Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Sonia joined JES in October 2017 and brings more than two decades of leadership experience leading increasingly complex operations within the legal sector.
She has enjoyed a successful career in the areas of law reform, legal information & research, legal education and technology. She held a number of progressively responsible positions in private law firms, academia and government in five different provinces and in both legal traditions. Prior to joining JES, Sonia was on the senior leadership team of Resolution and Court Administration Services of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General where she was responsible for the vision, leadership, direction and management of legal information, research and education services to the judiciary, prosecutors, practicing bar and the public in Alberta. Committed to access to justice and human rights, both in Canada and internationally, Sonia has contributed to numerous boards and committees in various capacities at regional, national and international levels. As a self-starter, she co-founded a public legal information and education organization, and has developed and led various international development projects and initiatives for the justice sector, most recently in Eastern Europe and Africa.
A multi-lingual, Sonia has a BA in Linguistics and French Studies (second language teaching concentration) (Concordia), a Master of Information Studies degree (McGill), a Master of Business Administration (Strathclyde) and is currently completing a Law degree (London).
Public Legal Education Manager
In March 2018, Marc became the School Programs Manager who will be responsible developing legal resources, social studies and law-related content that will help students across BC’s New Curriculum learn about the law, understand Canada’s justice system, and, help them develop enduring and lifelong legal capabilities that will further help them understand and manage their everyday legal needs. Marc is also a doctoral candidate, researcher, sessional and on-line instructor. His legal interests lie in family, criminal and constitutional law, while his teaching aims to promote social justice and personal empowerment. Marc’s research agenda examines curricular implications for halting violence against women across interrelated socio-legal fields of interactions. More recently, however, Marc’s research is focused on men’s accountability for their violent and abusive behavior.
Public Legal Education Team Lead
Lali has been working within the non-profit sector for over 20 years and has worked extensively in social services, specializing in providing information and support to marginalized members of the community. Lali is very passionate in helping others and is a strong advocate for women and children. Lali has coordinated and assisted many projects such as Youth and Gangs, Preventing Violence Against Women, Teachers Law Institutes, Workshops on Criminal, Civil and Family Law.
Public Legal Educator
Janine is a Program Facilitator for the Justice System Education Program (JSEP) and feels privileged to be back at 222 Main Street - where she began her work in the courts as a Mental Health Court worker with MPA, for close to 11 years. Janine began working with the Society in 2003 when she had the opportunity to work on projects and then later worked with the lovely Tiffany Lee as an Educational Coordinator at VLC. Janine works with many community and school groups that visit Vancouver Provincial Court and enjoys working with a very collaborative and amazing group of people at 222 Main. Many groups are interested in learning about the Drug Treatment Court and the Downtown Community Court when they visit 222 Main - both are unique problem solving courts within and beside 222 Main. There is a legacy of education, community connections and social justice at 222 Main that we are all grateful for.
Public Legal Educator (Kelowna)
Jennifer studied Mass Communications (SFU) and Law (UBC) and then worked for several years as a lawyer before raising a family. She is a passionate volunteer for several health related organizations. Jennifer is helping to advance the legal capability of young people and other community groups through the Justice Education Society as a Public Legal Educator.
Public Legal Educator (Victoria)
Ann began her teaching career in 1979 after completing an Honors BA in Native Studies and Sociology and a BA in Education. During her 35 year career, she has been a teacher, principal; curriculum developer; union Mediator and Aboriginal consultant. She was a candidate for Chief in one of BC's northern communities, founded a library in another. She has published her memoirs regarding her lifelong journey. Outside of work, Ann is a lifelong learner.
Court Information Assistant
Bernice Ma has years of experience in the non profit sector in Health, Support and Education. She has successfully obtained her Certificate of Interpretation and Translation (English and Chinese) in Business at UBC and has experience as a Court Interpreter. Bernice is passionate about helping others in need and is fortunate to be able to combine her passion with her work. She is based at 222 Main Provincial Court and is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Court Information Assistant
Aanchal Grewal is a Court Information Assistant for JES where she utilizes her international legal information and social justice background in her current role.
Aanchal obtained her Law Degree from Bangalore University, India in 2013 and was a litigating Lawyer representing clients before various tribunals, boards, district courts, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India. She was actively involved with the National Social Service Scheme in India, helping the under privileged and disadvantaged sections of the society. Aanchal is currently in the process of upgrading her law degree for Canada through the National Committee on Accreditation in Canada.
