People

People

Team   |   Board

Our People

Rise is run by a dedicated team of experienced lawyers and social justice professionals who, with the assistance of experts in the community who volunteer their time, train senior law students to provide practical and compassionate family law services to women in BC. Our students come to us through a partnership with the Peter A Allard School of Law at UBC.

Rounding out our team are two incubator lawyers, alumni of Rise’s externship program with UBC, who are spending their first year at the Bar building their family law practice with the support, infrastructure, and practical resources available to them at Rise.

Rise is governed by our Board of Directors, made up of community members with a wide and varied range of experience and knowledge, who guide our organization.

Team

KIM HAWKINS, Executive Director

Kim Hawkins came to Rise via Whitehorse, Yukon Territory where she worked for many years as a full time staff lawyer at a busy legal aid clinic, practising mainly in the areas of family and criminal law. While in Whitehorse she also spent two years as judicial clerk and served for four years as President of the Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society. From 2007 to 2008, Kim worked on strategic constitutional litigation at the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown, South Africa. She holds a J.D. in Law from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. When she isn’t in the office Kim enjoys baking bread, yoga, and obsessively monitoring the tomato plants in her community garden plot.

Kim was born and raised in Victoria BC, in the territory of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), and Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation and is grateful to live, learn, work and play on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) nations.

SHEILA SCHIERBECK, Communications & Development Manager

Sheila Schierbeck has spent decades working for feminist, social justice and legal causes, both in professional and volunteer capacities. Pre-Rise, she attended SFU (triple minor in education, psychology, criminology), launched a successful small business, and spent nine years as the Trial Lawyers Association of BC’s first Membership Director. Sheila was one of Rise’s inaugural launch team in 2016, as its Operations Manager. As of autumn 2019, she is now Rise’s Communications & Development Manager. 

TARUNA AGRAWAL, Family Advocate Support Line Lawyer

Taruna Agrawal is responsible for the Family Advocate Support Line at Rise, assisting advocates across BC in delivering legal services to their clients. Before Rise, Taruna was a sole practitioner in the areas of family and immigration law. She has also been a supervising lawyer for the Women Leaving Abusive Relationships program at the YWCA. Taruna has an LL.B. from the University of Melbourne and completed her National Accreditation exams in Canada before articling with a boutique family law firm in Vancouver. She is a subject editor on Clicklaw Wikibooks for the chapter entitled “Immigrants and Family Law.” Taruna is passionate about access to justice and works daily to ensure that people, especially women leaving abusive relationships, have access to affordable counsel. She is an active volunteer in the community and has worked as an advocate at various non-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland, and in her spare time, she does yoga and enjoys travelling.

HALEY HRYMAK, Research Lawyer

 

Haley Hrymak works as a research lawyer for Rise on a project surrounding family violence. She is also working with the Department of Justice in developing a family violence screening tool for lawyers. Prior to working with Rise, Haley worked with the federal Crown in Winnipeg and in Vancouver where she gained extensive litigation experience. She holds a Master of Laws, a JD, and a BA in Psychology and Indigenous Studies. Her Master’s from the University of British Columbia analyzes the current opioid crisis and her findings are published in the Dalhousie Law Journal and the Manitoba Criminal Law Journal. She has volunteered on legal reform projects in Kenya and Ghana, and with various access to justice initiatives in Canada including with Atira Women’s Resource Centre in the Downtown Eastside. She enjoys writing and has been published in several Canadian newspapers including the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, and the Tyee. She can be reached at [email protected]

 

TANYA THAKUR, Incubator Lawyer
VANDANA SOOD, Supervising Lawyer

Vandana has focused her legal career on working to achieve gender equality and empowerment for women. Prior to joining Rise Women’s Legal Centre, Vandana was a sole practitioner and practised primarily in the areas of family law, child protection law (as parent’s counsel) and immigration&refugee law, with a focus on assisting women who had experienced family violence. Vandana also worked previously at an aboriginal law firm, articled in criminal law with Glen Orris. Q.C., and worked as a Mental Health Advocate for CLAS during law school. Vandana has a J.D. from the University of British Columbia, and an M.Sc. from the University of Calgary. Vandana is a strong believer in the power of community and is excited about the potential of Rise to help unite communities working to achieve gender equality. In her spare time, Vandana can be found spending time with dear friends and family, trying to start her own food revolution in her backyard, doing yoga, or escaping to the Sunshine Coast.

