Our Contributors

Our contributors bring with them a wide variety of experience and expertise.

Please note that all views and opinions expressed by contributors should be recognized as theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of Plan Institute.

Current Contributors

Halldor Bjarnason

Halldor Bjarnason

Wills, Trusts, & Estates Workshop Facilitator
Halldor Bjarnason
Wills, Trusts, & Estates Workshop Facilitator

Called to the bars of Ontario and British Columbia, Halldor has been practicing law since 1991. Halldor’s experience includes estate planning, the preparation of wills, trusts, representation agreements, powers of attorney, and probate applications. He has appeared in BC Supreme Court as counsel on Wills Variation Act applications, challenges to trustees, and committeeship applications, and as an expert witness on disability trusts. Halldor’s interest in estate planning for families with disabled relatives is illustrated by his regular estate planning workshops at Plan Institute. He has written numerous articles on estate planning, including the disability-related estate planning materials in the BC Professional Legal Training Course. He regularly lectures on disability issues at the University of BC, University of Winnipeg, Langara College, and the West Coast School of Massage.

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B.J. Clancy

Disability Planning Helpline Advisor
B.J. Clancy
Disability Planning Helpline Advisor

B.J. has been involved with assisting people all across Canada to navigate the process of applying for the Disability Tax Credit since January 2017. She has a passion for the DTC and RDSP and for assisting others. She was awarded a national advocacy award from Diabetes Canada and appeared in their magazine in 2018 after she assisted in having adults with insulin dependent diabetes allowed to claim the DTC after they were briefly denied the DTC during that time. She currently administers a Facebook group focusing on the DTC and RDSP and enjoys spending her time moderating this group and answering people’s questions. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her 2 golden retrievers and her maine coon cat, and doing various craft projects.

Audrey Deutschmann

Audrey Deutschmann

Disability Planning Helpline Advisor
Audrey Deutschmann
Disability Planning Helpline Advisor

Audrey is the sibling and advocate for a man on the autism spectrum, which has taught her a lot about the importance of future planning and disability rights. She holds a degree in Health & Community Services from UVic, and still lives on Vancouver Island. She is very excited to use her experience and knowledge to support families at all stages of the future planning journey.

RDSP Advisor Laurie

Laurie Geschke

Wills, Trusts, & Estates Workshop Co-Facilitator and Disability Planning Helpline Advisor
Laurie Geschke
Wills, Trusts, & Estates Workshop Co-Facilitator and Disability Planning Helpline Advisor

Laurie Geschke is a lifetime member of PLAN, as well as being a dedicated parent and volunteer who has worked with a variety of non-profit, non-government organizations for over 30 years. She has founded and/or served on the boards of corporate, non-profit and charitable organizations in a variety of capacities, including most recently the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Society of BC due to her experience with and knowledge of autism. Laurie also published the electronic newsletter for PLAN’s Lifetime Members, is bilingual (English and French) and also speaks some Spanish. She has a broad range of interests including creating hand-bound leather journals, art cards and jewelry, as well as studying brain development and cognition enhancement technologies. Laurie has co-led the Plan Institute Wills, Trusts, & Estates Workshop for over five years.

Alison Izat

Alison Izat

Helpline Advisor and RDSP Level 2 Workshop Facilitator
Alison Izat
Helpline Advisor and RDSP Level 2 Workshop Facilitator

Alison Izat is a Certified Financial Planner from Vancouver, BC. She also works as a Helpline Advisor and RDSP Workshop Facilitator for Plan Institute. Alison has had her Financial Planning Designation since 2004 and brings experience from both the banking and brokerage areas of the Financial Industry. She has taken a particular focus on personal Financial Planning for people with disabilities as well as business for self. She is certified through the Financial Planner’s Standards Council, and has been educated through the Canadian Securities Institute, University of British Columbia and Capilano University. Alison also gives back by being involved with Vancouver Adaptive Ski Sports.

Contact Alison Izat, Certified Financial Planner:

Email – alisonizat@gmail.com
LinkedIn – https://ca.linkedin.com/in/alisonizat

Ken Kramer

Ken Kramer

Wills, Trusts & Estates Workshop Facilitator
Ken Kramer
Wills, Trusts & Estates Workshop Facilitator

Ken is the founder and principal of KMK Law Corporation, a boutique law firm in downtown Vancouver providing Estates, Trusts, Elder Law, Litigation and Mediation services. As a long-standing member of the legal community and designated Queens Counsel, Ken has a unique understanding of the disability community combined with his expertise in the area of estates and trusts law to serve families with disabilities.

Ken is extremely passionate and a strong advocate for both the disability and seniors communities and greatly appreciates the opportunity to give back to these important groups. In this regard, Ken has served on numerous boards and committees over the past 25 years with a focus on disability and seniors issues. More specifically, Ken is currently the Chair of the Board for the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy & Supports and Co-Chair of BC’s Elder Law section of the Canadian Bar Association.

