We would like to acknowledge those from the community who joined hands with us to design the Heads Together Think Tank events. The individuals on these committees and our production team brought a plethora of experience and inspiration to the work. Thank you! Learn more about our CGB team and the team leads for this initiative here.
Real People – Real Stories
Barb - Survivor
Barb Butler is a brain injury survivor that occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident in the summer of 1993. This incident left her in a three week coma, many months as an inpatient and many years as an outpatient to relearn basic life skills. The rest of her family who were injured in the accident were forced to pivot from the life they were living to a new one.
Toni - Survivor
My name is Toni. I am a 56 years old, single mother of a 16 year old son, and a brain injury survivor of 11 years. After relocating to Canada from Texas, in 2007, I had a stroke in 2009 and my life changed drastically and forever.
Over the last 11 years, I have struggled to make sense of my Acquired Brain Injury and my new life as a result. After my life fell apart, I felt so alone for so long because I didn’t know how to navigate the healthcare system and I was unable to make sense of the services available to me. I don’t want any one else to suffer through the difficulties, inequities, and loneliness of brain injury as I did.
I hope that by shedding light on brain Injury and the people tasked with helping us cope can help others make sense of their lives and to motivate them to hold on and to know that things can get better!
Cathy - Family Member
Cathy works in the Chemistry Department at the University of Victoria and has volunteered for the Survive Strive Thrive Brain Injury Conference for 4 years after attending the conference and finding hope, something that had been lost since her husband, Ross, suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in 2015.
Rehabilitation & Community Supports
Miki Flynn - Community Service Provider
Miki Flynn is a Registered Clinical Counsellor in private practice. She has experience working in addiction and recovery, brain injury recovery, trauma resolution, grief and loss, and crisis management. Her work in brain injury recovery includes supporting individuals who are attending VIU, returning to work, healing from trauma, and learning new skills for independence. Miki believes that thriving brain injury recovery involves survivors, family, and our community. She also recognizes that recovery is often intertwined with other life factors and does not occur in isolation. In her counselling work, Miki loves supporting clients who are experiencing changes in their lives, and assisting them in moving towards more joy, peace, and passion.
Sue McKinnon - March of Dimes
Sue has spent over thirty years in the field of community development, health promotion and injury prevention, working primarily within the not for profit sector. She is also certified as a Human Systems Dynamics Professional. Sue brings an extensive background in programming and services for individuals and families affected by brain injury and is currently the Regional Director in BC for March of Dimes Canada. Sue is committed to developing the potential of others and excels in working within complex community issues. When she is away from the office she enjoys spending time close to the ocean or in the forest close to her home in Victoria.
Ashleigh Wasner - Frontline Worker
Research & Prevention
Kix Citton - ED Nanaimo Brain Injury Society
Kix Citton lives on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people in Nanaimo, BC. She is the Executive Director of Nanaimo Brain Injury Society and sits on the Board of the BC Brain Injury Association. With a background in public health and over 20 years of working with non-profit organizations in Canada and overseas, Kix brings a passion for innovation, collaboration and inclusive leadership. When not in the office, you will likely find her in the garden, on her bike or paddling the waters of the Salish Sea.
Wendy Young - Island Health
As part of Island Health’s Knowledge-to-Action (K2A Month, Island Health’s Research Team, Wendy in partnership with others, brought people living with acquired brain injury, caregivers, service providers and supporters together on November 6, 2018, in Nanaimo to engage in a discussion about what is currently happening with brain injury, mental health and substance use, and how we can make positive changes. As a member of the Island Health Mental Health and Substance Quality Council, Wendy took a lead role in bringing together committed people to review and respond to what was heard at the K2A event. As an Associate Faculty Member at Royal Roads University Wendy continues to follow her passion to improve the health and well-being of people.
Dawn Waterhouse & Uta Sbotofrankenstein
Karen Mason - SOAR
Karen Mason is co-founder and director of community practice for SOAR (Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research), a community-based, research initiative examining the intersection of brain injury and intimate partner violence (IPV). A long-time women’s advocate and passionate changemaker, Karen formerly served as executive director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter, which offers free emergency and transitional housing and support services to women and children fleeing intimate partner violence and abuse.
Learn more about Karen and SOAR here.
Geri Bemister Williams
Geri is a behavioral scientist and a recognized expert on trauma, adverse childhood experiences, substance abuse and associated issues provincially, nationally, and internationally. Much of Geri’s career as a criminologist has focused on the correlations between crime, trauma and substance abuse, which has made her knowledge useful at the intersection between mental health and the Canadian Justice System. Part of why Geri has committed much of her life to this work is because she has experienced the social stigma and societal barriers of a person living with significant PTSD, and how she was written-off as a “troubled-child” due to her actions in the years following a series of traumatic and extensively abusive events in her childhood. Her expertise has been utilized at the national and provincial levels of government as substance abuse has increasingly impacted Canadians across the country.