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.
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 – 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 dogs Ryley, Copper & Moya; hiking the North Shore where she lives; and farm animal ambassador, Esther the Wonder Pig.
Amy Balcome — Office Assistant
Amy joined VHS in the fall of 2015. It is her dream to work alongside passionate animal advocates on a daily basis to make a difference in our everyday society. Amy has a passion for holistic health and attained her diploma as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in 2013. She offers guidance for individuals transitioning to a plant based lifestyle. Over the years she has actively been involved in hundreds of demos exposing the truth about animal exploitation. Amy enjoys travelling any chance she gets and hiking the beautiful west coast with her three rescued dogs.
Anna Pippus — Special Projects Director
Anna is dedicated to speaking on behalf of the 700 million animals used for food annually in Canada, having been involved as a board member, volunteer or employee of several Canadian animal protection and veg advocacy organizations. She holds a juris doctor in law from the University of Toronto and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of British Columbia. Anna has spoken about farmed animal law, policy, and advocacy issues before numerous legal and non-legal audiences and in countless print, television, online, and radio publications. After several years in Toronto, Anna and her family are thrilled to again call Vancouver home.
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.
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.
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.
Marylee Davies, Director
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.
A list of staff and directors of the Vancouver Humane Society.