Our Special Advisors

Haven is pleased to have a growing number of volunteer Special Advisors to the Board of Directors. These people offer their knowledge and experience to the Board as needed. They attend Board and other meetings with “voice” but not vote, providing suggestions, information, and hands-on help.

Dr. Karen Minden was born in Toronto, where she currently resides. She has lived in Winnipeg, Berkeley (California), Amsterdam, Beijing and Singapore. She speaks Mandarin Chinese, French and a bit of Hebrew and Dutch.
In her PhD studies, Karen specialized in Chinese politics and history, living in China as a student, and later in Singapore as a professor.  She continued her education with courses at Outward Bound, Yale, and the Haven. After years working in the field of Canada-Asia relations, she shifted her career to work with adolescents struggling with mental health and addiction. She was the founder of Pine River Institute, which offers an innovative family-centred treatment program for adolescents, that uses land-based therapy and experiential education. She then served as senior advisor to the start-up of Gwekwaadziwin Miikan, an innovative residential land-based mental health and addiction treatment program created specifically for the needs of Indigenous youth and young adults. She currently serves as an advisor to several mental health and social justice organizations. Her consulting work is built on her foundation in research, public policy, philanthropy and international relations.
Over her 50-year career, Karen has seen and contributed to a growing social awareness and social changes. Beginning with her university years, she often found herself to be the only woman in a white, and later Asian, male-dominated organization. At Pine River Institute, her staff recognized the need to respond to the identity issues of LGBTQ2S youth.  As a former CEO and member of boards, she is well aware of how challenging it is to increase diversity in leadership.
Karen Minden’s outstanding public contributions earned her the Order of Canada in 2010 and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012. The Haven is honoured to have Dr. Minden as a Special Advisor to the Haven Board of Directors.

Jan Pullinger has lived most of her life on the shores and waters of the Salish Sea and has made Gabriola Island her home for the past 11 years. She is a 4th generation Canadian settler with mixed European roots and a deep commitment to helping create a more just and inclusive world.
Jan’s experiences as a young widow and single mother motivated her to get actively involved in social justice issues. She completed a B.A. in Canadian Studies with a core focus on Indigenous and women’s issues before running for provincial office. She was the first woman elected to the B.C. Legislature from the Nanaimo riding.  
Jan held several ministerial portfolios including Human Resources and Social Development and Economic Security. She introduced innovations such as Canada’s second universal childcare program and lending circles for low-income people with VanCity Credit Union, and she worked extensively with the volunteer and cooperative sectors, including developing the Ministry of Community Development, Co-operatives, and Volunteers.
After leaving politics Jan completed an M.A. in Communication and worked as a strategic communication consultant for co-ops and non-profits. Jan has Diplomas in Counselling and Group Process from the Haven, is certified in Creative Journal, Expressive Arts, and is now studying Visual Arts at VIU.
Jan continues to learn about her own white privilege and how to be effectively anti-racist. The Haven welcomes Jan’s skills and experiences as it works to be more inclusive and diverse.