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Bridges For Women

Our Team

The women who make up our team at Bridges and serve on the Board of Directors all play a vital role in making sure that the heart of Bridges keeps on beating. This community of women and their dedication to our mandate is what has allowed us to provide life-changing programming and services for over 30 years.

Our team of management at Bridges

Management Team

Patricia Rawson | Executive Director

Patricia has been at Bridges since 2014 in a variety of roles including Facilitator, Case Manager and Director of Programs. She has worked in the employment field for over 25 years, including the launch of the Employment Program of BC and as an Employment Services Manager. She has extensive experience working with women’s organizations and is committed to supporting women to have more opportunities and choices in their lives. She is Métis and was raised on the lands of the Opaskwayak peoples in northern Manitoba. Patricia is inspired by change development, creativity, travel, and her family.

Carolyne Palmer | Director of Programs

Carolyne has been working in the Career Development sector with the focus on Employment Programs for over 15 years throughout British Columbia and Alberta. She developed a well-rounded skill set working in roles such as Facilitator, Resource Advisor, Client Advisor, Manager, Career Learning and Development Advisor, Customized Employment Advisor, Career Development Advisor, and Contract Manager in not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. She is dedicated and passionate about supporting women in their employment journey. She grew up in Manitoba and lived in Asia for three years and the Middle East for one year before moving to beautiful British Columbia.

Gwen Davies | Counselling Program Coordinator

Gwen Davies has been at Bridges for the past 12 years in a variety of roles. Her focus and passion lie in working with women and trauma as a therapeutic counsellor. She has worked hard to help create the Bridges counselling program and to make sure that women who have suffered from trauma, abuse and neglect are able to access services through a variety of pathways. She knows that real change can happen with the resources that Bridges offers clients. 

Board of Directors

Karin Landra | Co-chair

I am a social worker in the health sector with a Masters degree in social work. As a former Bridges participant, I have returned to the organization as someone who continues to work through the experience of trauma and knows how Bridges’ programs are changing the lives of thousands of women like me. I am happy to help Bridges remain strong and to spread its message of empowerment. My intersectional feminism informs my passion for this work. I believe in collaborating with others to bring about systemic structural change to our oppressive, racist political and social systems. I want to help create a society where women are valued and financially independent, and all genders, ethnicities and cultures are equal and respected.

My two beautiful daughters and Olive, the mini doxie, are my inspirations. I enjoy travel, the arts and the great outdoors, all of which fuel my creativity and love for life.

Erin Oscienny | Co-chair

Erin Oscienny is a settler on the traditional lands of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations, a busy mom, and a public servant with the B.C. government. She has spent over 20 years working in non-profit and government sectors.

Erin is a graduate of the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University. She comes from a family of strong women who taught her to use her voice to call out inequities and advocate for opportunity and justice. She believes that now, more than ever, women (cis and trans), non-binary, and two-spirit people need to find ways to connect, build community, and share strength with each other. She is proud to be working with the incredible people and supporters of Bridges

In her spare time, Erin enjoys paddling, climbing, hiking, and reading.

Debra Nawosad | Treasurer

Debra Nawosad is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and has extensive experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. She currently holds a senior finance role providing management services to infrastructure and corporate assets.

Debra believes strongly in empowering and supporting women. She first became involved with Bridges as a Mentor in 2013 and is proud to be part of the Bridges community.

She has lived in Victoria for over 35 years and enjoys traveling, hiking, and gardening in her spare time.

Jessi Dhatt | Secretary

Jessi Dhatt joined the Bridges’ board in November 2019, and then was voted in as Secretary. Jessi joined Bridges because she is passionate about helping women reaching financial independence and economic stability.

Jessi obtained psychology and law degrees before pursuing a career as a public servant, specializing in privacy and policy. As a volunteer, Jessi has served as a legal advocate for the MS Society and as a legal clinician with the Law Students Legal Advice Program, helping low-income clients in areas of civil litigation, employment law, and human rights.

Jessi grew up in Vancouver and moved to Victoria in 2016. She is passionate about cooking, personal finance, and traveling.

Kirsten Andersson | Member-at-large

Kirsten Andersson joined the board in October 2019. She has volunteered with many organizations since retiring to Victoria in 2015.

Kirsten was a long-time teacher in Alberta and Manitoba, then switched to labour relations. She was a labour relations officer for the Manitoba Nurses Union and the head of the labour relations staff for the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. She retired as the Director of Labour Relations and Chief Negotiator with the Manitoba Nurses Union. Her teaching background gives her insight into the work being done by the staff and students at Bridges; her leadership role in large organizations gives her the ability to provide knowledgeable, authoritative direction.

Kirsten enjoys an active retirement with her spouse Barb and their overly indulged cat, Foster.

Vivian Smith | Member-at-large

Vivian Smith, an editorial consultant, is a former journalist and journalism instructor. In 2015, her doctoral thesis became a book, Outsiders Still (University of Toronto Press), which looks at how women – in particular, women newspaper writers – deny who they are to try to fit into outmoded, patriarchal workplaces.

Vivian joined Bridges to support its work to help women recovering from trauma to gain the strength and skills to move on in their lives. Also important to her is the education of Canada’s employers, who need to make workplaces and educational institutions inclusive, just, and flexible, so that all women can achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

She grew up and worked in the Toronto area before moving to Victoria in 1994.

Keara Doyle | Member-at-large

Keara Doyle (she/her) was born and raised in Vancouver and moved to Victoria to attain her Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Victoria. Her career has largely taken root in not-for-profit fundraising and business development. She loves collaborative work and empowering women to feel their best in the workplace.

Keara joined Bridges to help create more opportunities for women to find the support and career opportunities they need to lead a safe and fulfilling life. It is her goal to help make the world a safer and kinder place for all.

In her spare time, Keara is likely to be found reading novels and autobiographies, trying new recipes, and spending time outside in this beautiful city.

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