The Rural Islands Economic Partnership (RIEP) is a grassroots organization born out of the first Rural Islands Economic Forum, held in 2019.
RIEP was officially incorporated as a registered BC Society on January 30, 2020, and early on became a means for cultivating enduring rural island-wide economic partnerships, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, to ensure economic resilience and generate long-term prosperity without depleting natural or social resources.
Previously, there was no formal channel for rural island community voices to unite for information, communications, planning, and advocacy. Today, RIEP is the recognized vehicle for supporting regenerative rural island economies, and for facilitating connections with island settler and Indigenous communities across the Province towards effective economic action.
2023-24 Board of Directors
Francine’s motto: “If not now, when, if not me, who?
Francine Carlin moved to British Columbia in 1999, and with a background in communications, organizational development and change management she established the Business Harmonizer Group, supporting family-owned businesses across Canada and the USA as a certified Family Business Advisor. Soon after moving to Salt Spring Island in 2008, Francine’s interest in business continuity led her to join the Salt Spring Community Economic Sustainability Commission (CESC), where she co-led the ground breaking Rural Business Accelerator program and co-found the Southern Gulf Islands Tourism Partnership.
Throughout her tenure as CESC Chair, Francine championed a strategic approach to building community economic development. Expanding beyond Salt Spring, she led the successful call to include the Southern Gulf Island Region –the rural islands of Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna– into the scope of the Islands Coastal Economic Trust (ICET). In 2020, along with like-minded islanders, Francine co-founded the Rural Island Economic Partnership Society (RIEP) to further the economic resilience of BC’s rural islands by connecting as a community, sharing ideas, and working together to achieve local socio-economic goals sustainably.
Mike’s motto: “Keep your eye on the prize, but don't forget to smell the roses.”
Having lived and worked in both Vancouver and Victoria, Mike has been a resident on Galiano Island for the past 40 years. Now retired Mike’s career span from Provincial Civil Servant to University Professor, Educational Consultant and High School Teacher. He holds a degree in Anthropology and Biology as well as a PhD in Ecology from UBC.
Mike has a desire to help make the small rural island communities more economically sustainable and he wants to help support the diverse and creative population on Galiano. He believes that cooperation and collaboration across the islands means the best ideas get shared which in turns helps inspire.
Martin’s motto: “Find awe, lose yourself; feel gratitude, love unconditionally; share.”
Martin brings a passion for social innovation to RIEP, rooted in his computing science and sociology background, including 9 years of graduate studies in AI and with a focus on network intelligence methods for economic development. To Martin, it's all about the art and science of the possible - tapping into the underutilized potential of local economies, and working towards 'supercharging' regional culture by leveraging the deep interconnectedness of our island communities.
His passion, knowledge, and desire to learn and engage with the culture and uniqueness of BC's rural islands led Martin to seek out ways to support RIEP's ongoing work in community economic development. "I see tremendous potential for our region," Martin says. "I have deep respect for it, I am grateful to be able to call it home, and I am motivated to contribute to its development."
Martin is co-founder of SocialCogs, a non-profit that develops open-source financial technology for communities, and works as an AI strategist and developer for Intact Financial Corp. A resident of Bowen Island since 2021, Martin is a member of the Bowen Island Community Economic Development Council.
Pat’s motto: “Do no harm.”
Pat joined the RIEP Board in 2023 following his retirement from the Mount Waddington Regional District, where he served as Manager of Economic Development for nearly 10 years.
In a career that spans a decade with the Ministry of Economic Development, as well as experience as an economic and business development consultant, and a developer of motor inns and restaurants in northern BC, Pat understands many of the problems rural communities face, often arising from small scale, lack of resources and cost barriers associated with their remote locations.
Pat believes collaboration makes it possible for separate communities to share problems and develop common solutions for the betterment of all. "Partnerships represent a constituency large to capture the attention of senior political and administrative representatives who can champion solutions." We look forward to working with Pat to cultivate coastal community partnerships!
Kate’s motto: “Democracy is like baking: If it’s not messy, you are not doing it right!”
Kate moved to Cortes Island in 2010 from Yukon where she spent nearly 20 years working on various environmental projects.
Her current work for the Cortes Community Economic Development Association as their Economic Development Officer involves addressing the health and well-being of people, land & water on Cortes Island to support a vibrant local economy. She has gained much experience with NGOs in many small Canadian communities on issues around air pollution, transportation alternatives, fish habitat conservation, and environmental regulations and policy.
Kate completed a graduate degree in strategic sustainability leadership in 2006.
Maria’s motto: “Success is being happy with who you are, and helping to create opportunity and success for others.”
Maria likes to joke about how she peaked early in life by winning a baby beauty contest, but her sustained commitment to creating positive impact throughout her adult life—personally and professionally—suggests otherwise.
Maria holds a joint BA in psychology and business, a diploma in accounting, a certificate in municipal governance, and numerous coaching certifications, including as a professional certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. Maria considers herself fortunate to have had opportunities in her career to strengthen her expertise in administration, project and event coordination, personal and organizational development, culture change and human resources management.
Her passion for people and community began her next career trajectory of coaching people and teams on their personal and professional leadership journeys. Her consultancy ChangeWorks Coaching and Consulting provides people, teams and organizations the skills to create deep, values-aligned, sustained change.
A Gabriola resident since 2016, Maria currently works as the Interim Executive Director for the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce, and also sits on the Board as VP. Being involved with RIEP fills a particular interest for Maria — regional representation for BC’s rural islands. “Island collaboration makes anything and everything possible” she has said. Maria's participation in REIP was sparked in part by seeing other RIEP Board members bring their own strengths and contributions to the table to create positive change.
Thandi’s motto: “_.”
Thandi is a veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, with more than 10 years of business development, provincial government, and nonprofit work experience. She is also an entrepreneur who started a small business in the Southern Gulf Islands during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thandi is passionate about supporting her community and is actively involved in various volunteer roles, including serving as the President of the Pender Island Chamber of Commerce, Vice Chair of the Southern Gulf Islands Community Resource Centre, and Director with Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Community Service.
The Rural Islands Economic Partnership Society leads, inspires, and cultivates sustainable economic resilience and community well-being through collaborative initiatives and partnerships for the benefit of British Columbia's rural islands and the Indigenous Communities who have traditional or reserve lands on these islands.
A thriving alliance of diverse rural island communities sustained through a united voice; shared values; social, economic and cultural well-being; environmental stewardship; and collaborative strength.
- We practice excellence in leadership and environmental stewardship.
We walk our talk—accountable, trustworthy and transparent.
We are inclusive, respectful and collaborative.
We are tenacious and proactive.
We are open-minded, innovative & creative.