We’re delighted to present our third cohort of RADIUS Fellows! Once a week from now until June, this band of Radical Doers will gather together, connect with mentors and coaches, and strengthen their skills for creating impactful innovation.
This cohort brings together changemakers from a diversity of fields including mental health, education, filmmaking, urban sustainability, youth engagement, and refugee resettlement. They have studied at SFU, across the country, and around the globe – gaining degrees in everything from business to political science to art. You can read more about this exceptional group of people in their own words below.
Jorge left the volcanoes of Mexico City in 2007 to pursue a Bachelor of International Relations and a Master of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.
Following his degrees, Jorge has held diverse roles in non-profits and Canadian startups. His experience includes working on global advocacy for Hootsuite, as a strategist for digital agency Skyrocket, and communications manager with Free The Children. Jorge is currently the Director of Engagement at the National Observer.
Jorge is also the creator of a popular social initiative called #bemyamigo, which aimed to facilitate human connections, battle social isolation, and increase civic participation in Vancouver.
When he isn’t busy talking with strangers, Jorge is likely thinking about civic engagement and how to help progressive organizations find and connect with their audience. He speaks four languages and would probably enjoy chatting with you in at least one of them.
Leah’s passions lie in the intersection of technology and politics, leveraging tech for public good. Her background is in community organizing and digital transformation in politics and for Fortune 500 companies in the UK, Canada, and USA. She also ran a national non-profit organisation called Student Voice Initiative, lobbying education policymakers to establish student trustee positions on school boards to ensure that students were represented in the policymaking process. As part of her work, she has advised and consulted for numerous politicians and community leaders on youth engagement and digital initiatives, contributing to her hypothesis that greater civic engagement leads to healthier societies. Leah is a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum, Founder of the Future at Founders Forum, and recipient of the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership.
Follow Leah on Twitter: @
Erin Brown-John is a communications professional with experience working with a variety of arts and non-profit organizations, including Museum of Vancouver, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Arts Council, Changemakers Vancouver and OpenMedia. She is particularly interested in the role of communication and shared experiences in connecting diverse people and building community, which has led to work on projects such as Diwali Fest and Bloom Festival of Dance of the African Diaspora.
She has recently returned to Vancouver from the UK where she was involved in the co-operative movement and worked on the merger of four national dance organizations to form a new advocacy body for dancers, One Dance UK. Outside of work she enjoys exploring the outdoors and making a variety of things. She is a member of the Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra, playing on an instrument she built herself.
Follow Erin on Twitter: @eebeejay
Veronika is a sustainability strategist, community builder and engagement innovator. Having worked for different levels of government, directing a student-run environmental organization and planning sustainable behavioural change campaigns, Veronika thrives most off convening people around complex challenges and creating opportunities for collective visioning to drive solutions forward. Her long-standing passions (and terms that make her heart flutter) include public engagement, systems change and urban sustainability.
Veronika is completing a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems at UBC with a focus on sustainability, policy and planning, and is an alumna of CityStudio. Her experience includes working as a Sustainability Education Facilitation with Metro Vancouver, Student Sustainability Engagement Coordinator for UBC Campus Sustainability, and Student with Environment & Climate Change Canada. She was awarded as a Top 25 under 25 Environmentalist in Canada in 2015. She is currently working on CityHive, which aims to transform the way that youth are engaged in city decision making and planning processes.
Follow Veronika on Twitter: @veronikabyl
Peggy’s interests in youth engagement, community development and social activism led to her involvement in the non-profit social sector for the past 5 years in organizations such as the YWCA and AIESEC. She has mobilized youth movements locally and nationally to increase civic involvement and participation, facilitated projects abroad which aim to eliminate cultural barriers and stereotypes, and worked with young people to advocate for gender equality and young women’s leadership.
