Board of Directors

Co-Chair - Charmaine deSilva

Charmaine is excited to serve as Co-Chair of the Vancouver Pride Society's Board of Directors. Raised in Vancouver, she has always been passionate about highlighting the city's diversity and promoting human rights. Charmaine is best known for her work as an award-winning broadcast journalist. Although she covers every "beat" from politics to crime, she particularly loves sharing stories that educate the mainstream about issues impacting the LGBTQ2+ community.

When she's not breaking news or volunteering with Pride, Charmaine loves spending time with family and friends. She can can be found strolling the West End with her partner and baby daughter, cheering her son on at one of his gymnastics competitions, or embarking on a great Vancouver culinary adventure.

Contact Charmaine via e-mail:

Co-Chair - Michelle Fortin

Family, community, social justice, travel and fun. As a queer woman living in Vancouver I am honoured to have the opportunity to be part of this renewed Pride board. I have been involved in community activism most of my life and bring a background of both board (Dyke March/CCEC Credit Union) and non-profit executive management to the position. My goal is to stay curious while being strategic in the role and I'm committed to supporting staff and the organization to be a stronger reflection of our incredible and diverse community. Thank you for the chance to serve.

Contact Michelle via e-mail:

Treasurer - Darius Maze

Darius Maze is a Development & Marketing Manager at The Bloom Group, where he is responsible for fundraising, marketing, events, and communications. An advocate of social justice, equality, and inclusion; he serves as Co-Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals' (AFP) Diversity & Inclusion committee and dedicates much of his time to supporting local causes and events that foster these values.

Originally from Ontario, Vancouver Pride was Darius' first volunteer experience after moving to BC in 2012 and the community that participates in it quickly became a second family for him. After serving as a volunteer Captain for four years, and participating in the Parade working group for three, he now manages the organization's finances as Pride's Treasurer. In addition to Pride, Darius has served on the boards of Western Society for Children and the BC Council for International Cooperation, and regularly volunteers for AFP, PeaceGeeks, and the Fringe Festival.

Contact Darius via e-mail:

Secretary - John Whistler

John joined the Board in 2016 and is excited to take on the Secretary role. He will also lead the Governance Committee which is reviewing business management strategies and processes.

Passions he brings to the Board include building sustainable urban environments, social equity, social justice, and grass-roots community engagement.

John is a third generation Vancouverite, graduated in Business Administration at Simon Fraser University and is now retired. He is also a director of PEDAL which operates Our Community Bikes, is the Treasurer of Green Party of Vancouver and the Vancouver Centre Green Party Electoral District Association. John's favorite activity is to explore the world by bicycle.

Contact John via e-mail:

Director - Azza Rojbi

Born and raised in Tunisia, Azza moved to Vancouver in 2010. Since then she has been working to bridge the gap between the immigrant and refugee community and the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver. She was a project coordinator of Routes to Roots, a youth-led project for LGBTQ2+ newcomers of colour, running out of QMUNITY.

Azza is committed to social justice activism, human rights and the struggle for LGBTQ2+ rights across the world. She is excited to be serving on the Vancouver Pride Society Board of Directors and looks forward to a brighter future for LGBTQ2+ communities around the world!

Contact Azza via e-mail:

Director - Nicola Spurling

With experience in project management, construction, sales, economics, research and marketing, Nicola brings a unique variety of skills to the table. Nicola chairs the Outreach Committee, which travels throughout Western North America, providing information about the Vancouver Pride Society and local resources, collecting signatures for the Trans Equality Now Campaign, supporting other pride events and fielding LGBTQ2+ related questions. She is passionate about inclusivity and human rights, and will be working tirelessly to continue The Vancouver Pride Society's efforts of bringing all members of our community together, in a safe and respectful way. With great strides being made every year, she looks forward to the future and the positive change that it seems certain to bring with it.

Contact Nicola via e-mail:

Director - Catherine Jenkins

Catherine previously helped with the Vancouver Pride Society Parade Working Group before joining the Board. She volunteers with the organizing committee for PFLAG Vancouver and works part-time supporting trans and gender-diverse youth. Her passions focus on community and peer supports for LGBTQ2+ persons and their family & friends as well as human rights. Catherine is also an award-winning scientist who is currently finishing her PhD in cell biology, through which she has gained experience with governance in graduate student associations.

When not providing peer support, volunteering with Pride, or in the lab, Catherine loves to support activism, volunteer in political campaigns, and learn new things. She enjoys collecting records, painting and considers herself a cinephile.

Contact Catherine via e-mail:

Director - Ahmad Danny Ramadan

Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author, public speaker, storyteller and an LGBTQ-refugee activist. His English debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, continues to receive raving reviews.He also translated Rafi Badawi's 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic.

As an LGBTQ activist, he has been involved in coordinating online and on the ground efforts to support Queer and Trans identifying refugees from Syria to immigrate to Canada. Danny runs the annual fundraiser An Evening in Damascus to support those efforts. Since May 2015, he has raised over $100.000 to support a total of eight other LGBTQ-identifying Syrian refugees; and participated in efforts to ensure safe passage to 24 Syrian Queer and Trans refugees to Canada.

His public speaking and storytelling made him a regular presenter in conferences, conventions and storytelling events across Canada. He was a keynote speaker at QMUNITY's IDAHOT Breakfast, the Liberal Party Convention, Six Degrees Conference, among others. His TEDx talk has gathered thousands of views on YouTube.

He was appointed Grand Marshal for the Vancouver Pride Parade 2016; he was awarded the StandOut Award for his social activism, the RBC's Top Immigrant in Canada award, and the Bonham Centre Award for Excellency. Ramadan lives in Vancouver since his arrival to Canada in 2014.

Contact Danny via e-mail:

Director - Abdollah Fooladkhai

As a newcomer, coming from human resource management background, I decided to fit myself into the society by being actively engaged in the LGBTQ2s+ community and involved in different activities, including voluntary work at local community and organizations.

Being elected as a new board member at Vancouver Pride Society, will not only open new doors to new opportunities for me (for which I will always be grateful) but will also be a platform through which I can demonstrate and practice my leadership skills, contributing to my community both responsibly and ethically.

I also would like to express my appreciation for the opportunities that I was given in the United Arab Emirates, which truly equipped me with necessary skills for my new role.

Back then, I was fortunate enough to gain hands-on experiences and improve on my knowledge, skills and abilities in different areas. I owe this all to the culturally diversified environment of the UAE and considerable level of tolerance among the people of the country, which taught me life lessons of openness, kindness and importance of giving back.

Contact Abdollah via e-mail:

Executive Director - Andrea Arnot

Diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression work have been woven throughout Andrea's entire career. Before coming to Pride, she was a Program Manager at Richmond Multicultural Community Services where she designed and implemented events, conferences, workshops, dialogues and opportunities for new immigrants and existing residents to interact, often using arts-based methods of engagement.

In her work at VPS and volunteer work as an event producer with the Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society, Andrea gets the most excited about creating the "container" for others to express themselves. She spends a lot of her spare time in costume and enjoying her west end neighborhood. A giant stuffed unicorn has become a permanent fixture in her dining room.

Contact Andrea via e-mail: