Board Members & Operations

Dr. Katherina Tarnai-Lokhorst (she/her)
Board Chair

Katherina’s influence as a role model for women in engineering and physical sciences crosses disciplines and international boundaries. An award-winning educator in mechanical engineering, Katherina has connected with scholars and industry representatives across Europe, Australia, Asia and the Americas, demonstrating by example her mode of authentic inclusion. A strong advocate for fairness and instilling a sense of belonging, Katherina teaches engineering, project management and social responsibility courses for post-secondary institutions including the University of British Columbia, manages international projects as President of the Lokhorst Group Ventures and is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of project management, policy development and governance topics that focus on authenticity.

Michael Cook
Board Member

Michael is an accomplished digital executive and product leader with strong business acumen and analytical skills, He excels in dynamically changing environments and technologies and has held various leadership roles, including CEO at Stocksy United, a multi-class co-op with employees and suppliers as members. Key successes include implementing structured processes, driving revenue growth, launching new products, and fostering diversity and inclusion. Michael’s passion for mindfulness comes first-hand from seeing its power in helping deal with stress and anxiety and he looks forward to helping others discover the same!

Dana Dempster
Board Member

Dana is committed to helping her community and is excited to be part of the BCALM team. She credits the organization for kickstarting her mindfulness journey. She is currently legal counsel for the Province, working on liquor and cannabis regulation. Since 2009, she has worked in criminal defence, civil litigation and as a barrister in the Province’s Indigenous Legal Relations group. In her work and life, she strives to support Reconciliation and values collaboration, respect and fairness. She is a drummer and singer in local bands and loves cooking and reading.

Suki Dhillon
Board Member
Elitsa Hristova
Board Member

Elitsa is a passionate advocate for well-being.  She believes in the human potential to heal, and live life joyfully, creatively, and purposefully. Elitsa is a former senior Capital Markets professional with a career in Corporate and Investment Banking managing a multi-billion dollar credit portfolio. Her expertise is finance, credit, and risk management. During her Capital Markets career Elitsa was also committed to diversity and leadership development through Women in Leadership, mentorships, and various Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion programs. Elitsa’s current focus is on promoting physical and mental well-being and expanding her education in the area. She is a certified Breathwork facilitator, transformational and leadership coach, and is currently completing a Compassionate Inquiry approach to therapy professional training. 

Elitsa is living her passions and is excited and committed to work with the BCALM team to share, learn and contribute towards helping others and expand BCALM’s presence and impact. Elitsa is a mother, loves being in nature, passionate about the power of breath, loves human connections, enjoys being active through yoga, Crossfit, hiking, running, biking, and dancing.
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Tammy Khanna
Board Member

As the Executive Director at the Independent Living Housing Society of Greater Victoria (ILHS), Tammy is the lead for all human resources and labour relations matters.  As a Dare to Lead trained leader, she understands the importance of empathy, accountability and trust in leadership and has positioned ILHS as an Employer of Choice in the Community Social Services sector. Tammy is a founding member of the Victoria HR Network sharing resources, expertise and learning opportunities for HR professionals in the Community Social Services sector. A passionate people connector, Tammy is an active member of CPHR BC & Yukon including her roles as Advisory Council Chair, Membership Portfolio Lead and founding host of Wake Up HR. 

Tammy is the Community Living Sector Panel Chair for the Community Social Services Employer’s’ Association (CSSEA) over the past eight years and an Employer Representative at the sectoral bargaining table that represented 120 employers and 20,000 employees throughout BC. Tammy was Vice-Chair throughout the life span of the Community Social Services Health & Safety Council and is now the Secretary of the Board of the Community Social Services Health & Safety Association of BC representing 2200 employers throughout BC. Tammy is also the proud Mom of two amazing adult children and two ridiculously cute fur babies.
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Darshi Klear
Board Member

Darshi is excited to work as part of a team to build on the successes of the BCALM program. She participated in a team effort to bring the inaugural and 2nd Annual BC Mindfulness Summits to Victoria and is chairing the Conference and Events Planning Committee to develop and hold the 3rd Annual BC Mindfulness Summit in April/May 2022. Darshi is retired from her 30-year BC Public Service career extensively in the debt management area of the Ministry of Finance.  As Executive Director of Debt Management, she and her team were responsible for overseeing a multi-faceted borrowing program and managing a multi billion dollar debt and derivatives portfolio on behalf of the province and Crown agencies. She has completed the ALM program, is an avid golfer, practices yoga and trains regularly in a variety of fitness activities.

