in Markham, Ontario (Markham Travel Centre) growing it from nothing into one of the largest retail travel companies in Southern Ontario.

After 27 years in the travel tourism sector, which brought Keith to Richmond, he became licensed as a Realtor and he enjoys serving his clients and giving back to his Richmond community. Keith started his career as a Residential Realtor in 2006 (spending all 12 years with the same company) – RE/MAX Westcoast, based in Richmond. Keith serves on various not-for-profit Boards in Richmond. He is the past chair of the Gateway Theatre and Richmond Museum boards, former vice president of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, and currently serves as a director of The Bayit Synagogue. Fundraising is a big part of Keith’s life. He has served proudly on BC Children’s Hospital Miracle Panel – representing RE/MAX of Western Canada. Keith is married to Liz, a Leukemia Bone Marrow Nursing Specialist based at VGH. They have lived in their home in Steveston for the last 16 years and love their community. They have a grown son and two granddaughters.

Ayelet Weil
Board Member 

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Ayelet is the Associate Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and is transitioning to become second in command as Vice-President. As Assistant Director of the largest Jewish organization in Western Canada, Ayelet is in charge of overseeing the budgeting and allocations of a $15 million organization. She manages a large Board of Directors and sub-committees for the Jewish Federation. In addition, she oversees allocations and relationships with 37 separate Jewish agencies in British Columbia.

Ayelet has an impressive background in non-profit management, community relations and development. Her extensive charity, board governance and operational expertise will lend well to assist RAPS with meeting the highest standards in dealing with policies, protocols and human resources issues, especially when it comes to conflict resolution and mediation issues, with marketing, public relations and development/fundraising. She oversaw the most successful women’s philanthropy campaign ever conducted by the Jewish Federation.

Ayelet has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy – Conflict Resolution and Mediation, bringing great skills and expertise to our Board. She served as the Executive Board Member and Mediator for Minds of Peace, which brings Israeli and Palestinians together. Ayelet’s many achievements include being honoured in 2017 as one of the Jewish Independent’s “18 under 36” young leaders. All of these skills, experiences and her formal education bring a diverse set of expertise to the RAPS’ Board of Directors.

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