Staff and Board

The Team

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director

Ian BushfieldIan Bushfield has been involved in the BC Humanist Association since 2009 and aside for two years in the UK he has been the Executive Director since 2012. He has a background in physics and non-profit management and grew up in Alberta. In 2017, he joined the BC Civil Liberties Association's Board of Directors.

Pronouns: he/him (what’s this?)

Dr Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Research Coordinator (on leave)

Dr Teale N Phelps Bondaroff is an experienced researcher with a PhD in politics and international studies from the University of Cambridge and BAs in political science (honours) and international relations from the University of Calgary. He is proficient with in a wide range of social science research methods, which he employs in his research on behalf of his strategy and research consultancy, the Idea Tree Consulting.

With years of experience in the field, Dr. Phelps Bondaroff is a world expert on illegal fishing and organized crime, and currently works as the Director of Research of OceansAsia, a marine conservation organization, and has consulted for a number of marine conservation groups (The Black Fish, the Sea Ranger Service, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and others). Dr Phelps Bondaroff remains active as an academic researcher, with work examining the strategic use of international law by non-state actors. He also cofounded the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception in BC and is active in all levels of Canadian politics.

Since December 2018, he has been serving as a research coordinator for the BC Humanist Association. 

You can learn about his numerous projects at

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Olivia Jensen, Policy Analyst

Olivia Jensen is a psychology graduate with a political science minor and a deep passion for reproductive justice, and our other policy researcher. She coauthored a report for Scholars at Risk on academic censorship in Belarus and as a high school senior lobbied her hometown of Chilliwack to become an International City of Peace.

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Board of Directors

The BCHA's Board of Directors is elected from our membership at our Annual General Meeting. Read more about their role.

The Board consists of:

J B Bell, President

j_b_profile.jpgI’m a past President of BCHA, with experience on several non-profit and co-op boards advocating for voices that often go unheard. I have a BA in Justice Studies from Royal Roads University.

Pronouns: he/him (what’s this?)


Sophie Burk

I’m early in my biomedical ethics career; currently working in abortion care and end-of-life issues. I graduated from Simon Fraser University, where I also served as the Undergraduate Representative on the Research Ethics Board. I was involved with social justice from a young age growing up in BC, as an advocate & educator in environmental stewardship, sexual health and community harm reduction.

I am a new member of the board, and BCHA’s former Campaign Manager for End of Life Issues, where I wrote the "End of Life" and "Memorial & Grief" guides and co-hosted the live stream event on the topic. I look forward to working with the BCHA members and board to continue advancing our work affirming human rights, pluralism and secularism in BC. 

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Eric Damer

I have enjoyed supernatural BC all my life, with residences in Kamloops, Victoria, and metro Vancouver. My lifelong commitment to a naturalistic worldview drew me to studies in philosophy, education, and history, which led to work in parks, museums, and archives. After many years debating people who held worldviews based on revealed knowledge or other questionable rationales, I realized that practical outcomes can be more important than foundational beliefs. So I adopted the label “humanist” to support an ethical, progressive, and cooperative form of atheism that seeks human and biosphere welfare. I was active with the UBC Humanist Society in the late 1990s, and have been a member of the BCHA since 2000. When not in front of a computer writing, I like to get outside to local parks and “wild” places.

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Jürgen Dankwort

I am delighted to serve on the Board with other capable colleagues, sharing the mission and values of BCHA, in recognition of its vital place in our contemporary society.

I obtained a bachelor and masters degree in social work at McGill University and a doctorate (PhD) at the Université de Montréal. As a community organizer, and therapist, I have worked with individuals and families that included child protection services, therapeutic counselling, and working with domestic violence offenders in group treatment programs. My research included publications in numerous journals on the topic of effective intervention with intimate partner abusers and program standards evolving in the US and Canada. I have presented on my research in North America and Europe. I accepted an appointment teaching as Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Houston, Texas in 1994, and, later, in 2002, as permanent faculty with the sociology department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in B.C. until my retirement. I have published in numerous peer-reviewed journals in Canada and elsewhere, and continue to serve as reviewer for a professional journal.

I additionally volunteered and collaborated with progressive organizations such as Amnesty International, B.C. Civil Liberties Association, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés in Québec, the Greater Montreal Anti-Poverty Coordinating Committee, served on the Advisory Committee of the Senate-appointed Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, and, more recently, Exit International. Additionally, I worked with anti-war coalitions in the US and Canada that included volunteering with the Montreal Council of War Resisters in the 1970s and also the War Resisters Support Campaign in Quebec and BC during the last two decades.

I am currently working on a biography on the life and career of a diplomat for anticipated publication, and serve on Sunshine Coast Elder College Program Committee. I am managing the recent Canadian chapter of Exit International.

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Sam Darling

I'm a Management Consultant with a background in theatre and film. My main focus is group dynamics and smoothing areas of friction in organizational communication and workflow. I also worked as a science communicator in New York, Australia, and New Zealand and appreciate the importance of clearly communicating complex ideas to the public.

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Jonathan Dickie, Secretary

Originally from Nova Scotia, I’ve lived in BC since 2009.

Though my post-secondary education was engineering and physics, I ended up having a career for more than a decade in federal and provincial politics. I was the campaign manager for the first Green to win a federal riding in 2011 and was the national campaign manager for the Greens in the 2019 federal election, along with campaign manager and advisor roles for key Green wins between ‘11 and ‘19.

I’ve transitioned from politics since 2020, as I update my education for the next stage of my career.

I learned about and became a humanist in my mid-twenties, leading me to leave the faith community in which I was raised.

Outside of my career I am an avid cyclist. I live in North Saanich with my partner and our 7 year old son.

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Kathy Leavens, Treasurer

With an MBA and a Chartered Financial Analyst designation, I worked in the financial industry in Vancouver for 30 years.  After retiring in 2014, I travelled and volunteered for various groups including Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation, Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and Douglas Park Community Association. 

When I was in my teens, I realized I was an atheist, but it wasn’t until my 40’s that I discovered humanism.  I joined BCHA in 2002 and later served on the board as treasurer.  Over these past 20 years, my involvement in the humanist community has contributed so much to my understanding of the world and possible solutions to many of its problems.

Katie Marshall, Vice-President

katiephoto.jpgI’m a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, where I research and teach in animal physiology and biochemistry. As someone who was raised in a very religious community in small town Ontario, discovering Atheism was an important first step for my eventual path towards becoming a biology professor. I have lived on both coasts in Canada, and after a few years as a faculty member in the US, am very glad to be back in British Columbia. I have extensive experience working with several scientific societies, and am looking forward to bringing that experience to the BCHA.

Pronouns: she/her (what’s this?)

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