Our Team

The hearts that make Fire & Flower blossom

Elisa Lee

Founder and Lead Mentor

Elisa Lee, MA, BEd, BSc, BA, has been hanging out with young people for 15 years. She remembers how BIG it felt menstruating for the first time, and how she had so many questions about growing older, “So, I can have a baby now?? Are these changes in my body normal? Am I normal? What do I do about this crush? What’s highschool going to be like?” She just felt different than before when she was younger. Nowadays, Elisa loves being around girls & young women hearing about their lives, their dreams and their fears, and helping them know how incredible and amazingly unique they are. As a school teacher and youth wilderness guide, Elisa practices compassionate Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to cultivate empathetic relationships. Elisa shared her childhood with the mighty salmon of northern British Columbia and like them, she migrated far from home. After completing university degrees in Education, Biology and English Literature in Ontario, she had many adventures living and traveling abroad before feeling the instinctual pull to journey home. In 2012, Elisa enacted a nature-based rite of passage and was formally initiated as a woman at the age of 31. This life-changing experience inspired her to complete a Master’s degree in Environmental Education focusing on women’s coming-of-age rites of passage. She has also done vision quest guide training with The School of Lost Borders, and helped lead youth rites of passage with Rites of Passage Journeys. Elisa is a lifelong student of conscious communication and personal development, and currently teaches at Fresh Air Learning forest school and facilitates the Self-Care Project.

Core Team

Amber Keith
Amber Keith

Mentor

Jacquie Kwok
Jacquie Kwok

Mentor

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Samar Shanta

Mentor Support

Althea Pavel
Althea Pavel

Mentor

Elisa Valentine
Elisa Valentine

Mentor

Special Instructors

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Caralyn Randa

Art Therapist

veronica
Veronica Berezowsky ​​

Menstruation Coach

corinne
Corinne Underwood

Sexual Health Educator

Rite of Passage Mentors

We welcome new mentors for our rite of passage program every second year. Here are some of our wonderful past mentors:

jen - mentor
Jennifer Aberman
Alla Mcqueen
Alla McQueen

Board of Directors

Jennifer Aberman
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Francesca Kohn
Elisa Lee
Alla McQueen
Brian Paterson
Cherilyn Tournier
Cherilyn Tournier
Aleksandra Wroblewska
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Amber Keith

Amber Keith

Amber is an experiential and outdoor educator born in BC and currently residing on the wild wet
coast town of Tofino. Growing up she had a strong call to adventure which has taken her across
many countries and landscapes, exploring big questions along the way like what it means to
transition to womanhood in this world and what community really means. She has completed
her BA in International Development and Environmental Studies, and has spent time working in
international education, including teaching, and eventually found a place in nature-based and
alternative education. A self-proclaimed feminist and advocate of women, Amber became
especially involved while volunteering with vulnerable women at a local shelter and crisis line in
Vancouver and from there developed a passion for education around women’s health and
rights. Growing up with so little knowledge of and love for her own body and female power, she
loves being able to mentor and guide young girls along a more restorative and empowered path
to womenhood.
Amber is also an herbalist, yoga teacher, scuba diver, and acro-yogi. She strongly believes in
the power of nature to teach and heal, and that our relationship to the earth is a direct reflection
of our connection to ourselves and others. Her other interests and areas of study include
somatic & dance therapy, eco-pyschology, and rites of passage work. In her spare time, you
can probably find Amber out surfing the waves, making herbal medicines, hiking through old growth forests, or dancing on the beach.

Jacquie Kwok

Jacquie Kwok

Jacquie has been passionate about people ever since she can remember. She was lucky enough to have been raised amongst the forests and mountains of BC’s southwest coast, and feels immensely priviledged to be able to get to know and grow alongside her learners on these lands. Jacquie is a facilitator of place-based learning and is passionate about enabling transformative educational experiences that not only deepen our understanding of the world, but more importantly, of our places within it. She is committed to fostering spaces that allow individuals to lean into the unknown, and tap into their own sense of intrinsic capacity and resilience through introspection and creativity. By supporting and nurturing conversations that bring to light the things which truly feed the human spirit, Jacquie hopes to foster a deepened trust in oneself and community. She holds a Master’s in Land and Water Systems from UBC, is an educator with Fresh Air Learning, and holds a research Fellowship with SFU’s Institute for Environmental Learning.

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Samar Shanta

Mentor Support

Samar Shata, MCP RCC is a psychotherapist in private practice at Alyson Jones and Associates in West Vancouver. She was a featured speaker at TEDxWomen in 2015, where she spoke of the art of transforming fear into action. Samar leads from her keen sense of understanding and proactivity. She brings that enthusiasm and belief to her counseling practice, working with people of all ages in different settings to offer them guidance through periods of challenge. She is also a meditation facilitator, dance therapist and the Founder and CEO of Well Institute.

