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.


Table Captains


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Rowen Siemens
Communications Officer
Rowen Siemens is the Communications Officer at the BC Council for International Cooperation. She is grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Rowen has a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has acquired years of writing, research, and communications experience across a range of sectors, including the private, charitable, and the international non-governmental. Directly prior to joining BCCIC, Rowen worked with Minority Rights Group International (MRG) at their headquarters in London. MRG campaigns worldwide to support minority and Indigenous rights.Her graduate research focused on the effects of Canadian legislation on Indigenous rights. Her current work at BCCIC largely involves disseminating information and engaging with the public about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Jessie Ching
Coordinator, Volunteer Experience and Engagement
Jessie is currently a fourth-year business student at Simon Fraser University concentrating in Human Resources and International Business with a minor in communications. As an individual dedicated in giving back to the community and helping vulnerable people, Jessie began volunteering at the Canadian Red Cross to become a part of the largest humanitarian network in the world.
In her current role, Jessie is a part of team that conducts community outreach and engagement, coordinates recruitment of volunteers, and supports the programs and services offered. In this position, she works with the program and service staff to build volunteer capacity across programs and services by setting goals and implementing plans to ensure accountability for volunteer sourcing. Jessie strives to further the mission of the Canadian Red Cross to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.

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Debbie Clyne
Provincial Member
Debbie Clyne has been a Red Cross volunteer since 1997. Debbie began as a Call Centre Supervisor and Crisis Debriefer locally for large international disasters and was then deployed to large disasters in the U.S. and Canada, including as Field Operations Lead for Client Services in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Respite Centre Supervisor at Ground Zero in New York City after 9/11; Shelter Manager in High River after the Alberta floods and supervising volunteers during the 2017 & 2018 BC Wildfires and Grand Forks floods. Debbie brings her experience as a Certified Life Coach into her Red Cross roles. Debbie has been a DM trainer for more than 15 years, is a Senior Facilitator for BC and a National Instructor for Canada since 2018. She has been a Provincial Member of the Canadian Red Cross since 2019.

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Rowan Gentleman-Sylvester
Civic Education Program Coordinator
Rowan is deeply passionate about civic engagement, experiential learning, dialogue, and environmental sustainability. Rowan completed her BA in Communication at Simon Fraser University, spending more than a year focused on researching the role of youth (ages 13-30) within our democratic processes. She loves being reminded of the innovative and inspiring ways that young people shape our communities, and defy odds. Rowan is currently busy planning the upcoming session of City Shapers – an amazing program for 18-30 year olds from the Metro Vancouver area.
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Michaela Slinger
Communications and Community Coordinator
Michaela works at the intersection of education, engagement, sustainability, and art. She completed her undergraduate education at Quest University Canada, an interdisciplinary liberal arts and science school in the mountains of Squamish Nation territory. Michaela was actively involved in her school community as secretary of the student government, an editor/writer for the school news magazine, and a musician. Her senior thesis led her to develop an after-school workshop focused on social emotional learning that she piloted at the Tong Louie YMCA in Surrey.
Since graduating, Michaela has worked as a swim coach and lifeguard, Executive Assistant to the COO for Open Door Group, a facilitator for JUMP! and Educo Adventure School, and started her career as a solo musician. She was a 2018 RADIUS Social Innovation Fellowship member, and recently returned from Toronto where she was one of two fully-funded musicians in Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI)’s Artist Entrepreneur program. Currently, Michaela splits her time writing/playing music, working with the wonderful team at CityHive (who are very accommodating of her unpredictable schedule), and as a program facilitator/coordinator with The Elements Society delivering zero waste workshops to students across Vancouver.

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Valri Wright
Volunteer Manager
Valri Wright has been working in the field of Volunteer Engagement since 2002.  She is currently the Volunteer Manager at Coast Mental Health where she connects volunteers to clients, who are recovering from mental health and addictions.
Prior to this, she was Volunteer Coordinator at Ronald McDonald House BC and the Volunteer Manager at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. She has also coordinated volunteers for various arts festivals including The Talking Stick Festival and was on the planning committee for the Celebrate the Arts – Celebrate Volunteerism Conference. She has served in multiple roles on her housing co-op’s Board of Directors and sings in the Burstin’ with Broadway choir
Valri believes that we build community and empower ourselves by volunteering and, as leaders we create strength in an organization by empowering others to lead.

