Katelynne Herchak is VIDEA’s Indigenous Governance Officer, based in Victoria. Kate is Inuk from Kuujjuaq, QC with ties to Nunavut and Labrador, and has been a visitor on Lekwungen territory for 23 years. She has a background in Indigenous Family Support Work, is a former Canada World Youth IAYI Intern, and recently completed the Katimavik National Experience. Kate believes that climate change highlights how interconnected we are to the land, and that if we listen to Indigenous peoples and the land itself, we can tackle climate change together.
Michael Songiso is VIDEA’s Anti-Racism and Climate Justice Advisor – Vulnerable Youth, in Lusaka, Zambia. Michael is passionate about the deeply interrelated topics of climate change, food security, gender equality and access to education. He is an amazing storyteller and writer, and is currently writing a book that indirectly calls for climate action. Michael has recently been accepted to UBC’s SDG Praxis Institute 2020 Program, the theme of which is Shock, System Change and Agency.
Lynn Thornton has been the Executive Director of VIDEA for the past 18 years. Before moving to Canada and taking up this role, Lynn worked at Greenpeace UK, and ActionAid UK. Lynn lives in Victoria, with her partner Kris and an opinionated chocolate lab – Casey. Lynn has two sons – Adan, a pilot who lives in Winnipeg, and Dylan, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Lynn is passionate about working to achieve universal human rights and about actions that empower youth to lead global development. Lynn is co-Chair of the of the BC Council for International Cooperation, and a Board member with the environmental school in Victoria, Oak and Orca Bioregional school. Lynn is an expert in neglecting gardening and household activities in order to read and do ballet.
Lisa Hernandez is VIDEA’s Finance Manager, administrator, and all round rational thinker. Lisa, who started as a practicum student in 2011, plays a central role in our day-to-day operations and we couldn’t operate without her. She really is a jack of all trades! Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Intercultural Education Training from the University of Victoria. Lisa is passionate about the achievement of universal human rights, and youth and womens’ empowerment. Lisa is a critical and lateral thinker and has answers when others don’t. The entire team aspires to having Lisa’s calm-headedness and never-ending reserves of patience. Lisa lives in Victoria with her husband, dog and sometimes team member, Rocky, and four adorable children.
Lesley Palmer has been the Programme Manager of VIDEA for 14 years. Lesley’s background is in Women’s Studies. She hails from Omemee, Ontario and moved to BC after exploring her 20’s in Halifax-DJ’ing and working in a vegan restaurant. In her time at VIDEA, Lesley has managed both International Youth Internship programmes, as well as Aboriginal Youth Internship programmes. Lesley believes that it’s time to re-imagine and re-create the way we live in the world. It’s time to dismantle old systems, to listen, unlearn, learn, and fight for justice. Lesley lives in Victoria, with her jazz-drummer partner Kelby and daughter Juna. Lesley has a passion for Organic, vegan, fair trade, junk food.
Katie Haworth is VIDEA’s Program Coordinator and a former IYIP intern. She is fascinated by global interconnectedness and passionate about inspiring collective action for the greater good. She feel so grateful to work with and learn from everyone in the VIDEA family. Katie lives on Treaty 13 territory in Toronto, where she can be found reading and talking about books.
Bertha Mukonda is our Education Hub Team Leader. Bertha joined VIDEA through Women for Change in grade 11 and has been a part of the Education Program with VIDEA for 8 years. Despite the hardship of rural life, Bertha did extremely well in Grade 12 and was accepted to the University of Zambia in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Special Education in 2019, and became our Education Hub Team Leader in 2020. Based in Lusaka, Bertha is keen to continue learning about global issues.
Febby Ngwira is an Intern in Lusaka, Zambia. Febby, who has been part of VIDEA’s Education Program since junior secondary school (over 10 years!), recently completed a diploma in Early Childhood Education and has plans to pursue a degree in the near future. Febby is enjoying her internship and learning many new things.
Agness Banda is an Intern in Lusaka, Zambia and a 2021 Spur Change Youth Champion. Originally from Lundazi, Zambia, Agness has been part of VIDEA’s Education Program for many years. She recently graduated with a degree in primary teaching, with distinction! Agness began her internship with VIDEA in August 2020 where she has been able to apply the skills and knowledge she gained throughout her studies.
Hillary Ronald is VIDEA’s Youth Programmes Manager and has been on the team since 2014 when she completed her practicum with VIDEA before graduating from UVic with a focus in Social Justice later that year! Hillary leads our Indigenous Youth Programming and other central VIDEA projects and programs. Hillary is most passionate about climate justice and how it intersects with basically everything. Although always a prairie girl, Hillary happily now makes her home in Victoria enjoying the plethora of available coffee options (fair trade of course) and used bookstores!
