People

People

Team   |   Board

Our People

Rise consists of six full-time staff members: the Executive Director, the Supervising Lawyer, Family Advocate Support Line Lawyer, Case Manager, Operations Manager, and Articling Student. We also work with two lawyers on special projects.

Rounding out our team is a part-time Liaison Lawyer (and representative of West Coast LEAF) who works with us to identify and advocate on significant issues of a systemic nature, and a Program Lawyer who is helping Rise to provide virtual legal services.

Our board, consisting of our President, Vice President, Treasurer and six Directors, is made up of community members with the wide range of experience and knowledge to effectively govern 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 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. A member of Rise’s inaugural launch team, she now oversees all practical operations for the clinic. 

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, 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.

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 he expects to be called to the bar in June 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.

After articling, Daniel hopes to use his experience at Rise to build a practice in family law, and to continue to provide 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!

TANYA THAKUR, Incubator Lawyer
LUCIE KRAJCA, Articling Student

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!

Our Board

ELBA BENDO, Director
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.

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.

DEBRA PARKES, Vice 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.

JEANNE ROBERT, Director
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.

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.

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.

RAHMAN, Shahnaz, Director
EVA URETA, Director

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