ANDREA BRYSON, Case Manager

Andrea joined the Rise team in 2018 as our Case Manager, as the first point of contact for women accessing our services and to be a resource to service providers seeking assistance for their clients.

Andrea was born and raised in the territory of the disputed Treaty 7 Lands of the Ktunaxa, Niitsitapi, Tsuu T’ina and Sarcee Nations before moving to the Lower Mainland, where she is grateful to reside as an uninvited guest on the lands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations.

Andrea has been working in the non-profit sector for 14 years, 11 of which were spent working in family law advocacy with women leaving abuse. Andrea is best known for her work with women with precarious status and women experiencing complex litigation, and for her knowledge of the legal aid system. She is a seasoned speaker and presenter on family law and intimate-partner violence.

Andrea holds a BSW in anti-oppressive social work, which is central to her practice in witnessing the many ways that women experiencing abuse resist oppressive systems they come into contact with.

When not at work Andrea likes to spend her time focusing on capacity building, both individually and within the communities she is a part of.

DANIEL MACNEILL, Incubator Lawyer

Daniel earned his J.D. from the University of British Columbia, and was called to the bar in September 2019. He also has a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, where he studied Psychology and Philosophy.

During law school, he worked extensively with the Law Student’s Legal Advice Program to promote access to justice in Vancouver, including work as clinic head for the Carnegie Community Centre clinic. He was also a student clinician at Rise in spring 2018 and is excited to return to Rise as its first articled student.

As half of the partnership Thakur MacNeill LLP, Daniel is building a practice in family law, and continues his commitment to providing legal services to low income communities.

VICKY LAW, Virtual Legal Clinic Lawyer

Vicky Law is the Program Lawyer at Rise for the Virtual Legal Clinic, a new initiative to provide legal services to women outside the Vancouver Lower Mainland. She finds innovative ways through technology to improve access to justice for women. Vicky Law has worked in the fields of immigration law and family law for women experiencing intimate partner violence. In her career as a legal advocate and a lawyer, she has supported many women and families in navigating their immigration status in Canada, and the complexity of the family law system. Vicky obtained her Juris Doctor (Honours) from the University of Saskatchewan and has built a legal career in BC where she passionately advocates for women’s rights. Vicky is a gifted lawyer and pianist!

LUCIE KRAJCA, Articling Student

Lucie and her family were refugees of the cold war. As a child, she spent a year living in various refugee camps across Austria before she and her family became naturalized citizens of Canada. Lucie’s life experiences and her desire to assist individuals with low incomes compelled her to study law. When she discovered Rise provides free and low-cost legal services to women with low incomes, she applied to become a student clinician. Lucie was a student clinician at Rise in winter 2019 and feels fortunate to be able to return to Rise as its second articled student.

Lucie earned her J.D. at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and was one of the privileged few recipients of the Beverley McLachlin Legal Access Award, which is awarded to students for accepting an articling position in an area of public interest or social justice law in British Columbia. During law school, Lucie worked at the Law Student’s Legal Advice Program and spent her second-year summer assisting Professor Asha Kaushal with immigration research. Lucie also holds a B.A. in Sociology and Writing from UBC. 

KIM HAWKINS, Executive Director

Kim Hawkins came to Rise via Whitehorse, Yukon Territory where she worked for many years as a full time staff lawyer at a busy legal aid clinic, practising mainly in the areas of family and criminal law. While in Whitehorse she also spent two years as judicial clerk and served for four years as President of the Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society. From 2007 to 2008, Kim worked on strategic constitutional litigation at the Legal Resources Centre in Grahamstown, South Africa. She holds a J.D. in Law from the University of Victoria, and a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. When she isn’t in the office Kim enjoys baking bread, yoga, and obsessively monitoring the tomato plants in her community garden plot.

