The Indigenous Perspectives Society is an Indigenously run charitable non-profit. We are comprised of Indigenous staff, allies, a board of directors and volunteers. Our composition is an intentional and deliberate one that allows us the agility to deliver services, meet community needs, and respond to actions of reconciliation in a way that is reflective of the communities we walk amongst. Our circles where we deliver services are Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and blended. We practice diversity and inclusion with our society representing many different communities and lifestyles which brings a wealth of insight into how we work. IPS is proud to provide the opportunity for career development and mentorship, and believes in growing people in addition to attracting excellent talent. With this, it is with pride that we introduce you to our team below:
Rachelle Dallaire, BSW/MSW/RSW – Executive Director
Rachelle is from the Montagnais people in lower Quebec. She brings more than 15 years of management and leadership experience to her work as Indigenous Perspectives Society’s Executive Director. Rachelle has extensive front line service experience that informs her leadership from her early work with at risk communities including women in the sex trade, corrections, and the homeless community. As an intergenerational trauma survivor, she brings a lot of passion to developing Indigenous Perspectives Society’s Reconciliation from an Indigenous Perspective training offerings, which include Cultural Perspectives Training, developed to support the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.
Connie Martin, BSW – Associate Director
Connie Martin is from the K’omoks First Nation on her maternal side, her late mother’s name is Leslee Martin, and her late grandmother was Mable Frank. Her grandparents, Richard and Catherine Wilson raised her mother and herself. On her father’s side is German, and her father’s name is Gary Martin. Her paternal grandparents are the late Maggie Martin and Charlie Martin. Connie comes to Indigenous Perspectives Society with previous experience as a social worker both for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and for a Delegated Aboriginal Agency. She has also worked in the non-profit sector for over ten years with Aboriginal children and their families. She is a passionate advocate for education. She has worked to earn an Associate Arts Degree in Aboriginal Studies, a Bachelor of Social Work Degree with Indigenous and Child Welfare specializations, and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Barbara Smith, BSW/MAdEd – Learning & Curriculum Development Manager
With a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Adult Education and Leadership from the University of Victoria, Barbara is committed to strengthening voices through education for those who are affected by policy. She believes that policy should be informed by practice and that those affected by policy should lead in the design, development and implementation of policy and solutions to meet their needs.
Zhila Alizadeh – Borji, Finance Manager
Zhila joined the Society in April 2011. Zhila is a Persian woman, a mother of a beautiful daughter and a proud aunt. Born and raised in Iran, she graduated from the University of Tehran with a degree in business, level 4 of Certified General accountant, and planning to obtain her Certified Aboriginal Finance Manager. She worked in a variety of financial management positions in Tehran. She moved to Canada in 2001 and has been employed since that time in similar environments. She is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Indigenous Perspectives Society. She has many passions which include artistic endeavours, family values, and her work. She believes in the passion that is demonstrated by the Society in the work they do and for this, she has been very appreciative to be a part of that passion and to work for such a dynamic team!
Carol Itakura, Facilities and Resource Manager
Carol is first generation Chinese and was born and raised in Victoria, B.C. She holds a Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Victoria. After more than 23 years in the banking industry, Carol began a different journey with IPS in May 2002 where she was able to apply her knowledge, administrative skills and experiences. Carol has been the Society’s Facilities and Resource Manager since December 2005 and enjoys the camaraderie with her colleagues.
Elaine Zamardi, C.I.M. – Executive and Project Coordinator
Elaine was born and raised in Toronto, ON and moved to Victoria, BC in 1996 with her husband and their two daughters. She is Mohawk on her Mother’s side, from Kahnawà:ke Quebec and English on her Father’s side. As the Executive and Project Coordinator she is passionate about working at IPS and being able to support projects, our youth, Elders, families, and communities. She loves spending time with her family, riding her bike and enjoys the outdoors.
