Dr. Charlene Higgins has worked with the BC First Nations Forestry Council since 2009 and has over 20 years of experience working 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, and advocacy for the use of 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.
Sandy Atkinson is from the Snuneymuxw First Nation, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and is the Director of Operations and Finance for the First Nations Forestry Council. Sandy oversees the day-to-day operations of the Forestry Council, including financial management and compliance, and ensuring the administrative and governance functions are current and progressive.
Sandy has over 25 years of experience in operational forestry, as well as the administrative and financial management of forestry businesses and joint ventures.
She is passionate about the BC forest sector and utilizing the forests to provide jobs and economic benefits that are sustainable, and not at the expense of protecting our forests for the cultural and spiritual values they possess.
Karen Sorensen joined the Forestry Council in January 2020 as the Workforce Development Manager. She brings to her role 20 years of experience in creative and strategic development. Most recently, Karen worked with the BC Forest Discovery Centre and industry stakeholders to develop a 1.5M exhibit entitled Forests Forever: Innovation in Modern Forestry. This interactive exhibit was designed to engage and educate the public about current forestry practices and innovations on the coast of BC.
As the Workforce Development Manager for the BC First Nations Forestry Council, Karen leads the Workforce Strategy, developing and growing strategic partnerships to link First Nations talent to jobs in the forest sector; that includes the Indigenous Forestry Scholarship Program.
Karen has enjoyed spending the past 10 years working and raising her family on beautiful Vancouver Island, where she grew-up.
Michael’s passion for the non-profit sector began early-on during his media studies, during which he worked in areas ranging from child protection, community development, and public health. His skills range from content development and design, to digital media, community outreach, programs development, and advocacy. He values the importance of developing engaging content that builds awareness and improves the understanding of social causes.
Michael has a deep-seeded love for travel and culture. He was born with a dual nationality of French on his mother's side and Swedish on his fathers. Having lived and studied in over 7 countries, he graduated first in 2015 with a Bachelor's degree in Media Management from The University of Breda in the Netherlands, and then in 2017 in Australia with a Master’s in Public Relations & Professional Communication from the University of Queensland.