Kim was born and raised in Victoria BC, in the territory of the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich), Lkwungen (Songhees), and Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation and is grateful to live, learn, work and play on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) nations.

DANIEL MACNEILL, Incubator Lawyer

HALEY HRYMAK, Researcher

 

Haley Hrymak works as a research lawyer for Rise on a project surrounding family violence. She is also working with the Department of Justice in developing a family violence screening tool for lawyers. Prior to working with Rise, Haley worked with the federal Crown in Winnipeg and in Vancouver where she gained extensive litigation experience. She holds a Master of Laws, a JD, and a BA in Psychology and Indigenous Studies. Her Master’s from the University of British Columbia analyzes the current opioid crisis and her findings are published in the Dalhousie Law Journal and the Manitoba Criminal Law Journal. She has volunteered on legal reform projects in Kenya and Ghana, and with various access to justice initiatives in Canada including with Atira Women’s Resource Centre in the Downtown Eastside. She enjoys writing and has been published in several Canadian newspapers including the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette, and the Tyee. 

 

VANDANA SOOD, Supervising Lawyer

Vandana has focused her legal career on working to achieve gender equality and empowerment for women. Prior to joining Rise Women’s Legal Centre, Vandana was a sole practitioner and practised primarily in the areas of family law, child protection law (as parent’s counsel) and immigration&refugee law, with a focus on assisting women who had experienced family violence. Vandana also worked previously at an aboriginal law firm, articled in criminal law with Glen Orris. Q.C., and worked as a Mental Health Advocate for CLAS during law school. Vandana has a J.D. from the University of British Columbia, and an M.Sc. from the University of Calgary. Vandana is a strong believer in the power of community and is excited about the potential of Rise to help unite communities working to achieve gender equality. In her spare time, Vandana can be found spending time with dear friends and family, trying to start her own food revolution in her backyard, doing yoga, or escaping to the Sunshine Coast.

TARUNA AGRIWAL, Family Advocate Support Lawyer

Taruna Agrawal is responsible for the Family Advocate Support Line at Rise, assisting advocates across BC in delivering legal services to their clients. Before Rise, Taruna was a sole practitioner in the areas of family and immigration law. She has also been a supervising lawyer for the Women Leaving Abusive Relationships program at the YWCA. Taruna has an LL.B. from the University of Melbourne and completed her National Accreditation exams in Canada before articling with a boutique family law firm in Vancouver. She is a subject editor on Clicklaw Wikibooks for the chapter entitled “Immigrants and Family Law.” Taruna is passionate about access to justice and works daily to ensure that people, especially women leaving abusive relationships, have access to affordable counsel. She is an active volunteer in the community and has worked as an advocate at various non-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland, and in her spare time, she does yoga and enjoys travelling.

LUCIE KRAJCA, Articling Student

TANYA THAKUR, Incubator Lawyer

ANDREA BRYSON, Case Manager

Andrea joined the Rise team in 2018 as our Case Manager, as the first point of contact for women accessing our services and to be a resource to service providers seeking assistance for their clients.

Andrea was born and raised in the territory of the disputed Treaty 7 Lands of the Ktunaxa, Niitsitapi, Tsuu T’ina and Sarcee Nations before moving to the Lower Mainland, where she is grateful to reside as an uninvited guest on the lands of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations.

Andrea has been working in the non-profit sector for 14 years, 11 of which were spent working in family law advocacy with women leaving abuse. Andrea is best known for her work with women with precarious status and women experiencing complex litigation, and for her knowledge of the legal aid system. She is a seasoned speaker and presenter on family law and intimate-partner violence.

Andrea holds a BSW in anti-oppressive social work, which is central to her practice in witnessing the many ways that women experiencing abuse resist oppressive systems they come into contact with.

When not at work Andrea likes to spend her time focusing on capacity building, both individually and within the communities she is a part of.

