“Oaklands is at the heart of the Victoria: diverse, engaged, brimming with everything that makes this city great. I’m glad to be a part of continuing the development of this very special community.”
John O’Brien moved into Oaklands in 1989 and, with partner Robert Tornack, raised their daughter while building Garden Oaks Fine Accommodation, a registered property management, leasing and design partnership. During this period, he conceived and created the Records and Information Management Branch within the Ministry of Social Services and represented needs of government on the Office Careers Advisory Council for the Business Division of Camosun College. In 1995, he established Interactive Strategies, Inc. to provide education and consulting in information privacy and management while pursuing academic studies. In 2002, he was successful in international competition for the role of Director and Principal Archivist, Government Records Service, Hong Kong, restructuring the Service to adapt to new information technologies across 85 departments. Returning to the private sector in 2005, he established the knowledge management consultancy, IRM Strategies with activity in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Paris and Stockholm.
Returning to Victoria in 2009, an opportunity took John overseas in 2010 and for the next two years he focused on design and project management for a villa in Cyprus, smaller projects in the Capital Region and the major redesign of the Mt. Stephen Avenue home in Oaklands, completed in 2013.
Accepting an Adjunct Professorship at the UBC School of Library, Archives and Information Studies, he also developed a graduate level course on records systems in the digital environment offered as distance education in 2012 and 2013. John’s community service has taken many forms over the years. Past board roles include the Victoria Balalaika Orchestra; B.C. Schizophrenia Society-Victoria Branch; the Institute of Certified Records Managers; the Asia Pacific Intellectual Capital Centre; Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society among others. Earlier, he contributed graphic design to the UVIC Slavonics Club, the Sierra Club and the Vancouver Island Pink Pages. In 2013, John and Rob opened their gardens as part of a fundraiser for the Victoria Hospice Society and currently provide accommodation in ongoing support of the Belfry Theatre.
John holds a BA in Slavonic Studies from the University of Victoria and an MA in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University. He is a Certified Records Manager.
He continues to balance interests in organisational governance systems with design of architecture, interiors and objects. When time permits, John enjoys writing, painting, cooking, travel and helping out in the gardens.