Wilderness Committee Staff and Board of Directors

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 (All day)
Wilderness Committee Board of Directors >>

Gwen Barlee, National Policy Director, Executive Team member

Gwen came to the Wilderness Committee in 2001 with a background in political science and a passion for environmental and social advocacy. Her diverse education and experience includes social work, film production, and web development, and she is a past executive team member of the Victoria chapter of the Council of Canadians. Today, Gwen is the Wilderness Committee's Policy Director, and a member of the executive team. Although her focus has been on species at risk, Gwen is also active in our resource policy and parks campaigns, and she can be found working passionately on almost any issue the Wilderness Committee is involved with. Here is a video clip of Gwen working to save BC's wild rivers.

Beth Clarke, Development and Program Director, Executive Team member 

Beth joined the Wilderness Committee in 2010, after returning from eight years of working in Costa Rica in the area of organizational strengthening with a local social organization, and as a cooperant with CUSO-VSO. She has a Masters degree and work experience in international development, which has taken her to different parts of Africa and Latin America, as well as to nearly every province and territory in Canada. Originally from the Canadian prairies, she has dedicated the last 20 years to working, volunteering and writing for social, economic, political and environmental justice. Her free time is dedicated to her son.

Joe Foy, National Campaign Director, Executive Team member

As a child growing up in the Fraser Valley, Joe loved to hike and fish in the country surrounding his home - but it was his love of the Stein Valley wilderness that led him to begin volunteering with the Wilderness Committee in 1984. In 1987 Joe became the Wilderness Committee's first paid campaigner and initiated the Lower Mainland Pocket Wilderness Campaign. Since then, Joe has been the driving force behind many of our campaigns, and has led the Wilderness Committee to successfully protect spectacular areas such as the Elaho Valley, Boise/Pinecone/Burke, and the Stein, Carmanah and Lower Walbran Valleys. Joe's passion for the wild shines through in his speeches at rallies, to media, and to the public. In all of his front line work, Joe is inspired and informed by his love for wilderness and the thousands of hours he has spent exploring BC's wild places. Here is a video clip of Joe in action defending BC's ancient forests.


Matt Jong, Comptroller, Executive Team member

Matt joined the Wilderness Committee in 1998 as our comptroller, and is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the organization's financial management. Matt received his CMA from UBC in 1969 and spent several years with a firm of chartered accountants before moving on to sales and administration in a brokerage firm, where he was a vice president and director. He then spent 20 years in the investment industry, which he later parlayed into consulting work for both government and private companies. Matt's desire to contribute towards environmental and wilderness protection led him to the Wilderness Committee, and his dedication and diverse background are a great asset to the organization, both as our financial manager and as a member of our executive team and Board of Directors.

Monalisa Amirsetia, Finance Director, Vancouver

Monalisa began volunteering for the Wilderness Committee while completing her psychology degree at UBC, and has been involved ever since. During a campaign with the Penan people of Malaysia in the late 1980s, she provided translation services, and helped to run the publicity and public outreach side of the campaign in Malaysia. Monalisa gained her accounting expertise while running her own company, and from a range of financial training and certification programs. She was hired on to the accounting department in 1991, where she is now responsible for most aspects of the Wilderness Committee's accounting system.

Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner, Victoria

Torrance grew up on Vancouver Island in constant contact with nature, developing strong environmentalist values at a young age. He pursued this passion into university, studying geography and getting involved in the environmental movement as a volunteer. After graduating, Torrance volunteered and worked for several non-profit environmental and parks organizations on Vancouver Island, and travelled extensively in Latin America. Torrance joined the Wilderness Committee as Vancouver Island Campaigner in spring 2012, and is very excited to be a part of this grassroots, action-based organization. Torrance brings outdoor experience, local knowledge, and communications skills to the team. Torrance gets out into the woods as often as possible, and spends weekends exploring the back roads and hidden beaches on the Island, with friends or with his dog. Here is a video clip of Torrance speaking out in defence of Vancouver Island's Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. 


