Board & Staff

Toronto Office

Kent Schroeder, Executive Director

Kent has led a variety of development initiatives in Bhutan since 2006 and joined BCF in 2019. His work has focused on building capacity within Bhutanese institutions to help strengthen the country’s young democracy. Kent has also undertaken a major research agenda that was formally recognized by the Prime Minister of Bhutan in 2015 for its contributions to Gross National Happiness, the country’s national development strategy. He has a PhD in International Development Studies/Political Science and is the author of Politics of Gross National Happiness: Governance and Development in Bhutan.

Tenzing Dorji, Program Manager

Tenzing joined the BCF team in April 2021. Prior to moving to Toronto, Tenzing was involved in various development projects in Bhutan where he worked as a program officer for The Bhutan Foundation, based in Washington D.C. and then in Thimphu. He then moved to Toronto to complete a graduate certificate in International Development at Humber College in 2019. He also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International studies from The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota.

Catherine Smart, Project Director, Trans Bhutan Trail Project

Catherine joined the BCF team in September 2019. Catherine has provided leadership to many organizations during her career including Independents Afloat (founder) and Smart Move Inc. (founder), March of Dimes, Outward Bound, Tourism Toronto and Toronto Brigantine Inc. She has also been a board member for many charitable and service activities including Canadian Standards Association (Chair), Ontario Head Injury Association, Camp Awakening, Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce (Chair), among others. Her areas of expertise include project management, accessibility solutions, leadership coaching, marketing and communications. Cathy is certified through the Coaches Training Institute and holds a Diploma in Recreation Therapy. She has trekked, paddled, skied and sailed in many places around the world.

Stephen Couchman, Project Director, Trans Bhutan Trail Project

Stephen joined the BCF team in September 2019. For 18 years Stephen worked in philanthropy as Senior Advisor to an anonymous donor. More recently he was Executive Director of the Huronia Community Foundation. Stephen has held several volunteer positions including founding director and Chair of the Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, advisor to Ashoka Canada and Futurpreneur. Stephen has helped to establish and expand new programs and organizations including Vital Signs, the Canada Learning Bond and Global Entrepreneurship Week (Canada). In his early career, he was a Program Director with Outward Bound Canada and helped to found Summit Training & Development. Stephen holds a BA in International Development, a Masters in Environmental Studies and Executive Development Certification with the Ivey School of Business. Stephen spends his free time in the outdoors supporting local environmental and community activities, blazing trails and building bridges.

Thimphu Office

Karma Tshering, Field Director

Karma joined BCF when it first open its doors in 2009. Karma has an extensive career working in development in Bhutan, which to date spans over 30 years. Prior to BCF, he has worked with a number of internationally funded development projects, most notably the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for almost two decades. Karma has held multiple positions within BCF and has supported numerous activities to facilitate partnerships and build capacity within the education sector. In his spare time Karma enjoys playing archery, the national sport in Bhutan.  

Kezang Wangmo, Program Officer

Kezang joined BCF in March 2018. She has previously worked as a marketing executive in a private company and as a reservation manager in one of the travel agents in Bhutan. She holds a Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) from International Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), India. She enjoys engaging in social interaction and meeting new people. She also likes working with her hands from cleaning to manual work.

Sonam Rinchen, Senior Project Director, Trans Bhutan Trail Project

Sonam joined the Trans Bhutan Trail project as its Senior Project Director in March 2020. Sonam had an extensive career in the Royal Government of Bhutan and held numerous positions in the Bhutanese civil service. He superannuated in 2018 from the service after 35 years of successful tenure in service of Tsawa Sum (The King, Country and People). The last position he held was as Dzongda (Governor) of Trongsa Province. Sonam holds a Masters Degree (MPA) from the Pennsylvania State University (USA). In his spare time, he enjoys playing archery.

Chair of the Board

Sam Blyth, Founder and Chair

Sam Blyth was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge BA(Hons) MA and is a Fellow Commoner of the College and member of the Vice Chancellor’s Circle. He is trustee of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution and the Founder and former CEO of Blyth Academy, Canada’s leading private school group by enrollment. He has been a regular visitor to Bhutan since 1988 and is a member of the National Order of Merit (Gold).

