Sharlene Law

Executive Director

Sharlene Law

Executive Director

Sharlene devotes her time to helping all walks of life, from those struggling with addiction to animals large and small. With a strong administrative background and eight years of working in outreach, her promotion to Executive Director in November 2016, was a natural fit – and an asset to our clients and their families.

When she needs to unwind, Sharlene harnesses the power of 80’s hair bands, enjoys baking cookies, loves road tripping with friends, and spending time with her two independent and adventurous adult daughters.

Evan James

Team Lead

Evan James

Team Lead

Evan draws strength from living a sober life and attributes the support of the Umbrella Society to his own recovery. As Team Lead, he is inspired by the courage of those seeking support and their willingness to open up. Evan’s greatest sense of accomplishment comes from witnessing lives being transformed while living his own wellness journey. He is a proud father of two kids and, in his downtime, can be found drumming for the band Dryspell.

Blake Andison

Housing Manager | Corrections

Blake Andison

Housing Manager | Corrections

Blake has been in the business of helping others for the past 20 years.  Coming from a background working exclusively with youth, he brings his personal experiences and solid communication skills into the world of addictions support.  Blake’s relentless optimism, empathy and caring nature makes him a good fit for our dynamic team at the Umbrella Society.  In his personal life, Blake enjoys playing music, exercise, cooking, and spending quality time with his beautiful wife and children.

Bronwyn Farley

Office Manager

Bronwyn Farley

Office Manager

Bronwyn is the friendly face and voice of the Umbrella Society and is often the first point of contact for those seeking assistance. After witnessing Umbrella’s work in the community, Brownyn admittedly pestered her way into a job! She draws a great sense of privilege from helping others at their time of need and offering comfort in times of vulnerability. Bronwyn loves to spend time off with her kids, trying to get them to eat the wide variety of food she cooks, while singing along to her record player.

Amy Cousineau

PANDORA CLINIC

Amy Cousineau

PANDORA CLINIC

Amy’s personal recovery led her to pursue a career helping others. She completed her Mental Health and Addictions program at Camosun and immediately applied for a position with the Umbrella Society.

Amy is grateful for the support that she has received and the opportunity to connect with others on their journey.

Away from work, Amy enjoys spending time with her son, reading, and being outdoors.

 

Louise Takhar

RAAC | OUTREACH

Louise Takhar

RAAC | OUTREACH

After forging her own path to recovery and accessing outpatient services, Louise was drawn to a career in addictions support. With a natural ability to connect with people, an education in Mental Health and Addictions from Camosun College, and a fifteen-year career in the service industry, Louise is a natural fit for our RAAC and Outreach programs. Connecting with people at their most vulnerable and being able to offer client-centered services is the most rewarding part of her work. When she’s not working, Louise looks forward to sunny, summer days watching the Harbour Cats.

Conor Rosen

AMCS

Conor Rosen

AMCS

Conor began working with the Umbrella Society at Foundation House, then he moved to the Emergency Room at Royal Jubilee Hospital and now Conor is working with the AMCS team at the Jubilee.

Having built a strong foundation for himself in his own recovery, Conor looks to give back what was freely given to him.  Conor enjoys acting, working out and playing the guitar.

Nicole Girvin

ICM TEAM

Nicole Girvin

ICM TEAM

Nicole completed the Mental Health and Addictions Program at Camosun and worked mostly with clients who were experiencing mental illness which provided her with great experience.  When the opportunity to work with Umbrella came her way she was very excited to accept the new challenge. Her empathetic nature and strong belief in meeting people where they are at has made working with the ICM Team a perfect fit for her.

In her free time Nicole enjoys spending time with her friends and family, staying active, and traveling.

Justin Bennett

Outreach | Cooper House

Justin Bennett

Outreach | Cooper House

Justin uses his personal life experience as a way to connect with individuals where they are at, and through his own recovery found a calling towards helping others.
Justin has always had a kind, compassionate, and empathetic nature which led him to successfully completing the Mental Health and Addictions Certificate program at Camosun College. Justin completed his practicum with the Umbrella Society  where he learned that his values and those of Umbrella’s were nearly identical.
Justin jumped at the opportunity to work alongside the team, moving away from a career of working in the restaurant/hospitality industry for the past 17 years.
Justin enjoys spending time with his beautiful daughter walking their dog, going to the beach, and cuddling up on the couch watching movies and eating popcorn. Justin also continues nurturing his passion for cooking and baking by experimenting at home trying to push the envelope of his own (and his daughter’s) tastes.

Luke Renshaw

ER | Outreach

Luke Renshaw

ER | Outreach

As both an empath and healer, Luke believes firmly in kindness and understanding above all. As a sober person he has learned that patience, love and understanding are key ingredients to recovery and believes that everyone struggling with addiction deserves compassion, respect, and a second chance. Luke is also a certified anxiety coach and has a thorough understanding of trauma in relation to addiction and mental health disorders. 

Outside of Luke’s work with Umbrella, he is an accomplished musician, having travelled the globe with various bands, earning a Juno nomination along the way. He loves spending time with his lovely daughters and enjoys spending time in the yoga studio or on various running trails throughout Victoria. 

Cait Marco

VGH AMCS

Cait Marco

VGH AMCS

Cait likes to live her life with a purpose. She believes her purpose is to somehow, in some small or large way, improve every person’s quality of life that she interacts with. Choosing a career that aligned with her purpose was an easy decision for her, and she hasn’t looked back since. She developed her knowledge through her education at Camosun College, studying Mental Health & Addictions.

When Cait isn’t working she enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music, reading a good book or spending time outdoors. It’s a bonus when she is able to combine all of those things!

 

Jake Flood

SURF Team | Salt Spring

Jake Flood

SURF Team | Salt Spring

Jake’s empathetic nature and natural ability to connect with those around him make him a great fit for the SURF team. Jake strives to improve quality of life for people experiencing addiction and mental health challenges. Jake has developed his skills and knowledge through studying mental health and addiction at University of Victoria and Camosun College.
Outside of work, Jake enjoys mountain biking, hockey and golf.

Laura Shorthouse

SURF Team

Laura Shorthouse

SURF Team

Through Laura’s lived experience with addiction coupled with her education from Camosun College’s Mental Health & Addictions Program, she brings compassion, empathy, and knowledge essential to supporting others in this helping field. Laura understands and appreciates the importance of meeting individuals where they are at while honoring each and every person’s own beliefs and values in order to deliver an authentic and respectful client-centered approach.

Laura was born and raised in Victoria, BC, is a proud mother of two boys, and in her spare time, takes every opportunity to enjoy the City and surrounding outdoor spaces in the company of her family and friends.

Amy Winter

ICM Team

Amy Winter

ICM Team

Amy is from originally from Edmonton and moved to Victoria two years ago for the Mental Health and Addictions program at Camosun college. She has worked with youth, complex mental health and is excited about her new role at Umbrella Society. 

Amy was drawn to this work through her own journey with substance use and believes in the potential that is inherent in every individual. She hopes to hold space for people to explore and define what that uniquely means to them and then support them towards achieving their personal ideals and vision. 

Amy enjoys spending as much time in nature as she can with friends and her dog, Lexi.

When Amy joined Umbrella she worked at the Comfort Inn and then moved on to the ICMT when there was an opening. 

Justin Langley

Transitional Housing

Justin Langley

Transitional Housing

In Justin’s words, the Umbrella Society has been very important to his own personal journey of recovery.

Justin feels honored to join the Umbrella Society and give back to the recovery community. His empathy, open mindedness and nonjudgmental nature gives him the right approach to helping those with substance use issues find the life they truly deserve.

Justin attributes his routine to staying clean and enjoys cooking, working out, playing drums and hanging out with supportive friends he has made while in recovery.

 

Nick Pearce

Forbes Pharmacy

Nick Pearce

Forbes Pharmacy

Nick was born and raised in Victoria, and is passionate about helping his community. He has seen first hand the adverse effects addiction can have on an individual and those close to them, and it brings him great joy to be given the opportunity to be there to help.

Nick loves hiking, taking photographs in nature, and spending time at the beach with his friends.

Terry Speller

Counsellor

Terry Speller

Counsellor

Terry has a Masters Degree in Education with a specialty in Counseling. His treatment philosophy is to see the humanity behind the person seeking recovery options – not simply the problem. Terry came to Umbrella after working in counselling and recovery because he found that the Society had an approach to treatment for addictions that he could identify with.

Terry spends his downtime strolling Victoria’s waterfront.

Brianna Law

ADMIN

Brianna Law

ADMIN

Brianna provides administrative support with Bronwyn. When Brianna isn’t working or enjoying our beautiful island with friends, you will likely find her exploring the world, preparing for her next adventure and continuing her learning. Every day is a school day!