Being a first generation Taiwanese-Canadian, Peggy is eager to see more representation of visible minorities and newcomers in community spaces, and is active in supporting newcomer youth to be involved in civic engagements. She holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University with concentrations in Marketing and Communications, and is curious about using art, design and storytelling for social change.
Follow Peggy on Twitter: @peggychen_
As a feminist dedicated to health equity, Erin began her career advocating for healthy relationships, building and running violence prevention programming for youth in the Bay Area of California. Erin came to Vancouver to explore environmental health, completing her master’s degree in public health with a concentration in social inequities and health at SFU (go class of 2016!). During her time as a grad student, she focused on climate justice movement(s) and their intersections with women’s health. Erin is now the Executive Director of Embark Sustainability, a non-profit located on the SFU campuses that empowers student sustainability leaders. She spends much of her time collaborating with students to tackle sustainability challenges with intentionality and strategy. When not absorbed with her 9 to 5, you can find Erin rolling with her jiujitsu teammates, throwing some punches at her MMA gym, or tirelessly consuming feminist media.
Emmanuela Droko is a Khartoum born, Vancouver raised social advocate currently completing her undergraduate degree in Communications while minoring in International Studies. A queer child of the horn of Africa, she specializes in working alongside organizations that aid people of colour, and LGBTQ+ peoples. She occupies most of her time volunteering for Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia and Dogwood Initiative. She also attends various leadership conferences and is ever-present at community events while currently also writing a scholarly article on being Black, queer and femme in the International Studies Students Association Consulate Dialogue. Self-proclaimed academic, dreamer, and writer, she is passionate about creating spaces in which people of colour, queer people and womyn-identifying peoples can create and thrive within a vibrant and limitless space.
Emmanuela aims to be the founder of a Social Movement built on acknowledging and highlighting the amazing work people of colour do everyday.
Jen Fischer is a UBC graduate student in the department of Education; Sustainability for Education hosted at CityStudio and currently works at the Vancouver School Board supporting students with special needs in the classroom. While completing her undergraduate degree at Ryerson University in Toronto over the past four years, Jen founded two social enterprises out of Ryerson’s SocialVenture Zone. In conjunction she also launched Ryerson’s first Faculty led sustainability plan, Arts Eco Action. She has presented at several conferences about the intersection of sustainability, social justice and social innovation. A few interesting facts you might not know, but might spark some curiosity: Jen is an Organic Master Gardner, has a dog named Argyle, spent four year backpacking the world prior to attending university and in 2014 marched with Elizabeth May in largest climate action protest, The People’s Climate March in New York City.
Lana is a nature lover blazing new trails in education, advocacy, holistic health, and outdoor experience. She built a community of dancers who raised over $5,000 for local non-profits through their performances. She choreographed a special dance to raise awareness about missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada for Butterflies in Spirit. Her current projects include creating a Blood Cycle Community by collaborating with activists and experts from around the world to re-write the story that menstruation is inherently painful. Through the Outdoor Dialogue Series and her volunteer work with Soaring Eagle Nature School, Lana brings together her love for dialogue, philosophy, and being in the outdoors. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at Simon Fraser University while taking advantage of experiential programs like Semester in Dialogue and Health Change Lab.
Find Lana on Twitter: @lanafriesen
Randall is inspired by the power of social connection to effect positive change in society. She enjoys volunteering and has always been motivated to contribute positively to her community. She currently sits on the board of the Parent Support Society of BC and volunteers with Mom2Mom, a child poverty initiative society.
Randall completed her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Waterloo. As a psychologist, she works with children and their families to support them with a variety of mental health challenges. She recognizes that there are a number of barriers to youth and their families accessing effective mental health services. She is passionate about finding accessible ways to empower youth, families and community members to develop positive mental health through prevention based strategies.
In her spare time, Randall is an outdoor enthusiast, bicycle advocate and amateur vegetable gardener.