Althea Pavel

Althea Pavel

Althea is a student at Capilano University and is working towards a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.  She aspires to be an elementary school teacher and has had a passion for education since the 12th grade. That year, she had a teacher that truly changed her. He showed her that there are many ways to teach and that there are always ways to accommodate the different needs of each student. Since then, she’s been committed to being that mentor in other people’s lives that shows that level of compassion and understanding. Althea currently teaches preschool at Fresh Air Learning and her favourite thing about it is that it combines two of her great passions: education and the outdoors. Althea has grown up hiking, camping and backpacking with her mother and has been taught from an early age the importance of living harmoniously and respectfully with the earth. Althea has always found time spent in the forest to be capable of curing mental wounds and serves as an Oasis from a sometimes harsh reality. Althea’s other great passion is the care of animals. She has 4 rescue dogs: Crawley the Husky x, Luna the border collie, Maya the pit bull x, and Ivan the Belgian shepherd. She sincerely believes that each living thing on this earth deserves love and deserves a place where they belong. She also believes that everyone deserves a second chance. 

Elisa Valentine

Elisa Valentine

Elisa is a certified Educational Assistant and E-RYT200 Yoga Instructor. She is also a published author, a teacher of independent workshops and an artist. All of her work is rooted in the use of word & image and their relationship to nature. The publication her first book ‘the nature of She’, explores the complex dynamics between the masculine, Mother Nature and the nature of the feminine. She launched ‘pen & p a i n t’, an investigation of the cerebral word & the sensory image through the application of writing & painting after the completion of a program with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Inspired by a young girl’s trek to freedom across the Gobi desert, she then went on to found valentinesletters.org, an online platform where people are invited to share stories of connection inspired by a single letter. She has recently begun a new artwork series intended to question our understanding of what we visualize in a composition versus how it is defined in print.

 

Elisa believes our relationship with Mother Nature is paramount in establishing our connection to ourselves and to the immense power of the feminine. She is thrilled to be a part of the Fire & Flower team.

Caralyn Randa

Art Therapist

Caralyn is a recent graduate of Vancouver Art Therapy Institute. After studying developmental psychology and early learning, she wanted to merge her passion for holistic mental health support with her flair for all things creative. Art therapy was the perfect combination of her social science brain and artist heart! When she’s not working with older adults in long-term care, Caralyn is usually making something sparkly, reading fantasy or sci-fi, or wandering forested paths. She draws most of her artistic inspiration from the natural beauty of the West Coast. Her artistic mediums of choice are watercolour, collage, and metalworking. Caralyn believes that everyone has the ability to express themselves creatively. Making and sharing art in a group can be a playful way to communicate without words while building community. She loves to see how everyone puts their personality into their pieces and how the same materials can be transformed by different people. After practicums in long-term care, hospice care, and an elementary school, she is super excited to be part of the girls’ Fire & Flower journey by helping bring creative expression to the program!

Veronica Berezowsky ​​

Menstruation Coach

Veronica Berezowsky is a Menstruality coach & educator, dance movement therapist, yoga instructor and co-founder of CUNA Women’s Sanctuary. She aims to inspire women to embrace their cyclical nature as a way to reconnect with their feminine wisdom and own their authority. A constant spiritual searcher, Veronica has found the ultimate spiritual practice & gateway to her soul through her own menstrual cycle, and sees it as an amazing tool to generate the change she longs to see in the world. She offers coaching sessions, womb healings, workshops, lectures & women circles. Born and raised in Mexico, Veronica has traveled worldwide and lived in 5 countries. She currently provides trauma informed yoga for victims of violence in Vancouver, and works as a dance therapist within Miscellaneous Productions. She is deeply grateful to her teachers Alexandra Pope, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Jane Bennett & Miranda Gray. vberezowsky.wixsite.com/embraceyourshakti “Menstruality is a subject that found me, touched me & urged me to share it with as many women as possible on this Earth. I believe it is our gateway not only to heal our bodies/psyches, but also to bring very much needed healing to our whole planet.”

Corinne Underwood

Sexual Health Educator

Corinne Underwood is a Bad-Ass Visionary, pleasure seeker and founder of Choices for Sexual Health. Her desire to change the world, sexually speaking, started at age 12 with limited sex education and a deep desire to learn as much she could to formulate her own decisions. She spent endless hours listening to a sex radio show when her parents thought she was sleeping. Having spent half of her lifetime immersed in higher education, challenging non-inclusive systems and travelling the globe learning about cultural views associated with sex, Corinne is excited to co-create positive change. Her approach to sexuality is not “one size fits all.” Rather, it is one that is constantly adapting, like the very nature of sexuality itself. Corinne is a professionally trained Sexual Health Educator through Options For Sexual Health (OPT) and an Empowerment Coach through Erickson International School of Coaching. She is also a provincially certified Train-the-Trainer and educated in “Let’s Talk About Touching” through Early Childhood Education. Corinne brings expertise and dynamic and engaging presentations into homes and classrooms, and is committed to breaking down barriers to sexual education, communication, honesty, acceptance, authenticity and pleasure. She is changing the world one conversation at time. choicesforsexualhealth.com

Jennifer Aberman

Jennifer was one of Fire & Flower’s first mentors from 2018 in our Rite of Passage program and is now a board director. Having moved to Vancouver from Montreal, she has been working as a trauma-informed therapeutic counsellor and mindfulness educator. With a background in fine arts, cooking and teaching yoga, Jennifer also enjoys cycling and philosophy and has been creatively combining her eclectic background into creating her future as an ever-growing woman. Her counselling practice is called To Be Heard Counselling.

