Our Team

The Centre is operated by the New Marine Centre Society and its volunteer Board of Directors. As a not-for-profit organization (registered Canadian charity), the Centre relies on community support through admission fees, membership, partnership and donations. The Centre is operated by an Executive Director and a team of highly dedicated staff and over 150 volunteers. View the Centre’s leadership below.


Management Team


Executive Director


Pauline joined our team in August 2018. For more than 20 years, she has been working and volunteering with public schools, nature centres, museums and aquaria. Born and raised in Sydney, Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground” she engaged in community service activities at an early age through Girl Guides and Key Club and developed her love for the outdoors and passion for the environment.

Her career pathway to experiential learning and community engagement was inspired by experiences at the Marine Ecology Station, the Vancouver Aquarium and the SeaChange Conservation Society.  She recently completed 14 years of service with Science World British Columbia as Vice President Community Engagement and Visitor Experience where she enthusiastically managed a diversity of teams and initiatives in the areas of education, outreach, exhibits and community partnership.

Pauline studied science and education from coast to coast through Cape Breton University, UBC, SFU and Langara College and is a Fellow of the Noyce Leadership Institute (NLI) along with over 100 senior-level leaders from science centres, children’s museums and other science-intensive institutions from around the world. The NLI program was designed to expand the impact of science-based organizations in their communities by increasing capacity of their leaders to manage change, focus outward, engage peers and form key partnerships.

Pauline is passionate about collaborating on creative projects that connect people and energize communities.  She is thrilled to be back on the Island and focusing her attention on the Salish Sea Bioregion.


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Director, Volunteer & Business Development

Deanna mathewson

Deanna began with the Centre as Interim Deputy Director, Operations in August 2017 (to cover a one year maternity leave for Leah Thorpe) and became a permanent member of the staff in July 2018. She brings 14 years of senior management experience and more than a decade as a director in the not-for-profit sector. A passionate scientist, educator, and conservationist, Deanna has set up and managed educational volunteer programs in endangered species conservation and humanitarian assistance for university and high school students around the world.

After earning a B.Sc. in Applied Zoology from McGill University, Deanna came to the West coast to pursue opportunities in wildlife conservation fieldwork and eventually graduate school. She earned a M.Sc. at the University of Victoria studying the contribution of salmon-derived nitrogen to riparian forests on Vancouver Island and the mid-coast of BC. Deanna is strongly committed to experiential education and spent more than 12 years as International Education Director and later Acting Program Director with International Student Volunteers, and previously as the Program Manager for the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team. She has worked mostly in not-for-profit organizations in management, grant writing and planning, leadership training, educational programming, and volunteer management.



Director, Operations

Leah Thorpe

Leah joined the Centre in October 2015, but was already very familiar with the organization as a guest presenter and collaborator. Leah was previously the Director of Education and Communications for Cetus Research and Conservation Society running day-to-day operations, fundraising, and staff management. She has spent may years with different organizations dedicated to cetacean research and conservation of the Salish Sea.

Leah is also a founding director and current Vice Chair of the Marine Education and Research Society or MERS, and has volunteered in the past with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Goldstream Hatchery, and the Vancouver Aquarium.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Geography from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Environmental Education and Communications from Royal Roads University. She also has certifications in Small Vessel Operator Proficiency, Marine Emergency Duties, and Marine First Aid.

Leah brings a passion for marine education and the Salish Sea and is a well-respected leader, educator and colleague in the wildlife and environmental fields. Leah currently oversees the learning and aquarist departments as well as marketing at the Centre.



Director of Learning


Tina was born and raised in Victoria where two of her favourite pastimes were visiting the Royal British Columbia Museum and spending hours on the beach in front of her grandparents' Cordova Bay home. She considers herself fortunate to have a job that blends these two components—marine science in an educational setting.

A graduate of the University of Victoria, Tina has worked as a marine researcher and educator in four countries—Canada, U.S., Australia and New Zealand. These projects offered valuable experience studying several species of marine life including manatees, sea otters, humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbour porpoise, little penguins, and marine invertebrates.

