Mebrat is an Eritrean, born in Ethiopia and raised in Montreal. She is a mother, community developer, teacher, and singer known for her passion, enthusiasm, and energy. As executive director of WISH and co-chair of Living in Community, Mebrat supports women and initiatives related to the health and safety of women engaged in street-based sex work. She has worked in social justice, and non-profit management and community development for over twenty years. Mebrat has worked closely with women and women-serving organizations as a Programs Officer with Status of Women Canada; and served as executive director of PeerNetBC. In a volunteer capacity, Mebrat sits on the boards of MATCH International Women’s Fund and Pivot Legal Society; serves on the City of Vancouver’s Black History Month Planning Committee, and also volunteers with the Vancouver Youth Choir. She lives in East Van, doing as much singing, adventuring and plotting with her son…much to their cat’s chagrin.
Jan Hawkins has worked for variety of non-profit organizations over the past 15 years, including Canadian Blood Services, the BCIT Foundation, the Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders, and most recently, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, where she was responsible for all fundraising related activities.
Jan is passionate about inspiring others to support a cause, and especially loves sharing stories with donors about how their support changes lives.
She is a dog lover, runner, cyclist, BC Lions fan, and a cancer survivor. She’s also an election junkie, having worked in the last municipal, provincial and federal elections.
She lives in Delta with her husband Keith, and rescue dogs Maddie and Baxter, who are definitely not Guide Dog material.
Hannah Morgan is a Japanese-Canadian, Hong Kong native who moved to Vancouver five years ago. She holds a BA in English Literature and Political Science from the University of British Columbia. Hannah started working at WISH in early 2019 as a Program Assistant when she first heard about the organisation at a Doctors Without Borders talk regarding women’s health. Whilst working as a PA, Hannah worked full-time at UBC as a Program Assistant for Go Global: International Learning Programs.
A passion for feminism, human rights and environmentalism have reigned true throughout her academic and personal pursuits. Hannah has volunteered for organisations such as West Coast Environmental Law, Amnesty International and PERIOD. Additionally, Hannah was a door-to-door fundraiser for organisations such as Oxfam, UNICEF and CNIB.
In her free time, Hannah enjoys trips to the Gulf Islands, cooking Japanese food and playing with her cat Bellini.
Human Resources Manager
Joannye is an energetic French-Canadian originally from Quebec who recently moved in the City of Coquitlam. She obtained a Bachelor degree in Industrial Relations in 2009 and is now a member of the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of BC & Yukon. In her previous HR experience, she was involved in many projects related to Health & Safety, Recruitment, Labour Relations and Training in the Manufacturing and Construction industry. She is not afraid to go out of her comfort zone and wanted to bring her contribution to a meaningful cause. The mission of WISH touches her and she felt challenged by the reality of women who are supported by the organisation. She loves to go for a hike with her partner and their 3 young children, discover new areas and cook. She always has homemade cookies to offer to everyone who comes visit her.
Payroll and Benefits Administrator
Sukhleen’s journey at WISH originally started in the summer of 2018, as an Administrative Assistant through Canada Summer Jobs. Once her contract was up, she continued to pursue her education, whilst working in the Insurance Industry and volunteering in Crisis Support. Finally, with her education coming to an end, she is back at WISH doing what she loves while feeling inspired and empowered by the wonderful community around her! She holds a Public Safety Communications Certificate and will soon obtain her BBA in Human Resources Management; in addition, she is also a member of CPHR BC & Yukon. During her spare time, Sukhleen loves to research and learn about absolutely anything and everything! Most recently, she has taken up the stock market!
Since delving into this area of service, each day Sukhleen is reminded of how eye opening, humbling and rewarding this career is. She is very excited to work with an organization that shares her passions about community building and compassionate care!
Finance & Operations Manager
Carol came to WISH in July 2016 as the Administrative Coordinator and is currently the Finance and Operations Manager. Before coming to WISH, Carol worked in the finance department of Steamworks as well as managing her own trades business on the Sunshine Coast. Carol was drawn to WISH because of the impact WISH has for this community of women. With her skill set in administration and finance, Carol is always a valuable addition to WISH as the Master of Coin and Office DJ. Carol loves working with the WISH team and regularly is part of office hijinks. Carol loves Game of Thrones, listening to music, and her cat Uma. Carol is a great mom to 3 grown children and always has a perfect manicure.