Ryan Leonhard
Board Member

Ryan is an individual committed to making a positive difference within his community. Presently, he is working on an inclusive workforce development project for the Burnaby Board of Trade. This initiative aims to generate fair job prospects for all job seekers. Additionally, Ryan is actively involved in expanding a food recovery and security program that supports families in Maple Ridge. Prior to these engagements, he held Director positions at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, focusing on fostering trade, business, education, and connections for a span of 6 years. In his leisure time, Ryan’s passion for Lacrosse shines through as he dedicates a significant portion to playing and coaching the sport.

Marc Sheard
Board Member

Marc has worked in the Finance industry for more than 15 years. He is currently a Portfolio Manager for Vancity Investment Management, a subsidiary of Vancity Credit Union and a pioneer in socially responsible investing, where he is responsible for managing several public equity portfolios. Investing has been a passion of his since he was a teenager and he is excited to bring some of what he has learned to his role as a Director at BCalm. After graduating from University Marc spent time travelling Europe and North America and also worked in Northern BC as a tree planter for two years, followed by two years working for a non-profit organization based out of Banff, Alberta. He has also volunteered for several organizations over the years including Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers of Canada and Special Olympics where he was a soccer coach for 10 years. In his spare time Marc enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and skiing with his Wife and two children.  

Facilitators & Staff

Deborah Connors
Executive Director

Deborah joined BCALM as Executive Director in April 2022. She has run her own consulting business, Well-Advised Consulting Inc, for over 30 years, teaching leaders and teams to radically shift culture so that people can flourish. Deborah is the founder of The Better Workplace Conference which she led for 17 years. It was a powerful initiative that created a whole generation of workplace health professionals and a huge community of practice. She has worked in healthcare, as a Registered Dietitian early in her career, and then after getting her Master’s Degree in Health Promotion she moved into the organizational health field. 

Deborah says she was drawn to the purpose of BCALM, and to the great opportunity for it to make a profound difference in the lives of people in BC and beyond. She has researched and written about mindfulness, and how it can contribute to a more positive and successful workplace. She practices meditation and other forms of mindfulness in her daily life. Deborah would like to see mindfulness practices be commonplace in workplaces, schools, and communities. To this end, she looks forward to leading BCALM into an exciting and successful future. Deborah is the author of A Better Place To Work: Daily Practices That Transform Culture. A captivating speaker, storyteller and workplace consultant, she is also the creator of Leading A Better Place To Work, a self-directed online course community with live group coaching.  When not working, Deborah can be found hiking (or skiing) our local mountains on Vancouver Island, swimming in outdoor pools or warming up in a hot yoga studio. Being of Icelandic descent, she has the goal of someday swimming her way around Iceland (not in the ocean of course, but in the outdoor geothermally heated pools in almost every small town around the island!) Also passionate about cycling, Deborah and her family plan to cycle across Canada in the summer of 2023 to raise money for Parkinson’s research, a disease that has affected her family personally. Deborah is excited to have joined BCALM in the part-time position of Executive Director and looks forward to connecting with you at a future BCALM event or conference. Stay tuned!
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Lisa Baylis M.Ed
MSC Facilitator

Lisa Baylis has been sharing well-being strategies for the last 20 years. A natural-born connector with an innate ability to make people feel valued and heard, she is a teacher, a counsellor, a speaker, and a mother. Lisa is a published author of Self-Compassion for Educators as well as, the creator of the AWE Method — Awakening the Wellbeing for Educators — which merges self-care, mindfulness, and self-compassion. Lisa has a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. She has taught internationally and locally. Much of her vast teaching experience was gained in classrooms across British Columbia as a school counsellor. Currently, she is the Education Director for the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, the non-profit organization created by Drs. Kristin Neff and Chris Germer to spread self-compassion around the world. 

Jennifer Cortez MD

Jennifer is a family physician in Comox BC, where she has been practicing for twenty years.  She discovered mindfulness meditation early in her career, and continues to enjoy profound personal healing and growth as a result of the practice.  After wishing for many years to share this practice with her patients, she was fortunate to train with BCALM in 2018; since then she has been offering Art of Living Mindfully classes in the Comox Valley.  Prior to entering medicine, Jennifer studied International Relations at UBC and Oxford, and she maintains an interest in international affairs and social justice. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, especially hiking and sailing. 

Kelly Cox MD

Kelly is a general pediatrician in Nanaimo BC where she has been practicing for ten years.  She absolutely loves her clinical work supporting children and families as they navigate the healthcare system, and caring for children when they are unwell.  She discovered mindfulness and meditation after attending a physician conference with Dr Mark Sherman in 2018.  These practices have shaped all aspects of her life including relationships with family and friends and those she encounters in her clinical work.  She completed her ALM facilitator training in 2022.  She finds that mindfulness brings such a richness to life and she is passionate to share this with others.  Kelly lives in Nanaimo BC and is ever so grateful to spend time outside hiking, biking, skiing and exploring the west coast on these unceded territories of coastal first nations peoples.