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Misha Dhillon
Research & Projects Coordinator
Misha Dhillon, MA, is the Research & Projects Coordinator at the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC). She earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, where her research explored sexuality and sexual violence in the lives of young South Asian women in Canada. In her role at EVA BC, she contributes her expertise to numerous projects and initiatives aimed at preventing and improving responses to gender-based violence, including community-based research and the development of training and resources for the anti-violence, health, justice, education, corporate, and settlement sectors.

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Hamayun Aziz
President of Engineers Without Borders, UBC Chapter
Hamayun Aziz is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering Student studying at the University of British Columbia. Hamayun currently serves as the President of Engineers Without Borders, UBC Chapter which is one of the biggest chapters in Canada. EWB UBC currently provides engineering students a platform to use their engineering skills and knowledge for social impact work both within and outside Canada. The three portfolios that they use is Advocacy, Sustainability & Youth.
Before serving as the president, Hamayun has been the Distributed Advocacy Lead for British Columbia & Alberta helping run campaigns there. Through our extensive campaigning, EWB has been successful in setting up Canada’s Development Finance Institution portfolio to invest in social enterprises in developing countries. Furthermore, in Budget 2018, EWB was successful in getting the government to allocate an additional $2.5 billion for international development. 

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Chris Friesen
Director, Settlement Services
As a veteran of Canada’s refugee and immigrant settlement sector for over 30 years, Chris Friesen is a frequent speaker, media spokesperson and research collaborator on immigration related policy and program areas.
Besides his role as Director, Settlement Services for ISSofBC, one of Canada’s largest multicultural immigrant serving agencies, Mr. Friesen is presently the Chair of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance (CISSA-ACSEI) and co-chair of Canada’s National Settlement and Integration Council.
Under his tenure with ISSofBC, Chris has been at the forefront as a key leader of the shifting immigration and refugee resettlement changes in BC and Canada. Chris led the multiple aspects of the Syrian resettlement operation in BC as well as playing a key national role in the overall operation. Mr. Friesen was also an instrumental member of the concept and design of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre building in East Vancouver which opened in June 2016. This world class 70,000 sf social purpose-built facility has redefined a new international model for newcomer integration.
Prior to ISSofBC, Mr. Friesen coordinated a British Educational Trust for Refugees based in Nairobi, Kenya. As a UBC student (and graduate BA History and Political Science), Chris successful led in 1985 a referendum on campus to increase the student fees in order to establish a permanent WUSC student refugee scholarship program. This referendum concept has now spread to over 60 post secondary institutions across Canada and has recently been explored globally as part of alternative resettlement pathways (through education) for refugees.

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Nova Chamberlin
Manager of Innovative and Health Promotion Projects
Nova Chamberlin is the Manager of Innovative and Health Promotion Projects at MOSAIC, and oversees a diverse range of initiatives and programming aimed at providing specialized services and advocacy to newcomers and individuals from diverse backgrounds. Nova holds an MA in International Development, a joint BA in International Studies and Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, and an Associate’s Degree in Peace & Conflict Studies, and has worked with several non-profit organizations, primarily in the areas of social justice, human rights, and gender equality.

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Alexandra Dawley
Manager of Refugee Settlement and Integration Program
Alexandra Dawley is driven to confront injustice alongside those who have been denied their fundamental human rights. This is what motivates her passionate advocacy and commitment to refugee protection. For over ten years, Alexandra has worked in various capacities with refugees, asylum seekers, survivors of torture, and marginalized populations throughout Canada, the Middle East and Central Europe. She has enjoyed working with various NGOs, Agencies such as the UNHCR, and as an independent consultant. Alexandra leads a diverse team of deeply passionate individuals who make up the Refugee Settlement and Integration program at MOSAIC. Her team delivers vital services to 1000+ refugee claimants across BC annually. Alexandra  enjoys applying visual arts as a platform for story-telling. On a national level, she is on the Inland Protection Steering Committee Member with the Canadian Council for Refugees.

