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.

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gretchen ferguson keynote

Gretchen Ferguson, PhD
Dr. Gretchen Ferguson is the Director of the Sustainable Development Program and a Lecturer in Geography and Sustainable Development at Simon Fraser University.   

She has spent over 20 years engaged in applied research and professional practice in Latin America and Canada related to sustainable communities, community economic development, indigenous economic development and decolonization, social economy, and measuring the impacts of development projects and initiatives on indicators of social and environmental well-being.

Gretchen holds a PhD in Geography from Simon Fraser University, a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor degree in International Relations from Concordia University.

Her recent projects include:

Evaluating the Impacts and Effectiveness of the Surrey Housing First Collaborative, an innovative pilot program that sought to house 207 homeless people over two years.  Emphasis on ‘telling the stories’ of the program participants

Researching the dynamics and impacts of collective enterprises in the Andean regionusing the Community Capitals Framework

Co-directing the Sustainable Cities International Youth Internship Program which offered six-month placements for university graduates with municipalities in Bolivia, Mexico, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa

Developing international programs, projects and partnerships such as the Greece Community Economic Development program for the Faculty of Environment 
aga khan

Aga Khan TC

Neda Shadbakht
Regional Engagement Associate for British Columbia
Based in Vancouver, Neda Shadbakht is Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Regional Engagement Associate for British Columbia.  Her key role is to build relationships with corporate stakeholders in B.C., as well as supporting “corporate engagement” in our Walk and Golf fundraising campaigns in Vancouver and Victoria.
Neda has a Masters of Science in International Development from the University of Birmingham, U.K.   Her experience in community development and capacity building at the grassroots level came from her travels and work in Brazil, China and East Africa.
AIESEC - Blue-Logo

Davin Kim - AIESEC

Davin Kim
Brand Manager for AIESEC UBC
I am a 4th year UBC student, and my major is economics and minor in psychology. I enjoy studying behavioral economics and about how people make decisions in different circumstances. I was born in South Korea but moved to a small town called Salmon Arm, BC in grade 9. I acquired my sensibility for music and films living in rural Canada. My passion is in content creation. Although I have not done any content creation before this year, I am having fun recording podcasts, trying different videos out for AIESEC UBC Instagram page.

don of Amnesty

Don Wright
National Outreach and Training Coordinator 
Don not only is the National Outreach and Training Coordinator, he also supports Amnesty activism across Western Canada from his office in Vancouver.  
Canadian Red Cross
Red Cross TC


Maheshi Wanasundara
Coordinator with the Volunteer Experience and Engagement team.
Her career and passions has focused on social equity and health care. She received her Bachelor of Science with Honours from University of Toronto with a double major in Psychology and Biology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Her post graduate studies focused on Healthcare Management, Philanthropy and Non-Profit Leadership. She started her journey as the founder of a charitable organization at the age of thirteen. She coordinated an innovative project introducing Social Determinants of Health in to the client intake system at a Community Health Centre in Ontario.

At the Canadian Red Cross Maheshi is part of a team that conducts outreach, coordinates recruitment of volunteers and supports volunteer engagement and recognition. Her focus is on connecting the local community to the services Canadian Red Cross provides and helping volunteers find opportunities that allows them to grow their skills and connections.
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan


Friba Rezayee
Vancouver Chapter Chair, Volunteer Coordinator for Events, Fundraiser, and Advocator for Women and Girls Education
Friba Rezayee is a UBC graduate. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UBC. Friba was born and raised in Afghanistan and has been a women’s rights advocate and an advocate for women and girls’ education in Afghanistan and worldwide from early age to present. She is currently a volunteer at a Canadian non – profit Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. She is a representative of CW4WAfghan Vancouver chapter. She has been involved with CW4WAfghan since April 2011 to present. Her vision for Afghan woman is be all educated and independent.
coast mental health
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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. Prior to this, she was Volunteer Coordinator at Ronald McDonald House BC, building the volunteer program in their new 73 room House in Vancouver and Family Room at Surrey Memorial Hospital. As the Volunteer Manager at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival for 10 years, she went from a seasonal to a year-round full time job managing more than 200 volunteers who contributed over 12,000 hours to the four month 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 is currently serving as the Community Engagement chair 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.
Community Living Society Logo

