Berta Lopera – Executive Director
Berta brings with her more than 22 years of experience as a lawyer in private practice and as in-house counsel in the private sector. Service has been a lifelong commitment and a vocation for Berta. She has volunteered her time to many different causes since her early teens and as a professional, she has represented clients on a pro bono basis and has served as a volunteer at an Elder Law Legal Clinic in the Lower Mainland.
Three years after she came to Canada to learn English, Berta was enrolled in her second law school at the University of British Columbia and was called to the Bar in 2005. Her law practice in British Columbia has been varied and enriching, and has included some exposure to litigation, matters related to estate and disability planning and elder law issues. She has also been involved in the not-for profit sector directly within the private industry and as a volunteer in various boards of directors in Canada.
Berta is fluent in Spanish and she is very happy and proud to call Canada home. When she is not working or volunteering, Berta enjoys creative writing, biking, walking, hiking, dancing and travelling.
Genevieve Smith – Manager of SAIL and Victim Services Program
Genevieve is a graduate of the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa with a B.A. in Psychology. She is also a graduate of the Langara College Social Service Worker Program. Genevieve manages the Seniors Abuse and information Line and the Victim Services Program. Genevieve has experience in helpline service provision, volunteer management and engagement, anti-violence work and mental health advocacy.
Gordon Marshall – Lawyer
Gordon is the senior counsel for Seniors First BC, overseeing its litigation services, and participating in the legal clinics. A member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and the Canadian Bar Association, Gordon has worked as trial and appellate counsel since being called to the Bar in Manitoba in 1973 and the British Columbia Bar in 1975.
Lin Chen – Workshop Coordinator
Lin is a graduate of McGill University with a Master’s of Social Work (specializing in community and international development). She has over 5 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, during which she has taken on a variety of roles as a support worker, group facilitator, and program and volunteer coordinator. She is passionate about social justice, particularly in defending and promoting the rights of people, immigrants and refugees. Lin coordinates the Seniors First BC Seniors Reaching Out to Seniors Workshop Program and provides information, assistance, and practical and emotional support to older adults who call the SAIL Line. Together with the Community Education volunteers, she presents 6-8 workshops each month to community groups around the Lower Mainland, raising awareness about elder abuse and empowering older adults with knowledge and resources.
Nighat Afsar – Legal Advocate
Nighat has a law degree and practised law for 15 years in Pakistan. As a Britannia Chevening Scholar, she completed her Master’s degree in International Law from the University of Hull, UK. She also has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado-Denver. Nighat works in the Legal Advocacy Program, providing information, referral and representation services to older adults.
Amrita is a graduate of the University of Northern British Columbia with a Bachelor of Social Work and a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts. Her interest are in family systems and the ways in which these dynamics have influences on the individual. Her previous experiences have involved working with children who have witnessed abuse, at-risk youth, immigrant families and seniors in care facilities. She is currently fulfilling the requirements to become a Registered Social Worker. Amrita works on SAIL providing callers with support, information and assistance pertaining to the needs of vulnerable older adults.
Queen is a graduate of the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a graduate of the Vancouver Community College Community Counselling Skills Program. She has volunteer and work experience with the Multicultural Family Centre, YWCA, and Battered Women Support Services. Queen also has training in Community and Settlement Services, Crisis Line Intervention, Domestic Violence Intervention, Non-violence Intervention and Mental Health First Aid. Provides information, assistance, and emotional support to older adults who call SAIL line.
Marta is a Registered Social Worker and graduate of the University of Victoria Social Work Program and an AIRS certified Information and Referral Specialist. Marta has been working and volunteering in Social Services for over 10 years in immigrant and refugee settlement, anti-violence work, addictions, crisis line training supervision. Marta is passionate about incorporating an anti-oppressive, intersectional feminist practice into her work, and promoting social justice and community building efforts for older adults of diverse backgrounds.
Megan Tweedie – Lawyer
Megan is a lawyer at Seniors First BC, providing legal advice and representation to older adults through the Elder Law Clinic. Megan received her law degree from the University of Toronto in 2010. She spent eight years in private practice prior to joining Seniors First BC, with a focus on litigation, employment law and human rights matters. Megan has appeared at all levels of court in BC, and at various administrative tribunals. She is a passionate advocate for her clients and is thrilled to be working to protect the legal rights of those facing barriers to access to justice.