Bob Hughes has worked in the social services field for the past 25 years in a variety of capacities. Previously, he worked as an addiction’s counselor/consultant for seven years. He was the team leader for a stimulant abuser program called Meth Kickers in Kamloops and provided workshops and forums around community mobilization for addiction issues. He has presented to various organizations and conferences including an International Harm Reduction conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bob also worked with the Interior Health Authority developing a Youth Addictions program for the Shuswap region.
His other work experiences include the development of a Crisis Response program in Victoria for at-risk youth. This was created in response to the death of Reena Virk and was to help prevent youth from entering the sex trade. Bob has also worked for the BCGEU as a Staff Representative conducting workplace investigations and dispute resolution.
Bob holds a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University in the field of Communications and Psychology, has a diploma in Brief Systemic Family Therapy, and completed his Master’s Degree in Health Leadership at Royal Roads University in 2014.
Chief Operating Officer
Kim has been with the ASK Wellness Society since 2012, bearing witness to the substantial growth of its diverse programs. Since her arrival, she has worked with various teams, overseeing critical market housing and supportive housing operations. Housing has always been at the forefront of her professional career before joining ASK. She continues to be committed to providing excellence in housing and support services to the ASK Wellness Society program participant base. She has enhanced her role with ASK in taking on the position of Chief Operating Officer, further strengthening her commitment to ethical social work practice.
Collaboration with partnering agencies to build strong programs and healthy communities and maintaining her belief that all individuals have value and potential is essential to Kim’s practice.
Kim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in general studies and Bachelor of Social Work from Thompson Rivers University. She completed her Master’s Degree in Leadership and Administration at Gonzaga University.
Director of People Experience and Employment Development
Cher Doolan has been with ASK since 2008, watching and assisting the ASK Team grow from seven to over two hundred and sixty staff. As the Director of People Experience for the Society, she fills a multitude of roles. She is responsible to oversee human resources practices, direct the Society’s employment development department, provide leadership support and direction, and promote a healthy and supportive workplace culture. Cher has also taken the lead to oversee the ASK Cultural Advisory Committee to implement the objectives and actions looking to embed cultural safety throughout the organization.
Her other work experiences include supporting multiple law firms with management and paralegal services. Cher also fills her time volunteering to support her community through Dying with Dignity Canada and the Ruff Start Rescue Society.
Cher holds a Business Administration Certificate from Bow Valley College and a Certificate in Management and Leadership from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Chief Financial Officer
Natascha Strauss joined ASK Wellness Society in late 2018, providing leadership to the Financial Administration of the Society as the Chief Financial Officer. With more than16 years of professional accounting experience, ranging in Business Planning, Audit, Corporate Recovery and Taxation, Natascha has been instrumental in guiding the financial policies and procedures of the Society.
Natascha has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Business (Commercial Law) from the University of South Australia and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
Director of Accounting Services
Kyra Matheson has been at ASK Wellness Society since 2010, starting as a Service Canada funded student to work the front intake desk. Over the term of her position, Kyra started helping the administration and finance departments, and by the end of her term was hired on as the administrative/finance assistant and rent supplement coordinator. Over the years, she discovered her passion for accounting and worked her way into the Finance Department full-time.
Prior to ASK, Kyra worked as a Care Aid in Kamloops and has volunteered extensively with community partners and various ASK events.
She holds an Accounting Certificate from Thompson Rivers University and a Care Aid Certificate from Thompson Rivers University.
Director of Merritt Operations
Keri has been with ASK since 2014 and is a long-time resident of Merritt. Keri has had the opportunity to work in a vast array of positions within ASK Merritt, including CLBC Community Inclusion, Housing Outreach, and Adult Addiction Supporting Housing (AASH). Most importantly, Keri was involved in the Merritt AASH program from its earliest development stage, through to its implementation. With her leadership skills, the AASH program continues to be very successful. Keri took on the new role as Director of Merritt Operations in 2018. With this role, she has been excited to be a part of building relationships with other Merritt partners in order to provide wrap-around support services to community members. She also provides clinical support to the Merritt team and currently plays a pivotal role in the Juniper House initiative.
Keri’s past work experiences include the coordination of the Merritt Extreme Weather Response and the provision of recreation programming for those living in an extended care facility.
Keri holds diplomas in Events and Convention Management from the University College of the Caribou and a Medical Transcription Diploma.
