Board of Directors

PEERS Executive Director Rachel Phillips
PEERS Executive Director Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips (Executive Directoris a health sociologist with a passion for the non-profit sector, evidence based service delivery, and health and social equity. For over a decade Rachel has been involved in community-based research addressing social determinants of health among people in the sex industry, women who use substances during pregnancy and early parenting, social welfare policy, and occupational health among health and social service providers working with marginalized populations. Rachel has worked in child and family services, residential services for persons with disabilities, and non-profit governance. Rachel is passionate about Peers Victoria and its unique role in the region raising public awareness and providing support to people who are (or have been) in the sex industry.

Sarah Harris (member at large) is passionate about social justice and education, having worked and volunteered for organizations supporting women’s health, correctional education and arts.

Annalee Lepp (member at large)

Candace McKivett (secretary) has worked and volunteered for several feminist and anti-poverty organizations over the years and has been a long-time supporter of Peers. She currently works as an analyst for an Indigenous agency that trains front line workers in wise practices for child welfare. She is also completing an undergraduate degree in health and community services.

Flora Pagan (co-chair) has come to Peers through her work with several community service agencies, working primarily with clients living in cycles of homelessness. She has an interest in developing and providing person-centered, anti-oppressive, and feminist social services.

Natasha Potvin (member at large) brings to the Peers board 15 years of experience working in the sex industry. She is also a long-time activist in the area of human rights and sex work. In recent years Natasha has spent much of her time focusing on HIV prevention and harm reduction, as well as prostitution law reform.

Sadie Robin (member at large) first began fundraising for Peers in 2012. Since then she has helped organize numerous Peers events, which led to her role on the Board of Directors. She is interested in theatre, culture, and community building, with a special interest in seeing a more accurate and diverse representation of sex work in popular media.

Leah Shumka (member at large) has come to Peers through her research background in women’s health, sex work, and social justice. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, recently completed a post-doc at the Centre for Addiction Research of BC, and is an instructor in Women’s Studies at the University of Victoria.

Bradley Weldon (co-chair) is a lawyer who specializes in public and administrative law. His support for Peers is grounded in a strong commitment to social justice issues. He is a practicing member of the BC Law Society and a senior policy analyst with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC.


Former Board Members

Susan Strega sat on the board of Peers for more than 10 years. She is a long-time feminist activist who teaches in the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria.

Bonnie Sawyer has written on the history of social services for sex workers in Canada and dominant discourses surrounding the industry. She has also worked as a research assistant for a national community-based research project on health and safety in the sex trade.

Carolyn Showler is a recently retired RN who has been a Peers supporter for many years. While she no longer sits on the board she continues to volunteer for the organization in various capacities. She has worked in both provincial and federal corrections and most recently in Victoria’s downtown core as part of the island health street nurse program and as a Cool Aid community health center nurse.

Kate Vallance has been a huge fan of Peers since her time as a support worker at the Sandy Merriman Emergency Shelter. The focus of her Master’s thesis was on the health and well-being of sex workers and she is now a research associate at the Centre for Addiction Research of BC with a special interest in harm reduction strategies and substance use among marginalized populations.