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 worked in..⁠.

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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!

Myles Beaman-Dodd

Myles Beaman-Dodd

Operations Manager

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.

Kayla Brent

Kayla Brent

Marketing Coordinator

VBIS presented me with an opportunity to learn, first-hand, about a neglected issue I had limited familiarity with; to be able⁠…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

VBIS presented me with an opportunity to learn, first-hand, about a neglected issue I had limited familiarity with; to be able to understand and better support my best friend, who’s suffered from multiple concussions.⁠

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

Helping clients share their stories and dismantling the stigma that prevents survivors from receiving the care and empathy they deserve.⁠ Being a part of that journey is incredibly fulfilling.

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

Human beings are incredibly resilient – our clients inspire me each and every day!⁠

What is a fun fact about you?

I’ve been afraid of butterflies since my parents took me to Butterfly World in Miami when I was 4. It is my (un)happy place.

Jamie Morrison

Jamie Morrison

Volunteer Coordinator

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

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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!

Ian Bermeo

Ian Bermeo

Case Manager

I was drawn to working with VBIS after growing up with my father who lives with a brain injury and then learning more.⁠…

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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. 

Shelley Masters

Shelley Masters

Case Manager

I’ve always had a passion for helping others. I felt that working with VBIS would be a fantastic way to give back to my..⁠…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I’ve always had a passion for helping others. I felt that working with VBIS would be a fantastic way to give back to my community! I hope that through my role at VBIS I can create a space for people to foster their well-being and feel supported.⁠

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

Although I haven’t been at VBIS for long, I look forward to connecting with our clients and learning alongside them

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

Through working at VBIS I hope to learn how I can best support other members of my community. ⁠

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a trivia whiz! 

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!

Jordyn Tattersall

Jordyn Tattersall

Special Projects Coordinator

I had been aware of VBIS and the meaningful services they provide before I started working here because of my field…

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What drew you to working at VBIS?

I had been aware of VBIS and the meaningful services they provide before I started working here because of my field of study. I’m studying biology with a minor in business, and I thought that this position would be a perfect blend of my two areas of interest.

What is the best part of working at VBIS?

The connections! Whether it be learning from the clients, chatting with the amazing volunteers, meeting people out in the community, or getting to collaborate with my incredible co-workers, the best part of my day is speaking with all of the wonderful people who make VBIS what it is.

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

All brain injury survivors have different symptoms and challenges and require different types of support. Whether you are 10 days or 10 years post injury, the diverse range of primary and secondary affects of brain injury can be virtually impossible to deal with without the support of others.

What is a fun fact about you?

My favourite classes I’ve taken at UVic have been Animal Behaviour and Financial Accounting!

Anna Golovkina

Anna Golovkina

Receptionist

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 a receptionist, I just had to apply. It meant that I could do what I love and also be able to support a non-profit organization.

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 used to be a hardcore athlete! I still love to be active and lift weights.

Carmen Eisenhauer

Carmen Eisenhauer

Music Therapist

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

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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.

Steve Wellburn

Steve Wellburn

Treasurer

More information coming soon…

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More information coming soon…

Shannon Kowalko

Shannon Kowalko

Secretary

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.

Tyler Dolan

Tyler Dolan

Chair Elect

The opportunity to give back to the community through an organization that has a major impact on those who need…

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

The opportunity to give back to the community through an organization that has a major impact on those who need guidance and support.

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

The privilege of working with a highly committed group of people that are respectful, knowledgeable, open-minded, and willing to put the interest of VBIS first.

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

That in most cases, the symptoms of a brain injury are held in silence by the sufferer to avoid the stigma and labels associated with the words ” brain injury”.

What is a fun fact about you?

When not at work, you can find me at hockey or field lacrosse with one of my three boys!

