2 min

Changing of the guard

Bruce Bursey to step down as PTS president

TIME FOR CHANGE. Outgoing PTS President Bruce Bursey says the timing is right to hand control to others with their own visions. Credit: Shawn Scallen

After serving on its board for more than two years, Bruce Bursey is stepping down as the president of Pink Triangle Services (PTS).

Bursey, who will finish out his second term as president at PTS’ annual general meeting later this month, says he simply felt it was the right time to make a change.

“The timing is good for me and I feel that the board is maturing and there are new opportunities – now it’s time for others with their own visions, with their own styles, with their own networks to take it to the next step,” says Bursey.

This past year has been an exciting and challenging one for the organization, he says, highlighted by the “interesting journey” the board undertook when it decided to hire its first full-time paid executive director.

“I’d never done anything like this [hire an executive director] before,” he says, adding that board members carefully reviewed more than 500 applications before choosing Maura Volante, who assumed her new post in January.

But Bursey adds that although the search was difficult at times, it was a necessary step toward increasing the “corporate credibility” of PTS, as the addition of Volante now means the board is represented full-time at both the city and community levels, as well with Ottawa’s youth agencies.

“And now, having the executive director there means that PTS is more than just at night. It has a presence during the day outside of its four walls,” Bursey says. “It has been a remarkable leap from the kitchen table to the boardroom table.”

In addition to hiring Volante, Bursey says he’s also proud of the work PTS has done over the past year in helping to produce a new syphilis public service announcement targeting the sexually transmitted disease’s rising rates in Canada’s gay men. The video, a cartoon currently running nationwide on PrideVision TV, encourages men to get tested and provides prevention information.

“It’s the first time, it seems, that the words cock and ass and oral sex have been shown in a commercial on TV in Canada,” Bursey says, noting that although PrideVision had some initial concerns about airing the PSA due to the cartoon’s language and sex scene, the channel decided to show the video anyway. “Here it is, a simple gay, grassroots, culturally-appropriate message.”

Although Bursey is stepping down as PTS president, he will still serve on the board as past president, a non-voting position. This, he says, will allow him to help mentor and guide the board through the challenges of the next year.

Bursey notes those challenges include increasing PTS programming, a focus on improving and expanding youth services, the organization’s role inside and outside of the city’s gay community, and moving forward on the community centre concept. PTS is also looking at taking over the role of the AIDS Committee of Ottawa in promoting AIDS prevention.

He adds that he will also be spending much of his time assisting Volante, helping her to define her role and position within the organization.

Bursey, who first became involved with PTS while working on the Wellness Project, says he has enjoyed his five-year involvement with the organization.

“Pretty much my life has been focused on gay wellness and community issues since then,” he says. “It has changed me for the better, and through that time period, I have found my voice.”


1–4pm. Sun, May 30.

Colonel By Room.

2nd Floor, Ottawa City Hall.

110 Laurier Ave West.

Info: (613) 563-4818.