Director of Outreach and Clinical Supports
Jeremy has been with the ASK Wellness Society since 2011, beginning as an overnight tenant support worker. He later moved into roles within the Community Living Program, including a life-skills support worker, housing liaison, and program coordinator.
As the Director of Outreach and Clinical Supports, Jeremy’s role involves the oversight of all Outreach services, including Street Outreach, Overdose Prevention, SHOP program, Community Transition Team, and Drug Checking services. In addition, he is responsible for the oversight of the Community Living Program, which helps individuals living with developmental disabilities live independently in community.
Jeremy has a Batchelor’s degree in Social Work from Thomson Rivers University.
Director of Facilities and Asset Planning
Karen Protasivich is new to ASK Wellness Society and was welcomed to the Management team in August 2022. As the Director of Facilities and Asset Planning, Karen is responsible for overseeing the Property Services Department, including oversight of the Property Administration, Maintenance, and Cleaning teams. In her role, Karen oversees all capital asset delivery, facility maintenance, and project management of new builds.
Karen moved from Revelstoke to Kamloops in 1993 to attend University College of the Caribou (UCC). These studies included a Business Diploma focused on Marketing Management. Once her studies were complete, Karen began her career as a residential caretaker in the mid 1990’s. After a few years of working as a caretaker and with the growing excitement of the property industry, Karen began taking courses through UBC Sauder Business School for Residential Property Management and Strata Property Management Licensing. During her property management career, Karen managed residential homes in Kamloops, Merritt, and Vernon, as well as strata properties in Kamloops, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, and Vernon.
In addition to her new role at ASK, Karen is also a co-owner of a local property maintenance company. She describes herself as being passionate about property maintenance and appreciates the need to be proactive with preventative maintenance.
Stan Fike is a retired family physician, having worked in Kamloops for 37 years. He attained an Honour’s bachelor’s degree at the University of Calgary, a Master’s degree in Psychology at Carleton University, and a Medical degree from University of Ottawa. He completed a two-year residency at the University of Calgary.
Stan is also on the board of Phoenix Centre, and his Rotary club. He has been on the board of ASK Wellness for 9 years.
Stan has been a Rotarian for 34 years. He lives with his wife and is an avid gardener and curler.
He worked with ASK when it was still the Aids Society of Kamloops, for over 20 years. He joined the board to assist with the mission and the work that ASK Wellness does. It has been an honour and privilege to serve this agency, with remarkable staff.
Gary Limpright - Treasurer
Garry Limpright is a retired Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) and former businessman with over 40 years of business experience. His experience includes 28 years with Shell Canada. He started with several locations in Manitoba and then moved to Kamloops in 1994.
Garry has been married to Mary for over 30 years. They have four children together, two in Winnipeg and two in Kamloops, and eleven grandchildren. Garry has previously been an active participant in sports such as curling, and bowling; he continues to be a sports spectator.
Garry serves on the board of other Non-Profit Organizations in Kamloops as he endeavours to give back to our community.
Gina Dillon - Secretary
Gina Dillon is a long time Kamloops resident with over 15 years of management experience in the hospitality and retail industries. She recently completed her Bachelor of Business Administration at Thompson Rivers University in Human Resource Management and Leadership and is currently working towards her professional designation in Human Resource Management (CPHR). She has previously served as the Kamloops Unit President for the Canadian Cancer Society, Subject Matter Expert for the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, Co-President for the TRU Human Resource Management Club, Student Caucus Member for the TRU Student Union, and Treasurer for a Parent Advisory Council. Gina has also volunteered for a number of other organizations and has served on various committees both at TRU and through previous employment.
Gina believes that everyone has the potential to be successful and they deserve an equal opportunity regardless of background and economic circumstances. She joined the ASK Wellness in March 2020 as a way to give back to her community, and to support the organizations mission to provide the assistance that many marginalized and at-risk people require to be able to work towards their potential.
Gina lives with her husband of 16 years and is the mother of two elementary school aged children and one child in post-secondary. In her spare time, Gina enjoys researching her family’s history, reading true crime novels, and spending time with her family.
Brad Alberts - Vice-Chair
Brad Alberts returned to his childhood hometown of Kamloops in 2008 with his wife and two sons. After 27 years of living and working in Vancouver, where he was President and Founder of Integrated Urban Equities Ltd., a company specializing in the redevelopment and adaptive reuse of commercial and residential Heritage buildings, he was happy to be back in the Interior.