Alesha Hayes, BA – Business Development Coordinator
Of mainly Scottish, English, Swedish and Estonian heritage, Alesha’s family from Northern California, the traditional territory of the Pomo peoples, settled in Kamloops, located in Secwepemc territory, where she was born and raised. After studying at Thompson Rivers University and the University of Victoria where she completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science with an minor in Anthropology, Alesha went on to work as a video-journalist, independent publisher, writer, communications officer, and consultant. Alesha is completing a Master’s Degree in Intercultural and International Communication and is passionate about building culture and community. A continuous learner, she is always researching ideas and developing her skills while raising her delightful son and daughter.
Laurie McDonald, Instructor
Laurie is from the Enoch Cree Nation. He is a residential school survivor of the Ermineskin Indian Residential School, in Hobbema Alberta. He taught for 27 years, worked as a front line child protection Social Worker for 6 Years, and is a primary instructor at IPS.
Tammy Fleming – Instructor
Tammy lived in Victoria until the age of 15 both with family members and in care. She reunited with her Mom at age 15 and went with her to Northern Alberta. She is blessed to have two communities where she feels at home. Tammy has 3 children by birth, and many more by relationship; and is grateful to be Nana to 18 grandchildren. After raising her family, she realised a childhood dream and returned to school, becoming a social worker. Having spent time in care herself, she carried a passion for creating safety for children and youth in a holistic and collaborative way and has spent the past 15 years working with families, communities and children. She is excited to join IPS in the role of Instructor. It has been amazing to gather here and see the dedication, excitement and passion that is so evident among my colleagues. I am grateful to have been provided this opportunity.
Candace McKivett – Program Development Specialist
Candace works in the development of online training in Moodle and is also the accreditation specialist for the Society. She is a non-Indigenous staff member who applies an intersectional lens to all that she does; believing that health and wellbeing for people and communities comes from achieving equity across the social determinants of health. Candace is also passionately committed to her volunteer work with inmates at the local federal prison.
Kelly Legge MA – Program Development Specialist
Kelly has been fortunate to live and work in Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories, Victoria, for over 10 years. She has worked at IPS since 2010 in various roles, including a policy analyst in Aboriginal child welfare and a program development specialist wherein she develops curriculum, facilitates training, and leads the media team as a non-fictive film maker. As a non-Indigenous person, she brings a passion for inter-cultural learning and ally work.
April Reeve – Caregiver Support
As a Metis woman April is honored to be starting her new position at IPS as the Caregiver Support Worker. She looks forward to working in our indigenous communities throughout BC and is grateful that she is able to help train foster parents as they embark on their journey in becoming caregivers for our children. April has been with her partner Wayne for 42 years, and they have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Also, she has been a foster parent with Indigenous youth for many years. One of her favorite things to do is to watch her grandchildren play baggataway (lacrosse). She can also be found in her garden nurturing all that grows.
Michele Oatman, Programs Coordinator
Melissa Barnhard – Programs Coordinator
Melissa’s traditional name is Naw-hea’mowha. She is a proud member of the Songhees First Nation and is currently in school studying Canadian Social Justice. She would like to continue her education to become an Aboriginal resource worker and provide the essential life basics to families and children that are in need and that live in isolated areas. She has been working with the Pacific Center Family Services Association since 1995 as a client and as a Client Representative. She has been working with Indigenous Perspectives Society since 2016 as a Programs Coordinator and loves being apart of the IPS tribe. She is so happy to be involved with two organizations that both work towards helping people in our communities to create a better future together.
Aislin Murphy (previously Addie Murphy) – Programs Coordinator
Aislin has spent most of her life in Victoria, but has also lived in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Duncan. She is from Tsartlip on her late mother’s side (Adeline Morris) and from Spences Bridge in the interior of BC on her late father’s side (John Murphy). Also, she has a 20-year-old son Grayson and is connected to Namgis. She is proud to be a member of the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers, along with her son. In her spare time, she likes to do beadwork and various crafts.
Curriculum Developer & Writer
Special Projects Coordinator