Leadership & Staff

Zajac Ranch for Children

Zajac Ranch Society Board of Directors

Matt Carver


Tom Wong (Chairman, Treasurer)

TCW Associates Ltd. (director since June 2018)

Sheila Smith

Retired Administrator

Zajac Ranch for Children

The Mel Jr. & Marty Zajac Foundation Board of Directors

Mel Zajac (Chairman) 

Founder, The Mel Jr. & Marty Zajac Foundation (director since 1997)

 Corinne Zajac

Corinne Zajac & Associates

Carl Joosse

President, Black Dog Limited (director since 2010)

Jeffrey Uppal

President & Founder, Velox Partnerships (director since 2014)

Howard A. Blank

President & CEO, Point Blank Entertainment (director since 2018)

Tom Wong

TCW Associates Ltd (director since 2012)

Byron Wilson

Founder, Azuro Concepts Inc. (director since 2010)

Rick Bourne

President, Langara Fishing Adventures (director since 2019)

Bradley Scharfe

President, Co-Chairman & CEO, Scharfe Group of Companies (director since 2019)

Wendy Hartley

Principal, Hartley PR (director since 2019)

Gino Crudo

Owner & Operator, Paramount Projects General Contractors

Stephen Jagger

Co-Founder, addy Technology Corp.

Alexandria Lee

General Manager, Cactus Club Café

Lisa Williamson

Marketing & Communications Manager, Canadian Association
of Public Schools - International

Zajac Ranch for Children

The Mel Jr. & Marty Zajac Foundation Advisory Board

David Aisenstat

President & CEO, Keg Restaurants Ltd

John Devita

President, CT Control Temp

Honourable John Reynolds, P.C.

Senior Strategic Advisor, McMillan LLP

Zajac Ranch for Children

Ranch & Foundation Staff

Mel Zajac, Chairman

Mel’s present project, The Zajac Ranch for Children, is his most ambitious project yet. Mel’s drive, determination and devotion to his dream of creating a camp for children who otherwise would never have the opportunity to go to camp has become a reality. View a complete biography of Mel Zajac.

Carmen Zajac, President

Carmen Zajac began her career in the hospitality industry at the Pacific Palisades Hotel.  She went on to the realm of commercial real estate and property management and moved to Arizona, where she attained her Real Estate License as well as her Commercial Pilot’s License. 

In 1986 and 1987, Carmen’s two brothers, Mel Jr. and Marty, tragically passed away in separate sporting accidents.  To honour their memories and create a family legacy of caring in our province her father, Mel Zajac Sr., founded the Mel Jr. & Marty Zajac Foundation.  The Zajac Foundation is committed to supporting seniors, children, and persons with special needs through innovative community projects focused on developing life long skills and independence.

For over 20 years, Carmen has served as the President of the Zajac Foundation.  She works closely with her father in the management of their various community initiatives, such as the Zajac Norgate House and the Zajac Ranch for Children.  Part of Carmen’s role as President is to meet with government officials, voluntary health organizations, corporations and service groups to ensure the development of the Zajac Ranch, which provides a unique camping opportunity for children with life threatening and chronic illnesses and disabilities.

Carmen lives in North Vancouver with her husband and two sons.

Graham George, CPA, CGA


Graham earned his accounting designation in 2008. Upon completing his academic goals, Graham volunteered for many events and finance-related positions in the non-profit sector in his spare time. He jumped at the opportunity to gain employment in a charity in 2015 and has enjoyed working in the sector ever since. Graham enjoys working with the Zajac Ranch because of the positive and inspirational experiences that children have at the Ranch. Aside from accounting, Graham enjoys the outdoors and regularly competes in running races (10km to full marathons).

Guy Paetkau, bCRE

Office Supervisor & Staff Liaison

Guy’s background includes Database Management, Donor Relations, Payroll, Accounting and Office Management. His passion and dedication for non-profit comes from making a difference in peoples’ lives. Working and being around children is a natural fit which stems from a large extended family of all ages.

Justin Mercier

Sales & Registration Coordinator

Justin grew up on a Ranch in Kamloops B.C. and moved to Vancouver in 2016. He has a background in Hospitality and has many years of experience coaching horseback riding for children. He spent his childhood volunteering at a therapeutic riding club and has always dreamed of working in the non-profit sector.

Amanda Tipper, bCRE-Pro

Development Coordinator

Amanda is a Communications graduate from SFU with a passion for working with non-profit organizations. During her studies, she held a co-op position at the Terry Fox Foundation as the Development Coordinator, and upon completion of her degree, she transitioned to Marketing and Office Coordinator. Before joining the Zajac Foundation, she worked at BCIT as the Assistant to Major Gifts then the Advancement Systems Coordinator. Outside of the office, Amanda enjoys curling, yoga, walks with her dog and watching movies with her partner Jon.

Vera Pina

Camp Director

Vera spent her first summer off University working as a camp counsellor in the US; by the end of the summer she knew she wanted to devote her life to working in the summer camp industry. She worked at 4 different residential summer camps before combining her degree in Psychology with her camp experience and becoming the Iberian representative for one of the largest summer camp recruitment agencies. Her next adventure took her to NY where she worked as an assistant camp director at a top ranked summer camp. Upon returning to the UK, Vera implemented the North American summer camp model in a pioneer international summer camp where she spent the last 5 years as a Camp Director. Vera is incredibly excited to be part of Zajac Ranch camp and to help bring the magic of summer camps to those who need it the most.

Stephanie Richter

Assistant Camp Director

A fairly new addition to Canada, Stephanie joined Zajac Ranch in August 2019. Stephanie earned her degree in Sustainable Tourism Management in Germany and as an outdoor enthusiast is excited to help provide children and young adults with the opportunity to experience all the great activities summer camp has to offer.