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Beth Hazell
     Volunteer Services Coordinator
Beth Hazell has been a Volunteer Services Coordinator at Ocean Wise for 7 years. Accredited as a CVA (Certified Volunteer Administrator) she has been working in the field of Volunteer Management for almost 10 years, both in Canada and the UK. In 2016 Beth won the Inaugural Emerging Leadership Award from AVRBC (the professional association for volunteer managers in BC). Prior to volunteer management Beth earned her degree in Marine Biology and has a Technical Diploma in Fish, Wildlife and Recreation. She has spent a number of seasons running informal educational programs onboard passenger ferries sailing to various destinations between England and Europe and also worked as a BC Ferries/ Parks Canada Coastal Naturalist. The activity she likes most however is to be out and about with her 2.5 year old looking and listening for birds, animals and insects and jumping in puddles.

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Michelle Fortin
Executive Director
Working in the social service world for most of her adult life, Michelle has learned to approach the world through a social justice lens and think critically about systems. Ms. Fortin knows that she has had many privileges in life and being aware of it allows her to stay curious, be open and seek out opportunities that while uncomfortable create space for learning. An academic background in psychology, counselling and, most recently, leadership has prepared Michelle for her current position as Executive Director at Options for Sexual Health. Michelle says that supporting the mission at Options is easy because she too embraces a feminist, pro-choice, sex positive approach to reproduction and sexual health for all. As an executive director she is responsible for oversight of finances, board governance, program development and evaluation as well as fundraising.
Michelle has done volunteer work throughout her life from working with youth with disabilities, to VP of the Downtown Eastside Slowpitch League, Co-chair of her credit union board and is currently the co-chair at Vancouver Pride Society. In her spare time music, travel, food and family bring her great joy.

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Andrea Domagas
Senior Manager in Fundraising Operations
As a first-generation immigrant, Andrea has witnessed up-close both the dehumanizing conditions of poverty in the developing world, and the reckless complacency of Western privilege that enables oppressive systems to continue. A feeling of deep, personal responsibility was borne over these years – to build a future in which where a child is born does not determine the chances they receive at living a prosperous life. With a decade of experience in the not-for-profit industry, specializing in the Face-to-Face medium, she has made the fundraising world the battle grounds on which she pursues this dream. She has represented over a dozen international and local NGOs across multiple Face-to-Face channels in that time, and is today building the large regular giving donor-base that is crucial to Oxfam’s ability to have an independent and powerful voice as a global campaigning organization.
Andrea has a strong track record of both designing and implementing successful operational strategies, while forging highly galvanized teams that deliver results. She has a firm belief that achieving humanity’s most ambitious and worthwhile pursuits – such as ending extreme poverty and inequality – will require us to invest in robust, innovative and efficient fundraising, and to place high value in the professional fundraisers who are leading it.

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Lily Hamilton
Lily Hamilton is a fourth year political sciences student at the University of Victoria. In her first year of university she was looking for ways to become involved with different organizations and to learn about different issues facing women and girls. She found Plan Canada and joined their Youth Speakers’ Bureau in fall 2016. Through the Speakers’ Bureau she was able to learn a lot and got given other opportunities, such as applying to become a Youth Advocate. In 2017 Lily joined the Change the Birth Story campaign as a Youth Advocate. The campaign aims to help mothers and newborn babies have better access to health care in the developing world. She was a mentor for the campaign in 2018 and 2019, and worked as a youth intern for Plan under this campaign in 2019. Through Plan she also participated in Girls Belong Here 2017, where she was paired with a Ontario Minister and got to shadow her for a day. Lily is a life time learner and advocate who hopes to continues to make the world a better place throughout her life.  She loves the work Plan does to help women, girls, children, and everyone else! Lily is really happy to be representing them this year and looks forward to sharing Plan International Canada’s work.

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Alyssa Collins
Alyssa Collins graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2018, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and Social Science with a specialization in Criminal and Social Justice, along with a Certificate in Legal Studies. Alyssa comes to us with a background in police based victim services, crisis intervention, and support work for Indigenous youth. Alyssa is passionate about lending her voice to vulnerable persons and is constantly seeking to expand her knowledge to further specialize in human rights, advocacy, and law.

