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Board of Directors

ArtStarts in Schools' Board of Directors is made up of members representing the education, artistic and business communities. We strive to include members from regions across British Columbia with a diverse range of experiences.

Thara Vayali

Thara Vayali

Interim President

Naturopathic Doctor, Vancouver

Thara Vayali is a health educator, behaviour change coach and movement specialist. She holds a private practice as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver and focuses her work primarily on endocrinology and gastrointestinal concerns. She is a sought after speaker and facilitator for health education, as her sessions have been described as making complex information "deliciously easy to understand”. The personal exploration of artistic expression has played a major role in her work, influencing how she approaches her patients, clients and students. She is skilled in guiding process-planning for individuals and passionate about assisting teams as they clarify and manage their goals. She writes professionally and poetically and occasionally performs on stage when she feels bold enough to face a crowd.
Gary Wang

Gary Wang

Interim Vice-President

Leadership Development Specialist, Coast Capital Savings

Gary currently works as a Leadership Development Specialist at Coast Capital Savings. He partners with leaders to fuel the potential of teams and then align the company's culture and people practices to drive organizational success. Gary is passionate about holistic and integrative approaches to education, and believes that meaningful learning happens as a result of building deep relationships and innovating change through those relationships.
Mia Lok

Mia Lok

Treasurer

Senior Manager, Audit & Assurance, Deloitte LLP, Vancouver

Mia Lok is a Senior Manager in the Audit & Assurance practice at Deloitte LLP in Vancouver, BC. In this role, she specializes in international public company audits in the technology, media and telecom industry. She has extensive expertise auditing and advising on internal controls compliance and process evaluation and improvements to assist in supporting Executive Management and Audit Committees in meeting their risk management and corporate compliance requirements. Mia previously worked as Corporate Controller at Cardiome Pharma Corp. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Joint Major in Accounting and Economics from Simon Fraser University. Mia believes that the arts are an integral part of providing a well-rounded foundation for young people and is very happy to be part of an organization which enables such valuable opportunities in arts education.
Will Stroet

Will Stroet

Secretary

Founder and Artist of Pebble Star Productions Inc., Vancouver

Will Stroet is an award-winning bilingual children's musician and former elementary school teacher. After five years of teaching music at Tennyson Elementary in Vancouver, Will decided to pursue his other passion of writing and performing kids' music in English and French. Along with his wife and manager, Will founded Pebble Star Productions Inc., a children's entertainment company dedicated to producing educational and engaging music, videos and live performances that inspire kids to be healthy, active and engaged members of our community. Will is on the ArtStarts' touring roster and is also the star of Will's Jams, a series of musical videos for kids, airing on Kids' CBC television weekday mornings.
Theodora Lamb

Theodora Lamb

Executive Director, Strathcona Business Improvement Association, Vancouver

Theo is Executive Director of the Strathcona Business Improvement Association where she works to support over 900 businesses and social enterprises. She upholds and promotes the SBIA vision in which its members are operating and thriving in a mixed-use, inclusive, resilient and prosperous local economy. Theo, in her capacity as a Strathcona community leader, also serves on the Spaces Committee for the Eastside Culture Crawl where she advocates for artists in East Vancouver. She is a Board Director with Vancity, BC’s largest credit union and Canada’s 10th largest financial institution. A post secondary education in fine arts paired with a life-time passion for arts is what brought Theo to ArtStarts where, through governance, she works to support efforts to inspire children across the province through their own, innate artistic ability and vision.
Edwin Yau

Edwin Yau

Senior Manager, Risk Advisory, Vancouver

Edwin is a senior manager in the Risk Advisory practice at Deloitte LLP. Over the past 13 years at Deloitte, he has advised and provided assurance to businesses and public sector organizations on matters related to financial reporting and technology risks, with a view to improving their management and governance practices. Edwin is a Chartered Professional Accountant. Apart from his professional work, Edwin delivers financial literacy courses at schools in his belief that education should encompass important life skills. At the same time, recognizing that the skills required tomorrow will be different from those required today given the pace of technological change, he believes that arts and creativity in education provide an essential foundation for both personal and professional fulfillment.
Mary Blais

Mary Blais

Arts and Culture Consultant, Victoria

Mary Blais is an accomplished senior executive well known for cultivating and nurturing productive relationships with strategic partners and for empowering others through her energetic and passionate leadership style. Her 25 plus year career as an administrator and consultant has spanned the arts, post-secondary education and healthcare sectors and taken her across Canada. Mary continues her work as an independent arts and culture consultant, focusing primarily on audience engagement, executive coaching and the identification and development of strategies to enhance organizational capacity. She is passionate about arts integration in the classroom and the power of the arts to nourish critical thinking and innovation in children and youth.
Tina Parbhakar

Tina Parbhakar

Lawyer, BC Ministry of Justice, Vancouver

Tina Parbhakar is a lawyer with the BC Ministry of Justice who has a growing focus on children's law. She is also interested in public administration, gender relations and community engagement. She recently worked in Kampala, through the Canadian Bar Association, on a project entitled Supporting Access to Justice for Children and Youth in East Africa. She has previously worked in Kampala with the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme Uganda on early childhood development and in Delhi with Participatory Research in Asia on violence against women in politics. She is a member of Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, Rotary International and the City of North Vancouver's Social Planning Advisory Committee. Through supporting ArtStarts, Tina wants to see a greater focus on the role of creative activities and opportunities in the development of healthy and happy children, adults and societies.