Debra Probert – Executive Director
Debra has been with VHS since 1989; initially as a volunteer, then a volunteer director, and since 1996 as executive director. Her education includes a music diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto (ARCT) and until becoming a full-time employee of VHS, taught classical piano in a private studio. Debra lives in Surrey with her husband, three dysfunctional (but beautiful) cats, and a perfect dog, Cooper.
Leanne McConnachie – Director, Farm Animal Programs
Upon graduating from the University of Victoria in 1988 with a B.A. in Economics, Leanne pursued a business career in the information technology sector. She held management positions in marketing and communications, product development, business development and sales. After working 15 years in this sector, Leanne decided to combine her business skills with her passion for animals and pursue a new career path. She joined UBC’s graduate program in Animal Welfare in 2004, completing her Master of Science degree in 2007. Leanne joined VHS in 2008.
Check out Chicken OUT! for more on VHS’s Farm Animal Welfare Project
Peter Fricker – Projects and Communications Director
Peter Fricker joined VHS in 2003. He lives in East Vancouver with his wife and two dogs who are regulars at the VHS office. 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 – Office Manager & Program Assistant
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 dogs Ryley, Copper & Moya; hiking the North Shore where she lives; and farm animal ambassador, Esther the Wonder Pig.
Board of Directors
Liberty Mulkani, 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 continues to work as an Event Coordinator for both ALDF and the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) and has planned animal law events for the two organizations at several law schools including Yale and Harvard. 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.
Laura Brown, Secretary
Laura joined the board of directors in October 2006, having volunteered with VHS for 15 years. Laura has always had a concern for animal welfare and says she is constantly impressed by what the Vancouver Humane Society has done and continues to do to help reduce the suffering of all animals.
Laura holds a B.A. from Trinity Western University, where she majored in Religious Studies and minored in International Development. She currently works at Trinity Western University in Disability Services. Her interests are in social justice, for both humans and animals. Laura lives in Surrey and has one black dog, and numerous rescued cats.
June Humphreys, Director
June is a retired medical laboratory technologist with a Bachelor of Science from UBC. She has been volunteering in cat rescue work for more than 15 years. In her early years of volunteering June did a lot of trap, neuter and release of feral cats. She continues to be involved with several cat shelters, as well managing virtually all of VHS’s direct animal assistance work. This involves overseeing financial help with spay and neuter costs, as well as other veterinary expenses for sick and injured animals. June is also involved in other voluntary work, including helping people in need to access income assistance, arranging transport to food banks and helping with income tax returns. She currently lives with eight companion cats.
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. Today, Rebeka is a litigation lawyer at Boughton Law Corporation in Vancouver and has also developed a practice in Animal Law. Rebeka recently created the first Canadian Bar Association Animal Law section and is excited to be a member of VHS’ fantastic team.
Chris Hajek, Director
Chris Hajek received an environmental studies degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. After a few years in the environmental clean-up and remediation sector, he shifted his focus to waste reduction and recycling. Chris’s experience in the field led him to become supervisor of a non-profit grassroots recycling operation, including the provision of services to large events such as Bioneers and the Green Festival. Since moving to Vancouver in 2005 Chris has been involved with The Recycling Alternative, Earthsave Canada, Greenprint Events and VHS’s Power of One program.
Frances Kelly, Director
Frances Kelly is a public interest lawyer who has successfully argued many cases that have protected and advanced the rights of disadvantaged humans. She is equally committed to the rights and welfare of animals. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and two cats.
Andrew Charles Jackson, Secretary
After his Bachelor’s, Andrew completed an M.Sc. in IT, Management & Organizational Change at one of the UK’s top 3 business schools, Lancaster University Management School. After global work experience in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan & Korea, Andrew settled in Vancouver. Since then, Andrew’s career has focussed on digital media marketing: he was the author of 3 online UBC courses in Social Media Metrics, Strategy & Marketing & Monetization. He is a business mentor through the CYBF to an adventure tourism startup, WildSide Vancouver, a digital media consultant to Latincouver, as well as being one of the organizers of ExpoPlaza Latina. His hobbies include DJing, soccer, snowboarding & campaigning on animal welfare and sustainability. Andrew loves animals, his parents live on a horse farm in Lancashire, England and he believes the one true litmus test for a civilized society is how it treats animals. Andrew has volunteered for the Vancouver Humane Society since the start of 2012 as a social media consultant and now is extremely proud to be a director.
Marjorie Brown, Director
Marjorie is a lawyer with Victory Square Law Office LLP in Vancouver where she acts for trade unions on labour, human rights and Charter cases. Marjorie balances her litigation work with her commitment to animals — she and her partner share their home with a cat Marjorie rescued in an injured state on her way to court and with a dog Marjorie found starving on the highway while traveling home from a hearing. With their two other shelter dogs, Marjorie and her partner can frequently be found running with their now happy (and well fed) pack on the North Shore trails. Marjorie is excited to be a part of the VHS team.
Aarti Gupta, Treasurer
Aarti joined the VHS board in January of 2014 after her search for an animal protection organization that was just the right fit. She was born, raised and completed her Bachelor’s in Business Administration in New Delhi. Having visited Vancouver several times, she couldn’t wait to move here in 2010 when she finished her degree. Aarti is an Account Manager for a property management company in North Vancouver, handling accounting for 14 companies. She enjoys working and appreciates the little things in life as well as learning new things and meeting new people. Aarti has been a vegetarian for her entire life.
A list of staff and directors of the Vancouver Humane Society.