OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
We have decades of experience in Canada, with strategic and operational leaders who are renowned as top management executives in the industry.
Conan Graham (MBA, PMP, BA)
President and Interim Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Ho moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong in 1983. He is recognized as an innovative, visionary pioneer and leader in both the general real estate development industry, and the specialized area of retirement residence development and operations. He has a reputation for his fairness, honesty and integrity in his approach with the community, residents, employees and partners.
From 1987 to 1995, he undertook general real estate development in Vancouver as investor, financier, developer, general contractor, and registered builder.
In 1993, after 10 years of personal frustration in his attempts to seek appropriate accommodation for his parents and in-laws, Don Ho recognized that beyond his own immediate experience, retirement living was a socio-demographic issue. There was a significant immediate and growing need for more desirable, dignifying and empowering living options for seniors. (Also see Company History)
The innovative Aging in Place concept has come to be viewed as an exemplary model in the industry. Don is widely accepted as the pioneering leader in the development and operation of retirement communities. In recognizing his contribution to the seniors care industry, Don received the honour of National “Entrepreneur of the Year” Finalist Award from Ernst and Young in 2002. Also in 2002, Don and other community leaders founded British Columbia Retirement Community Association. Don was elected as a founding director. Today, the organization is a vibrant association with over 130 organizations. (See www.bcsla.ca)
By profession, Mr. Ho is a Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer and Architect.
Don H.C. Ho, B.Sc. (Eng). C.Eng., M.I.C.E., M.I.Struct.E
- Founder, President and CEO of Trans City Group of Companies, 1987 to present. Specializing in financing, planning and development of multi-family residential projects in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia.
- Founder, President and CEO of CPAC (Care) Holdings Ltd., 1995 to 2005. A group of companies specialized in the operation of Continuum-of-Care senior retirement communities that provided Independent Living, Assisted Living and Licenced Care in British Columbia.
- Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in charge of undergraduate studies in Structural Engineering as well as creating curriculum for post graduate students to undertake professional qualifications to be Chartered Structural Engineers of the Institution of Structural Engineers, United Kingdom, 1973 to 1977. During the same period, also served as the Honorary Secretary for the Hong Kong Branch of the Institution of Structural Engineers of the United kingdom.
- Founder and Principal Partner of Associated Architects and Engineers, 1977 to 1986. A partnership of professional architects and Civil and Structural Engineers in Hong Kong, specialized in professional consulting services to Building and Development Projects in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- Engineer with Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Partners Consulting Engineers, United Kingdom, 1966-1973. Responsible for design and construction of major Civil and Structural Engineering Projects in Hong Kong, including the Plover Cove Water Scheme, Cross Harbour Tunnel, Hong Kong Airport Runway Extension and various highways and road interchanges in Hong Kong.
Main Qualifications, Professional Memberships and Appointments
- Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Honors), University of Hong Kong, 1966.
- Member, Institution of Civil Engineers, United Kingdom, since 1971.
- Gazetted and Licenced Architect, Hong Kong, 1973 – 1986.
- Member, Institute of Structural Engineers, United Kingdom, since 1974.
- Founding Director and Member, British Columbia Retirement Communities Association (BCRCA), 2002. A non-profit organization of owners and operators of senior accommodations in BC.
Industry and Academic Experiences
- Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering in Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 1973-1977. Lectured to graduate and post-graduate students and preparing them for the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Professional Examination.
- Member of the Steering Committee on the Formation of the Registrar of Assisted Living, a governing body for Assisted Living in British Columbia, Spring and Summer of 2003.
- Industry and Academic Experiences
- Delivered lectures on the topic of retirement community development and operations, including:
- BC Pricare 2001 Annual General Meeting & Conference, “Community Care, Soaring to New Heights”, June 3-5, 2001
- Canada Forum, “Building a New Retirement Community”, May 1, 2001
- Athabasca University, Centre for Innovative Management, “Visionary and Entrepreneurial Thinking”, November 2001
- The Phoenix Group, “The Concept of Aging in Place”, October 2001
- inSIGHT, Conference on Emerging Opportunities in Seniors’ Housing, “Beyond Housing: Building Healthy Communities”, February 29, 2000
- Entrepreneur of the Year, Finalist 2002. Nominated by Ernst & Young, recognized among Canada’s top business founders.
- Licenced Builder, Homeowners Protection Office, British Columbia, 2003.
- Licenced Care Provider, Community Care Facilities Act, British Columbia, 1997.
- Licenced Real estate Agent, British Columbia. 1989.
Major Project Achievements
- Independent Consultant to Swire Properties Limited, of the Swire Group, a publicly listed company. Advised on a proposed Retirement Community project to be developed in Pokfulam, Hong Kong. Currently working on the feasibility study for the business viability of the project. Submission of final report in December 2010.
- Co-owner and developer of The Cape on Bowen, a 618-acre master planned waterfront estate community on Bowen Island. 2004-present.
