Next Up Vancouver 2012-2013

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Meet the current Next Up Vancouver Year 6 group (2012-2013)!

The crew: Bard Suen, Claudia Chan, Edith Machattie, Erika Stocker, Hasan Alam, Heather Forbes, Jen MacPherson, Jennifer Kuhl, Jolan Bailey, Lucinda Yeung, Rachel Tetrault, Scott Baker, Sean Peters, Shea Sinnott, Stefanie Ratjen, Tasha Nijjar


Bard Suen

BardBard was born in Burnaby, B.C. to a single-working mother who staunchly believed in fighting for a better life for her children. Having emigrated from Hong Kong in her teens, she was the first and only child among her eight siblings to have had the privilege of attending University. Bard’s heart is grounded in a desire to make the sacrifices made by his parents worthwhile, and is also deeply rooted in a belief that our ecological crises are a result of urgent social issues within our community—those of inequity and injustice—that must be addressed if we want a resilient and effective environmental movement.

His work thus far has been generally focused on bridging different ethno-racial and professional communities in the local environmental movement. Bard served for a year on local non-profit RangiChangi Roots Society’s [] Board of Directors, an organization that worked to facilitate dialogue around local food and ethnically diverse food consumption practices. He led the youth engagement and outreach initiative at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)[] on the Climate Justice Project (CJP)[] where he developed a new high-school workshop on climate justice and transportation. Most recently, Bard has been working with local non-profit Shark Truth[] to design programming that will engage the Chinese community with issues beyond shark-finning and marine conservation. He has also assisted with numerous research projects in the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia, where Bard has grown to love qualitative research and research methodology.

Bard is grateful to have the opportunity to be part of Next Up, and looks forward to exploring how he can best contribute to social and environmental justice movement.


Claudia Chan

ClaudiaClaudia Chan is an arts and culture enthusiast, educator, foodist, traveller and documentarian. She has the pleasure of collaborating with, learning from and working alongside some of Canada’s most inspiring leaders from journalists, chefs, farmers, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, politicians, policy makers, artists, designers and creatives. With a vif curiosity and zest for life, Claudia is passionate about serving the many different communities in her hometown. Her involvements are a many and range from municipal politics, education, community organizing, language and cultural programming to journalism. She currently pens a column on local green initiatives with Scout Magazine, reports for a radio show on occasion for Radio-Canada, teaches French at Capilano University, and acts as the PR person as well as serves at Harvest Community Foods. In addition to her many roles, she volunteers with Growing Chefs!, sits on the City of Vancouver’s Food Policy Council and co-facilitates an underground collaborative art series called Late Nite Art.


Edith MacHattie

Edith was raised in the small town of Carp, Ontario and has been living in BC for 6 years. Through her education she has earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. On this journey to education, Edith was inspired to learn more about social and environmental justice through engaging in community art, learning about feminist activism, and participating in student run organizations. Many summers working at Easter Seals camps for kids with disabilities also has a huge impact in shaping Edith’s life. Currently, Edith is working as an Occupational Therapist at the Centre for Child Development in Surrey. She works with kids in elementary schools who have many different abilities, and is constantly humbled by them and their families. Edith has become more involved in her union (Health Sciences Association) and is currently the Chief Steward at her work and is an elected member on the provincial bargaining team for this round of contract negotiations. She dreams about a healthcare system with a focus on prevention and community-based care, and wants to be a part of making that a reality!

One of Edith’s passions is creating safe and accessible spaces for people to feel a sense of belonging in their community. Camping and exploring come as second nature to this local farm loving, violin playing, silly making, do-it-yourselfer! Edith has two younger sisters, two cats, and is recently married. Edith is taking the world by the horns in this year’s Next Up cohort #6!

Erika Stocker

The first thing you’ll notice about Erika is her love of life! She grew up on the basketball courts in Masset, Haida Gwaii. Erika is very connected to her Haida culture and celebrates it though traditional singing and dancing. Erika recently finished a Community Herbalist program from Pacific Rim College that focused on integrative health and traditional medicine. She is proud to be currently taking the Indigenous Studies program at Camosun College. She is passionate about learning the histories and current issues of indigenous people across North America. Erika is also taking leadership in her community and connecting with the land and the elements. In the future, Erika hopes to develop a progressive, culturally-based school system. Travel is another one of her passions. Erika has had a number of different opportunities to share her awesomeness with people internationally. She participated in an elder and youth council in California, she lived in Tanzania as part of the International Aboriginal Youth Intern program through Canada World Youth, and she spent time in Guatemala on a cultural exchange with Mayan people. She is looking forward to returning to Guatemala this December to reconnect with the friends she met during the exchange. In January, she will travel with the Old Masset Youth council to New Zealand for a cultural exchange with Maori people. Erika is keeping BC Ferries afloat by commuting from Victoria to participate in Next Up 6!