Rochelle Heinrichs is a global adventurer, creative collaborator and changemaker at heart. Having lived abroad for the majority of the last five years, she is driven by her experiences with those in-need and is passionate about engaging others in global issues and sparking action. Most recently, her first-hand experience of the struggle faced by refugees in the Calais ‘Jungle’ led to her work with the #lovecalais project – a charitable initiative enabling young people to respond to the refugee crisis.
An advocate of social enterprise, Rochelle has volunteered as a mentor at The School for Social Entrepreneurs in London as well as helped coordinate the first-ever social enterprise competition in the Okanagan. Originally from Kelowna, Rochelle holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in Marketing from Wilfrid Laurier University and is now settling into life in East Vancouver, mainly by sampling all the local coffee.
Follow Rochelle on Twitter: @rochellelaurenh
Growing up as an immigrant in Canada and having faced many challenges while settling in the Canadian society, Mervyn Mabini believes that resilient communities are needed platforms to support marginalized communities. He has worked with migrant groups in Toronto, organizing conferences that provided education about workers and migrants’ rights. He also co-founded EdHackersTO, a community that fostered the innovation, growth, and adoption of education technologies within the K-12 space.
Currently, he is an MBA Candidate at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University. He is also the Director of Social Innovation at Net Impact, Segal Chapter, where he dedicates his time to increase the profile of social innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability within Beedie’s graduate student body.
Connect with Mervyn on LinkedIn.
Laura is a human rights advocate and community capacity builder. With a background in social justice campaigns, citizen engagement and local and international development, she is passionate about human-connectivity and instilling a collective narrative within the community which affirms that every human life is equal and will not be devalued based on colour, ethnicity, place of birth, gender or sexuality. As Manager of Refugee and Specialized Programs at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, she is responsible for the design and implementation of resettlement programs for the largest population of vulnerable refugees in British Columbia. Laura holds a B.A. in International Studies from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, majoring in International Humanitarian Law.
Follow Laura on Twitter: @Laura_Mannix
Sabrina has a passion for empowerment, social advocacy, and dialogue. As a Consultant for Vancity in HR and Digital Strategy, she has worked on a number of initiatives supporting financial, social, and digital inclusion.
Driven by the motto “Don’t just do well in life, do GOOD”, Sabrina is a self-starter and is constantly exploring new ways of creating positive community impact. Since graduating from Simon Fraser University in 2009, she has undertaken a number of volunteer initiatives, including her own not-for-profit project, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Design Nerds.
Connect with Sabrina on LinkedIn.
Seth is a strategic designer based in Vancouver. His interest in the social good and the power of small groups stems from his participation in the national Katimavik program, taken fresh out of high school. However, it was his four years of studying Industrial Design at Emily Carr University that exposed him to the potential impact of the design process and thinking, and highlighted his interest in social good. Seth has taken part in CityStudio and is currently completing the Community Economic Development course at SFU, while also working full time in design and production for a local company. Seth is keen to take his knowledge and experience to help build a more sustainable design community within Vancouver.
Connect with Seth on LinkedIn.
Violet-Rose Pharoah is currently enrolled in the Public Relations diploma at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her career path has included numerous collaborative and self-directed projects, using creative and arts based platforms to create dialogue and advocate for change within the child welfare system. Having personally spent 15 years in the foster care system, Violet-Rose is dedicated to creating a more informed system to shift the paradigm from surviving to thriving.
She is the founder of The Garbage Challenge, a personal commitment to carrying a garbage bag for 365 days to raise awareness about the lack of luggage provided for children and youth in foster care. With the support of community businesses and members over 100 brand new suitcases were distributed in the Vancouver area.
Violet-Rose currently is a board member for the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks and serves as an adult ally on the Vancouver Foundation Fostering Change youth advisory circle.
Connect with Violet-Rose on LinkedIn.
Andrea, at 22, is proud to identify as a triple threat in both performing arts and tech. She also has an obnoxious passion for making the world a better place. Her commitment is to explore the extremes of experience, and to be the change she wishes to see around her.
