Saleema Dhalla, CEO
Saleema completed her Masters of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene at UBC. She has designed and executed systems at the provincial and national level to reduce workplace injuries and improve employee well-being.
Saleema also led the development and execution of a province-wide initiative that standardized and improved the safety program at 300 locations across BC, gaining the Certificate of Recognition certification and thus providing significant cost savings.
Saleema’s vision for SafeCare BC closely matches her own personal values. A workplace free from injury, is the ultimate goal and focusing these efforts in healthcare, deepens her passion for this work. In her personal time, Saleema enjoys being active. As a certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, Saleema enjoys creating an environment that is fun and allows her students to work to their physical limits. She also enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her family.
Ken Donohue, Senior Director, Innovation and Partnerships
Ken joins the SafeCare BC team with an 18-year background in health communications, having worked for large and small organizations. Ken has developed numerous health campaigns, and led a team that was nominated for a BC Health Care Award for developing an online organ donor registry, the first in Canada. He is inspired by those who create positive and lasting impressions for the people they care for. Curious by nature and fascinated by the places, people and stories that make up our world, Ken is an accomplished author of more than 70 feature magazine articles. Passionate about writing and travel, his wife once remarked that Ken’s hobby is his passport.
Anna Richter, Director, Workplace Health and Safety Programs
Anna Richter has more than 20 years’ experience as a safety professional. Anna’s first foray into occupational health and safety came many years ago when she was travelling through New Zealand and worked for a safety inspection company as an office manager. She would often ask to go out in the field with the inspectors, and it was then that she realized her passion for working with organizations to make workplace safety a priority. She returned to Canada and enrolled in the Occupational Health and Safety program at BCIT.
Over the last 20 years, Anna has worked in both provincially and federally regulated industries in a safety capacity. For the past 13 years, she has been teaching health and safety courses in the certificate program at BCIT. She is excited to be working in the continuing care sector with SafeCare BC.
In her spare time, Anna enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and photography. She is also a bit of a foodie and loves experimenting with new recipes.
Lisa Thibault, Director of Communications
For more than fifteen years, Lisa worked in health care communications with experience in public relations, employee communications, and digital and web strategy. She was a team member on several award-winning projects during her career in health care and was recognized for her work in public health communications initiatives – including the opioid crisis. Most recently, she worked with the Manufacturing Safety Alliance of BC – supporting manufacturers to create safe workplaces.
Lisa received her ABC (Accredited Business Communicator) from the International Association of Business Communicators. She has a B.A. from the University of British Columbia and is passionate about lifelong learning.
Outside the office, Lisa is an active volunteer and enjoys spending time outdoors, travelling, photography, and exploring communities around BC and the Pacific Northwest with her family.
Brooke Astles, Education and Gerontology Lead
Brooke is originally from Ontario, where she completed an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning. A passion for older adults (and a love for skiing) prompted Brooke to move to BC to pursue a Masters in Gerontology from SFU in 2013. After finishing her studies, Brooke worked for BC’s largest community living organization in quality assurance; monitoring the safety and well-being of individuals with disabilities.
As a SafeCare BC employee, Brooke first worked as a manager to SafeCare BC’s facilitators; hiring, training and supporting their development. At the same time, Brooke led and co-led projects including the establishment the online resource, CareforCaregivers.ca; formation of new program streams; and development of widespread online video initiatives. Since the birth of her son, Brooke has transitioned to the role of Education and Gerontology Lead, using her gerontological background and facilitation experience to help develop SafeCare BC’s educational offerings; provide mentorship to facilitators; and offer direct training to continuing care workers. In her free time, Brooke can be found skiing, playing piano, exploring neighbourhoods, and spending quality time with her wonderful family.
Zach Butler, Communications Lead
Zach completed a degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University and a Diploma in General Business from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. During his education, he developed a passion for media production and writing and is excited to share that passion through his work as a member of the SafeCare BC team.
Bringing with him a background in customer service, Zach is looking forward to helping people by contributing to SafeCare BC’s goals. In his spare time, Zach enjoys playing music, going hiking and playing tennis.
Jennifer Derksen, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant
Building on her undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba, and Occupational Health and Safety certification from BCIT. Jennifer has collected a range of knowledge in various industries, including 10 years in the K-12 sector.
Jennifer is a self-proclaimed health and safety nerd and is particularly passionate about stakeholder engagement, improving safety systems, and violence in the workplace. She is thrilled to join such an important sector and is keen to collaborate with, and support SafeCareBC members on improving their health and safety programs.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys volunteering and a multitude of sports. Jennifer can be found running and biking through Vancouver (on the quest to collect the best donut or fried chicken) and is always happy to incorporate a walking meeting, or tennis at lunch.
Kunval Mahmood, Pandemic Response Advisor
Kunval holds an undergraduate degree in Health Policy and Management from York University in Ontario and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Healthcare Management.
Throughout her professional career, Kunval has worked with non-profit related healthcare organizations with a passion for supporting her community. She is looking forward to working alongside the SafeCare BC team to create healthier workplaces in the continuing care sector.
In her free time Kunval enjoys a good book, exploring the outdoors and spending time with family.
Mark completed his Bachelor of Kinesiology and Bachelor of Education with a minor in Special Education at the University of Alberta before going on to teach almost every subject in grades 7 to 12, before moving to Vancouver in August 2020. He is looking forward to applying his teaching knowledge to create curriculum and programming to help improve knowledge of how vaccines work to protect ourselves and our communities. Outside of work, Mark can often be found cooking, riding his bike along False Creek, or looking for Vancouver’s best pastries.
With over 17 years of administrative experience across multiple industries, Pavan has joined SafeCare BC as the new member services coordinator. She values the importance of offering online and in-person learning opportunities to healthcare professionals through SafeCare BC to enhance workplace safety protocols.
Pavan is committed to aiding management in creating and fostering an organizational culture of safety, providing necessary resources and materials to ensure safer workplaces. Before joining SafeCare BC, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC, where she reviewed qualifications and granted certifications to Naturopathic Doctors for different modalities to practice in their clinics.
In her leisure time, Pavan enjoys exploring the seawall with her furry friend, searching for the best Spanish coffee in town, binge-watching reality TV shows, and cooking.
Kajal Hajirakar, Education and Operations Lead
Kajal has been working within the continuing care industry since 2012, taking breaks to pursue higher education. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Commerce and a Masters in Health Leadership and Policy, she is passionate about using education to close the gaps in delivering person-centred care. Kajal has been leading and supporting staff training and learning for the past five years and is excited to bring her expertise to the SafeCare BC team. She enjoys photography, spending time with loved ones, and crafting in her free time.