Community Living TC

Roxanne Wiseman
Director of Quality and Innovation
Roxanne Wiseman has been working supporting families with a variety of individualized needs for over 20 years. She has worked across Canada and as far away as South America with organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Trillium Childhood Cancer Foundation, YMCA, CUSO, and locally within the community living sector. Roxanne values all her work experiences, especially those that pertain to her role with the CLS. She has worked as frontline community support staff both residentially, in vocational day centers and communities, and as a manager of residential homes and vocational centers. These experiences have given Roxanne a great appreciation of the work involved in supporting people to live meaningful lives and have valuable experiences as full citizens in their community. Roxanne is a strong advocate for Person Centered Active Supports (PCAS) and is a CLS PCAS trainer.
In her role as Director of Quality and Innovation, Roxanne is responsible for the continued successful accreditation of the CLS, and oversees and ensures excellent services are provided to all of the supported individuals.

divercity table capitan

Rana Alahmad
Refugee and Specialized Program Coordinator
Currently working as a Refugee and Specialized Program Coordinator at Diversecity Community Resources Society with the RISE program; which is a collaborative, case-managed service model for the delivery of comprehensive, holistic and client-centred programming that utilizes outreach, in-home consultation and support as a foundation for service delivery, and offers innovative workshops to assist the most vulnerable adult and youth refugees and immigrants in Surrey, Delta and Langley. Previously working with immigrants and refugees as a settlement worker at Diversecity and with CANN at the Vancouver International Airport, Rana developed a solid understanding of the needs of newcomers to Canada, in-depth knowledge of the refugees’ experience, and was able to network and cooperate with several service providers in the community.
In addition to her job at Diversecity, she is a member of the Refugee Livelihood Lab at Radias SFU, which is a collaborative innovation process that brings leaders in diverse positions in the refugee integration system together to create new initiatives and ventures that answer the question, “How might refugee communities move from survival to meaningful livelihoods?” She worked on a project to help newcomer women start their own business and along with her team organized a Global Market, which is a market that enabled the women to sell their unique products.
Rana holds a degree in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, and she worked as a research assistant at a laboratory-based research institute, and as an elementary school teacher before immigrating to Canada from Jordan 5 years ago. During that time, she enjoyed working with people and was involved in the community. Rana started her Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at SFU recently and is planning to ladder into the MBA program.
ending violence
Misha Dhillon
Research & Projects Coordinator
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.
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Chan - Neil Squire

Chad Leaman
Director of Innovation
Chad Leaman is the Director of Innovation  for the Neil Squire Society and cofounder of Makers Making Change. The Neil Squire Society offers technology, computer literacy and employment programming for people with physical disabilities. Makers Making Change connects makers to people with disabilities to create assistive technologies. Chad is also a volunteer organizer of NetSquared Vancouver, which holds free workshops and an annual conference for non-profits to better use technology to further their mission. He’s a father of young twins which is the source of much joy, sleeplessness and scraped knees.

OtionsComm TC

Monika Verma,
Senior Manager of a Immigrant Services
Monika Verma is currently heading the Immigrant Services Department at OPTIONS Community Services Society. In the past Monika has served as Executive Director of SARA For Women Society and managed 9 facilities including two transition homes, 100 employees serving women and their children in need. She brought the Extreme Weather Shelter for women in the Fraser Valley. As Health Director at Lookout Society (formerly known as Keys; Housing and Health Solutions), Monika established a Non-profit Dental Clinic for the marginalized population and pioneered NARCAN training. As CEO of SEEDS, she established a Self Employment Program for the Aboriginal Community. Her Journey started with Progressive Intercultural Community Services in 1997 as a Programs Manager, where she planted the seed of Rainbow Community Health Co-op bringing many health services for free to persons living under poverty.  
options sexual

