Meet our 2020-2021 Executive

Sandra Roy, President

Born in Alberta, grew up in Nelson, B.C., and travelled and lived in many places in British Columbia.  My husband’s work also took us overseas, including Papua New Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and 12 years in Peru.  We repatriated to Canada in 2006, and after a few moves (Kelowna, Trail, Balfour, Riondel), we finally decided to settle in Victoria, where we are closer to our children and grandchildren.  Besides hanging out with the 3 grandsons in Victoria, I like to golf, play bridge, read, walk, and am up for any adventure life presents.

I moved to Victoria with my husband, Stephen Pienaar, in the summer of 2018 from North Vancouver. I was in semi-retirement, having worked part-time for two years as a fundraiser for the Museum of Vancouver and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast in Art in Vancouver.  Previously I had a 30+year career in corporate communications – media and public relations, sponsorships, donations, and event management. The most recent full-time work was with BMO Financial Group.

Moving to Victoria was made easy when my twin sister, Leslie Grant (also a newcomer) arrived in Victoria with her husband in 2017 from New Brunswick. Originally, over 30 years ago, from Regina, we were finally back together!  I’ve been able to follow some passions such as Bridge, painting, golfing, gardening, and walking. New past-times include tennis and e-biking.

Paula Mitchell, Vice President

Paula was born in Melbourne (Victoria), raised in Toowoomba (Queensland) and spent most of her time working and living in both Sydney (NSW) and Busselton (West Australia). She hopped across the pond to work and travel in New Zealand for five years, before moving to Calgary from Australia. A career in human resources in the oil and gas patch was good to her and provided the opportunity to travel to a variety of global destinations such as Kurdistan (Iraq), Colombia, Australia and Yemen, where she worked for five years.Paula moved to Victoria with her husband in early 2018 and thanks to newcomers, she is busy enjoying everything Victoria and the island have to offer.

Shauna Strasdin, Secretary

Shauna Strasdin followed her children to the Island in January 2018.  Moving in the winter from Grande Prairie, AB helped clarify that the Island was the perfect choice to settle.  Shauna has lived and traveled throughout Canada and is enjoying exploring her new island home.  Shauna trained as a teacher at the University of Saskatchewan and taught briefly in various provinces as many moves allowed.  Volunteering and advocacy have been priorities that eventually led to a Masters of Education from the University of Calgary in 2016.  Looking forward to seeing where life takes her, Shauna joined the Newcomers to meet new people and to have new adventures. 

Jacqueline Vetsch, Treasurer

Jacqueline Vetsch moved to Victoria from Alberta in November 2017.  In her teens, she visited Victoria, and professed that she would live in the city at some point in her life, remembering the flowers, scenic inner harbour, and impressive architecture (by Canadian standards!).  She has had a lifetime love of places and spaces encompassed by her career as an Instructor in Earth & Environmental Sciences and work as a Community Planner, and recently, as a budding artist! 

Jacqueline joined the Victoria Women’s Newcomer’s Club shortly after moving to Victoria. The instantaneous new friendships and support from a group of very welcoming women has made a huge difference in the transition to a new city. Thank you VWNC!

Sharon Thomas, Membership Coordinator

Sharon considers herself fortunate to have had three careers - as a chemistry educator, a research scientist, and a managing director of a pan Canadian research network.  All her work has been in western Canada with the exception of three years at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.  All places where she has lived have been lovely, but Victoria is proving to be particularly so.

Diana Sharo, Activity Coordinator

Diana visited Victoria so often that she finally had to move here in 2017.  Originally from Montreal, she spent 40 years in Calgary in many varied occupations.  She was a bartender, event planner, computer instructor, business owner, and did business-to-business sales.  In industries from retail to the oil patch, she’s enjoyed them all.  Diana loves the walkability of Victoria, looks forward to exploring it thoroughly and thinks Newcomers will be the perfect way to do that! 

Linda Stern, Activity Coordinator

My previous vocations were physiotherapist, (McGill grad), Director of Events (City of Westmount), President of Home and School, Chairman of School Committee.  Our move to Victoria was enhanced by the arrival of my first grandchild - what a delight!  The VWNC has offered a lovely introduction to this intriguing city.

Janet Burns, Venue Coordinator

Janet was born in Medicine Hat and spent her youth in Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver.  She moved to New Brunswick to take a teaching position as a professor of sociology at UNB in Saint John where she flourished in a 30 year career.  While loving Atlantic Canada, she is thrilled to be back in the west to reconnect with family and friends.  Favourite pastimes: hanging out, eating good food, walking the dawg, and playing bridge. 

Sherry Conroy, Webmaster

Sherry moved to Victoria in April 2019 from northern Ontario. She planned her escape from the cold Ontario winters during her last five years of work as an elementary school principal. She appreciates the weather every day and hopes she never fails to notice the island’s beauty. She joined the newcomers soon after arriving and is delighted to have made some wonderful friendships already! She looks forwards to helping other newcomers find their place in our magnificent city!

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The Victoria Women’s Newcomers Club is a volunteer organization where women, new to the city, build friendships and knowledge of the community through social, cultural and outdoor activities.

New City   •  New Friends  •  New Opportunities

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