Jane Dawe

Jane’s medical career spans 35+ years and has seen her in many rewarding positions of health services delivery. After providing medical administrative expertise for many years, she became a founding member of  BCalm  in 2010. She assisted in redesigning and creating The Art of Living Mindfully and continues to provide input, expertise and guidance throughout the organization. Jane has welcomed meditation and mindfulness into her life and continues to see positive changes on a daily basis. Family connections mean a lot and her daughter and granddaughter are a continual source of pride, joy and love, as is her ginger tabby cat Georgie….the self-proclaimed and unofficial mascot of BCalm. 

Lyndsi Dawe
Admin Assistant

Lyndsi has been providing administrative support for BCALM since 2018. She has gained invaluable tools from attending our mindfulness offerings and incorporates these skills in to her daily life. Time spent with family is very important to her and you can find them playing Bocce, exploring local parks, refueling at a spa or absorbing the great outdoors on camping trips. 

Sarah Kinsley RCC
MBCT Facilitator

Sarah (she/her) is a Registered Clinical Counsellor  with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors and holds a M.Ed. in Counselling from the University of Victoria and B.Ed in Education from Queen’s University.  Sarah is a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner (SETM) certified through the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute. Sarah is grateful to live and learn on the unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Esquimalt and Songhees) peoples on the beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Currently, Sarah serves as a counsellor and a Mental Health Care Provider with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).  Sarah teaches in certificates in Mindfulness-based programs and has extensive training in Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) including Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).  Sarah completed a year-long training in MBCT facilitation and the Advance Teacher Training at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies. Sarah is a former primary school teacher and registered Yoga teacher for adults and children. She has completed four Yoga Teacher Training courses and has studied with various schools in North America and Asia; such as, Yoga Vidya Gurukul: Institute for Research and Education in Yoga, The Sanada Devi School of Yoga, Yoga in Your School, and Yin Yoga training with Carly Forest. Most recently, she has studied Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga  with David Emerson and Nicola Mosley.  Sarah is the author of Yoga Therapy: Ancient Therapy for Today’s Body, Mind and Spirit, a textbook chapter used in counselling programs throughout North America. 
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Ocean Lum BSc MA RCC

Ocean is passionate about the Body-Mind-Spirit continuum.  She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Biochemistry and a  Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. Ocean is a Registered clinical Counsellor in private practice. She specializes in a holistic approach to  anxiety, depression and trauma by integrating talk therapy, somatic practices and yogic principles. She is ardent about helping  distressed couples with  Emotionally Focused Therapy. In addition, Ocean is a Yoga teacher and a Yoga therapist.  While she loves all aspects of Yoga, she is particularly drawn to the psycho-spiritual aspects of Yoga. She has been teaching Yoga since 2002.

Out of curiosity, Ocean began meditating in 1990. She  became earnest in her practice while going through a painful divorce. She has been practicing  and studying Buddhist mediation since 2001.  She has studied and practiced with the Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield, the 17th Karmapa, Rick Hanson, Will Kabat-Zinn and Howard Cohn. Ocean is profoundly  grateful for the practice of meditation. The practice  continues to afford greater degrees of freedom, joy and peace amidst the frantic pace of 21st century living.  Consequently she is passionate about sharing the gifts of meditation and has been facilitating meditation since 2002. Ocean is excited to be a part of the BCALM team. Given Ocean’s love of science and mysticism, her clinical interests are eclectic. She is fascinated with the confluence of neuroscience  and mindfulness practice;  the deep healing of Nature-based therapies; the power of ritual and rites of passages ceremonies and quantum physics. When not on retreat, Ocean loves to dance, swim, hike and sing. She has a love /hate relationship with Ikebana. Ocean is grateful to be living and working on unceded Coast Salish territory.
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Anne Nguyen MD

Anne graduated from McMaster University Medical School in 2008 and obtained her Canadian College of Family Physicians certification through the Northern Ontario School of Medicine in 2011. She then worked as a rural family physician in Sioux Lookout, Ontario between 2011-2015. Since 2015, Anne has worked in Inner City and Addictions Medicine in Victoria, BC.  She is the founder of Victoria Inner City COVID Response (VICCR) and supports policy and program development for Inner City COVID Response in Victoria and across Vancouver Island through her work with the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Hayley Salmon

Hayley is an experienced bookkeeper working from home in beautiful Cowichan Bay BC. She has supported a variety of clients over her 20-year bookkeeping career, and especially loves supporting Not for Profit groups.  When not bookkeeping, Hayley keeps herself busy with her husband and two boys.  Hayley is also a certified instructor in Kundalini Yoga – the Yoga of Awareness.  

