Table Captains

Each organization is sending a representative to host a table. Here is some information about the people you will meet at this event.

Ayendri Perera-Riddell
Regional Activism Coordinator, Western Canada & Territories
Ayendri Perera is a Sri Lankan born educator, community organizer and campaign strategist based in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Her work centers on the use of liberatory pedagogies to deepen understanding and inspire collective action. In the past she has extensively researched and developed curriculums for UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning and coordinated community-based education programs such as Teach Outside the Box.
Ayendri is committed to intersectional grassroots organizing, and has been actively involved for the past 8 years in migrant justice, Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice campaigns. As a part of this organizing she does frontline support work, collaborates on national strategies, works on media campaigns, and organizes creative actions.
Currently, Ayendri is combining her experience as an educator with her background in community organizing as Regional Activism Coordinator at Amnesty International. In this role she takes a rights-based approach to support cross-border campaigns
Katie McPherson
Chief Resilience Officer
In her previous role as Manager of Community Resilience for the City of Vancouver Office of Emergency Management, Katie led the implementation of a new Community Resilience portfolio that included all aspects of volunteer, community, and business engagement programs, with a mandate to work collaboratively with government and community stakeholders to promote resilience to all hazards.
Prior to this, Katie was the Manager of Emergency Planning for the City, where she developed a range of emergency plans, hazard and risk assessments. Since 2013, she led the City’s involvement in various consultations and planning initiatives related to marine shipping and oil spill response, and represented the City on a range of regional, provincial and federal planning initiatives.
In addition to her roles at the City, Katie has a wealth of unique personal and work experience. This includes working on award-winning, multi-disciplinary research projects and participating in many emergency services roles.  Responding to the 20004 tsunami in Thailand and working with community members to support the launch of a grassroots recovery project providing employment for local citizens that resulted in the construction of an art centre for local youth, inspired her to pursue this line of work.
Katie holds a Master’s Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management from York University and a BA in International Development and History from Dalhousie University.
Alana Whittman
Community Engagement Coordinator
At CPAWS-BC, Alana bridges her passions for the wilderness and community building by running workshops and events that inspire British Columbians to take action to protect wild spaces. Alana studied International Relations and Political Science at UBC Okanagan, an education that has enabled her to live, study, and work on three continents. Stop by the CPAWS-BC booth to find out how you can become natural leader and stand up for wilderness in your community.
Meheret Bisrat
Assistant Manager – Refugee and Specialized Programs
Meheret is a humanitarian, an advocate of inclusion and diversity and speaker of truth. Over the past 7 years, she has had the privilege of making meaningful impacts on the lives of new immigrants and refugees through her front-line work at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society.  Her compassion, empathy, ability to form connections, love of engagement through dialogue and her curiosity of knowing people’s lives, allows her to understand people from various backgrounds. With a strong passion for social justice, Meheret strives to empower individuals and communities to advocate for themselves while addressing the inherent inequity that exists in our societies.  Meheret graduated from SFU with a B.A. in Criminology. She currently works as the Assistant Manager of the Refugee and Specialized Programs.
Kate Rossiter, PhD
Research and Projects Manager
Kate is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Criminology at Simon Fraser University, where she was Associate Director of the FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children. Kate has been working as a researcher and educator in the areas of violence against women, mental health, and justice for the past 10 years. She supervises practicum students interested in anti-violence research and analysis, and coordinates EVA BC’s Safe Choices LGBT2SQ Support and Education Program.
Alpha Kirabira
Alpha was born in the country of Uganda, he spent part of his life in an orphanage where his mother worked. It was at this at this orphanage where a Canadian family sponsored him to go to school in Canada at the age of 12. At the age of 17 he went back to Uganda where he started two schools with his mother where they had youth from families that have had a hard start in life. He wanted to give back to the country that has given him the opportunities he had. He started Help Change My City where he work with a team to help youth in the communities in Canada.  This organization is helping youth in schools who are in need of personal development, advancement and preparation for employment. Our goal is to help the youth become good citizens able to take care of themselves, their futures, family and community.