Elva J. Rodriguez
Court Information Assistant
Elva Rodriguez is a Court Information Assistant for JES. She has years of experience in the legal immigration system in Canada she has been a Register consultant of Immigration Canada for thirteen years, working with the non-profit sector in housing, fundraising, and education in Latin America as well as Canada. She applies her passion for gender equality, human rights, indigenous right advocate to her work at JES.
BC & Digital Programs Director
Dave brings over 20 years of marketing communications experience to the Justice Education Society. He manages a dynamic team that maintains and promotes the resources of BC’s third largest publisher of legal education and information – including more than 25 legal information websites, 200 instructional videos, and over 100 print resources. Dave is an expert at applying digital technologies to improve access to justice.
Assistant Director, BC and Digital Programs
Nora started with JES as a Legal Content Specialist in September 2015. She received her law degree from UBC in 2013 and was called to the BC Bar in 2014. She is able to use her legal knowledge and experience within the legal field to develop content to help educate the public. She's passionate about improving access to justice.
Web & Video Producer
Jessica is a web and video producer with a passion for all things creative. She joined the web and video production team in 2013 bringing 9 years’ experience as a production coordinator, editor and camera operator. Since joining the team she has produced over 200 videos for a variety of the society’s online training courses and educational resources.
Legal Content Specialist and Family Law Coach
Prior to joining JES in January 2019, Emily practiced criminal and family law from 2015 through 2018, representing clients in full trials, interim hearings, and mediations. During this time, she gained experience regarding child protection, child support, family violence, and parenting arrangement issues. She also conducted criminal prosecutions as an agent for the Federal Crown.
Emily is a graduate of Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC with a specialization in environmental and natural resources law. She is proficient in French and remembers a bit of Spanish.
Web & IT Coordinator
Simon is a Web and IT Coordinator who joined the society in January 2014. He has maintained over 25 websites for JES and has built multiple Drupal websites and courses since he started with the society. Simon keeps JES productive by maintaining all of the society’s computer systems and technology.
International Program Director
As International Program Director, Philip leads the JES International team, overseeing the planning, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of JES’ international projects. Prior to leading the entire international team, Philip managed the Guatemala Institutional Justice Strengthening (GIJS) Project in Guatemala. Before working with JES, Philip managed government modernization projects in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. He has also led several program evaluations.
Philip is an economist with over 15 years of experience in the implementation and evaluation of innovative projects across sectors. He holds two post-graduate degrees, one in International Development Economics from the University of San Francisco and the other in International Program Management with a particular focus on Latin America from Capilano University.
As the Education Specialist, develops and oversees all of the international curricula and training programs in Central America and Guyana.
Prior to joining JES, Natalia has worked in a variety of settings ranging from formal education providers to community-based outreach centres. Natalia’s experience is in curricula development, standardization and evaluation of learning outcomes, intercultural communication, and general adult education, including distance and e-learning methodologies. As a researcher, Natalia is interested in theories of adult learning, sustaining lifelong learning , and community engaged work.
Natalia has a PhD in Methods of Teaching from the Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Peterburg, Russia and a PhD in Adult Education/Teaching of English as an Additional Language from the University of British Columbia. She is fluent in Russian, English and Spanish, and has competency in several other languages.
International Curriculum Officer
As the JES International Curriculum Officer, Fernando Torres coordinates and contributes to course content development and course quality control across six projects.
In Perú, Fernando worked as a human rights lawyer and an assistant professor in the Constitutional field in Peruvian universities. His interest in the resolution of social conflicts led him to take professional development courses at the Inter-American Court of Justice in Costa Rica and the Unión de Juristas in Cuba. Before becoming a Commissioner at the Peruvian Ombudsman Office he worked as a legal advisor for the Peruvian Parliament and the Peruvian National Elections Office. In Canada, he has worked with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, dealing with refugee claims and worked in the Native Court office in Vancouver.
