A graduate from UBC, Alexis has worn many hats over the years. With an entrepreneurial spirit, she owned/ managed a coffee house until a car accident in 2000 left her a quadriplegic. Life must go on, so she took up wheelchair tennis, playing weekly, and got right back into work. Managing a national TV station’s retail store and being an Application Support Analyst at Arc’teryx further developed her aptitude for business analysis. Alexis has now welcomed the opportunity of becoming a Disability Management Specialist with Abilities at Work. In her spare time she sings in a local choir, Sing City, and is on a number of boards and advisory committees: North Shore Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, Realwheels Theatre, TETRA Society and Abilities in Mind Advisory Committee.
Jingkai (Eric) Li
Recently graduated from UBC with his Bachelor of Commerce Degree, Eric has devoted himself to financial management for local non-profit organizations since 2009. He is passionate about making a difference by helping people. As one of its founders, Eric has helped the UBC Sangox’a Club grow from a three-member club to a 300-member club within one year. His life objective is to become a respected business professional who creates tremendous social wealth.
Eric is enthusiastic about exploring different life experiences; his homes have included a Chinese city with a population of 10-million, a fishing village in BC with a population of 1000, and the world’s most livable city: Vancouver.
As a graduate of the public administration program from the University of Maine, Alfiya has a passion for all things non-profit. Her focus in a non-profit field has been on disability advocacy and policy, program evaluation and peer support. Alfiya has spent several years working on her PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As part of this journey, she is exploring the lived experiences of mothers with physical disabilities in Russia. She enjoys hand-cycling and playing ukulele.
Jonas- Sebastien Beaudry
Jonas completed B.C.L. and LL.B. (with Great Distinction) from McGill University in 2004, going on to earn an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School in 2007 and a D.Phil in Law from Oxford University in 2014. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships throughout his educational career, including both the Trudeau and SSHRC doctoral scholarships. He has also held Lecturer positions in law at McGill University and the Université du Québec à Montréal, as well as teaching appointments at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. His publications include a book on freedom of expression in Latin America and articles in a number of areas, including bioethics, legal history, human and indigenous rights and family law. He has presented at academic series and conferences across North America and in the UK.
Henriette graduated from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands with a Masters in Computer Science. She has over 15 years of experience with IT Project and Program management, most recently at Vancouver based companies such as Coast Capital, Vancity and Best Buy Canada. She specializes in large scale software development and ERP implementation programs.
Henriette has always been passionate about the Arts, attending many shows and being an active member of the North Shore choir Pacific Spirit Singers. She is also on the Board of the award winning vocal ensemble Musica Intima. She is very excited to be a part of the Realwheels experience!
A postdoctoral fellow at UBC, Delphine conducts research to better understand the needs of people living with disabilities, particularly ways of promoting full access and participation in life and their community. She completed a PhD in UQAM (Montreal), where she worked with people with spinal cord injury and their families. Delphine has been involved with various organizations, focusing on universal access, adapted leisure, and promoting social opportunities. As part of her postdoctoral fellowship, she is working closely with the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation.
Benjamin J. Peterson
A graduate of the University of Windsor with both a Bachelors Degree in History and Juris Doctor from the school’s Faculty of Law. Benjamin remained in Windsor for his articles and Call to the Ontario Bar prior to moving to Welland, Ontario where he assumed a retiring lawyer’s practice. In 2015 he decided it was time to move closer to his hometown of Kelowna and settled in Vancouver. He currently works with Hara & Company in East Vancouver and practices mainly in the areas of real estate, corporate commercial and wills & estates. Benjamin has had a long relationship with the performing arts, taking part in many volunteer and non-profit productions for the past 13 years. He even began his university studies in the Fine Arts program at the University of Windsor focusing on acting before switching majors to History.
Jonathan J. Weisman
Immediate Past President
Jonathan J. Weisman earned degrees from Queens’ and Carleton Universities before attending law school at the University of Western Ontario, where he received the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Award of Excellence on graduation. He has clerked with the Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago and practiced law in Barbados and Toronto before moving to British Columbia in 2009. He now practices with Holmes & King in downtown Vancouver.
Jonathan was deeply involved in music from a young age, and has performed in charity productions for some years now. His legal experience includes extensive work in resolving business, real estate, and insurance disputes as well as trust and estate litigation.
Melanie Crombie has been a leader in the non-profit world in British Columbia for over 30 years. She led the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Arthritis Society and the BC Paraplegic Association as their Executive Director. At each of these organizations Melanie’s leadership and vision enhanced the creation of relevant powerful services for their client groups through thoughtful strategic thinking and plan development. Prior to leading organizations, Melanie had a proven track record as a fundraiser, program developer, social planner, interior designer, and teacher.
Cathy Sostad has been involved in theatre for over 20 years as a writer, performer and director and is a founding board member of Realwheels. She co-wrote the teleplay A Perfect Note (Bravo) with James Sanders. She works in administration at Legal Services Society, where she has also written short films for the society’s website. Her plays for children have been performed in schools and community centres throughout the Lower Mainland, and as far away as Australia. Cathy is a contributing writer for Plank, an online performing arts magazine.
Faith E. Hayman earned a degree in Theatre Arts and French and a further degree in Education from the University of Toronto, before pursuing her law studies at Osgoode Hall Law School, graduating in 1983. She practiced in Toronto for approximately 10 years before deciding to move to west. In Vancouver, Faith practiced with the firm Murphy Battista until 2005 when she set up her own practice.
Since approximately 1986, she has acted exclusively for plaintiffs focusing primarily on personal injury actions and disability insurance claims. She is on the ethics committee at the Sunny Hill Health Centre. She acted for the plaintiff at the appeal levels in Fidler v. Sun Life, a disability case which went to the Supreme Court of Canada. She was on the executive of the B.C. Trial Lawyers’ Association for 10 years and, more recently, has chaired the Rules Committee. She has been consulted by the B.C. Ministry of Finance concerning proposed amendments to the Insurance Act and continues to look for ways to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Former Board President, Stephanie Cadieux has been recently appointed to the position of Minister of Community for Surrey-Panorama and serves as a chair of the Cabinet Committee in Open Government and Engagement. Stephanie was elected MLA for Surrey-Panorama in 2009 and has also served as Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development.
Due to her background in marketing and personal finance, Stephanie has worked as both a market analyst and entrepreneur. Before her career in the public office began, she served as the Director of Marketing and Development for the B.C. Paraplegic Association and Manager of Accessibility for 2010 Legacies Now. Her accomplishments have led her to be voted one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2007 and one of B.C.’s Top 100 Influential Women by the Vancouver Sun in 2010.
Living with a spinal cord injury since the age of 18, Stephanie has always shown a deep commitment to the disability community as well as non-profit organizations. She is a strong community activist for programs that assist people with physical disabilities to achieve personal goals and regain independence.