Photo of Darius Maze, VJLS-JH's Executive Director.

Announcing Darius Maze, VJLS-JH’s New Executive Director

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Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall (VJLS-JH) is thrilled to announce that after an exhaustive and collaborative engagement process, Darius Maze has been selected as the new Executive Director of the organization, effective March 3rd, 2020. 

Darius comes to our organization from within our extended stakeholder network, and brings experience in the non-profit sector as a fundraiser and program manager to support inclusive programs and spaces for diverse communities. 

“What drew me to VJLS-JH was the organization’s history of resilience, justice and the role that it has played as a home for the increasingly diverse Japanese Canadian community and as a place of learning and community-building,” he said. 

Building on VJLS-JH’s history and role as a community gathering place and educational centre, Darius is immediately looking forward to contributing to a sustainable long-term future for the organization.

“VJLS-JH has had an important and lasting legacy within the community, and it’s important to me that that legacy is remembered and honoured through the work that the organization will be doing in the years to come,” he noted. 

“I appreciate the complexities of negotiating legacy and how to hold on to what has allowed and pushed the organization to thrive for over 100 years, while establishing a path forward that will allow it to thrive for another 100 years in changing times. I look forward to connecting with all those who share that wish.” 

In addition to his experience in fundraising, marketing, and non-profit management, Darius brings organizational governance skills having served on the boards of more than 12 non-profit organizations over many years. This experience will allow him to support the Board of Directors in shifting from an operational board to a governance board, and to ensure that the organization is responding to the needs of the overall community.

While the announcement of his new position has just been made, Darius has already thought of what he’ll focus on first as VJLS-JH’s first permanent Executive Director.

“My focus will be on diving into the operational side of the organization,” he said. “I’ll be getting up to speed alongside our hardworking staff while ensuring that all of our actions and activities remain transparent and accountable – and fostering a spirit of collaboration.” 

“Building on the work of generations of dedicated and talented volunteers, I will seek to identify how we can best continue to encourage the spirit of volunteerism as times change,” Darius continued. “I’ll also identify how we can continue to offer relevant and beloved child-care, language and cultural programs alongside events and modern facilities.”

Specifically, in his first few months in the job, Darius is looking forward to getting to know the community – families, students, volunteers, and supporters – and, in his own words, “…to listen to what makes VJLS-JH special to them, seek conversations over tasty Saturday lunches, gather with little ones and their parents in the family room and chat with keen learners on the walking tours.” 

As a keen student himself, he will also be immersing himself in Japanese language education to further increase the effectiveness of his leadership role.

“I’m looking forward to enrolling in beginner language classes as another way to better serve in my role, and to appreciate the high-quality education we provide to our students,” he said.

Darius emphasizes that his effectiveness and success in the new Executive Director position is not a singular effort. Instead, successful leadership will be based on a collaborative effort of many who look towards the same organizational vision. 

“My success [in other organizations] was only possible with the inclusion of many, many diverse voices from the community, and I look forward to working with all of you to achieve the same for VJLS-JH,” he concluded. “I…see [us] as being the centre of a thriving community that welcomes other communities to work alongside and learn from us.”

Darius will officially begin as VJLS-JH’s Executive Director on March 3rd, 2020. He will be working with Catarina Moreno over the next two weeks. You can reach Darius at executivedirector@vjls-jh.com.