Our Team

SwimBowen Society Board of Directors


Mary Letson, Founder & Chair

fullsizeoutput_ca1When Mary isn’t running her Bowen Island training studio (Positively Fit), she’s busy creating and nurturing community athletic events for good causes.  For 20+ years, Mary has organized events that encourage people to nail their goals and have fun, all while contributing to a worthwhile fundraising effort that makes a difference right here at home.  A breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 forced a different kind of endurance sport upon her and from this experience comes SwimBowen, an event to help give back and support Bowen Islanders enduring cancer treatment.  Mary coordinated Bowen Island’s Run for the Ferry 1999 – 2001, created and led Bowen Island’s Triathlon for Community House Arts Centre 2007 – 2009, the Reindeer Run 2007 – 2011 for the Island Christmas Hamper Fund, and Aaron’s Run 2010 – 2013 to honour a 19 year old boy’s life tragically lost, supporting The Aaron Sluggett Memorial Scholarship.



Mary Lynn Machado, Vice-Chair

bu7L6LX4TROQGlIJTg+SPg_thumb_e2dAlthough a Bowen Island enthusiast since the 90’s, Mary Lynn’s  film industry career kept her in Los Angeles until 2014. After almost 30 years in visual effects, Mary Lynn made a big career change and now works as a realtor on Bowen! Excited to join the inspirational team at SwimBowen, she grew up in a family where volunteerism was a way of life. Currently, Mary Lynn’s community involvement includes the Bowen Island Arts Council’s Visual Arts Committee, the municipality’s Public Art Advisory Committee, and every year she contributes a painting to the annual ‘Mini Gala’ fundraiser. The enthusiasm of the SwimBowen participants and the subsequent fundraising success is so inspiring – Mary Lynn is thrilled to be aboard to contribute her leadership and expertise!



Ellen White, Treasurer Bio coming soon!










Katherine Gish, Director, Community Sponsorship

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A Bowen Island resident since 1995, Katherine is passionate about this island we all call home. Her favourite motto is Spirit of Community and she is super excited and thrilled to be a part of SwimBowen.  Mary and Katherine have worked on events together since 1997 and they have loved every minute of it. Katherine loves being a part of fun, inspiring and impactful initiatives, and of course, she’ll be there on the beach cheering you on!






Deb Thomson, Secretary

A resident of Tunstall Bay for 22 years, Deb had never seen anything more inspiring as the inaugural SwimBowen event (that took place in July 2018!). Deb served on several education-related boards while raising two sons and she’s absolutely delighted with the opportunity to join SwimBowen’s board! When not hitting the gym in preparation for the 2nd annual fundraising event, Deb works as the operations and HR coordinator for a clean energy think-tank. Deb’s background in teaching, counselling, non-profit leadership & program design informs her service-oriented approach to supporting creative thinkers in both her job and volunteer work.



Michelle Johnson, Cancer Care Fund Lead

Michelle moved to Bowen Island in 2019 having spent much of her adult life MJ_headshothopscotching around the world with significant stops in Portland, Oregon, Washington DC, and Budapest Hungary. While a novice swimmer, Michelle brings years of experience raising funds and participating in distance cycling events, such as the Washington DC AIDSRides and multiple MS rides.  On Bowen, you will find Michelle hiking the trails with her husband Jonathan and their dog, Ziggy Stardust.  She is also active in the Neighborhood Emergency Response Program (NERP), the Community Choir, and the Belterra Co-housing Community gardening team.  Before moving to Bowen, Michelle worked in grant administration in government, higher education, and foundation circles.



Kelsey Watson, Assistant Event Director


A Bowen Islander from day one, Kelsey has been involved in community events on Bowen as both a participant and volunteer all her life, and she loves to support the community that helped raise her. She is super excited to join the SwimBowen team and put her event management training, organizational skills and love of the ocean towards a great cause!







David Adams, Community Outreach

Adams-David-1.jpgAn adamant believer that enthusiasm, laughter, and Love inspires prosperity and a life well-lived, David is inspired by the enthusiasm and vision the event and fund.  He is inspired to think that Perhaps one day people across the Salish Sea will come together to swim, have fun, and raise funds to support members in their community enduring active cancer treatment. It’s care that is needed and can literally make a world of difference.




Annual Event Support

Elliot SwimBowen PhotoElliot Rushton

Elliot has been swimming his whole life and found success in his college years competing in swims ranging from 400m to 10km.  He is a multi-time NCAA champion and represented Canada in the FINA open water world championship in 2005.  Since then, he has picked up trail running, triathlon and a a new type of adventure sport called, SwimRun.  Outside of sport, Elliot is an Engineering Manager and spends his days building teams and solving technical problems. Elliot is our race course consultant – thanks for all the tips Elliot!