Deborah Drouin, Member and Donor Relations Officer, Vancouver

Deborah joined the Wilderness Committee in 1997 in the membership services department. She handles the Wilderness Committee Trailblazers (monthly giving), manages our membership database, processes donations and membership fees, and supervises the preparation and distribution of membership materials. Deborah also provides assistance in the finance and accounting department.

Wendy Fisher, Campaign Assistant, Winnipeg

Wendy comes from the Bloodvein First Nation, where she lived for most of her life. Since moving to Winnipeg, she has missed walking the trails in the bush, picking berries that grew wild everywhere, sitting by the water and relaxing to the silence. Wendy came to the city to pursue a career in accounting and payroll, but when she began working with the Wilderness Committee in 2015, she was excited to have the chance to play a role in our wilderness campaigns as well. As the Campaign Assistant in our Manitoba office, Wendy helps keep the office running while also helping to protect parks, rivers, forests and animals – it's a great feeling and something she has always wanted to do.


Sue Fox, Publications and Product Director, Vancouver

Sue Fox became involved with the Wilderness Committee in 1989 during a campaign to bring to light the destruction of the environment and culture of the Penan people of Malaysia. She is a graphic artist by trade, and studied at both the Fanshawe School of Art and Design and the Ontario School of Fine Arts. Her graphic design background led her to the Wilderness Committee, where she co-founded the WILD campaign, and later became our communications director. Sue now oversees the creation and production of all of the Wilderness Committee's publications, and is also responsible for our product department and many aspects of our public outreach program. Beyond her passion for saving wilderness and endangered species, Sue sits on the board of directors of City Farmer, and owns her own graphic design company. Her hobbies include gardening and calligraphy, and she is involved with the birthing and midwifery movement as a Doula.

Isabelle Groc, BC Species at Risk Project Coordinator, Vancouver

Isabelle joined the Wilderness Committee in 2010 with a determination to make a difference for BC’s species at risk. She grew up in the South of France and has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an advanced certificate in wines and spirits from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Apart from campaigning for better protection for species at risk, Isabelle is also a freelance science writer and wildlife photographer focusing on environmental science, wildlife natural history and conservation, endangered species and marine ecosystems. A fellow of the Explorers Club, Isabelle has travelled to remote places to raise the profile of many little-known, elusive and under-appreciated threatened species, aiming to inspire concern and action for their conservation. In her free time, Isabelle is often watching French films, trying to be a better cook for her friends and feeling grateful for the time she gets to spend with her two children and her cat.


Emil Hadad, Canvass Director, Vancouver

Emil was raised in a socially and environmentally-conscious household in his native Indonesia before moving to Canada as a teenager. Interested in sustainability, youth leadership and the importance of cultural understanding, he became involved during his college years and spent more than two years living in Malaysia and Australia. After completing his Economics and Environmental Studies degree at the University of Victoria, he spent a year working and volunteering at several Vancouver-based environmental organizations and found himself joining the Wilderness Committee as a canvasser in early 2011. An avid nature lover, he enjoys going camping and hiking whenever he can. In his spare time he is most likely found discussing movies and music with his friends or enjoying his solitude reading a good book and daydreaming about traveling.


Emily Hoffpauir, Development and Public Engagement Coordinator, Victoria

Emily joined the Wilderness Committee in November 2013 and is very excited to be a part of this amazing team! Emily has been passionate about environmental and animal welfare issues from a very young age. This – along with her love for exploring new places – has taken her around the world, where she has volunteered for several wildlife rehabilitation and environmental conservation organizations in Asia and Latin America. More locally, she has been actively involved in working with many non-profit environmental organizations across North America.  Over the years she has studied geography, environmental communication and education, organic gardening, and she has recently begun her Masters in Environmental Sustainability at Royal Roads University. The things that Emily enjoys most in life are swimming, kayaking, crafting, cooking/eating/growing food, finding ways to reduce plastic waste, manatees and gallivanting around the world.  