She started with the Centre shortly after it opened in 2009 and with fierce commitment to the organization and a strong work ethic quickly worked her way up to her role as the Director of Learning. As the Director of Learning, she is responsible for formal and informal hands-on educational programs and events focused on all aspects of the Salish Sea Bioregion. She may also be the punny voice of our social media.

A favourite aspect of her job is the relationship she builds with visitors to the Centre, many of whom she knows by name (and vice versa). She is passionate about volunteering in her community, wherever that may be, and donates her time and skills to a variety of non-profits including the Royal British Columbia Museum.


Chief Aquarist

Kit Thornton

Kit joined the team as Chief Aquarist in August, 2018. From a young age, Kit was passionate about fish and marine wildlife conservation. Her curiosity was sparked at the age of 7 when she visited Exploris Aquarium in Northern Ireland, where she grew up. Kit studied Marine Biology in university and then went on to work at Exploris Aquarium and Exotic Aquatics as an Aquarist. She also spent time serving as the on-board naturalist at Sea Treks Ireland. Kit joined the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in freshwater and marine ecology research before relocating to Canada with her husband in 2012.

After earning a diploma in Veterinary Technology (Honours), Kit worked at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre where she honed her Seal wrangling and Herring sorting skills. After a maternity leave and relocation to eastern Canada, Kit worked in aquatics research at the University of Ottawa, primarily with salmonids, aquatic frogs and zebra danios.

Kit is excited to be back on the West Coast, working with the local marine life, and to be supported in her role by a team of dedicated aquarists and volunteers.  She is deeply committed to animal health and welfare.


Engineering Systems Technician


Hugues, or "Hugh" as most Anglophones call him, joined the Centre’s team in November 2018 after retiring as a Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, Marine Engineering Technician from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Hugues’ 27 Years of service in the Navy allowed him to acquire the unique and complex skill sets necessary to promptly understand and carry-out significant improvements to our Aquarium’s Life Support Systems.

During his time in the RCN, Hugues spent nearly 1,200 days at sea and was deployed on many occasions.  Some of the most memorable moments in his career include 4 operational tours on OP Caribbe (Canada’s maritime contribution to the war on drugs in the Pacific) and a six month tour in the Gulf of Oman as part of the US-led Coalition Forces on the war on terrorism (Operation Apollo 2002). In his long career, Hugues received Commander of RCN commendations’ on two separate occasions for outstanding performance.

When he is not busy renovating his, or someone else’s house, Hugues and his wife Lisa enjoy traveling the world and partaking in wild adventures in as many countries as possible. When they are not traveling, they enjoy a nice swim or kayak on the lake with their young son Owen.    


Visitor Experience Manager

Deborah demers

Deborah joined the team in May, 2019 but has lived and worked in Sidney for many years and, as such, has a very personal connection to the community. Residents of Sidney may know her as the former Manager and Education Director of Mineral World and the Scratch Patch where she created and taught the Earth Science Education Program to local school children and community groups. She feels extremely fortunate to be able to bring her enthusiasm for science and community engagement to the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea.

Deborah holds a BA in Anthropology (with a focus on Northwest Coast Archaeology) from the University of Victoria and is currently completing a Master of Museum Education from the University of British Columbia. As part of her degree, she also volunteers with the Learning Team at the Royal British Columbia Museum.

In her role as Visitor Experience Manager, Deborah brings her passion for environmental stewardship, place-based learning and community engagement to work with her every day.

Board of Directors


Anita Blakley (secretary)

Anita Blakley is a Registered Professional Biologist and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria. Blakley is a Fisheries Biologist with LGL Limited, joining the company in 1995. Her professional interests include surgically/gastrically tagging salmon, fish husbandry/health, data management, and First Nations fisheries co-management.

Anita has participated in a wide variety of projects . She was instrumental in compiling a series of volumes of data and information on the fish and fisheries of BC to assist the federal government in its negotiations related to the aboriginal land claims in British Columbia. Anita assisted in the development of a database and keyword index to facilitate the identification of legislation that might apply to any particular land or resource issue.

More recently, Anita has provided technical assistance to the Tsawwassen First Nation for their Fisheries Treaty Related Measures Project. She is also currently compiling a salmon data inventory for BC and the Yukon Territory which will augment existing monitoring and analytical efforts in order to identify potential conservation concerns for salmon and their ecosystems before they become irreversible.

