A Few Parting Words From Deborah Conner, 2016/17 Executive Director

As of July 28, 2017, I will be embarking on a new journey, and saying good-bye to the B.C. Schizophrenia Society family. I will be leaving this incredible organization to pursue one of my dreams of living on the East Coast, close to family and friends. Before I go, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we are now and the exciting plans for the future.

BCSS will always hold a special spot in my heart; it has been part of my professional and volunteer life for more than a decade. Titles I have held include Development Director, Volunteer Society Director, Volunteer Society President, Volunteer Foundation President, Operations Manager and, most recently, Executive Director. In addition to these formal descriptions, I have always been a donor and general volunteer. I am honoured to have had this opportunity to watch the organization mature over the years, thanks to the support and guidance of so many wonderful BCSS trailblazers. My family has been personally impacted by the support and compassion of this organization, and I will always hold that experience close to my heart.

It is with considerable gratification that I can report on the growth of our organization and its ability to support even more families across our province. Through the government’s investment of $3 million, we now have Regional Educators in every region in B.C., thus enabling a significant expansion of our programs, and increasing our outreach and support of families affected by severe and persistent mental illness. Today, there are family support groups, direct emergency support, Partnership Education Presentations and Strengthening Families Together programs wherever we have Regional Educators.

As I leave, BCSS will launch its endowment campaign to ensure the four pillars of BCSS are well supported into the future: education, support, advocacy and research. Additionally, BCSS will be launching an international conference in October 2018, which is now in the early planning stages. This conference will shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with lived experience and families affected by severe and persistent mental illness, while highlighting hopeful strategies for wellness. I am optimistic the team at BCSS (staff and volunteers) will have increased resources from these two initiatives to support their excellent work.

I will always be thankful for the strong support of everyone with whom I have had the opportunity to work. Each and every one of these individuals embodies BCSS’ motto: a reason to hope and the means to cope.

Deborah Conner
Executive Director
B.C. Schizophrenia Society