The Prince George Hospice Team
Donna has been a nurse for 36 years and had an opportunity to nurse in various countries around the world. Her most memorable and life-changing experience was her work in Calcutta, where she worked in Mother Teresa’s Hospice and instructed her nuns on nursing practice. This developed her passion for providing care in a different way. Focusing on the individual and understanding that care and compassion are key elements in supporting all people with serious illness. Donna is currently the Executive Director of the Prince George Hospice Society. She has been in that position since January 2015. Donna is the current president of the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association and is a Director on the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Board.
Donna and her husband Frank have enjoyed living in Prince George with their two teenage children Mary and Liam
Shawn Smith has served as the Program Director for the Prince George Hospice Society since May of 2019. As such, he oversees the operations of Rotary Hospice House, Hospice’s Grief Support Programs, and its Volunteer Programs. This position also provides leadership for building expanded community outreach, including engaging partners, enhancing programs, and serving communities.
Shawn has worked for the past 33 years in a variety of community service organizations across Canada for municipalities and provincial agencies. Prior to joining Hospice, he worked for several health care organizations, most recently as the Regional Manager of Risk & Compliance for Northern Health. Among his other professional roles, Shawn has held leadership positions in systems development and improvement, community protection and planning, program development and as a specialized technical expert.
Shawn’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Western University, a Masters of Education from Yorkville University, a Certificate in Risk Management from the University of Toronto, Certification from the Global Risk Management Institute, Certified Municipal Manager from Ontario Municipal Management Institute and a number of other certifications related to Lean and safety.
In his professional life, Shawn is committed to ensuring the best possible care and services are provided to Hospice guests and their families at their time of transition and grief. Away from work, he takes as many opportunities as he can to get outdoors and active with his family, regardless of the season.
Nahid Mehrassa has lived in Prince George since 2014. She joined the Prince George Hospice Society in May 2019, as the Finance Director. Prior to joining the Hospice Society family, she worked for the Provincial Government for the Ministry of Labour and offers over 30 years of experience in accounting, finance, human resources, management and employment standards. Nahid also teaches Human Resource Management at the College of New Caledonia at the Prince George campus.
In 2018, Nahid obtained her Masters in Business Administration from UNBC. Nahid has been involved in community building activities in Prince George for over 5 years and is passionate about community and social development.
Nahid is dedicated to the Hospice Society’s mission and is grateful to be a part of the amazing services offered to the Prince George community. She is a proud mother of two boys who are married two wonderful women. She is also a proud grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren. She also has an amazing and large family, who she loves to spend her time with.
Fund Development Coordinator
Laura is part of the Fund-Development Team where she concentrates primarily on organizing and managing Hospice’s proprietary fundraising events as well as seeking donations for Hospice. Each year, fundraising accounts for over half of Hospice’s annual operating budget. Funds are raised from a variety of sources including: annual donations raising funds major gifts from individuals, fundraising events, businesses and foundations; and legacy gifts including bequests, donations of publicly-listed securities, and other options.
Laura has worked for over two decades helping non-profit community organizations advance their mission to make the world a better place. Her education is in nursing from CNC and broadcast communications from BCIT. She has previously worked as the Communications and Development Officer for the PG Regional Hospital & Foundation, as the Area Marketing & Events Officer for the Canadian Blood Services, in sales for Monarch Broadcasting, & has owned her own business since 2005. She has worked on many major fund development campaigns and has organized more events than she can remember.
She has been a dedicated member of the Yellowhead Rotary Club of PG for over 20 years and loves organizing their events as well. She and her husband enjoy kayaking, cycling, swimming running, and reading. Laura is an artist who loves acrylic painting, felting, and knitting and has had a jewellery making business since 2003.
Special Events & Dream Home Lottery Coordinator
Sandra is part of the Fund Development Team and has been with the Prince George Hospice Society since April 2019. With over half of our annual operating budget coming from fundraising, there are many areas this team works to raise those funds. Sandra is part of many of those fundraising areas but concentrates primarily on the Hospice Dream Home, which is the Hospice’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Sandra is immensely compassionate and it shows through in everything she does. Her drive and passion for her work have grown the Dream Home Lottery to what it is today.
Sandra has joined us with a background in customer service, event planning, fundraising, and media relations. Sandra is a dedicated community volunteer focusing on events and groups that advocate and enhance the lives of others. Sandra is currently a member of the Prince George Road Runners, where she is the organizer of Beat the Bugs Trail Race as well as a part of Wheelin’ Warriors of the North that supports the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Beyond volunteering, at all moments possible, she loved getting out exploring Prince George by hiking, snowshoeing, and biking!
Catherine was born and raised in Southern California, but fell in love and came north to Prince George in 1975.
She became a Hospice volunteer in 1998 and shortly after that was asked to join the staff. Her first position was Education Programs and Training, and eight years ago, she became Volunteer Resources and Grief Support Coordinator.
Currently, our Society has over 200 volunteers! Our volunteers have the common thread of compassion and empathy. They come with a caring heart and give us their gift of time. Some choose to do direct volunteering, and others prefer in-direct. Each activity they do with Hospice is important and makes the Society run smoothly. They come forward easily, and Catherine calls this “Hospice Magic.”
Catherine and her husband Ed are parents to 5 children and grandparents to 10. She is an avid gardener, photographer, and she loves to knit.
Grief Support Coordinator
In her many years of involvement with Hospice, Denise has had hundreds (probably thousands) of conversations about death, dying, loss and grief. She says that people that she has been in conversation with have been her teachers. She is honoured that she has been entrusted with their stories.
Denise works in RHH supporting the guests and their families, she works in the community, connecting with caregivers and people with life-limiting illnesses – bringing support and comfort to our community members. She is a facilitator of our support groups – Coffee for the Caregiver, Tea Time for the Soul, Grief and Grub for Guys and our newest group, grieving the loss of someone from an opioid overdose.
She is passionate about creating spaces for people to grieve and to feel safe while going through the experience.
In her off time, Denise is a mother and wife, an author, a coach and a workshop facilitator for women based on the book that she has written.