Staff Pension Plan Board

Independent Chair

Barry Gros
Aon Hewitt (Retired)
Current Term: January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2021
First Appointed: 2015

Barry is a retired actuary and has a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding pension plans. His most recent position was Associate Partner at Aon Hewitt, where he provided pension consulting services. Prior to Aon Hewitt, Barry was a Partner at Morneau Shepell and a Principal at Towers Watson. As well, Barry was previously a University Appointed member of the UBC Staff Pension Plan Board.

Barry has a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Winnipeg, is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Barry has been active throughout his career, serving on committees with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, and the C.D. Howe Institute Pension Policy Council. He has also written and contributed to numerous pension-related articles and publications with Aon Hewitt, C.D. Howe Institute, National Post, and Benefits Canada among others.

Appointed Board Members

Joanna Carson
Director Finance, Development and Alumni Engagement
Current Term: January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2021
First Appointed: 2018

Joanna is Director Finance, Development and Alumni Engagement, at UBC. She partners with faculties, administrative units and ancillary operations to develop and fulfill multi-million dollar annual plans which align strategic and operational goals.

Joanna has 18 years’ experience providing financial leadership, business management, and compliance services at leading Canadian research universities. Five of these years have been at UBC where Joanna’s work has focused on identifying and leveraging hidden opportunities and solutions, anticipating and solving problems, navigating bureaucracy, and earning the support of colleagues and internal stakeholders.

Joanna has an MBA from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Toronto, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).


Laura O’Neill
British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union
Current Term: February 15, 2016 to December 31, 2019
First Appointed: 2016

Laura is a lawyer with experience in pension plan governance and investments. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1996, a Chartered Financial Analyst since 2001, and holds her Bachelors of Law from Queen’s University in 1994.

Laura is employed by the BCGEU, is a Trustee and Secretary of the BC Target Benefit Pension Plan Board, and is a member of the BC College Pension Plan’s Partner’s Committee.


Mike Leslie
Director of Investments, UBC Faculty Pension Plan
Current Term: January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2020
First Appointed: 2013

Mike is currently the Executive Director, Investments for the UBC Faculty Pension Plan. He has been in this role since 2008 after spending twelve years as a senior consultant in the pension investment industry. His consulting experience included advising many large corporate, government and multi-employer pension plans on strategic investment related issues. Prior career experiences included working in both the oil industry and corporate banking fields.

Mike’s primary duties with the Faculty Plan include; monitoring and reporting on the performance of the Plan’s fund options and on the external investment managers, ensuring proper implementation of the Plan’s Investment Policy, supporting the Board of Trustees with their governance duties as they relate to investment issues and assisting with member education and communication needs.

Mike has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) designation. He is also active member of the Pension Investment Association of Canada.


Peter Smailes
Current Term: January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018
First Appointed: 2011

Peter Smailes is the Treasurer at the University of British Columbia. He is responsible for managing University-wide activities relating to: capital financing and corporate borrowing; cash management; risk and insurance; strategic decision support; employee housing assistance; and business contracts and leases.

Peter has held the position of Treasurer at UBC for 6 years and prior to that he was the Associate Treasurer Finance. Before rejoining the University in 2001, Peter was a treasury consultant working with a variety of universities, hospitals and not for profit clients. He is also the Assistant Secretary Treasurer to the UBC Properties Investment Ltd. Board, a BCNET Board member, and a member of the Boundary Bay Airport Advisory Committee. Peter has a BA in Economics from Carleton University and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Elected Board Members

Alan Marchant
Advancement Services (Retired)
Current Term: January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2020
First Elected: 2001

Alan Marchant was first elected to the Staff Pension Board in 2001. He is now retired after having been at UBC for almost 20 years, and was an Executive Director within the Development & Alumni Engagement Portfolio. He holds an honours degree in Physics from the University of Sussex, an MBA from Simon Fraser University and is a Certified Management Accountant. He is an experienced financial manager, administrator and information systems professional with over 35 years of diverse and progressive experience in industry segments that include higher education, manufacturing, retail, transportation and financial organizations.


Brian Evans
TRIUMF (Retired)
Current Term: January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018
First Elected: 1992

Brian Evans was an employee with TRIUMF in the Engineering Division for thirty-years. He has since retired and is now a retired member of the SPP.

Mr. Evans was first elected to the SPP Board in 1992 and from 2005 to 2011 served as Chair of the SPP Board. He is also a member of the SPP Communications Subcommittee.

Mr. Evans has several years of board experience, and attends conferences such as the Canadian Pension and Benefits Institute (CPBI) and Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) to actively keep up-to-date on the pension and investment industry.


Karen Ranalletta
CUPE 2950
Current Term: January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018
First Elected: 2015

Karen Ranalletta graduated from UBC in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts. She worked as the Assistant to the Director at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre until 2013 when she was elected the President of CUPE 2950.

From 2011 to 2013, she was a member of the CUPE BC Pensions Committee and was actively involved in the Canadian Labour Congress’ “Retirement Security for Everyone!” campaign which looks to double the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). In 2013, she was elected to the CUPE BC Executive Board as one of three Regional Vice Presidents (RVP) representing the Metro Vancouver region. As an RVP, Karen chairs both the CUPE BC Library Committee and CUPE BC Technology and Communications Committee and is also an Executive Officer of the BC Federation of Labour.  Through the labour movement, she has been able to attend the SHARE Conference as well as various courses offered by the Canadian Labour Congress, and she is looking forward to attending the Association of Canadian Pension Management and Pacific Business & Law Institute educationals.

Karen is committed to working with the other board members to improve and protect our pension plan so that it can provide stable lifetime retirement pensions for its members.


Michal Jaworski
UBC Legal Counsel/Office of the University Counsel
Current Term: January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2020
First Elected: 2017

Michal Jaworski is a graduate of UBC’s Faculty of Arts (Psychology) and Allard School of Law, and has been practicing law since 2006.

In private practice, Michal focused on corporate governance and corporate transactions, as well as real estate. Over time, he developed expertise in advising post-secondary educational institutions on a variety of matters. He joined UBC’s Office of the University Counsel as in-house Legal Counsel in 2012.

Michal is keenly aware of the value of the Staff Pension Plan to all of its members, and the need to ensure its viability.

This is Michal’s first term on the UBC Staff Pension Plan Board, and he looks forward to applying his knowledge and experience to this important task, and, more importantly, to learning from his colleagues on the Board, the membership generally, and the Plan’s advisors.