Taleetha Tait is one of VIDEA’s IAYI Project Coordinators, based in Zambia. Taleetha is Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan from Witset BC, born into the Tsayu/Beaver Clan. Taleetha joins VIDEA from the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association where she was an Indigenous Youth Connections Worker. Taleetha is a former IndigenEYEZ Facilitator with the BC Government Aboriginal Youth Intern Program and former VIDEA IAYI intern.
Chris Singelengele is VIDEA’s Indigenous Internship Coordinator and is instrumental in supporting the journey of each and every intern who passes through VIDEA. Chris is passionate about climate change and is a strong advocate for the equality of women and girls. Chris joined VIDEA after many years working as a gender rights activist with Women for Change, focused on supporting gender equality in rural development projects. Chris is a former teacher, head teacher, and youth empowerment professional. Chris is a strong advocate for the rights of vulnerable and under-represented youth.
Isaac Mbewe is VIDEA’s Safety and Logistics Coordinator in Zambia. Isaac is passionate about fair trade and justice for all. Before joining our team at VIDEA, Isaac worked as part of the team at Women for Change, advocating for gender equality. A significant part of this role was engaging traditional leaders in Zambia on the role that they can play in implementing gender equity within their territories. During this work, Isaac met all of the traditional leaders while travelling Zambia far and wide. Isaac helps to coordinate our Indigenous Internship programme with a focus on supporting logistics and the safety of interns. Isaac has an extraordinary record of safety and is drawn to open-minded and honest people.
Brianna Parent Long is VIDEA’s Gender and Diversity Program Officer. She is passionate about sexual and reproductive health and rights, PSEA, and sex work advocacy, all reinforced by her studies, volunteer experience at AIDS clinics, and being a support worker in mental health housing. She is a proud member of the VIDEA team, her work involves revising harassment policies, integrating feminist and Indigenous methodologies into programs and activities, and writing a new policy on PSEA and sex work. She holds an undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in Political Science and International Development Studies and is currently a master’s student at the University of Victoria. Brianna will continue her studies next year at Carleton University for her PhD in Political Science.
Sarah Danks is currently a Co-op Student but has been a summer student with VIDEA since 2016 and primarily works on VIDEA’s annual fundraiser, the Global Solidarity Challenge. She lives in Victoria and is finishing off her BSc in Psychology with a Minor in Professional Communication at UVic. Sarah is passionate about learning, human rights, photography, and mental health. In her free time, you can find her curled up with a fantasy novel, a cup of tea, and her dog, Callie.
Rachel Barr is VIDEA’s Innovation, Inclusion, and Gender Manager – lives on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking peoples with her dying plants, which she just can’t manage to keep alive. Rachel became part of the VIDEA family in 2015 as an IYIP intern and joined as a staff member in 2018. She is a collaborator on a number of VIDEA programs, including the International Indigenous Youth internships and the Journey from the Heart programming. Rachel feels lucky to work within a local and international context, alongside her friends, colleagues, and partner organizations, who are always teaching her new things about the global issues that connect us all.
Miranda Yates is VIDEA’s Inclusion Officer, identifying ways to engage differently-abled youth in global issues. She is also a student at the University of Victoria. Miranda is excited to learn more about global issues and how we can come together to help these issues. Miranda is an athlete – she is part of the UVic cheer team, plays baseball and basketball, and also enjoys watching football and wrestling. Miranda love flowers and gardening, she is currently growing carrots and loves to smell roses and sunflowers. She also loves to watch TV and listen to music, her favourite shows are Seth Myers, Jimmy Fallen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen. Miranda is a radio host for Voluntary Noise on CFUV 101.9 FM and loves playing hip hop, country and pop.
Vanessa Sterling is VIDEA’s Indigenous Youth Facilitator. Vanessa is passionate about helping build a sustainable future for our Indigenous youth and partners overseas. Vanessa, who is from Simpcw First Nation in Barriere and a past VIDEA IAYI intern, thrives on being a life-long learner. She loves taking trainings to better her education and believes that education makes her family and community stronger. Her most recent certification was becoming a First Responder in her community. Vanessa coordinates some of VIDEA’s youth work in the Okanagan region, plays other fabulous roles in our team. In non-COVID times, Vanessa is one of our IAYI Community-Supported Cohort, Indigenous Youth support people, set to accompany Indigenous interns on their journeys to Zambia and Uganda.