Alla McQueen

Alla moved to Canada from Russia when she was 12 years old. If she knows one thing it is that transitions of any kind are not easy, and yet with enough courage, empathy and determination, anything is possible. She loves to travel and this passion had her living in Australia for 2 years, hiking to Everest Base camp, and exploring her inner and outer landscapes through Bali and Thailand. She is a lover of nature, adventures, building meaningful connections, trying new things and always seeing the silver lining during hard times. Being born a natural helper, seeing people’s inner gifts and helping them align with their heart and soul is what is fuelling Alla to take a shift away from her career in Sales and to enroll in a school for Coaching and Counselling. Mentorship has become a huge passion for Alla, and since becoming a mentor with Fire & Flower, she has continued to get involved with further programs through YWCA and Junior Achievements.

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Francesca Kohn

Francesca Kohn is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia where she found her love for community female empowerment and the arts through her studies of Political Science and Viola Performance. As a Vancouver local, she has grown up loving the beautiful landscapes of BC and enjoys hiking and cycling in the lower mainland. As current Recruitment and Advising Program assistant at the University of British Columbia, Francesca has garnered experience with programming and event planning, as well as facilitating communication and development of various communities which she brings to her role as a Board Director. 

Elisa Lee

Elisa Lee, MA, BEd, BSc, BA, has been hanging out with young people for 15 years. She remembers how BIG it felt menstruating for the first time, and how she had so many questions about growing older, “So, I can have a baby now?? Are these changes in my body normal? Am I normal? What do I do about this crush? What’s highschool going to be like?” She just felt different than before when she was younger. Nowadays, Elisa loves being around girls & young women hearing about their lives, their dreams and their fears, and helping them know how incredible and amazingly unique they are. As a school teacher and youth wilderness guide, Elisa practices compassionate Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to cultivate empathetic relationships. Elisa shared her childhood with the mighty salmon of northern British Columbia and like them, she migrated far from home. After completing university degrees in Education, Biology and English Literature in Ontario, she had many adventures living and traveling abroad before feeling the instinctual pull to journey home. In 2012, Elisa enacted a nature-based rite of passage and was formally initiated as a woman at the age of 31. This life-changing experience inspired her to complete a Master’s degree in Environmental Education focusing on women’s coming-of-age rites of passage. She has also done vision quest guide training with The School of Lost Borders, and helped lead youth rites of passage with Rites of Passage Journeys. Elisa is a lifelong student of conscious communication and personal development, and currently teaches at Fresh Air Learning forest school and facilitates the Self-Care Project.

Brian Paterson

Brian Paterson is an arts marketing specialist and passionate outdoor explorer who is grateful to offer his insights and time to Fire & Flower.

Brian is a partner at Murray Paterson Marketing Group, a boutique agency dedicated to the arts + culture sector, where he works with a range of clientele including Bard on the Beach, Knowledge Network, the Museum of Anthropology, and Vancouver International Film Festival, among others. A classically trained actor, Brian discovered a broader stage for his talents by marrying his intimate knowledge of the arts with his skill and passion for marketing.

Cherilyn Tournier

Cherilyn Tournier

Cherilyn Tournier is an experienced multi-unit leader and leadership coach who has worked primarily in the apparel and health/fitness industries. 

 

Cherilyn has a passion for helping women in a mentorship capacity, watching them overcome challenges and reach new heights, both personally and professionally. She is excited to be a part of helping Fire & Flower reach its full potential through strategic planning and implementation. 

 

In a volunteer capacity, Cherilyn has worked in prison outreach, cooked meals for organizations that work with our homeless community and has worked with women’s leadership networks in the lower mainland. Cherilyn was born and raised in BC. She is an outdoor enthusiast, is happiest on a trail and currently resides in Surrey.

Aleksandra Wroblewska

Several years ago, inspired by profound personal experience, Aleksandra (Ala) altered her path from business school to pursue a career in Chinese Medicine. 

Today, she works with gender-diverse people who have survived sexual trauma and are inspired to work towards change in their lives. Engaging the nervous system, Ala utilizes the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as body-based learning and mindfulness to lead individuals towards freedom and healing on all levels of their well-being.