Staff Pension Plan Board

The UBC Staff Pension Plan Board consists of eight Board members and an Independent Chair. Four Board members are elected by Plan members, and four Board members are appointed by the University. The Independent Chair is also appointed by the University.

If you have any questions or concerns for the Board, please contact Orla Cousineau, Secretary to the Board, at

Independent Chair

Barry Gros
Retired actuary
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
Chief Financial Officer
Current Term: January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2021
First Appointed: 2018

Joanna serves TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre, as Chief Financial Officer and brings over two decades’ experience providing financial leadership, business management, and compliance services at leading Canadian research universities. Seven of these years have been at UBC where Joanna’s work was 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).


Kamila Giesbrecht
Executive Director, Investments, UBC Faculty Pension Plan
Current Term: January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024
First Appointed: 2021

Kamila joined the UBC Pension Administration Office in 2020 as Executive Director, Investments for the UBC Faculty Pension Plan. Her 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.

Kamila has worked in the investment consulting and investment management fields for 21 years. Prior to her role at UBC, she was Investment Consultant with George and Bell Consulting. She has advised university and international not-for-profit trusts, foundations, endowments and family offices, and she has worked extensively with regulated utilities, multi-employer and jointly-trusteed pension plans.

Kamila has a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) from the University of Toronto. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a Retirement Pension Associate (RPA).


Yale Loh
UBC Treasurer
Current Term: March 4, 2019 to December 31, 2022
First Appointed: 2019

Yale is currently the Treasurer at UBC. As such, he provides strategic direction and leadership support for financial liquidity, capital financing, corporate borrowing, cash management, financial projects management, tax, leases, and revenue accounting on all UBC campuses. Previously, Yale held progressively senior positions with BC Hydro, Finning International and Capital Power Corporation, and most recently was Treasurer at Aritzia where he was responsible for the treasury, sales audit and retail accounting functions. Yale served as the Chair of the Finning pension management committee and was a member of the BC Hydro pension management committee.

Yale is a commerce graduate from UBC and earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Yale also holds his Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Professional Accountant designations.


Laura O’Neill
B.C. General Employees’ Union
Current Term: January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2023
First Appointed: 2016

Laura is a lawyer with experience in pension plan governance and investments. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario 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 B.C. General Employees’ Union, 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.


Elected Board Members

Lia Cosco
Director, HR and Operations, Peter A. Allard School of Law
Current Term: January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024
First Elected: 2021

Lia Cosco is currently the Director, HR and Operations with the Peter A. Allard School of Law, where she leads HR and operations management for the faculty and staff community. She has been with UBC for nine years, and brings over 10 years of board experience both in higher education and the non-profit sector. As a UBC alumna, Lia holds an MA in International Relations from Waseda University and a LLM in Employment Law and Labour Relations from Osgoode Law School. She is also currently a CPHR Candidate. She is dedicated to applying her personal and professional experience to her fiduciary obligations to the SPP. She looks forward to working with her SPP colleagues to ensure the Plan’s sustainable management for all members.


Shannon Dunn
Director, Business Operations
AVP Finance & Operations Portfolio, UBC Okanagan
Current Term: January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2022
First Elected: 2019

Shannon is the Director of Business Operations at the Okanagan campus of UBC where she previously served as the Director of Capital Planning and the Director of Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

In addition to having served six years on the UBC Board of Governors, Shannon is the current Chair of the President’s Non-Academic Misconduct Committee and Director for UBC’s Emergency Operations Centre. She is also the co-founder of the Canadian Senior Housing Officers Network and a member of the Policy Committee for the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services.

Shannon has a Bachelor of Commerce from Ryerson University and a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on health, psychology and education from UBC.


Paul Kwon
Finance Manager, UBC Hiring Solutions
Current Term: January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024
First Elected: 2021

Paul is the Finance Manager at UBC Hiring Solutions where he is responsible for monitoring payroll and benefits administration, identifying and implementing process improvements, and forecasting budget needs. He brings over 10 years of experience in finance and investment management prior to joining UBC.

Paul holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in Biology and Psychology, and is currently studying towards his CPA. Paul is an experienced asset manager and business analyst, and looks forward to working with colleagues and stakeholders to best manage and secure our pension.


Christie Stephenson
Executive Director, Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, UBC Sauder School of Business
Current Term: January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2022
First Elected: 2019

Christie Stephenson is the Executive Director of the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at UBC Sauder School of Business. Prior to joining UBC in 2016, she spent more than fifteen years at leading socially responsible and impacting investing firms including Sustainalytics and NEI Investments (Ethical Funds). She previously worked in politics, government and the non-profit sector.

Christie has more than two decades of diverse board experience, having served as a director of cooperatives, non-profit organizations, private companies and two university senates. She is currently a board director of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility (CBSR) and a governance committee member at BlueShore Financial.

Christie has an undergraduate degree from University of Victoria and a graduate degree from McGill University.