- As President and CEO of CPAC (Care) Holdings and CPAC (Care) Management Inc., financed, planned, developed, marketed and operated eight Continuum-of-Care retirement communities across British Columbia. 1995-2005.
- Founded BC Retirement Communities Association, with the vision to enhance collaborative relationships; promote, enhance and monitor service delivery standards; educate the public on options for support services and retirement living, and advocate for resident choice of these options. 2002.
- Conceived of and pioneered the Continuum-of-Care model of retirement communities. 1995.
- Developed and marketed Tsatsu Shores, a waterfront residential development project in Tsawwassen. Partnered with Tsawwassen First Nations. Created desalination plant and sewage treatment plant on the reserve, and made these facilities available to other Tsawwassen First Nation members’ developments on the reserve at no cost to them. 1995.
- Financed, planned, developed and marketed City Crest, one of the first residential towers in Yaletown, downtown Vancouver. 1993.
- Financed, developed and marketed Riverside Business Park, a project of 70,000 ft2 of industrial warehouses. 1991.
- Financed, developed and marketed St.Albans Court, a condominium development. 1990.
- Financed, developed and marketed Marquis Estates, a condominium development. 1989.
- Chief architect and engineer of various multi-family highrise residential projects, total volume in excess of 5000 units over 10 multi-phased projects. 1975-1986.
- Chief planner and architect of an office tower in Taiwan. 1975.
- Chief Architect and Engineer of a Japanese Junior Secondary School. 1974.
- Design and construction of Hong Kong Cross Harbour Tunnel. 1969-1972.
- Led site investigation of Plover Cove Water Scheme, the largest fresh water reservoire in Hong Kong reclaimed from the sea. 1971.
- Engineer participating in the design of Hong Kong international Airport runway extension 1970.
- Rotarian. The Rotary Club is an international organization for community services. Twice honored Paul Harris Fellow, recognition as the highest service contributor in 1972 (Hong Kong) and 1984 (Vancouver).
Chief Executive Officer
Michael is an entrepreneurial talent with ten years running a highly successful media company as President and Founding Director. He has a special talent for multicultural management and communication. His educational background is in business administration, business management and hotel management, with degrees from Beijing, China as well as Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
In the past 10 years, Michael has held various senior management roles, including Vice President, President, and CEO, of media and business consulting companies, as well as universities and colleges, both in Canada and in China. His defining qualities are his passion for community service, leadership skills, strategic vision, and his ambitious drive and energy.
Conan Graham (MBA, PMP, BA)
Chief Operating Officer
In his role, Mr. Graham works closely with Messrs. Ho and Diao, President and CEO, respectively, on the Company’s overall strategy and execution. While maintaining his continued oversight of business and corporate development, Mr. Graham will focus on implementing growth strategies while increasing efficiencies across all aspects of the business that contribute to sustainable bottom line improvements. He will continue to be responsible for ensuring complete alignment with the Company’s corporate vision, philosophy and core values.
Conan brings over 15 years of broad and diversified business experience. His strategic mindset for scaling and growing businesses is a core asset to the organization. He possesses an innate understanding of what is required to strengthen an organization and build its brand. Conan carries himself with a strong sense of integrity and has a passion for building high performance and purpose-driven teams. He is an executor with strong relationship management and leadership skills. His collaborative approach is key to forming and maintaining healthy, high-performing strategic alliances, and managing investor and developer engagements.
Conan is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), holds a Bachelor of Arts in Administrative Studies, a Masters Certificate in Project Management, and an MBA from Queen’s University.
Vice President, Project Development
Wendy holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Urban Land Economics, from the University of British Columbia. She developed her career in real estate over twenty years of solid experience in the field.
In the early years of her career, Wendy was part of the team who established and launched CPAC’s flagship residence, Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, in South Surrey, British Columbia. Over the years, she further broadened her exposure in real estate, holding progressively more responsible positions in project development, real estate sales and leasing, property management and property valuation. In the last decade, she held a senior position in a reputable, publicly listed real estate company in Hong Kong.
Wendy is thrilled to return home with a wealth of experience to harness and take Element towards its vision.
Vice President, Brand Development & Communications
As Element’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand Development & Communications, Candy drives company innovation and builds corporate culture on vision, purpose and values. She represents the company as a leader of the industry as a board member of BC Senior Living Association, focusing on government advocacy and reshaping the perception of retirement living.
She is responsible for brand building; community, investor and media relations, and leading project sales and marketing. It has always been Candy’s ideal and passion to contribute to society through her daily work. She is grateful for a career that brings deep fulfillment and is rooted in a sense of purpose. To her father, Don Ho’s, Aging in Place model, she added intergenerational living to break through psychological barriers associated with the stigma of “old folks homes”, and to better the lives of not only seniors, but their families and community. This intergenerational model won OASIS by element a global award, winning over 950 projects assessed worldwide.
