Board of Directors

Joanne Keelan

I have a Social Work Degree and a TESOL Diploma (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) My work in the Lower Mainland, The Comox Valley and other countries has given me a broad-based experience with people of many cultures, ages and income levels. I have largely worked in the non-profit sector with children, parents, adolescents and young adults at risk who face emotional, mental and economic challenges. The skills that I bring to the board are: group facilitation, counseling, empathy, writing and editing, advocacy, knowledge of community and government resources and outreach. My work in government and community agencies has given me an understanding of bureaucracy and workplace policies, and how they affect employees, volunteers and users of the service. As a person with a progressive condition, I have felt the loss of having to give up activities which I enjoyed. In addition to my work with clients with disabilities, that personal loss has underlined the importance of inclusion and participation in the “mainstream” of life. I believe that the Therapeutic Riding Society fulfills this, as well as many other needs and I am happy to be a part of it.


Trudy Beaton

I am a graduate of the UBC program in Occupational and Physical therapy. I have a private practice in Occupational Therapy and have worked locally in private and public healthcare. My introduction to Therapeutic Riding was as a volunteer side walker several years ago. I loved the experience but quickly learned how little I know about horses. I have referred clients in the past and recognize the contribution of therapeutic riding to the wellbeing of clients and families. I look forward to serving on the Board of Directors for CVTRS and sharing my dedication to quality programs and individualized services.


Helen Furgale

Helen website

Helen Furgale is a small business development specialist. She is the owner of Bizworks, Business Training and Support. Her company holds the contract to deliver Self Employment Training in the Comox Valley through Work BC/Job Shop. Prior to this, she managed the Business Futures Program for Community Futures Strathcona. During the 14 years she was with Community Futures, she developed a comprehensive business training package utilizing the Comox Valley’s top business facilitators. She also managed the Business Futures Self Employment program, assisting over 600 clients to get into business for self. Prior to locating to the Comox Valley in 1997, Helen was the Marketing Manager for a large manufacturing firm based in Winnipeg. Helen holds a Masters degree in Community Development from the University of Alberta. She has served on the Board of Directors of Creative Employment Access Society and Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society and is currently serving as Past Chair of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce.



 Graham Hilliar

I grew up in the Comox Valley and after a short time away for horticulture school and travel I returned to the Valley.  I have been in the landscaping business for 13 years, 10 of which I have operated my own business.  As well as landscaping I have enjoyed being a part time community support worker, working with people with diverse abilities.  Over those years I have met many people that have benefited from therapeutic riding.  Volunteer work has been a big part of my life.  I have worked with stream keeper groups, Food Not Bombs, and World Community to mention a few.  I am happy to be on the board of CVTRS who support such a needed service in our community.

Leslie Duran

Leslie Duran is an occupational therapist and an educator who has lived in the Comox Valley since 2001.  She works in community health care, and is also an Adjunct Faculty member of the Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, Faculty of Medicine at UBC.  She completed her doctorate in education in 2017.  Leslie believes strongly in the potential of therapeutic riding to benefit health and wellness.  She is enthusiastic and honoured to serve on the Board of Directors for the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society.