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 and view the Organizational Chart - 2017.
Interm Deputy Director, Operations
Deanna became Interim Deputy Director, Operations in August 2017 (to cover a one year maternity leave for Leah Thorpe). 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.(Agr) 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 an 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 the 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, where she now sits on the board. She has worked mostly in not-for-profit organizations in management, grant writing and planning, leadership training, educational programming, and volunteer management. Deanna is a published writer, former Lab Instructor (UVIC Ecology & Biology) and Project Researcher (BC Government).
Deputy Director & Chief Aquarist
Paula was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. Despite growing up in the Andes she always had a fascination for marine animals and animal care, and all her Christmas holidays were spent beachcombing and tidepooling along the coast. She moved to Canada in 1999 to study at the University of Victoria, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology. Paula completed her school work terms at the Victoria Bug Zoo as a tour guide and animal caretaker, and did an internship at the Zoologico de Guayllabamba, where she trained in animal enrichment, husbandry, and as a veterinary assistant.
In 2004, Paula started working as a teaching assistant to Dr. Bill Austin at the Sidney Marine Ecology Centre. At age 23, she was promoted to Marine Educator and was responsible for all of the Centre’s animals, life support systems, marine education, staff training and more. She aided several research projects on Sponges of the North East Pacific while working with Dr. Austin. When the Marine Ecology Centre in Sidney closed its doors in 2009 (and merged into the new Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea), Paula was quickly recruited as an Aquarist with the Centre. Given her strong work ethic and dedication to animal care and education, she was promoted to Head Aquarist in 2009, then later becoming Curator, and in 2015 to Deputy Director & Chief Aquarist. She is passionate about animal care and sharing her knowledge with volunteers and visitors.
Deputy Director, Operations (On Leave Until September 2018)
Leah joined the Centre in October 2015, but was very familiar with the organization as a guest education presenter and volunteer. Leah had a long association with CETUS Research and Conservation Society as Director of Communications and Education and as a Co-Director of the organization running day-to-day operations, fundraising, and staff management. She has spent may years with different organizations dedicated to cetacean study and conservation of the Salish Sea.
Leah is also a volunteer with the Marine Education and Research Society or MERS, and has volunteered in the past with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Goldstream Hatchery, and Vancouver Aquarium.
She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology and Geography from the University of Victoria and a Master of Arts 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 all things cetacean and the Salish Sea and is a well-respected leader, educator and colleague in the wildlife and environmental fields. Leah oversees the education, visitor experience, sales/admission, and volunteer areas of 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.
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.
Manager of Volunteer Engagement
Retail & Visitor Experience Manager
Board of Directors
Martina Beck (Past Vice Chair)
Martina is a biologist working in aquatic invasive species management. Martina grew up in Vancouver and developed a strong passion for the ocean while spending her childhood summers exploring tide pools at her family cabin on the shore of the Sunshine Coast. Martina moved to Victoria in 2003 to pursue her post-secondary education and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with an honors thesis in Oceanography from the University of Victoria.
Martina worked in the electronic monitoring department at Archipelago Marine Research Company in Victoria until 2009 when she returned to the University of Victoria as a research analyst for the Global Aquaculture Performance Index (GAPI) project. Martina started her master’s research in the fall of 2011 studying the feeding and habitat preferences of non-native smallmouth bass in lakes throughout British Columbia. In her spare time, Martina has a strong passion for spending time outdoors including hiking, camping and in recent years has become an active SCUBA diver in the local Victoria waters. After growing up on the west coast her entire life Martina has developed a strong passion for the local marine life through both her academic career and her love for the outdoors.
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.
Dr. Casey Brant
Casey grew up in southern Ontario and spent her childhood exploring the ponds and marshes around her house, while dreaming of becoming a scientist working at sea. While at the University of Waterloo, she found an equal passion for earth sciences and graduated with a BSc in geology. The ocean, however, was never forgotten, and her desire to be on a ship lead to a brief stint in the naval reserve followed by a move to the West Coast. After an eventual return to school as a graduate student, Casey earned her doctorate from the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Science—a perfect fit for an ocean-loving geologist.