Options for sexual health TC.jpg

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.
pacific immigrant rs

pirs table captain

Jugnoo Salahuddin
Volunteer Co-ordinator 
Jugnoo Salahuddin is the volunteer co-ordinator at PIRS . She supports the volunteer team in delivering language support, free childcare to immigrant and refugee women and also assist the volunteer board in the governance of the non-profit. She combine her efforts, knowledge and skills to create trauma informed, inclusive spaces for newcomers for better integration. Her keen interest in engaging with vulnerable population and social work background landed her to work for new immigrant women & children. She is also passionate about building unique platforms for connecting newcomers with local population. Her latest initiative is a “Chat & Chai” networking group that runs twice a year under the volunteer program.
According to her, “volunteering is the best opportunity to follow your passion, learn new skills and extend your network for personal and professional growth”. She recommends everyone to abide by this beautiful Canadian value of giving back to the community and share the rewards of personal satisfaction and best self-care.
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Rick Hansen TC
Babs Mann,
Senior Business Development Manager
Since 2009, Babs has been a Community Branch Manager at Richmond Vancity, which is a living wage employer.  For the past year, she has been working with The Rick Hansen Foundation on their Accessibility Certification Program.  Accessibility Certification Program is a LEED-style rating system that helps both owners and tenants measure the accessibility of their buildings and sites, and promotes increased access through the adoption of Universal Design principles.  This is a Government funded initiative throughout BC for complimentary ratings until March 2019 once rated, organizations may qualify to apply for up to $20,000.00 in funding for accessibility improvements.
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UNA-V George
George Somerwill
George Somerwill started his career in the media and communications world, working for the BBC World Service for Africa, later joining the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). During his journalism career, George traveled frequently to some of the world’s worst trouble spots, including Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, to cover the revolutions and later, the 1984 famine. Following a brief stint with the Canadian International Development Agency, George joined CARE International, a non-governmental organization, working in communications and fundraising for emergency programming in Zimbabwe, Somalia, and Rwanda. He was later recruited by UN – DPKO, in 1996, to work, initially, on demobilization in UNAVEM III.

Two years later, while taking up a humanitarian post with the Oil-For-Food Programme (OFFP) in Saddam’s Iraq, George’s journalistic past caught up with him, and he was asked to take over as Baghdad spokesperson and Head of Public Information (Communications) for the OFFP. A stint with UNICEF in Pakistan followed, as the world’s attention focused on Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden; this was followed by a return to DPKO and to the Horn of Africa, to serve in the public information office of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). In 1994, as the ink was not even dry on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan, George joined the fledgling UNMIS in Khartoum as the Chief of Public Information. It was a challenging assignment, as the host government did not appreciate the UN’s attempts to encourage freedom of information.

George ended his career in the UN with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), where he also served as Director of Public Information from 2007 to 2011. George has an MA in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, from the University of York (UK). He is married and has one son.

Rosio Godomar
Rosio Godomar was born in Peru and now, lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is 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.”

Rosio Godomar studied in Peru and Germany and has an MSc in Human Nutrition from the University Federal of Rio da Janeiro.

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Reanne TC UNYA

Reanne Percival
Native Youth Health & Wellness Centre
Gaw’sim Kwiihlyeehl way’. Ksim Ganada niiy. Git Ts’amiks wil jogay.
Reanne Percival is a Nisga’a woman of the Frog/Raven tribe currently residing in Vancouver. She is passionate about empowering Indigenous youth. She is the Program Assistant at Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA)’s Native Youth Health and Wellness Centre (NYHWC), a youth health clinic providing culturally-relevant, welcoming, accessible health and wellness services to Indigenous youth, while providing info and connecting youth with over 20 other programs at UNYA. Reanne is the first contact at UNYA’s health centre. She takes pride in creating a space for youth where they feel comfortable and safe, knowing that they’re welcome and important. She ensures that youth are able to access services that support their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In her personal life, Reanne is focused on health and fitness, to be healthy and set a good example for the youth she supports.
West Coast Leaf table captain.jpgPhoto Credit: Lia Kendall
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. 
wilderness committee

Aimee - Wilderness Committee

 Aimee MacDonald
Development & Engagement Coordinator
Aimee is a white settler living uninvited on unceded Coast Salish Territory of the traditional shared lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Aimee loves working at the Wilderness Committee because it’s a place where she is surrounded by thoughtful and courageous colleagues who inspire and challenge her to keep working to create the society she wants to live in. In her experience, the Wilderness Committee approaches the environmental movement through a lens of justice and centres this in all campaign work – it is why, once Aimee started as a canvasser in 2005, she just never left. She currently works in engagement – which involves encouraging the activism of Wilderness Committee supporters and then thanking them as much as possible! Her connection to nature ranges from getting soaking wet biking to work in pouring winter rain (she stubbornly refuses to get rain gear) to hiking along beautiful beaches in Clayoquot sound (she doesn’t really like hiking but does like beaches). Aimee became active in the environmental movement because she deeply enjoyed sorting garbage, but these days she has a deeper analysis of her own values that support her activism.

Women Transforming Cities

Dr.Joy - Women Transforming Cities

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.