Madeline Lusk – Director
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is made up a group of dedicated, passionate, caring and profession individuals including:
We have 28 professionals on staff including counsellors, victim service workers, prevention educators, development and administrative support. Our Leadership Team consists of our Executive Director, Direct Client Services Manager, Prevention Manager, and Resource Development Manager.
We have a range of committed and fabulous volunteers ranging from Sexual Assault Response Team members, Office and Event Volunteers. Find out more about how you can get involved.
Board of Directors
Morgan Daye – Co-Chair
Morgan Daye grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned their Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics at Miami University of Ohio.
Over the past ten years, Morgan has built a career in data management, working primarily in the non-profit sector. They own their own business, helping community organizations use data in order to demonstrate their impact and the need for their services. Much of this work has focused on preventing sexualized violence against women and serving other oppressed and vulnerable communities. This includes data, database, and information management services for several member agencies related to this cause throughout Canada.
Morgan lives in Victoria with their husband and small, strange son Benjamin, who is also a dog. In their spare time, they enjoy practicing the piano, learning languages (French, Japanese, and ASL especially), and knitting and sewing. They are very excited to actively work to enrich their community by serving on the VSAC’s Board of Directors.
Mariel Wendowsky – Co-Chair
Mariel was born on Coast Salish territory (colonially known as Richmond BC). She graduated from the University of Victoria with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Applied Ethics. After almost a decade working for the BC Government, Mariel began working at a local tech company as a Consultant.
Mariel is passionate about advocating for survivors of sexualised and gender-based violence. She completed training with VSAC’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in April 2018, and graciously accepted a role as Senior SART in November 2019, shifting focus to supporting the incredible SART volunteers as they navigate complex responses. This direct experience of working with survivors has proven to her how crucial VSAC’s mission is, and what a difference it can make in the lives of survivors. She is endlessly inspired by those who come forward and is dedicated to supporting survivors, VSAC staff, and the broader community.
In her (limited) free time you can find Mariel scouring used bookstores for Sweet Valley High or 80’s teen horror novels, holed up rewatching Buffy under a weighted blanket, or spending time outside with her dear friends.
Susie Bowles – Treasurer
Susie Bowles is a BC Certified teacher of settler ancestry living as an uninvited guest on Lekwungen territory, colonially known as Victoria. She has spent the last decade of her career supporting health practitioners and nonprofit organizations to build and create innovative programs, transforming the way Canada treats mental health. Having had the privilege to work alongside health care teams at the forefront of groundbreaking trajectories in health and healing, Susie endeavours to continue this work with VSAC.
Susie is also a fat activist, passionate about empowering people in larger bodies to live fully embodied, juicy, pleasure filled lives. She has worked with the School of Consent, including running technology for Wheel of Consent online courses, since 2020. She also works with an international community running online and in person erotic healing temples.
Outside of work, Susie spends hours reading on Victoria’s beautiful beaches and enjoys being the crazy cat lady of her street. When her cat, George, isn’t stealing the limelight on zoom, he’s begging to go on leashed walks to climb trees and get treats from his favourite neighbours.
Susie is excited and honoured to bring everything she’s learned on her personal journey and in her professional career to contribute to VSAC’s important mission.
Ram Aheer – Director
Ram was born on the land of the lək̓ʷəŋən People, currently known as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. They are an uninvited guest on this land, just as their father, great uncle, and great grandfather were. Ram calls this land their home, and they genuinely enjoy playing, working, and living on this land. As a person of colour, it is with great sadness they have experienced racism on this beloved colonized land.
Ram is a firm believer in the tools and supports the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) provides those who have been victims of and are recovering from sexual violence. Over the years, they have contributed to meaningful fundraising efforts for VSAC. In one action, they were able to locate 50% of the funding for windows in the counselling offices and continues to seek out funding in meaningful ways.
Ram is in a position where they have the desire, energy, and passion required to give to the community in a meaningful way. Ram has been described as a caring and altruistic person; and is happiest when giving back and caring for others.
Ram desires to use their Master’s Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University and the skills they have developed during their career as a leader, organizer, strategic planner, analytical thinker, and effective communicator as a Director VSAC.
Laura Benoit – Director
Laura (she/her) was born and raised in Calgary, on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. After spending ten years working in both fundraising and communications in the Lower Mainland, Laura is grateful to now be living, working, and playing on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen peoples. Laura has extensive experience with charities and non-profits, having worked with Seva Canada Society, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation. Currently, Laura works in communications for the Ministry of Citizens’ Services with the BC Public Service.
