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Former Coquitlam parks manager to head up Atira Women's Society

The organization announced Donnie Rosa will take the reins as CEO starting April 22.
Donnie Rosa is the new CEO for Atira, which runs The Alex in Port Coquitlam.

A former parks, recreation and culture manager with the City of Coquitlam is now leading the Atira Women’s Resource Society.

Today, April 4, the organization announced Donnie Rosa (pronouns she/he/they) will take the reins as CEO starting April 22.

The group, which serves and protects women, children and gender-diverse people, runs an 89-unit housing complex called The Alex in Port Coquitlam, as well as about two dozen other buildings around Metro Vancouver.

Last fall, PoCo city council withdrew its tax exemption for the society for 2024 over what it said were operational and safety concerns at The Alex, located at 2117 Prairie Ave.; the city tax relief for Atira was estimated at $34,658 for the year.

Atira was in the spotlight last year following the resignation of CEO Janice Abbott, and a financial audit was conducted.

In 2023, Rosa parted ways as general manager of the Vancouver Park Board, a position they held for three years after their Coquitlam stint. Their last job was as executive director of community services at the Squamish Nation.

Rosa has more than 25 years of experience in parks, recreation and culture operations and a degree in communications; they also have experience working in mental health and homeless shelters.

According to an Atira news release, Rose will work with the City of Vancouver, First Nations, first responders, nonprofits and community leaders in their new role.

“We’re incredibly happy to announce Donnie Rosa as the organization’s new permanent CEO after an extensive and national executive search,” said Michelle Yung, chairperson to the CEO selection committee and a board member.

“Donnie immediately stood out as a visionary leader with the track record and experience needed to lead Atira.”  

Rosa takes over from interim CEO Catherine Roome.

“This is a great time to be joining Atira,” said Rosa in the release.

“Catherine, the board and all of the Atira staff have done amazing work over the last year. I’m honoured to continue this work, and I’m incredibly optimistic about the organization’s future. Make no mistake, Atira’s work is more essential than ever as a result of the overlapping crises we face in British Columbia, including housing, the poison drug supply and a deteriorating security situation.”

Port Coquitlam Coun. Glenn Pollock, who helped to get The Alex built, told the Tri-City News that he’s “happy to have someone in charge who knows the local context.”