We are a passionate team, driven by a shared commitment to our community. With our combined experience and love for the outdoors, we support our participants day in and day out to deliver the best possible adventures they can experience, while connecting the community and changing the definition of ability.
Dana Hutchings is co-CEO of Power To Be in partnership with Jason Cole. Dana has been working with Power To Be since 2016 with leadership in Communications, Advancement, Finance and Operations. Dana’s continuous goal is to lead with positivity first and authentically connect with people through stories and experiences. Her philosophy is simple: fostering a strong culture at work drives success.
Before joining Power To Be, Dana held a distinguished career in broadcast journalism. In her work, she held field and leadership roles. As a result of her journalism work, Dana is a Jack Webster Foundation award winner and a Social Media Award for Excellence in Engagement winner. Dana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria and a Diploma in Broadcast Communications and Media Relations from BCIT.Dana believes deeply in the benefits delivered by giving back to the community and celebrates opportunities to advise and collaborate with other social profit organizations and business leaders. Outside of work, Dana enjoys spending time with her son, photography and getting out into nature – hiking and kayaking are her favourite.
Jason Cole is co-CEO of Power To Be in partnership with Dana Hutchings. Jay’s very fabric is sewn from the love of the outdoors and he has been with the organization since 2008. For more than 19 years, he has sought the restorative qualities of the natural environment and worked to support populations that can benefit from connecting with themselves through the power of nature. His appreciation for key mentors in his life has contributed to values of community responsibility, integrity, self-worth, leadership, and compassion, which he distils into all Power To Be programs. Holding a BA in Outdoor Recreation with honours from Lake Head University, Jay’s leadership over the dynamic committed team of youth workers and outdoor professionals ensures he will make this world a little better than when he came into it.
Alix grew up on a hobby farm and the outdoors was where her family spent much of their time working and playing. She has a great love for animals and the natural world and volunteers with two local environmental stewardship groups. Alix’s background is in hospitality and customer service and she has had the privilege of working on many beautiful private properties on the Gulf Islands. She believes in the power of community, inclusivity, and that nature can offer us whatever we need (Frank Lloyd Wright said it nicely, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you”).
Asha grew up in the southwestern United States where the high-altitude desert and mountain landscapes shaped her relationship and appreciation of nature. A keen traveler, Asha is always planning her next trip and grateful to be able to call Victoria home. Through a mentorship program while earning her BA at UBC, Asha discovered her passion for the social impact sector and has been in the field ever since, including working in immigration services and affordable housing, and gaining board experience in community living. Outside of work, Asha values her time spent with family and friends, making new discoveries, and visiting her favourite spots around southern Vancouver Island.
Having moved to Vancouver Island when she was just one, Ashley’s love for the west coast is second nature. With a background in Marketing, she is passionate about storytelling and communicating how adventures in our beautiful landscapes can truly change a person’s life. In addition to her love for the outdoors, she’s also an animal advocate who helped launch the first ever World Elephant Day and continues to support the global campaign. In her spare time she can be found with her husband and two little boys exploring the forest or puddle jumping along the coastline.
Growing up on Galiano Island Ashleigh explored our local coastlines and trails, while her school breaks were spent further a field backpacking in South America and Europe. Since, she has had the opportunity to travel further including Antarctica, South East Asia, Nepal, India, and Australia. Holding a BA in Recreation and Health Education from the University of Victoria, she brings her experiences working at The Boulders Climbing Gym and the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island to her role supporting volunteers. A former Power To Be volunteer herself, she loves seeing how outdoor experiences bring people together and creates community.
Brian is a problem solver by nature. Born and raised in Montreal, his passion for the outdoors and exploring has taken him to every province in Canada. He looks at the world with an eye for how things work, drawing him from a background in forest recreation and civil engineering to architectural engineering and project management with a focus on the construction industry. His focus on continual learning and teaching pairs well with his commitment to family and time dedicated to being a volunteer firefighter.
