Meet Our Talented Team
Holding space to support individuals and families impacted by serious illness, grief, and bereavement requires great people, and we think ours are some of the best. Lumara’s values ground us and guide our practice. We’re a creative, compassionate, kind and a diverse bunch, who truly enjoy what we do and the people we work with.
Dr. Heather Mohan
Executive Director | Clinical Counsellor
Dr. Heather Mohan - our organization's Co-Founder and Executive Director - is world-renowned for her expertise in grief counselling, palliative care, music therapy and arts education. She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Accredited Music Therapist with more than 20 years of experience working with children, youth and families who are facing illness, grief and loss. She has created and facilitated Counselling and Expressive Arts Therapy programs at a number of places including; Canuck Place Children's Hospice, Lions Gate Hospital Palliative Care Program and Delta Hospice.
Director of Operations | Youth Counsellor
Josh immigrated to Canada from Johannesburg, South Africa, during the Apartheid regime in 1980, and was adopted into the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation during adolescence. He has over 15 years of experience working as an Alcohol & Drug Counsellor practicing in the fields of Addictions, Mental Health, and Child & Youth Care.
In 2009, Josh joined the team at BC's family bereavement retreat program, Camp Kerry, and was inspired by the transformations he witnessed both within himself and the families who were participating. This experience motivated Josh to create year-round bereavement supports for families and to create a world-class organization - Lumara - with Dr. Heather Mohan.
Josh currently serves as Director of Operations and Director of the Society's Youth Services.
Resident Elder | Culture Support Worker
“Weytk ren skwest es Kiye’y7e Qwisp Nu’xwenxw ell Jo-Anne Gottfriedson Tk’emlu’psemc te Secwepemc. I am extremely proud to be Tk’emlu’psemc. I am a proud mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of five grandsons and a beautiful granddaughter. I also have many adopted children and grandchildren from various nations across the country. I am married to Reverend James Isbister from the Cree Nation, Ahtahakakoop Sandy Lake, Saskatchewan.”
Jo-Anne was educated at Simon Fraser University. She is a Certified Provincial Adult Instructor and a member in good standing with the BC College of Teachers. She instructed the Secwepemc language and culture at the Sk’elep School of Excellence for five years, was a faculty member at the Nicola Valley Technology Institute in Merritt, BC and an Instructor for Aboriginal Tourism BC. Most recently she worked with the First Nations Health Authority as part of a team who developed and taught the Indigenous End-Of-Life Guide Program, offered in partnership with the Continuing Education Department at Douglas College. For the past 11 years she was also the Executive Chair of the Day Scholar Certified Class Action for Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, Sechelt First Nation and James Cree.
Jo-Anne credits her traditional education to the persistence and commitment of her parents, grandparents and various other Elders and teachers. Her accomplishments are testimony to her belief that formal education compliments traditional education, and that the traditions, beliefs, teaching and language of her ancestors is just as, or more important than any other education she has received. “My commitment and respect for my culture and traditions is of the utmost importance in all aspects of my life … I not only teach it, but live it with my family, community and nation.”
Artist | Educator | Healer
Sgaalaanglaay, Gaamdaamaay (Vernon Williams Jr.) belongs to Kuunlaanaas Raven Grizzly Bear of Yakin Point Haida Gwaii, Vernon is a Haida Nishga.
His work involves traditional teachings that have been passed down from wonderful mentors. Vernon offers brushings with feather or cedar fan for water cleansing, he leads fire ceremonies and is an artist of drum making, flutes, rattles and protection necklaces.
Vernon has participated in Sundance in Minestikwan and Sweet Grass, Saskatchewan. He is a brother in Ceremony to many Mayan who are now family. He offers songs with drum, rattle and flutes to provide peace and wellness when needed.
Manager of Programs East | Social Worker
Shelley is the Regional Manager for Lumara’s Camps in Ontario. She is a Registered Social Worker in Peterborough, Ontario, with over 20 years of experience as a Family Therapist, specializing in grief, attachment and loss, and in treating moderate to severe mental health in children within a family context.
Shelley currently works on a Maternal Child unit at a Regional Health Centre with expertise in Paediatric Palliative and Perinatal Loss. She is also working Part-time on her PhD in Canadian Studies (Policy) at Trent University, with a focus on child bereavement. She has had a part-time private practise since 1997, and is now accepting Family Therapy referrals for grieving children and youth.