After hearing about WISH for many years, Emily joined the team in July 2017 as the Drop-In Supervisor before becoming the Drop-In Manager in November of that year. Emily is now the Operations Manager and gets the pleasure of working with all of the programs! Emily’s past roles include working as the Detox Assistant Manager at Salvation Army Harbour Light, Gender and Youth Advisor for WUSC Canada in the Caribbean, and as a Peace Corps Health Education Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan. Emily loves working at WISH because of the vital role the organization plays in Vancouver and because of the community of women who care about WISH, whether they be participants, staff, volunteers, or donors. Emily believes strongly in the rights and dignity of all women, and knows that WISH plays a crucial role in this work. Outside of WISH, Emily loves to travel, go for very long runs in the park by herself, eat delicious food, and hang out with her cat Michelle Obama.
Heidi Morgan joined WISH in October 2018 as our Administrative Assistant. In 2007, Heidi risked it all and quit her corporate job without another to go to. She knew she had to do this because she felt in her bones, that she needed to serve folks that need compassion, hope and love. And above all, practical support.
Heidi has since served in Administrative Management and Program Coordination at Lookout Housing and Health Society, First United Community Ministry, AIDS Vancouver and Covenant House.
Heidi has a great love for the Downtown Eastside community and feels she has come full circle in her own healing journey to now be working for an organization that is by and for women!
Outside of work, Heidi loves singing, writing, photography and snuggling her two cats!
Volunteer & Community Resources Manager
Carrie Hill is a queer bi/pan feminist hailing from Vancouver Island, B.C. She holds an MA from the University of Victoria, specializing in Adult Education and Literacy.
As a practicing kinkster, Carrie has taught various workshops over many years, ranging from consent in D/s (dominance/submission), to Sex Work and Sex Workers’ Rights, to edgy kinky topics such as breath play and decorative piercing. Most recently, she facilitated workshops on Sex Work 101 at SFU on behalf of PACE Society, and taught at ConvergeCon 2019 held here in beautiful Vancouver, B.C.
Carrie is a devout advocate and activist for sex workers’ rights, and is very active on Twitter, helping to fight the good fight against TERFs and SWERFs. Her dream is be part of the force to put an end to whore stigma and the whorearchy, and to see unionized, decriminalized sex work, upheld universally across Canada.
MAP Van Manager
While originally from the southern US, Dana has called East Vancouver home since 2015. After completing her Masters of Public Health from Simon Fraser University in 2017 she spent two years working as a frontline support worker for WISH’s MAP Van before becoming the program manager of the MAP Van.
Academically and professionally, Dana has maintained a strong focus in gender-based violence, sexual health, and reproductive justice and has applied her training in promoting community-based health equity while working in fields such as youth education, rape crisis, and HIV/AIDS research. She passionately believes that all people have the right to (w)holistic health and wellness and feels privileged to apply her skills to advance the mission of WISH.
Outside of work, Dana spent many years guiding long expedition wilderness canoe trips, is an avid trainer and practitioner of partner acrobatics, and enjoys watching lots and lots of anime.
Lucy Thomas – On Leave
Jenny Sloman has worked at WISH since 2018. She began as a Program Assistant in the Drop-In Centre before becoming an Inreach Worker. With WISH’s core values of acceptance, caring, dignity, and respect always at the core of her work, she believes in meeting women where they’re at and working to help support access to opportunities for people to make positive and healthy choices for themselves. In addition to a BA in Criminology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and a Graduate Degree in Urban Studies from Simon Fraser University, Jenny has also volunteered as an English tutor since 2010. When she isn’t working or volunteering, you can find Jenny baking a variety of desserts or doing absolutely any adventurous outdoor activity.
After completing a Masters in Biochemisty, Julia decided to move to Vancouver to pursue love, safety and a new career pathway. Julia heard about WISH in the winter of 2017 and totally fell in love with the idea of doing something that could potently impact people’s life. After spending a few months as Program Assistant, she moved on to be Shift Lead and now is the Drop-In Manager. WISH was Julia’s first job in the DTES, but she has spent the last 3 years also providing trauma and violence informed case management in a capacity of an Outreach Worker. Julia has a deep gratitude for WISH because of the amazing relationships she has been able to build with the most resilient people she has ever met. Julia believes that WISH is a place that nourishes community building and trusted relationships. Outside of work, Julia likes all kinds of dangerous outdoor activities with her close friends.
