Board of Directors
The Powell Street Festival Society is run primarily by a group of committed volunteers comprising the board of directors, several committees, and hundreds of other volunteers during Festival weekend.
Our active and dedicated volunteer Board of Directors sit on four volunteer committees (Advocacy, Programming, Fundraising, Festival) along with other community members. Our directors bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Society and share a love of the arts, Japanese culture and food!
Edward Takayanagi :: President
Carly Yoshida-Butryn :: Vice President
Hiromi Grace Mikasa :: Treasurer
Rebecca Ho :: Secretary
Emily Wu :: Director
Shoko Kitano :: Director
Mike Okada :: Director
Lenita Wong :: Director
Originally from Alberta, Edward Takayanagi attended university in Japan on the Monbusho Scholarship and lived in Kyoto for 4 years studying archaeology. He moved to Vancouver upon returning to Canada and attended Law School at UBC. After working for a Japanese plastics company for a number of years and practicing law in Vancouver, he is currently working Coast Mental Health Foundation. Edward has also been the president of the Vancouver Mokuyokai Society, is on the board of the Tomoe Arts Society and volunteers frequently with other community organizations.
Carly Yoshida is the breaking news producer for CTV Vancouver and has been working in the broadcast industry for more than four years. She has Japanese-Canadian heritage, and her family originally hailed from B.C. before settling in Toronto after the Second World War. Although she grew up in Toronto, she has many fond memories of visiting family on the west coast and volunteering at the Powell Street Festival. Carly recently moved to Vancouver with her husband. She is looking forward to her first year as a board member and is excited to be part of an organization that celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture in Vancouver.
Hiromi Grace Mikasa is an Academic Director at a private English school. She grew up going to the Powell Street Festival and has seen it grow over the years. She wants to be part of the board to make the festival a summer custom for everybody and share all of the wonderful art, good food and the great vibe. She also hopes to bring some of her Human Resource knowledge that she is currently gaining to the board.
Emily Wu is currently an Internal Coach and a Program Lead at University of British Columbia. Her current work involves developing, delivering, and managing innovative educational programs for adult professionals. As a first generation Taiwanese Canadian living and blending in multiple cultures, Emily finds stimulation in language, culture, and diversity. Emily has volunteered with Powell Street Festival since 2007. She loves the spirit of PSF, in particular connecting with community groups, celebrating arts and culture, and working with like-minded individuals that believe in the Society’s mission and values.
Rebecca Ho is a Communications Officer for the Department of Economics at Simon Fraser University. She uses her skills in analytics, marketing, and communication to help students. She is proud to be a 4th generation Japanese Canadian and has attended many Powell Street Festivals in her youth.
Shoko Kitano is a non-profit professional who currently works as a Program Lead at CNIB. Born and raised in Tokyo, she moved to Vancouver, B.C. in 2001. As an immigrant, a woman, and a person with visual impairment, she is passionate about community-based actions that bring about a positive change to the society. She was originally drawn to the festival for its amazing food, and after learning about the socially-minded mandate and sense of community that it fosters, she became interested in joining the board. She hopes to help more people come out to, volunteer at, and feel the warmth of the festival and its community.
Mike Okada works in the marketing industry, where he specializes in copywriting and brand consulting, and he is excited to be bringing his skills to continue building upon the successes of festivals past. Born and raised in BC, Mike is a fourth generation Japanese Canadian who has been coming to the Powell Street Festival since he was young. As a member of the board, he looks forward to working with an amazing team, getting back in touch with his roots, and helping the next generation make their own lasting memories of the festival in the years to come.
Lenita Wong is a life-long Vancouverite. She first volunteered for Powell Street festival in 2009 by accident. She meant to volunteer for a walking tour held during the Powell Street Festival but for another organization. She has been involved with Powell Street Festival society since. Lenita holds a degree in Business Administration and has over a decade of experience in business analysis and technological projects. She has worked in the First Nations Health society, public education and public transportation sectors.