Assistant Superintendent, School District 60 Peace River North, Fort St. John
Stephen Petrucci is Assistant Superintendent in School District 60 Peace River North, based in Fort St. John. He is a French Immersion teacher by training and has worked at several schools in the district. One of his favourite postings was as Vice Principal and Principal of Ecole Central Elementary School of the Arts where the arts and languages were the main focus. He continues to oversee and advocate for arts programs at the district level. He plays a bit of guitar, loves to travel and spend time with his family.
Senior Financial Analyst, Powerex, Vancouver
Wilson Cheung is a Senior Financial Analyst at Powerex, the energy-trading arm of BC Hydro. In this role, he is responsible for developing, analyzing and preparing/reviewing complex models, financial information and forecasts to assistant management and traders in understanding our business results. Prior to Powerex, he was a Manager at KPMG LLP’s Corporate Taxation group, providing planning, provision and compliance services. Wilson is a Chartered Accountant/Chartered Professional Accountant and was one of 50 writers who placed on the 2010 UFE Honour Roll. He has also completed all three levels of the CICA In-Depth Tax course. Wilson believes that art fosters creativity and long-term development in youth and is excited to support ArtStarts’ mission and vision.
Corporate Controller, Cardiome Pharma Corporation, Vancouver
Mia Lok is the Corporate Controller at Cardiome Pharma Corp in Vancouver, BC. In this role, she is responsible for managing the company’s corporate and financial reporting activities and supporting Executive Management and the Audit Committee in meeting their risk management and corporate compliance requirements. Mia previously worked at Deloitte LLP as a Manager in the Audit and Assurance practice. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Joint Major in Accounting and Economics from Simon Fraser University. Mia believes that the arts are an integral part of providing a well-rounded foundation for young people and is very happy to be part of an organization which enables such valuable opportunities in arts education.
Founder and Artist of Pebble Star Productions Inc., Vancouver
Will Stroet is an award-winning bilingual children's musician and former elementary school teacher. After five years of teaching music at Tennyson Elementary in Vancouver, Will decided to pursue his other passion of writing and performing kids' music in English and French. Along with his wife and manager, Will founded Pebble Star Productions Inc., a children's entertainment company dedicated to producing educational and engaging music, videos and live performances that inspire kids to be healthy, active and engaged members of our community. Will is on the ArtStarts' touring roster and is also the star of Will's Jams
, a series of musical videos for kids, airing on Kids' CBC television weekday mornings.
Senior HR Business Partner, Fortinet Technologies Inc., Burnaby
Gary currently works as a Senior HR Business Partner at Fortinet Technologies Inc. He partners with leaders to fuel the potential of teams and then align the company's culture and people practices to drive organizational success. Gary is passionate about holistic and integrative approaches to education, and believes that meaningful learning happens as a result of building deep relationships and innovating change through those relationships.
Retired Principal, School District 73 Kamloops/Thompson, Kamloops
Parm is a recently retired principal from SD73 (Kamloops/Thompson). In her 35 years as an educator, she has been a strong advocate for the arts. She chaired the District Young Artists' Conference, organized the District Elementary Art Show and is still organizing the District Young People's Concerts. Parm has attended many ArtStarts Showcases and highly values the work of the organization. Parm has experience as a director and chair on a number of boards, but being a director on the board of ArtStarts speaks to her beliefs regarding the importance of the arts in children's lives. In retirement, she is indulging her love of the arts by returning to painting and continuing to ensure that students have opportunities to attend eclectic and multicultural performances.
Lawyer, BC Ministry of Justice, Vancouver
Tina Parbhakar is a lawyer with the BC Ministry of Justice who has a growing focus on children's law. She is also interested in public administration, gender relations and community engagement. She recently worked in Kampala, through the Canadian Bar Association, on a project entitled Supporting Access to Justice for Children and Youth in East Africa. She has previously worked in Kampala with the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme Uganda on early childhood development and in Delhi with Participatory Research in Asia on violence against women in politics. She is a member of Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, Rotary International and the City of North Vancouver's Social Planning Advisory Committee. Through supporting ArtStarts, Tina wants to see a greater focus on the role of creative activities and opportunities in the development of healthy and happy children, adults and societies.
Managing Director, Attainex Consulting, Burnaby
Amyn Somani is a business strategy consultant, entrepreneur and investor. He enjoys helping people, companies and non-profits succeed. Amyn is the managing director of Attainex Consulting, an organization focussed on helping companies launch, grow and optimize business operations. Previously Amyn was a director of Prospera Credit Union and the founder of a leading property management firm which was sold in 2016. Prior to this he held senior positions with Telus Corporation and Panago Pizza, served on the Microsoft Customer Advisory Council, and was a director of the CIO (Chief Information Officer) Association of Canada. Amyn is an active member of the community and believes in volunteerism. He teaches students through the Junior Achievement program and coaches youth basketball. He has volunteered with many other community organizations including 10 years on the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Coast BC.
Arts and Culture Consultant, Victoria
Mary Blais is an accomplished senior executive well known for cultivating and nurturing productive relationships with strategic partners and for empowering others through her energetic and passionate leadership style. Her 25 plus year career as an administrator and consultant has spanned the arts, post-secondary education and healthcare sectors and taken her across Canada.
Mary continues her work as an independent arts and culture consultant, focusing primarily on audience engagement, executive coaching and the identification and development of strategies to enhance organizational capacity. She is passionate about arts integration in the classroom and the power of the arts to nourish critical thinking and innovation in children and youth.
Naturopathic Doctor, Vancouver
Thara Vayali is a health educator, behaviour change coach and movement specialist. She holds a private practice as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver and focuses her work primarily on endocrinology and gastrointestinal concerns. She is a sought after speaker and facilitator for health education, as her sessions have been described as making complex information "deliciously easy to understand”. The personal exploration of artistic expression has played a major role in her work, influencing how she approaches her patients, clients and students. She is skilled in guiding process-planning for individuals and passionate about assisting teams as they clarify and manage their goals. She writes professionally and poetically and occasionally performs on stage when she feels bold enough to face a crowd.