People Category: Board of Directors

CAI is led by a Board of Directors consisting of individuals proven to be leaders in their fields including the most recognized advocates in the mental health field, leaders in non-profit, community and labour organizations, members of Aboriginal leadership agencies, business leaders, and senior management in the provincial government.

Dawn Dunlop

Board member

Executive Director – CMHA Shuswap/Revelstoke

Dawn  (she/her) is originally from the prairies;  she was raised in the Red River Valley outside of Winnipeg.   She now resides in the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepmec.  Dawn is an entrepreneurial, results oriented, highly motivated strategic thinker.  She is passionate about working in community and enjoys the innovative, collaborative, and creative solutions that result from working together.  She stays true to her values and is grounded in the vision and mission of the work. Dawn has over 30 years experience in the government and non-profit sector in both rural and urban settings.  She holds degrees in Psychology, Non- Profit Leadership, Marriage and Family therapy, and completed her Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University.  Dawn has experience in Leadership, HR, Governance, Financial Literacy, Organizational and Community development.  Dawn and her family have resided in the Shuswap for over 20 years.  She enjoys hanging out on her hobby farm with her kids and animals and exploring trails.

Vanessa Wideski

Board Member

Executive Director, The Low Entropy Foundation

Vanessa Wideski is the executive director of The Low Entropy Foundation, a non-profit organization that is making personal development accessible to all by providing people with tools to change themselves and their surroundings.

Vanessa is a neurodivergent individual who has struggled with mental health and substance use. From high school dropout and homeless, meth addict to world traveler and successful business owner, Vanessa has overcome many of life’s adversities. Her diverse life experiences have helped her gain a significant amount of empathy and understanding of which she shares through volunteerism and advocacy work.

Vanessa is deeply aligned with CAI’s mission and is greatful to help the team actualize our vision of ensuring community-based agencies are essential partners in addressing mental health and substance use in BC.

Jill Fikowski – On Leave

Board Member

Founder/CEO, Changemark Research + Evaluation

Jill is a Settler of Norwegian and Polish ancestry who lives and works with gratitude on the traditional unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Jill has over 15 years of experience working in the area of mental health and substance use across health authorities, research centres, and non-profit organizations across Turtle Island (now known as Canada). Jill is a graduate of UBC School of Population and Public Health and believes in promoting health equity and ensuring inclusive meaningful engagement of community members in research, program, and policy initiatives. Jill is deeply committed to creating meaningful change for people experiencing mental health challenges, people who use substances, and the people and communities who love them.

Vanessa Tong

Board Member

Manager for Operations and Community Engagement, Tres Community Solutions

My name is Vanessa Tong, an immigrant from Hong Kong, fortunate to call the beautiful ancestral unceded lands of the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and other Coast Salish peoples home. Alongside being a proud mother of three uniquely wonderful children and a devoted owner to a hound and feline companions who act like dogs, I find solace in nature, basketball, hockey and creating a diversity of foods to share with loved ones.

Currently I am pursuing a Masters of Public Administration in Community Development at the University of Victoria. In addition, I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an extended minor in Asia Canada Studies from Simon Fraser University, and a Diploma in Leadership Recreation from Langara College. Presently, I serve as the Manager for Operations and Community Engagement at Tres Community Solutions, a social purpose-driven enterprise, where I collaborate and work with others on municipal social development projects and initiatives.

With over two decades of experience in supervisory and coordinator roles within municipal community services and recreation, my passion lies in inclusive practices addressing pressing social issues. I am deeply committed to advancing neurodiversity, LGBTQ2S+ rights, homelessness, newcomer integration, Indigenous rights, and mental wellness. As a dedicated advocate, I am honored to lend my voice and expertise as a board member with CAI, actively driving transformative projects that foster inclusivity and equity within teams and communities.

View the profile ofKamaldeep Parmar

Kamaldeep Parmar

Board Member

Program Manager – Community Transition Teams Program, BCMHSUS

Kam has over 17 years experience working with marginalized and vulnerable populations struggling with substance use and mental health issues.  She brings a unique perspective as she has experience in working at the local community level, health authority/regional level and at the provincial level within government to support and expand much needed mental health and substance use services and programs across the province. She is currently the Program Manager for the Community Transition Teams Program with BCMHSUS. Her own personal experiences and background, allow her to approach her work and life with a lens centered on equity, justice, inclusion, and diversity.