Joni Wright, Vice Chair

Posted on Friday, 3 January 2020 under

Joni Wright is a landscape designer, organic gardener and educator based out of south Delta BC. Joni launched two businesses in 2021: Grass Roots Contessa Landscape Design & Organic Gardening and Yoga Carrots Project Workshops. These exciting ventures have come after three years of further education at Gaia College with courses including Organic Master Gardener, Growing Food, Native Plant Knowledge, and Rainwater Harvesting Management combined with years of volunteering on the farm and in the garden. Joni also delivers nature-based workshops for residents of Metro Vancouver Housing and to early childhood educators through Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre.

What sets Grass Roots Contessa apart from other landscape designers is Joni’s emphasis on planting
plants and grasses native to British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada in harmony with
introduced or non-native plants and grasses. Joni focuses on soil health and the soil helpers, critical to having a luscious garden and lawn, on pollinators, native bees, bugs, and birds in every design, and
ensures every garden retains its beauty and health throughout the seasons.

Joni brings some 40 years of professional experience in a variety of roles and industries. The journey
began in the restaurant scene in Toronto in the 90s, culinary arts courses and a leap into the catering
industry. With this experience, wedding and special event planning came along as well as the
opportunity to operate a new café in downtown Toronto. After a splendid review (Toronto Life
Magazine April 1998) and whirlwind year, the café closed and Joni headed to Vancouver.

Once in Vancouver, Joni landed in the hospitality and event management industry, but soon moved into
an executive assistant and manager of corporate affairs role with a Toyota manufacturing facility in
south Delta. During her tenure she brought brand awareness to the local community by heavily
engaging in charitable events with sponsorships, executed six events in one year, including staff
appreciation and an expansion ribbon cutting with attendance from all levels of government and Toyota
Motor Corporation executives. Joni also earned a bachelor's degree in human services management
while holding this position.

With her degree in tow, Joni moved into the nonprofit sector as the event manager of an inaugural gala,
then manager of fundraising working with a foundation board on a $5million capital campaign and
organizing subsequent galas raising over $300,000. As executive director in the recovery sector, Joni
connected with all levels of community holding a dialogue to promote a healthy drinking culture with
grant funding awarded from the provincial government as well as creating a monthly giving program and
newsletter and significantly increasing membership through the GivingTuesday campaign.

At BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, Joni navigated the development team through the pandemic successfully
rising to the challenge with virtual events and targeted communications with donors.

Joni has been an active volunteer over the years including creation of a basic cooking program for teens
on the autism spectrum, with the City of Surrey pulling weeds, invasive species, and planting native
plants on the Semiahmoo Heritage Trail, a community garden plot coordinator, a board director for a
small organization advocating for housing for aging adults with intellectual disadvantages, and a farm
hand at the KPU Farm School, Tsawwassen. Joni recently adopted a rain garden, an initiative between
the City of Delta and Cougar Creek Streamkeepers.