Dennis carlsen 

Dennis Carlsen has been an excellent volunteer with the Centre, most recently on the board’s Governance Committee (helping develop a new board governance manual among other initiatives). Dennis also facilitated the board’s annual strategic planning session in 2017. Dennis is currently a city planner with the City of Colwood and was previously a Development Consultant. Dennis has many years of experience on local board’s including with the Victoria YMCA from 2006-2013, and the BCSEA from 2012-2014.

Sarah Cook 

Sarah Cook is Program Manager with Coastal and Ocean Resources with the designations M.Sc., R.P.Bio, and Senior Biologist. Sarah is an benthic ecologist whose focus has been on the use of video and imaging systems to study marine communities. She has over 13 years experience in the classification of underwater video ranging from intertidal to deep continental shelf habitats as well as experience classifying aerial shorezone imagery from Alaska, BC and Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Victoria where she conducted her Honors research on invertebrate communities in native and introduced eel grass beds, and a Masters of Science, also from UVic which focuses on the ecology of the glass sponge reefs on the continental shelf of British Columbia. Sarah has been a Registered Professional Biologist in good standing with the College of Applied Biology since 2006.


Colleen Craig (PAST Chair)

After receiving her Bachelor of Commerce degree for the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in 1991, Colleen entered into the CA program with the firm Arthur Andersen and received her Chartered Accountant designation in 1994. 

In 1995 Colleen relocated to Victoria, BC, working with PricewaterhouseCoopers and later at a local firm that then amalgamated with Grant Thornton in 1998.  During that time Colleen spent part of her time in small business accounting, consulting and insolvency work, obtaining her Trustee in Bankruptcy license in 2000.  In 2002 Colleen left Grant Thornton to start her own firm C.E. Craig & Associates Inc., dealing exclusively in the insolvency area with a focus on personal and small corporate situations including restructuring, bankruptcies and proposals to creditors.

Colleen has been active in many volunteer situations throughout Victoria and nationally, including the BC Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals, Canadian National Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Victoria, and the Royal Macpherson Theatre Society. Colleen is active with family, the outdoors, and fitness activities, and when in the office is usually accompanied by her trusty companion and friend, Lexi, a mixed Labrador Retreiver/Great Pyrenees cross.

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Stuart Culbertson has served in executive roles in both the public and private sectors throughout a career focused on public sector transformation.

As a management consultant, Stuart has worked with leaders in the federal, provincial and municipal governments, health authorities, post-secondary institutions and international organizations. His work has focused on multi-stakeholder collaboration and governance building; strategy, policy and program development and organizational development.

With the government of British Columbia, Stuart held several Deputy and Assistant Deputy Minister assignments - including Deputy Minister, Information, Science and Technology and Assistant Deputy Minister, Fisheries and Food.

Stuart has a strong personal and professional interest in helping build and improve governance bodies as well as serving on boards and commissions in the communities in which he lives. He is presently a member of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission, municipality of Oak Bay. He recently completed his term on the Board of Directors of Science World BC. Stuart also serves as a mentor at the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business and School of Public Administration.

Stuart lives in Oak Bay with his wife Patty. He’s an avid cyclist, music enthusiast and can often be found trying to keep up with his two grandchildren on Salish Sea beaches.


I was born into a family with long connections to the sea. I grew up on the South East coast of England and have always felt most at ease when living near the sea. A degree in Food Technology led to employment in the food industry, followed by a career in post-secondary education. 

I was also a consultant in Fish Handing, Processing and Distribution and was elected as a Fellow of the UK Institute of Food Science and Technology in 1978. Following that, I served as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Post-Secondary Education in Scotland for a number of years before my appointment as a senior civil servant in the UK Department of Employment. My responsibilities there focused on improving work force development and labour mobility across the UK.