Heather Forbes

Heather was raised in the small community of Merville on Vancouver Island, and moved to Vancouver six years ago to study Communications and Dialogue at SFU. Since graduating, Heather’s diverse volunteer pursuits have included everything from protecting wild salmon and promoting local food security, to advocating against undue surveillance of public space. Over the last few years, she has enjoyed the privilege of working with BC First Nations in the public and non-profit sectors. In 2011, Heather spent 8 months in Sierra Leone with Street Kids International, where she evaluated microfinance programs and supported social enterprise development. Today, she combines these disparate interests as Special Projects Coordinator for Vancouver Native Housing Society, where she runs the Skwachays Healing Lodge and Residence, a unique project providing subsidized housing for Aboriginal artists through social enterprise. Heather also serves as the Chair of the Vancouver Public Space Network, where she advocates for healthy, fun public spaces. If she’s not in the office, she’s either on her bike or the dance floor.


Jen Kuhl

JenGrowing up, Jen spent more time on theatre and dance than on politics or activism, but the roots of her passion for health justice trace back to her childhood. Jen’s father worked as a doctor in Vancouver’s queer village at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and his stories of the systemic discrimination HIV-positive individuals faced left a strong impression on Jen.

After graduating from High School, Jen spent several months in Zambia volunteering at a community school. While there, she saw first-hand how well-intentioned and well-resourced programs can fail when designed by outsiders who don’t properly understand community needs.

Jen then went to UBC where she studied International Relations and got involved with the climate movement, notably choreographing a massive climate flashmob at PowerShift in 2009. She appreciated the youth-led, community-driven culture of the climate movement, a stark contrast to the more hierarchically-organized model she’d encountered in the international aid work, but continued to feel drawn to international health work.

Jen currently works as Network Relations Coordinator for Leadnow, as a research assistant for a study on health and legal needs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and as a preschool music teacher. In the future, she hopes to continue combine community-driven culture she experienced in climate campaigns with her passion for international health in a way that means health solutions for communities come from those communities. Jen continues to feel drawn towards international health work, but hopes to integrate aspects of community empowerment by learning how to engage communities in making change for themselves.


Jen MacPherson

Originally from rural Nova Scotia, Jen has worked within the intersections of nutrition, health and development across Atlantic Canada, Botswana and the Caribbean before calling Vancouver home.  A recent graduate from Simon Fraser University’s Masters of Public Health with a Global Health focus, Jen is passionate about identifying and challenging power structures that produce poverty, inequality and disease. She is currently a Registered Dietitian and Treatment, Health and Wellness Coordinator at Positive Living BC, an organization that seeks to empower people living with HIV through mutual support and collective action.  A strong believer in health care as a human right, Jen is excited to learn alongside individuals similarly passionate about changing the way the world works in NextUp. When not raising HIV awareness or teaching a course on Complementary and Alternative Medicine at SFU, you can find Jen snowboarding, playing volleyball, listening to live music or confusing people with her east coast expressions.


Jolan Bailey

JolanJolan Bailey is a gifted political organizer who skillfully brings people together to work for environmental justice. He grew up in Kelowna in family with strong Christian beliefs. While aspects of this upbringing were problematic for Jolan, he credits his family’s faith with having instilled in him the compassion that has informed much of his later work as an activist. In his teens, Jolan began to question hegemonic forms of masculinity, partially through theatre. When in his high school tried to ban students from performing a play about homosexuality, Jolan challenged the school. Through this experience, Jolan began to understand the ways that true compassion often requires pushing for institutional change.

Jolan left Kelowna for university, and majored in Environmental Studies and Economics at the University of Victoria. He was intrigued by the way these two disciplines often talked about similar topics but with strikingly different lenses. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree Jolan began a year-long internship working on ForestEthics’ Tar Sands campaign. Jolan soon found himself struggling to maintain a balance between the work he cared passionately about, and his own personal sustainability. Needing time to reflect and recharge, Jolan then took several months off to bike from Tillamook, Oregan to Guanajuato, Mexico.

Upon returning from his trip, Jolan was rehired by ForestEthics as the Canadian Outreach Coordinator. In this role, he has coordinated massive opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project. Jolan excels at logistical coordination, strategic thinking and encouraging cooperation between organizations, skills which contributed greatly to the success of the Defend our Coast day of action in October 2012. This spring, he will be working with on citizen engagement and action for upcoming BC election.

