Board and Staff

Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) has a Board of Directors and staff with a passion for bringing together the Asian Canadian community and others, and for sharing in unique intercultural events through explorASIAN during the month of May and throughout the year.

Shahid Abrar-ul-Hassan
Co-Vice President

For about two decades, Shahid has been a language educator and researcher in multiple roles for institutions of higher education in several regions of the world. He is currently a professor of language education and works in Vancouver, BC. He has taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of the Fraser Valley. He serves as a subject expert with the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Vancouver, BC, and as an affiliate faculty at public universities in China and the USA. Shahid served as Secretary of TESL Canada Federation and Chair of TESL Canadian Educational Foundation. He has also performed several key leadership roles with international professional associations of language educators located in the USA and Korea. In 2018 Shahid received the Alumni Achievement Award by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, USA, which is his alma mater. Shahid is eager to promote the diverse Asian heritage and serve society. 

Valentine Ostaszewski
Co-Vice President

Valentine Ostaszewski is currently working for the Trade Commissioner Service at Global Affairs Canada. She has experience in content marketing and international relations and trade, particularly between East Asia and Canada. She completed her Bachelors in East Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia and then moved to Kyoto, Japan to pursue graduate studies in International Relations at Ritsumeikan University. 

Once finishing her degree, she moved back to Vancouver to work at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada to promote Asia-Canada relations. A couple of years later, she decided to go on a new adventure and moved to Seoul, South Korea to work in sales and consultancy.

In 2020, she returned to Vancouver and co-founded Daewon Solutions, a content marketing and web design company for both English and Korean speakers in Vancouver. 

Leticia Sanchez
Past President

Leticia Sanchez is an M.Ed. from Anahuac University, Mexico City, Certified Overseas Teacher of English from Cambridge University via the British Council, and the Universidad Ibero-Americana in Mexico. Leticia’s areas of expertise in the field of education are instruction, curriculum development, counselling, and administration at the Ibero-Mexicano Institute and Cenca Institute in the State of Mexico. She moved to Vancouver in 2004 and worked as a Gallery Administrator, Director of Retail, Exhibitions Curator & Programmer, and Head of Cultural Experience at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Her strong interest in the impact of art and heritage on the well-being and development of communities led her to become an independent art exhibitions curator and producer, especially with Asian Art and communities. Leticia has collaborated with private galleries, educational institutions, and consulates to develop exhibitions and events that bring public awareness of the diverse Pan-Asian art and culture, cultural heritage, competence, diversity, and inclusion. Leticia joined the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society in 2015 and was appointed President of the Board in 2018. Recently, she joined the Heritage Vancouver Society’s Board of Trustees and is involved in the Strategic Planning, the JEDI, and the Nominations Committees. As a consultant, Leticia provides support on cultural and educational projects, community initiatives, and Board Governance. She has served as an advisor to the Exhibits & Programming Advisory Committee, University of British Columbia’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, VAHMS, and the 2nd National Asian Heritage Month Symposium, Montreal Quebec, 2020. She is a member of the BC Museums Association, The Canadian Society for Asian Arts, the Chinese Canadian Historical Society, and the CanAsian Arts Network. Leticia remains committed to promoting cross-cultural interactions and appreciation for Canadian arts, culture, and heritage. 

1467050817083Jimmy Yan

Jimmy Yan, BSE, MEd., is the Project and Information Officer of Access Pro Bono.  Jimmy is a columnist of the City Post of Singtao News and has been a media commentator on issues of public legal education and information since 2008. He is also a research assistant of The Centre for Education, Law, and Society in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University and a CELS educational advisor to the Chinese community. Meanwhile, Jimmy has served on the Boards of many committees with the Royal Commonwealth Society, Mainland BC Branch as well as the Royal Society of St. George, BC Branch.

Sherry Hadian Z. Moghaddam 

Sherry Hadian Z. Moghaddam is a language instructor and instructional designer in Vancouver Downtown. She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Simon Fraser University. She has been teaching English to diverse populations in the Middle East and Canada for over a decade now. She is passionate about art and cultural heritage preservation, and she has a strong interest in supporting Iranian/Farsi art and culture within the cultural mosaic of the Lower Mainland. 