Britt comes from a lineage of Scots and Swedes and is grateful to live and love upon the land of the Lekwungen, Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. She is dedicated to unpacking the ways she is in relation to Indigenous peoples, lands and waters with transparency and curiosity. She has had the privilege to play in jungles, forests, oceans and deserts around the world but is magnetically pulled to the Coastal Temperate Rainforest. Sharing the magic of the natural world with participants of all abilities is a great passion and motivation of Britt’s. She recently designed a program for youth on Ecological Grief and Gratitude through her Master’s degree in Environmental Education and Communication. Britt works to cultivate reciprocity with the way humans interact with nature – giving back and weaving meaningful connections.
Cara grew up on Vancouver Island and has always felt a strong connection to the West Coast. Cara is passionate about sharing the ordinary magic of being in nature and building community where true belonging exists. She holds an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria and initially got involved with Power To Be through a co-op placement as a part of her degree. Cara has previous experience working and volunteering in the social sector and recently worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, York University, and UVic to conduct research on BBBSC programming & youth mental health during COVID. In her spare time, Cara loves to stay active and play in nature as much as she can! Backpacking trips, kayaking, hiking, and cycling are a few of her favourite outdoor activities.
Combining her love of wilderness and ocean with a passion to support people living with cognitive, emotional, neurological and complex needs, Carinna has embedded her knowledge and years of experience to create profound connection and transformations through nature at Power To Be. Holding a BA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, Carinna trains staff in behaviour management communication strategies and non-violent crisis intervention. She has been at the helm of the Adaptive Recreation program since 2005, developing, expanding and resourcing Power To Be with staff, students and volunteers to inspire greatness and be stewards of positive change.
Originally from the UK, Charlotte arrived in Canada in 2013 before finding her way to Vancouver, and she hasn’t looked back since. With such immense nature in her new backyard, this provided the perfect opportunity to explore her love for the outdoors. With more than a decade of professional fundraising experience, working for Autism Initiatives Scotland, and most recently at Special Olympics BC, her passion for community engagement is strong. Holding CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation, combined with her passion for building relationships with donors, sharing the joy of giving, and creating meaningful donor experiences has led to her joining Power To Be as our Corporate Relations Lead.
Growing up on Bowen Island off the coast of B.C., Corra-Rose was regularly immersed in nature, helping her to be appreciative and present in each moment. Corra-Rose has a Diploma in Business Administration and Hospitality from Vancouver Community College. In her previous roles she worked on of both private and public charities; assisting the philanthropic intentions of donors, cultivating national awareness, and managing administration for all donations. Her passion for connectivity and nature was what brought her to Power To Be. Corra-Rose practices Santosha style yoga daily, focused on the practice’s core belief: Contentment for all that we have and appreciation for all that we are.
Raised in Cottage Country (otherwise known as Peterborough, Ontario), Em is passionate about connecting people to nature. She has travelled to Europe, Central America, and all over North America, making the trans-Canada road trip three times before settling in Victoria in 2010. With a background in drama and music, Em double-majored in psychology and sociology at the University of Victoria, before completing her Post-Grad in Therapeutic Recreation at Fleming College. With a lifetime of outdoor experiences, her certifications include sea kayaking, canoeing, and wilderness first aid. When she isn’t leading programs, you can find Em hiking through the forest, paddling down a river, or cheering (loudly) for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Graham’s love for running rivers and nature flows from his childhood spent exploring the lakes and forests of Peterborough, Ont. He started guiding canoe trips in 1998 and has since led whitewater rafting and kayak instruction on the Ottawa River, and guided multi-week expeditions in the Yukon and Northwest Territories prior to joining Power To Be. In addition to his outdoor experience, he holds a BA in International Development from McGill University and an MA in International Affairs from Carleton University. Graham has travelled throughout North America, Mexico, and Eastern Africa. Calling Vancouver home since 2015, when he is not in a boat he can often be found hiking, skiing or mountain biking on the North Shore.