Volunteerism is incredibly important to Laura. She previously served as the President & Fundraising Co-Chair for Tara Cheyenne Performance, and has volunteered with Special Olympics BC, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Alzheimer Society of BC, and Ovarian Cancer Canada. Laura currently volunteers as a resident contributor to Fernwood’s neighbourhood newspaper, the Village Vibe. In her spare time, she can be found reading science fiction, exploring the island’s many beautiful hiking trails, testing out a new board game with her partner, or trying a new knitting project.
Passionate about supporting her community and being a part of ending sexualized violence, Laura is honoured and humbled to be supporting the work and staff of VSAC, and contributing to the organization’s goals of healing, prevention, and education.
Anna Bruce – Director
Originally from the unceded territory of the Lheidli T’enneh (colonially known as Prince George), Anna has been a visitor on the land of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Victoria and a Masters in Global Affairs from the University of Prince Edward Island where she concentrated her studies in gender equality and wrote a thesis on the use of Syndemic theory and the theory of intersectionality to advance the understanding of the increase in rates of gender-based violence resulting from climate change-related natural disasters.
Anna deeply and unequivocally believes that everyone has the right to live a life free from violence and free from the threat of violence. During her three years of experience as a member of VSAC’s sexual assault response team (SART), she experienced first-hand the imperative need for this service to exist in the community and remains dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence. Previously, Anna worked at the University of Victoria in sexualized violence prevention, response, and education and at a global non-profit in women’s empowerment program management, communications and fundraising in Canada, the United States, and India. Anna currently works for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Team as a junior policy analyst.
Constantly inspired and fueled by others, at every chance possible, Anna loves spending time with her friends and family and being outside and on the move, hiking and camping in the mountains, swimming, surfing, and biking. You can also find her reading feminist literature or an autobiography and attempting to re-learn the piano.
Alexandra da Silva – Director
While having moved 19 times and counting, Allie da Silva (she/her) considers the place she grew up to be on Treaty 7 territory, known colonially as Calgary. Allie is currently finishing up her Bachelors of Commerce degree and is grateful to be doing so at the University of Victoria on Lekwungen and WSÁNEC territories. Once she graduates, Allie plans to pursue law school to obtain her JD. Through multiple co-op terms working for an Indigenous-owned organization, Steel River Group, Allie has developed a variety of knowledge as it relates to business competencies that she hopes to utilize in her work on the board. Allie is thrilled and honored to be serving on the Board of Directors of VSAC and to support a cause near-and-dear to her heart.
Community-work and volunteerism have always been a passion of Allie’s. Allie most recently served on the board of Learning Through Loss as the Director of Communications for 2 years and is actively involved in leading fundraising efforts through her Commerce Students’ Society at UVic for a variety of organizations like the Victoria Youth Empowerment Society and the Umbrella Society for Addictions and Mental Health. In her spare time, Allie loves to get lost in nature, curl up with some good books (her favourite being Blink by Malcolm Gladwell), and to celebrate being alive by doing fun & wacky things (most recently by bungee jumping!).
Samuel Geisterfer – Director
Samuel (he/him) is a settler born and raised on Treaty 6 territory in Amiskwaciy, colonially known as Edmonton. He is passionate about building strong and resilient communities and is grateful to currently be doing so in Lekwungen and WSÁNEC territories. Samuel is currently a student in the JD/JID program at the University of Victoria.
Samuel has extensive previous experience working in community organizations with a focus on university student groups.
One organization that was particularly impactful on Samuel was an organization called Consent Awareness and Sexual Education which works to facilitate conversations and workshops about consent in Calgary, with a focus on the University of Calgary campus.
Tina Lowery – Director
With what can best be described as an eclectic career history Tina (she/her) is honoured to be a member of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Board of Directors. Having worked in a wide range of sectors including Health Care, Arts & Culture, and Education in a variety of roles she hopes to share her unique perspective in supporting the work of the Centre. Committed to community building she is also an advocate for volunteerism and also sitting on the board of Volunteer Victoria.
Tina has a Master’s Degree from the University of Victoria’s School of Public Administration in Community Development with a research focus on cross-sector collaboration. She also holds a CPHR (Chartered Professional in Human Resources) certification and is a passionate life long learner. In her spare time, she enjoys walks with her dog, exploring the world’s natural and human history, cooking, and is grateful to be living on Vancouver Island.