Brad served as a long-standing Board member on the Vancouver Heritage Commission, which provided development expertise to the Vancouver City Council and staff on all manners of development proposals involving heritage structures. Brad’s leadership and knowledge in the business field also was a benefit when he sat as a Board Director for an extended period of time on the Downtown Kamloops Business Improvement Association and on a number of its subcommittees. His involvement with youth through Team Canada Hockey College, Big Brothers of Vancouver and with the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association, where he served in the capacity of Coach and Manager when his two sons were involved in the sport, has fulfilled his love for both people and sport.
Brad has served on the ASK Wellness Society Board of Directors since 2018. He originally joined the Board when he was introduced to the vast number of services that the agency provided to the Community. Brad resonated with the inspiration given to him when he witnessed the dedication and the care that the ASK Wellness Society staff and volunteers freely provide to the clients served and towards each other.
Trudy Marsh - Member
Trudy Marsh has lived in Kamloops for most of her life, with the exception of a few years in the Vancouver area. In 2002, while pursuing her Social Work degree, Trudy was fortunate to be able to complete her final Social Work practicum placement on the Downtown East Side of Vancouver. Having grown up in Kamloops, Trudy had no understanding of the social issues being faced in the DTES. This is where she had her first experience with people who struggle with chronic mental health and addiction, and was first able to witness the service providers that worked so hard with so little to provide emotional and practical support to the most vulnerable. It was also Trudy’s first experience hearing from the people who live there, how they felt so isolated, displaced, judged and forgotten about. That experience has never left her.
Trudy’s career in social work has spanned over 20 years, with the majority of her work life having been in the field of child welfare. Trudy continues to work in the field and offers assistance to families. She feels honored to be able to do the work that she does and truly cannot imagine doing anything else.
After years of working alongside the team at ASK Wellness Society in various capacities, the desire returned for her to delve back into homelessness, mental health and addiction work. She chose to inquire about an opportunity to join the Board, out of respect for the work ASK Wellness Society does in trying to help people secure housing. She admires how ASK walks with people as they try to move through their life’s challenges. Trudy is proud to be a member of the Board, especially in a time where mental health and addiction are impacting so many.
Trudy is a mother of two school aged boys, and enjoys spending time with her family.
Neil Menard - Member
Neil Menard was born in Nipawin, Saskatchewan and relocated to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan at the age of nine. After employment at various jobs, including the forestry industry and sawmilling, Neil joined the Royal Canadian Navy, serving on both coasts of Canada. Upon his release from the Navy, Neil went on to work as an apprentice iron worker. Starting in Victoria, Neil worked his way across Canada in various communities. Unfortunately, he was injured in an industrial accident, which led to him spending two years focusing on rehabilitation.
In 1972, Neil went to work for the International Woodworkers of America, which later became IWA Canada. Originally hired as a business agent, he was later elected as the Local President. Neil was also elected as a Vice President for the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. When he was later appointed as the Third Vice President for Region One, Neil transferred to head quarters in Vancouver, BC. This followed with an election as Second Vice President, and finally as First Vice President. He held that role until his retirement from the IWA.
After his retirement, Neil continued on with IWA in a consultant role, providing guidance in the field of Occupational Health and Safety and in their Employee and Family Assistance Program. Neil later moved to Merritt, BC where he worked for Bronco Energy in the same fields of OH&S and EFAP programs. In Merritt, Neil also worked for the Commissionaires of BC as a Detention Guard for the RCMP.
In February 2014, during a by-election, Neil was elected to City Council in Merritt. Shortly after, in November 2014, he was elected as Mayor and served as the City Mayor until 2018.
In his free time, Neil enjoys a variety of activities, including softball, hockey, hunting, and rodeo. He is proud to represent Merritt on ASK Wellness Society’s Board of Directors.
S. Paul Varga - Member
S. Paul Varga has been practicing law since being called to the bar in 2012, after receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan. He is a courtroom lawyer who deals with contract litigation, criminal defence, and landlord-tenant disputes, and has seen the housing crisis reach extreme levels resulting in significant conflict and a degradation of our society.
Paul joined the board of ASK Wellness Society in 2019 after recognizing the hard work the group was doing to promote housing interests throughout B.C.’s South-Central Interior, and is proud to represent the interests of Penticton at the board level. Paul believes the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members, and believes we all need to be doing more to ensure all members of our communities are treated with dignity and grace in the face of whatever adversity they may be facing.