Nicole Washington

Transitional Housing

Nicole Washington

Transitional Housing

A life time island girl, Nicole is excited to bring her enthusiasm and empathy to support clients working with the Umbrella Society.

Through her lived experience she brings an understanding of addiction, community supports and systems navigation that she is happy to share. Nicole has spent the last 3 years as an apprentice electrician and made the decision to transition to a helping profession when she realized it aligned deeply with her personal values. She believes in second chances in life and is interested in helping others find their cause.

When not at work Nicole loves spending time with her incredible daughter and working outside in the garden.

Jarret Saganiuk

Transitional Housing | Forbes Pharmacy

Jarret Saganiuk

Transitional Housing | Forbes Pharmacy

Jarret struggled with addictions and mental health for years before finding hope and support in the recovery community. Now, he has shifted his focus to share his compassion, knowledge and support to those who still struggle with substance and behaviour issues. He believes the most important step to helping others is building trust and taking the time to listen to those in need. He is very excited to join the Umbrella team and put these qualities to work.
In his free time Jarret can be found hiking in nature, volunteering  or laughing with friends.

Cheyenne Underwood

Transitional Housing

Cheyenne Underwood

Transitional Housing

Cheyenne’s own personal mental health journey has inspired her to give back to her community in any way that she can. Witnessing and living through addiction herself has pushed her to further open up the important conversation of mental health; and to break any stigmas surrounding addiction and intergenerational trauma. Her values greatly align with the Umbrella Society and she is grateful for the opportunity to support the community. She hopes to further her knowledge by going to Camosun College to enter the Mental Health & Addictions Program as well as the Pre-Social Work Program.
In her spare time, she likes finding new trails to walk her 2 dogs as well as finding new music to explore.

Kelsey Furlong

Transitional Housing

Kelsey Furlong

Transitional Housing

Kelsey has always had a passion for helping others and providing support to those that need it. After completing the Mental Health and Addictions program at Camosun College he started his first job in the field at Umbrella. He strongly believes in the power of psychosocial rehabilitation with its focus on improving multiple aspects of a persons life in order to promote recovery. Kelsey looks forward to improving lives and connecting with others as he progresses in his career. In his free time he enjoys walking his dog, going to the gym, long boarding, and spending time with loved ones.

Stefanie Bergen

Transitional Housing

Stefanie Bergen

Transitional Housing

Stefanie was born and raised on the island. She enjoys living life in recovery for herself and her 3 beautiful children. Stefanie’s passion is to make a difference within the community by helping others find there own path on there own journey to recovery by sharing her own experience,strength and hope.

Brae Carnes

Transitional Housing

Brae Carnes

Transitional Housing

After being shown the way to a better life, Brae decided it was time to put her experiences to use and help those in the midst of their addictions. Brae received her education as a care worker at Camosun College and also works as a Cosmetologist. Brae is an active advocate for Transgender rights and LGBTQ issues, always looking for new ways to support her community. When not at work Brae is often very active in the recovery community, or working on her next creative project. She loves fashion, family, and all things beautiful.

Brae works at the arena Monday and Tuesday’s.

Bruce Budden

Transitional Housing

Bruce Budden

Transitional Housing

Bruce credits his remarkable recovery to Umbrella Society. Their hands on, humanistic approach to helping those who choose recovery was instrumental in his growth.

When the opportunity to give back presented itself, he jumped at the chance. His personal experience, empathy, compassion and interest in seeing others succeed make him an asset to Umbrella’s team.

He volunteers for VPWAS during the week as a receptionist, with peer support being a large part of his days there.

In his spare time, Bruce loves to paint, sing, get out in nature to take photos, and make people laugh. In his mind he can still dance like a 20 year old.

Justin Best

Transitional Housing

Justin Best

Transitional Housing

Justin is enthusiastic and passionate about supporting people who are struggling with mental health and addiction challenges. He draws on his personal experiences with substance use for strength and guidance and takes pride in fostering a non-judgmental, positive, and compassionate connection with people in his day-to-day life. Justin is currently a psychology student at the University of Victoria and is excited to be a part of the Umbrella team. In his spare time, Justin loves living life with his wonderful teenage twins and exploring the outdoors on his bicycle.

Justin works at the arena on the weekends.

