Our History

1995 – 2020

Nova Scotia Community College

We appreciate all members who have contributed to GPOP’s evolution over the past 25 years, and particularly applaud our founders: Margo Baptista, Cathy Check, Marilyn Halsall, Glenys Lafrance, Pat Maertz, Jennifer Tribula and Wendy Wait. See below for a look at some of the milestones in our 25 years to date.

  • 1995: A small group of counterparts founded the Professional Board Staff Network (PBSN) as a peer network and professional development body for people contributing in governance capacities to Canadian colleges; members held an inaugural network meeting in Victoria, BC.
  • 1996 – 2008: Annual meetings, held during Association of Canadian Community Colleges (now CICan; Colleges and Institutes Canada) conferences, focused on board professionals’ role in presidential searches and evaluation, board recruitment, orientation and communications, best use of technologies, and more.
  • 2009: The association worked with ACCC to reach out to counterparts across the country in creating a national contact email list that evolved into a renewed listserv. If a member is facing a challenge, they know members will respond with professionalism and goodwill. Members reach out to one another in confidence that their queries on best practices, professional development and sticky issues will receive thoughtful consideration and timely responses that support the individual and their institution.
  • 2010: The association marked its 15th anniversary with its first appearance on ACCC’s annual conference programme; our concurrent session featured an interactive panel and drew an audience that extended beyond PBSN membership.
  • 2011: We became the PBSN/PNPA, in recognition that the association’s annual meetings and listserv increasingly reflected the world of board professionals and that of EAs and managers who are directly responsible to their institutions’ CEOs. The PNPA extension? Professional Network of Presidents’ Assistants.
  • 2014: The association launched this website and, during its Ottawa AGM, elected its first Board of Directors and established by-laws. Members identified the need to develop a new name and, through electronic voting in December 2014, ratified the association’s new name, CICan:GPOP|PGBDG.
  • 2020: The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. Institutions across Canada responded by offering online programs and courses to students, and implementing work-from-home plans for employees.
  • 2020: GPOP celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. Recognition of this accomplishment was given at the June 5, 2020 Virtual Annual General Meeting. A summary of this recognition is provided on our 25th anniversary page.


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