BACI president says working together key to success


Merrilyn Cook gives president’s update at Feb. 21 general meeting
Tuesday February 28, 2012 — Camille Jensen

At a recent City of Burnaby meeting convening a number of Burnaby non-profit organizations, Merrilyn Cook recalls a conversation that reinforced what she says is the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion’s (BACI) greatest strength.

Merrilyn, BACI president, was speaking with another board chair who was enthusiastically outlining a new model of governance his organization’s board was adopting. The board, he said, has no contact with staff, or the people the organization serves. It was an approach that surprised and even saddened Merrilyn.

“I kept thinking what a mistake,” recalls Merrilyn, who says such a board would lose out on opportunities, relationships and the ability to increase understanding and positive change through listening and being part of the organizational conversation.

“BACI’s ability as an organization lies in its relationships and our ability to listen and work together.”

Merrilyn Cook

She commended staff, families and individuals supported by BACI for demonstrating what can be achieved through collaboration, pointing to examples like BACI’s inclusive strategic planning process to the organization’s consultation with families and individuals, and its partnerships with community organizations and business.

“It is said that coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress while working together is success. And indeed BACI has a long honourable history of working together, all of us together, everyone included, for 60 years strong” says Merrilyn.

Merrilyn delivered her message on the value of working together as part of her president’s report during BACI’s general meeting Feb. 21. In addition, she gave updates on recent events, congratulating BACI staff and the Sharing our Future Foundation for a successful BACI Ball that raised $28,000 for the organization’s children services.

BACI’s popular annual winter party was held in January, “an incredible evening of friendship and celebration,” and was attended by more than 380 people. Merrilyn says more than 22 turkeys and all the sides were cooked for guests, and she thanked everyone who helped make the event possible.

Merrilyn also thanked BACI board member and vice-president Susan Anthony for her years of service to the organization. Susan stepped down from the board in January, and now works for BACI as assistant manager of human resources and quality assurance.

If you have feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail camille(at)


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