Board of Directors

Community Futures Nicola Valley is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of up to 14 local business people, first nations, government service agencies, and the financial sector who have extensive knowledge and experience of our local economy. Our Board members represent our region’s population and main economic sectors. Their role is to establish our organizations’ priorities, monitor our performance, and answer to key stakeholders. The Directors are selected by nomination and vote by the current Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). 
The goal of the Community Futures Nicola Valley’s Board of Directors is to seek representation from across the region it serves. The term of each Board of Director is one or two years, with a maximum of nine consecutive years served.
Applications for Board Membership will be accepted upon any vacancies which will be advertised. If you have an interest in joining our Board, please download our information package, located at the bottom of this page.
tom reynolds2   

Tom Reynolds

Board Chair

Tom was born in Vancouver.  He graduated from Point Grey High School and went on to UBC where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian History.  He then obtained his Professional Teacher’s Certificate.  
In 1972 he married Shirley St. Cyr.  They have a son, Stephen and a daughter Andrea.  Teaching didn’t work out so he changed to the accounting profession.  In 1975 he entered the Municipal field where he stayed for the next 33 years with 28 of those in a senior position.  He arrived in Merritt in the summer of 2003 to be the City’s Finance Manager.  He retired in February of 2009.
Tom is involved in a number of community organizations, including the Nicola Watershed Community Round Table, Nicola Valley Explorers, the Merritt Centennials and the Merritt Country Run.  He joined Community Futures Development Corporation of the Nicola Valley in the summer of 2015.




Tricia Graham

Vice Chair

After 14 years in the financial services industry Tricia Graham came home to Merritt in 2014 as the Branch Manager at Interior Savings Credit Union.   She is passionate about putting Interior Savings purpose “Making a Positive Difference in People’s Lives” into action each and every day.  

Tricia’s strengths come from her many years in advising members on making their finances work for them as well as 8 years spent in management.  With strong roots in Merritt this is certainly her family’s permanent home.  

Tricia and her husband Ken are thrilled to be able to enjoy the excellent lifestyle Merritt has to offer and love being able to raise their two children, Remington and Jolene, with a love for the beautiful outdoors that surrounds Merritt.  

Tricia’s commitment to the community and passion for volunteering have led her to the involvement she has had in various organizations and community groups.

jack polmans   

Jack Polmans

Board Member & Lending Chair

I moved with my family from Holland in 1952.  Mavis & I were married in 1964 and moved to 100 Mile House and Delta, where we raised our family.  In 2005, after working in the automotive industry as a parts manager, we moved back to Merritt to retire.  We have been involved with the Nicola Valley Museum as Directors, and Co-chair for Country Christmas and volunteering where we could at other events.  I was appointed to six city committees after the 2008 election: City Centre Board, Façade, ATV Taskforce, Spirit of BC Olympic Committee, Olympic Taskforce, and Directional Signage Committee.



Ben Van der Gracht

Board Member

Ben is a lawyer who practices in the areas of corporate / commercial, real estate and wills / estates.  He is a partner at the Kamloops firm Morelli Chertkow LLP.  This firm has maintained an office in Merritt for around 40 years.  

Ben has been working from the Merritt office every Thursday since 2011, and has formed relationships with many members of the community, both individuals and organizations.  

Ben grew up just down the road in Princeton.  Ben earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Kelowna at OUC, and a Law Degree in Vancouver at UBC.  He lived in Korea for 4 years and taught English.  He met his wife there, Sae Jin, and they have been married since 2009.


Noreen Cross

Board Member

Noreen is experienced in financial reporting and analysis.  Along with her husband Jack, she has been the owner of an autobody shop  and is experienced with the challenges of small business operations.  Originally from the lower mainland, Noreen and Jack intentionally re-located to the Nicola Valley for the lifestyle, climate and economic opportunities.

Noreen has been active in the community with organizations ranging from the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Merritt Centennials Hockey Club to the Nicola Valley Cruisers – a well-known custom car club.   Noreen’s ride is an all-original Model T.   Noreen is currently employed as a Finance Coordinator with the Nicola Tribal Association (NTA) and enjoys the amenities of Merritt combined with the advantages rural acreage living offers.

liz touet   

Liz Touet

Board Member

Liz managed Employment Service Centres for 31 years. (14 years with Service Canada and 17 years under contract with Community Futures Nicola Valley).Born in Dawson Creek, BC, Liz grew up in Saskatchewan.   Liz lived in 5 different communities in Saskatchewan as well as Lynn Lake, Manitoba and Whitehorse in the Yukon, before relocating back to British Columbia. Liz and her family spent 6 years in Chetwynd before finally setting down roots in Merritt in 1988.

Prior to her career in Employment Services, Liz worked as a Deputy Clerk for the Territorial Court  in Whitehorse, front-end Manager of the Kindersley Clarion in Saskatchewan and a department head for Beaver Lumber.Liz was a member of the Rotary Club for many years, and is a 2 time Paul Harris Fellow.  Liz also served as a member of the Literacy Taskforce in Merritt.Liz sat as an Ex-Officio member of the first Community Futures Board in Merritt when it selected its first members from the Community.


Jane Bartle

Board Member
Jane was born in Vancouver, raised and educated in Burnaby, achieved a Bachelor of Education at UBC, then continued her life-long learning in a broad range of private and public educational institutes throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories.   Her employment is equally broad ranging from Teaching, Community Development and Group Facilitation, Educational Governance and Financial Management; to support work in Engineering, Law, Insurance, Financial Planning and Academia;  through to small business owner-operator. Jane has been admirably provided for by the great universe of possibility--Community Futures is her opportunity to give back to the universe of possibility so that others may enjoy and prosper.


Jean Perog

Board Member





Members At Large

etelka gillespie   

Etelka Gillespie

Lending Committee Member

After a 35 year career in the newspaper industry and former publisher of the Merritt Herald she brings years of experience to the table with her passion for business, marketing, sales and community work. She now manages the Merritt & District Chamber of Commerce part time and has a publishing company currently active in producing children’s books.  No stranger to the Chamber of Commerce, Etelka has been an active member in every community she lived in since the early 80’s.

Etelka has been involved with Community Futures since arriving to Merritt almost 10 years ago. It is one way to help achieve her motto “ to help make a difference wherever I go”.



Harry Howard

Lending Committee Member

Having been raised in the UK and New Zealand, I arrived in Canada March of 1988 for a three week visit with family and to ski, I am still here.

My career quickly became real estate based, first as a successful Realtor then as a Mortgage Broker which I still do today. My mortgage brokerage business is different to many, in that I used the knowledge base and cash flow of that to branch out to other ventures including lending and land development.

The past 17 years have taught me invaluable lessons through experience. Some of the ventures have been very successful, several were very costly from a personal and financial perspective. The experience gained and lessons learned along the way are invaluable to me, and I hope can be valuable to others as well.