My wife, Susan Simosko, and I were invited to come to BC in 1995 to work with the BC Ministry for Labour and Skills, the BC Labour Force Development Board and the post-secondary education system. At the end of my two-year attachment, we decided to stay in Canada and moved to the Saanich Peninsula in 1997. Since then I have worked primarily as a consultant, but also spent four years as Director of University Effectiveness at Royal Roads University. Over the past 17 years, I have served on the boards of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Saanich Peninsula Museums. I have also been an active member of the Sidney Sister Cities Association, the North Saanich Heritage Commission and the Sidney Community Development Commission. I strongly believe that the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is an important component of our local cultural infrastructure that has the potential to enrich the lives of residents and visitors of all ages.

TEMOSEṈ Charles W. Elliott, OBC (Ex-Officio Coast Salish Advisor)

Mr. Elliott, or TEMOSEṈ, is a Coast Salish (T’sartlip) Artist and Master Carver. In 2005 he received the Order of British Columbia for his tireless work in reclaiming the heritage and culture of the Coast Salish Peoples.

TEMOSEṈ is among the very best of British Columbia’s contemporary artists. A master carver of the Coast Salish Art tradition, his works are considered by many to be masterpieces, and can be found in private collections around the world.

Inspired by his love of the Salish Art tradition, he has worked steadily for four decades to revive the Coast Salish Art discipline, which was in danger of being lost. Through extensive research, TEMOSEṈ was able to locate images and information on the symbolic imagery and language of the Coast Salish people, which he brought back to life in his artwork.

TEMOSEṈ’s generosity of spirit and outstanding artistic skills have enabled him to retain the integrity and richness of Salish traditions. His desire to encourage artists and youth in the knowledge of these traditions has been an inspiration to others. He has lectured on Salish art to all levels of education, and has acted as a mentor to countless emerging artists while still producing a high volume of artwork. He is a leader in his community, volunteering countless hours toward cultural education and the promotion of Salish Art.

TEMOSEṈ has produced many notable carvings, from special commissions for totems and sculptures, to ambassadorial works, such as the Queen’s Baton for the 1994 Commonwealth Games, and the creation of a Talking Stick for Nelson Mandela. He also created the Salish-designed animals that run throughout the Centre and on marketing materials including the new logo announced in the summer of 2016.


Janine grew up in Victoria, BC and currently works here in Sidney as a Chartered Professional Accountant. She graduated from Camosun College in 2009 with her BBA and immediately enrolled in the CA School of Business, subsequently receiving her designation as a Chartered Accountant (CA, now CPA, CA) in 2011. 

After working at a small accounting firm for close to 10 years, she became partner in 2015 at what is now Hughesman Morris, CPA’s.  In her role as an accountant, she works closely with many diverse clients, including several local, non-profit organizations, servicing both their accounting and taxation needs, and brings this valuable knowledge and experience with her to the society.

Janine formerly sat as treasurer on the board for the Music for Youth Works Society and currently sits as the treasurer for the Intrepid Theatre Society, best known for the Victoria Fringe Festival. Being an island girl at heart, she enjoys a spending her free time in the outdoors hiking, camping and boating, accompanied by her husband, Tyler, and her dog, Cooper. Janine joined the Board of Directors in August 2016.

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David Pape (Volunteer Representative)

David is an entrepreneur and innovative executive with extensive business experience within highly competitive markets throughout North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim.  He brings a wealth of knowledge as an analytical strategist skilled in successfully navigating private and public sector corporations, both large and small, through periods of accelerated growth.

David has enjoyed a consulting role, training, implementing and in some cases managing the strategic planning and project management processes for the following sample list of organizations: Astra Pharma; Bell Canada; Coca Cola; Canadian Tire Corporation; Canada Post; E.D. Smith Foods; Forestry Canada; Hewlett Packard; IBM; Jubilee Hospital; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Transportation; Regional Municipalities; Royal Bank; University of Waterloo and York University

David and his wife retired in 2005 and moved to Victoria, BC where they enjoy exploring the Gulf Islands and international travel as well as volunteering at the Heart and Stroke Association, Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea (since 2012) and in their local community. David continues to mentor young local entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis.


Nancy Shears (past VICE CHAIR)

Ms. Shears is a marketing specialist with over 15 years of specialized marketing experience - most recently as the Marketing Manager, Food and Retail with BC Ferries.