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Feezah Jaffer
Executive Director
Feezah Jaffer has been with the Surrey Food Bank team since 2010, working in client services, development and fundraising, community relations and advocacy.  Prior to her receiving her Master’s Degree from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, she spent time in rural Pakistan, working with a prominent NGO, liaising with local agencies, women and youth.  There she gained experience and insights into micro-finance, disaster relief, mother & child health and social justice issues.  In working with the Surrey Food Bank as its Executive Director, Feezah has had the privilege of meeting people from all different and diverse backgrounds and honing her skills as a policy maker and facilitator looking at the concerns of food security, poverty reduction, mental health and social isolation.  Also member of several local community not-for-profit boards and advocacy tables, Feezah is energized and humbled by the work that she does and the difference the Surrey Food Bank makes in the lives of its clients and the greater community.

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Nora Sahatciu
Development Practitioner 
Nora Sahatciu is a development practitioner who has worked with the UN organizations, civil society and private sector for more than twenty years in Kosovo, Western Balkans and Canada in post-conflict transitions, peace-building among diverse communities and democratization processes. She carries a diverse portfolio with in-depth knowledge on the SDGs. Nora served as the Head of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, a coordination umbrella for 19 UN organizations in Kosovo for many years. Now she continues working as an SDG Planning Expert. 
Nora has been awarded as the First Sustainable Development Goals Champion by the UN Kosovo Team in 2018. Congressman Eliot Engel of the US State Department dedicated a recognition for Nora’s lead in enabling Kosovo’s eligibility for support of hundreds of millions of dollars for economic development and transparent governance from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2015. 
Nora has a background in Architecture, a Master’s Degree in Economy of Culture and a Specialization on Gender and sexuality studies. Nora is a Board Member of a family “Foundation Salih and Isa Nushi” promoting philanthropy and providing scholarships for higher education to the most vulnerable students in Kosovo, a Board Member of the UN Association Canada- Vancouver; and a Member of the Association of Kosovo Architects. Nora was also a speaker at various global events including for the UN, at the University Universum in Prishtina, at UBC and SFU in Canada.

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George Somerwill
Former President, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
George is as Canadian former United Nations staff member who worked for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in a number of peacekeeping and other UN operational areas from 1996-2011. His work took him to Angola, Iraq (the Oil-for-Food Program), Pakistan (with UNICEF), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Liberia.
George has a MA in Post-conflict Reconstruction and Development in York U, UK.
George started his career in the BBC Africa service and the CBC (As it Happens). As a Journalist and producer, he travelled frequently to some of the world’s worst trouble spots, including Ethiopia and Somalia. He also worked for CIDA and CARE Canada in Ottawa and Africa (Kenia and Zimbabwe) in communications and fundraising programming. Currently is Board member UNAC-V (Past President) and Board deputy chair MOSAIC (Vancouver).

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Iga Osiecki
Supportive Housing Portfolio Manager
Iga Osiecki is the Supportive Housing Portfolio Manager at Vancouver Native Housing Society. As a Queen’s University graduate, Iga has been involved with the housing sector since her university days working in student housing. After graduating from Queen’s University with Honours, Iga has worked at Whistler Blackcomb Staff Housing before transitioning to the Supportive Housing field at Vancouver Native Housing Society. Currently, Iga works with at-risk individuals who are at risk of homelessness and may have mental health and addiction issues. In working with this population, Iga recognizes that housing is only a part of the need, and she has been able to create an environment that ensures proper supports are also in place.
As a Supportive Housing Portfolio Manager, Iga manages the supportive needs at multiple buildings, to ensure that tenants receive cultural programing, food security, and one-on-one case management in safe, secure and supportive buildings. In 2019, Iga presented at the 3rd Annual First Nations Housing & Infrastructure West Forum discussing the Rooftop Garden Program at one of the Supportive Housing Buildings that she facilitates. The garden program provides various fruits and vegetables that are made into meals for its 103 tenants. As well, the program grows traditional medicines such as sweet grass and ceremonial tobacco, which in turn were made into prayer ties and given back to our tenants, elders and partners in the community. As Supportive Housing Portfolio Manager Iga tries, to tie in cultural needs along with life skills in order to encourage tenants to heal and empower themselves in a safe and supportive environment.
Iga would like to recognize and give the respect to the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples and thank them for allowing us to be on this land.

