Our Team

Meet the people at Inclusion BC working hard for inclusive change.

Our Staff

Karla Verschoor

Executive Director

Karla brings a rights-based, person-centered approach to her leadership at Inclusion BC. She joined in 2006, holding various positions before becoming the Executive Director in 2018. She strives to be a connection point between people experiencing barriers to inclusion and those with decision-making power within our systems of support. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (University of Alberta) and Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement (Simon Fraser University).

Frank Peng

Director of Finance and Administration

Frank Peng joined Inclusion BC in 2009. Frank is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor of Science (Southern Illinois University). He previously worked for the Richmond Youth Service Agency and Crush Hospitality. In his spare time, Frank likes to compose music, make videos and travel.

Erika Cedillo

Director of Public Policy and Programs

Erika brings a collaborative, solutions-based approach to her work. Erika has a Ph.D. in Law (University of British Columbia), Master’s Degree in Administration, Finance and Corporate Law (Universidad Humanitas – México) and a Law Degree (Tecnologico de Monterrey – México). She loves spending time with her family, and running marathons.

Renee MacDermid

Director, Resource Development and Engagement

Renee makes sure Inclusion BC has the resources we need to further our mission, vision, and goals. Renee holds a Master of Science degree in International Politics and Human Rights (University of Glasgow) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (University of British Columbia). She likes exploring the local wilderness with her family.

Semanthi Wanni

Senior Officer, Board Relations and Executive Support

Semanthi is a master organizer who keeps the office running smoothly. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration (University of Hertfordshire – UK). Semanthi loves spending her free time with her three children and husband, and travelling.

Jillian Bradley

Director of Employment Initiatives

Jillian is Inclusion BC’s Director of Employment Initiatives, and brings her strategic mind, savvy business sense, and passion for inclusion and social justice to our team. Jillian works out of Youbou, B.C., where she lives on an acreage with her family and a herd of elk.

Galen Exo

Director of Communications and Media

Galen uses storytelling to shift perceptions of people’s limitations. His values are rooted in a belief that people with lived experience of disability are the experts in their own lives, and that true inclusion is rooted in collaborative relationships and freedom of choice. Galen has a passion for photography and videography.

Katie Miller

Writer/Content Development

Katie writes stories and develops publications to support Inclusion BC’s mission and vision. As an advocate for people with disabilities and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, Katie’s lived experiences and her ability to view the world through multiple lenses guides our content.

Wendy Goldsmith

Social Media Coordinator

Wendy grows online communities for non-profits serving marginalized communities, including people affected by violence, addiction, and mental health challenges. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science (University of Calgary) and a Professional Communications Certificate (Mount Royal University). She loves reading dystopian fiction and exploring forests.

Janice Bai

Accounts Manager

Janice is responsible for preparing all of Inclusion BC’s financial reports. She graduated from BCIT in Accounting, and is currently enrolled in the Certified General Accountants program, the last step towards becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant. When she’s not busy keeping our finances in order, Janice likes travelling and hiking.

Sebastian Peng

Communications Specialist

Sebastian joined the team as a part-time accounting assistant in 2015. He shifted from accounting into Communications and Resource Development. Sebastian has a Bachelor of Science degree (Simon Fraser University), majoring in Interactive Systems and minoring in Business. In his spare time, he enjoys biking and hiking.

Ariel Pavic

Special Events Coordinator

Trauma-informed and person-centred, Ariel holds kindness and community connection at the forefront of all she does. She competes as an adult amateur in the sport of dressage, and loves dog walking, and picking through thrift stores. She has one daughter, who she’s raising to be an includer, not an excluder.

Tina Dam

Inclusive Employment - MentorAbility

Tina is one of the talented members of the MentorAbility team. Before entering the non-profit sector, she worked in corporate advertising, sales, and customer service. These vastly different professional experiences help Tina connect Mentees to Mentors.

Kerridan Dougan

Community Inclusion Advocate

Kerridan advocates for enduring and meaningful change to the systems that serve our community. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree (Simon Fraser University) with a focus on Political Science. Kerridan lives with her husband and three children. She loves spending time with her family, volunteering, camping, walking, and yoga.

Lisa Petrunia

Policy Analyst

Lisa joined the team at Inclusion BC in 2024 as a Policy Analyst. She is passionate about social justice and creating change at the systems level, bringing an intersectional and anti-oppressive approach to the role. Her work over the past decade includes advocacy, outreach, harm reduction, education, case management, and community building with people and communities facing stigma and oppression. In 2023, she was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. Lisa is a self-advocate with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, a Fine Arts Diploma, and a Professional Writing Certificate in Marketing and Public Relations. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling and has visited 21 countries so far. She spends her free time in nature and enjoys the company of her partner, friends, and dog.