Fernando Torres is a graduated from the Justice Institute of B.C. in the Aboriginal Field and a graduate of the Immigration Program at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Guyana Project Director
Evelyn Neaman is the Project Manager for the "Strengthening the Guyanese Criminal Justice System" project, funded by Global Affairs Canada and the US Department of State (INL) funded project "Strengthening the Criminal Justice System in Guyana". For 24 years, Ms. Neaman managed more than 100 Canadian and international innovative justice programs for JES and served as the first JES International Program Manager from 2009- 2015. She has developed and managed justice reform projects in China, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Montenegro. She also served as a technical advisor to Agriteam Canada’s JUDGE project in Vietnam from 2010-2012 where she worked with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice to design community based public legal education programs. Ms. Neaman has co-produced/directed four documentary films on international justice reform. In September 2015, JES awarded Ms. Neaman the "Louise Arbour Award for International Justice" for her longstanding career and commitment towards building effective justice systems. Ms. Neaman is now an independent consultant to JES.
Guyana Project Manager
Galina Sergeeva joined JES as the Guyana Project Coordinator in November 2016. Galina works with JES staff and experts in Canada and Guyana to support implementation of JES Guyana project. Galina holds a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and prior to joining JES worked in proposal development and grants management in non-profit organizations in Russia and Ethiopia.
Kelly Porter joined JES in January 2018 as Finance Director. In this role, she leads all financial matters for the organization including accounting, reporting, cash management, and forecasting.
Kelly is a Chartered Professional Accountant with over 20 years of experience as a senior financial resource in Controller and Accounting Manager positions. She started her career in Victoria in government roles with the Superannuation Commission of BC and the Ministry of Health. After moving to Vancouver she entered the private sector, gaining experience in publicly reported and privately held organizations ranging from construction to professional services and from mining to manufacturing. She also held two terms as a Moderator with the Certified Management Accountants of BC’s Strategic Leadership Program.
Kelly’s career has been focused on helping guide organizations through periods of both significant growth and industry decline, both requiring a deep understanding of the people, processes, and systems necessary to successfully transition to the next stage in the organization’s life cycle. As a result, Kelly’s passion is to support operational excellence through process improvement and team mentorship, with an additional focus on strong customer service and creative problem-solving.
Luciana joined the Society in 2018 as Senior Accountant and contributes her experience in finance, treasury, accounting, and project management. She has more than 10 years' experience in full cycle accounting and financial reporting.
She has worked for different industries including steel, agri-business, medical, energy and manufacturing. She has handled projects as a project controller in countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, USA, Canada, United Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, India and China.
Luciana has a business management diploma from Canada, as well as a bachelor's degree in business and a post-graduate specialization in finance from Brazil. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese. Luciana is passionate about animals and travelling.
International Finance Assistant
Marlin joined the Society in 2016 as an international finance assistant. Marlin has university degrees in law, accounting as well as in music. In her personal life she is a Juno Award Nominee musician and has raised thousands of dollars for various nonprofit organizations through her music. She is also the founder and on the board of directors of the "Vida Latina" nonprofit organization. Marlin is very excited to be part of JES and on top her financial work she is a great ambassador and advocate for the work JES does.
Cheryl joined JES in April 2019 as Accounting Administrator. She started her career with a degree in Psychology and worked with children affected by learning disabilities as a Child Development Instructor. More recently, she worked for the Ministry of Finance in a financial and regulatory reporting compliance role and received her diploma in Accounting from UBC’s Sauder School of Business.
Cheryl now assists JES with a variety of accounting tasks, including reconciliations and payroll transactions, along with the invoices, expense reports and cash receipts for various projects.
Mandana joined JES in October 2013 to provide admin and finance support. She also worked as a finance and payroll administrator before moving into her new role. Over the past few years, she has been the gatekeeper for JES and has supported the staff in every way possible.
Mandana is now responsible for the organization’s administrative services, including senior leadership team support, information technology, records management, and office services.
Makeesha's motto, "follow your curiosity" has led her on a varied personal and career path, but one constant has been her interest in communication (verbal, written, and visual). She has worked in the non-profit world in the realm of communication and systems development for the entirety of her career. Makeesha has always been interested in law–specifically in matters related to access to justice and marginalized populations–and volunteered with JES as a graphic artist many years before joining the team in her current roles, which includes bringing a high level of proficiency in systems administration.
Communication and Marketing Specialist
Nora is the marketing communications strategist who has worked for positive change at international, national, and local levels. Her career spans from working with an NGO at the United Nations, to being a researcher, production manager, and assistant story editor in television, a production manager for a syndicated radio show, and gaining international attention for conservation, tourism, arts and culture organizations as a way of fostering a sense of world citizenship.