Paul is also an active thespian through his participation with Many Hats Theatre Company and an avid cyclist and skier.
Michael Lamont - Member
Michael Lamont is a broadcast media professional who is passionate about building a diverse and inclusive community. He was born on Vancouver Island and has lived in the South Okanagan for five years. Michael attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology for Broadcast Media and has previously worked in television with CTV News, in radio and digital advertising, and as a marketing coordinator for non-profit organizations.
Michael learned of ASK Wellness Society when ASK was nominated for a Business Excellence Award for Workplace Culture Excellence, sponsored by his employer South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services. After learning more about the Society and its guiding principles, he was motivated to join the Board of Directors. Michael is proud to provide representation for the South Okanagan and the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Ryan Deneault - Member
Raised in Kamloops, BC, Ryan Deneault is a Skeetchestn Band Member and a fourth-generation settler in the Interior of British Columbia. Over the past 18 years, Ryan has run his own business, worked in sales and business development, and has been an Indigenous Advisor in the construction and mining industries. Ryan is now a Community Engagement Specialist for the United Way BC. His current role focuses on the emergent needs in Lytton, Merritt, and fifteen Indigenous communities in between. This experience, coupled with his Skeetchestn heritage, makes for an approach to community and First Nations relations that is rooted in finding ways to develop mutual understanding and trust. Ryan’s passion for finding ways to connect and develop common ground between those interested in working together has benefited First Nations, communities, and companies alike. Ryan is proud to be a Board Member with ASK Wellness Society, as yet another way to use his experience to give back to the community.
Sandie Keetch - Member
Sandra (Sandie) Keetch was born on Vancouver Island and received her education at the University of British Columbia. She is a retired teacher of 42 years. Her career choices have lead her to work in both the public school system and private industry.
After residing in Revelstoke for a period of years, Sandie moved to Kamloops in 1983, where she and her husband raised their family. She has a deep rooted connection with this area that spans four generations.
Sandie is very proud of her family’s background in agriculture and trades, as well as her professional career. Her teaching aspirations were focused in the areas of practical arts and advanced technical training for high school students. Sandie was a key advisor to students attending the NorKam Trades and Technology Centre in the inaugural years.
Currently, Sandie serves on the executive of P.E.O., a philanthropic education organization whose objective is to assist in furthering the education of young women in our community. It is her belief that each of us needs to contribute to the wellbeing of the community of which we are a part.
Sandie values her participation with ASK Wellness Society, as she believes the Society offers a myriad of opportunities for all community members.
Lisa Galbraith - Member
Joining in November 2022, Lisa Galbraith comes to ASK Wellness Society’s Board of Directors with the memories of the Society’s beginnings. She brings with her a passion for philanthropic work, along with a breadth of education and experience. With more than 25 years of social work practice that includes working in communities, providing child and family services, offering private counselling services, and working within various mental health and healthcare departments, she is proud to join us!
Lisa has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University College of the Cariboo and a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies from Royal Roads University, along with a number of certificates and diplomas. Previous local community board work brought about an interest in working with Indigenous communities. This ultimately led her to working in the Northwest Territories and in Nunavut with Inuit communities. Lisa regards her time in these communities as a humbling experience that created invaluable learning opportunities. As a registered social worker, Lisa currently works at Interior Health. She is one of a team of healthcare professionals working in the Kamloops community.
Lisa believes that every day is a new day to be filled with at least one grand adventure and new experience. She is a daughter, mother and grandmother who loves spending time with her family and grandchildren. Lisa sees that we are all captains of our own ship, yet sometimes we all need a little assistance to steady the course. This is what she has hoped to help others with throughout her career and now as an ASK Wellness Society board member.
ask wellness is coa accredited
COA accreditation signifies that an organization or program is effectively managing its resources and providing the best possible services to all of its stakeholders. It also signifies that an organization or program meets standards of quality set forth by the COA accrediting body.
For more information about COA accreditation visit coanet.org.
hiv/aids or hep c questions?
Need testing or support? Your confidentiality is guaranteed.
Contact: Darlene A. Webb Coordinator of Population Health and Second Stage Housing 250 214 5948
The ASK Wellness Society is working towards providing and improving the available resources for 2sLGBTQ+ individuals in our communities by implementing 2SLGBTQ+ outlets at our sites and through advocating for 2SLGBTQ+ rights and respect. We welcome all and any members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community to access our resources.