Dr. Charlene Higgins, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Charlene Higgins has worked with BC First Nations Forestry Council since 2009 and has worked for over 20 years with BC Aboriginal communities and organizations on the recognition and incorporation of Aboriginal title, rights, and cultural values in the management and use of natural resources.
Charlene brings a wealth of expertise in provincial, national and international policies and practices related to the management and sustainable use of forest lands and resources. Her work includes research, policy analysis, advocacy for the use of First Nations traditional knowledge in the conservation of biological diversity, the development of shared decision-making models, as well as negotiation of tenure, business, revenue and benefit sharing agreements.
Dr. Higgins has a Masters and Ph.D. in Ecology.
Sandra Atkinson, Manager, Operations & Finance
Šušuč’i Amelia (Amy) Robinson, Program Assistant, Event Planning
Šušuč’i (Amy) comes from the Nuuchahnulth (Ditidaht and Tseshaht) Nation on the West coast of Vancouver Island.
Her administration skills have led to a career in Forestry, prior to which she worked at the Educational Institute, FortisBC LNG Plant construction, and with First Nations.
Currently, Amy’s focus is on logistics. She is the go-to person in the office and the point of contact for all FNFC event planning.
Leah Karpan, Executive Assistant
Leah is Ojibway and Cree from the Muscowpetung First Nation and grew up on the land outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Leah moved to Vancouver in 2009 making beautiful British Columbia her new home.
Leah holds a wealth of administrative expertise having supported Executive level staff for 5+ years and has worked with First Nations communities in a variety of capacity building roles, including forest fire supplies, housing, health and wellness, proposal writing, budgeting, funding, employment, and education. Leah recently completed her Master's in Business Administration (MBA) and is working toward community empowerment and capacity building.
Lisa Luscombe, Program Manager, Workforce & Industry Relations
Lisa is Quatsino First Nation (Kwakwaka'wakw) on Vancouver Island, of Big Stone Cree Nation, and the Métis Nation of Northern Alberta. She brings over 20 years of work and volunteer experience in the empowerment of Indigenous communities, community development, and engagement. Lisa has created effective working relationships and partnerships with industry and organizations throughout British Columbia, and developed and cultivated strong and positive working relationships with Indigenous communities.
Her career path has included working with organizations, academic and training institutions, and government-funded programs including Inter-Tribal Health Authority, Quatsino First Nation, Kwakiutl District Council, Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre, Cariboo Friendship Society, Ktunaxa Nation Council, Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, ASETS, BCATEAM, AESGT, Work BC Employment Services, BladeRunners, Metis Nation BC Employment and Training, Industry Training Authority, Skilled Trades Employment Program, Service Canada, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
Juanita Tait, Forestry Workforce Advisor
Juanita is Nisga'a First Nation, Laxgalt'sap in Northern BC, and Tlingit. She has over 12 years of education, training, volunteer and work experience in an array of roles that include community relations, social services, business administration, community and resource development, sales, and customer service. Her career path included working with a diverse number of organizations and programs, including WJS Canada, John Howard Society, JWR, Laxgalts'ap Village Government, and Nanaimo Youth Services.
Juanita has a BA in Sociology.
Denise Gallant, Forestry Workforce Advisor
Denise was born and raised on Vancouver Island. Her career started out working in veterinary nursing, health care, and as a community support worker but eventually diverged into forestry. Denise worked as a heavy equipment operator in logging and then turned to teaching heavy equipment operation. Her career path includes working with a diverse number of organizations and programs, as well as instructional work in remote BC First Nations communities.