Shawn Marsolais

Founder & Director of Programs and Community Engagement

Shawn MarsolaisI am the Founder and Director of Programs and Community Engagement 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 Finance and Administration

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

Keisha Anderson

Program Coordinator

Keisha AndersonI am very excited to be joining the Blind Beginnings team as Program Coordinator. As a visually impaired person myself, I have both received support from Blind Beginnings and spent a number of years as a teen and young adult volunteering and mentoring where I could. After the recent completion of my Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management from Thompson Rivers University, I am really looking forward to contributing my skills to this amazing team as well as giving back to this community by supporting the up-and-coming children, youth and families who are part of Blind Beginnings.

Please connect with me about:

  • Registrations for programs
  • Membership purchases/updates
  • Any other questions or topics pertaining to programs

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 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
  • Limitless Podcast
  • Media Requests

Ariadna Gomez

Administrative and Volunteer Manager

Ariadna GomezI am really excited to join Blind Beginnings in the Administration and Volunteer Manager role.

I firmly believe that the true potential to change the world to how we know it today is present in working as a community and helping others. However, our duty and responsibility as professionals and society are to create the right environment for the new generations’ strength, willingness, and awareness to flourish.

I have a Master of Business Administration and more than ten years of experience in administration, HR, business development, and social entrepreneurship, among others. My profile has combined technical, entrepreneurial, business, and family skills to serve the well-being of children and our community.

Please connect with me about:

  • Administration
  • Volunteer Management

Randi Poitras

Administrative Assistant

Randi PoitrasI am very excited to have joined the Blind Beginnings team as a part-time Administrative Assistant. I have a hereditary visual impairment and growing up in a small town in rural BC I didn’t know anyone my age in the blind community. I was able to connect with people and build lasting friendships through Blind Beginnings programs and have enjoyed changing roles over the years from Youth Leader to Mentor to Alumni. I have returned to school after a 10-year gap and am pursuing my Certificate in Medical Office Administration at Douglas College, as well as a Diploma of General Education at Langara College.

Please connect with me about:

  • Administration

Bruce Taylor

Family Programs Coordinator

Bruce Taylor

I am a recent addition to the Blind Beginnings Team, supporting families and staff in the role of Family Programs Coordinator. I have a varied background in the field of partial vision and blindness including current private and agency based work as an Orientation & Mobility Instructor; several years working as a Vision Consultant with the BC Children’s; Hospital and Queen Alexandra Children’s Centre VI Assessment Teams, former Project Lead with the Vision Loss Rehabilitation Early Intervention Program and past involvement as a Summer Sessional Instructor with the UBC Masters Program In Visual Impairment and Orientation & Mobility. Complementing my work experience is a degree in Movement Education, Certification in Orientation & Mobility and one of only a few Canadians to graduate from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry Masters Program in Vision Rehabilitation.

Coming from a large family that includes six sisters, outside of work I am often keeping physically active so I can keep pace with his own young adult children and extended family.

Please connect with me about:

  • Family Programs
  • Early Beginnings
  • Ideas for new family-related programs

Dougie Dow

Youth Programs Coordinator

Dougie DowI am overjoyed to be joining the Blind Beginnings team as the Youth Program Coordinator. I was born partially sighted and have been very fortunate to form different connections within our blindness community as a child, youth, and adult. Vocationally I have spent the last 25 years specializing in client service for retail, telecommunications, and financial companies. I have been privileged to volunteer and hold board positions for different organizations both in and outside of the blindness community. I am overwhelmed with excitement to share my skills and experience with this wonderful team and to support the youth and their families that are part of the Blind Beginnings Community.

Please connect with me about:

  • Youth Leadership Program
  • Creating Confidence Program
  • Youth Leadership volunteer opportunities
  • Ideas for new youth programs