The People

Colleen O’Neil – Program Director

Colleen graduated as a registered nurse in 1972 and worked in N.B., N.S., Ontario and B.C. in many areas of medicine including obstetrics, emergency, surgical, operating room, pediatrics and geriatrics. From 1994 until 2006, Colleen worked as a Palliative Care Nurse at LGH, VGH and in the Bowen Community. Colleen retired from active nursing in 2006. She has worked as a health navigator at the Caring Circle Resource Centre since 2014.

Colleen is also Vice Chair of the Bowen Island Health Centre Foundation and for the past 6 years has been working diligently to build a Community Health Centre on Bowen. The anticipated opening will be in 2023.

Since moving to Bowen in 1988, Colleen has been a volunteer for many organizations including Family Place, BICS, IPS, Snug Cove House, Seniors Keeping Young Society, Theatre on the Isle, local municipality committees, and political advocacy work. Many years ago she also worked as a public relations consultant with Burson-Marsteller and worked as a professional actress in Ontario, Saskatchewan and B.C.

When not working in the health sector, Colleen spends much of her leisure time playing and promoting the game of golf! She and her husband Peter raised their two children, Jake and Kathleen Moir, on Bowen.

Board of Directors

Maureen Witney – Chair

maureen witney

Maureen, with a Masters in Library & Information Science, served as Head Librarian and Systems Librarian at Capilano University. She has worked extensively on University and Province wide committees promoting and implementing resource sharing across BC. Having lived on Bowen for 23 years, Maureen has served on the Island Pacific School Board for 4 years, 2 as Chair. She has long been involved with promoting composting on Bowen, and was a member of the Municipality’s Solid Waste Management Resource Advisory Committee.

One reason for Maureen’s keen interest in the Caring Circle comes from her experience of the incredible services provided by Vancouver Island Health Authority that enabled her father to gently die in the peacefulness of his home. She envisions that one day there will be a similar support system on Bowen.

Stephen Kiraly – Director

Stephen Kiraly

MD, FRCPC.Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Kiraly works with the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. He’s the founding author of “The Healthy Brain Program” and the book “Your Healthy Brain” written and produced on Bowen Island.

His special interests include psychoneuroendocrinology – how stress, brain cycles and hormones affect health and disease and Community and Preventive Medicine (wellness of the community)

Merewyn Hines – Director & Web Support

Maureen Mackey – Director

Maureen Mackey has never regretted a day living on Bowen, having moved here in 1998 with her family. Maureen found friends and meaningful volunteer board experiences through Family Place, Bowen Children’s Centre, and BICS (CSA and PAC), often serving as chair. Later volunteer work included Bowen Island Health Centre Committee and Caring Circle. Having previously facilitated and designed mental health skills groups through Caring Circle, Maureen’s recent contributions involved designing and instructing the “Tough Times Toolkit ” course which was offered in Spring 2021 and which received positive evaluations from all involved. Maureen’s professional background includes psychiatric nursing, nursing education, adult education, and online teaching and learning. Her belief in the importance of connections in supporting individual, family, and community health and safety fits well with Caring Circle work.


Jason Zahara – Director

Jason Zahara was born and raised on a farm in Northern Alberta. He attended
college in Grande Prairie Alberta where he was involved in student politics and
theatre. It was there took a part time job as a child care worker in a youth
detention facility which sparked a life-long passion for mental health and justice
issues. After moving to the west coast he worked as a child care worker in various
youth settings while earning a BA in psychology at SFU. In 1988 he moved to
Bowen Island where his son was born. After a divorce, he continued as a half-time
single parent and worked as a general contractor on Bowen. Throughout his time
on Bowen he has been involved with the Community School Association, Bowen
Island Yacht Club, and the Bowen Island Legion, sitting on the boards of all these
organizations. In this time Jason has also completed a counsellor training program
and earned a certificate as an end-of-life doula. Priorities and interests for Jason
revolve around an ongoing self-education of psychological theories, and individual
and community mental health issues.