Ombudsperson Pathfinders are contracted engagement specialists who are working to raise awareness of the Ombudsperson’s services in Indigenous communities across BC. Their role is to also build trust and help guide Indigenous people to the right pathway to bring concerns forward if they believe they have been treated unfairly when receiving municipal or provincial public services, including to the Ombudsperson. The Pathfinders bring deep experience working with Indigenous communities across the province.
Crystal Bird, Northern Region
Crystal is an artist, musician, Feng Shui Design Consultant and social justice activist from the Ts’msyen (Tsimshian) Nation. Crystal comes with a strong grass-roots background in community advocacy and brings over 25 years of experience collaborating with various organizations rooted in social justice activism. Crystal has a life-long appreciation for education in all its forms and has a background in Anthropology (First Nations, Women’s Studies and Psychology) and Archaeology through Coast Mountain College, Camosun College and the University of Victoria. She is passionate about holding systems to account and addressing systemic barriers.
Lenny LaRock, Fraser Valley Region
Lenny’s current role at the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society as Regional Community Developer and Jordan’s Principle Service Enhancement Coordinator, has her coming to us with experience in networking and reaching Indigenous communities across the province. Lenny, who is a Sts’ailes First Nation member, is a Delegated Social Worker with a BA in Child and Youth Care; a Certified ECE with a Diploma in Working with Children with Special Needs; a Certified Family Support Worker; a Certified Case Management Strategies and Preventative Security Worker; and, a Certified Respite Worker with MCFD. Lenny has extensive experience working in communities and with families and is passionate about working with Indigenous communities and learning more about culture.
Wendy Simon, Vancouver Coastal Region
Wendy (Haida/Mohawk) brings experience as the former Dean of Student Services and Registrar at the Native Education College. Wendy is grateful for her many teachers who have provided the cultural education that is at the heart of her social work practice. Wendy holds a Masters in Social Work and was awarded a Medal of Excellence from Wilfrid Laurier University. Wendy’s community approach begins with up holding the laws of the lands and building good relations. She enjoys travelling and the honour of hearing people’s stories as a trained counsellor and death doula.
Justine Thomson, Vancouver Island Region
Justine was Executive Director of a non-profit society and developed programming for mental health and wellness. Justine is a mindfulness facilitator, a master trainer in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and has worked alongside Indigenous communities throughout BC. She brings a strong trauma-informed skill set to the Pathfinders team. Justine completed her MA in Socio-Organizational Psychology and received her training from the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University. She is a wife and mother of two and is grateful to live on the traditional lands of the Lək̓ʷəŋən-speaking people.