Patricia Woroch

Patricia Woroch, ISSofBC Chief Executive Officer, brings over 30 years’ senior-level experience leading social service organizations. She has led organizations in diverse sectors including legal services, victim/witness services, health care, community services, and children services. Patricia has a BA, MA, RSW and has been a Registered Social Worker since 1975, and is a Fellow of Community Shift, Ivey Business School. Over the years, Patricia has been a proactive supporter of disenfranchised clients and has been instrumental in the implementation and development of new programs and services throughout the province. She has consulted on both national and international social service programming. Patricia serves on numerous boards and committees including Mayor’s Working Group on Immigration, Corrections Canada REAC, TRAC – Tenants Resource & Advisory Centre, and Immigrant Integration Coordinating Committee. Under her leadership, ISSofBC has expanded its services from two locations to 14 locations and has been selected one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada for seven years. In 2017, Patricia received the YWCA Women of Distinction award for Non-Profits and the Community Social Services Awards of Excellence – Legend – in 2019. She has been and continues to be, an active volunteer in a variety of capacities within her community. 

photo-fred-linked-inFred Soofi

Fred Soofi studied Hotel Management and Economics at the University of Regina. Restaurateur Pasta Polo in Coquitlam and Club Ilia Eatery & Lounge at SFU Burnaby. 

A Canadian resident since 1974, small business owner/operator, and community advocate. Past Board of Directors of the following non-profit organizations: Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, Coquitlam Foundation, Laurel Foundation, ACCESS Youth Services, Advisory Committee on Light Rapid Transit, City of Coquitlam Multicultural Advisory Committee, Chair of the Tri-City Iranian Cultural Society. At present, on the Board of Directors of the Port Moody Seniors Friendship Society, Coquitlam Heritage Society. 

Awards: Federal government Citation for Citizenship award (1994); nominated for the Order of Canada (2000); Spirit of Community Volunteerism Award (2004) and the Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2005), Port Moody Heritage Award (2007 and 2012), recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year (2012), Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award (June 2016). 

Kiana Hipolito

Kiana Hipolito is an interdisciplinary artist, illustrator and graphic designer from Vancouver, on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Kiana obtained her BFA in illustration from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2018, which includes her studies at Falmouth University (United Kingdom) in 2017. She currently works as an attendant at the Richmond Art Gallery as well as Canadian Art Prints and Winn Devon Group Inc. as a graphic designer in addition to her art and design practices. 

Kiana’s use of texture and colour within her work often narrates themes of (mis)communication, cultural identity and shared diasporic experience observed in communities present in North America. Kiana also enjoys illustrating for young readers, often creating colour works inspired by the nature of the Pacific Northwest, and the curiosities hiding in plain sight. 

Jessica Lam

Jessica Lam was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Vancouver at the age of one. She is a BA Communications, minor English Literature graduate from SFU. Her future as a creative entrepreneur began when she learned how acclaimed local marketing firms like Hamazaki Wong as well as global networks like J. Walter Thompson told stories to, and built relationships with, their clients’ audiences. Having worked with global brands like Coca-Cola and Starbucks in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Jessica has decided to focus on creating her original work, in her start-up venture which allows children to virtually collaborate on creative projects, and tell her story in the form of comedy, music and dance. She is a devoted supporter of her local community, having been a key part of organizations such as the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society in the past. Now she intends to apply her skills and passion to the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society to help strengthen the voice of the Festival and its artists, and its relationships with the community.

