Who We Are


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Brooke Oxley, posAbilities

Brooke has lived in Toronto, Guelph, Cortes Island, Victoria and Vancouver – residing in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood since 2004. Other than the mountains and ocean, her favourite feature about this city is the diversity of people and cultures coming together on Coast Salish land to find home and sense of place with each other. Brooke has a certificate in Permaculture Design from Linnaea Farm and a Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting from Douglas College. She enjoys hearing people’s stories, dancing, swimming and puttering in her garden. A lifelong learner with a curious mind, Brooke believes communities really do have the power to nurture change for the greater good, if we all can all just slow down a bit and start listening to each other.


Christine Townley, Inclusion Powell River

Christine Townley, Inclusion Powell River

Christine to most, Chris to some, Chrissy to only one but her favorite title is by far ‘mom’ or ‘mommy’, for her biggest passion and accomplishment is family.  She’s a happily married,  tomato loving, ‘true gemini’ who loves anything outdoors.  Born with the innate quality of a genuinely good heart, Christine is described as quirky, unique and filled with a intuitive kindness that has often drawn people toward her since time unmemorable. Christine believes in the power of kindness and feels deeply she was put on this planet to help create happiness.


Linh Pham, BACI

Linh Pham, BACI

At a young age while helping her parents run their business on the roads of Hanoi, Linh developed her love for the rawness of the street and its people. Growing up in a culture where having the sense of community is fundamental, some of her most memorable lessons were stories shared by community members. Linh left home in 2009 to pursue the Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Minnesota to better understand the stark divergence of social welfare that she observed first hand. Having had the privilege to work with ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees and women in marginalized communities, she believes in small changes and big dreams. After exhibiting her superpower in withstanding -40-degree winters, Linh moved to Vancouver in 2014 to further test her power in braving through the incessant rain. She obtained a Master in Economic Development at the University of British Columbia and joined the Building Caring Communities team in 2016. As a community connector, Linh works to honor people’s hidden narratives that push past genres and extend beyond words. Linh may never run for a bus, but she is always willing to go the extra mile for people. In her free time, Linh takes these mantras to the streets. You might have seen her wandering the streets of Vancouver with her cameras, capturing strangers’ faces between strange places. She unwinds by expressing herself through dancing, photography, writing, playing guitar, and teaching mathematics. Linh can’t wait to tell you her stories (in first-person perspective :p) and is looking forward to be inspired by yours.


Matt Carpenter

Matt Carpenter, BACI

Matt is a creative jack-of-all trades. He ventured to Vancouver from the plains of Alberta in 2008 to pursue a career in makeup art for TV and film. Several years and a change of heart later he re-focused himself towards working with and for people. This trajectory has led to Matt facilitating outdoor and leadership activities for people of all ages in urban and natural environments, from canoeing on the ocean to snowshoeing in the mountains. He is currently a Community Connector with the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion and is in the process of obtaining a degree in Child and Youth Care Counselling at Douglas College in Coquitlam, BC. Matt is passionate about making visual art, playing music, being emerged in nature, staying connected to his friends, family and community.


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Julian Avelino, Kinsight

Julian was born and raised in Coquitlam. As a lifelong resident of the “burbs” you can find Julian launching his kayak from the many different beaches and launch spots around the lower mainland. He is also an avid martial arts geek, spending a lot of his time watching combat sports. To further his martial arts passion, Julian trains and teaches classes at a Muay Thai Kickboxing gym in North Burnaby, you can catch him there most nights of the week. He is also a committed dog owner, taking his large German Sheppard for off leash adventures every day, rain or shine. Julian currently facilitates a Youth Leadership Council, where council members learn important leadership skills as they transition to different stages in their lives. After graduating from SFU in December 2015 with a degree in Philosophy, he began working as a Community Support Worker. But at the root of it all, Julian embodies what it is to be a student, having a passion for learning and the growth. His friends consider him to be open to new ways of thinking, as he always welcomes fresh perspectives. As one of the newest Connectors, Julian couldn`t be more excited to be a part of the BCC Team!


Christine McPhedran, posAbilities

Christine McPhedran, posAbilities

Christine was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario or as some Windsorites like to call “South Detroit”. When Christine was ten years old her sister was diagnosed with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, and Christine became intrigued about learning and interacting with people with diverse abilities. She began volunteering at a sibling support group as a teenager and later on decided to pursue a career in social work. Christine competed a bachelor degree in Social Work and (dis)Ability Studies at the University of Windsor in 2014, and she is currently studying her masters in social work part time.  In August 2015, she and her partner Wes decided to make the big move out west to the beautiful city of Vancouver. Close friends and family of Christine know her as a dancer, cat owner, knitter, yogi, Rubik’s cube solver, hiker, creative, intuitive, empathetic, authentic, determined, and passionate individual. In March 2017, she joined the Building Caring Communities team as a community Connector. Christine can’t wait to meet you to learn about your story and what you’re passionate about!


Lisa Smessaert, posAbilities

Lisa Smessaert, posAbilities

Lisa is a globetrotter and has had the fortune to live and work in Tanzania, Kenya, Nicaragua, St. Lucia and Italy. She completed both her Bachelor and Masters of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo and moved to Vancouver in 2011 to begin her PhD in Forestry, focusing on the impacts of forest loss on biodiversity, livelihoods and food security among Mestizo communities in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua. Realizing academia wasn’t her true calling, she directed her passion for sustainable development into learning about and supporting the social enterprise scene in Vancouver. While hunting for her next opportunity, she noticed a lack of a centralized location for people looking for work with social enterprises in the city and decided to form the social network and job board Vancouver Changemakers Work, now with over 1000 members.

Lisa is a child at heart, loves games, camping, crafting, trip planning, campfire songs and cooking outdoors, all of this fostered from spending most of her youth (14 years) as a member of Girl Guides of Canada. A resident of East Vancouver since 2012, she feels blessed that she can call such a diverse, dynamic and delicious community home. Alongside community connecting, she works closely with TEDxEastVan to help curate speakers, develop partnerships and enhance event sustainability. Lisa’s greatest passion is turning ideas into reality, she always has a new project on the go and another one up her sleeve. She can’t wait to meet you to swap stories and share ideas!


Jenn Morris, Inclusion Powell River

Jenn is one of those people with never ending energy and enthusiasm so when she came on board as a connector in 2017 it could not have been amore perfect fit. She is a true Powell River-ite with an outgoing and approachable personality and you couldn’t ask for someone more connected in the community as she knows everyone. Jenn has a background in Therapeutic Recreation which can clearly be seen in her love for all things outdoors such as kayaking, fishing, camping and hiking. She is the perfect combination of creativity, spontaneity and determination. One of her fondest memories was the “Climb for Community” where she was involved in leading a climbing group of persons with disabilities to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.


Galen Exo-Robinson, posAbilities

Galen grew up in Portland, OR, and moved to Vancouver in 2007 to attend school at the University of British Columbia. He has since made the city his home, joining the Connector team in 2018. Galen has a degree in Sociology from UBC, and is particularly interested in issues of social justice and community engagement. BCC has given him an opportunity to learn from a diverse group of individuals, and exploring Vancouver’s many subcultures. He enjoys being a part of BCC participants’ journey toward building and strengthening relationships based on trust, honesty and mutual respect. Galen is passionate about many things, including live music, travel and the outdoors, but his strongest affection is for photography, which takes up a good portion of his free time. He is curious by nature, and loves to discover new places, people and ways of seeing the world. He loves to help people explore their interests, hone their talents, and seek new experiences.