Directors of the Board

A. Ian Aitken, Director

Mr. Aitken is a professional investor and long-time supporter of entrepreneurship education in Canada. He is the Managing Partner of Pembroke Management, the Chief Executive Officer of Pembroke Private Wealth Management and the Chief Executive Officer of The GBC American Growth Fund. In addition, Mr. Aitken serves as the Chairman of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship, a registered Canadian charity and as a Director of the John Dobson Foundation. He is also a past president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal. Mr. Aitken has had a great interest in Bhutan since his first visit to the country during 1997.

David Beatty, Director

David Beatty C.M., O.B.E., is widely recognized as Canada’s leading authority on corporate governance. He is a Professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto where he runs the David and Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation. He still overseas the Canadian Directors’ Education Program now in its 15th year having already trained some 6,000 prominent Canadians. He has served on over 40 Boards of Directors of publicly traded companies and been Chairman of 8 in Canada, Australia, Mexico, the USA and the UK. He is an angel investor in a number of start-ups in Canada and the US. David is also the former Honorary Consul for Papua New Guinea to Canada.

Stewart Beck, Director

Stewart Beck is the President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Prior to joining APF Canada, Mr. Beck served as the Canadian High Commissioner to the Republic of India with concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Bhutan and to Nepal. He joined Canada’s Department of External Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada) in 1982 and served abroad in the United States, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China. In Ottawa, he held a number of progressively more senior positions, including Director General of the North Asia Bureau, Director General Responsible for Senior Management and Rotational Assignments, and Assistant Deputy Minister for International Business Development, Investment, and Innovation. He was Consul General in Shanghai and prior to his posting to India, he was Consul General in San Francisco.

Madeleine Blyth, Director

Madeleine runs the Techstars Barclays fintech accelerator, arguably the world’s most selective fintech programme. In this role, she has invested in, and supported, over 20 startups over the last two years. At just 25, she has scouted and held meetings with upwards of 400 entrepreneurs in more than 12 countries and is a fixture judge and mentor at London startup events. Prior to this, Madeleine has managed business development and growth for several London-based startups. 

Madeleine has had a lifelong love for Bhutan. Growing up, her house was a billet home for Bhutanese students, some of whom remain like members of her family. She has travelled to Bhutan several times and, in 2012, she spent a month in Bhutan conducting anthropological field research for her thesis on the relationship between the introduction of the internet and the discovery of a democratic voice in Bhutan.

Lucie Edwards, Director

Lucie  Edwards was honoured to be appointed Canada’s first Ambassador to Bhutan in 2004. She also served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and India. Throughout her 34 year career in the Canadian Foreign Service she specialized in international development and human rights.   She served in the Occupied Territories and in the townships in Apartheid South Africa. In 1995, she received the Public Service Award of Excellence for her humanitarian work during the genocide in Rwanda.

Her expertise in Ottawa was in  Corporate Planning and Finance; she served as Assistant Deputy Minister for Corporate Services and as Chief Strategist in the Foreign Ministry.

Lucie continues to work as a consultant and advisor in international development. She has served as the Chair of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan and co-chair of the Gender and Development Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Here in Canada, she serves on the Board of CUSO International and previously served as Chair of Partners in Health Canada.

Lucie has taught international relations at three Canadian universities, and currently serves as a Senior Mentor in the National Security Program at the Canadian Forces College. She has written extensively on the use of science and technology for the poor, with a particular focus on initiatives to support the “bottom billion” in Africa and South Asia.  

Lynn Haight, Director

Lynn is the Chair of the independent Audit and Oversight Panel of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva. She is also a Board Member of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board of Canada and Somerville College Development Board, Oxford University. She has recently retired as Chair of the Consortium Board of International Agricultural Research Centre in Montpellier, and retired in 2009 as COO and CFO of Foresters Financial. Lynn is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Canada. She has a Honours MA degree from Oxford University.

She has always enjoyed international development work, and has been a consultant to the UNDTCD, UNDP and the World Bank in different countries which gave her insight into the  impact of climate change and the extreme difficulty of maintaining a national culture. She visited Bhutan with the Chairman’s tour in 2019, and fell in love with the country. 

