Originally from Ottawa, Josh lived and worked in Canada’s north and on Vancouver Island before settling in Vancouver. He has volunteered with the Katimavik program on the Gitsegukla reserve in northern BC, cycled across BC while putting on a play about the environment with ‘The Otesha Project’, and WWOOFed in Quebec.
Since arriving in Vancouver, Josh has sought to apply his legal education to issues of social and environmental justice. He is currently a Staff Representative with the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, where he represents the union and its members before the BC Human Rights Tribunal, the Labour Relations Board, and at arbitrations.
In his spare time, Josh co-hosts the program Common Law Radio on Vancouver Co-op Radio, trots out his limited cross-country skiing skills, and can be found hiking Vancouver’s nearby mountains.
Amy completed her Bachelors of Microbiology at Simon Fraser University, minoring in English. During her pursuit of education, she passionately raised awareness and funds for humanitarian causes as the chair of the SFU Red Cross Club and SFU Doctors without Borders clubs; she also led the Swing Dance Club.
After completing her Honours project in HIV research, she traveled to Ukraine to teach HIV education at high schools/ universities. She then received a scholarship to do her PhD at Queensland University of Technology, where she studied the effects of hyperinsulinemia on prostate cancer and how off-patent drugs, which would be much more affordable for patients, could target those effects. While studying, she founded the QUT chapter of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and interned at Cambia Patent Lens.
Amy now works Vancouver Prostate Centre, and volunteers for municipal political committees and organization of environmental rallies. She dreams of revolutionizing health care to focus on prevention and affordability, and protecting the environment for future generations of humans and animals alike.
Amy also loves hiking the mountains and kayaking, and if science does not work as a career, her love of experimental baking and canning will lead her to open a bakery and save the world with cookies.
Tasha 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.
With 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.
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 OpenMedia.ca, 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.
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.
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.
Jolan 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 Leadnow.ca 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.
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.
Growing 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.