Mark Sherman MDCM CCFP
Facilitator & Past Executive Director

Mark is a family physician in Victoria, British Columbia, and is the founder and Past Executive Director of the BC Association for Living Mindfully (BCALM). Mark attended McGill University for his medical training and then UBC for his postgraduate Family Medicine residency. Mark has formal postgraduate training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, Yoga, Medical Acupuncture and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Mark’s passion and principle clinical interests lie in mind-body medicine and in the use and potential of mindfulness and meditation helping people navigate the negative effects of stress in their lives. 

Grounded in his personal practice and his formal clinical trainings, Mark has been offering and facilitating courses, workshops and presentations in Mindfulness Based Stress Management (MBSM) for over 14 years to patients, physicians, students and educators throughout BC. He has facilitated over 100 MBSM courses to over 1700 referred patients, and is a frequent speaker on mindfulness at conferences and professional development events throughout BC. Given the significant impact of stress on physicians and other health care providers, Mark has turned his attention to assisting his physician colleagues in bringing greater mindfulness into their personal and professional lives through the offering of Mindfulness in Medicine workshops and courses. Mark lives in Saanichton, BC with his wife and two young children who are his constant inspiration and teachers in mindfulness.
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Trish Snozyk MD CCFP

Trish is a Family Physician, with an interest in the mind body connection as it relates to restoring health and revitalizing well-being. She believes that what makes people optimally healthy is not found in a pill or in a procedure (although these may be necessary!) but ultimately comes from their attitudes and their emotional resilience. She absolutely believes that wellness can be learned! Her practice is an eclectic one including technical surgical work as an assist on the Open Heart Surgical Team at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, as well as an office practice devoted to the exploration and treatment of metabolic issues such as obesity, diabetes and PCOS. In addition, she teaches people mindfulness skills and mental health tools that revitalize their emotional fitness and improve their lives. 

Trish graduated from the University of Calgary in 1991 and worked in Alberta, British Columbia, and the Middle East before settling in Victoria in 2010. She has had a contemplative practice since her teens and has used hypnosis and CBT interventions with her patients for years but only began teaching Mindfulness to patients in a formal way in 2013. Having spent years in the one on one space of a family practice office, she is now delighted to facilitate and learn from the richness of the group process.
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Krista Stogryn MD

Krista is a family physician based in Saanich, BC. She completed her Family Medicine training with a specialized focus in Indigenous Health at the University of British Columbia in 2007. Since that time she has primarily practiced as a family physician in First Nations communities on the west coast of BC. Krista sat her first Vipassana meditation retreat in 2004, after a particularly trying time in her training opened the door to her healing journey. Inspired by an early teacher, she learned to bring this lens of mindfulness into her work with patients. Later, living and learning in First Nations communities, Krista’s worldview and helping approach was further transformed by land base healing practices founded in ‘All My Relations’. 

Her personal practice continues to embrace these influences bringing inspiration, growth, and resilience to her life, and all that she shares with patients. Krista currently works as part of a team providing primary care with the W̱’SÁNEĆ First Nations, and the New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community with Our Place Society, where she maintains a strong focus in the treatment of mental health issues, addictions, and chronic illness complicated by complex trauma. She holds a Clinical Instructor position at the University of British Columbia and enjoys sharing her approach and experiences with young learners.
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Caren Zilber-Shlensky MD

Caren is a US-trained Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) whose professional specialization is in Family Medicine. After receiving her medical degree at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine, she completed the University of California, San Francisco-affiliated three-year allopathic (MD) Family Medicine residency in Santa Rosa, California. In 2009 she became the first Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine to receive full licensure for general practice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. Caren was attracted initially to Osteopathic Medicine’s emphasis on the interconnection between all parts of the body, the mind and the spirit, which comprise an integral whole with inherent self-healing properties. 

This concept of a mind-body continuum appeals to Caren, a dancer throughout her life who was introduced to meditation in the 1980s. As a very young woman, she learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) and then received individual instruction from Narayan Liebenson, one of the guiding teachers of the Insight Meditation Society and Cambridge Insight Meditation Center in Massachusetts. Caren’s undergraduate concentration in Anthropology at Brown University lead her to study abroad in Indonesia and Thailand where she had further exposure to meditative practices. She also came to appreciate the lens of culture on people’s perception and experience of health and illness. As a physician, she embraces this whole-person orientation in her family medicine and is delighted now to be facilitating the Art of Living Mindfully course. In addition to her daily meditation practice, Caren cultivates mindfulness in balancing her work as a physician with mothering her two young children. She continues to love dancing as well as hiking, cooking, speaking a variety of languages and enjoying the gifts of art and literature with her English professor spouse
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