Steve Whiteside, President

Communicator, relationship builder, strategic thinker, community leader, public speaker, facilitator, and executive coach. Steve has worked in the private college industry for 32 years and is a successful entrepreneur who has owned five Academy of Learning Colleges.

Steve returned to university as an adult and earned a Master's degree in leadership at Royal Roads University, and a second Master’s Degree in Human and Organizational Systems, as well as a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Development from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California.

Past President of Private Career Training Institutions Agency, ALS Society of BC and the Shriners of BC and Yukon, as well as Vice President and Treasurer of the ALS Society of Canada. Also a past Board Member of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver. Steve owns the Franchise Leadership Center, and is the COO of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. He has been married to Dori for 33 years and has a daughter who is a psychologist and a daughter who is a paramedic.

Ed Lewin, Vice President

Past President, Vancouver Holocaust Centre Society for Education & Remembrance. Ed was born and raised in Vancouver, the middle child of Holocaust survivors. An avid sportsman and community worker, he has served on many non-profit Boards and is proud to have represented Canada in basketball three times at the Maccabi Games in Israel. He has lived in Richmond since 1987. A lawyer, Ed runs his own business law practice in Vancouver. He has been married to Debbie for 39 years and has two grown, married children.

Shaun Samuel, Treasurer

Shaun was born in India and came to Canada in 1997. Shaun is a designated CPA and currently working as a Senior Corporate Auditor. He has been associated with Chabad Richmond since he was a child, and is proud to say he had his Bar Mitzvah at Chabad Richmond. Shaun has been a treasurer on other non-profit Boards as well.

Shaun has a passion for food and likes to cook and enjoys feeding people. He likes to spend his spare time with family and friends, cooking, and experimenting with cooking. In his free time, Shaun also enjoys reading.

Louise Houta Wright, Secretary

Louise Houta has been an active supporter of Chabad Richmond since 2000. Over the years, she has been instrumental in fundraising and hosting special holiday dinners. She has also contributed significantly by shouldering the responsibilities of her current position as Board Secretary for Chabad Richmond. Louise has experience at both the Club and Board level with Na'amat.

Previously, Louise was actively engaged in kosher catering at various synagogues, including Chabad. Louise also has extensive experience in the corporate sector, and is an experienced administrator.  During her tenure, she worked as an office manager and was responsible for the day-to-day activities associated with her position.

Louise is passionate about children, and runs her own private home daycare, while looking after the well-being of the children placed under her care. She is the proud mother of four children, and grandmother to 12.

Jeff Wachtel, Executive Member at Large

Jeff has lived in Richmond since 1982 and been married to Iowna for 40 years. They have two sons and four grandchildren.  His interests include sports, photography, and cooking.  Before retiring in 2019, Jeff practiced Podiatric Medicine for 40 years.  Over the past four decades, Jeff has been involved with a number of organizations, both professionally and recreationally, including the Board of the B.C. Association of Podiatrists and the Board of Examiners in Podiatry, as well as the Richmond Youth Soccer Association, the B.C. Premier League Soccer Board, the West Richmond Minor Baseball Association, and the Richmond Country Club Board.  

Jeff has been involved with both Chabad Richmond and the Beth Tikvah Congregation in Richmond for decades, serving on the Beth Tikvah Board for eight years, including two years as President of the shul.  He has enjoyed his years of community service and the friendships he has formed during those times.  Jeff is grateful to to be able to contribute to the Board of Chabad Richmond, and grow his relationship with Rabbi Baitelman and his friends in the Chabad community.

Shelley Civkin

A native Vancouverite, Shelley is a retired librarian and communications officer. A committed volunteer with Chabad Richmond, she tutors English to Israeli high school students with the Israel Connect program, was a challah baker for Chabad’s Light of Shabbat program, and dabbles in PR. She is currently a freelance writer (a.k.a. “The Accidental Balabusta”) for the Jewish Independent and other media, and she wrote a weekly book review column for the Richmond Review for 18 years. In her free time she indulges in Jewish learning and exploring her Yiddishkeit. A  weekly attendee at Chabad Richmond’s Torah Studies class, Shelley has also been an active participant in Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) Retreats, as well as JLI’s The Land & the Spirit Trip to Israel, and has attended many six-week JLI courses through Chabad Richmond.