Michelle Johnson, Major Donor Relations Officer, Victoria/Vancouver

Michelle came to the Wilderness Committee in 2016 to serve our major donors, a special group of individuals who have pledged their financial support to defend Canadian wilderness. Michelle understands the importance of matching our community of supporters to projects that help the common good. She’s always had a soft spot for big trees and for creatures great and small, above ground and under the ocean blue. A graduate “with distinction” from BCIT’s Marketing Management-Fundraising Program, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages from Trent University/ l’Université de Nantes. 


JP LeFrank, Distribution Coordinator, Vancouver

JP LeFrank is a photographer and photojournalist by trade, and has submitted images to the Wilderness Committee for over 15 years. A childhood camper and lover of wild places, JP has always had a passion for protecting the wild, in particular our old-growth forests. In his position as Printer/Distribution Co-ordinator, JP is happy to say our paper supplier ensures no trees were felled to produce our in-house printing for our membership. An avid sportsman, you can find JP in the hockey rink, at the baseball diamond, or launching potatoes.

Aimee Macdonald, Development and Public Engagement Coordinator, Vancouver

After completing her BSc in Biology and Environmental Science from McGill University, Aimee moved back to Vancouver to be near the ocean and mountains. When a Wilderness Committee door canvasser visited Aimee, she 'reverse canvassed' them for a job.  Aimee has worked with other organizations such as the Environmental Youth Alliance, where she worked on a community garden project in elementary schools, bridging concepts of food sustainability and urban gardening for youth. An active lover of the woods, Aimee can be found riding her bike between urban pockets of nature.

Shaine Macleod, Outreach Director, Toronto

With a passion for social advocacy, Shaine first became involved in the environmental movement while studying business. Eventually working full-time for many of the local grassroot organizations, by the summer of 2003 he joined WCWC re-establishing the Toronto office. Having made his life’s work out of public outreach, Shaine believes that community awareness and involvement is a critical part of any successful campaign. As Outreach Director, Shaine coordinates the canvass office, educating the public on current issues. His goal is to renew and rebuild membership in the “Big Smoke” of the Greater Toronto Area. In his free time, Shaine enjoys cycling and camping; as well, he has an avid enthusiasm for strategy games.


Peter McCartney, Climate Campaigner, Vancouver

Peter McCartney grew up west of Calgary, nestled between the majestic Rocky Mountains and the towering headquarters of Canada's oil industry. Wilderness hikes, camping trips and days spent snowboarding inspired a lifelong love of the natural world. An innate sense of justice and a drive to speak truth to power led him to pursue journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. There he found the story of the century. It's a story that couldn't be harder to tell - an invisible gas building up in the atmosphere that threatens life on Earth as we know it. Peter took it upon himself to learn everything he could about climate change and find ways to tell this story so the public would understand and take action. During a brief stint working overseas after graduation, he felt called back to Canada. He needed to do everything he could to prevent the expansion of fossil fuel exports that imperils the planet and the people who call it home. Now he's thrilled to be working with British Columbians to put a stop to these projects. In his free time, he can be found in his garden, on a mountain or enjoying one of Vancouver's lovely craft beers.


Sarah McNeil, Annual Giving Manager, Vancouver

Sarah joined the Wilderness Committee in the fall of 2014. She grew up in BC's beautiful Cariboo region, where  an appreciation for wilderness and spending time outdoors were simply a part of daily life. After completing two degrees and exploring a variety of careers, she recently returned to work in the non-profit sector, where she can couple her love of the natural world with her belief that philanthropy is an essential part of our society. In her free time, Sarah can be found reading, writing or crafting, unless she's out for a run.


Eric Reder, Campaign Director, Winnipeg

Eric has worked for the Wilderness Committee since 2003 as a canvasser. Eric is a multi-talented man who has performed successfully as a campaigner, publisher, photographer, director of a national sports organization, carpenter, communications director and coach.

