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.
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.
Senior Manager, Audit & Assurance, Deloitte LLP, Vancouver
Mia Lok is a Senior Manager in the Audit & Assurance practice at Deloitte LLP in Vancouver, BC. In this role, she specializes in international public company audits in the technology, media and telecom industry. She has extensive expertise auditing and advising on internal controls compliance and process evaluation and improvements to assist in supporting Executive Management and Audit Committees in meeting their risk management and corporate compliance requirements. Mia previously worked as Corporate Controller at Cardiome Pharma Corp. 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.
Leadership Development Specialist, Coast Capital Savings
Gary currently works as a Leadership Development Specialist at Coast Capital Savings. 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.
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.
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.
Manager of Education and Training for TELUS Storyhive, Vancouver
Elfred Matining is an uninvited visitor living as a settler in Coast Salish territory. Born in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines, he spent his formative years in SD 44, North Vancouver, after immigrating with his family. Elfred works with communities to find new ways of thinking, learning/unlearning, and experiencing our world through the creative process. As an artist and community organizer, he is specifically interested in the phenomenon of pedagogy through the framework of queer methodologies and anti-oppressive practices. His previous work with ArtStarts, engaged artists and educators across the province in dialogue and professional learning about curriculum design and creative and critical thinking. His perspective is informed by his lens as a queer person of colour living is diaspora and his diverse background in Entrepreneurial Business Management, joinery, and contemporary art.
Retired School-Based Adminstrator for SD22, Vernon
Bob was born and raised in Liverpool, England. Early exposures to theatre and music set him on life's pathway with a determination to make the arts an important part of his future development. Bob's professional life was in Education where he completed forty years as teacher and administrator before retirement in 2016. Alongside the work in education, Bob found time to be actively involved in community life as both a musician and as a theatre all-rounder. Combining his love of education and the
arts, Bob has frequently mentored young musicians, writers, poets, actors and technicians. He is passionate about the ability of the arts to bring joy and a sense of meaning and expression to the lives of us all, but particularly young people. As Bob begins his time on the ArtStarts board, he will be searching for ways for the ArtStarts organization to become ever more effective in its mission to bring meaningful arts experiences to all young people.
Bio coming soon
Principal, W. L. McLeod Elementary School, School District 91 (Nechako Lakes), Vanderhoof
Libby has always been involved in the performing arts and working with children. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music, a Bachelor of Education and a Masters in Education with a focus on multi-cultural performing arts. Musical Theatre is her main love and her history has involved on-stage, backstage, in the pit and now, mostly as a director. Libby is also an oboist who played with the PGSO for many years. Her journey through her career has included teaching band, teaching drama, administration in elementary, secondary and online schools and work in Aboriginal Education. She was honoured to spend three years seconded to the BC Ministry of Education Aboriginal Education Branch where she worked with all BC School Districts and First Nations communities. Libby lives the arts each day and is passionate about the power of the arts for transforming young lives, especially children with the most needs.