Our Civic Leadership Initiative is dedicated to encouraging and supporting citizens towards civic leadership.

Whether it be roles in nonprofit groups, business, local government or a neighbourhood improvement project, British Columbia needs knowledgeable and capable people to make us the best we can be.

We are an independent non-partisan research and education initiative based in Vancouver, British Columbia that seeks excellence in civic leadership.

We believe that society must constantly cultivate and support new leadership to ensure good governance in municipalities, agencies, boards, commissions and non profit groups.

Some of our recent contributors have been:

Richard Walton
Former Mayor of the District of North Vancouver

Yuen Pau Woo
Canadian Senator, House Leader of the Independent Senators

Kareem Allam
Communications Advisor

Natalya Brodie
on Raising Your Profile

We believe that good governance is one of the most important elements of a successful society and there is too much at stake to leave this to informal and casual processes. All of us benefit when those committed to civic leadership improve their knowledge and gain insights and wisdom from those who have already lived these experiences.

Our initiative operates under the guidance of the Global Civic Policy Society which was formed with the insight that global problems and solutions often arise from the civic level. We have two core principles:

  1. Respect for British Columbia institutions and history.
  2. Social policy informed by economic analysis.

The Public Office Seminars originated from two political opponents Bradley Shende and Sam Sullivan of two different political parties who fought each other in a political campaign.

Afterwards they got together and agreed that encouraging people to serve in civic leadership and educating the public about governance issues was not a partisan activity. They recruited people from all parts of the political spectrum and hosted their first exploratory meeting.  Here are some highlights of the meeting:

Recruitment and Training

We must encourage citizens to understand the importance of civic leadership and provide those who are interested with learning opportunities.

We offer a Semester of learning opportunities designed to fit into busy schedules.

This Semester will be different from the previous one in that it will make use of Zoom video technology and feature four elements:

  1. Three Friday afternoon Seminar/Receptions with several Guest Speakers.
  2.  Four hours of video instruction that explores shared narratives of BC history and provides insights into how economics can inform governance issues.
  3. Five hours of live Tuesday evening instruction on governance issues with guest instructors using Zoom.
  4. Individual visits and interviews.


Are you considering serving in non-profit leadership or municipal elected office? Do you have an interest in public service? Do you wish to expand your leadership skills? Or do you want to understand our governance system better from those who have lived it?  If so then the Public Office Seminars are for you.

Our initiative recognizes that formal classroom learning has important but limited value in understanding the politics of elected governance. This is a subject that is best learned from the experiences of practitioners. For this reason the Seminars will have some formal teaching but will be mostly insights and case studies from those who have experienced elected governance first hand.

Each semester of seminars will have ten weekly sessions designed as flexible opportunities appropriate for prospective candidates who are already fully engaged in work or community service.

The first hour will feature Guest Lecturers who are former elected officials. They will share their insights and experiences, successes and failures and lessons learned. The lecturers will be mostly former public officials, but will also include campaign professionals and engaged academics.

All participants are encouraged to attend Council Meetings and consultation processes as well as engage in self study on relevant topics.

Case study sessions with former officials:

  • What led to public life
  • Lessons on winning and losing
  • Case studies on successful and unsuccessful initiatives
  • Examples of the role of mentors
  • High points and low points
  • Advice to prospective candidates
  • Balancing friends and family
  • Exit strategy

Formal class study topics:

  • Historical context on adversarial politics
  • Philosophical issues
  • Structure of government
  • Media and social media
  • GOTV getting out the vote
  • Effective public speaking
  • Ethical issues
  • Politics and the law

The cost of the program is $470.4 (inc tax) for the 10 week semester. Some sponsorships are available for full semester or portions.

To inquire about registering please contact Lynn Zanatta with a summary about your background and what interests you about this project.

Write write an email by typing ‘info’ and then an ‘at’ sign and after that type ‘global civic.org’

Videos and Notes from Previous Seminars

Session One: March-April 2019


Class Notes from Session One

Session Two: September-November, 2019

Videos from Session Two

Leadership Opportunities

Organizations that encourage or help people to volunteer for non-profit groups:

Volunteer BC

Volunteer BC helps coordinate and educate volunteers across BC. They have a number of volunteer centres, including several in Vancouver and the surrounding municipalities, which offer resources to volunteers, such as up-to-date listings of local volunteer opportunities.

Pan-Canadian Youth Opportunities Platform

This is a Canada-wide website funded by the federal government that helps youth to determine what kind of volunteer opportunities are a good fit for them, as well as providing a searchable database of volunteer opportunities by community and cause.


This has a geocoded map of volunteer opportunities for interested parties to search through.

List of agencies, boards, and commissions that are appointed by the provincial government:

The Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office

keeps a directory of agencies that might be of interest. They don’t explicitly state that all of these organizations are appointed by the provincial government, but I believe that it is the case. It’s also worth noting that some of these agencies require applicants to have significant experience in the area the agency focuses on, so some of these agencies may not be a good fit for youth volunteers.

For provincially appointed agencies, the above-mentioned Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office has a searchable database of open positions, which can be limited to just postings in Vancouver. There is also some additional information on serving on provincial boards available here.

Civic agencies in Metro Vancouver municipalities that need appointments:

A number of Metro Vancouver municipalities post vacancy lists for their committees and advisory boards, although some just list all the agencies that exist, and make applications available without specifying about existing vacancies.

District of North Vancouver: Committee Vacancies 

West Vancouver: Various volunteer opportunities

Vancouver: Green volunteer opportunities; General volunteer positions; Advisory committee vacancies.

Burnaby: List of boards and committees; Application page.

Richmond: Volunteer opportunities for advisory groups and community service; Vacancies for advisory bodies; Database of volunteer openings (allows you to limit results to board or leadership positions).

Surrey: Committees, Commissions & Boards (general information); Current vacancies and application information (applications open until November 29th).

About Us / Contact / Donate

Civic Leadership

Our initiative was initiated by two political opponents who came together in the belief that civic leadership is very important for our communities and it can be improved by offering support and encouragement to younger people before they get into positions of responsibility.

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Do you live in British Columbia and are you interested in civic leadership?

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