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Union Gospel Mission’s new board chair settles in

Vancouver, BC—Teresa Black Hughes, Union Gospel Mission’s new Board Chair and the first female board chair in UGM’s history, is more than meets the eye. A successful financial planner and investment advisor, experienced board member on both national and local boards in the financial services sector, and skilled in board governance, Black Hughes is an obvious fit to support the Vancouver charity in this capacity—but she’s also a great fit for less obvious reasons.

Black Hughes’ formative years have given her not only empathy, but understanding and insight into the lives of those whom UGM seeks to reach—the addicted, the impoverished and the homeless.  And while she was never on the street, Black Hughes knows what it’s like to grow up in a low income family touched by addiction.

“My father has struggled with alcoholism and recovery,” she explains. “He and my mother loved us all very much, but that didn’t negate the impact alcoholism had on our families and the way it affected relationships. Yet those experiences, the good and the bad, have shaped me, taught me and given me a glimpse of some of the struggles that UGM’s guests endure.”

And while Black Hughes had a knack for financial management early on, it did not come from growing up with surplus cash flow.

“We didn’t have any money growing up,” she says. “There were four kids.  My dad often held down a part-time job along with his airframe tech job in the armed forces.  The difference for me, however, was that I didn’t know what we didn’t have. My mom sewed, cooked and always had creative solutions. Our needs were always met and I feel grateful for my experiences.”

Today, Black Hughes understands what she does have, and that’s why she gives it back. She’s delighted to be leading the Board as they support President Bill Mollard and the rest of UGM in their strategic objectives to (1) respond to the significant gap in services for vulnerable women in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), (2) pursue more opportunities to develop long term, abstinence based housing (alcohol and drug free), and (3) to grow broader community influence networks and pursue more opportunities to develop long term sustained solutions.

Black Hughes has taken over the role from Robert Pasman, faithful Board Chair for the past 10 years, who remains on UGM’s board.

“I’m honoured to participate in an organization that helps people struggling with addiction and poverty,” says Black Hughes. “And as the economy continues to change, I think UGM’s presence and partnerships in the community will be that much more important for families and individuals at risk of falling below the extreme poverty threshold.”

“I’m also excited for the steps UGM is taking to work with vulnerable women in the community,” Black Hughes continues.  “It’s currently an underserved group that, sadly, is growing in numbers. A few years ago, in the midst of trying to juggle priorities, a wise friend told me: ‘the woman is the hub of the household. When you’re out of sync, everyone’s out of sync.’ It just clicked. The same is true for women in all walks of life. For each woman we help, we are simultaneously helping her family.”

Black Hughes is a Financial Advisor with Rogers Group Financial. In addition to presiding as UGM’s  board chair, she also sits on the Financial Planning Standards Council board, and previously was national board chair for Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada.

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its 8 locations in Metro Vancouver and the City of Mission, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.

02/08/2012

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