Nanaimo Pride Society Board of Directors
Nanaimo Pride Society Board Member Bio's
Originally from Mi'kmaq territory on the East Coast of Canada, Ajay has lived on Vancouver Island and called unceded Snuneymuxw First Nations territory their home for the past 6 years. Ajay has a background in social work, activism, advocacy, education and community development and has worked as a practitioner for the past 8 years—with 17 years in mental health, addictions, and with marginalized populations. As an active member of their community, they co-founded the Nanaimo based LGBTQ2S+ group and Gender Journeys. Ajay runs a community based business Kaleidosphere Consulting and under the umbrella of Generation Q Ajay created the first ever Queer youth prom.
Ajay identifies as Trans Non-Binary and uses They/Them/Their pronouns, but ideally would identify as a magical trash panda snackasaurus.
Elbetia is honored to serve as the newly elected treasurer for the Nanaimo Pride Society! Growing up as a Latinx queer, Elbetia is no stranger to the importance of safe, inclusive, and humanitarian politics. They are a first generation Canadian from the traditional territory of the Metis and Blackfoot nations and have been on Vancouver Island for the last seven years. Elbetia is a mental health advocate, feminist, and staunch proponent of centering marginalized voices and experiences. Although they have been involved in many political activism and social justice movements, this will be the first time Elbetia will have the opportunity to serve their community as an executive board member.
Faran Berg brings their lived experience as a Two-spirted Metis and Sami individual to their work at Nanaimo Pride Society, and campaigns for marginalized voices and organizational equity. Faran has practiced recovery based on abstinence, cultural care, and collective healing. Their focus revolves around safe spaces for those who are in recovery from addictions, trauma, and mental health. Faran currently holds a B.A. in English and creative writing and is currently pursuing a B.A. in Early Childhood education. Faran often volunteers to dance with the youth from Tswalk School where they are taught a variety of cultural dances from the Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island. Their foundation of values include inclusion, diversity, and kindness. A quote they live by, “Humankind. Be both.” Unknown.
Director at Large
Hello! My name is Natalie Stewart. I use she/her pronouns. I’ve been an uninvited guest on unceded Snuneymuxw land with my wife Jenny since 2011, where we’ve been raising our two daughters, aged seven and five. Currently employed at VIU, I also serve on the Board of Directors at Haven Society. My hobbies include video gaming, moviegoing, camping, sports, and having enough free time to accomplish precisely none of them.
I’m an openly, visibly queer woman of trans experience, and I’m thrilled to be here. I can’t wait to get to work, making Nanaimo a safer, more inclusive place for our entire community, and working towards equity for those without a seat at the table.
Rosa is a passionate member of the LGBTQ2S+ community, as she frequently demonstrates at social events with her wife, often to the vague discomfort of others. Rosa has both personal and professional experience in the mental health and addictions field for almost 20 years; Rosa presently works as a practitioner via e-counselling; professionally she uses words to fiddle with the brains of her clients with largely positive results. Rosa is hoping that her driven, inclusive, compassionate mindset will help create safe spaces for LGBTQ2S+ folx and assist in creating inclusive events that are inviting and provide a sense of safety and diversity through personal expression.
Rosa has many human friends (all odd), but her very best friends are her cats, when not caring for her fur babies, Rosa enjoys cooking, singing, and dancing as well as connecting to the natural elements of this earth which assists in her aim of healing, supporting, and uplifting one another through empathy and humor.
Director at Large
Stephanie has lived and learned as an uninvited colonizer on traditional territory of Snuneymuxw people for the past 4 years. Born on the traditional territories of Algonquin Anishinaabe peoples, they have visited many provinces as a traveler and tree planter. They identify as a queer non-monogamous pansexual witch. They enjoy walking the dog, caring for plants, and dancing. They have a passion for philosophy and social justice and are honored to be serving our beautiful community.
Director at Large
Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Vanessa has lived on the unceded traditional territory of the Suneymuxw First Nations for the past 10 years. Vanessa’s educational background includes a bachelor’s Arts with a double major in psychology and anthropology and a Master of Science degree in forensic anthropology. She has been working within the Nanaimo community
as an advocate for marginalized and vulnerable populations since 2015. Vanessa started volunteering with the LGBTQ2S+ youth
group, Generation Q, in 2016 and has recently been hired as a co-facilitator for the group. Vanessa also has spent her time
volunteering with the Mobile Youth outreach team during the start of the pandemic. Currently Vanessa is a project coordinator at Mid Island Metis Nation, where she is creating/facilitating a new grass roots initiative group to help
support women identifying individuals on addressing poverty within our Nanaimo community. Her future goals include applying
to medical school to be able to fill a major gap in the health care systems for marginalized and LGBTQ2S+ communities on
Director at Large
Bader comes from the oldest capital in the world (Damascus), worked in Tourism in Dubai for 7 years, then in Media in Istanbul for 3 years before moving to Canada and calling Nanaimo home in mid-2018.
As a part of the LGBTQ2S+ community and being POC, I believe that visibility is very important, I searched for an idol that represents me when I was growing up but with no luck, so I didn’t hesitate when I heard about the opportunity of being a member of the Nanaimo Pride Society. If I can do it, so can you! Or as Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Since moving to Nanaimo, I enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature and go on hikes when the sun is out, I love to cook and try foods from all over the world and recently started learning how to sew for a future project.