Past Networking Week Interviewees – February 2023

February 2023

Aftab Erfan (she/her)
Chief Equity Officer, City of Vancouver
As the head of the Equity Office I provide leadership, coordination, monitoring, and advisory supports to advance diversity, inclusion, decolonization and anti-oppression within the City of Vancouver. The Equity Office acts as an expertise hub, and drives strategic change initiatives to shift the City’s internal structures and workplace culture in the direction of equity. The core purpose of the Equity Office is to reverse marginalization. We work at the systemic level on behalf of those who have been institutionally excluded.
My education: PhD in Community and Regional Planning
My LinkedIn profile
I'm from an equity-deserving group: I identify as a racialized woman.

Alyssa Martens (she/her)
Program Manager, ArtStarts in Schools
Writing Workshop Facilitator, DAREarts; Megaphone Magazine; Arts & Health: Healthy Aging Through the Arts
Alyssa Martens (she/her) is the Program Manager of Public Programs at ArtStarts in Schools, where she curates bi-annual exhibitions with/for young people in alignment with the BC Curriculum, First Peoples Principles of Learning, and that centre place-based and inquiry-based pedagogies. In this role, she also oversees all family programming and ArtStarts' artist-in-residence program for early career artists. Outside of her role at ArtStarts, she is funded by the Canada Council of the Arts to spend one day per week writing and researching the effects of climate change in the Arctic, and turning this research into poetry.
My education
: BFA from Concordia University, MEd in Education for Sustainability from UBC
My LinkedIn profile

Annie Moore (she/her)
Research Education and Grant Facilitator, Island Health
I manage Island Health’s internal granting program, and identify external funding by maintaining a list of current opportunities, seeking funds for specific projects, and supporting applicants through the process. I also organize and advertise workshops, lectures, and other collaborative learning opportunities, and manage departmental communications.
Managing Editor, Postmodern Culture
I am responsible for tracking and responding to all submissions and queries; communicating with the editor, authors, board members, and journal staff; coordinating reviews, edits, and final proofs of accepted submissions; and finalizing each issue for online publication in a timely manner.
Founder and Editor, The Magic Word
Please see the above link for information about the services I offer through The Magic Word.
My education: BA (Hons) English and History, UBC; MA Peace Studies, Lancaster University (England); MA and PhD Comparative Literature, University of California at Irvine
My LinkedIn profile
I'm from an equity-deserving group: I am a woman.

Belle Cheung (she/her)
Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives (City of Vancouver, City Manager’s Office), City of Vancouver
- Working across urban/community planning, cultural, social, and heritage planning with anti-racist and equity-informed approaches to develop policies and planning practices that serve equity-denied communities.

- My role focuses on two key areas:
1. Cultural Redress and Equity: Policy-making for the City of Vancouver as it relates to equity and cultural redress. This includes work across arts & culture, social policy, urban/community/land use planning, community engagement to recognize and support equity-denied communities in City policies and work processes.
2. Chinatown: Providing strategic leadership and support to departments within the City with work related to Chinatown (arts & culture, cultural infrastructure, social policy, urban planning, City operations) and senior levels of government, including supporting cultural heritage and cultural expression, and work towards a potential UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for the neighbourhood.
Belle specifically wants to meet with BIPOC and other equity deserving students.
My education: UBC BA Hons, Theatre Studies; UBC MA, Geography
My LinkedIn profile
I'm from an equity-deserving group: I am Chinese.

Danielle Barkley (she/her)
Educator, Career & Professional Development, UBC Centre for Involvement & Careers
I graduated with my PhD in English literature (19th century novels) in 2015, and now work in a student-facing/advising role in higher education. I also have a small freelance side hustle writing online study guides. I’m happy to talk about job searching with a PhD, mobility/geography in the job search, career paths in higher education, intellectual fulfillment in non-academic jobs, side hustles/freelance work… and anything else that you might have questions about!
My education: PhD in English Literature from McGill University
My LinkedIn profile

Elissa Gurman (she/her)
Managing Consultant, MacPhie Consulting
- I develop and maintain relationships with key clients, serving as a trusted advisor who listens to, understands, and responds to client needs.
- I collaborate with internal team members and external partners to develop and deliver team and leadership development programs, strategic planning, strategic communications, brand definitions, qualitative research, and executive facilitation.
- I actively contribute to a positive internal culture, through mentorship and supervision of junior team members, as well as defining relevant internal systems and processes.
My education: PhD (English) from the University of Toronto; MA (English) from Dalhousie University; BA Hons (English) from McGill University.
My LinkedIn profile

Erin Williams (she/her)
Senior Program Manager, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Erin Williams is a Senior Program Manager at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada), a not-for-profit think tank focused on building Canada’s relations with the countries and peoples of the Asia Pacific. In her role at APF Canada, she focuses on developing programming that builds young Canadians’ skills and knowledge of contemporary Asia. She previously worked for the Canadian Member Committee of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, including acting as Associate Editor of its annual flagship publication. She has also worked in Adult Basic Education, specifically in the area of English-language skills for new immigrants and refugees. Erin has graduate degrees in International Relations and Asia Pacific Policy Studies, and a B.A. with a double major in Asian Studies and Hispanic Studies.
My education:  M.A. Asia Pacific Policy Studies (UBC), M.A. International Relations (Boston University), B.A. Asian Studies, Hispanic Studies
My LinkedIn profile