Ms. Shears has held marketing roles with Thrifty Foods and Best Buy in Canada and with international brands based in the UK such as Del Monte, The Cooperative Group, Argos, Philips, and Mercedes Benz.

Ms. Shears education includes a Post Graduate Diploma, Strategic Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a B. Comm, International Business from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelor of Arts, Sociology Degree from Queens University.

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Chris Straub

Chris was born and raised in North Saanich. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science (Hon.) and Juris Doctor from the University of Victoria, he moved to Calgary to work at a major national firm.  After five years away, Chris returned home to the West Coast.

Called to the Alberta bar in 2011 and the British Columbia bar in 2015, Chris maintains a broad practice with particular expertise in facilitating all aspects of private business transactions, as well as the establishment and ongoing management of corporations.  He also assists with real estate matters and estate planning and administration.  Clients often find his corporate knowledge helpful in this regard if their estate will include business assets.  Chris prides himself on his strategic foresight and attention to detail, and strives at all times to anticipate the issues which may impact his clients as they manage their affairs.

Chris lives in Ardmore with his wife, four kids, two dogs, one cat and collection of chickens (which range in number depending on the tenacity of the local racoon population).  When not in the office, he can usually be found out on the water or exploring the Peninsula with his family.

Robyn Quinn, APR, MA Fellow CPRS

President of Big Bang Communications, co-founder of Big Bang Analytics Inc., and Chair of Island Women in Science and Technology (iWIST), Robyn Quinn is a dynamic communications professional with 20 years experience working in military, technology, government, not-for-profit, association and STEM sectors. She developed and delivered award winning campaigns from coast to coast and is passionate about supporting the growth of women in leadership roles, especially in STEM. She is currently a mentor for the University of Victoria Gustavson School of Business and serves on the Irving K. Barber Committee for the new Women in Technology Scholarship program.

A graduate of Royal Roads University (MA Professional Communications) and Saint Mary’s University (BA, and Dip. International Marketing & Finance), Robyn also has a Certificate of Change Management from PROSCI and is a long time accredited member and Past National President of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS).

Recognized for her innovative and successful campaigns with multiple regional and national awards, Robyn was nominated in 2013 and in 2015 for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. Science communications have always been a critical component of her career – her Masters thesis explored the relationship between Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science, she also delivers media training for Fisheries and Oceans scientists.

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Salish Sea Science Advisor

dr. sarika cullis-suzuki

Sarika is interested in the ocean and fish, and the conservation of biodiversity. She is currently a visiting scientist at Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria, BC. She has been a board member of the David Suzuki Foundation since 2011. Her research in marine biology has taken her to many parts of the ocean, from the high seas to remote tropical islands to the coastal intertidal zones of her home, British Columbia.

Sarika's PhD investigated the effects of boat noise on a singing fish in the Pacific Northwest, while her MSc focused on overfishing in the high seas, the results of which she presented to the United Nations. Sarika is committed to speaking out about ocean issues and conservation, and works in environmentally-themed media: she has written for magazines, books and newspapers, worked in radio, and has hosted documentary films for Parks Canada, The National Film Board, CBC, and Ocean Networks Canada. In 2012 Sarika was named one of Canada’s Top 30 under 30 by Explore Magazine, and an influential Canadian Millennial by The Huffington Post Canada; in 2015, she was featured as Ms. Chatelaine.

Founding Directors 

Cliff McNeil-Smith
Clive Tanner
Dr. John Harper
Dr. Rick Hudson
Owen Redfern (in memory)
Rhonda Reidy


Past Leadership

Mark Loria Alison Barratt
Angus Matthews
Nancy Barbour
Peter B. Lloyd FCA 


Alastair Tough
Bill Cooke
Barbara Taylor
Chris Cowland
Dale Ryan
Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe
David Bartley
Jane Powell
John Knappett
Lorelle Posten
Michael Walden
Pat Fafard
Patty Golumbia
Richard Flader
Sue Hodgson
Stephen Gormican
Terry Curran

Martina Beck Casey Brant Alison Ross

Lesley Nicholls (2015-2017)

The Centre opened to the public on June 20, 2009. Click here to learn more about us.