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.
Executive Director, Strathcona Business Improvement Association, Vancouver
Theo is Executive Director of the Strathcona Business Improvement Association where she works to support over 900 businesses and social enterprises. She upholds and promotes the SBIA vision in which its members are operating and thriving in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. Theo, in her capacity as a Strathcona community leader, also serves on the Spaces Committee for the Eastside Culture Crawl where she advocates for artists in East Vancouver. She is a Board Director with Vancity, BC’s largest credit union and Canada’s 10th largest financial institution. A post secondary education in fine arts paired with a life-time passion for arts is what brought Theo to ArtStarts where, through governance, she works to support efforts to inspire children across the province through their own, innate artistic ability and vision.
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.