Jacky Leung (he/him)
Program Director, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation
A UBC Arts graduate with major in Economics and minor in philosophy, Jacky joined the non-profit industry by chance as a result of his participation in student clubs. He applied many transferable skills learned throughout his undergraduate years in supporting newcomers and immigrant seniors from settlement support to health education. Currently he is a program director at S.U.C.C.E.S.S., supporting a wide range of programs and services from volunteer management to digital literacy education.
My education: BA from UBC (2011)
My LinkedIn profile
I'm from an equity-deserving group: I'm East Asian, originating from Hong Kong

Joe Bardsley (he/him)
Coordinator, Music Programs, Creative BC
I am a grants manager and program coordinator for Creative BC, a provincially-aligned music funding agency.
My education: BA, Journalism (Mount Royal University, 2006)
My LinkedIn profile
I'm from an equity-deserving group: I am a gay male.

John Estabillo (he/him)
Publisher, Nelson Education
As literacy and social studies publisher for Nelson, I research how to best support K-12 teachers across Canada and create business cases for new publications to provide that support in digital and print media. I then work with subject matter experts, authors, educators, editors, and reviewers to launch approved projects.
My education: PhD - English, University of Toronto (2017)
My LinkedIn profile
I am a mixed-race person of colour, but I am not sure if my personal experience meets the criteria for equity-deserving.

Kay Slater (they/them)
Program Facilitator, Preparator (art handler/gallery installations), ArtStarts in Schools
Kay works at ArtStarts to develop and challenge the traditional gallery experience to reflect the ever changing and ever present need for public space, specifically focused on accessibility and youth. Working both as a facilitator for ArtStarts public programming, and as a digital creator, Kay is passionate about making space for hands-on, process-based learning and critical thinking for humans of all ages. Kay has been designing and building gallery exhibitions for ArtStarts In Schools (as well as other galleries on unceded Coast Salish Land) for the past 5+ years. Kay founded and leads the weekly online programming ArtStarts Explores; our province at play, which can be found here: . Kay also produced the community workshops series Non-Auditory Access: Captions and Transcripts in partnership with grunt gallery and ArtStarts In Schools in 2021 as a free, low barrier co-learning series. They continue to work as an accessibility consultant for multiple organizations including the city of Vancouver.
My education: Emily Carr Certificate of Fine Arts, UVic English/French Literature, VCC College (ASL)
My lived experience: Employed as an Arts Worker for 10 years at Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), Richmond Art Gallery, Gallery Gachet, grunt gallery (current), Roundhouse Community Centre, and Carnegie Community Centre and DTES Small Arts Grants Program (current).
My LinkedIn profile

Leif Schenstead-Harris (he/him)
Acting Manager/Senior Policy Analyst, Environment and Climate Change Canada - Strategic Policy Branch

Advisor, Environment and Climate Change Canada (Deputy Minister’s Office) Responsible for policy advice related to the mandate of Environment and Climate Change Canada; formerly responsible for strategic policy related to the Federal Sustainable Development Act (ie., Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, progress reporting, etc)
My education: BA (English, Saskatchewan), MA (English, Dalhousie); MPPPA (Concordia), PhD (Western)

Marybeth Curtin (she/her)
Manager, Secretary of the Cabinet Communications, Ontario Public Service
Marybeth Curtin is currently a Senior Advisor, Engagement & Creative, in the Associate Deputy Minister’s Office of ServiceOntario. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2011 and has worked in a variety of internal and external communications roles in the Ontario Government since then. In her spare time, Marybeth is also a member of Burlington, Ontario’s Mundialization Committee, which seeks to promote international relations, strengthen partnerships and educate citizens about Burlington’s sister city relationships. She is happy to talk about her experience in communications and what it’s like to transition from academia to public service roles.
My education: PhD, English, University of Toronto
My LinkedIn profile

Dan Pon (he/him)
Librarian and Archives Manager, Langara College
Dan Pon is a librarian at Langara College and the Archives Manager at grunt gallery on unceded Coast Salish territories know as Vancouver. He works to preserve and activate material and non-material culture and is interested in the practice of artists intervening in archives, liberatory community archives, and imaginative models at the intersection of visual arts and information science. Dan has a Masters of Library and Information Science degree (2012) from UBC.
My Education: MS, Library and Information Science, UBC

Mathieu Aubin(he/him)
Business Development Advisor, Mitacs
Mathieu Aubin completed his PhD in Interdisciplinary studies at The University of British Columbia focusing on the influence of literary small presses in Vancouver on queer social movements. He is now working as a Business Development Advisor with Mitacs where he works closely with Concordia faculty members and students in the social sciences, humanities, and arts in developing their research partnership projects. He would be happy to chat about graduate school as well as life after graduate school in academic and alt-academic fields.
My Education: PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies, UBC