Alicia is a settler from Southern California where the original and current caretakers of the land, water, and air are the Cahuilla, Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano peoples. Alicia graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Political Science, followed by DePaul University’s MA program in Sociology.
Professionally, since 2006, Alicia has been working with survivors of sexual, relationship, and gender-based violence, harassment and harm. Alicia has held roles in the field at non-profits, in local government, and higher education. Prior to arriving at UBC in 2020, Alicia most recently served as the Director for the University of California Los Angeles’ Campus Assault Resources and Education Program and before that as the Director for Harvard University’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response.
Alicia contextualizes the work with personal and political queerness, an atypical brain, and a commitment to the active learning required to be an accomplice in the tremendous work of accessibility, decolonization and anti-racism. Alicia currently serves on the Vancouver City Council’s 2SLGBTQIA Advisory Committee.
Outside of work, Alicia can be found eating vegan tacos, devouring telenovelas, reading delicious fiction written by women, trans, and non-binary authors, cultivating streaming recommendations for “strong female leads,” smooshing the dog’s face, or FaceTiming with The World’s Cutest Nieces.
Althea Evans, Administrative Manager
Althea is of Afro-Caribbean descent and was born in Toronto, Canada, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River, the Anishnabeg, and the Haudenosaunee peoples. She completed her degree in International Development Studies at York University (Toronto) in 2005.
Althea now lives and works on the beautiful land of the Musqueam people. Her work with Jumpstart Charities brought her to Vancouver in 2013 as the Regional Manager of the Western Canada Jumpstart program, where she managed funding to support children from low-income families in sport and recreational activities. In her 15 year professional career, Althea has been drawn to work that focuses on social issues in many facets of life. She is inspired and excited every day to work with her incredibly talented and compassionate teammates at SVPRO.
In her free time, Althea roams the planet as often as she can, and has visited over 20 countries and 6 continents. She is a global citizen at heart and maintains her connection with the world by regularly getting lost in new places. She also lives for road trips with friends, listening to the latest greatest podcast series, and taking pictures of absolutely everything from the beautiful to the mundane (which is beautiful too, in its own quiet way).
Ariana Barer, Educator
Pronouns she/her or they/them
Ariana has been a professional in the anti-violence field for over 10 years. She is Ashkenazi Jewish with ancestors from Eastern Europe who were displaced by violence, and takes that to heart in considering the colonial displacement and active resistance of the Indigenous people on whose land she lives. She came to unceded coast salish territories in 2011 from Amiskwaciy-Wâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) – Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakoda, Tsuu T’ina, Dene (Treaty 6) territory – to attend UBC’s Faculty of Education for graduate studies after completing a BA in Sociology at the University of Alberta. Her SSHRC-funded masters thesis was a critical analysis of representations of responsibility for sexual assault prevention in mainstream media and police discourse, countered in grassroots anti-violence activism.
Before joining SVPRO in 2018, she worked at WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre for 7 years, providing training and education for service providers across BC, crisis line operators, high schools, post secondary institutions, media outlets, touring theatre productions, and the public.
Ariana has also been a choreographer in dance, theatre, and choral productions for over 10 years, and spent 9 years as a feminist radio producer and host. She is keenly aware of how much can be done through the arts and media to question and shift cultural norms and beliefs around sexual harm as a seemingly inevitable part of life. Invested in how sexuality, sexual harm, queerness, race, trans and non-binary and BIPOC performers, and survivors are represented, she completed training in 2021 to become a certified intimacy coordinator for film and television.
Ariana believes that anti-violence movements, and all social justice efforts, are fueled by the unique gifts, talents, and perspectives we each bring to this collective work. Supporting and learning from the next generation of changemakers gives her life.
Dawn Nealon, Support Specialist
Dawn came to Vancouver three years ago from Calgary, Alberta, the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in southern Alberta, which includes the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprising the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda Nation (including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations). She joined SVPRO after time at Vancouver Coastal Health and has been with the office since 2018.
Dawn is a registered social worker with over 14 years of experience working to support individuals, families, and communities. Dawn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work as well as a Clinical Masters of Social work from the University of Calgary. Dawn has worked in a wide variety of settings including non-profits, government, hospital, and education. Dawn has a background in victim services, court support, hospital-based sexual assault services, research and school-based mental health. The primary focus of her career has been in the areas of human sexuality and sexualized violence. This was reflected through Dawn’s work as sexual health counsellor and educator before becoming a sexual violence therapist with Calgary’s primary sexual assault Centre.
Dawn is passionate about ending the stigma of talking about bodies, whether it is about sexual health or sexual violence. She firmly believes people have a right to feel good in their bodies and that we cannot achieve this without talking about the experiences we have within our bodies.
Outside of work Dawn spends her time with her puppy Sig getting to know Vancouver, where he is frequently mistaken for a fox. Dawn is much relieved to live in a place that does not get slammed with snow, but even in Vancouver she continues to dream of tropical locales- which likely explains her love of warm weather plants.
Erin Offer, Support Specialist
Erin, a queer mixed-race settler, was born and raised on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territories of the Matsqui, Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo Nations.