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Chloe Willes-Speakman 
Campaign Assistant 
Chloe supports all the campaign work out of WC’s Vancouver office, from protecting bees, endangered species and forests to stopping Site C and Kinder Morgan’s industrial mega-death projects. She loves working with the Wilderness Committee team. Chloe started out with us as a canvasser in both Victoria and Vancouver. Before that, she worked as lead staff at an outdoor YM-YWCA overnight camp for kids. She finished her ecology degree (B.Sc.) at Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Nuu-chah-nulth territory where she saw the biggest cedars she has ever seen.

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Dr. Joy Masuhara
Co-Chair of Women Transforming Cities International Society
Joy is Co-Chair of Women Transforming Cities International Society. She has been actively involved in WTC’s participation in the UN Habitat III process as a participant and speaker both in Prague and Quito. She has been a lead on the Women Friendly Cities Challenge project launched at the World Urban Forum in 2018. She is on the steering committee of the WTC/CRIAW three year project “action on systemic barriers to womens participation in local government”. She is also Co-Chair of the SOGI Partner Constituency Group of the General Assembly of Partners, a multi-stakeholder civil society group helping to inform UN Habitat. She works in Vancouver as a physician in the area of older adult mental health and has a special interest in how multicultural issues impact health outcomes. She has served on several committees and boards related to health care and has been a speaker on various topics such as dementia, polypharmacy, and multicultural issues in dementia. She currently is a Director on the Board of S.U.C.C.E.S.S., a multicultural social service and seniors care non-profit society.  Prior activist work includes being a litigant in the same sex marriage case, which resulted in Canada becoming the 3rd country in the world to legalize same sex marriage in 2003. She is a former member of the Katari Taiko drumming group.

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Nora Naran Tserendagva
Board Member
Nora has previously worked in public and nonprofit fields for many years in Asia. Over the last 10 years, she has been energetically involved in improving the everyday social lives of local women by strengthening the community network of women groups. She has implemented various goal-oriented activities and projects. She has organized many cultural entertainment events to give Canadians opportunities to share their cultural and social values with others. 
Currently, Nora works with Hollyburn Properties LTD as a resident manager. She also serves as a Board Member of BC Community Society and is a Team Leader of a Mongolian Women’s’ Group in Vancouver.  In addition,  she volunteers at Gordon Neighborhood House and the YMCA Women’s Group and actively supports new immigrant women in adapting to life in Canada.  Her previously volunteer positions include being a committee member for the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants Program.
Nora has a Ph. D. in Public Administration from the National Academy of Governance, Mongolia. She has taught public relations, management, and gender issues at several Mongolian universities. As Nora is passionate about women’s leadership and communities, she has written nearly sixty articles, essays, reviews, speeches, and guidebooks reflecting the status of women in Mongolia, gender equity, and public management strategies. She has also led the development of NGOs and civil society organizations in Mongolia.  
Nora’s strengths include community development and strengthening neighborhood connections. She is excited to be a part of the WTC board! Her own motto  is “DON’T RUSH BUT BE NONSTOP.” 

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Brianna Locke
Public Engagement Specialist
Working for World Vision for over 6 years, Brianna is a public engagement specialist, working on the advocacy campaign No Child For Sale: aiming to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by demanding greater transparency within the global supply chains. Having seen some of these conditions in a variety of industries around the world, Brianna works with concerned Canadians to make sure their opinion is heard and that the right people are held accountable. With a professional background of International Development and a personal desire to make the world a better place, Brianna is skilled in encouraging others to do the same. Unhappy with the status quo, she is always finding new spaces to ask hard questions and tenaciously encouraging better answers. Ms. Locke acknowledges that the land on which she works, lives and plats is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.