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Our Staff

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Suzanne Starkiewicz

Intake and Orientation Coordinator

Suzanne started volunteering at the Victoria Brain Injury Society in 2015. Her time at VBIS has been an extremely positive experience and she couldn’t be more thrilled to now be working with such a great team. Suzanne has always had a passion for working with people and has an interest in neuroscience. She recently received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology from the University of Victoria. Suzanne is ready to bring her knowledge and enthusiasm to VBIS. She has been inspired by the strength and perseverance of brain injury survivors and their families. Suzanne is excited to be an advocate and provide support for the clients at VBIS. She also has a background in performing arts and enjoys singing, dancing, and going to shows whenever she can.  Suzanne loves travelling, the ocean, dolphins, rock climbing, skiing, and cuddling with her cat. 

 

Lindsay Brooks

Case Manager 

 

Lindsay is a Calgarian who moved to Victoria in 2014 and immediately fell in love with the city! She has a Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies degree from the University of Calgary and a diploma in disability studies from Mount Royal University. She is experienced and passionate about supporting individuals with disabilities and looks forward to being able to contribute to this amazing field! When not at work she enjoys a variety of activities such as backpacking, swimming and skiing, as well as reading and drinking coffee.

Anna McLauchlan

Manager of Administration & Volunteer Coordinator

Anna McLauchlan

Anna has worked as an administrator/secretary for her entire working life, in a wide variety of environments including Police, private industry, University and non-profits. However, over a decade ago she finally got it!: she was really most in her element in a social services environment where the focus was looking after the needs of people. Since then, she has been very particular about choosing to work in organizations who put people first, so she feels she has landed in a perfect place here at Victoria Brain Injury Society to fulfill her needs in this respect.

Although she is Canadian by birth, she has lived for a number of years in England, so she is the one with the weird accent should you ever come to the VBIS offices, or sometimes have her answering you on  the phone!

She and her husband also own a sailing school here in Victoria, so ‘after hours’ she looks after the administrative and marketing side of their business. 

She is a member of the Soroptimists of Greater Victoria. Having been a volunteer (and part time contractor) with Police Victim Services for a number of years until fairly recently, she is hoping to be able to find time in her life to go back to volunteering – working hands  on with people – in another organization when time allows.

She is a huge music fan….her husband has coined a phrase for her: “she will have music wherever she goes”, and this is true, as can be seen by the evidence of her iPod dock in prime position in her office, ready for instant and constant action! In her spare time, she loves to ride and garden. She dabbles with photography, wishing she could be better, and she has a travel bug beckoning her!

 

Alex Gilchrist

Case Manager

Alex joined the VBIS team in 2002. 

His job experience includes construction, logging, crewing on a towboat and sailing. While teaching a summer program for an alternate school on Vancouver island, Alex found he enjoyed  working with people.  He was employed by the Victoria Cool Aid Society as a street outreach worker for Victoria’s homeless population before coming to work with VBIS. 

While in University, Alex was involved in a serious car accident, and acquired a brain injury that went undiagnosed for many years.  He understands what it means to live with the effects of brain injury in a world that does not recognise or understand it.  As a case manager with VBIS, Alex is grateful for the opportunity to assist survivors in finding the understanding and support they need to build a life after  brain injury.

 

Leidi Fortner

Case Manager

Leidi came to the Victoria Brain Injury Society in 2008 from the Prince George Brain Injury Group, where she worked with survivors of brain injury and their family members. Leidi has a nursing background with many years of experience in the medical field. She worked in the addictions field, which connected her to individuals who had experienced a brain injury. Leidi now has a wealth of experience working directly with survivors.

Leidi enjoys traveling, photography and long walks in beautiful places around Victoria.

 

Luke Jensen

Accounting Clerk

 

Having grown up surrounded by the orchards of Okanagan and the wild of the Cariboo, a small town heart with big city savvy is what British Columbia bred into Luke.  Like many teens of his generation he was caught by the itch to travel and after a few years seeing the world with his identical twin, Luke settled in Vancouver working in the restaurant industry.  

After developing a strong interest in finance, Luke moved to Victoria to attend UVIC in 2006 where he studied business, finance and accounting earning a BCOMM degree. Victoria, has a small town feel with all the conveniences of a big city so it was an easy decision for him to remain in Victoria after UVIC and call it home.  Upon graduation, a job with a local accounting firm and continuing his studies from home helped earn him his accounting credentials.

Having suffered a brain injury in 2010, Luke understands the struggle of those who have had brain trauma and is very grateful to be able to work for an organization that provides support for people with such injuries.

When time allows Luke can be found, playing pickup games of basketball, shredding Mt. Washington, trying to match his brother’s scorecard at one of the many amazing golf courses on the island or simply spending time with family and friends.

 

Carmen Eisenhauer

Music Therapist

Carmen is an Accredited Music Therapist who holds a Bachelors Degree from Capilano University in Music Therapy and a Music Diploma.  She works with children and adults with neurological disorders including autism and brain injury. Carmen started her educational journey in the Okanagan studying classical voice, taking guitar and piano lessons and performing in her local community of Penticton. After graduating, she moved to Vancouver where she studied voice with professional instructors for eight years and sang and traveled with a small ensemble through Europe.  She met and married her husband while completing her Bachelors Degree and then moved to Vancouver Island to begin her career and raise a family that includes her two young children.

Carmen believes in the power that music can evoke to rehabilitate and heal lost abilities as well as gain new ones.  She shares her love of music with her clients through her voice and guitar.  After volunteering with the brain injury society for several months she became a staff member running a regular music group Tuesday afternoons.

 

Krissi Spinoza

Executive Director

Krissi has worked for a wide range of organizations in both the UK and Canada; previous roles include supporting people with learning difficulties, developing research projects and working with communities to empower them in improving their well-being. The common theme in her working life has been a love of people. She enjoys combining numbers and narratives, statistics and stories in order to share tales of compassion and hope. She remains amazed and awe inspired by the great things people can achieve and joy they can bring to each other.

 

Krissi moved to Victoria in 2007 and fell in love with the beautiful city, amazing landscape and fantastic people. She has been proud to call Victoria home ever since. Originally from the UK, Krissi retains a love of tea and a funny accent but she has now learned to love hockey, poutine and all things Canadian. When she isn’t working, Krissi loves being out and about in the BC landscape and can be found camping, biking and hiking whenever the weather allows.