Gwendolyn Julien, Director

Gwendolyn maintains a multifaceted career in organizational development and people development as a business consultant, leadership coach and educator within the public, private and non-profit sectors. She obtained a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) at Ryerson University, a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) at the University of Toronto, Professional Coaching Credentials (CPCC) with The Coaches Training Institute, and a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Her Master’s thesis was titled “Developing a Strategic Approach to Stakeholder Engagement at SOS Children’s Villages Canada”, which sparked a passion for helping organizations better understand and utilize their social capital. Gwendolyn’s work with Directors of non-profit organizations started with a focus on board effectiveness.  Gwendolyn is a relentless champion of personal expression and fulfillment in work and life and she regularly participates in arts, culture and wellness activities. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Jane Pepino, Director

Jane  is a lawyer practicing planning and development law, based in Toronto at Aird and Berlis. She is a long time active volunteer, presently serving on the Board of Women’s College Hospital, and Governing Council of the University of Toronto. She enjoys travel that does not involve a beach, pool, or resort. Interests include grandchildren, as well as a large vegetable garden and orchard, bee keeping and coping with produce in a variety of ways. Jane was a traveler with the Chairman’s Trip with BCF in April 2017.

Doma Tshering, Director

Doma Tshering is the new Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations.Prior to her new appointment, Ms. Tshering was the Director of the Multilateral Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thimphu between 2012 and 2017.  She served as Chief of the Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Division from 2009 to 2012.Previously, Ms. Tshering served as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2007 to 2009.  She held the position of Counsellor from 2005 to 2006. From 2004 to 2005, Ms. Tshering headed the Europe and Americas Division, and from 2000 until 2003, she served as Under Secretary in the Policy Planning Division.  She also served as First Secretary in Bhutan’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 1995 to 2000.

Advisory Council

Kathy Allan

Kathy Allan, Director

Kathy is a biologist who has been privileged to work with environmental and international charities that work to sustain balance on this earth. Certified as a Fundraising Executive since 1998, Kathy has worked for small charities in Toronto, preferably within a bicycle ride of her home, and has volunteer and work experience in Egypt, India, Bhutan, Zambia and Pakistan.

Kathy and her husband Patrick first visited a friend teaching in Bhutan in 1989 and have maintained friendships and a love for the tiny kingdom since. In 2009 travelling with their two teenage daughters, they appreciated the vast changes and tremendous progress achieved in just twenty years.Kathy works with the Humanitarian Coalition, a coalition of five international charities responding to international humanitarian disasters. She is based in Toronto. 

Ann Berman

Ann Berman

Going to Bhutan to teach was the fulfillment of a life dream for Ann. From the first time she traveled the world from 1972 to 1975, and visited the people of the Himalayas, she knew that this was where she wanted to teach one day. She returned home to attend York University to become a teacher. In the process, she settled down and brought up two wonderful sons. After 30 satisfying years teaching primary school in Simcoe County, Ontario, with short volunteer teaching stints in Guatemala and Mirik, India, she finally had the opportunity to teach in Bhutan in 2010. Ann spent an incredible year teaching English and developing a Special Education program in Mongar. She returned to Canada at the end of 2010, but Bhutan will always remain close to her heart.

Gerald Clarke

Gerald Clarke

Gerry Clarke worked as a professor and dean at The University of New Brunswick. He studied at Kenyon College, Fordham University and Carnegie-Mellon University.  He was the first Director of the UNB Bhutan Project which began in 1985 with a contract from the World University Service of Canada and evolved into a series of multi-million dollar CIDA projects. The UNB arrangement with Bhutan included the management of the Canadian Cooperation Office in Thimphu, academic programs for Bhutanese teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and in-country curriculum and professional development support. Although the major CIDA project ended several years ago (resulting in the unforeseen but happy creation of The Bhutan Canada Foundation) the relationship between Bhutan and UNB continues, primarily through programs in The Faculty of Education, Renaissance College and The Faculty of Engineering. In retirement, Gerry has turned his hand to organic farming. During his travels throughout the country he learned a thing or two from the Bhutanese about connections between people and the earth.