Candy holds a B.Sc. from UBC, where she majored in Integrated Health Sciences, and led 13 professional health disciplines under Health Sciences Students’ Association as President, mentoring under Dr. John Gilbert, Order of Canada and Senior Advisor on WHO. During university, she volunteered and researched at hospitals, rehab centres and retirement communities. She holds a Certificate in Project Management and a Real Estate Trading Services License.
From the early 2000s, she joined CPAC Care Management. After CPAC was sold to Chartwell in 2005, she continued providing consulting expertise in the development of retirement housing to local and international companies, developing business plans and growth strategies. Also in 2005, she joined the development of a master-planned island waterfront community of 620 acres. This project afforded her the opportunity to take on multiple roles including: visioning; strategic and development planning; partnership negotiations; municipal relations and project management, with core focuses on community relations, and sales and marketing.
Director of Operations, Element
General Manager, OPAL by element
Mr. Edwin Brunink is Director of Operations of Element Lifestyle Retirement, and General Manager for our flagship residence OPAL by element™.
Mr. Brunink comes to us with a BBA degree in Business Administration and Hotel Management from Stenden University in the Netherlands. He brings more than 20 years of multi-unit business management experience, with a focus in hospitality and culinary services within the industries of cruise lines and retirement living. He is an accomplished leader and has a strong track record of success in developing and implementing a variety of strategic initiatives.
Mr. Brunink has held various senior management positions, ranging from Global Culinary Operations Manager, F&B Manager and Hotel Director with Holland America Line; Global General Manager with Oceania Cruises; , National Director of Culinary Services with Revera Inc; Director of Operations with Jarlette Health Services’ Retirement Division, and General Manager with Compass Group Canada. Mr. Brunink prides himself on consistently fostering a culture that the team can be proud of, and exceeding resident, guest and company expectations.
Mr. Brunink will be accountable for ensuring that operations of each of Element’s communities are consistent with brand standards, and for the successful day-to-day operation of OPAL by element™. He looks forward to successfully implementing Element’s innovative model for intergenerational aging-in-place, ensuring that OPAL completely aligns with Element’s core values, vision and mission, and delivers an extraordinary resident and family experience.
General Legal Counsel, BA, LLB
Member of the Law Society of BC
Ernie was a partner in a national law firm’s Vancouver office until December 31, 2018. He advised on all aspects of commercial real estate and corporate/commercial law, and has a varied client base which includes well known REITS, developers, pension funds, limited partnerships and private individuals. Ernie also acted for European real estate investors and has acted for prominent U.S. investors and real estate funds on various acquisitions in B.C.
Ernie has practiced law for over 40 years in Alberta and B.C. and has closed transactions totaling in excess of a billion dollars in his career. His skill as a negotiator and closer is well known in the real estate community.
Ernie was a Board Member of and Legal Counsel to the Vancouver Chapter of NAOIP.
Directorships and Professional Associations
• ICSC 2009 and 2010 Whistler Conference Co-Chair
• Board Member and Legal Counsel, NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Vancouver Chapter
• Acting for a large U.S. Real Estate Fund in its acquisition of two shopping centres in B.C.
• Acting for major CDN REIT in its acquisition of properties in AB and B.C.
• Acting for significant U.S. investor in its acquisition of a major hotel in downtown Vancouver
• Acting for a large residential apartment real estate fund in its acquisition and disposition of various portfolio’s of apartment buildings
• Acting for a Canadian manager of retail/industrial/office buildings for German investors in ON, AB and BC
• Acting for Canadian limited partnership consisting of German investors in its Edmonton office holdings
• Acting for an Austrian investor in his investment in Vancouver office buildings
• Acting for a number of developers in developing industrial, office and retail income generating properties
• Acting on the sale of over 2000 condominium units in the Lower Mainland
• Acting for two large CDN transportation companies on the relocation and development of new distribution facilities
• Acting for a Chinese investor in his purchase of a large B.C. resort
• Past Lecturer, Real Estate Law, Law Society of Alberta
• Past Lecturer, Real Estate Law, Continuing Legal Education
• Volunteer Teacher, Junior Achievement of British Columbia
Investor Relations Manager
Mr. Young was an investment advisor holding both his Canadian and U.S. securities licenses up until 2000. He has worked as a corporate governance and communications consultant since 2000 in the technology, mining and pharmaceutical industries, with clients trading on both Canadian and American stock exchanges. During the 2010 Winter Olympics he was an in-house consultant with Alda Pharmaceuticals which was the infection control sponsor for the games. The Company was also named in the TSXV Top 50 listed companies the same year. Recently he was the Managing Director of Sonoma Resources which completed a Reverse Takeover of Element Lifestyle Retirement in December 2015. Over the last three years Scott has been a consultant to Element for both the public company and Limited Partnership being completed for the Aquara project in Victoria, B.C.