President – Alison Narod
Alison Narod is a partner in the Vancouver law firm, FARRIS, VAUGHAN, WILLS & MURPHY. Alison practices in the areas of labour, employment, family, human rights, workers compensation and administrative law. She rejoined the ACT Board in 2017 following an absence of several years; she was a founding member of ACT’s Board of Directors in 2004.
Vice President – Blair Whelan
Blair Whelan is Chief Technology Officer – RAZR Marketing with a depth of experience in the technology sector. He has a family member with autism and has an interest in supporting community initiatives that use technology to meet the needs of families and professionals for information.
Treasurer – Brent Shirley
Brent Shirley is an independent management consultant. He has over 35 years of experience in accounting and information technology and is the president of his own consulting firm, BVS Advisory Inc. Brent has worked with a wide-range of businesses and has held senior roles on specialized and complex financial systems projects for large regulated public utilities, transportation companies and financial institutions. He has an adult son on the autism spectrum.
Secretary – Blair Dwyer
Blair Dwyer is a lawyer, practicing tax and estate planning law since 1985, first on Bay Street in Toronto and since 1992 in Victoria. Blair has been on ACT’s Advisory Council since its inception over 12 years ago. He also presents an online workshop for ACT and has contributed a chapter on wills and estate planning to ACT’s Autism Manual for BC. For more on Blair’s extensive engagement in community and professional boards and support for ACT, visit www.dwyertaxlaw.com/community-activities/.
Jennifer Branston, participated in an ACT panel a few years ago, Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD, on being a mother with ASD and parenting children with ASD. She has a school-aged son on the spectrum and is an active volunteer, promoting inclusion and diversity as co-chair of the North Vancouver Parent Advisory Council.
Denise Ching is Director & Portfolio Manager at RBC Dominion Securities. Denise’s previous board experience includes the BC Lions Foundation for Children with Disabilities, Vancouver Society of Financial Analysts, as well as membership on the investment committee of the BC Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia and mentor to UBC’s Portfolio Management Foundation.
Dr. Kenneth Cole is a Registered Psychologist, now engaged in autism assessments at BC Children’s Hospital. He has previous board experience as a member of the board of the BC College of Psychologists. Ken has also presented a number of one- week courses for ACT in collaboration with POPARD where he worked as a consultant for a number of years.
Karen Kalynchuk is a senior level professional with 15 years’ experience in the health care sector working to optimize child and youth services in BC. Karen was a consultant with the Public Health Agency of Canada in the development of the National Autism Surveillance System and the former Director of the BC Autism Assessment Network as well as the Complex Developmental and Behavioural Conditions program. Most recently, Karen was the Project Manager with the Parent and Child Early Coaching Project (PACE) at UBC. Currently, Karen is a Director of Community Services with the government of BC.
Alisa Lipson, MD
Alisa Lipson, MD, is Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. She is a pediatrician with expertise in autism diagnosis and an interest in building the knowledge of professionals about the need to identify and diagnose ASD as early as possible.
Anne McCaw has a background in event facilities management and marketing and was General Manager for the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University for a number of years. Now retired and living on Vancouver Island, Anne and her husband, Mike Rekis, are the sponsors for ACT’s annual Herring for Autism Sale. Mike and Anne have two adult daughters, one is autistic and both are valued ACT volunteers.
Nicole Provost is a founder and director of the MayDay Youth Choir for Neurodiversity. She has a degree in mathematics from the University of British Columbia and is currently studying aviation at the University of the Fraser Valley. A former summer student employee at ACT, Nicole has presented on a panel at an ACT conference on women and girls with autism and is well known for her positive attitude for engaging our communities in activities that promote neuro-diversity.