2018 HSABC Conference – Speakers & Presenters

Vikki Reynolds

Vikki Reynolds PhD RCC is an activist/therapist who works to bridge the worlds of social justice activism with community work & therapy. Vikki is a white settler of Irish, Newfoundland and English folks, and a heterosexual woman with cisgender privilege. Her experience includes supervision and therapy with peers and other workers responding to the opioid epidemic/poisonings, refugees and survivors of torture, sexualized violence counsellors, mental health and substance misuse counsellors, housing and shelter workers, activists and working alongside gender and sexually diverse communities. Vikki is an Adjunct Professor and has written and presented internationally on the subjects of ‘Witnessing Resistance’ to oppression/trauma, ally work, justice-doing, a supervision of solidarity, ethics, and innovative group work. Vikki’s articles and keynotes are available free on her website:


David Roche

David Roche is an inspirational humorist, keynote speaker and performer who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world.

The story of his heroic journey from shame to strength has inspired standing ovations from the White House and Kennedy Center to Olympics Arts Festivals, from New Zealand to Moscow, London to Sydney, and across Canada and the USA. David's ability to move audiences with his spirit, warmth, wit and authenticity is truly remarkable.


Katherine Aubrey

Katherine Aubrey has over 20 years of experience working with people who have faced trauma, addictions, homelessness and/or mental illness. Her varied, front-line work experience ranges from in-reach prison work, group therapy, parole supervision and addictions and mental health counselling. Kacounsellings worked for KlaHowEya, Metis Nation and numerous non-profit organizations. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology and Psychology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with specialization in Mental Health Counseling.

Alison Brewin

As Executive Director, Alison Brewin is responsible for executing the Vantage Point’s mission and vision. Alison graduated with a Law Degree from the University of Victoria in 1991 and was called to the Bar in 1992. Throughout the 1990s, she worked in non-profit management, as political assistant to Margaret Mitchell, MP, and was an owner-operator of the Commercial Drive toy store "It’s All Fun and Games". In 1999, Alison joined West Coast LEAF as their Interim Executive Director. As Legal Director and then Executive Director from 2001 to 2011, she led the organization’s work to advance women’s equality in BC. Alison began working as a non-profit management consultant in 2010, eventually leaving West Coast LEAF for a full-time consulting practice. Through her business Alison Brewin Consulting, she supported a broad range of organizations to be the best they can be. Her clients included Vancity, BC Housing, BC Civil Liberties Association, and many more. Alison designed and teaches “Canadian Approaches to Non-Profit Management” in SFU’s Non-Profit Management Certificate Program. Ask Alison about women in leadership, mentor programs, partnerships and collaboration, and strategic planning.

Listen Chen

Listen Chen is a Queer Competency Training Facilitator with Qmunity. They grew up in Hong Kong and have been living on the occupied, ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations since 2009. In addition to working at Qmunity, they are active in on-the-ground struggles against capitalism and colonialism.

Rachelle Dallaire

Rachelle is an Aboriginal woman. She is Mohawk, Ojibway from Temagami First Nations, and Montagnais Metis. Rachelle completed a General Arts Degree, a Bachelor of Social Work, and a Master’s of Social Work. The Associate Director for Indigenous Perspectives Society for the past 6 years, she previously was employed in the Aboriginal family justice system, worked with federal corrections in the capacity of a drug and alcohol counselor, worked many years in the poverty industry, with women in the sex trade, and as a research assistant. She completed many volunteer years of service in the legal industry working with families and is an active participant in Aboriginal communities.

Marsha Goldford

Marsha Goldford, M.P.A., C.P.H.R. is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources with 15+ years in management of non-profit housing and residential tenancy program offices and over 18 years as a senior level HR practitioner.

Marsha has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University, a B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of Western Ontario, and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management from Royal Roads University.

She is currently the Director of Staff Training & Development at Developmental Disabilities Association in Vancouver/Richmond.

In her spare time, Marsha provides HR consulting services and training to non-profit agencies and is an active community volunteer having served on a number of non-profit housing, mental health and social services boards in Victoria and Vancouver, and as a volunteer mentor with Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group.

Rob Jaswal

Rob Jaswal is an Affordable Housing Specialist with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He is active in promoting the National Housing Strategy and CMHC affordable housing initiatives to a wide range of housing stake holders. He is currently focused on building partnerships with the non-profit housing sector, municipal governments, and private industry to develop affordable housing opportunities across the province.

Rob, has over 20 years of experience in the housing and finance sector. He studied Commerce and Marketing at the University of Northern BC and the College of New Caledonia in Prince George, BC.

