Announcing Linda Perry's Retirement

A Message from
Linda Perry, Executive Director, Vela Canada
Linda Perry smallOver the last 30+years I have had the privilege of walking with so many of you on your journeys to self-directed supports. Together we’ve created situations that truly reflect your personal goals and dreams. We have struggled together, celebrated together and for me, so many valued relationships were born on this path. I have rich memories of our shared time. I can truly say this has been my life’s calling. What a blessing!
But I, like all people, realize there is a time to recognize that even the most remarkable journeys do come to an end. It was with a great deal of soul searching and consideration that I have come to the decision to retire as Vela’s Executive Director at the end of May 2021.
I can’t imagine my life without my focus on Vela at the core. To say that retiring isn’t a bit scary would be untrue. But I also think it’s time for me to look forward, find new adventures and most importantly, spend more time with my wonderful family.
One of the reasons I feel the time is right for this change is that I am feeling confident that Vela has developed an amazing team. I’ve had the privilege to work with such a remarkable group of people. How lucky we all are to have such a dedicated team providing support. Vela’s Board of Directors is committed to your well-being and work hard to ensure the vision and intent of our work is honored. Our staff team is wise, caring and very skilled. They all go above and beyond when providing support. And we all have learned and benefited from the legacy of amazing work completed by Lori Emanuels and Jeanette Holder, who are now retired.
Linda Vela smI am delighted to announce the Vela Board of Directors’ chose to appoint two people from within our staff team to the Executive Director’s role when I retire: Kim Thomas, our current Office Manager and Fund Development Officer; and Caitlin Goodsell, one of our Senior Facilitators, will be sharing the job. They both have worked for Vela for many years.
Kim has given Vela fifteen years of hard work, creativity, and contribution. Many improvements at Vela can be directly attributable to Kim. She is well known by many of you for her ability to connect with people, and to offer support and kindness as she is often been the first line of support and the “go to” person at the other end of the phone when you call our office. These qualities have been such a gift for Vela. What many don’t see is her support to the maintenance and improvements to our infrastructure and her role keeping Vela running smoothly.
Vela throwback smCaitlin started her connection with Vela many years ago, when as a young adult she came to work for a close family friend’s Microboard. Caitlin has now been with Vela for over twelve years. She has stepped up to take on many challenges in our direct supports to individuals and families. Many of the forms, templates, and information we share, Caitlin has either created or updated. She has done much of the recent research behind the changing landscape of support in British Columbia, most recently during our supports through the COVID pandemic.
 know my retirement may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am absolutely sure the right people are in place to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Over the next several months you will notice signs of this transition as we begin to shift responsibilities. As part of this transition, I will be hanging around for six months after my retirement working part time on a couple of special projects for Vela. So don’t be surprised if you hear from me in my new role, to ask for some stories and wisdom to add to these projects. As of May 28, 2021, your day-to-day supports from Vela will come from Kim, Caitlin and the amazing Vela support team.
My son’s Microboard will be up and running very soon so I will see you at workshops, zoom meetings, and other Vela events, as a fellow family on a self-directed journey. I know it will be wonderful for me to see you all then. You have all taught me so much. And I will be forever grateful. I have so many rich memories and you have been a source of constant inspiration.
Thank you with all my heart,
Linda Perry
Executive Director (retiring May 2021)
Vela Canada