Michael Austin – Executive Director
Michael joined VHS in 2018; he has an honours degree in Philosophy from Mount Allison University, and most recently served as Shelter Manager with the SPCA St. John’s. While in Newfoundland, he is proud to have pioneered a number of programs to improve the lives of dogs and cats. Prior to working directly with animals, Michael spent close to a decade in academia, researching and speaking internationally on topics such as non-human communication and the recognition and ethical treatment of non-human animals He lives in Vancouver with his partner and three cats.
Peter Fricker – Projects and Communications Director
Peter Fricker joined VHS in 2003. He lives in East Vancouver with his wife and a special spaniel called Millie. Peter has a diploma in journalism from Langara College and has worked in communications for a number of non-profit organizations and companies, including the United Way, BC Hydro and the Hyack Festival. He spent 16 years working for a UK housing charity in Bath, Somerset, before moving back to Canada.
Emily Pickett – Program Coordinator
Emily joined VHS after moving from Saskatoon to Vancouver in 2014 to pursue her dream of living on the West Coast. She’s an active animal protection advocate who, after graduating with an honours degree in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, completed a campaign internship with the Humane Society of the United States; volunteered with companion animal spay/neuter clinics and most recently served as the Executive Director for New Hope Dog Rescue in Saskatoon. Emily has a passion for all things grassroots and community-based; her adopted dogs Sophie, Copper & Moya; hiking the North Shore where she lives; and farm animal ambassador, Esther the Wonder Pig.
Sara Walters – Office Manager
Sara joined VHS in 2017. Sara has a degree in Psychology from Kwantlen University. She has a background working as head of the administrative department for a trades company and management experience with various food and beverage companies prior to joining us. Sara is passionate about helping animals and has volunteered with various animal welfare organizations, including the BC SPCA and the Spartanburg Humane Society in South Carolina. Sara lives in Burnaby with her two Australian Shepherds, Max and Charlie.
Board of Directors
Marylee Davies, President
Marylee Davies is a Partner at Farris LLP, where she practises labour, employment and human rights law. Marylee acts for major public and private companies and institutions and regularly appears before a variety of administrative tribunals and all levels of the British Columbia courts.
Marylee became formally involved in the humane movement over ten years ago when she joined the BC SPCA, first as a Community Council Member and later as a member of the Society’s Board of Directors (including four years as President). Marylee’s love and respect for animals has a much longer history, having been surrounded by animals, domestic and otherwise, since childhood.
Marylee is profoundly committed to the humane treatment of animals and to ending animal abuse, cruelty and exploitation. In proudly accepting an appointment to the VHS Board, Marylee hopes to continue to use her education and professional skills to advance the rights and status of all animals.
Liberty Mulkani, Director, past president
Liberty Mulkani began her career in the film industry after completing a B.F.A. in theatre at Simon Fraser University. Shortly after graduation, she moved to California and decided to pursue her other passion: animal protection. She spent several years in the Bay Area working for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in their Animal Law Program and Event Planning departments. She now works for the ALDF as Director of the Project Management Program, overseeing the planning, monitoring and fulfillment of the ALDF’s key events and campaigns. In 2007, she earned her Masters of Education through the Institute for Humane Education and Cambridge College. At VHS, apart from her role on the board of directors, she also worked extensively with VHS’s Power of One humane education program.
Rebeka Breder, Director
Rebeka Breder has been passionate about advancing the welfare of non-human animals since the age of 13 – when she presented her city council with a dead duck, shot by hunters, and a petition of hundreds of signatures to ban duck hunting in the area. Since then, Rebeka has volunteered and worked for various animal welfare and non-profit organizations. Rebeka is the founding lawyer of Breder Law in Vancouver, a practice specializing in animal law. Rebeka also created the first Canadian Bar Association Animal Law section. She is excited to be a member of VHS’ fantastic team.
Rob Monteverde, Treasurer
Rob Monteverde, CPA, CA is a Senior Manager at Strategex CPA’s, a local accounting firm in downtown, Vancouver. Rob provides U.S. and Canadian tax services to various types of clients, ranging from small to large corporations, film production companies, as well as high net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. Rob’s love for animals comes from his grandfather who took care of many animals in the Philippines. His first dog, Scott, was given to him by his grandfather. However, due to his brother’s allergy, Rob was forced to be separated from Scott. Rob always visited Scott from his grandfather’s home until their family moved to Canada. Through the years his passion to take care of animals never faltered. Rob happily spends his downtime with two adorable puppies, Kahlua, a half Pomeranian/half dachshund, and Bailey, who is an unknown mix. Rob is committed to continuing his grandfather’s work through advocacy for the humane care of animals.
Chris Morcom, Director
Chris Morcom joined the board of directors in March 2017. He is an associate with Pacific Law Group where he practices civil litigation with an emphasis on insurance defence and personal injury claims. Chris has been concerned with the rights of animals since becoming a vegetarian at a young age and has had a variety of pets throughout his life.
Chris received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Professional Writing from the University of Victoria before relocating to Asia for four years. Upon his return to Canada, he attended the University of New Brunswick, receiving his Bachelor of Laws degree before coming back to Vancouver in 2009. In his spare time he enjoys a variety of sports and outdoor activities.
Angela Yadav, Director
Angela Yadav joined VHS in 2017. As a life-long vegetarian and passionate believer in animal welfare, Angela brings a strong conviction and commitment to help VHS’s goal to end animal suffering, cruelty and exploitation. Angela has been an ardent vegetarian all of her life – while the roots of this are grounded in the early teachings of her parents, her personal values and passion are what fuel her desire to get more people to become vegan/vegetarian and to promote the well-being of animals. Angela believes that a society is measured by how it treats its animals. As a seasoned business lawyer and now a mother of three young children, Angela is excited to give back to her community. Sitting on the VHS Board of Directors provides her with an opportunity to focus her efforts on improving our society’s treatment of animals and promoting a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.