His valuable work experience is complemented by a strong background as an avid and accomplished outdoorsman. First-hand knowledge of many wild spaces has instilled a deep appreciation for their beauty and value, strengthening Eric's resolve to protect them. Eric spent much of his youth in the wilderness east of Lake Winnipeg, starting with his first paddling trip at age four. Since then he has journeyed through much of Canada's wildlands, and many U.S. wilderness areas as well. Here is a video clip of Eric speaking about our campaign to protect Manitoba's at-risk woodland caribou population.

Navi Sahota, Member and Donor Relations Assistant, Vancouver

Navi joined WC's membership servicing department in 2015. After graduating from UBC with a psychology degree, she indirectly assisted many nonprofits to help them secure funding. This led to her interest in philanthropy and making a difference. What attracted her to the Wilderness Committee was the genuine commitment to protecting Canadian biodiversity. Her avid support for protecting and preserving wildlife started early, when she became a vegetarian at the age of eight. Since then, she has had a firm belief that safeguarding the environment has significant impacts on the overall well-being of society. She looks forward to seeing the eventual protection of all at-risk Canadian wildlife. In her free time, Navi enjoys reading, knitting, baking and spending time outdoors. 


Matthew Sasaki, Operations Coordinator, Vancouver

Matthew.JPGAs a teenager, Matthew started reading about the consequences of stratospheric ozone layer depletion and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which inspired him to help protect the Earth's ecosystems. He completed a degree in environmental studies, and has spent numerous years working in the non-profit sector – particularly leaning towards conservation, including several years teaching environmental education around BC. He'll even fit in the odd jazz gig on tenor sax when time permits, and, with his wife and son, tries to get into the wild as much as possible.


Geoff Senichenko, Research and Mapping Coordinator, Vancouver

Geoff has had a love for wilderness and nature ever since he was a kid growing up and going camping with his family. Geoff studied ecology and environmental science at the University of BC and graduated in 1998. He then went on to do ecological consulting and ecosystem mapping work for several years. Geoff wanted to do more to promote wilderness conservation, so he joined the Wilderness Committee as a canvasser in 2003 and then became the organization's research and mapping director in the summer of 2004. He is responsible for mapping projects and providing research support to the campaigners. He also participates in field expeditions, as he enjoys hiking and exploring wilderness areas both in and out of work.

Perry Sky Jack, Graphic Designer, Vancouver

Perry came to the Wilderness Committee in 2010 as our graphic designer, and he is responsible for the design of all the Wilderness Committee's printed materials, as well as artwork for events and digital media. Perry gained his graphic design expertise while running his own company, working in design firms and training through Vancouver Film School's Digital Design program, in addition to other design certification programs. He likes to learn new styles and keep up with what's current, evolving his own style which is influenced strongly by his spiritual background and urban painting. In his spare time he helps raise his two daughters, taking them out as much as he can.

Chloe Speakman, Campaign Assistant, Vancouver

Chloe started canvassing for the Wilderness Committee in 2014 after earning her B.Sc. with specialization in Ecology. She took to canvassing like a duck to water because of her #2 life passion: improvisation. Now, she couldn't be more excited to be the WC's Vancouver Campaign Assistant. Chloe's #1 passion is nature – she's a born and raised Vancouver girl with a fierce love of all nature, especially the ocean, mossy trees and birds.


Rumnique Nannar, Communications Coordinator, Vancouver

Rumnique came to the Wilderness Committee in 2016, after working as a freelance journalist and reporting heavily on arts and culture issues. Growing up in the suburbs of London, she didn't always have easy access to wild places. She moved to Vancouver from London and fell in love with the nature around her. After 14 years in Vancouver, it's hard for her to imagine a life without wildneress around her, even if hay fever does get her down! In her free time, you could probably find her in the cinema or exploring BC's amazing wilderness.