Who We Are

The Victoria Brain Injury Society is made up of an incredible team of staff, board members, and partners with diverse backgrounds and skills.

Our Staff

Pam Prewett

Pam Prewett

Executive Director

Before VBIS I worked in international conference and association management. Many of my clients…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

Before VBIS I worked in international conference and association management. Many of my clients worked in Neuroscience and I was fortunate to meet inspiring global researchers who are passionate about how the brain works. When the ED position at VBIS came up I saw an opportunity to have more personal interactions with brain injury survivors, which really appealed to me.⁠

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

Of course, the people! From the wonderful clients to the amazing volunteers to the superb team I am so lucky to work with, I love interacting with everyone I meet each day, and each day brings different situations and people that I get to know better.⁠

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

There’s such a stigma around brain injury and brain injury effects so many people in our community, from the survivor themselves to the family members, co-workers, friends, and beyond – it’s a ripple effect. I’d love to see a future where brain injury gets the much needed attention and funding it deserves.⁠

What is a fun fact about you?

I am learning to play the harp and I love it because even if you play the wrong notes, it’s virtually impossible to sound bad!

Ian Bermeo

Ian Bermeo

Client Services Manager & Housing Coordinator

I was drawn to working with VBIS after growing up with my father who lives…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I was drawn to working with VBIS after growing up with my father who lives with a brain injury and then learning more about what that meant in university. I was also attracted to the values of compassion, accountability, and community, which I found listed on our website.⁠

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

I enjoy meeting people and walking beside them for a bit.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

The most important thing I learned working at VBIS is how to navigate various systems, supports, and services to help people living with brain injury meet their needs. This is something I keep learning about more and more. ⁠

What is a fun fact about you?

I was dragged by a school bus on the first day of grade 1. True story. 

Myles Beaman-Dodd

Myles Beaman-Dodd

Development Coordinator

I’ve always been drawn to meaningful community. Its rare to find these days, and that goes double for those facing…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I’ve always been drawn to meaningful community. Its rare to find these days, and that goes double for those facing the barriers that come with brain injury. To play even a small role in making a space where people can feel seen and thrive is a beautiful thing.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The clients! Everyday I get to meet so many fun, courageous, and amazingly resilient people who’s stories and never cease to inspire and humble me. You folks make my day, everyday.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

It’s cliché but unfortunately true that you never can tell what someone’s going through just by looking at them. So it’s all of our responsibilities to advocate for each other.

What is a fun fact about you?

My favorite food is Crickets. It’s appallingly difficult to find good ones in Canada.

Leidi Fortner

Leidi Fortner

Case Manager

I came to VBIS in 2008 after just moving from Prince George to Victoria so that I could be closer to my sons…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I came to VBIS in 2008 after just moving from Prince George to Victoria so that I could be closer to my sons.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The clients. Every day is different, even when you have the same clients. It’s never boring and I love watching them blossom.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

Patience. It’s an essential quality for anyone working in this field, though it’s impacted just about every aspect of my life.

What is a fun fact about you?

I love to travel!

Erica Kelm

Erica Kelm

Case Manager/Program Coordinator

Having a close family member who suffered from multiple Brain Injuries…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

Having a close family member who suffered from multiple Brain Injuries; I was drawn to working alongside those who are also passionate about being an advocate those who are in similar situations. 

 What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The best part of working at VBIS is the sense of community that we provide for participants, staff and volunteers. 

 What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

The most important thing I’ve learned from working at VBIS is that “it takes a village!” to support and care for those who suffer from Brain Injury. 

What is a fun fact about you?

Fun fact is that I adore Waltz music, it always lifts my mood and makes me want to dance! 

 

Lauren Cronk

Lauren Cronk

Intake and Youth Coordinator

Completing my practicum with VBIS gave me a front row seat to view how this team works in action…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

Completing my practicum with VBIS gave me a front row seat to view how this team works in action. The community that the employees, volunteers, and clients here have created is powerful and full of passion (something you don’t always find in the workforce). I was drawn to work here permanently because of the people I am surrounded by.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The best part of working at VBIS is the support offered by others. You never feel alone, there is always someone willing to lend a helping hand. I believe that a supportive team is the best thing a workplace can offer its employee.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

How to put my educational training into practice. You can learn about empathy, trauma-informed practice, communication styles etc., but VBIS helped me to gain experience using these skills. Specific to brain injury, the most important thing I have learned working at VBIS is how little others know about this topic. I am grateful VBIS is here to educate, support, and advocate for all things brain injury related.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have a cat named Sharky!

Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker

Education Coordinator

There are multiple aspects of VBIS that captivated my attention. On a daily basis the staff and volunteers…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

There are multiple aspects of VBIS that captivated my attention. On a daily basis the staff and volunteers at VBIS develop a warm and welcoming environment where people in the community feel safe. This energy spreads into the powerful impact that VBIS makes on survivors, their families, and the community. Everyone here is open, friendly, and fun to talk to. VBIS is the perfect place for me to use my creativity and passion to help others, spread knowledge and increase awareness about acquired brain injuries.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The staff, volunteers, and clients here at VBIS. Everyday someone has me smiling and laughing! The people here are always open to questions and helping each other. This kindness and support make for a positive and happy work environment.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

I’ve learned personal stories about the stigma that acquired brain injury survivors face. Acquired brain injuries and the symptoms survivors face can be invisible to the naked eye making them harder for people around survivors to accept. This leads to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Hearing about the path to recover from survivors has led to a more personal understand of the effects of acquired brain injuries.

What is a fun fact about you?

I spend a large amount of time outside exploring what nature has to offer!

Ryan Clayton

Ryan Clayton

Reception & Admin Coordinator

I really wanted to find somewhere where I can have a real impact on the lives of people in my community in my…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I really wanted to find somewhere where I can have a real impact on the lives of people in my community in my day-to-day work. VBIS does incredible work and I have already seen the impact it has on people!

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The best part about being here is the people! Folks have been so welcoming and friendly. It has been wonderful getting to know the staff and clients.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

The thing I probably have learned already (and need to remind myself) is to speak slower! I tend to speak very quickly when I am excited. 

What is a fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me is that I have a leopard gecko named Scout! I spend a lot of time decorating her tank and adding things to climb on and hide in. 

Anna Golovkina

Anna Golovkina

Special Projects Coordinator

I started out as a volunteer and was very interested in working as a receptionist. When I saw that VBIS was looking for a…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I started out as a volunteer and was very interested in working as a receptionist. When I saw that VBIS was looking for one, I just had to apply. It meant that I could do what I love and also be able to support a non-profit organization. Since then, I’ve been able to expand my role into Special Projects, which is also something I’m very passionate about.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

Making connections with the people here, and learning stories that I can translate to my life outside of being a receptionist. It has really helped broaden my perspective and apply that knowledge in different circumstances, like at my other job, and at school. Brain injury is stigmatized and not everyone is aware of its effects, so working here has been so educational for me.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

The value of having an open mind and being empathetic. It has taught me to approach circumstances from a different perspective, to put myself in other people’s shoes, and help clients to the best of my ability. Being a receptionist means that I am the first person that clients interact with when they come through the door, so learning how to best help them at VBIS is my number one goal.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a volleyball player (setter!) ! I am also working towards my Kinesiology degree to eventually become an Occupational Therapist!

Khara Morgan-Smith

Khara Morgan-Smith

Marketing Coordinator

I really respect and appreciate the work that VBIS does for brain injury survivor and their families! I loved the idea of…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I really respect and appreciate the work that VBIS does for brain injury survivors and their families! I loved the idea of joining an organization that offers amazing resources that truly help people.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

Getting to meet new and amazing people with shared values, and learning about success stories resulting from our programs.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

Community and teamwork are crucial to success!

What is a fun fact about you?

I really love horses!

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Grant Writer

I have been involved with the brain injury community for more than 5 years in both research and outreach settings…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I have been involved with the brain injury community for more than 5 years in both research and outreach settings. After studying neuroscience in my Master’s degree and recently moving to Victoria, I was looking for a way to re-immerse myself within the community, which is when I came across VBIS. I was immediately enticed by the energy and sense of inclusion I felt as soon as I entered the building!

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

I really enjoy getting to know the clients and listening to each all of their stories. It is also so motivating to work with a team with a shared passion and a common goal.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

Working with VBIS has revealed the power of advocacy and empathy. Even though ABI can be seen as an ‘invisible’ disability, it is so important to realize that it is all around us.

 What is a fun fact about you?

One time I hiked 50km in one day!

Jamie Morrison

Jamie Morrison

Researcher

I began volunteering as a receptionist at VBIS back in 2020. Having a close family member with a brain injury, and studying..

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I began volunteering as a receptionist at VBIS back in 2020. Having a close family member with a brain injury and studying neuroscience, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to get involved with an organization that does work so personally meaningful to me.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The people I’ve met! The wonderful clients, staff, researchers, and volunteers have all made a profound impact on my life. I continued to be inspired by the stories I learn from brain injury survivors every day.