Somewhere along the way she raised two children and worked for more than a decade in the ecotourism industry, primarily as a skipper and naturalist on whale watching boats, and also as a kayak guide. Today she brings her enthusiasm for understanding the natural world into the classroom and has taught at Royal Roads University and Vancouver Island University as well as being an Open Learning Faculty Member at Thompson Rivers University.
When she’s not teaching or on the water, Casey can be found, exploring the trails of southern Vancouver Island with her dogs, or scouring the shoreline for wildlife and rocks.
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 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.
GRAHAM DEBLING (CHAIR)
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.
Barbara Fallot (Ex-Officio, Town of Sidney Liaison)
Barbara Fallot is a Councillor with the Town of Sidney. Having lived in Sidney for 22 years and in North Saanich for 6 years, Barbara is a dedicated member of the community. She has been involved as a volunteer in the community in numerous ways including as a Peninsula Celebrations Society board member and Canada Day and Christmas Parade Organizer.
She has also worked with Central Saanich Lions Club to coordinate the Central Saanich Days and has been a board member of Peninsula Community Services (Beacon Community Services).
Her education includes Conflict Analysis and Management at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Management in Victoria and Principles of Supervision through BCIT. In 1979, Barbara gained her certification as a Registered Massage Therapist. From 1979 to 1988 she operated a private practice on Salt Spring Island and between 1987 and 2013 she moved her practice to Sidney.
JANINE MORRIS (TREASURER)
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.
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.
Alison is a UVic alumna and completed her Master’s degree in History in Art in 1994 with a specialty in Northwest Coast art. She taught History in Art as well as Antique and Collectibles courses at the University of Victoria, Malaspina (now VIU) and Camosun College. Alison started her auction career with Kilshaw’s in 1997. In January of 2006, Alison purchased Kilshaw’s from Don Kilshaw, a seventh generation auctioneer. Since buying the company, Alison has set auction records for the highest priced objects to sell at auction in Victoria and has performed appraisals for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Royal British Columbia Museum as well as other public and private institutions. In 2016, she undertook moving Kilshaw’s from its home of 67 years to an upscale, downtown location. Alison starred on History Television’s “Pawnathon Canada” and is currently on the executive of the Victoria Arts Council.
Nancy Shears (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.
Chris is a lawyer in Sidney practicing with Henley & Walden LLP. 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 large national firm. After five years away, he moved back home to the West Coast.
Called to the Alberta bar in 2011 and the British Columbia bar in 2015, Chris manages 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 maintains a real estate and estate planning/administration practice. 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, 3 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat and collection of chickens ranging 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 kids.
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.
Indigenous Cultural Advisor
Dr. Andrea Walsh
Andrea N. Walsh is an Associate Professor and visual anthropologist at the University of Victoria where herresearch focus is 20th century and contemporary Indigenous art. Her research with contemporary Indigenous artists focuses on art as a method of communicating Indigenous experiences of history and identity. In 200, she began a long-term collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band an the Osoyoos Inkameep Day School.
Her current work with children’s art from the residential school era continues through collaborations with survivors, their families, and communities, around a collection of paintings created at the Port AlberniIndian Residential School. Walsh’s collaborative research has been the subject of major art exhibitions, public talks, scholarly publications, and public education initiatives.
At UVic, Dr. Walsh runs a Coast Salish artist-in-residence program. Every year she invites a different resident artist into her anthropology of art classes so her students learn not only through dialogue but through actual art practice.
Dr. Walsh grew up in the traditional territories of the Coast and Straits Salish Peoples, and along with her partner and two daughters, she continues to call these places home.
Dr. John Harper
Dr. Rick Hudson
Owen Redfern (in memory)
Peter B. Lloyd FCA
Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe
Lesley Nicholls (2015-2017)
The Centre opened to the public on June 20, 2009. Click here to learn more about us.