Sarah Kift

Sarah Kift is a mother of two small children, a mental health awareness facilitstor and coach, and a webinar host with HSABC. Sarah has worked for a number of non-profit organizations as well as in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in social services for many years. She has experienced organizational trauma firsthand as well as working with management and staff to develop ways to mitigate trauma and create better and healthier work environments for all, both as an employee and a manager of volunteer and staff teams.

Shari Mackenzie-Ramsay

Shari McKenzie-Ramsay graduated from UBC as a Registered Nurse in 2015. She works at Lions Gate Hospital (North Vancouver) in the emergency department. She previously worked in Mental Health and Addictions at the Hope Centre (acute psychiatry) and Magnolia House, a mental health transition house. She recently completed a Forensic Nurse Examiner course in Trauma in Health Care through BCIT and is a Take Home Naloxone program educator. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Carleton University (2001), in Ottawa. Shari is co-owner of Spiritus Wilderness Medical Training and has been teaching injury prevention since 1992. Shari is passionate about trauma informed care in health care and in a community setting. In the past Shari has volunteered with victim services through the RCMP, ground search and rescue, and was the Canadian Red Cross injury prevention advisor for Risk Watch, a community based program to reduce injuries for school children in Nova Scotia.

Brittany Martell

Brittany earned a Masters’ in Social Work from Carleton University in 2012 Ottawa. In addition, she also has a B.A. Honours in Psychology, as well as Bachelor of Social Work with a Minor in Law. Brittany has been working with individuals, groups and communities from vulnerable and at-risk populations for over 10 years, in either frontline work and community development, as well as policy analysis and development. She is also a dedicated non-indigenous ally in reconciliation and decolonization processes in Canada through education and ethical community engagement. Brittany loves the outdoors, and is passionate about environmental conservation and outdoor adventure, and loves to find ways to share that what the outdoors can offer to empower and sustain ourselves and each other, working from a strengths-based and holistic perspective of health and wellness.

Grey Poehnell

Gray Poehnell is an experienced life/career consultant with 29 years experience approaching life/career with holistic approaches that cultivate hope, practical spirituality, creativity, imagination, and integrity. Gray is widely recognized for his dynamic training of life/career practitioners both nationally and internationally. Gray is of Metis descent and has been developing life/career approaches and tools that reflect values, such as spirituality, community, and life balance. Through books, workshops, conference sessions, and keynotes, he has presented the Hope-Filled Engagement approach to several thousand life/career practitioners, who work with indigenous peoples and other client groups that benefit from a more holistic approach, such as Indigenous peoples, peoples with disabilities, youth, social assistance recipients, older adults, immigrants, corrections inmates, and even professionals. Gray was the 2012 recipient of the Stu Conger Award for Leadership in Career Counselling and Career Development for his visionary leadership, exemplary achievement, and inspired dedication to the advancement of excellence in career development in Canada.

Peter Ramsay

Peter Ramsay graduated from UBC as a Registered Nurse in 2009. He has dual specialties in emergency nursing and critical care nursing and works as a Patient Care Supervisor (PCS) and Emergency Nurse at Lions Gate Hospital (North Vancouver). Prior to nursing he graduated from the Humber College School of Para-medicine and worked as a Primary Care Paramedic in and around Toronto. Peter also has a degree in Recreation Management from Acadia University and worked in the sport fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, for many years. Peter is co-owner of Spiritus Wilderness Medical Training and is a Red Cross Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor Trainer. He has been providing the CPR/AED - HCP and overdose management training for the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) since 2010. He is a Take Home Naloxone program educator and holds many advanced certifications (ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ENPC, CTAS, etc). He has a passion for working on the front lines as well as educating.

Amanda Theissen

Amanda Thiessen specializes in helping individuals and organizations manage workplace stresses and make positive changes. As a ‘Stress Strategist,’ Amanda works with individuals through the process of inquiry to support people in gaining clarity and finding solutions to challenges. She offers a range of workshops to organizations to facilitate the creation of safe, supportive, and positive work environments.

Having worked for over 15 years in the non-profit world, she has firsthand knowledge of the kinds of experiences that exemplify working in front-line capacities. Her experience includes working in the areas of addiction, victim services, mental health and developmental disabilities. Although Amanda has a BA in Psychology, a Bachelors of Social Work and a MA in Theology, her greatest accomplishments remain being a loving partner, a devoted mother, and a faithful friend.

Kate Thorpe

Kate Thorpe has worked for 30 years in Canada and the UK within the areas of HR/OD. She is passionate about ‘Human Resources’ and how careful planning and engagement can make a difference to organizations and the experience of their customers, clients and staff/volunteers. Kate has had practical experience of developing succession plans as part of workforce planning in a large hospital. She believes that engagement stems from small, wise, kind actions and is co-created. Kate has worked primarily in healthcare and has taught at SFU and Oxford Brookes Universities. She has been a Knowledge Philanthropist with Vantage Point for 4 years.