What is the most important thing you learned working at VBIS?

How unique and diverse brain injury is. From listening to client’s stories, I have gained a deep understanding of the intersecting challenges brain injury survivors face in their lives. Learning this has not only taught me how inspiring and resilient individuals are but has also broadened my own perspectives.

What is a fun fact about you?

In my free time I love to read and be outside!

Carmen Eisenhauer

Carmen Eisenhauer

Music Therapist

Carmen is an Accredited Music Therapist who holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Capilano University…

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Carmen is an Accredited Music Therapist who holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Capilano University. Carmen has a wealth of experience in using music to work with populations that have cognitive impairments. She is also a highly experienced musician who has performed throughout Europe and is a skilled vocalist, guitar, and piano player.

Our Board of Directors

Natalie Benson

Natalie Benson

Chair

Invisible disabilities are highly stigmatized, particularly ones related to brain injury. We are all one unfortunate second away…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Invisible disabilities are highly stigmatized, particularly ones related to brain injury. We are all one unfortunate second away from needing the support VBIS gives, and as such, I am happy to assist in strengthening the organization’s position and resources.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

My teammates are exceptional, the ED is exceptional, and watching the organization blossom is a privilege.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

I learn something new every month at VBIS, but looking back to when I first started, I was surprised at how much non-profit organizations rely on volunteers and was further surprised by the generosity of time and commitment our volunteers display.

What is a fun fact about you?

I failed my driver’s test four times! I’m from England. I blame it on the wrong side of the road thing.

Shannon Kowalko

Shannon Kowalko

Co-Chair

Having a brother, son and nephews who all played hockey for years, I know first-hand the effects of concussion. The…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Having a brother, son, and nephews who all played hockey for years, I know first-hand the effects of concussion. The team at VBIS helped paint a picture for me of a real opportunity to help educate them and others like them.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Hearing clients and their families tell real stories of surviving and living with acquired brain injuries is heartwarming and truly inspiring. Playing a very small part to help improve awareness for this great organization is so fulfilling. My fellow board members are totally awesome too!

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

That brain injury, including concussion, is EVERYWHERE. We all have or know someone who has sustained a brain injury of some sort… This makes raising awareness, and ultimately raising funds, for VBIS integral to community success.

What is a fun fact about you?

In 1994, my family brought the BC Hockey League team, The Salsa, to the city when the Victoria Cougars moved to Prince George. The team name was inspired by the family’s ownership of Taco Time on Vancouver Island.

Steve Wellburn

Steve Wellburn

Treasurer

After suffering a concussion in 2018 and then learning to manage ongoing post concussive symptoms, I wanted to help…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

After suffering a concussion in 2018 and then learning to manage ongoing post concussive symptoms, I wanted to help others dealing with brain injuries. Through my injury, I came to realize how many people suffer, and try to cope, with ongoing brain injury.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

The  dedication and skill set from different sectors at the VBIS board is uncommon with non-profit boards. Around the room, there is open communication, mutual respect, and listening to wide perspectives, with an end to see VBIS grow and help as many people as possible.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

There are so many people who need the help and support of VBIS through brain injury. The passion seen in volunteers and staff is amazing!

What is a fun fact about you?

Yes, accountants do have fun! I love riding my bike, both road and gravel. A reduction in post concussion symptoms through exercise is an added bonus.

Fatimah Banki

Fatimah Banki

Secretary

Life has shown me the formidable hurdles individuals with brain injuries and their families often face, including my…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Life has shown me the formidable hurdles individuals with brain injuries and their families often face, including my own. When I heard about VBIS and the compelling stories of what it is like to live with a brain injury, it sparked an even fiercer commitment in me to raise awareness and provide support.  

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

The vibrant and positive energy in everyone on the team who truly want to make a difference, advocate and spread awareness about brain injuries.  

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

Gaining a deeper understanding of the causes, effects, and challenges associated with brain injuries. This increased awareness can be valuable for both personal growth and advocating for those affected by brain injuries.

What is a fun fact about you?

I came into the world on December 24th – couldn’t resist the holiday charm, I suppose. To top the humour, my younger brother clearly loved my birthday style so much that he had to show up to the same birthday party, only seven years later! 

Steven Gordon

Steven Gordon

Director at Large

In the course of my work as a physician the impact of brain injuries on individuals, their next of kin and their local…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

In the course of my work as a physician the impact of brain injuries on individuals, their next of kin and their local community is always clearly apparent to me. Thankfully through personal connection I was able to join the board at VBIS.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

This is an exceptionally competent and very caring group of VBIS staff and volunteer directors who are working diligently and consistently to make other people’s lives better. What could be better than being a part of that? 