Ajlin Mehmedi
Settlement Worker (Women and Seniors) – Immigrant Women’s Peer Support Program
Ajlin came to Canada 18 years ago as a Government Assisted Refugee, from former Yugoslavia, she started volunteering at ISSofBC the very first week of her arrival. Ajlin is a graduate of Women’s Program, and is passionate about the goal of the program, which is to empower newcomer women by creating safe, confidential and supportive environments where they can gain validation and understanding of complex issues of adjustments and integration. She has been working in Women’s Program at ISSofBC for more than 12 years and has been privileged to witness an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence, and celebrate their strength and resilience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering Technology
Amal Kago
Outreach Case Manager of the Moving Ahead Program
Amal Kago is a passionate Case Manager at Mosaic Moving Ahead program. She works with newcomers to Canada, the vulnerable population of immigrants and refugees. Worked for Mosaic for ten years and has vast experiences in assisting newcomers to integrate and successfully settle into Canadian society. In 2012 Amal’s program was recognized by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada as the best services practices in Canada.  In 2013 she was recognized by her organization for the outstanding work habit.  You can reach her through the email
Khim Tan
Senior Manager of Immigrant Services
Khim Tan has been working in the immigrant/refugee serving sector for the last 20 years.  Her knowledge of and experience in the non-profit sector include: program development of settlement support, language skills and employment services as well as community connections for newcomer populations (immigrants, refugees, temporary foreign workers, international students, refugee claimants); innovative approaches to meet needs of vulnerable newcomers. Khim is passionate about community-building and social inclusion.
Ashleigh Turner
Communications Manager
Ashleigh has worked for Options for Sexual Health (Opt) for nine years. She started out as a volunteer in 2007, and became a staff member in 2008. She is passionate about the work Options for Sexual Health does throughout the province of BC. In her Communications Manager role Ashleigh is responsible for media, social media, outreach events, marketing and promotion, as well as managing the volunteer program and acting as staff liaison for the Board of Directors.
Andrew Seong
Operations Coordinator
Andrew Seong is an Operations Coordinator at PeaceGeeks who assists the fundraising team to develop and carry out strategies for accelerating the financial growth of the organization. Andrew’s role specifically involves developing communication strategies and material for fundraising campaigns, maintaining donor relations, as well as writing grant and sponsorship proposals to governments, corporations, foundations and other institutional funders.
Prior to his role at PeaceGeeks, Andrew was a Regional Coordinator at UN Association in Canada where he directed a youth employment program in Vancouver while attending the University of British Columbia as a full-time student. He was also a Programme Management intern at the UN Democracy Fund, where he administered a portfolio of grants exceeding in value of US $160 million.
 Andrew has recently graduated from the University of British Columbia majoring in International Relations, with concentrations in International Economy and Development.
Andrew gets geeky about: Reading books on philosophy, watching movies, contemplating on the meaning of life and having fierce debates about meaningless topics.
Connect with Andrew Seong:
Sandra Mora
Human Resources & Community Development Manager
Sandra is in charge of the Human Resources Department and the Volunteer Program at Quest. Sandra works with many organizations that come to Quest to volunteer on a regular basis doing repackaging, cleaning, and any type of work that is needed. Sandra also liaises with all the community resource partners, who refer clients in need to Quest. Quest would not exist without community involvement.
Shaleena Jeraj
Strategic Management & Project Management Unit Manager
Shaleena has over 20 years of experience working in law enforcement. She started her career with the Canada Border Services Agency (formerly Canada Customs) and has worked in numerous areas including border operations, training, policy development, investigations and corporate management. Currently, Shaleena manages the RCMP’s Strategic Management and Project Management Unit for British Columbia and the Yukon.  She will be joined by Superintendent John Brewer.
John Brewer
Officer in Charge of Enhanced Community and Aboriginal Policing Services
Superintendent John Brewer joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in March 1994, and is currently the Officer in Charge of Enhanced Community and Aboriginal Policing Services.  Over the course of his service, he has been assigned to duties ranging from General Duty to Aboriginal and Community Policing throughout British Columbia, as well as International Policing in Afghanistan.  Supt. Brewer is a highly regarded leader in the RCMP.  In 2007, a dispute arose on Spat Mountain between several First Nations and developers of the Bear Mountain Resort near Victoria. At the time, this was the largest private development in Canada. He was the chief liaison and led the mediation amongst the Five First Nations, The Developer, the Province of British Columbia and the Municipality of Langford to a successful conclusion. Then Sgt. Brewer was awarded a Commanding Officer’s Commendation and the British Columbia Meritorious Service Medal for mediating a peaceful settlement at Bear Mountain.  In 2009, he was honoured by Chief Adam Dick, Hereditary Chief of Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations, for his work in developing the RCMP procedures and policies of the Heritage Conservation Act of British Columbia.  In a ceremony, at the Mungo Martin Big House in Victoria, then Sgt. Brewer was adopted into Chief Dick’s Wolf Clan and given his traditional clan name.  Superintendent Brewer is a proud member of the Lower Simikameen Indian Band – Smalqmix. He was born in Penticton and raised in Princeton, British Columbia. The son of a logger, he lived and worked throughout Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island and the interior of British Columbia. He and his brother, Cole Brewer, are the most recent of four generations of RCMP members in his family. He is married to Wendy, who works as the Community Health Nurse for Tsawwassen First Nation, and is the proud father to two boys, John jr. and Zachary.