When not organizing action for progressive causes, Jolan enjoys spending time with his partner,cooking with berbere, and playing the ukulele.


Rachel Tetrault

Rachel was born and raised in Vancouver to a family rooted in social justice.  Her activism started at the tender age of 12 when she successfully lobbied against Gatorade corporate sponsorship of her elementary school’s sports day.
She continued her dedication to activism after moving to Montreal where she got involved with Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and the student movement, while studying History and Photography at Concordia University.
Rachel brought the inspiration of Quebec student movement back with her to Vancouver, where she now lives.  Modeled off the student movement’s red square, she has played a lead role in spreading the blue water drop as a symbol of unity and opposition to the building and expansion of pipelines, the increase of tankers off our coast, and the development of the tar sands.
In addition to fighting for climate justice, Rachel works at Thunderbird Elementary school as a Support Worker for kids living with disabilities.  She speaks English, French and Spanish.  She loves to play ice hockey, make music, and dance, and is passionate about making, eating and analysing food.


Sean Peters

Sean Peters is a born and bred Vancouverite with a passion for social innovation and strategy. His work spans both near and far as his inspirations for social change are cultivated at home and internationally. After completing his degree at Simon Fraser University in Anthropology and Business, he co-founded Global Agents, a Vancouver-based social incubator recognized by the United Nations. In 2010, he co-founded the Global Catalyst Initiative, which works with early stage social ventures in East Africa. His goal with Global Catalyst is to connect brilliant entrepreneurs with funding and support in the beginning steps of their projects so that promising
innovators can scale their impact. Sean currently sits on the board of Shark Truth and acts as an advisor to a variety of emerging social ventures. Sean has previously worked with Procter & Gamble in business development and has also consulted with Terasen Gas, UBC and the National Research Council. Sean is a past recipient of the SFU Impact Award and was recently recognized
as one of the 100 Disruptive Heroes by Hackingworks. On sunny days you’ll find him in the company of a good book on the seawall
in Vancouver or climbing rocks in Squamish.


Shea Sinnott

Shea was born and raised just outside Vancouver in the little community of Tsawwassen, and is very proud to call the BC coast her home. Shea studied Cultural Studies and Communications at McGill, where she wrote for several publications and worked off-campus tutoring  elementary-age youth. A passionate traveler, Shea also spent a semester abroad at the University of Melbourne where she became increasingly involved in media democracy. She finished her studies at UVic, where she focused on environmental sustainability and became interested in BC’s local green issues as a volunteer with the Dogwood Initiative. Shea now pursues her passion for environmental sustainability through volunteerism with the David Suzuki Foundation.

Today, Shea is Operations Manager of the grassroots organization, where she enjoys her work managing the organization’s membership development and day-to-day functioning, as well as making sure the OpenMedia community is happy and engaged! Shea is eager to access the Next Up network and resources to deepen her knowledge of non-profit organizational development and creative, sustainable fundraising models. 

When not working or volunteering, Shea is a dedicated runner and a lover of good food and live music.


Stefanie Ratjen

StefanieWith a professional background in project management and legislative research, Stefanie Ratjen has also worked with a variety of community groups, including theImpact on Communities Coalition, the AMS Resource Groups, and the Vancouver Renters’ Union.  Currently, she oversees the resource development strategy for the BC Civil Liberties Association. Stefanie holds a BA in Political Science from UBC. On sunny days in Vancouver, you’re likely to find her watching the cranes and reading at CRAB or New Brighton Park.



Tasha Nijjar

TashaTasha enjoys exploring how creativity and social change overlap and has worked with youth using art, film, theatre and social media to support conflict resolution, empowerment and leadership.  Tasha has also worked with Canadian Red Cross both locally and internationally, and most recently held the position of Co-Executive Director of YouthCO, a youth-run HIV organization. Currently, Tasha is volunteering with Sanctuary Health, a grassroots collective that supports health care for all refugees and migrants. Throughout her time working and volunteering with non-profit organizations, Tasha has done things like: facilitating workshops on HIV, child rights, and anti-oppression; provided support to survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence; and assisted refugee claimants arriving in Canada.  

Tasha is an aspiring seamstress.  She speaks English, French and Punjabi to varying degrees.  She loves earrings, travel (so far she has been to India, the UK, Japan, Kenya, Cuba, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Ecuador), dancing, fixing stuff, and wearing flip-flops.