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

The massive difference that the services and programs offered by VBIS makes to the clients lives.

What is a fun fact about you?

As long as I am on the water I am happy. Frozen (snowboarding), or liquid (skiing and tubing) are equally good.

Christine Lintott

Christine Lintott

Director at Large

Two years ago, a brain injury brought me to become aware of VBIS and I had the…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Two years ago, a brain injury brought me to become aware of VBIS and I had the privilege of participating in some research initiated through a partnership with UVIC. Further connections with individuals that have benefitted from your programs convinced me to participate on the Board and give back in a small way by sitting on the Board.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

The professionalism and passion of the members of the Board is powerful. Meetings are tight, well-informed, and action-oriented. I feel that my time is well spent and that I can contribute in a meaningful way as part of a team.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

The depth and breadth of program offerings and initiatives, all without barriers, are incredibly impactful for clients and their families. VBIS is a critical support hub for those in our community encountering a brain injury and the work of the organization continues to tune to need.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a biomimicry professional, which means that I look to nature’s wisdom to inform design solutions for human problems. For example, did you know that there’s a bike helmet design inspired by the corrugated cartilage which separates a woodpecker’s beak from its skull, absorbing most of the energy of pecking and preventing injury? Natured inspired design to prevent brain injuries in athletes!

Hilary Graham

Hilary Graham

Director at Large

The passion and level of engagement that’s demonstrated by each of the Board members I had met. They made me feel…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

The passion and level of engagement that’s demonstrated by each of the Board members I had met. They made me feel inspired and excited to be a part of something magical in the work that VBIS does for the community. As someone with a very long history of concussions, I can completely appreciate the need to amplify the work that this board and organization is doing, and I’m super stoked to contribute what I can to help make this happen.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Getting an opportunity to work alongside pretty amazing and brilliant human beings! I know my time on the board has just started, but the time I’ve spent with the team so far – I’ve been nothing but absolutely impressed with how they have chosen to show up for VBIS.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

How no two brain injuries can look the same and how personalized modalities of care can really change someone’s life after brain injury. That’s why it’s so important to hold space for people to share their stories – so that we feel seen, heard, included, and valued.

What is a fun fact about you?

I love paint-by-number canvases. I don’t know why it came to be, but I can lose all sense of time and feel so happy when it’s just me, a handful of acrylic paints, and a piece of art broken down by tiny little numbers. 

Grant Evans

Grant Evans

Director at Large

I have a 17yr old son who recently had two concussions last year from mountain bike competitions. My concern led me…

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What drew you to being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

I have a 17yr old son who recently had two concussions last year from mountain bike competitions. My concern led me to want to understand more and how I can help. I did not know the purpose and resources VBIS offers until speaking with Gerald Hartwig, the President.

What is your favourite part of being on the Board of Directors at VBIS?

Working with an energetic and motivated Board that is focused on making a difference.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS?

The tools available at VBIS for concussion patients that will help them with their recovery. Very few people know about this.

What is a fun fact about you?

Well, since it is no surprise since our last Board meeting, I bungy jumped nude (ok, back in 2000) as a bet to encourage a friend to stop smoking. She stopped and I lost😊.

Trevor Jones

Trevor Jones

Director at Large

Trevor grew up in Victoria BC. He graduated with honors from the University of Victoria BCom Program in…

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Trevor grew up in Victoria BC. He graduated with honors from the University of Victoria BCom Program in 2004 and obtained a CA, CPA with KPMG in 2007, and a US CPA with DMCL in 2010. Trevor joined Terapeak (Canada) Inc. in November 2010 and completed the sale of Terapeak to eBay Inc. on December 22, 2017, as its CFO/COO. Currently employed by LlamaZOO Interactive Inc. where he serves as CFO, Trevor is also Co-Founder & CFO of Icekap Therapeutics Inc. where they design, manufacture and distribute a patented migraine relief device and other wellness products. Trevor also volunteers with Scouts Canada, and is an avid cyclist, husband, and father to 2 young boys.

OUR PARTNERS

Victoria Brain Injury Society

Units C, D & E 830 Pembroke Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 1H9

Phone: 250-598-9339

Email: admin@vbis.ca

The Victoria Brain Injury Society (VBIS) is situated on the traditional territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Lekwungen) Peoples. We recognize and express gratitude to the Peoples and Nations in our community, and those throughout the regions we service.