Our Staff

Janice Abbott

Janice Abbott
Chief Executive Officer

Janice Abbott has been the CEO of Atira Women's Resource Society since 1992. She has lead the Society through its incredible growth from a single transition house located in South Surrey with a staff of seven to a large multi-service agency with two, for-profit subsidiaries, a development arm and more than 500 staff.

She has headed up numerous innovative capital projects including Canada’s first multi-unit recycled shipping container housing development, which was completed in August 2013. Throughout Atira’s herstory, Janice has championed barrier-free and low-barrier access to programs and services for women, ensuring Atira’s programs are accessible to all women affected by violence including women who have traditionally been marginalized by mainstream society. She developed and works to honour in her daily practice and in her life Atira’s anti-oppression framework.

Janice is a Governor in Council appointee to the Board of Directors of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, where she chairs the Affordable Housing Committee and is a member of the Risk and Human Resource Committees. She was named to the Power 50 list by Vancouver Magazine in 2017; recognized by BC Business Magazine as among one of BC's 35 Most Influential Women in 2016 and BC’s Most Influential Women in Not-for-Profit, Culture & Media in 2015.  Their panel said of Janice, “There’s a woman who’s been able to commercialize–in the most positive sense of the word– social enterprise in order to build more housing. Her drive is to create a very large, functioning not-for-profit entity focused on ending violence against women.”

She is also the recipient of numerous other awards including the 2013 BC Non-Profit Housing Association’s Denise LaBlond Award, recognizing her dedication and vision in affordable housing in BC; and the Ernst & Young 2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.

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Niki Antonopoulou

Niki Antonopoulou
Executive Director, Operations (Vancouver)

Niki’s expansive front-line and management experience enables her to understand the needs of the women and children who access Atira’s programs and services as well as Atira’s more than 250 staff.

Niki has worked for Atira Women’s Resource Society since 1992, starting as a front-line support worker and moving into program management in 1997. In her capacity as program manager, Niki was responsible for all aspects of program and property management at those sites she was responsible for including Koomseh Second-Stage Transition Housing program in Surrey and Bridge Housing for Women, a seven-storey development in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. In 2004, Niki took on the role of Director, Human Resources and lead Atira’s human resources department through prodigious growth. She has been the Executive Director, Operations since 2010 and brought her vast knowledge of Atira and the sector as well as her expertise to that position.

Niki holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Certificate in Human Resources and a rental property manager license (since expired). Her love of learning continues to expand her understanding of the world, especially through online university courses.

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Jacqui Evans-Atkinson

Jacqui Evans-Atkinson
Executive Director, Finance & Administration

Jacqui is a Chartered Accountant and a Certified Professional Accountant with more than 30 years of experience. She has a broad base of expertise including financial statement preparation and review, budgeting and forecasting, financial analysis, strategic planning, and improving financial reporting and process control.

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Bruk Melles

Bruk Melles
Executive Director, Operations

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Maura Gowans

Maura Gowans
Director of Residential Programs, Fraser Valley

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Ashley Kim

Ashley Kim
Director of Finance

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Sarah Louie

Sarah Louie
Director of Early Years & Family Well-being

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Lara Maestro

Lara Maestro
Director of Operational Excellence

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Anne M’Mithiaru

Anne M’Mithiaru
Director, Non-Residential Programs

Anne moved to Canada in 2003 from Kenya to pursue a Bachelor’s in Human Ecology, majoring in Family Violence & Conflict Resolution and Child & Adolescent Development at the University of Manitoba.

After graduating, she worked with Marymound Inc. as a Youth Care Practitioner, where she was later promoted to Senior Youth Care Practitioner working with at risk youth and children at an assessment unit.

In 2011 she became a Program Manager for Residential Mentorship Programs with Changes Supportive Living working with youth and adults living with mental health and addictions. She then moved to beautiful British Columbia in the fall of 2014 and worked as a Program Manager with Helping Spirit Lodge’s First Stage Transition House in Vancouver until joining Atira in April 2015.

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Caithlin Scarpelli

Caithlin Scarpelli
Director of Development, Communications & Fundraising

Caithlin began volunteering at Atira Women’s Resource Society at age 13 providing after-school childcare for moms accessing services at one of Atira’s second-stage housing programs, as well as in the administration office filing and cleaning.

She gained part-time employment at age 15 and continued to work on a part-time basis until 2003 when, after finishing a professional pastry program at the Art Institute of Vancouver, she started work as the children’s community kitchen coordinator, a job she adored. When funding was cut for that program a few a years later, she went to work assisting Atira's then fundraiser and over the next seven years and after completing the Fundraising Management Certificate Program at BCIT, grew into her current role as the Director,Communications, Development, Fundraising. Working in an environment that promotes equality for women has always been her passion and she continues to work every day in the struggle to end violence against women and children.

In 2014 Caithlin was accepted into the Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership program, run by the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. The year-long program is an exclusive and exciting opportunity to build on leadership skills, develop relationships with other women working in similar organizations across the country and to learn new skills in community economic development. In 2015 Caithlin participated along with eight other women leaders from across Canada in the United States Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs - International Visitor Leadership Program on Preventing Violence Against Women.

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Bella Sun

Bella Sun
Director of Finance

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Lynda Teskey

Lynda Teskey
Director of Residential Programs, Vancouver Coastal Region

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Daneeka Abellard

Daneeka Abellard
Project Manager/Construction

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