Together We Give Hope

Board of Directors

Pany Aghili – Director

Alex Besan – Director

Pam Bilusack – Director

Dan Cox – Director

Lee Anne Davies – Director

Brandon Ma – Treasurer

Alexis Martis – Director

Bob Meyer – Past President

Jude Platzer – Director

Mark Price – President

Doug Querns – Director

Keyvan Rafiei – Director

Rob Wallis – Director

Kevin Westell – Director

Stacy Ashton  – Executive Director

 

Biographies

Pany Aghili – Director
Principal Consultant

Pany is the Founder and Principal Consultant at PossibilitiesUnlimited, a consulting business that help organizations achieve their potential. With over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector and 15 years of experience in senior management and executive leadership positions, Pany has diverse knowledge of the workings of organizations. She has worked in unionized and non-unionized environments and has transformed the organizations she has worked at through collaboration and engagement. Pany holds a Master’s degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UBC. Pany has volunteered in different capacities including volunteering at a 24 hour crisis line. Pany is passionate about continuous learning and personal growth.

Alex Besan – Director
Coordinator, Professional Development and Academic Services School for International Studies, SFU

Curriculum Manager, International & Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, SFU WIL

Aleks (she/her/hers and they/them/their) shapes curriculum for SFU students who are seeking internationalized experiences, as well as international students integrating into the world of work — all with an equity and human rights perspective. Prior to working at SFU, Aleks spent over ten years in the non-profit sector, developing and delivering civic engagement, mental wellness, and leadership-based programs for West Coast LEAF, Battered Women’s Support Services, Check Your Head, Open Media, and Vantage Point. She is passionate about mental health, youth empowerment, and solutions for gender-based violence. She has extensive experience with event organizing, relationship building, and strategic planning, and has previously served on two non-profit Boards whose missions are about advancing more just and healthy societies. A true ‘people person’ and a grounded process facilitator, Aleks also holds certificates in Indigenous pedagogies, restorative justice, and mediation. Aleks has been living in Vancouver, on the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, since she was a preteen.

Pam Bilusack – Director
Manager of Fund Development and Communications, Avalon Recovery Society

Pam is an outspoken advocate for mental health. Pam lost her brother to suicide and lives a life determined to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide by being open and transparent. She is Manager of Fund Development and Communications at Avalon Recovery Society with extensive experience in event organization and communications.

Dan Cox – Director
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Dr. Dan Cox is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, Counselling Psychology Program. Dan completed his B.S. in Psychology at York College of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2009. He did his clinical internship at Brigham Young University’s Counseling Center. Following his degree, Dan did a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), focusing on theoretical and applied suicide research. Following his post-doctoral fellowship, he then spent a year at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress in the Department of Psychiatry at USU as a Research Psychologist before starting at UBC in 2012. Dan’s scholarly interests include social support’s impact on mental health & well-being; what facilitates help-seeking; predictors of suicide; the process and outcome of group and individual psychotherapy; trauma, stress & coping; and veteran & military populations.

Lee Anne Davies – Director
Change Specialist

Lee Anne is a change specialist leading large organizational transformations that include change to people, process and technology.  She holds a Ph.D. in Aging, Health and Wellbeing along with an MBA in Information Management Technology. In 2012 she established Agenomics® to assist businesses and governments in understanding demographic shifts and population ageing and is very involved in seniors’ mental health issues. Lee Anne has authored many articles on finances and ageing, a book “When Life Bites you in the Wallet” and has been interviewed for radio, TV and in print to discuss the challenges families and seniors face when making legal and financial decisions, especially if dealing with cognitive decline. Her professional certifications including project management, change management, information privacy and most recently systemic teach coaching.  She currently is the lead consultant for organization change at a Crown Corporation within British Columbia.

Brandon Ma – Treasurer
Partner, KPMG

Brandon is a Partner in the Audit and Accounting practice of the professional services firm of KPMG. He is a designated Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC. With KPMG, Brandon has worked with numerous not-for-profit and public sector organizations. Brandon has volunteered extensively with Scouts Canada at both a grassroots level and in a volunteer managerial level. Most recently, he completed a 3-year term as the lead volunteer responsible for Scouting activities in the Lower Mainland.

Alexis Martis – Director
Associate Director, BC Cancer Foundation

Alexis was on the Crisis Centre staff team from 2008 to 2011 as a Development and Communication Officer, before moving to the BC Cancer Foundation where she is currently Director, Leadership Giving. Alexis served as a crisis line volunteer and board director for a crisis centre in Ontario. We are so pleased to invite Alexis back to our organization as a Board Director.

