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Pride Toronto co-chair to leave board this fall

Hillier says board hopes to have new executive director hired by mid-December

Sean Hillier speaks at Pride Toronto’s 2013 annual general meeting. He will not be seeking reelection to the board this year.

Credit: Andrea Houston

The co-chair of Pride Toronto’s board of directors is leaving the organization, along with two other directors, this fall.

Sean Hillier — who co-chairs with Shelley Craig — Chad Simon and Mark Smith will not be running for reelection at Pride’s annual general meeting on Oct 30. Susan Gapka, whose term is also up, has confirmed she will run again for her seat.

Hillier, who has served on the board for three years and worked with Pride Toronto for seven, feels that it is time to inject some fresh blood into the organization. He also wants more time to focus on completing his PhD. He notes that this level of turnover is not unusual for the board on a year-to-year basis.

“I was very happy to serve . . . with the organization and wish them the best of luck,” he says. Hillier will also be staying on to help with board transition and the search for a new executive director. After Kevin Beaulieu’s departure on Aug 31, the Pride Toronto board took over the operational roles usually overseen by the executive director. An executive hiring firm has been retained to start the search for the new executive director, who Hillier hopes will be hired by mid-December.

He and Simon are hopeful that the organization will continue in the positive direction it has been heading. Smith could not be reached for comment.

“I took on this role because I always believe the Pride isn’t just a thing, it wasn’t an entity — for me it has always been that feeling I always get during Pride,” says Simon, who served two and a half terms on the board. “I just hope . . . I was able to express and share with everybody else that feeling.”

Simon, who works at Ryerson University as an academic adviser, had reached his term limit and was unable to run again. “It’s going to be interesting to be a spectator,” he says.

Applications for the vacant Pride Toronto board seats are being accepted until Sept 26. Voting for board positions will take place at Pride Toronto’s annual general meeting Oct 30.