Director of Advancement
RaeAnne has worked and volunteered in the charitable sector for over 30 years. Her heart has always been with small organizations with big visions – organizations like Lumara where she has helped to plan, create systems and structures, and find funding to help it grow since 2020. She is an advocate for ‘management by values’ and living those values in every corner of our organization. She loves words and puzzling with language to share the Lumara story.
A graduate of Simon Fraser University, RaeAnne has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Women’s Studies as well as a Certificate of Fundraising Management from Vancouver Community College. She lives in Surrey, BC with her husband, son (plus a daughter nearby in Vancouver), and her cat ‘M’ – a regular disruptor of Zoom meetings.
Dr. Catherine Hajnal
Dr. Catherine Hajnal facilitates an understanding of the losses that emerge in the context of living a life and the process of grieving. She invites stepping into the transformative potential that can arise in the meaning and sense making aspects of life transitions. Health, well-being, and empowerment are steadfast themes in her work. Photography is one of her self-care companions.
Registered Music Therapist
Meg is an experienced Accredited Music Therapist and AMI-certified Guided Imagery & Music practitioner who has spent many years working in palliative and hospice care. She has worked with Lumara since its very first retreat in 2007 and has travelled with Camp Kerry across the country facilitating music therapy sessions and leading the music team.
Meg believes strongly in music’s ability to hold space and bring people together during even the most challenging of times. Using music to calm our nervous systems and express emotion (especially through songwriting) has been a passion of hers for many years. She is currently living on Cape Breton Island – Unama’ki with her two kids, partner, dog and big blue school bus.
Registered Music Therapist
Alexina is an Accredited Music Therapist who has been singing with choirs since she was in elementary school. She currently leads the Society’s Community Choirs in two locations. Alexina began volunteering with Camp Kerry in 2014 and has been an integral part of the Community Choir since its inception in the fall of 2015.
Registered Music Therapist
Kristen earned her bachelor’s degree from Capilano University and is an Accredited Music Therapist through the Canadian Association of Music Therapy. Her professional practice currently takes her to several settings throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia where she specializes in palliative and hospice care, long-term dementia care, and bereavement care. Presently, she facilitates one of our Circles of Strength Children’s Bereavement Groups.
Tara is a registered clinical counsellor with a Masters in Counselling from City University – Dr. Heather Mohan was one of her professors – and a Wilderness Leadership degree from Capilano University.
Originally from Ontario, and a camp-kid at heart, Tara brings vast experience of group facilitation and is excited to be a member of Lumara’s family.
She currently lives and works on the west coast of Vancouver Island on the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. In addition to her role with us as a counsellor and youth worker she has her own private practice, serves Pacific Rim Hospice Society, and works as an outdoor instructor with Outward Bound Canada.
Lately, her favourite activities are surfing her longboard and reading a good book on a cozy hammock.
Sam is a Clinical Counsellor who works with families to support them through difficult life changes. She is experienced in individual, couples, family and group therapies.
Sam has been involved with the Society since 2013 both as a volunteer and facilitator of groups. In addition to her devoted involvement to our programs in British Columbia, Sam has also been a valuable member of our team at Camp Kerry Ontario since 2018.
Marg resides in Vancouver on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish speaking people; namely the Squamish, Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueum. She is a proud mother of two adult daughters and a devoted grandmother to two little boys and two little girls.
She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with over 40 years of experience supporting people who are coping with serious illness, grief and loss. Marg has worked with Lumara since 2012; facilitating grief counselling sessions for individuals and families and adult grief support groups. She is also an accomplished grief educator and has provided many workshops for Lumara’s staff, volunteers and community members.
Palliative Clinical Operations Supervisor
Catherine Andrews, BA BSN CHPCN©, is the Clinical Operations Supervisor for the Integrated Hospice Palliative Care Team in Richmond British Columbia for Coast Mental Health. She is currently working in the acute care setting supporting patients, families and staff at transition points in the care journey towards palliative care and end of life.
Over the last 20 years she has worked as a nurse in the field of palliative care in hospices, long-term care facilities, acute care settings and in the community. She has a particular interest in resiliency and holding space for people to articulate what matters most to them when they are dying.