However, one of Ken’s biggest passions over the past several years has been in the area of home care supports and specifically, the Choices for Support In Independent Living program (“CSIL”). In fact, Ken has been the forefront in leading the community negotiation with the BC government resulting in two recent rate increases for the CSIL program culminating in over $25 million being allocated to the home care community in British Columbia.

Outside of the legal field, Ken’s diverse portfolio also includes the pleasure of Chairing the Province of BC’s Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board since 2011, which oversees licensing and discipline for over 11,000 First Responders in British Columbia. More recently, KMK Law is now in association with Sabey Rule LLP, a well-respected estate and trust firm in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Ken is also a regular and dedicated facilitator of Plan Institute’s Wills, Trusts and Estates Workshop and online workshop

Laura Mackenrot

Laura Mackenrot

Helpline Advisor and RDSP Level 1 Facilitator
Laura Mackenrot
Helpline Advisor and RDSP Level 1 Facilitator

Laura Mackenrot, B.Com, CEC, ACC, is a former financial professional who has received her graduate certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University. She has focused her career on supporting people with disabilities and advocating for the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). She has facilitated approximately 100 national teleconferences on this valuable program and now supports Plan Institute as our RDSP level 1 webinar facilitator and Disability Planning Helpline Advisor. Laura is also as an accessibility advocate as the Co-Chair of the Person’s with Disabilities Advisory Committee for the City of Vancouver and as the Chair of the Translink HandyDART Users Advisory Committee. She enjoys listening to audiobooks, TED talks, attending concerts, theatre, cooking, and travelling the world on cruises.

Dan McDonald

Dan McDonald

RDSP Workshop Facilitator
Dan McDonald
RDSP Workshop Facilitator

Dan McDonald is a Lifetime member of PLAN as well as a Certified Professional Accountant [CPA] with a Ph.D. He is a former accounting professor at Simon Fraser University. Dan immediately recognized the exceptionally generous terms of the RDSP when the plan was announced in 2008 and immediately set one up for his daughter. He works with Plan Institute as a facilitator for many of their free information RDSP sessions and events around the province.

Tom Mooney

Tom Mooney

RDSP Workshop Facilitator
Tom Mooney
RDSP Workshop Facilitator

Tom Mooney has been a North Shore resident most of his adult life. An all-abilities advocate, Tom has three daughters: his daughter Vicki in her mid-thirties is supported by CLBC. Tom has been active with PLAN and Plan Institute for 20 years and is active with Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports for over ten years. He facilitates RDSP sessions throughout the Lower Mainland.

Shelley Nessman

Shelley Nessman

Co-Facilitator of Personal Support Network Facilitation Course
Shelley Nessman
Co-Facilitator of Personal Support Network Facilitation Course

Shelley is the Director of Family Support and Leadership at PLAN. Shelley’s passion is supporting people to discover, nurture and share their gifts, skills, and abilities.  Her experience as a facilitator and planner has helped her to understand that when a person and their network combine their dreams with a plan for action – anything is possible!

Two significant experiences changed everything about the way Shelley views “the work”.  First was an opportunity early in her career to be trained by Jack Pearpoint and Marsha Forrest as a PATH facilitator (followed by life-altering training from Dave and Fay Wetherow). Second has been the privilege of sharing her home with people who experience disability.  Life sharing has been a deep personal learning experience that shows up in everything she does.  In the past 3 years, Shelley created her own consulting business “In the Company of Others” and has been privileged to work in BC, Ontario, Australia and the US.

Shelley co-facilitates the Personal Support Network Course offered through Plan Institute!

Rebecca Pauls

Rebecca Pauls

Executive Director of PLAN & Co-Facilitator of Personal Support Network Facilitation Course
Rebecca Pauls
Executive Director of PLAN & Co-Facilitator of Personal Support Network Facilitation Course

Rebecca Pauls is an enthusiastic leader and creative facilitator with a broad range of experiences in community development and collaboration with people who have disabilities.  She is passionate about seeing the unique gifts each person has and is convinced that our communities will be stronger, safer and more resilient when each of us is contributing and recognized for our gifts.

Rebecca is the Executive Director of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), a Vancouver-based social enterprise that partners with families and people facing social isolation to secure their future by mobilizing relationships and leveraging community assets. Since joining PLAN six years ago, Rebecca has led a complete re-design of programming to integrate principles of person-centred planning, ABCD, narrative therapy and independent facilitation. After demonstrating the strength and flexibility of this community approach, Rebecca is regularly invited to consult with organizations about how it can be scaled and applied to population groups across North America.

Rebecca co-facilitates the Personal Support Network Course offered through Plan Institute!

Keith Richards

Keith Richards

Disability Planning Helpline Advisor
Keith Richards
Disability Planning Helpline Advisor

Keith is a former financial advisory professional who focused his practice on providing educational opportunities around the RDSP and financial planning for people with disabilities, and their families. His motivation and passion for this field stem from family circumstances, and he is an enthusiastic advocate for life-long financial (and all other forms of) education.

Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, he currently lives in Toronto and often wonders why this is the case, although this feeling usually goes away in April, only to return in November.

Ric Tesan

Ric Tesan

RDSP Workshop Facilitator
Ric Tesan
RDSP Workshop Facilitator

Ric Tesan is a Lifetime Member of PLAN who supports his daughter Erin to live a meaningful life with a personal network, a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), a Representation Agreement, a Trust and individualized staffing through a Microboard. Ric has extensive knowledge of the RDSP and many other aspects of future planning. He facilitates RDSP sessions around the Lower Mainland for Plan Institute.

Past Contributors

Cathy Anthony

Cathy Anthony

Caregivers Retreat and Facing the Future Together Co-Facilitator
Cathy Anthony
Caregivers Retreat and Facing the Future Together Co-Facilitator

Cathy Anthony and her family joined PLAN as young parents, and she truly feels blessed for the journey that her son Josh has led her on. What has enriched her has been the connection to families, who have been her mentors, guides and supporters. Cathy has over 25 years of experience supporting and advocating with families who have a family member with disabilities, including facilitating workshops, including Plan Institute’s annual Caregivers Retreat, as well as group discussions. She joined the Plan Institute Board in 2017 and has also recently become the Chair of PLAN’S Board of Directors.

Vickie Cammack

Vickie Cammack

Co-founder of PLAN and Plan Institute
Vickie Cammack
Co-founder of PLAN and Plan Institute

Vickie Cammack is the founding director of Plan Institute and a co-founder of PLAN. She is a social entrepreneur who has established many groundbreaking organizations dedicated to strengthening community and addressing isolation including the Family Support Institute of British Columbia and Tyze Personal Networks, a pioneering Canadian social venture that delivers online networks of care for people facing life challenges. Vickie’s unique response to the isolation and loneliness that underpins some of our most intractable social problems – a network model of care, has been adopted internationally. Vickie is a member of the Order of Canada.

Helene

Helene Eschbach

Former Disability Planning Helpline Advisor
Helene Eschbach
Former Disability Planning Helpline Advisor

Helene has been associated with PLAN for more than ten years as a parent and former board member. Before her work with PLAN and Plan Institute, she was a primary teacher with the Vancouver School Board for twenty years.

Since 2010, she has been serving as one of Plan Institute’s Disability Planning Advisors offering one-to-one RDSP support for people through the toll-free helpline. In this role, she has consulted with doctors, advocates, lawyers, social workers, investment advisors as well as family members and people with diverse disabilities everywhere from Haida Gwaii to Fogo Island.

Her passion is providing information so that people can be better equipped to qualify for the RDSP. Her goal is to help as many people as possible open and grow their RDSPs so that they may enjoy a better life.

Al Etmanski

Al Etmanski

Co-founder of PLAN & Plan Institute, Author
Al Etmanski
Co-founder of PLAN & Plan Institute, Author

Al is an author, community organizer and social entrepreneur. Since the birth of his daughter, he has been an activist in the family arm of the disability movement. As co-founder of PLAN he proposed and led the successful campaign to establish the world’s first savings plan for people with disabilities – the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). He is also a co-founder of Social innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact, and was recently awarded the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada. His new book, Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation is a Canadian bestseller. You can follow Al’s blog at aletmanski.com.

Ted and josh

Ted Kuntz

Former Board Chair & Blog Contributor
Ted Kuntz
Former Board Chair & Blog Contributor

Ted is a parent, author, and retired psychotherapist. Ted has been involved in the disability movement for more than 30 years. Ted and his family became one of PLAN’s youngest Lifetime Members when they joined PLAN in the 1990’s. Over the years Ted has been an active member of Plan Institute and PLAN facilitating numerous workshops and retreats and making a regular contribution to PLAN’s newsletter. Ted is the author of ‘Peace Begins With Me’, and ‘Making Peace With the Future’.

David and Marlena

David Roche and Marlena Blavin

Thinking Like a Movement Contributors
David Roche and Marlena Blavin
Thinking Like a Movement Contributors

David is an inspirational humorist, motivational speaker and performer who has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial difference into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. What really makes David unique, however, is his remarkable spirit, warmth, wit and authenticity. He presents keynote speeches, entertainment and storytelling workshops at conferences for associations, corporations, non-profit, educational and disability organizations.

Marlena had a thriving private practice as a massage therapist and nutritional counselor when she and David married in 1996. Connected to the world of personal storytelling through David, Marlena jumped right in. Although shy by nature, she discovered a natural gift for speaking and storytelling. And it wasn’t long before she was performing as a founding member of the Circle of Women storytelling group.

 


Please note that all views and opinions expressed by contributors should be recognized as theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of Plan Institute.