AYESHA ALI, Office Manager

Ayesha joined the Rise team as the Office Manager in November 2019. It has always been an goal of hers to work for a feminist organization that has a positive impact on the community. Ayesha graduated from SFU with a degree in Anthropology, and also holds a certificate in NGO & Non-profit studies. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for 5 years in various advocacy and education roles. She is very passionate about the environment and currently sits on the City of Richmond’s Advisory Committee for the Environment. Ayesha volunteers her time at various social justice organizations, and being an engaged, active citizen is very important to her. Outside of her role at Rise, Ayesha is a huge soccer fan, loves to read, and is a strong believer that puns are the highest form of wit.

SHEILA SCHIERBECK, Operations Manager

Sheila Schierbeck has spent a lifetime working for feminist, social justice and legal causes, both in professional and volunteer capacities. Pre-Rise, she attended SFU (triple minor in education, psychology, criminology), launched a successful small business, and spent nine years as the Trial Lawyers Association of BC’s first Membership Director. She is thrilled to be part of the inaugural team of this ground-breaking new venture, and to be contributing to its growth and success.

VICKY LAW, Program Lawyer

Vicky Law is the Program Lawyer at Rise for the Virtual Legal Clinic, a new initiative to provide legal services to women outside the Vancouver Lower Mainland. She finds innovative ways through technology to improve access to justice for women. Vicky Law has worked in the fields of immigration law and family law for women experiencing intimate partner violence. In her career as a legal advocate and a lawyer, she has supported many women and families in navigating their immigration status in Canada, and the complexity of the family law system. Vicky obtained her Juris Doctor (Honours) from the University of Saskatchewan and has built a legal career in BC where she passionately advocates for women’s rights. Vicky is a gifted lawyer and pianist!

Board of Directors

DEBRA PARKES, President

Debra is Professor and Chair in Feminist Legal Studies at UBC’s  Peter A. Allard School of Law. From 2001 to 2016 she was a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba where she served a term as Associate Dean from 2013-2016. Debra has focused much of her scholarly work on addressing societal injustices, gender (in)equality, the incarceration of women, the limits of prison reform, and the framing and adjudicating of prisoners’ rights claims. For more than two decades she has worked with feminist organizations, including West Coast LEAF and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. From 2009-2013 she was Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law.

PAT KOSTUK, Treasurer-Secretary

Pat currently works as a sole practitioner in public accounting and teaches college level accounting. As a CPA,CA, Pat brings broad financial experience in public accounting, government and industry to the Rise Board. Pat is an active volunteer presenter with CPA Canada’s Financial Literacy Program and also volunteers as a musician with a local military band. She is a strong believer in equity and throughout her career worked in, what was at the time, traditionally male dominated positions, helping to open doors for younger women to follow.

RISA LEVINE, Director

After having served as a justice of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia from 2001-2014, and the Supreme Court of British Columbia from 1995-2001, Risa is now retired. Before her appointment as a judge, she practised law in Vancouver with the firm of Thorsteinssons, taught tax law at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, and participated in various legal and community organizations.

DONNA MARTINSON, Director

After spending 21 years as a judge, Donna now works on a volunteer basis as an Adjunct Professor at SFU’s School of Criminology and as an Honorary Visitor with the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies at UBC’s Allard School of Law. She is also Chair of the national Canadian Bar Association’s sub-committee on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a part of the Children and the Law Committee which Donna is co-founder and first chair of. She was appointed as a Judge of the BC Provincial Court in 1991, the BC Supreme Court in 1998 and as a Deputy Judge of the Yukon Supreme Court in 2005. Prior to that, Donna was a full-time member of the UBC Law Faculty for two years. She also practised law as Crown Counsel, criminal defence counsel and in the areas of family law in Calgary for 14 years. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in Alberta in 1986 and obtained her LL.M from Cambridge University, England, in 1987.

CLEA PARFITT, Director

Clea works primarily in the areas of human rights and employment law after being called to the bar in 1992. She was active for over a decade with the West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association, a non-profit organization which provides legal advice and advocacy for domestic workers in BC, and was a Board member of P.A.C.E. (Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society). Clea is currently active with West Coast LEAF, serving as a Board member, pro bono counsel, and chairing the litigation committee.

