President and Co-Founder
Andrea Paquette, President, SFS, is the Society’s leader, however, she wears many hats for the Charity.
Andrea is a well-known Speaker/Presenter/Facilitator who lives well with bipolar disorder having been diagnosed for over 17 years. She holds a double major degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies and she has worked for the BC government in the areas of mental health and addictions, social development and education. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and ASIST Suicide Prevention. She has also been trained and certified in the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid course.
Andrea is the 2015 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient in the category of Mental Health given by Coast Mental Health, the 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year in Victoria, among many more accolades. Andrea has also been awarded the President’s Commendation from the 2019 Psychiatric Association of Canada.
School & Community Presenter
Samara has a Bachelor’s degree in Equity Studies, Masters in Teaching and a Professional Development certificate in Youth Mental Health. She has worked with young people directly for many years in various capacities: in camps, after school programs, and in the classroom as an educator. She is extremely passionate about mental health, as well as equity issues, and understands these areas often intersect. Samara has been diagnosed with two learning disabilities, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia, as well as generalized anxiety disorder and situational depression. These diagnoses have positively informed the way she interacts with young people and have instilled empathy and compassion in her approaches to working with children and youth. Samara is very excited to be a part of the Stigma-Free Society team and is driven to create a future where all forms of stigma are eliminated and every person is able to be their most authentic self without fear of judgement.
Operations and Engagement Manager
Shirley has a Masters’ Degree in Social Work – Leadership (Complex Systems) with BSW Undergraduate Degrees in Indigenous, Rural and Remote Social Work and BA in Women’s Health. She is Certified in Adult Education, Conflict Resolution, Mental Health First Aid, ASIST Suicide Prevention and Beyond the Hurt (Anti-Bullying). Shirley is also a Director for the Health Quality Council of Alberta, Senator for the University of Calgary and Victim’s Advocate for BVVSA. Shirley has spent most of her professional career working in Indigenous, Rural and Remote social work capacities. For the past 15 years, Shirley has tinkered in social enterprise and measuring the impact of social initiatives when she wasn’t doing her lifelong learning. Shirley lives and works with purpose in mind – we must be the change we wish to see.
Remote Office Administrator
Alice is originally trained as an Educational Assistant and later realized that her skill set was better suited in an administrative role than in the classroom. She values meaningful community work and this led her to the non-profit world. Her background includes file management, program support, and technical database support. As a parent of school age children, Alice understands the importance of accessible, quality programming with a focus on mental health. Awareness and education allows youth to be engaged, ask questions, and learn that there is no shame in being your own self. Alice is excited to be on the SFS team because of the importance of vital conversations and resources the organization provides around mental wellness and encouraging a Stigma-Free world. In her free time, Alice enjoys the outdoors and spending time with her family.
Social Media Marketer & Graphic Designer
Monica is a creative marketing professional with a passion for creating high-quality content to engage vast audiences. She deeply cares about mental well-being and hopes to raise awareness of Stigma-Free Society’s programs to reach those who need them most. She has a track record of working in challenging dynamic workplaces across brands and client segments. She excels at social media marketing, design, content management, and video editing. After completing her Masters in advertising, she spearheaded social media operations at an advertising agency before pursuing her passion for helping animals. She worked with PETA India for four years and has volunteered at local animal shelters. She loves to travel and explore local vegan food.
Monique is a content writer and researcher committed to helping individuals of all ages improve their mental health. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Western University and an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brock University. Monique currently works as a scriptwriter for Psych2Go, where she creates educational videos about psychology. She also works with the Youth Development Lab at Brock University to conduct research examining the effects of social media on young people. In addition to her content writing work, she volunteers at Certified Listeners Society as an Emotional Support Chat Responder. She runs a website called Love Our Minds that provides mental health resources to help people live happier and healthier lives. Monique combines her passion for creative writing and research communication to provide useful information in an entertaining and relatable way. She is thrilled to work with Stigma-Free Society to help open minds and facilitate a culture of compassion.