Team Members Profile

Michael Simpson

Executive Director

  1. Home
  2. Staff
  3. Michael Simpson

Executive Director

Mike is the Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC). Prior to working for BCCIC, Mike was the Executive Director of One Sky – The Canadian Institute for Sustainable Living. His work with One Sky varied from leading major bilateral projects in West Africa, including Nigeria and Sierra Leone, to working in Latin America on projects ranging from forest conservation to leadership development. Mike has been an active voice for Canadian civil society at international forums ranging from the World Summit on Sustainable Development to UN meetings on renewable energy. With a keen interest in integral theory, he has been active in exploring the nexus between developmental psychology and social change.

Prior to his work with civil society groups, Simpson was an award winning documentary producer who ran a video production company that specialized in programming on environment, development, and human rights. He spent many years working in conflict and post-conflict areas, with a special focus on Latin America. His most recent focus has been on leadership development within the context of social movements, including both the private sector and civil society.

[button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Dan Harris

Program Officer

  1. Home
  2. Staff
  3. Dan Harris

Program Officer

Dan is a New Zealander with over seven years’ experience in the field of international community development working with NGOs in Latin America and the United States. Raised on a yacht, Dan’s love for international cooperation grew out of his own travels in Europe, the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Pacific. With a Masters in Development Studies, Dan’s focus is participatory methodologies for community engagement and change leadership. While this work is his passion, Dan also loves the outdoors and exploring the wilderness either with a backpack or by sail. [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Dr. Zosa Gruber (nee De Sas Kropiwnicki)

Senior Policy Analyst & Gender Specialist

Senior Policy Analyst & Gender Specialist

Dr. Zosa De Sas Kropiwnicki-Gruber is a Senior Policy Analyst & Gender Specialist at BCCIC. She has a doctorate in International Development Studies from the University of Oxford, as well as two Masters degrees in Political Science and Social Policy from Leeds University and Rhodes University, respectively. Zosa has accrued 15 years of experience in research, evaluation, and policy analysis in developing, transitional, and emergency contexts in South East Europe, Central Asia, West Africa, and Southern Africa. Zosa has worked for a wide range of government, non-government, and international non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, UNODC, IOM, Save the Children, Family for Every Child, and others. Her work has centred on human rights, empowerment, and social justice in the child protection, gender, and equity sectors. She has sought to prevent and respond to discrimination, social exclusion, and violence experienced by vulnerable and marginalized women, youth, and children. Using an intergenerational, equity-focused, and gender-sensitive lens, she has conducted in-depth qualitative - and often highly participatory - research on the rights, wellbeing, and agency of women and children survivors of abuse, exploitation, and trafficking; refugee and migrant women and children; children affected by armed conflict and natural disasters; children and adolescents living with disabilities; and families in ethnically marginalized and poverty-stricken communities. Zosa has also designed and taught interdisciplinary university-level courses on monitoring and evaluation, results-based management, gender, youth, and development. Zosa has published numerous peer-reviewed reports, academic articles, and book chapters. Her recent book entitled The Masupatsela Generation, published by Palgrave-MacMillan, focuses on the experiences, identity, and agency of second-generation refugees in exile. Zosa lives in North Vancouver with her husband, two children, two dogs, and guinea pig. She spends her free time exploring B.C's expansive peaks and scenic trails with her motley crew, applying countless bandaids and building impressive, architectural-digest worthy forts for her two- and four-legged troops. [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Staff photo
Rowen Siemens

Communications Officer

Staff photo

Communications Officer

Rowen Siemens is the Communications Officer at the BC Council for International Cooperation, and she is grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and play on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) peoples. Rowen has a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a BA in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, and has acquired a combined five years of writing, research, and communications experience. She has worked across a range of sectors, including the private, charitable, and the international non-governmental, but corresponding about human rights issues - disseminating important research and advocacy - has become the most meaningful use of her skills. She has worked on several large social media campaigns, such as the release of Minority and Indigenous Trends 2019 with Minority Rights Group International (MRG). Her graduate research centred on Indigenous rights in Canada, and she considers Canada’s implementation of aspirational human rights goals such as the SDGs to be crucial yet incomplete without reconciliation. When she isn’t busy at BCCIC, Rowen enjoys being a mediocre vegan cook, a novice yogi and runner, and listens to probably too many podcasts.  [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Orton Mak

UX Designer & Web Developer, Mapping Project

UX Designer & Web Developer

Orton considers himself a jack of all trades but master of a few. Convinced that a degree in engineering would serve him well, he attended the University of British Columbia. Orton then spent two years in Asia, working as an English teacher and exploring the continent whenever possible, before engaging in software development and data management in the engineering sector. In his spare time, Orton loves to play tennis and is a voracious reader, often reading many books at a time. His reading interests hinge primarily on topics such as the crisis of limited resources, psychology, the automotive sector, geopolitics, and machine learning. Born and raised in Vancouver, he is particularly interested in the incumbent impact of new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, on the lives of all human beings. With a penchant for re-thinking everything that has ever been done, he believes in the value of spirited back and forth discussion to bring about new ideas and change. At BCCIC, Orton leads the Movement Map project. His focus is on increasing the impact of the map through partnerships with other civil society groups, adding valuable features, and creating an amazing user experience. Orton began his journey at BCCIC as a public engagement volunteer, but is grateful that he’s been able to use his strongest skills to map all groups working towards the SDGs in Canada.   [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Laurel Wayne-Nixon