Respite And Sanitation Supervisor
Tanya Miao was born and raised in Victoria, BC. She moved to Vancouver after graduating from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. She began working as a Program Assistant in the Drop-in Centre in 2018 before moving into the role of Women’s Safe Respite and Sanitation Supervisor. Tanya firmly believes in and advocates for the equal access to resources, employment, services, and opportunities for all. Working the front line during the COVID-19 crisis, she witnessed its devastating impacts on survival sex workers, such as the lack of health and sanitary services. In Tanya’s new role she is looking forward to ensuring a safe space women are able to access 24 hours a day. She feels privileged to work in an organization that plays an essential part in the health and safety of the women of WISH. In her spare time, Tanya enjoys going on walks along the coast, and hunting for new food spots.
Knowledge and Values Advisor
Dr. Mary Shearman is now the Sex Work Knowledge and Values Advisor at WISH. Mary started working with WISH as a driver/support worker on the MAP Van in 2010 and went on to become the Coordinator of that project in 2012. Mary first got involved with WISH volunteering in the Drop-In Centre shortly after moving out west to pursue graduate degrees at Simon Fraser University. She completed her doctorate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies in 2016 by defending her thesis ‘A Minor League Equivalent to the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building’: Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub’ which focuses on local sex work history and activism. Mary is also a sessional instructor at SFU where she has recently taught classes on Feminist Protest, Queer Femininity, Sex Work and Showgirls. Mary is a recreational astrologer and enjoys dabbling in the occult.
Hailing from the Okanagan, Shelby has called Vancouver home for the past 10 years. After graduating from UBC with a BA in Psychology and English Literature, she spent some time traveling before returning to Vancouver with the intention to do something useful with herself. Her dedication to fighting for women’s equal space in society was what brought her to start as a volunteer at WISH. After a year volunteering, she eventually moved on to be a Program Assistant in the Drop-In for over another year where she developed closer relationships with the women who access WISH and a deeper understanding of Vancouver’s most resilient community. Recently having moved into the role of Supervisor, her aim is to ensure that the space is the best that it can be for everyone. She appreciates the opportunity to help WISH continue to be such a remarkable and life-changing organization. Outside of WISH, Shelby enjoys tinkering around on instruments, sitting in the bath, and cooking to the sounds of country music.
Monica came to WISH in May 2018 as a Relief Cook, and has been in her role of Kitchen Manager since August. Previously Monica worked as a cook for Covenant House Vancouver for 13 years, as well as many other restaurants and catering services.
What Monica loves about working at WISH is the unique and incredibly vital services it provides to Vancouver’s women with loving and compassionate relationships between staff, volunteers and participants. Outside of WISH, Monica loves listening to good music, watching good movies, traveling and spending time with friends and her lovely grandchildren.
Supportive Employment Program Manager
Eva Ureta has worked at WISH since 2009. Being at WISH for close to a decade, Eva has been the Food Coordinator, Drop-In Centre Coordinator and for more than 6-years has been the Supportive Employment Program Coordinator. With an education in Criminology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Eva continually focused on racial injustices across cultures manifested in the lives of women in the Downtown East side. The violence, abuse, neglect and discrimination faced by women and trans-women in the survival sex trade are a result of the gender and economic inequality in Canadian society. Over the past six and a half years, Eva has seen first-hand how the Supportive Employment Program at WISH has made an impact. Women have the opportunity to find their voice and power, to contribute, understand their equity within the labour market and to feel they are stakeholders in society.
Sonya started her stint as a Program Assistant in the Drop-In Centre in 2018, later transitioning into the role of Shift Lead. After paying her dues on the overnight shift for over a year (and complaining about it incessantly), she was able to familiarize herself with WISH’s many programs and services on the morning shift, finally becoming the Inreach Worker. Sonya holds a BA in Political Science and Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from UBC. She is excited and grateful to be involved with an organization that strives to support its participants without judgement and at every point of their journey. She feels humbled and privileged to know and work for the women of WISH and hopes to build lasting relationships in this vast, resilient community. Outside of WISH, you are likely to find Sonya sitting down or lying down – her two favourite activities. Sometimes that also involves reading things, watching things and making things.
