Shawn Marsolais

Founder & Executive Director

Shawn MarsolaisI am the Founder and Executive Director of Blind Beginnings, and a registered clinical counselor.  Growing up with a visual impairment I was personally impacted by the limited support that was available to families raising children who are blind or partially sighted across BC.  While in University I knew I wanted to work with youth; it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to do an internship at a school for the blind in England in 2000, that I discovered my passion to support children who are blind or partially sighted to reach their full potential.  Both professionally and personally I saw that families needed much more support.  Since 2008 I have created a range of programs and services for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted and their families.

I invite you to connect with me about:

  • Counseling and support groups for children, youth, and parents
  • Current Blind Beginnings programs
  • Requests for programs in new regions of BC
  • Partnership opportunities
  • Blindness 101 training for your school or workplace
  • Media requests
  • Opportunities to join our Board or Committees

Lia Dicicco

Director of Operations

Lia Dicicco

I am thrilled to have joined the Blind Beginnings team in May 2019 as the Director of Operations.  I have over 20 years of experience as a management professional specializing in finance, administration, human resources and governance best practices, with the last 10 years working in a leadership capacity in the not-for-profit sector supporting the arts and young people. It is my passion and belief that all young people should have equitable rights to develop their talents and abilities to their fullest potential and make connections that help give them a sense of self and of success.

Please connect with me about:

  • Financial Management
  • Fund Development & Donations
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Administration and Facilities
  • Human Resource Management

Emily Burkholder

Program and Volunteer Coordinator

Emily BurkholderI am very excited to be joining the Blind Beginnings community as Program and Volunteer Coordinator. I graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in International Development and Globalization in 2018.

Throughout my studies and since, I’ve had the opportunity to work in regions within Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. My travels allowed me to understand that inclusion is essential to the well being of all communities!

Please connect with me about:

  • Registering for camps, programs or workshops
  • Renewing or purchasing memberships
  • Questions or suggestions about programs
  • Charitable tax receipt inquiries

Rob Mineault

Communications Coordinator

Rob MineaultI feel extremely privileged to have joined the Blind Beginnings team in the role of Communications Coordinator. My experience working with the Disability community began back in 2002 when I joined an Assistive Technology retailer as their Marketing Manager. I watched the company grow and flourish, seeing firsthand the powerful effect that Assistive Technology had on people’s lives. That insight sparked an interest to be be involved with the community at a more personal level, so when the opportunity arose to work for an organization such as Blind Beginnings that has such a positive impact on blind and partially sighted youth and their families , it was a no-brainer.

Please connect with me about:

  • Marketing and Communications

Angela Smith

Donor Relations and Administrative Assistant

Angela Smith I am delighted to be joining the Blind Beginnings team as a Donor Relations and Administrative Assistant! In 2014 I graduated from The Event Management Program at The Art Institute of Vancouver and have since worked in Hospitality. This experience led to ample opportunity however, I wanted a career that made a significant impact in the lives of others. I am thrilled to be supporting efforts and opportunities for children and youth who are blind or partially sighted to realize their limitless potential and to advocate for a more inclusive society.

Please connect with me about:

  • Donor Relations
  • Sponsorship Opportunities