Office Manager & Partnership Development

Officer Manager & Head of Partnership Development

Laurel moved to Vancouver in the summer of 2018 to do an internship with BCCIC. She had spent the previous year in Norway, busy with the first year of her Masters in International Environmental Studies. Prior to moving abroad, Laurel lived in Victoria and attained a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria. She was a cheerleader for 9 years and has an impressive house plant collection (of over 20 plants!). Laurel has a passion for bringing people together, often planning parties for the team and her friends. For fun, Laurel loves to cook, bake, and try new restaurants- she even has an Instagram account dedicated to food! Not to mention she has been known to write a murder mystery or two in her spare time. Laurel is passionate about the intersection between policy, food, and environmental sustainability, and she wrote her Masters thesis on the barriers that environmentally-sustainable food businesses face. Laurel started working on SDG policy briefs during her internship at BCCIC and became fully immersed in the 2030 Agenda. She sees a powerful opportunity in the SDGs, and she is excited to continue building meaningful partnerships through BCCIC to achieve these goals.   [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Antonia Schiller

Intern, Research

 

Intern, Research

Antonia is a university student from Germany who made the long journey to Vancouver to complete a six month internship with BCCIC. Originally from Berlin, she moved to Marbug to study social science at Philipps-Universität Marburg. In her first semester, she joined Etudes Sans Frontieères - Studies Without Borders, an NGO dedicated to supporting students in conflict areas with scholarships or by contributing to reconstruction and reconciliation in their home countries. She has started taking courses in international relations and European law and aspires to do her Masters in the field of International Relations and Sustainable Development. The aim of her time at BCCIC is to get an inside perspective into international work at the non-governmental level and to witness the impacts of working on the SDGs. While at BCCIC, Antonia's research will focus on the Movement Map and compiling data for the Kelowna 'SDG Scorecards' project. When Antonia is not busy studying, she pursues her passion of travelling, tries to find inner peace and balance through yoga, or - most likely - ends up in a cafe to satisfy her constant coffee cravings. [button size="medium" link="/staff/" style="simple"]Back[/button]

Jose Lamyin

Jose is Managing Partner of Deetken Impact, a private asset management company focused on impact investing in emerging markets. Deetken Impact is a signatory to the UN Global Compact and a certified B Corporation. The aim of Deetken Impact investments is to achieve strong, stable returns while creating meaningful positive social or environmental benefits for low income populations. For the past two decades, Jose has worked in engineering, finance, strategic planning, and entrepreneurship. He holds an Applied Science degree from UBC, and a Master’s in Business Administration from IESE Business School. Eighteen years ago, Jose co-founded The Deetken Group, and since then, has led the investment strategy in North America, as well as Latin America and the Caribbean. As an impact investor, his primary focus has been on renewable energy, microfinance, microinsurance, healthcare and financial services to support women SMEs. Jose has served on the Board of Directors of two companies, both in Canada and Central America. Born in Peru, Jose moved to Vancouver to attend University in 1992, and for the past 25 years he has worked in 9 different countries in Latin America and Europe. He has a passion for International Development and Global Affairs.

Shirin Kiani

Shirin has worked as a disability specialist in humanitarian aid and international development for the last 11 years, mainly with an NGO called 'Humanity and Inclusion' (previously called Handicap International) in countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Haiti, Iraq, Laos and Syria. The focus of her work has been to ensure persons with injuries and disabilities are included in livelihood and health programs. She comes from an ethnic and religious minority in Iran called the Zoroastrians who are Indigenous to Iran. She is presently working for UNICEF as an 'inclusion and accessibility specialist' and hopes her presence on the BCCIC board can help ensure the SDG mantra to 'leave no one left behind' is inclusive of marginalized groups and also within BCCIC initiatives, as best as possible.

Amy Smith (Rauscher)

Having a keen interest in international development from a young age, Amy completed her Bachelor of Commerce in International Business. After her undergraduate degree, she lived and worked abroad in Europe and Mexico. Returning to Canada, Amy completed her MBA with a specialization in International Affairs. 
 
Amy's personal goal is around empowerment and she is excited to engage and collaborate as the regional coordinator for GECCO.

Katie Krebs

Chapter Coordinator

Katie Krebs  is a long time local entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering women in business and promoting strong families within in the community. Katie has extensive experience in event planning and notes this as one of the things she enjoys the most in both her professional and volunteer roles. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors with her two young sons, volunteers at the Karis Support Society with both the on site daycare and with event planning, and is an actively involved member of JCI Kelowna (Junior Chamber International), currently holding the position of 2019 Secretary. Email gecco@bccic.ca to contact.

Mari Otomo

Mari’s passion for children’s rights, global issues and contributing to sustainable and intergenerational transformative social change is grounded in her educational background in political science (BA) and social work (BSW, MSW). In addition to working in government agencies, Mari has a diverse range of experiences in grassroots and national non-profit agencies as well as the United Nations. Her international work has taken her to countries such as Ghana where she worked at a local development agency on an income generating project for rural women and in Japan, she has worked for a UN agency assisting in the development of a entrepreneurship and leadership training for youth in Iraq.

Currently, Mari works in policy, research and development within the field of child protection at the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society.  Additionally, Mari is a partner and consultant at Social Root Consulting.