After completing her BA in Political Science (University of Victoria), Erin worked in documentary and independent film and TV. She returned to school for her Bachelor of Social Work (University of British Columbia) and her Master of Social Work (University of Toronto). Erin practised social work in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside for several years in outreach and counselling roles in HIV/AIDS care, home health, substance use treatment and harm reduction, and women’s programs.
Erin’s approach comes from lessons from family, those who came before her, and those she works alongside, who are generous enough to share their stories, suffering, and successes with her: that we are responsible for one another’s well-being, which requires that we contribute what we’re able, with humility and empathy.
Outside of work, Erin can be found feeling insecure in hip hop dance classes, and doing stand-up comedy and improv— using the latter mediums to express her confusion and hopefulness about most things.
Habibatou Ba, Support Specialist
Check back later for Habibatou’s bio!
Lauren Casey, Indigenous Support Specialist and Educator
Lauren comes to the land colonially known as Vancouver from Haida Gwaii, which is the home of her Nuni’s (grandmother) people. Lauren is a registered member of the Skidegate Band, of the Haida Nation. Her family’s crest is the Hummingbird, of the Juus Clan, on her father’s side. She is the great-great-granddaughter of Chief Skidegate (Edward Collinson), and Emma Young. On her mother’s side she is of Cree Métis heritage from the Red River Valley, through southern Alberta. Lauren’s traditional name is llaanaay, given to her by her Nuni, which means Beloved Friend in Haida, specifically the X̱aayda Kil dialect from the southern part of the island.
Lauren calls the land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ her second home, as an uninvited guest. It is with great care that she walks gently on the land of her cousins’ ancestors, knowing the responsibility her role as a guest carries.
Lauren attended the University of British Columbia, prior to working in the areas of health governance, public relations, and education. She specialized in Issues Management for several organizations, most significantly for two years as Issues Manager with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Lauren has been involved in the MMIWG movement from a very young age, including advocacy, activism and support work in the downtown eastside of Vancouver.
Her commitment to serving Indigenous peoples locally, in BC, and across Turtle Island is what led Lauren to the work she has done for more than 10 years. It is the Grandmothers, the Elders, and the Knowledge Keepers in communities across this land that Lauren credits with educating her to better understand Indigenous history, culture and ways of knowing. This sacred knowledge is what guides Lauren in her work every day with Indigenous survivors and allies.
In her spare time Lauren can most often be found curling up with a book (she will read anything!), spending time with her large, boisterous family, or even working weekends at a local pub, just for the atmosphere.
Ogake Angwenyi, Support Specialist
Ogake was born and raised in the city in the sun (Nairobi, Kenya) and is grateful for the serendipitous mix of luck, choice, and opportunity that has led her to call the beautiful lands of the Coast Salish Nations a second home.
An avid traveller, Ogake has been fortunate to live, study, and work in Wales, Canada, and France over the last decade. She completed her Bachelor in International Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and her Masters in Social Policy at Sciences Po in Paris in 2018. Ever curious about the world and the human condition, Ogake constantly learns from those she is so fortunate to work with and for, and feels especially grateful for work that allows her to engage with people one-on-one.
Before coming to UBC, Ogake spent the last few years working in the anti-violence movement as a front-line worker and in team leadership supporting and advocating on behalf of survivors of gender-based violence, interpersonal violence, and sexualized violence. Through various roles within transition housing and community-based victim services as well as in her current role,Ogake endeavours to meet her clients where they’re at, and to offer a safe and supportive presence while honouring individual agency and providing meaningful options. Ogake is grateful for the unique privilege of being able to witness, in her clients, shared humanity, vulnerability, pain, strength, resilience, and triumph.
When she isn’t working, Ogake enjoys frolicking in the outdoors, cultivating her love for interior decor, singing out loud, gazing lovingly at flowers, and reading through her growing collection of books and magazines.
Sasha Wiley-Shaw, Educator
Pronouns they/them or she/her
Sasha was born on territories belonging to the Káínawa, Siksiká, Piikani, Tsúūt’ínà, and Îyârhe Nakoda, as well as the Métis Nation of Alberta, that today are colonially occupied under the name “Calgary”. Sasha grew up and still lives in East Vancouver on the unceded, occupied territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ; recognition of Indigenous jurisdiction and governance is a central principle that underpins Sasha’s work.
Sasha graduated from UBC with a BA in Political Science (2005) and BEd (2006), followed by graduate studies in Public Policy and Public Health at SFU. Sasha’s background includes almost a decade as a public school teacher in Vancouver, teaching courses including Women’s Studies, Law, Social Studies, and English; five years policy work with the Tsawwassen and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations; and over 15 years of community work and activism focused on gender equality, ending violence, anti-oppression, and anti-poverty work, including with the Vancouver and BC Teachers’ Federations and numerous activist communities.
Sasha is a big picture thinker who is keen to connect research with lived experience and engage in difficult conversations. As a dedicated life-long learner, Sasha is invested in the work of self-reflection related to privilege and oppression, guided by the understanding that violence prevention requires us all to be willing to leverage and risk losing our privilege in the name of pursuing safety and equity for all.
Outside the world of work, Sasha spends time in community organizing, writing, binging feminist sci-fi, hiking, laying on the beach, dancing, and doting on Ophelia the small cat.