Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine for their work as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Vancouver, Canada’s second Black Lives Matter chapter. They were also a winner of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Youth Leadership Award in Social Movement Building for their commitment to Black liberation and LGBTQ+ activism.
In 2017, Cicely Belle was listed as one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and in 2019 they became one of BC Business’s 30 under 30 business leaders as well as a finalist for the Canadian LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press and VS Books.
Senior Consultant & Creative Lead, she/they
Becca Schwenk is an equity and inclusion consultant and creative chameleon. She is all about deep and meaningful analyses of injustice and innovative solutions. Becca completed her bachelor’s degree at McGill University, where she majored in both Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, Feminism, and Social Justice studies. She has led within anti-oppressive support centres and fast-paced feminist startups, and she doesn’t intend to stop shaking up the status quo any time soon. Her background in both business and nonprofit sectors has given her a unique lens and well-versed air of compassion. You can frequently find Becca slipping social justice tidbits into everyday conversations; ready to engage free of judgement and full of empathy.
Equity & Inclusion Educator, she/her
Alia Ali is an instructor, consultant, activist and international speaker. She specializes in workplace culture and conflict transformation. She has always lived a life of service to her community – creating and running programs for youth, working in the corporate world of waterworks, high ticket sales, and serving as an executive at a start-up tech in Vancouver.Alia is also an outspoken advocate for empathy and anti-racism. She does a lot of work with Rotary and is the current President of the Surrey Rotaract Club as well as a Director of the Big West Rotaract Organization where she serves and empowers young professionals as well as trying to help Rotary in the DEI department making the organization more equitable and accessible for all. Alia is also a Female Empowerment and Leadership Instructor for the non-profit Voices of Muslim Women and is delighted to be a part of this organization.
Administrative Assistant, she/ella/elle
Mariana (pronounced mah•ree•anah) is a South American multidisciplinary artist, based and creating work on ancestral and occupied lands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Watuth and Squamish Nations currently known as Vancouver, British Columbia.
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art & Design, the artist’s practice is greatly based on introspection, exploring personal and collective identity politics through performance, printmaking, painting and collage both analogue and digital. Simultaneously, the artist has developed a written practice, informed by her training in social sciences, gender studies, and the observation and interrogation of the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism in the Americas, specifically in Colombia and Canada.
Aside from her job supporting the collective work done at Cicely Blain Consulting, Mariana is a committed advocate of racial and climate justice, equality and social change through the assertion of continental Indigenous Sovereignty, service to local and South American community leaders and organizers, fundraising, accountability and art.
South and Central america
Disrupting the status quo
Policy Developer, she/her
Koshiki was born in Japan and spent part of her childhood there until moving to Ireland at the age of 11. She relocated to Vancouver in 2014 where she has been living and working with gratitude on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Human Rights and LL.M in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict from the National University of Ireland, Galway. With a deep passion for peacebuilding, Koshiki is currently getting her certificates in Mediation and Negotiation from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
She spent a year abroad in Spain (BEST YEAR OF HER LIFE) during University interning at the European and Criminal Law Institute conducting research on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Don’t get her started about Spain - she’ll never stop talking about it!
Being a mixed race woman who’s lived in Japan, Ireland, Spain and Canada, Koshiki brings a vast number of lived experiences and unique perspectives to her work. She has volunteered with Amnesty International, The David Suzuki Foundation, and currently volunteers with the Vancouver Association of Restorative Justice.
When not talking about human rights, you can find her exploring different creative ventures - painting, writing, and braining storming documentary and podcast ideas… just to name a few!
Her dog Gus
Jalapeños or anything spicy!
Connecting with change makers
Strolling along the beaches on the West Coast of Ireland
Equity & Inclusion Educator, he/him
Will Shelling (he/him) is an Equity and Inclusion Facilitator, academic, and avid home cook. He loves applying data-driven policy analysis to situations to intersectionally understand policy changes, usually coming to robust solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia, where he studied political science and international relations, holding part-time work in human rights advocacy and at the UBC Equity and Inclusion office. He currently studies at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC, where he’s focusing on sustainable development and civil rights academically. You can often find him working on a new recipe in his kitchen, or at his workstation supporting institutional and community change.
Watching Riverdale unironically
Long bike rides
Community Organizer and Social Justice Educator.
Udokam Iroegbu is a Nigerian born and raised cis-gendered woman, living and working on unceded, stolen, traditional and ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples. This reality is one that Udokam uses to inform her anti-oppression, anti-colonial, Black feminist, queer, social justice work as a community organizer and educator.
With a degree in civil engineering and an aspiring mobility justice engineer, Udokam re-imagines the role of transportation and movement as an integral part of our humanity and seeks to improve its function by embedding Equity and decolonizing, and anti-racism principles into transportation project development process - from inception to execution. As an organizer with Black Lives Matter Vancouver, Udokam advocates for the rights and lives of Black people, while standing in solidarity with the Indigenous people of Coast Salish Territory. In this capacity, Udokam is able to centre the intersecting needs of Black people, where our population is low, and freedom often negotiated. She gathers, marches, strategizes, educates, fundraises, celebrates, dances, collaborates, and sings for our collective liberation.
Udokam calls on the strength of her ancestors, and is inspired by the fierce radical love of all the women that raised her: her grandmother, mother, aunties, and the woman at the corner store that kept a watchful eye. She finds herself rejuvenated by the fierce, creative, supportive, resilient, and innovative femmes she's come to know and love. When all is said and done, Udokam’s best work, and favourite time, is spent with her friends and loved ones. In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Bárbara Costa is an equity and social justice enthusiast. An eager student of humans - how they interact, what they think, how they organize, and how we can help optimize or create fairer understandings and fairer structures.Bachelor in Social Communications, from the Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, her graduation thesis was on social businesses' critical discourse analysis. She has experience with data analysis, strategic planning, and creative briefing in small to large organizations. Bárbara also has a keen eye for aesthetics, as we communicate in complex manners involving all senses and abstractions. Currently, she is experimenting with audiovisual narratives and scenography.Immigrant to Canada since 2016, Bárbara is grateful to be able to live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam Nations; also known as Vancouver.