Meet the team that contributes to your experience at The Haven – from those who help you choose your programs and welcome you upon arrival, to those that prepare your meals, clean your room, maintain the property and complete a myriad of activities behind the scenes to ensure your program is delivered smoothly and your stay is comfortable. Most of our staff have been with The Haven for many years, and continue to participate in our programs just like you.
Maria Malmgren, Director of Community and Shared Services, is a professionally certified coach, with a BA in psychology and business. She works collaboratively with senior leaders and management teams to help create systemic, mission, vision and values-aligned, sustained organizational change and also provides personal coaching to a variety of clients. Although Maria has been aware of The Haven’s work for decades, she joined The Haven Board in Sept. 2019 and was able to experience her first Come Alive in early 2020. Maria feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute to The Haven’s future and success. Maria is an explorer and lover of people, places, ideas, spirit, art, charcuterie boards and great second hand stores.
Christine Purfield, Director of Finance, HR, & Operations, brings a financial perspective to The Haven based on her work with non-profits and co-operatives, including a secondment to the Canadian Co-operative Association assisting local credit unions in townships outside of Cape Town in South Africa. As a professionally designated accountant she provided public accountancy services to non-profit and community organizations on Gabriola. Christine looks forward to helping The Haven reach its full financial potential. When not at work she can be found knitting, camping, or walking her dogs. Sometimes all at the same time.
Kevin Wong, Director of Core Business, son of Haven Founder Bennet Wong, was raised by his two dads amid Haven ideas and teachings. Kevin identifies as a west coast Canadian who appreciates his connection with the B.C. Chinese community through his mom and dad.
As Director of Core Business, Kevin is keen to support the development of an Indigenous Youth Leadership program. He also looks forward to connecting with people in marginalized and diverse communities to find out what Haven might learn from and offer to them.
In his university years, Kevin would discuss ideas he learned about science with Ben & Jock, trying to find where the science world and the Haven world crossed paths. His path in the world of science has included projects as diverse as heart research at Cambridge University in England and a prostate cancer therapy derived from his Ph.D. thesis. Most recently, Kevin has served as president of ImmunoPrecise Antibodies, an antibody company, where he learned about running a business. Kevin, with his strong analytical and business skills, is a welcome addition to the Haven team
Nellie Bonin, Facilities Manager, leads our Housekeeping and Grounds teams that keep our property clean, in good working order and beautiful! A designer at heart, with a love for details and a sharp focus on the bottom line, she also serves as Project Manager for facilities improvement projects at The Haven.
Morag Ruckman, Programs and Registration Manager, has worked at The Haven since 1996 and has an in-depth, practical knowledge of our programs and accommodation. She has participated in many Haven programs, and brings her learning into her personal and professional life.
Louise Amuir, Development Manager, administers the Financial Aid Program and Monthly Donor Program. Louise began working in the Haven kitchen in 1989 and has had the pleasure of working in most departments in a variety of roles, including as part of leader teams for programs. Her warmth and exemplary organizational skills ensure that you matter.
Wendy Pitcher, our Group Bookings, Events and Guest Services Manager, is your go-to for large group bookings, retreats, board meetings, and other events. Whether you’re putting on a concert in our 165-seat Phoenix Auditorium or hosting a private retreat in our secluded Havenhaus complex, she’ll work with you from the planning stage right through to the main event. Wendy’s primary goal is to ensure that your needs are met and your experience at the Haven is positive and memorable. She takes pleasure in providing outstanding customer service and in seeing the relaxed and smiling faces of our each of our guests!
Paula Brent (pronouns: she/her) joined our team in 2018 in a digital marketing role before becoming the Marketing Manager and more recently the Online Community & Programs Manager. She has a background in Media and Public Interest and is passionate about social justice and environmental sustainability. She loves coordinating events, experimenting with new things, and meeting and connecting with others online and in person. She enjoys being able to work remotely so that she can split her time between Gabriola Island, the traditional, unceded territory of the Snuneymuxw Peoples, and Ontario, where she grew up. She is a 4th generation settler on Turtle Island and is grateful to be surrounded by oceans, mountains, lakes, and forests that have been stewarded for thousands of years by First Nations Peoples. When she’s not hosting Zoom calls or diving into data and analytics, she’s engaging in citizen science, visiting farm stands, paddling canoes, hiking trails, making maple syrup, singing, volunteering in her local communities, or playing with her dog, Violet!
Jane Olynyk, DCTM, BA, DipC, Director of Intern Training, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our Certificate and Diploma training programs. She is a licensed acupuncturist with a Diploma in Chinese Medicine, and brings a unique approach to her work as a therapist and Haven program leader.
Shannon Schetyna, has a passion for lifelong learning and growth. She enjoys connecting people with programs that will give them tools for bettering their daily lives.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Julia Crawford, our Digital Marketing Specialist, is passionate about creating meaningful relationships and making every day a little bit brighter. She is a firm believer in treating the digital world as a way to support and deepen our connections with others and ourselves. An adventurer by nature she’s had the privilege to travel to 20 countries and live in 3 of them. In her spare time Julia can be found hiking, chasing waterfalls, reading or dancing to some good music!
Nicole Armstrong, has returned to beautiful Gabriola after 13 years working and traveling abroad. She has lived and worked in many countries including China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Ecuador, Turkey, New Zealand, and Australia and traveled to many more. She’s happy to be back on Gabriola and can most often be found in the forest or on the beach when not at the Haven.
Giovanna Davies, started working for the Haven in 2016 while completing her diploma at Vancouver Island University. Persuaded by the Haven’s buffet and unlimited coffee, she ultimately decided to stay. She enjoys learning new skills as an accounting assistant and helping Christine with all things finance. When not at work, she can be found either playing video games or reading a good book.