Jane Devji

Jane Devji, founder and former CEO of Delta View Campus of Care is a transformative figure in senior care leadership. Over decades of service, Jane established herself as a trailblazer within residential care, breaking down barriers and elevating the standard of care for seniors. Drawing from her international studies, Jane pioneered a “hugs not drugs” gentle-care approach tailored for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Jane, her late husband Amin and her sons, Salim and Aly, were proud to have created the Delta View Habilitation Centre, one of Canada’s first purpose built for dementia care homes. Later, Jane and her family created the Delta View Life Enrichment Centre, where Jane championed the concept of care-hubs.

Jane advocates for seniors facilities to serve as comprehensive centers offering a spectrum of services tailored to individual needs. Continuously expanding Delta View’s offerings, she introduced additional wrap-around services including dialysis, rehabilitation therapy, and respite care. Jane’s innovative approach extends beyond the confines of Delta View. She shared her care-hub techniques with government and healthcare officials, catalyzing nationwide improvements in seniors care standards. Her legacy is marked by a tangible impact on countless seniors and their families, underscoring her commitment to advancing the quality of life for the elderly.

Doreen & Wayne Hewitt

Doreen and Wayne Hewitt have championed water protection on Salt Spring Island for over thirty years. Recognizing the watershed’s vulnerability, they forged partnerships with key stakeholders, including the Salmon Enhancement Society, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection. In 1993, they founded the Cusheon Lake Stewardship Group. Their joint efforts have extended to establishing the Beddis and Cusheon Area Residents’ Association, fostering a broader community engagement from the original Beddis Area Residents’ Association.

Wayne’s leadership roles in the Salt Spring Island Water Preservation Society and Doreen’s tenure as a Special Commissioner on the Beddis Water Service Commission exemplify their commitment. Doreen held leadership roles in 15 community groups, while Wayne led the development of the “Watershed Management Plan for Cusheon Lake,” completed in 2007. For over three decades, the Hewitt’s have vigilantly monitored governmental initiatives, zoning applications, and potential threats to the island’s watershed. Their role as educators and advocates has helped to safeguard Salt Spring Island’s drinking water sources amidst increasing development pressures and climate change challenges.

Troy MacBeth Abromaitis

Troy MacBeth Abromaitis brings his extensive expertise to community development and sustainable growth, with a career spanning over two decades. He has overseen major real estate development projects, while also serving in leadership positions such as President of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia. Troy’s advocacy for multi-family housing solutions and recent appointment as Senior Development Manager at Musqueam Capital Corporation underscore his commitment to advancing urban development initiatives.

As a member of the Nlaka’pamux Nation and the Lytton Indian Band, Troy draws upon his personal journey of resilience as a survivor of the 60s Scoop. After a 30-year journey to reconnect, Troy’s return home marks a transformative chapter, where he channels his experiences into empowering his community. Troy provides mentorship to individuals navigating adversity and played a role in the rebuild of Lytton First Nation after the devastating wildfires in 2021 as a member of the LFN’s Economic Development Corporation Board. He champions visual reconciliation in public spaces, recognizing art as a potent force for fostering healing, unity, and cultural expression. Troy leads initiatives in Surrey and Squamish that weave Salish art and narratives into the fabric of communities, creating vibrant spaces that symbolize collective resilience and hope.

Devon Black

Devon Black is the co-founder of AccessBC, a grassroots campaign advocating for free prescription contraception in British Columbia. For more than six years, Devon played a pivotal role in the campaign’s success, which led to the implementation of the policy in April 2023. Since then, 188,000 people in BC have accessed prescription contraception without cost, thanks to her dedication. Beyond organizing workshops and training over 80 volunteers provincewide, Devon has presented before government committees, served as media spokesperson (in both English and French), and propelled the campaign from local frustration to a national movement.

Devon continues her advocacy as AccessBC’s national liaison, supporting sibling campaigns across Canada. Her voluntary efforts have been instrumental in drafting press releases, providing media training, and fundraising. Devon’s impact empowers campaign members to advocate for reproductive justice issues, such as menstrual equity and improved pain management in gynecology. Without her work, prescription contraception access in the province would remain a financial barrier, defining her crucial role in advancing reproductive rights and health equity.

Prof. Nemkumar Banthia

Prof. Nemkumar (Nemy) Banthia is a University Killam Professor and mentor at the University of British Columbia (UBC), fostering academic and personal growth among students. With over 70 PhDs and Postdoctoral Fellows trained under his guidance, Nemy’s impact extends outside the classroom. As a world-renowned leader in carbon-neutral concrete infrastructure, Nemy’s research at UBC has improved the safety, sustainability, and resilience of civil infrastructure especially under extreme events such as earthquakes. As a Canada Research Chair, Nemy has also developed numerous advanced sensors and cyber-physical networks that are providing early warning signals on potential structural collapses.