Bob Meyer – Past President
Retired

Soon after retiring from BC Rail as a Senior Systems Analyst, Bob took his Distress Services Training at the Crisis Centre in July 2005. In 2006 Bob became a Training Assistant and soon thereafter took on Buddy/Mentor work with new trainees. To date, Bob has completed well over 1500+ hours at the Crisis Centre. For nearly ten years Bob was an integral part of the day-to-day operation of the Distress Line. While volunteering his time as Crisis Responder, Bob created skills guidelines for the Training Assistance role and also took on a leadership role to mentor Training Assistants. Bob has been a great role model for Crisis Centre volunteers and has continued his leadership work as a member of the Board of Directors.

Jude Platzer – Director
Retired

After the tragic loss of her 15-year-old son, Jude founded the Josh Platzer Society for Teen Suicide Prevention in 2001 and turned her grief into action. Since this time, she has been dedicated to “breaking the silence,” and removing the stigma of suicide through open conversations with parents, youth educators, and medical and social service professionals. Jude’s efforts have ensured the success of three major forums on suicide prevention and she has motivated students to distribute 10,000 wrist bands, imprinted with crisis line phone number and website. Through her ongoing and expanding efforts, Jude Platzer has made a profound and lasting impact on the health and well-being of BC’s youth. Jude is a recipient of the BC Community Achievement Awards.

Mark Price – President
Businessman

Mark is a successful businessman who brings skills in finance, marketing, organizational management, government relations and business. After living in three different countries and six different cities, Mark now calls Vancouver his home and is excited about giving back to this community. The Crisis Centre and its mission have special meaning as people very close to Mark have relied on similar services over the years for help. When he is not working, Mark can be found running, cycling and hiking with his partner Ellen.

Doug Querns – Director
Director of Finance & Administration at Vancouver Opera Association

Doug has worked for corporate and not-for-profit organizations for over 20 years in senior Finance & accounting roles and currently is the Director of Finance, YMCA of Greater Vancouver. He holds an MBA from the University of BC and is a CPA with a CGA legacy designation. He has been involved in the community in a voluntary capacity for a number of years. Doug currently serves as President of the Board for the North Shore Stroke Recovery Centre and has previously held Board roles with BC Stroke Recovery Association, Autism Society of BC and Mt Seymour United Church. Doug’s community involvement includes 13 years as a member of North Shore Search & Rescue and ten years as a youth soccer coach for the North Shore Girls Soccer Club.

Keyvan Rafiei – Director
Director, Special Projects, Transformation Leadership Office, PHSA

Keyvan is a program delivery executive with 15+ years of experience in the private and public sectors. Throughout his career, Keyvan has led many strategic initiatives and system-wide transformation programs successfully. In his current role with PHSA, Keyvan is a senior leadership member of the team that supports the transformation of BC’s health systems under PHSA’s foundational and annual mandates. Keyvan is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA), a Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds a Master of Arts degree where he focused his research on maximization of ‘Public Value’ through public sector projects. Keyvan and his partner Emma are active volunteers with multiple organizations, and live and raise their daughter gratefully on the unceded homelands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Rob Wallis – Director
Senior Consultant, VELA Wealth

Rob is a Senior Consultant with VELA Wealth Management Inc. VELA Wealth creates meaningful, lifelong relationships with successful entrepreneurs and their families, connecting them to the power, potential and responsibility of building and protecting their wealth. British born and raised, Rob and his family moved to Vancouver in 2016. When not working or spending time with family, Rob loves travelling, being outdoors, hiking and skiing. Rob’s close friend took his life in 2013. This tragic experience was the motivation for Rob becoming involved in suicide prevention serving as a board member for the Crisis Centre.

Kevin Westell – Director
Lawyer, Pender Litigation

Kevin is a defence attorney who is often retained to act as Crown Counsel, counsel for witnesses and as amicus curiae (counsel appointed by the court to ensure the fairness of the proceedings). He is well aware of how mental health issues present in the criminal justice system, particularly among marginalized communities.

Stacy Ashton  – Executive Director

Stacy started her career in the non-profit sector as a volunteer on the Crisis Lines, prior to completing her Masters in Counselling and working in the field as a Suicide Intervention Counsellor. She spent over a decade focused on non-profit management and volunteer engagement as the Executive Director of Community Volunteer Connections, and as the Provincial Coordinator of Volunteer Resources with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. She is thrilled to be bringing her experience and skills back to the place she started. In her spare time, Stacy serves on the New Westminster Public Library Board, makes movies, and hangs out with her husband and cats.