Our Team

We Love What We Do!

Administrative

Amanda McFarlane

Executive Director

Hello, I’m Amanda! I am the Executive Director here at BrainTrust Canada. I’m very passionate about serving vulnerable and underserved populations, and have been doing so for over a decade. My love for this organisation started as I worked frontline, then grew to program delivery and development. My proudest moment was founding and developing our brain injury Crime Prevention & Reduction Program. Now, I spend my time mentoring and knowledge-sharing with the next generation of amazing non-profit superheroes! In my downtime, I can be found spending time with my two amazing children and my fur baby, Gustav the Great Dane.

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Lori Hamilton

Controller

Hello, my name is Lori. As a chartered professional accountant, I provide financial oversight to several nonprofit organisations – I love supporting those who are ‘doing good’ in the world! Put simply, I support BrainTrust Canada in achieving their mission by making sure that they’re following money regulations and spending wisely. I grew up in a lighthouse station on Vancouver Island and was home-schooled until age 14, and I think this contributes to my ability to work so well independently! My husband, Tim, and I have four adult children and three dogs. We live in Lake Country and enjoy camping, boating, and the occasional wine tour.

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Samantha Monk

Project Management Consultant

Hi, I’m Samantha! I oversee the many projects we have going on at BrainTrust Canada and make sure that they’re completed on time and to the highest of professional standards. I love working with the BrainTrust Team because of their incredible culture of compassion and support – you can tell they truly love what they do! Outside of work, you can find me hanging out with my two adorable cats, playing a video game, or reading the latest sci-fi or fantasy novel.

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Dr. Gordon Binsted

Scientific Advisor

Hello, I’m Gord. As the scientific advisor to BrainTrust Canada, I support the organization by ensuring that they are kept abreast of new scientific finding and advise on changes to the state of scientific consensus regarding brain injury and brain injury treatment. As a neuroscientist, I’ve had a passion for understanding how the brain works for nearly 3 decades. The work that BrainTrust is doing in the community is truly transformational and represent the very best in science-informed practice.  When not working with BrainTrust, it’s my privilege to be a professor at York University and the Deputy Provost of the (forthcoming) Markham Campus. I have two amazing kids (and one fur baby, Mick the border collie), and when not working, I spend as much time as I can on a bike.

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Clinical Team

Michelle Van Biljon

Occupational Therapist

Hello, my name is Michelle and I’ve worked as an occupational therapist for twenty years. For the last ten years, I’ve specialised in community rehabilitation, functional assessments, and return to productivity/work for clients with physical and cognitive difficulties. I mainly bring these skills and experience to my role in the NeuroRecovery Centre where I assist clients in identifying their program goals and develop individualised transition plans upon completion. My family and I love to spend our free time discovering all that the Okanagan has to offer and touring local lakes on our boat.

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Richard Mortimer

Clinical Counsellor

Hello, my name is Richard and I work as a counsellor at BrainTrust Canada. I’m honoured to be invited into clients’ lives and to walk alongside them during their times of challenge, success, uncertainty, personal growth, and triumph. When I’m not in the office, I fill my soul by listening to music, playing the drums or guitar, and spending quality time with friends and family.  

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Chrissi Stronarch

Clinical Counsellor

Hi my name is Chrissi, I’m a counsellor at Brain Trust. I love working with clients and getting to be part of their mental health journey. It’s a privilege to be allowed into the intimate parts of someone’s life. I try to help people sort through what feels like chaos in their lives and try to add a bit of guidance and structure. In my free time, you’ll find me outside with my husband and two little kiddos. We love the outdoors – it’s our happy place!

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Claire Optland

Clinical Counsellor

Hi! My name is Claire and I’m a counsellor at BrainTrust. During my early career I worked at Connect, a brain injury rehabilitation home. This amazing experience and the many remarkable individuals and caregivers I was privileged to work with sparked my passion for supporting the brain injury community. When I’m not working, you can find me spending time with my husband, my daughter, our two dogs, and exploring the beautiful outdoors we get to call home in the Okanagan.

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Ciaran McDonagh

Clinical Counsellor

Hi, my name is Ciaran and I’m a registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist with over twenty years of supporting clients. My work as a counsellor brings amazing people into my life! It always blows me away how clients find the strength to overcome and move forward and it’s this part of the job that I love – walking alongside clients as they move on their journey.