Lili Coyes-Loiselle first joined VIDEA as an IAYI intern in 2020 and is now the Public Engagement Officer, facilitating VIDEA’s weekly Global Community Storytelling. Lili was born and raised in Treaty 6 territory in Edmonton, Alberta and she is a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. She is currently living in Calgary and completing the final year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary with a double major in Development Studies and Indigenous Studies. Lili is especially passionate about Indigenous rights, sustainability, gender equality, and the intersections between them all. On a given day, she is likely to be found out hiking, biking, running, or anything else involving the outdoors! Lili is so grateful to be able to work and learn alongside such an incredible team and family at VIDEA.
Deena Watson is VIDEA’s Project Officer and a student at the University of Victoria majoring in Indigenous Studies and Social Justice Studies. Deena is a proud member of Mistawasis Nêhiyawak located on Treaty 6 territory. Deena is also a former IAYI intern where she was placed at a non-profit organization in Uganda for four months to gain knowledge on global human rights and promote gender equality. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous women and girls and supports the intersectional theory of Indigenous feminisms that practices decolonization, Indigenous sovereignty, and human rights for Indigenous women and their families.
JR Brass is a Project Officer at VIDEA and a former IAYI intern.
Shelby Anderson is a Nehiyaw/Metis woman from Wabasca and Gift Lake, Alberta. A former IAYI intern, she is currently the Media Engagement and Advocacy Officer. Shelby has an active interest in theatre, film, and social media. She is Pisces with a love for humous, puppies, and Indigenous rights. She is a true northern spirit with a passion for her land and her people. Some of her many interests are sustainable living, the preservation of Indigenous knowledge, and scary stories told around a vampire. Her greatest inspiration is her Nookum, Mary Louise Oar.
Andy Harris is VIDEA’s Graphic Designer. He studied marketing at Camosun College in Victoria, and became involved with VIDEA after taking part in the annual VIDEA and Camosun collaboration. Growing up idolizing artists like Joe Strummer or Chuck D, Andy always had a passion for human rights and the rights of workers and the importance of small independent business. If you have ever admired any of our resources or graphics in recent years, be assured that it was Andy who delivered their brilliance. He is passionate about the preservation, appreciation and recognition of arts and cultural globally and in our communities. Andy is not a fan of photos, this is a photo of his beautiful work.
Isabelle Herzig has been part of the VIDEA family for over 10 years! In this time, Isabelle has coordinated a range of VIDEA youth, and other, programming in the Nelson area, most recently working with our youth reconciliation project. Isabelle lives in Ymir with husband Marcus and daughter Fawn. Isabelle shares a love of ballet with Lynn, and they can be seen taking ballet classes together when Lynn is in Nelson, or Isabelle in Victoria! Isabelle is passionate about supporting access to education and opportunities for under-represented youth. During our COVID restrictions, Isabelle has been delivering professional development training online for the whole VIDEA team – we are now better communicators as a result of Isabelle’s excellent training and facilitation! This is a photo from the top of Pulpit in Nelson, a hike that Isabelle does often.
Rose Busingye is VIDEA’s Intern Coordinator in Entebbe, Uganda. She is a passionate supporter of Black Lives Matter and integrates this into her work and personal life. She believes strongly in the importance of equality, inclusion and diversity. She wants equal rights to be reached for all women and girls. Rose is an extremely selfless person who wants to see others succeed and achieve their goals. Rose loves being a mentor, and she is a fabulous mentor to many, including VIDEA interns!
Obino Chibilika is VIDEA’s Internship Facilitator in Lundazi, Zambia. Obino facilitates the stay of interns at the house in Lundazi and orients them to their new community and local issues. Obino is passionate about equitable distribution of resources. He is an extraordinary caretaker and adapts well in multicultural environments. Obino always wants to be learning new things.
Astrid Pérez Piñán is an assistant professor at the UVic School of Public Administration. In her work, she combines interdisciplinary research with feminist scholarship to critically explore the changing international development landscape. Astrid’s other areas of research include: politics of colonization and decolonization, and sustainable development. Prior to academic, Astrid worked in international development in the non-governmental sector and as a consultant in Europe.
Madeleine Begin is Mi’kmaw First Nation and French Canadien. We’re very lucky to have Madeleine on the VIDEA Board. She is passionate about food security, and justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Madeleine really enjoys learning about plants and their medicinal properties – mint and lavender being her favourites!
Dobijoki Emanuela is Co-Chair of the VIDEA Board and a former IYIP intern. She is currently a Doctor of Education Candidate at Western university. Her research heavily centres: Indigenous African knowledges, decolonization, anti-oppression, and organizational improvement. Dobijoki’s focuses her work on the educational improvement and success of Black and marginalized students and communities.
