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.

P. Amil Reddy

P. Amil Reddy

Program Director

Pronouns: They/Them

Amil first collaborated with QMUNITY, or ‘The Centre’ – as it was called then –when she was the Diversity Coordinator for the City of Surrey, and has been a fan ever since.

Coming from a Community Development background, Amil has worked with communities across Turtle Island with the goal of bringing people together to create positive and meaningful change. The positions she has held have been rooted by the intersectional experience of an intersex mixed race queer, social justice activist, survivor, and daughter.

Regardless of where her work has taken her, getting lost in the forest, sipping a good Americano, and east van breweries bring her home every time. That and her cat Chicken; she hates flying.

Jeffrey Preiss

Jeffrey Preiss

Manager of Community Engagement

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Jeffrey Preiss is no stranger to QMUNITY. He first learned about QMUNITY at a breakfast meeting for fundraising professionals in 2009 and in 2010 became a Board member and long-term supporter.

Jeffrey can often be found in the back row of his favourite Thursday evening spin class. He also enjoys reading books on topics such as deconstruction, queer theory, and theology, playing darts on a Friday night, or listening to jazz while drinking a glass of red wine and cooking. He lives on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

With a passion for human wellbeing, social justice, and community, Jeffrey values a non-judgmental and inclusive workplace where a diversity of perspectives and ideas can flourish.

Jeffrey has worked in communications and engagement for over 8 years and holds a BA in history, a MA in theology, and a MA in cultural studies. He also holds a number of professional certificates in public relations, leadership and facilitation, fundraising, and public participation.

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.

Heather Wong-Mitchell

Heather Wong-Mitchell

Operations Coordinator

Pronouns: She/Her

Heather Wong-Mitchell could best be described as a word nerd, a wine geek, an outdoor enthusiast, and a dog lover, in no particular order. She joins Qmunity after an extensive career in hospitality and wine retail, with forays into academia and accounting, that took her to locations as disparate as Toronto (traditional Mississaugan, Wendat, and Iroquoian lands) and Tofino (the unceded territories of the Tla-O- Qui-Aht / Nuu-Chah- Nulth First Nations).

She holds a BA in English and Ethnic Studies from Mills College (Oakland, CA – the traditional territories of the Ohlone and Yokuts peoples) and an MA in English and Queer Studies from Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC – the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations) and is an accredited Sommelier. Her connection to QMUNITY goes back to the mid 1990s, when she met her first “real” girlfriend at a QMUNITY (then The Centre) youth group. She lives in East Van with her wife and two large, lazy dogs.

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 Daniel Ramadan

Ahmed Daniel Ramadan

Community Outreach Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Daniel 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, Daniel 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.

Daniel 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, Daniel 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.

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.

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.

Cass Elliott

Cass Elliott

Seniors' Coordinator

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Having studied relationships and community development extensively at the University of Ottawa and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Cass has partnered with a multitude of charitable, academic, and nonprofit institutions to: build capacity, learn collectively, improve practice-readiness, and forge connected relationships.

This practice has taken him across Ontario and British Columbia and at times has given way to severe caffeine induced bouts of existential woe and narcissistically questionable self-reflection.

Esther McPhee

Esther McPhee

Youth Drop-In Facilitator

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs

Esther McPhee is a writer, magic-maker and community organizer. They grew up on Stó:lō land and now live on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh land in Vancouver, where they studied Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. As a facilitator and writing teacher, Esther has worked with youth in high schools and university, and mentored writers of all ages through various online and in-person platforms. They coordinated Writing & Book Camp 2016 for the Vancouver Public Library, where they got to hang out with over a hundred amazing youth who knew a lot about books.

 

When Esther was fifteen, they started their high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance; they’ve been involved in LGBTQ/2S activism and art ever since. They’re one half of the organizing team behind REVERB: A Queer Reading Series, which has been putting on shows featuring emerging and established queer writers for the past four years. All of Esther’s organizing centres anti-oppression and accessibility, with the not-so-secret hope that spaces that affirm, celebrate and support marginalized identities can change the world for the better.

Esther likes a lot of things: poetry, pop music, dismantling the heteropatriarchy, making pancakes, and scavenging for berries, to name a few.