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


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


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

Experienced Network and Systems Administrator in the IT and MSP space. Skilled in team building, virtualization, management, and all sorts of technical acronyms. Father of two.

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, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory (Vancouver, BC) 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 the intersections of communications 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 (Deacon) at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican) in downtown Vancouver and works to be a bridge between the needs and concerns of the world and his faith community.

Lu Ripley – Director, Community Learning and Engagement

Lu is passionate about working together to build suicide safer communities and the interconnection between suicide prevention and life promotion.  With a bachelor degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Educational Studies, she has worked for more than 30 years in education/training program and curriculum development and evaluation, with a strong focus on community development and health promotion.  Lu worked for several years in the downtown eastside designing and implementing programs to support inner city youth and young adults, and worked for several years at Vancouver Coastal Health in a variety of positions including as Education Lead for the Addiction Services Redesign and an initiator of the SACY Substance Use Prevention Program.  Lu is an ASIST Coach and a safeTALK Instructor.   Her zeal for this work comes from professional and personal experience around suicide and mental health.  A certified yoga teacher and lifelong mindfulness learner, Lu has a 15+ years relationship with mindfulness that has served to be a life-changing personal 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.

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.