Judy Lam Maxwell

Judy Lam Maxwell is a local Chinese Canadian, a trained historian (MA from UBC), and a specialist in Chinatowns around the world. She is an activist and advocate for Chinatown’s well-being, protection, and continuity. She has been very active in Chinatown for more than 20 years, on the boards of numerous Chinatown committees, and has been a member of many Chinatown organizations in North America. Judy has also volunteered and participated in Vancouver’s Japanese and Punjabi communities, which brings a perspective of cultural diversity to her thinking, ideas, and contributions. On the Board of VAHMS, she hopes to assist in bringing to the table an extensive network of contacts that she has in these diverse communities, as well as promotion in other organizations that she belongs to (i.e. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, International Wine & Food Society, etc.). In addition, Judy is the founder and director of two Chinatown businesses: Historical Chinatown Tours (2010) and Masterclass Dumplings (2016). Both have been very successful, and she prides herself in educating people about the history, culture/intangibles, and the significance of Chinatowns whether in-person, through social media, or through her e-newsletters. She is very proud of Vancouver’s multicultural dynamic and the organizations that represent and celebrate diversity. She also cares deeply about her Chinatown community of elders, the heritage buildings, businesses, and other aspects that are invaluable to the community.

Yuhan Yu

Yuhan Yu moved to Canada in 2001 with her family. She speaks three languages: English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. Due to her background and work experience, she is experienced in written translation between English and Chinese (both traditional and simplified) as well as verbal interpretations. After graduating from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, she worked for the jewellery design studio in Blue Ruby Head office, and an international firm, where she managed a design team for a leather bag and graphic design. 

Caring and connecting with people from all over the world is something Yuhan truly enjoys. Therefore, she has travelled and worked for several international luxury brand corporations in Canada, Taiwan, and Australia, as well as been involved in customer care coordination in the past ten years. In the meantime, she has also been actively involved in several volunteer jobs, such as teaching Charity Yoga, designing children’s costumes in Mandarin School, working at visitor service in Chinese Garden, caring and leading activities in Senior Home, and fundraising for hospitals and Buddhism Tzu Chi Foundation. 

Due to the pandemic, Yuhan’s position with DUFRY–World Duty-Free as a Regional Customer Experience Coordinator in Operations Management came to an end. She managed regional customer care for duty-free stores across 5 international airports in Canada; coordinated between internal and external agencies, such as Terminal Management, receptions, Logistics, venders, Border Services and Customs, to operate international customer claims, complaints, and after-sale incidents. She also joined the Charity Committee in the airport to raise funds for Richmond Hospital Foundation. Her responsibilities were leading volunteers to discuss fundraising strategy to meet the goal of 100k fund per 3 years; and, engaging and promoting fundraising goods to 500 employees in the airport and warehouse. She also developed business sponsors, maintained donor relations, and created graphic designs in both digital social media and physical posters to promote charity events in the airport.

Besides, through the PBLLMT Multicultural Worker Training and practicum in S.U.C.C.E.S.S. ISIP Vancouver this year, Yuhan gained knowledge on serving newcomers including LGBTQ2+ populations. She also assisted clients to fill applications, conducted interpretation, hosted workshops, created action plans, and utilized online resources such as the Government of Canada and BC211. Moreover, she has valid certificates for Mental Health First Aid, Emergency First Aid CPR AED Level C, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. 

Jasper Sloan Yip
Executive Director

Jasper Sloan Yip is a musician and radio producer from Vancouver, BC. His music career began in 2007 when he played his first show on a stage he built in his backyard. From there, he went on to put together a seven-piece band behind him with whom he has released four albums, and performed across Canada, in Europe, and the United States. When he is not on stage or in the studio, Jasper serves as the Programming Director at CiTR 101.9 FM and Discorder Magazine

Jeffrey Chan
VAHMS Ambassador

Jeffrey Chan is a retired pharmacist, after an accomplished and rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Born and raised in Vancouver he has worked and managed pharmacies at Woodward’s, Safeway, Macdonald’s Prescriptions, HBC Zellers, and Target. He was a Director for the HBC Pharmacy Division. He strived for positive health outcomes for all his patients and has taken this passion for success into his future endeavours. As a patron of the arts, he attends the VSO symphony, VAG events, and various charitable events regularly. He brings this love for arts and culture to VAHMS by supporting and committing to showcasing the Asian Canadian culture. A key player in the silent auction gala fundraiser he has contributed to its growing success in recent years. With his many contacts in the social landscape of the city, he strives to make each VAHMS fundraiser an overwhelming success.