Peggy Foster Miller

Peggy Foster Miller 

Peggy Foster Miller holds a Bachelor of Education and Teaching Certificate from McGill University,  a Master of Education from Ottawa University and completed two years of a doctorate in Psycho-pedagogy.  As a leader of National and International Expeditions, she has led students in academic programs and community service projects in: Mexico, Africa, Nepal, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.  Through her passion as a world-class endurance athlete, Peggy has competed in hundreds of triathlons and ultra runs including the Hawaii Ironman, and the Western States 100 mile race.  In addition, she has challenged herself to climbing the seven highest continental peaks of the world including being an Everest climber in 2003 and 2005. As a public speaker, Peggy’s story is an inspirational account of how she faced the extraordinary challenge of climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the seven continents of the world.  Her stories have important messages, including: translating ideas into action, planning and preparation, coping with people with different temperaments and personalities, the importance of teamwork and communication. Peggy has been a member of the board of Directors for The Kensington Conservancy since 2006.She is also an advocate for the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve in Muskoka Ontario 

Alan Gill

Alan Gill

Alan was raised and educated in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. His career has included significant senior level policy, programming, project and financial management experience within the public and private sectors in Canada as well as in various multilateral organizations.

Senior positions have included: representative for Canada, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands on the Executive Board of the Asian Development Bank and for Canada in a similar capacity on the Board of the Inter-American Development Bank; Chief Financial Officer and Director of Private Sector Development at the Asian Development Bank; and senior executive posts within the Canadian federal public service (Privy Council Office, Department of Finance and Export Development Canada).

Alan has also been actively involved as a founder and Director of the EuroCan Carbon Credit Foundation. In addition to serving as a member of the board of The Bhutan Canada Foundation he also currently serves as the Chair of an oversight committee of international capital market experts responsible for implementing a UN-HABITAT program designed to mobilize private capital in support of the housing sectors of developing countries.

Sevilla Gill

Sevilla Gill

Sevilla was born, raised and educated in the Philippines and held several senior-level administrative positions at the Asian Development Bank prior to emigrating to Canada.

John Stares

John Stares

Since 2001 John has taken on a portfolio of part‐time roles in business and the voluntary sector.

His current roles include Chair of JT (formerly Jersey Telecoms) and More House School, Trustee of the Arts & Islands Foundation, BCF Advisory Board Member and Non‐Executive Directorships with Jersey Electricity Company plc, INPP plc and Terra Firma.

From 1978 to 2001 John was a Management Consultant with Accenture and held a wide variety of leadership roles in its Canadian, European and Global practices. John is a graduate of Imperial College, London University, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, a member of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants and Freeman of the City of London.

Lhatu Wangchuk

Lhatu Wangchuk

Lhatu Wangchuk has strong ties to Canada as he was a student of Father William Mackey and spent some time working for him. He is widely travelled and was previously the Head of Tourism in Thimphu as well as Ambassador to Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and South Korea. He has also served as Chief of Protocol and Acting Foreign Secretary in Bhutan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Until recently, he was Ambassador to Canada, and Bhutan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York. He has retired on superannuation and lives in Thimphu.

Kunzang Namgyel

Ambassador Kunzang Namgyel

Mrs. Kunzang C. Namgyel, is Ambassador & Deputy Permanent Representative, of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations in New York.

Ambassador Kunzang C Namgyel is a career Foreign Service Officer. She joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March, 1980. During her long career with the Ministry, she has served in various posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Bhutan’s diplomatic embassies/mission, in New Delhi, New York and Geneva including ;

  • Director for Bhutan at the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu from October, 1995 to March 1999;
  • Minister Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, Geneva from July 2003-July, 2007;
  • Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu, from august 2007 to May 2009;
  • Director, Multilateral Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu from June 2009 and August, 2011;
  • Ambassador Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations, New York from September, 2011

She was appointed Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bhutan to the United Nations from 3 January, 2014, with concurrent accreditation as the Kingdom of Bhutan’s Ambassador designate to Canada.

Ambassador Namgyel has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lady Keane College, Shillong, India

She is married and has four children, three daughters and one son.