CJ Rowe

CJ Rowe

Executive Director

Pronouns: They/Them/She/Her

CJ is a genderqueer butch with a passion for advocacy and education for social change. Born and raised on the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik people, CJ currently lives and works on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. CJ joins QMUNITY with well over a decade of experience in political work, advocacy and educational development, including close to ten years as a Diversity Advisor with the University of British Columbia.

As a Diversity Advisory, CJ strived to use a feminist intersectional approach to provide leadership in the development and implementation of programs and initiatives designed to build more inclusive communities on the University campus and beyond.

One of CJ’s favourite projects included working in collaboration with campus and community partners in the development of CampOUT!, an amazing summer camping experience for BC’s queer, trans, two-spirit and allied youth. Over the years, CJ has worked and volunteered with national equality-seeking organizations conducting research, critically engaging with policy and lobbying on such issues as same-sex marriage, transgender and transsexual equality rights and violence against women. CJ is a passionate outdoors person who has a deep love of rock climbing and can often be found dangling from the granite cliffs in and around Squamish.

Ayesh Ismail-Kanani

Ayesh Ismail-Kanani

Youth Worker

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Ayesh Ismail-Kanani is a queer, South Asian settler living and working on unceded Coast Salish Territories. They are dedicated to social justice work and creating safer, more inclusive, anti-oppressive spaces for queer, trans and Two Spirit youth.

They have been avidly involved in youth support work, workshop facilitation on gender and sexuality, program development and policy reform. They assisted in the creation of the Trans & Gender Variant Inclusion Recommendations Report, passed by the Vancouver Park Board in 2014. Ayesh spends their spare time making art and working on arts based activism. They also volunteer as part of collective organizing groups focused on making space for qtipoc (queer, trans, Two-Spirit, People of Colour) communities.

Cicely-Belle Blain

Cicely-Belle Blain

Youth Worker

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Cicely-Belle is a queer, Black poet, artist and community organizer who has been a settler on Coast Salish lands for four years. Originally from London, England, they have been working on bringing social justice, accessibility and inclusivity to spaces, mainly at UBC, where they studied European Studies and Russian.

Cicely-Belle’s previous and on-going projects include co-founding a chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement in Vancouver, archiving the history of racialized student activism across North America with the UBC Center for Race, Autobiography, Gender and Age, and being the program assistant for BC’s queer and trans summer camp, CampOUT. They have also worked with the Positive Space Campaign and the Global Lounge, both at UBC, which have been instrumental in fueling their passion for community building, intercultural understanding and safer space creation. They spend their spare time writing teen fiction, painting, and winning at pub trivia.

Justin Barath

Justin Barath

Development Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Justin is an enthusiastic and optimistic individual with a passion for wellness research, civic engagement, youth development and advocacy. He has a diverse background in community outreach and education with an emphasis on (dis)ability and queer issues. Prior to moving to Vancouver, Justin completed dual degrees in Life Sciences and Psychology at Queen’s University, Kingston.

He previously volunteered as a board member with Reelout Arts Project Inc., where he spent three years working on the Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival, Reelout In Schools, and various outreach projects with HIV/AIDS Regional Services Kingston and LGBT Youth Line in Toronto. He is passionate about LGBTQ research and volunteered as a research assistant with the Sexual Health Research Lab at Queen’s University, in addition to completing certifications in Mental Health First Aid and safeTALK from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Justin is excited to join the amazing staff at QMUNITY and champion the QMUNITY values of diversity, community, advocacy, and respect, while assisting with programming to support all of B.C.’s queer communities. In addition to his extensive interests in technology and music, Justin is enjoying the opportunity to reactivate his interest in cycling and outdoor activities with his move to Vancouver.

Joel Harnest

Joel Harnest

Education and Training Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Joel joins QMUNITY with over 7 years of experience in outreach, group facilitation and adult education.  After studying international development at the University of Guelph, he worked in student recruitment followed by some years spent at an international charity where he managed program implementation within Washington State.

Joel believes in the power of stories, and loves to share his own while creating space for others to feel confident and safe enough to share theirs. Joel believes in finding work in which he can create space for people from all walks of life to feel fully human: respected, dignified and valued.  For this reason, and many more, he’s excited to be part of QMUNITY!

Outside of work, Joel fancies himself a decent, if not clumsy, sportsperson, playing tennis, soccer and ultimate frisbee.  An avid board game player,Joel will gladly take on any challengers for a game of Settlers of Catan or Bananagrams.  When he’s looking to unwind, yoga, photography or a trip into nature calms the mind, body and heart.  If you ask him about his cats, be sure you have 90 minutes to spare.

Ahmed Danny Ramadan

Ahmed Danny Ramadan

Volunteer Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Danny is a Jack-of-all-trades who found his calling in activism, civil society, journalism and creative writing. As an LGBTQ activist, he has been involved in coordinating online and on the ground efforts to support gender and sexual minorities in Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon as well as his birthplace of Syria.

Through QMUNITY, Danny hopes to give back to the community that welcomed and embraced him since his arrival to Canada.

He is passionate about the values of volunteerism and democracy; and the causes of social justice and LGBTQ refugees’ rights. He demonstrated his commitment to these causes through his past involvement with local and international organizations based in the Middle East, as well as his personal experience as a former gay refugee.

Danny is an experienced journalist with bylines appearing in the Washington Post, The Guardian and Foreign Policy. He is also an author, with two collections of short stories published in Arabic. He is planning to publish his first novel in English soon.

Finally, Danny is a comics nerd. He is also addicted to Twitter. He has been ignoring his friends’ constant advice to stop using the word “awesome” way too much.

Julie Zhu

Julie Zhu

Information and Referrals Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her

Julie is a passionate and experienced client service specialist. She has excellent skills in connecting and quickly building rapport with people from diverse backgrounds. By appreciating diversity and inclusion, Julie practices a non-judgmental approach. Julie sees positivity in every client’s life journey.

Julie has brought her 15 plus years of combined experience in client service, research, and staff supervision to the Information and Referrals Coordinator position. A former enthusiastic QMUNITY Information and Referrals Volunteer, she finds serving clients in non-profit organization a greatly rewarding experience. In addition, Julie gains energy by working with multiple parties: clients, service providers and agencies.

Julie holds a Master of Education from UBC and Career Development Practitioner Certificate from SFU. She is a real fan of personal growth. In her spare-time, you will find her reading books or watching YouTube videos about the topic. Julie is a firm believer that everyone can bring in positive change to their lives if given adequate support and assistance. Julie is also an outdoor sports lover; she enjoys jogging along Seawall and hopes to jog daily in the very near future.

David J. Nyffeler

David J. Nyffeler

Engagement Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

David is a queer, mixed race Filipino who would describe himself as an artist, an activist, and an enthusiast. While attending the University of Alberta, he completed a degree in Art & Design; with a particular focus in LGBTQ visibility and representation.

Prior to his move to Vancouver, he volunteered with queer youth and students at The Landing and at Camp fYrefly. There he helped to facilitate a weekly peer discussion group, and provided students with workshops about queer and trans health. He believes in giving individuals the tools to create spaces where they can share and celebrate their experiences.

In his spare time, David can be found playing amateur seamstress, impersonating Tony Stark, or working on queer storytelling.