Gerald Hartwig

Gerald Hartwig

Former Chair

Gerald is educated in business administration, with over 25 years as a builder and developer. He is the…

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Gerald is educated in business administration, with over 25 years as a builder and developer. He is the President and CEO of Hartwig Industries, a boutique real estate development and property investment company that also invests in start-up companies. Gerald balances an active portfolio of commercial properties, quality developments, and several companies with a healthy West Coast Lifestyle of kiteboarding, rock climbing, surfing, sailing, martial arts, cycling, and skiing.

Gerald has endured twelve concussions through adventurous activities. He is passionate about helping the community through his first-hand experience of living through concussions and rehabilitation. An active community supporter, Gerald has volunteered on boards and committees such as SPCA, Oak Bay Sea Rescue, Visions Victoria, Victoria Construction Association, Western Pacific Bank Advisory Board, Victoria Cycling Committee, and many more. Gerald enjoys mentoring, goal setting, and helping others discover a path to a fulfilling life. In his spare time, he continues to live an active lifestyle and is enriched by spending quality time with his wife, children, grandchildren, and rescue dog.

Adam Harnden

Adam Harnden

Director at Large

Adam came to VBIS in 2019, bringing with him expertise developed during a long career in the tech industry. Getting his…

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Adam came to VBIS in 2019, bringing with him expertise developed during a long career in the tech industry. Getting his start in gaming, Adam worked his way up from soldering circuit boards back in 1998 to becoming the youngest assistant producer in the industry just three years later. In 2006 he founded his own company, The Adam James Group, a digital marketing consultancy specializing in bespoke marketing solutions for locally run businesses.

As a brain aneurysm survivor himself, Adam is honored for the opportunity to contribute to VBIS; he is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of other people working through the complexities of brain injury. Adam lives in Victoria, where he splits his time between business ownership, philanthropic work, and raising his young daughter.

Katherine Walker

Katherine Walker

Director at Large

I first got involved with VBIS when playing a hands-on role in the first annual Toss the Boss event as the liaison with…

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

I first got involved with VBIS when playing a hands-on role in the first annual Toss the Boss Event as the liaison with WildPlay. Having the opportunity to be part of such an impactful event – raising funds, meeting community supporters, and most importantly, engaging with so many of VBIS’ clients – inspired me to contribute as a board member.

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

Seeing on a month-to-month basis the increasing positive difference the society is making on people’s lives and in the community.

What is the most important thing you learned volunteering at VBIS

Brain injuries are everywhere and most of us have no clue how to recognize them or provide meaningful support. The impacts on the individuals have far-reaching consequences that we need to start understanding, talking about, showing empathy for, and taking more immediate action to reduce negative outcomes on these people, their relationships, potential homelessness, and other societal challenges.

What is a fun fact about you? 

You know that vacuum-packing product called Foodsaver? I was the reluctant guest of one product infomercial and ended up on North American shopping channels for over a decade. Although it has nothing to do with my business background and accomplishments, it became the thing I was known for. Never again!

Danielle Toth

Danielle Toth

Director at Large

Through my work as a personal injury lawyer, I often meet people who have suffered a brain injury and learn the…

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

Through my work as a personal injury lawyer, I often meet people who have suffered a brain injury and learn the various ways an individual’s life, and the lives of their loved ones, are changed after a brain injury. Because of this, I understand the importance of a community of support and acceptance to help these individuals heal and learn new ways of managing their lives.

When the opportunity to become involved with VBIS presented itself I was so excited and could not pass up the chance to be part of an organization that fulfills such an important service for members of our community who have suffered a brain injury.

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

Seeing the community of acceptance and support that VBIS continues to foster and grow, and learning about the various services that VBIS continues to develop to better assist those in the community who are navigating through life with a brain injury.

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

Brain injuries are so diverse and affect people in such different ways.

What is a fun fact about you?

My favourite thing to do with my spare time is to go for a run!

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 2004…

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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.

Christine Lintott

Christine Lintott

Director at Large

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

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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!

Steven Gordon

Steven Gordon

Director at Large

More information coming soon…

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More information coming soon…

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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.