Beverly Pitawanakwat
Indigenous Recruiter
Aanii (my Ojibwe), Tansi (Cree), Hadi (Carrier), Cacim hihak k”aa (Nuu-chah-nulth), Ey swayel (Halq’emeylem).  My name is Beverly PITAWANAKWAT, Anishnaabe-kwehn (Ojibwe) from northern Ontario, a proud Member of the RCMP for 17.5 years having done all of my service in First Nations communities in Saskatchewan and B.C., and am currently the Indigenous Recruiter for the RCMP in B.C. Greetings from the many communities I have served.
Kara-Leigh Bloch
Executive Director
Kara-Leigh has been working with seniors and their housing for over 13 years. Her experience spans research, policies and practice within the field of aging. From her studies, she brings a Human Ecology perspective to aging, applying an interdisciplinary and holistic approach to examine the many contexts of people’s lives. In particular, her focus on the dynamic relationships people have with their near environments: family, home and community. Kara-Leigh began at Seniors Services Society in 2008, and since April 2010 has served as Executive Director of the society. She sits on numerous homelessness and seniors tables across Metro Vancouver and is the Board Member of the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition Society. Her mission in her role leading Seniors Services Society is to enhance the quality of daily life of seniors by creating a safe, comfortable and healthy place to call home.
Mandy Thayil
Program Manager
Trained as a Social Worker, Mandy has a commitment to mobilizing communities to play their part in advancing the rights of children & youth.

Helen Cheung
Performance Program Coordinator 
Helen’s role is to organize sport development camps to enhance the level of sport performance with athletes and coaches province wide. She has strong connections with SOBC coaches, and competitive athletes.  She will also be representing Team BC as Mission Staff at the Special Olympics National Games in Nova Scotia this summer! She is a great resource for graduates to find volunteering opportunities in some of our most successful events and initiatives within SOBC
George Somerwill
George Somerwill started his career in the media and communications world, working for the BBC World Service for Africa in the early seventies. In 1976, he joined the CBC, eventually serving as executive producer of a top daily current affairs radio programme, and spending three years as a producer in the CBC’s Paris office. He also worked with the Oil-For-Food Programme, UNICEF, the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), the UN Missions in Sudan (UNMIS), and ended his career in the UN with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Rosio Godomar
Coordinator of Educate Girls Network
Rosio Godomar was born in Peru and now, lives in Vancouver, Canada. She studied in Peru and Germany and has an MSc in Human Nutrition from the University Federal of Rio da Janeiro. She is also a nutritionist and keen amateur photographer, who worked with the United Nations World Food Program for more than 20 years in humanitarian and emergency programs in Africa (Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Sudan, Ethiopia and Liberia) and the Middle East (Iraq) as well as South Asia (Pakistan and Afghanistan). “In all those countries I realized the common need was for young women to receive an education,” she says. “A girl with an education provides support to her whole family and her community”.
In 2013 Rosio started the “Educate Girls Network” (EGN) initiative to sponsor girl students from underprivileged rural families in Liberia, West Africa to complete their higher education and become educators. This initiative was created based on the challenges facing girls who want an education in Liberia. “When I was growing up in Peru I was inspired by life changing educational opportunities, and would like to do the same for Liberian girls. Through the EGN can bring awareness about places and people from one part of the world to another.”
Zoë Jackson
Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Youth Programs
Zoë Jackson is one of the coordinators in the Volunteer Services department at the Vancouver Aquarium, but you wouldn’t know it from her background. A degree in Art History had her working in a museum, supporting volunteer efforts. Her specialization is in the recruitment of youth, and she loves helping them find their passions in life through early volunteer experiences. Many of the students who come through the youth program at the Aquarium have never held a volunteer position before at an organization of this capacity, so it is exciting to watch them step out of their comfort zone and transform into ocean champions!
Alana Prochuk
Manger of Public Legal Education

Alana Prochuk manages public legal education programs for the equality rights non-profit West Coast LEAF. Her roles include facilitation, curriculum development, community consultation, and communications. She previous experience in the non-profit sector has included positions with the BC Civil Liberties Association, WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre, and Seniors First BC (formerly the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support). Alana is trained as a high-school English and ESL teacher and holds an MA in Cultural Studies. She loves bikes, feminism, and dancing with abandon.