Nemy serves as the founding CEO and Scientific Director of the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS). This $60 million Center, supported by the Indian and Canadian governments, focuses on developing scalable solutions and transferring advanced technologies to resource-limited communities. From self-healing concrete pavements to water treatment systems, IC-IMPACTS’ projects have lifted boil water advisories and initiated transformative change in Indigenous communities in Canada and India, exemplifying Nemy’s commitment to making a meaningful impact on a global scale.

Earl Blacklock

Earl Blacklock’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of those affected by poverty, substance dependence, and traumatic life events. As the Executive Director of Island Community Counselling (ICC), Earl serves as an experienced clinician and as the agency’s chief administrative officer. With three master’s degrees and accreditation as a Canadian Certified Counsellor, Earl leads ICC’s trauma program and has created initiatives that improve access to care delivery throughout the region.

Recognizing the pressing need for more qualified counsellors, Earl expanded a practicum therapist program that provides invaluable opportunities for graduate students to gain hands-on counselling practice. Many of these practicum therapists remained with the agency, significantly expanding ICC’s counseling team from just five to 29 counsellors. His leadership helps address the shortage of trained mental health professionals while ensuring therapeutic counselling services are accessible to all who seek help. By providing prompt and comprehensive support, Earl’s dedication changes lives and inspires others to contribute to the causes of mental health treatment and advocacy.

Robin Dawes

Robin Dawes transformed the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club through personal and invaluable contributions. She played a role in securing funding, designing, and supervising the construction of a new state-of-the-art lodge facility. Robin’s establishment of a ski rental program has significantly lowered barriers to entry for the wider community. Through her efforts, funding was secured, equipment purchased, and volunteers coordinated to ensure the program’s success. Additionally, she led the ski school program which has seen substantial growth and includes hundreds of children participating each year.

Engaging in both administrative tasks and day-to-day operations Robin contributes over 500 volunteer hours annually. From mowing ski trails to sealing floors in the new lodge, her hands-on approach supports the club’s success. As a former board chair and current board member, Robin leads by example, sharing her expertise through webinars and further enriching the broader cross-country ski community. Robin Dawes’s efforts have revitalized the Williams Lake Cross Country Ski Club, leaving a legacy that ensures future generations can enjoy the benefits of a thriving ski community.

Christopher Lee

As a grade eight student, Christopher Lee co-founded the Helping Hearts Youth Foundation. Now, two years later, Helping Hearts has grown into an ambitious youth-led non-profit, attracting over one hundred volunteers. Christopher serves as a mentor onboarding younger students who are experiencing their first service events while fostering a safe and welcoming atmosphere. Christopher mobilizes Helping Hearts’ volunteers and leads fundraising efforts which have exceeded $30,000. His team facilitates various community events and distributes back-to-school care packages to numerous elementary schools.

Additionally, Helping Hearts has provided meals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and is collaborating with the Vancouver School Board to establish a tutoring program for marginalized elementary students. Alongside his entirely youth-organized executive team, Christopher leads consistent and sustainable initiatives. His hands-on approach reflects his concern for all participants, promptly addressing issues and staying until the last task is completed. Christopher has ignited a culture of service within his organization, inspiring youth to engage in meaningful community service while making a difference.

K. Brian McConaghy

Brian McConaghy’s transition from RCMP member and forensic scientist to humanitarian advocate reflects his dedication to justice and human rights. His experience in law enforcement laid the groundwork, but it was his work in Cambodia that ignited his commitment to combatting child abuse and human trafficking. In 1989, Brian founded Ratanak International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the people of Cambodia rebuild their country torn apart by war, revolution and genocide. Under his leadership, Ratanak has become an internationally recognized model in the fight against modern slavery.

In 2017, Brian’s team built a multi-story restoration centre to provide compassion, secure shelter, and holistic trauma care for survivors on their journey to healing. Brian’s expertise has led him to speak on international human trafficking at prestigious platforms such as the Canadian Senate and advise on G7 law enforcement policy, amplifying awareness and advocacy for survivors on a global scale. More recently, the government of Cambodia invited Brian’s team to assist in building protective systems at a national level. From Canada to Cambodia, Brian’s efforts are restoring dignity and hope to those robbed of freedom while protecting the most vulnerable.

Siân Lewis

Siân Lewis believes in the power of helping individuals overcome addiction to create healthier communities in Kamloops and beyond. Since assuming the role of Executive Director of Day One Society in 2011, Siân’s leadership has transformed the organization by redefining its mission, rebranding, and expanding service offerings to better serve the community. She has cultivated a governance-focused board, driving strategic growth initiatives and fostering a culture of accountability and effectiveness.

Recognizing the need for targeted interventions, Siân spearheaded initiatives such as the “Ashes to Dust Bike Camp” and “Adventure Sundays” to support at-risk and disadvantaged youth. Her approach led to the creation of programs aiding individuals transitioning to sober lifestyles, earning contracts with Interior Health for supportive living initiatives. Siân’s advocacy extends past organizational boundaries, establishing a sobering center in Kamloops and collaborating with various community groups to challenge stigma while addressing root causes of substance use disorders. An academic background in social work, coupled with extensive experience in mental health and addiction services, youth emergency services, and community development, underpins Siân’s vision to creating systemic change.