Drawn to the water, Jasmine is a lover of nature and adventure. Born in Ontario, she spent time in Alberta before family ties brought her to the West Coast. She connected with Power To Be as a kayak program participant more than a decade ago, and since joining the staff team has brought her organizational skills and desire to connect people to her role. Jasmine actively gives her time to supporting accessible communities, both through her involvement in the Ogden Point breakwater safety railings initiative and through time working with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre. She is motivated by her passion to inspire others to experience the healing power of being in nature. She was a 2015 Courage To Come Back Award finalist.
A long-time advocate of volunteerism and accessibility, Jennifer brings her skills in bookkeeping, and administration to Power To Be. She loves exploring outdoors, adventure, and travel. Her many adventures include time in Cambodia volunteering to help raise funds for vulnerable women and children, and that sparked a desire to use her skills to empower and support others to push past barriers of many kinds. In her spare time, she can be found biking and hiking with her child, marvelling at the rain-forest canopy and enjoying the many pathways and parks nearby.
Jen grew up in British Columbia, exploring and fostering a deep appreciation for the power of nature. Coming from a background in adaptive summer camping, Jen fell in love with supporting people with barriers and making innovative ideas become reality. Jen’s practice is rooted in creativity and community, stemming from her training in jazz music and music therapy. She is a people centered, collaborative and strategic leader. Always confident that there’s a way to make something work and driven by a belief in the strong power of community, Jen is passionate about inclusivity, innovation, and relationship building.
Katie’s love for the outdoors stems from growing up exploring Vancouver Island forests and beaches and spending summers on Hornby Island. Always finding time for travel, she has taken various extended leaves throughout her education and working career to explore Europe, South East Asia, and Central and South America. Katie is keen to keep on travelling the world and to continue experiencing and learning from new cultures. Katie received her BComm in accounting from UBC and then her CPA, CA designation in 2015. She has worked for a small accounting firm in Victoria and most recently for Deloitte as a Tax Manager. She has a passion to utilize her finance and business skills to give back to the community.
Vancouver Island’s brilliant coastline and lush forests stole Kendal’s heart after moving out west from Calgary, AB in 2004. Kendal holds a BA in Recreation and Health Education at University of Victoria and a Leadership and Management Certificate from Royal Roads University (Continuing Studies). Kendal has grown roots through various non-profit communities in B.C through significant roles through Recreation Integration Victoria, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria. Kendal believes in the incredible power of human connection and brings forth her innovative creativity, leadership, and enthusiasm to build vibrant communities who drive change. When she’s not in the office, Kendal finds herself teaching dance, yoga or camping & exploring the wild with her husband and two young girls.
Kira grew up in a small town in Ontario, spending most of her free time in the forest near her home. It was here that she fell in love with nature and the peaceful bliss that comes with being amongst the trees. After spending a summer living on Vancouver Island, she couldn’t resist the pull of the mountains and ended up in Victoria, BC. Kira has a BA in Communication Studies, a post-graduate certificate in Environmental Visual Communications, and a Master’s degree in Science Communication. She is passionate about encouraging people to get outside and helping to share the endless stories of nature through photography, videography, and writing.
Liz was born and raised on a horse farm in the Comox Valley, and enjoys spending time exploring Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands. She feels privileged to live a life with access to amazing outdoor recreation, exploring new locations with her dogs, going mountain biking, trail running and hiking. Working with horses continues to affirm within her a sense of grounding and connectedness. Liz comes to Power To Be with experience in the nonprofit and adaptive recreation fields, and she is passionate about connecting others to similar opportunities.
Maria is a lifelong learner, who is constantly seeking deeper understanding, fulfillment, and joy in life. Originally from Saskatchewan, she has called the West Coast her home for 15 years and says that and the wild expanse of nature recharges her soul. Maria is a Jill of all Trades with a diverse background in film, event production, project management, finance and client services. She has a BFA in Drama from the University of Saskatchewan, Diploma for Acting in Film and Television from Vancouver Film School, Integrative Energy Healing Certificate from Langara, a Diploma in Bookkeeping and Payroll from Ashton College, and various additional certificates for healing modalities. Maria is constantly honing her skills, and intentionally creating space for change and growth. In her spare time, she teaches meditation and energetic healing.