KAILA MIKKELSEN, Director

Kaila Mikkelsen is the Assistant Dean, Students at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, where she   provides personal and academic advising to law students, and creates programming to support student success. She also manages the Peer Tutor and Ambassador programs. Kaila is a former board member of the Simon Fraser University Child Care Society and holds volunteer positions with North Shore Girls Soccer Club and Burnaby-New Westminster Ringette. Kaila has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria, a law degree from Dalhousie Law School and a Master of Laws from the University of Cambridge.  Prior to working at Allard Law, she practiced corporate and securities law at a national law firm in Vancouver.

CARLY TEILLET, Director

Carly Teillet is Métis from the Red River Métis community (Winnipeg). She was called to the British Columbia Bar in May of 2018. She is on contract as the Gladue Lawyer with the Legal Services Society and runs a sole practice based in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  She is counsel for two parties with standing in their efforts to participate and be heard by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (Vancouver Sex Workers Rights Collective and the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society) and has represented Indigenous individuals in their encounters with the justice and child protection systems. She is a board member of Wish Drop In Centre Society. Carly has written Gladue Reports for Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia matters. In addition to her experiential knowledge as a result of her cultural background, Carly has worked with and developed relationships with individual Indigenous clients, elders, families and communities across Canada as a researcher, articling student, Gladue report writer and legal counsel.

ELBA BENDO, Director

Elba (she/her/hers) is the Director of Law Reform at West Coast LEAF. In this capacity, Elba undertakes legal research, policy analysis, and advocacy on issues that impact women and gender diverse people in British Columbia. Her recent law reform work has focused on amending legislation and improving services for families engaging with the child welfare system and survivors of gender-based violence.

 

Prior to joining West Coast LEAF, Elba practiced labour law with a focus on human rights and disability issues. During this time she volunteered with various anti-poverty, worker’s rights, and international human rights organizations.

 

In 2016, she returned to school to receive an LLM from SOAS, University of London during which she researched how transnational coalition building can facilitate feminist law reform efforts. Following her LLM, Elba led a public legal education program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law for newcomer youth. She has also acted as a legal advisor to a number of women-led grassroots community organizations working on indigenous land rights in Myanmar.

SHAHNAZ RAHMAN, Director

Shahnaz has over 25 years of combined experience as an educator, an author, counselor, facilitator, provincial coordinator of counseling programs for women and children and as a community liaison. In her current role as the Executive Director at the Surrey Women’s Centre, Shahnaz oversees the overall management of programs and services for women who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.  Shahnaz’s wonderful mother continues to be her strength and hope for advancing women’s safety and empowerment.

 

Awards:

Women of the Decade in Community Leadership and Social Change – 2017 Women’s Economic Forum -Surrey BC

Professional of the Month Award- Yellow Knife- 2003

Dream Catcher Award – Children’s International Conference 1999- Vancouver, BC

EVA URETA, Director

Eva Ureta has worked at WISH since 2009. Being at WISH for close to a decade, Eva has been the Food Coordinator, Drop-In Centre Coordinator and for more than 6-years has been the Supportive Employment Program Coordinator. With an education in Criminology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Eva continually focused on racial injustices across cultures manifested in the lives of women in the Downtown East side. The violence, abuse, neglect and discrimination faced by women and trans-women in the survival sex trade are a result of the gender and economic inequality in Canadian society. Over the past six and a half years, Eva has seen first-hand how the Supportive Employment Program at WISH has made an impact. Women have the opportunity to find their voice and power, to contribute, understand their equity within the labour market and to feel they are stakeholders in society.

JEANNE ROBERT, Director

Jeanne Robert grew up in France and in Peru. She arrived in Canada in 2012. She graduated from the Quebec Bar School in 2016 and she has a Master’s Degree in International Law focused on Human Rights from the University of Montreal. Before moving to British Columbia, she practiced family law and immigration law in a law firm in Montreal.

In 2018, her strong interest for social justice led her to join the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition in Victoria as a human rights advocate. In this position, she provided advocacy in human rights cases, primarily in regard to complaints made to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In August 2019, she moved to Vancouver and joined the Migrant Workers Centre as a legal advocate.

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