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Marizabel Forno

Clinical Counsellor

Hi, my name is Marizabel, but you can call me MB! I’m a counsellor at BrainTrust Canada and I provide mental health support to individuals living with brain injury. I believe that each person is unique, and I’m passionate about creating a safe space where you can share your life’s story and honour your strengths as a resilient individual. When I am not at BrainTrust, you’ll likely find me in a bakery, or watching a football or soccer game with my friends and family.

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Client Services Team

Erika McLean

Client Services Manager

Hello, my name is Erika and I’m the Client Services Manager at BrainTrust. This means I ensure successful community rehabilitation management for clients with an acquired brain injury. I have a passion for working with people and helping in any way that I can! I have many years of supporting and caring for people with diversabilities. I love travelling, food and cats.

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Laura Plummer

NeuroRecovery Centre Manager

Hello, my name is Laura and I’m the NeuroRecovery Manager at BrainTrust Canada! I have a passion for people and enjoy getting to know those from different walks of life. This is why I love working for this organisation – not only do we have an incredible team full of passionate advocates but we also have amazing clients who allow us to walk alongside them every day. I value the time I get to spend outside as it allows me to find peace, so this is where you’ll find me when I’m not at work! Camping, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and dog-walking are just a few of my favourites.

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Jolene Hansen

Community Support Coordinator

Hi! My name is Jolene and I’m a Community Support Coordinator at BrainTrust Canada. I support clients living with brain injury in the North Okanagan, and work with caregivers whose lives have been impacted by brain injury. Connection is important to me and is a driving force in how I support all of my clients. Outside of work, I’m a busy mom of two littles. I love cozy family time at home, spending winter on the mountains, and summers at the lake.

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Nicole Aubrecht

Community Support Coordinator

Hi, I’m Nicole! I’m a Community Support Coordinator at Braintrust Canada, where I support clients one-on-one, in group programs, and in our NeuroRecovery Centre. I deeply value getting to spend quality time with our clients through these roles, and from this I learn something new about brain injury every day! I’m very grateful to work with clients through their recovery journey, and to be a part of an amazing team that feels the same way. Outside of work, I enjoy spending my time in the mountains skiing, hiking, and camping!

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Lydia Wood

Education & Prevention Coordinator

Hello! My name is Lydia and I’m BrainTrust’s Education and Prevention Coordinator. I deliver evidence-based brain injury education to clients and community partners and coordinate prevention initiatives, like our helmet safety program. I believe knowledge should be accessible to everyone, which is why I enjoy combining current research, lived experiences, and compassion into the resources I develop for BrainTrust. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering, hiking (especially if there are dogs involved!), practising yoga, and reading.

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Jordan Burns

Crime Prevention & Reduction Coordinator

Hi, I’m Jordan and I’m the Crime Prevention and Reduction Coordinator here at BrainTrust Canada. I believe in advocacy for our clients and collaborating with our community partners to provide the best service possible! Outside of work, I enjoy outdoor activities and any sport that allows me to keep active.

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Rachel Steinbach

Community Support Facilitator

Hello, my name is Rachel and I’m a Community Support Facilitator at BrainTrust Canada. I’m a passionate advocate for those in our community living with brain injury and value being a part of an organisation that projects a powerful mission. In my free time I love to visit my friends and family, and enjoy being outdoors in all seasons – camping, skiing, and riding MX (motocross).

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Chanel Yaworski

Community Support Facilitator

Hi! My name is Chanel. I value kindness and compassion and am passionate about advocating for those affected by acquired brain injuries so they can feel seen and heard. In the past, I’ve worked with those experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders, as well as those with diversabilities and different levels of mental wellness. I’m always eager to learn and grow, which is why I’m excited to be a part of such a supportive and inclusive team! In my free time, I write free verse poetry, enjoy walking with my dog, camping, and staying connected with my family and friends.

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Katelyn Stoodley

Community Support Facilitator

Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a Community Support Facilitator here at BrainTrust Canada! My role is to ensure our clients are feeling supported and are actively meeting their goals. I’m passionate about advocacy, independence, and helping our clients progress toward their goals and improve their overall quality of life. When I’m not working, you can find me around Kelowna with friends and family soaking up the beauty of the Okanagan, or curled up at home with my cat while playing a video game.

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Tarri Jessey

Community Support Facilitator

Hi, my name is Tarri and I’m a Community Support Facilitator at BrainTrust Canada, where I work to support and advocate for individuals living with an acquired brain injury. I strive to ensure our clients feel heard and to help them reach their goals and regain independence. I deeply value the time I get to spend with our clients and am grateful for the opportunity to walk alongside each of them throughout their journeys. Outside of work, you can find me playing tennis, going for walks, or spending time with my family and friends.

 

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