Transitions Service Coordinator
Nicole comes from a professional background in non-profit community engagement and a personal background of working to enact intersectional inclusion. She joined WISH in 2019, after years of being in awe of the work, and now runs the Transitions Service Program where she provides one-to-one support and weekly group activities for participants. Nicole believes that organizational success comes from the understanding that true equity and empowerment comes from a deep commitment to meeting individuals where they are at and is constantly inspired by the staff and women that engage with WISH. In her spare time, she likes to obsess over photos of dogs (and force everyone else too as well) and learn useless facts and conspiracy theories that have no relevance to her real life.
Dominique Ross – On Leave
Mobile Access Project (MAP) Van Coordinator
Dominique Ross is currently the MAP Van Coordinator. Dominique started as a Support Worker on the van in 2009, initially to get the required experience as a pre-requisite for a counselling program at Douglas College.
After achieving her community counselling certificate at Vancouver Community College, her goal was to become a youth outreach worker, but she fell in love with the women she was working with at WISH and never left! Dominique has not only worked on the van, she has also worked as a Program Assistant in the Drop-In Centre. The energy and compassionate work at WISH makes it a unique environment full of challenges and new experiences. Dominique looks forward to being a part of the WISH family for many more years.
Aboriginal Health and Safety Program Manager
Kelly is Blackfoot from the Kainai Blood Nation in Southern Alberta. Kelly began her Criminal Justice Studies and Aboriginal Justice Studies at Native Education College to allow to change her career goals from a Certified Carpenter into front line work. She began her journey at WISH in June 2017 as a practicum student. Upon graduation in July of 2017 from NEC, she was hired as a Program Assistant in the WISH Drop-in Center. After some months as a PA her role changed to the full time overnight Shift Lead, a position which she held for 9 months. After a trial period in the Aboriginal Health and Safety program, Kelly began as the full-time AHSP Program Coordinator in November of 2018. Kelly has volunteered in the Downtown Eastside with various organizations for 20 years, supporting community members and gaining valuable insights into the issues around vulnerable women. Along with her lived experience and traditional knowledge, Kelly feels very comfortable and enjoys working one-one one with the women to empower and offer new experiences to build upon. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys cooking dinners for family and friends and long bike rides around the scenic areas of the Lower Mainland. If you can’t find her, try searching the beaches near the water.
Christina Tsikata has been a music therapist for 5 years and has been a musician all of her life. She has been working with WISH since June 2018. Christina was drawn to work with WISH because of her love for the downtown eastside community and her strong belief in WISH’s core values that sex worker’s deserve respect, dignity, acceptance and caring. She completed her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Capilano University in 2013. She plays piano, guitar and voice and is an avid songwriter. Her love for music and healing has led her to teach music to children, guide meditations, practice Reiki and Therapeutic Touch and direct a community choir. Her music therapy practice has included working with the Tsleil Waututh Nation, Vancouver Native Health Society and on occasion the St. James Music Academy. Christina also runs her own private music therapy practice Treetop Harmony. When Christina is not working she enjoys spending time with her family.
Learning Centre Coordinator
Lucy Alderson is an instructor and program developer with the Community Development and Outreach department at Capilano University. In 1999, she began work at the WISH Learning Centre designing collaborative research with women in the sex trade about learning, leadership and life. This lead to the formation of the Women’s Advisory Group, to curriculum designed by and for women at WISH, and to a broader understanding of the learning as a personal harm reduction strategy in the literacy field. Lucy also works at the Carnegie Learning Centre, Oppenheimer Park, the Hastings Park Learning Centre in the backstretch of the racetrack, and supports and teaches with the Community Leadership and Social Change program at Capilano University. Previous to her work at Capilano University, Lucy worked for the Carnegie Community Centre as a programmer and volunteered for 10 years securing the land and resources to develop Bridge Housing for Women.
Learning Centre Coordinator
Betsy has lived and worked as a community educator in Toronto, Lesotho, South Africa and Vancouver. In 2005 she joined the Community Development and Outreach (CDO) department at Capilano University as an instructor and part of that job is to co-facilitate the Learning Centre at WISH. She also does community education at Carnegie Community Centre and the Squamish Nation’s Eslha7an Learning Centre. Since she first joined WISH as a volunteer in 2003, she has been in awe of the organization’s staff, volunteers and participants. Like CDO, a political understanding and commitment is at the heart of everything WISH does and central to everything that happens in the Learning Centre. Betsy feels privileged to be part of that. She loves the challenge and delight of helping women to search for answers, gain confidence and follow their dreams. In addition to her work at WISH, Betsy loves cooking, cats, choir and community.