Emmett Sihoe

Transitional Housing

Emmett Sihoe

Transitional Housing

Emmett believes that every person deserves to be treated with kindness and empathy. His passion for people and commitment to supporting others inspired him to join the amazing team at the Umbrella Society. His calm, compassionate nature makes him a great fit for a helping role and he is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community. Emmett developed his knowledge at the University of Victoria, where he is currently completing his honours degree in Psychology.

In his spare time, Emmett enjoys photography, exploring the outdoors, and the company of friends and family.

Zack Senay

Transitional Housing

Zack Senay

Transitional Housing

Zack cares deeply about bringing a great amount of patience and empathy to every interaction he enters. As both a recent graduate of a Psychology Undergraduate degree with Honours from the University of Victoria, and a lifetime learner, Zack has been able to build an understanding of human behaviour that accepts everybody exactly where they are at, and allows him to see the emotions and needs beneath the behaviours we all engage in. He is passionate about increasing community empathy, making him a great fit for an outreach worker with the Umbrella society.

In his spare time, he loves to connect with nature, others, and himself.

Dottie Stott

Gratitude Group | Casual

Dottie Stott

Gratitude Group | Casual

For the last 10+ years, Dottie has been fortunate to work in the mental health, addictions and supportive recovery field. Being engaged, ready to help and encourage others with compassion and kindness makes Dottie a perfect addition to the Umbrella/ICM team as casual backfill.

You will also find Dottie’s bubbly personality on Tuesday evenings when she hosts the Gratitude Group.

Dottie loves being mom to her two adorable kids, cooking, music and live theatrical productions. One of her favourite quotes is “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise” Les Miserables.

Garrett Thurgar

Casual

Garrett Thurgar

Casual

Garrett holds the belief that everyone deserves safe and secure housing. With his own lived experience, Garrett is able to meet people where they are at and work with them to meet their goals. Garrett is an advocate for harm reduction in its many forms, with the understanding that not everyone is ready to make changes when they first begin accessing services. Meeting people where they are at allows him to work with individuals on self determined goals at their own pace.

When Garrett joined Umbrella he started at the arena, since that time Garrett has moved to the Emergency Room at the Royal Jubilee Hospital providing supports to those who present there. In the afternoons Garrett has an outreach case load and helps individuals who would like some support around their substance use.

In his free time Garrett can be found hanging out with his clown fish and looking at reef aquariums.

 

Rachael West

Casual

Rachael West

Casual

Rachael is a kind person, who believes every human being deserves a fair chance. Her life experiences have helped her connect with all kinds of people and develop a none judgmental point of view. Helping others has always been very important to her and hopes her empathy and love can have a positive impact on someone who needs it.

During the week you can find Rachael at her salon, helping others feel and look their best. She loves every day of work and is grateful she is able to do something she loves. Family, friends, and sunshine are some things that makes Rachael happy.

Krista Weckl

Casual

Krista Weckl

Casual

Krista is passionate about sharing her experience, strength and hope and is committed to helping others in their journey in kind and understanding ways.

Krista has lived in several different cities across Canada throughout her life and has gained much knowledge about the beautiful country we live in and is very grateful to reside in Victoria.

Krista enjoys catching up with her son, family and friends, spending time with her horse named Dude and outdoor activities like hiking and swimming.

 

Lesley Easton

Casual

Lesley Easton

Casual

Lesley’s personal journey of recovery led her to an education in Mental Health & Addictions from Camosun College and gave her valuable experience in the helping field. When the opportunity to work for the Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health arose she jumped at the chance to embrace a new role.

When Lesley joined Umbrella she started working with the SAMI team and has since moved over to the AMCS team at RJH. She enjoys meeting people where they are at and helping to create connections to supports and services in the community. In June 2020, Lesley resigned from full time work and remained with Umbrella as a casual.

When she’s not working, Lesley spends time outdoors exploring Vancouver Island and practicing yoga and meditation at her neighborhood studio.

Lyca

Lyca

Lyca moved into Foundation House after TJ moved to Cooper House. Lyca, a rescue dog, is the most loving, sweet dog who greets every resident with kisses and a wiggly butt. She brings love to companionship to all the men, and makes Foundation House feel like home.

TJ

TJ

TJ started his journey with Umbrella as the house dog at Foundation House. When his favourite residents were moving to our third stage house, Cooper House, TJ joined them and is loving the quieter, less busy, house. He is a sweet, playful rescue dog who came to us via the Victoria Humane Society. TJ did not have a good start in life, and he is weary of strangers and has significant anxiety. The residents enjoy spoiling TJ with lots of walks, lots of treats and lots of love.