David Monk has been on the VIDEA Board for 2 years and has been a volunteer with VIDEA for over 8 years. He has supported a full range of VIDEA activities including the Global Solidarity Challenge. David has been teaching at Gulu University in Uganda for the past 2 years, during which he has participated remotely in the VIDEA Board. David has a keen interest in supporting different knowledge systems and in community-based research.
Noel Varghese Joseph is a recent addition to the VIDEA Board and we are so happy to have him. He is a recent graduate of Camosun College who has been involved in VIDEA’s theatre and reconciliation programmes for the last year. Noel, who moved to Canada from the Middle East 2 years ago, is passionate about building community networks and women’s empowerment. Noel brings with him a deep appreciation for diversity, inclusion and vulnerability.
Alison Brophey has been a member of the VIDEA family for 12 years! She first joined the Board in 2008 – serving as the Co-Chair from 2014 to 2015. Alison has been a Program Coordinator in UVic’s Division of Continuing Studies since 2008, focusing on teacher professional development, adult education and social justice studies programming. She is excited to work with the VIDEA Community to achieve our goals in Canada and internationally.
Hayden Leo is another exciting new addition to the VIDEA Board. Hayden joined VIDEA several years ago as a Shared Wisdom Youth Leader, where he worked with like-minded individuals to advocate for Gender Equality. He currently lives in Campbell River, where he is working in Forestry and exploring Vancouver Island. He comes from a First Nations Band from Mt. Currie, North of Whistler. Hayden is also a coach for the First Nations Snowboard Team – a sport he developed a passion for over many years living in Whistler.
Sabreena Thouli is VIDEA’s Board Treasurer. Sabreena has been involved with VIDEA in some capacity for over eight years, from co-op student to volunteer extraordinaire to board member. She is proud to continuously support an organization that challenges people, organizations, governments and more to do and be better. Sabreena’s current day job is writing communications materials for the provincial government, but her dream job is owning a bookstore. Other than books, Sabreena’s nerdiness manifests in her love for Doctor Who and all things Marvel. Although she loves to travel, Sabreena is grateful to have been born, raised and currently residing in the beautiful territory of the Lekwungen peoples and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
Su Russell is the Vice Chair of the VIDEA Board. At this point in Su’s life, when she might feel like she has been “put out to pasture” (her words, not ours), it’s great to be actively engaged with an organization that is passionate about human rights issues. Su feels privileged to be the most “senior” member of the VIDEA Board and to have the opportunity to draw on the many resources of younger staff and board members. Su believes it is an awesome gift that the support she has to offer VIDEA is so deeply valued, and we feel so incredibly grateful to have Su’s insights. Su is a clinical counsellor, and while she is (happily) still counselling, a lot of Su’s spare time is spent pulling weeds from her vegetable garden, scraping paint on their ancient wooden boat, writing, or walking their dog Hanna.
Bryan Emery has been with VIDEA since 2016, when he started as an IYIP intern at the recommendation of one of his university professors. He is currently in his second year on the VIDEA Board. Outside of VIDEA, Bryan is a Financial Analyst with the BC Public Service, and enjoys reading when he’s not working. Bryan’s family is split between Canadian settlers and German immigrants, making Bryan a first generation Canadian on his mum’s side. Bryan is passionate about human rights specifically, and politics more generally, which is what drew him to VIDEA in the first place.
Alli Bunting is the Co-Chair of the VIDEA Board. Alli started with VIDEA through the Global Solidarity Challenge in 2015, after meeting with Lynn and Hillary, and a group of awesome volunteers at the Good Earth in Uptown. Alli was an intern in 2016 and has sat on the Board since 2017. In real life, Alli is a cat-mom, outdoor enthusiast, avid reader, and works in global health and gender equality. Alli is passionate about VIDEA – about working with an organization that is truly unique and is ready to stand with their partners and friends in Canada, and around the world, against injustice.
Dana Clavette is a Board Member at VIDEA and an International Student Counsellor at UVic. She first started with VIDEA as an intern in 2016, working as a Crisis Support worker with the YWCA in Kitwe, Zambia. When she returned, Dana was able to complete her Counselling practicum, counselling other VIDEA interns, and then joined the Health and Wellness Committee before becoming a Board member last year. It may obvious, but one of the social justice issues that Dana is the most passionate about is Global Mental Health access. Dana loved working in the Mental Health field in India, Nepal, and Zambia and would love to continue to be involved in the area. Dana believes that Mental Health support can come in many different forms and through various platforms in order to make it accessible. Dana has travelled to about 21 countries so far and counting (once COVID is over)! She love staying in places for long periods of time in order to understand the culture and get to know the locals better. Dana also hiked the Himalayas in Nepal for about a month and met so many lovely families along the way. A random fun fact is that Dana got really good at Nunchucks while she was procrastinating from school work.