Mike grew up in southern Ontario but has now called Vancouver Island home for over 15 years. He has had the pleasure of splitting his time between Victoria and Quadra Island for the last 4 years, which has allowed him to do the things he loves such as rock climbing, sea kayaking, trail running, and spending time in the mountains.
Mike has a Level 2 Lead Guide certification with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC; as well as certifications in wilderness first aid, marine radio operation, and Adventure Tourism. Mike became a guide because he believes in the importance of being connected with nature and that everyone should be given the chance to create that connection. His values and passion for healing in nature, are what brought him to Power to Be.
From settler ancestry, Myah (she/her) grew up in a coastal community in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia), the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people. Along those rugged shorelines, she found adventure, belonging, and solace in nature. Inspired by childhood experiences in nature-based programming and social justice values, Myah pursued an undergraduate degree in Community Development and Environmental Studies through Acadia University. She has worked in the outdoor sector as both an adventure guide and nature-based programmer in multiple facets and has enjoyed working as an education assistant and behaviour interventionist. Myah is passionate about the role that connection with nature can play in fostering healthier relationships with one’s self, others, and the environment, and holds this philosophy as a driving force behind her work. When Myah is not in program, she is most likely training her dogs Tempo and Keji and enjoying local natural spaces with them in company.
Nick has a diverse collection of knowledge, skills, and abilities that makes him apt for designing, building, and managing construction projects. Thanks to his welding education at Camosun College and his experience as WildPlay’s Element Manager, Nick can design and build things he need resourcefully and usually with materials he has upcycled. Nick worked 8 years in adventure tourism, working his way up through a local company to eventually manage the development of technologies and processes for risk management, building and maintenance of adventure courses and ziplines, and the training and certification of guides.
Nick has been involved with Power To Be as a volunteer at the Power To Play events and in guiding Power To Be participants through adventure course experiences. Nick loves being outside, exploring the local mountains and forests through mountain biking, hiking, and climbing. In any adventure, you’ll find him exploring with his wife and their two dogs.
Pete grew up in Brentwood Bay playing at the beach, on the water and roaming freely through the local parks. Through this he developed a deep love for wild spaces where he feels more at home than built human environments. Pete graduated from Lakehead University with a Honours bachelor of Outdoor Recreation and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. Over the last 15 years he has built his experience working with children and youth in the outdoors. Pete is certified as a Sea kayak Level 3 guide and Guide trainer with the SKGABC, as well as other industry awards. Pete was inspired to join Power To Be to help provide quality experiences in the outdoors to those that have barriers for their participation.
Paul grew up connected to nature. Exploring the rolling countryside and tiny villages of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park in England, hiking and camping were always a passion for him. Nature has been a powerful healer and teacher for Paul, and through working in Outdoor Centres in England, and Adventure Operators in Canada, he was able to share his experience with others and coach them through challenges using nature as a co-facilitator. Over the years, Paul has gained qualifications in multiple land-based activities from rock climbing to caving and many in-between, and some water activities like canoeing and sailing. Paul has a love for adventures both underground and above ground, a hankering for Yorkshire puddings, and an itch for plucking the Ukulele.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Pāora’s life has always been connected to nature. Influenced by his Maori culture, he has sought out land and sea, learning about the geography and what lives within it. His path took him through the military, volunteer relief work, parenting, youth justice and physical literacy programs before arriving at Power To Be. With a respect for the natural world and his place within it, Pāora is inspired by adventure and the diversity of people he meets. In Maori language, a traditional greeting is “Kia Ora!” which means “Be full of life!” It’s a sentiment Pāora strives to embody in his actions and encourage in others.
Originally from Toronto, Sarah has called B.C. home since 2006. She is a passionate fundraiser for social change, with over 20 years of experience in the charity sector. Committed to work-life balance, Sarah enjoys travel, time spent with her kids and being active in the outdoors. She has a deep interest in outdoor education stemming from her early work with national and international youth serving organizations. Sarah graduated from Royal Roads University with an MA in Leadership and Training and a BA from Dalhousie University. For over a decade, Sarah has worked with Parachute (previously SMARTRISK), raising funds for injury prevention. She currently sits on the Squamish Community Foundation board of directors.
Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Sharde’s work in Human Resources has followed naturally from her belief that working in this field is all about building stronger communities through authentic connections and clearly defined rules of engagement. She loves finding creative solutions to complex problems and building vibrant workplaces through structure, culture, training tools and resources that serve both leaders and their teams. As the recipient of CPHR’s 2020 Rising Star award Sharde is an award-winning HR professional, she has a post-degree diploma in human resource management and leadership, an undergraduate degree in psychology with a focus in human motivation, and a certificate in community leadership development. Sharde believes in building stronger communities by bringing people together.
Simon’s journey in the professional outdoor industry spans more than 20 years from rural north Yorkshire (his home town) throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Holding a BA with honours in Outdoor Leadership and a Diploma in Adventure Tourism. Simon also carries a host of certifications in paddling, mountain biking, and Leave no trace backcountry travel that help him stay close to his roots of living simply, happily and taking little from the earth, while teaching others to do the same.
Sylvia grew up on the lands of the Tla’amin people, her ancestors were from Iceland and Scotland. She values connecting with people through positivity and genuine care. Central to her nature-based practice, is a deep respect and gratitude for the lands and waterways of the Coast Salish people who have generously gifted her teachings and support over many years. Sylvia’s practice is rooted in the belief that connection and belonging are essential to wellbeing. Using nature as a co-facilitator, she strive to help youth and families to find strength in themselves and build up their capacity to find belonging within the people and spaces they connect with.
Sylvia have been working with youth and families for nearly two decades and have much reverence for the wisdom and expertise that people have of their own lived experiences. Formally her education background includes a MA in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria and many years of crisis intervention and counselling training. When she doesn’t have her youth and family support hat on, you will most likely find her outside mountain biking, hiking with her dog Dex or seeking out time near or on the ocean.
After spending her childhood roaming the forests and mountains of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, Tamara sailed around the world with Class Afloat where she developed a passion for people and cultures. In 2011 she moved out to Vancouver Island and fell in love with all that it has to offer.
Tamara’s passion for people and cultures was the catalyst to her educational journey. She has obtained a major in Recreation and Health Education, a minor in Anthropology, and PDD in Human Resource Management. Her combined background in customer service, National Parks, and recreation has allowed her to step into her role with the facility and assets team with determination and passion. Tamara values equity, inclusion, and growth through curiosity and creativity. She fosters these values by striving to offer everyone access to the nature around them!
Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, Environmental Dynamics Inc.
Rahul is a stubbornly positive person that helps to build opportunity where he can. He has taken the long road to find what is truly important in his life, and hopes to share what he has learned as well as learn from those around him. Rahul went to school for a long time obtaining three tangentially related natural science degrees. By day, he is the Chief Strategic Initiatives officer for a truly amazing environmental firm that was started in Prince George 25 years ago, but now has 8 offices across western and northern Canada. He helps build opportunity within the firm as well as seek collaboration opportunities with like-minded companies.
Rahul was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006. Despite needing to adapt every aspect of his life, with the help of his amazing wife, three little kids, and the cast of people he is lucky enough to call friends, he has found a way to live a truly happy existence.
Finance Director, MdGB Capital
Lauren was born and raised on Vancouver Island. Supporting a local non-profit, particularly one that directly supports people in her community, was an obvious choice for her. She has experience with working with NPOs in her career and is an active volunteer on boards and committees of non-profits in Victoria. Lauren is a Chartered Professional Accountant and it is important to her to use her skills and experience to give back to the community. Lauren likes to travel and spend time with her friends and family, especially if it involves physical activity.
Executive Coach, Head’s Colleague Consulting
Simon is dedicated to education, connecting people to knowledge first as a teacher and headmaster, and then as a consultant. Following his early postings in Ontario, where he taught Power To Be Executive Director Tim Cormode, he moved to Vancouver Island in 1990. His career has transitioned from providing leadership for schools to an opportunity to use his executive coaching training to help other heads of schools bring out the best in their teams. Bruce-Lockhart holds a BA in English from Yale University and a Certificate of Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. With two Arctic canoe trips undertaken, he can now often be found sailing the waters around Vancouver Island with his wife.
