Together We Give Hope

Our Staff

Click on Staff Names for Bios

Administration – all staff can be reached at 604-872-1811

Sandy Biggerstaff
 – Executive Director

Sean Davis – Director, Information and Technology

Tamara Guyon – Administrative Services Coordinator

Jeffrey Preiss – Manager, Development and Communications

Inkeri Meharg – Bookkeeper

Community Learning & Engagement – all staff can be reached at 604-872-1811

Lu Ripley
– Director, Community Learning & Engagement

Tiffany Robinson – Youth Programs, Community Learning & Engagement

Sean Manson – Community Facilitator

Distress Services – all staff can be reached at 604-872-1811

Liz Robbins
– Co-Director, Distress Services – Clinical/Operations

Akhila Blaise – Co-Director, Distress Services – Volunteer Management & Training

Staff Biographies

Sandy Biggerstaff – Executive Director

Sandy has spent 20 years successfully cultivating stakeholder relationships and leading cross-functional teams in both post-secondary and non-profit sectors. As an integrated and strategic thinker, her leadership philosophy is firmly grounded in a commitment to exceptional communications skills and open consultation as the best way to foster positive outcomes. Her experience within large and medium sized service-based organizations has taught her that relationships matter, particularly when initiating new projects where dialogue and consultation are critical to program implementation and organizational excellence. She holds an undergraduate degree in History/English, a graduate degree in Business, a Canadian Risk Management designation, 10 years of training in conflict resolution, and is currently completing her Certified Human Resource Professional Designation.

Sean Davis – Director, Information and Technology

For a bit of basic background – I live in Kitsilano with my wife and have two kids under 4 years old. My previous employer was based in Langley so I’m quite happy to be working locally now. I like sci-fi, riding a bike, motorsports, board games and tech. Back in 2008 through 2010 I lived and worked in Uganda for a couple of years. And, of course, I’m good friends with Mike Lam who you all know and love – our wives worked together, and I previously volunteered with the Crisis Centre on the IT side back in 2014. So it is good to be back! Feel free to pop by anytime!

Tamara Guyon – Administrative Services Coordinator

Having experienced a suicide within her personal life, Tamara wanted to work somewhere that made a difference to those who are in distress and need someone to listen to them. Tamara joined the Crisis Centre in 1998 and currently supports all staff to help achieve the organization’s mission. She is happy to help you in any way she can, and always with a smile!

Jeffrey Preiss- Manager, Development and Communications

Born on the territories of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc people (Kamloops, BC), Jeffrey (pronouns he/him/his) moved to Musqueam territory (UBC) in 2006 and now calls Vancouver’s West End home. He has a passion for human wellbeing and flourishing combined with an extensive professional background working in intersections of communications, development, and community engagement. He can often be found in the front row of his favourite group fitness class at the Robert Lee YMCA, and he is an avid reader on topics such as deconstruction, poststructuralism, queer theory, critical race theory, and theology.  Jeffrey holds a BA in history, an MA in theology, and an MA in cultural studies. He also holds a number of professional certificates in public relations, leadership and facilitation, conflict resolution, fundraising, and public participation/consultation. Jeffrey is a member of the clergy team at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in downtown Vancouver.

Inkeri Meharg – Bookkeeper

Inkeri grew up in the Okanagan Valley, and attended UBC, where she earned a BSc in 1992. After working, travelling, and having children, she joined the Crisis Centre’s admin team in 2011, as a part-time bookkeeper, where she enjoys keeping the finances neat and tidy.

Lu Ripley – Director, Community Learning and Engagement

Lu is passionate about working together to build suicide safer communities.  She has worked for more than 30 years in education/training program development and evaluation & mental health promotion. Her zeal for this work comes from professional and personal experience around suicide and mental health, along with a 10+ years relationship with mindfulness practice.

Tiffany Robinson – Youth Programs, Community Learning and Engagement

Tiffany completed a BA in Psychology in 2003 at the University of Calgary, but knew from a young age she loved the west coast.  She worked for various educational retreat centres and youth-serving organizations before moving to Vancouver in 2008.  Tiffany completed a two-year Meditation Teacher Training in 2012 and continues to study and teach.  She has been instrumental in bringing mindfulness to the Crisis Centre and is passionate about mental health and well-being.  Tiffany splits her time between Vancouver and the Lightwork Ecovillage on Gambier Island with her husband Scott and his daughter Cloe.

Sean Manson – Community Facilitator

Since he was a young boy, Sean has always been passionate about teaching.  He is ecstatic to have finally found the subjects he has been searching for: suicide alertness and mental health awareness.  After graduating from the University of Winnipeg in 2009, Sean moved to Vancouver and shortly after began volunteering for the Crisis Centre.  Having learned from his own struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts as a teenager, Sean has traveled to high schools all over the Lower Mainland teaching youth how to get help and look out for one another.  Sean is excited about the opportunity to contribute more to building suicide-safer communities inside Vancouver and out.

Liz Robbins – Co-Director, Distress Services – Clinical/Operations

Liz has her Masters in Clinical Counselling from the University of Southern Maine.  She was a Licenced Clinical Professional Counsellor (LCPC) in the State of Maine before she and her family jumped the border in 2006 and headed to Vancouver.  She has over twenty years of crisis intervention and suicide prevention experience with a focus on assessment of mental health emergencies and clinical supervision.  Liz believes that any of us can encounter crises in our lives that can make it difficult to function and live life fully.  She believes the services the Crisis Centre provides are essential and ensure that none of us ever feel alone, and that there are options for making change.  She is Vice President for the Crisis Line Association of BC (CLABC) and is a site examiner for the American Association of Suicidology.

Akhila Blaise – Co-Director, Distress Services – Volunteer Management and Training

Akhila is passionate about building connected communities.  She has her Masters in Psychology and Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling.  She has over 20 years of experience working in the mental health and suicide prevention areas in different capacities.  One of her specializations is curriculum development including designing and delivery of training programs within the framework of inquiry based approach.  Akhila brings in her knowledge and understanding of diversity, cultural differences and post colonial issues surrounding the phenomena of suicide to the work at the Centre.