Registered Therapeutic Counsellor
Tama has been connected with Lumara for many years supporting folks with Therapeutic Touch and facilitating groups. She has 20+ years working in different roles with people around serious illness, end of life, grief & loss, pet loss and other life transitions. Her counselling practice connects with mindfulness, compassion and wholeness.
Social Worker | Mindfulness Facilitator
Anne is a Registered Social Worker with over twenty-five years of experience working with individuals and families in the Health Care Field. She has taught Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at St. Paul’s Hospital, Burnaby Hospital Cancer Centre, Delta Hospice, and Douglas College. She currently leads Lumara’s Mindfulness Programs for persons living with terminal illness, loss, and grief.
Alumni | Ceremonialist
Joe Keesickquayash, is of Ojibway and Cree background from Mishkeegogamang Ontario, and Red Sucker Lake, Manitoba. He is a father of five and has one grandchild. Joe graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Indigenous Studies and History.
In 2017, Joe and his family experienced the loss of their three year old son, who was born with a rare genetic condition During his son’s odyssey, Joe and his family remained hopeful that a diagnosis would be found to bring understanding to their son’s medical journey, and more so, to help support their grief journey.
Although the path to find a diagnosis was challenging as a father, Joe hopes that by sharing his grief journey, and his traditional approaches to understanding grief, he can help others who are experiencing grief and loss.
Dan is a retired secondary school teacher with years of experience teaching guitar, musical theatre and drama. Currently, he provides a variety of workshops for us throughout the year that are suitable for childre, youth and adults.
Dan’s musical abilities and improvasional talents make him an exceptional group facilitator – particularly for those coping with serious illness, grief and loss.
Alumni | Educator
Susan Dowan is a mother of five and grandmother of one, and is of Cree background from Manitoba. She successfully graduated with a degree in Aboriginal Studies from the University of Toronto in 2004, and has worked with Indigenous Women and children for fifteen years.
Currently, Susan is an Indigenous Community Recruiter for Circles For Reconciliation Toronto region, a project whose aim is to establish trusting, meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples as part of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Susan is also the mother of a son born with a rare genetic condition known as PRUNE1-associated disorder. Her son was recorded as 5th case worldwide. During his diagnostic odyssey, her son experienced numerous hospital admissions at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He remained undiagnosed until a re-analysis of his Whole Exome Sequencing data revealed his diagnosis. Susan and her family effectively advocated on behalf of her son to find his diagnosis. Her goals were to create understanding of her son’s health struggles and medical journey, to open doors to research, and to positively impact future generations of children with undiagnosed rare disorders.
Luke Lee Burton
Music Therapist | Registered Clinical Counsellor
Growing up on the traditional and unceded territory of the Mississauga people, Luke dreamed of being a rock star. His deep concern for the well-being of other living beings, combined with his sense that music alchemizes suffering into beauty, led him to pursue music-centred psychotherapy as a career. That being said, his interest in self-study, the outdoors, and playing with friends usually gets the majority of his time. Luke’s trust of the beauty and creative potential in all beings, in all moments, is what he has been bringing to those facing grief through Lumara Society’s 1:1 counselling and group workshops.
Sophie is a professional art therapist that has been involved with Lumara since 2017. She facilitates art therapy sessions and workshops at Camp Kerry and throughout the year with Lumara for children and youth.
Registered Music Therapist
Aspen is an Accredited Music Therapist and and has been with the team since 2014. She has facilitated group support programs for bereaved children, youth and adults and leads some of our community choirs.
Anne is a Registered Social Worker with a Certificate in Grief and Bereavement from the University of Western Ontario. Over thirty years, she has worked with groups and individuals struggling with grief, loss and many of the things humans struggle with. She lives and works in Peterborough, Ontario as a Clinical Counsellor at a children’s mental health agency. She got involved in Camp Kerry when it started in Ontario and she has facilitated groups there ever since. She has been involved in fundraising, administration and anything Camp Kerry is up to in Ontario because it is awesome.
Michael has worked with people at very difficult times of their lives for all of his working life. He received his Masters in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and has been working with individuals, couples and groups who are working to heal, repair and “rise above” painful and anguishing circumstances.
Michael’s husband of 27 years died in 2005. His own grief and how it continues to evolve in his life serve him in his passionate desire to support others to find their own way to a peaceful, self-compassionate and loving relationship with grief and loss. He believes that, when our hearts break, our hearts have the potential to break wide open and engage in the world with a loving kindness we may have never believed possible.