Andrea has spent her career in sports and physical activity, working across various systems to create better inclusion for those who face barriers. Currently, she is Co-Founder and current Executive Director of OneAbility, Chief INclusion Officer with INclusion INcorporated, and holds a Masters of Education in Leadership, and is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional and Certified Executive Coach. She strives to create access and equity for everyone by building communities, spaces and places where people can be themselves.
Andrea grew up on Ktunaxa lands, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Purcell Mountains, where her love for nature began. She spends time outdoors by going hiking, mountain biking, participating in triathlons and more! She is a mother, a partner, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
Associate Director of Professional Programs, Co-operative Education & Career Services, UVIC
Alyssa is the Associate Director of Optional and Professional Programs for Co-operative Education & Career Services at the University of Victoria. Her professional background is in leadership, experiential education, and inclusion, with degrees in Kinesiology (BSc.) and Neuroscience and Physical Education and Recreation (MSc). Power To Be is a great fit for her volunteer work as she is passionate about inclusion and nature. Alyssa believes in the powerful impact that PTB has on their participants, volunteers, and community partners.
Alyssa grew up on Vancouver Island, exploring nature with her family and friends on land and water. Her love for nature extends into her present life, where she spends her free time outside hiking, swimming, paddling; and seeing the world by bicycle. When not outside, Alyssa loves to fiber craft and be creative!
Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Salmo
James grew up in national parks enjoying just about any mountain activity, and has been a Vancouver program volunteer with Power To Be since 2017. He holds a BSc in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary, a Law degree from UBC, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Dalhousie University. James brings his professional experience, and deep understanding of not for profit governance, including sitting on the North Van Recreation Commission and the Kootenay Adaptive Sport Boards. He recognizes that access to the outdoors is crucial to well-being, and is excited to contribute to an organization that creates access to these natural spaces and new opportunities for the community.
Navdeep was born in Winnipeg and has also spent time living in Toronto and Vancouver, fostering deep connections in all three places. She loves to spend time with her family, including her eight nieces and nephews. Navdeep also loves to travel and especially enjoys being outdoors because of the calmness that nature offers. She has a competitive nature and was an avid participant in our past Power To Play events, showing her true passion for Power To Be and our mission. She believes in accepting people for who they are and wants to be a part of a community where everyone wins.
Chairman, The Alacrity Foundation
*Past Board Chair
Owen builds community in everything that he does. From technology start-ups to organizations dedicated to improving children’s heath and education, he is an active volunteer and mentor. A general partner at Wesley Clover, he also sits on boards for several technology companies and Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. “I have the privilege of seeing the value and quality of its work firsthand,” he says. “I am excited to lend my expertise at the board level to support that.
Communications Director, BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change
Paul is a communications leader with a deep commitment to strategy and story. He has worked in media, public service and universities. He holds a Diploma of Technology, Broadcast Journalism from BCIT and a BA in Communications from Carleton University. He and his partner are raising four active and community minded children. Paul volunteers on island based social enterprises focusing on community health and the environment. He has served on boards for the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Saskatchewan Science Centre and Kramer IMAX Theatre. Biking makes his world go around.
Tim has been involved in youth work and the non-profit sector for nearly 30 years. Initially supporting young adults with disabilities at a summer camp as a teenager, Tim’s passion for the outdoors and supporting others led to a leadership program at Yamnuska Mountaineering School in Canmore, Alberta. This is where the inspiration came to help youth and families living with barriers climb their own mountains. With the help of a small government grant in 1998, the Power To Be adventure began and has grown to reach more than 8,000 youth and families to date. Maintaining an avid love of the outdoors, adventure and humanitarian work, Tim’s recent highlights include climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and travelling to support Haiti relief. His greatest accolade, among many in recent years, came in 2011 when he received the British Columbia Community Achievement Award from the lieutenant-governor of B.C.