Dan Isserow

Dan has financial and business operations leadership experience and a successful track record of growing organizations across various business sectors, including introducing the Nando's restaurant franchise to Canada, and serving as its President and CEO from 1993 to 2012. 

Dan currently works as a business consultant to a number of companies both on strategy and financial initiatives.  He is a Director on the Board of Trevali Mining , a publicly listed TSX company, and is Chief Financial Officer for a glass company that provides full-service supply and sourcing solutions, as well as for a cardiac imaging company.  He is qualified as a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in South Africa and has completed the ICD Directors' Education Program.

Sheldon Kuchinsky

With over 30 years of experience working in the Retail and Food Service Produce Industry, Sheldon was a member of the Board of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and was a past Board Member of the Beth Tikvah Synagogue. He has also participated on various committees at the Richmond Golf and Country Club.

Sheldon was born in Montreal, the eldest of four children, and moved to Richmond, BC in 1998. Married to his wife Julie for 37 years, they have a son who practices law in Toronto, and a daughter who is the Senior Operations Manager for a Public Relations firm in Vancouver. He is the proud Zadie to two grandsons. A sports and fitness enthusiast, he is devoted to prayer, his community, and Chabad of Richmond.

Phil Levinson

Philip Levinson is a CPA, CA and runs a wealth management, estate planning and insurance practice at ZLC Financial. He and his wife, Sherry (Gelfer), have three wonderful children, Hayley, Joshua and Julia. Philip is the sitting past president and a director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. He is also a past co-president of the Richmond Jewish Day School and has served on many other non-profit Boards. He is passionate about sports and was a long-term soccer coach in Richmond, and also coached for Maccabi Canada at the 2009 and 2013 Maccabiah Games held in Israel, and at many JCC Maccabi events held in Canada, the USA and Israel.

Roman Rubin

As Black Tusk Resource's CFO, Roman does more than balance spreadsheets.  After moving from Ukraine to the town of Dimona, Israel, at the age of 5, Roman remembers the oppression his young family was faced with, and how Israel and the Jewish Community provided an opportunity for a better life.  After moving to Canada at the age of 9, Roman and his family had immigrated more than most people do in a lifetime.  Having Chabad support his family along the way was integral to Roman's sense of community, and he will always remember his Jewish ties, and how important it is to give back. 

While living in Toronto for work, he created a young professionals organization called JAM (Jewish and Modern), whose goal was to strengthen the Russian-speaking Jewish Community. Even though Roman is now a director of multiple publicly traded companies, being on the Board of directors of Chabad Richmond is near and dear to Roman's heart.  Roman remembers when Chabad Richmond opened its doors and has seen how the community has grown and strengthened over the years.  When Roman is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys, along with his Boxer dog sidekick, and taking on construction and landscaping projects big and small.

Yael Segal

Born in Israel to Soviet immigrants, and raised in Richmond, BC, Yael Segal has established herself as an active, engaged, and passionate leader amongst the younger generation in Metro Vancouver's Jewish community. As Co-Chair of Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver's Ben Gurion Society, a weekly volunteer with Jewish Family Services, and a gala committee member with Ronald McDonald BC & Yukon, Yael prioritizes her community by dedicating her time, energy, and passion to several noteworthy causes – Jewish and non-sectarian alike.

A former Canadian national rhythmic gymnast and certified coach, Yael is the founder and principal of Yael Segal Wellness, and a master trainer at Vancouver's premier Callanetics and high-intensity interval training studio, Kondi Fitness. Before her fitness career, Yael held an international position within the luxury fashion realm, opening stores across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. Yael resides in Vancouver with her husband, Justin, and 1-pound toy poodle, Juliette.