Jatinder Sandhu

Intake Coordinator, Advocacy Helpline

Jatinder (Jay) is usually the first voice people hear when they call the Advocacy Line. She works as the Intake Coordinator in the advocacy program. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, travelling and cooking.

Sonya Hawchuk

Community Inclusion Advocate

Sonya has extensive experience supporting seniors, and fostering inclusion and holistic wellness in community organizations. She has a Bachelor Degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She loves spending time with her husband and cat, playing board games, practicing yoga, and walking by the beach.

Sonali Kuber

Inclusive Employment - MentorAbility

Sonali Kuber joined Inclusion in September of 2023 as the MentorAbility Coordinator for the Interior regions of BC. She completed her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at UBC Okanagan and recently returned to pursue her MSW (Master of Social Work). She has a passion for helping others, coming from a background in research and health promotion. You can find Sonali at the beach with her dog, or immersed in art projects during her spare time.

Sheldon Kitzul

Ready Willing and Able Employment Outreach Coordinator – Vancouver Island

Sheldon has mastered his valuable communication skills over many years working with people on the margins. He has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and is an Associate Leadership Coach. He likes to kizomba dance, and has restored a vintage fiberglass camper trailer.

Ella Rudolph

Accounting and Member Engagement Assistant

Ella joined Inclusion BC in 2023, after working with us as a summer student. She has a certificate in Medical Office Administration (Douglas College). She also works as a barista at a local coffee shop and loves going to concerts, crafting, and spending time with friends, family, and pets.

Lowena Ko

Office Assistant

Lowena is a talented and skilled office administrator whose behind-the-scenes work helps make our organization run smoothly. She’s also a talented seamstress, and recently started her own business making and selling felted creatures.

Board of Directors

Hilary Thomson

President, Region: Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley

Hilary is a lawyer and administrative tribunal member with experience in employment and human rights law, and commercial litigation. She’s a mother of four, one of whom has cerebral palsy. Hilary is passionate about improving access to educational and recreational opportunities for children and youth with disabilities, and eliminating all barriers that prevent full inclusion in school and play.

Kate Gibbs

Vice President, Region: Interior

Kate believes in strong, quiet, and kind advocacy for inclusion for everyone. She’s passionate about bringing awareness to the gifts that people with diverse abilities bring to our communities, and the world. The first adaptive skier with Panorama Adaptive Snow Sports, she is an athlete in the Special Olympics program in Invermere.

Heather Garfield

Director, Northern Region

Heather is mom to two boys, Jakob, and Kyle – a unique and loving kid with autism. She has extensive experience in the Northern Health Authority in the Child and Youth Health program, and Mental Health and Substance Use program. Her professional and lived experience inspires her to advocate, educate and drive awareness to accessible inclusion resources and services.

Annette Delapace

Director, Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley

Annette’s the proud mom of a beautiful young woman who lives with diverse abilities. She has a degree in education and over 30 years of administrative experience. She’s a member of the Richmond Society for Community Living Inclusive Education Committee and the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children’s Ethics Committee.

Cyndi Gerlach

Director, Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley

Cyndi’s a parent of three young men. Two of her sons have autism. She started her advocacy journey in 2001, forming the parent group Moms on the Move. Cyndi believes each person needs to be respected for who they are, and advocates for more mental health supports for people with developmental disabilities.

Michael McLellan

Director, Vancouver Island

Michael’s a longtime self advocate from Courtenay. He is the President of BC People First and a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship. Michael’s an avid athlete and loves tandem biking, golfing, and archery. He is employed in the pro shop of his local golf course.

Bob Kashyap

Director, Northern Region

Bob is the Family Support Coordinator at the Family Support Institute, journeying alongside many families as they support inclusive pathways. He brings extensive financial experience to the Board. Bob’s heart for the inclusion movement centres around his love for his family, particularly his daughter with a disability, and whose determination and spirit of generosity has touched so many lives.

Tamara Kulusic

Director, Northern Region

Tamara is a proud mother and grandmother. She began her advocacy career over 34 years ago as a parent navigating autism and disability services. Tamara’s education in cultural anthropology includes First Nations studies and disability studies. She’s from the Snuneymuxw First Nation, with lived experience as a child adopted during the ‘60s scoop.

Julie Unger

Director, Fraser Valley

Julie Unger is the Executive Director of Chilliwack Society for Community Living. She has a Master of Arts (Royal Roads University) and decades of experience in Community Living.

Our approach to advocacy is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which recognizes the full citizenship and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kerridan Dougan, Advocate

Support Our Work, Empower Everyone.

Together, we can break down barriers and create an inclusive world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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