For the past year Andrea has been with RED Academy as Program Manager / Junior UX Designer. Working in design, technology, education, and social impact, she is inspired and humbled by the efforts of those around her. She supports the User Experience Design program with her expertise in participatory design and accessibility. She also manages the Community Partner Program, which connects social ventures and tech start-ups with student work.
Having found her impact-tribe, she’s ready to learn how she can better use art, design, and technology to support the positive change Vancouver is championing.
Follow Andee on Twitter: @andeepittmanux
Fiona Rayher is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Gen Why Media – a nonprofit that produces media, events and public art, aiming to inspire public engagement. Her feature documentary, Fractured Land, released on CBC’s Documentary Channel and other networks around the world. She has strong ties to the documentary community world-wide, previously on the boards of the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival and the Documentary Organization of Canada. She is also on multiple film juries, including the DOC Institute Honours and the Academy of Canadian Cinema Awards.
Fiona has a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation, along with a BA in political science and communications from SFU. She has worked for the BC Civil Liberties Association, the Mindset Foundation, and since the age of twenty-one Fiona has made four short films. She is currently developing a technology start-up that bridges her experience in public engagement and love of independent film.
Terri Rutty is passionate about affecting social change through community engagement. She believes that all of society benefits from a diverse and inclusive world and works to break down barriers to build diverse leadership at organizations throughout Canada. Terri has achieved this through the lens of environmental sustainability. As the Director of Environmental Sustainability at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, Terri was able to help the organization become one of the Globe & Mail’s Top Greenest Employers for 5 consecutive years. She has also worked as the Executive Director for the Women’s Healthy Environments Network and has sat on boards including the Advisory Committee to the Chief Corporate Officer for the City of Toronto and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. Terri currently works for Simon Fraser University in the Sustainability Office. On weekends, she spends her time at local farmer’s markets, thrift shops and life hacking DIY projects.
Why does Amar do what he does?
The answer starts when you look at Amar. What do you see?
You see a Sikh. The Sikh way of life revolves around Ik Oang Kaar, which fundamentally describes the Big Bang Theory. That means that everyone and everything originated from a singularity, which is free of titles around gender, sexual orientation, religion etc. We are all connected, to each other, the planet and the universe(s). Amar is happiest when he reconnects with people and the planet, and when the people around him are happy and live in harmony with a healthy planet. This is why he is passionate about creating genuine and authentic relationships with people and looking after the wellbeing of our planet.
Connect with Amar on LinkedIn.
Madeline Sloan is a Big City Hippie from Vancouver who is passionate about holistic health, the environment, and social innovation. In 2012, Madeline suffered a stroke. For 2 ½ years, she dedicated herself to recovery, leading her deeper into holistic health, and the power each of us has within. She learned many lessons from this experience, and wouldn’t take it back.
Madeline works at Lorna Vanderhaeghe Health Solutions where she runs a Workplace Improvement Project, covering all aspects of company wellness, from Waste Management to Ergonomics to Employee Engagement. She also founded Big City Hippies, a social platform about City Living with Hippie Values, to educate and energize others in their holistic, green journey. She approaches problems mindfully and with an empathetic heart, and is endlessly curious.
Madeline can be found hanging out with her husband and dog, taking photos, cooking, doing EDx Courses, advocating for the environment, and reading.
Abeer Yusuf’s life has been defined by living everywhere and nowhere. Currently migrating to Canada and being brought up between contrasts, Abeer has devoted her life to thinking about identity, race and belonging – and how we understand who we are based on how we move in the world. Holding two Masters degrees – the most recent from UBC looking at how refugee youth in Vancouver make the city their home – Abeer hopes to create a body of work charting the relationship between migrant identities and the elusive search for home. She enjoys puns, reading (especially illustrated children’s books), balloons and the colour yellow.
Connect with Abeer on Twitter: @aboutabeer