Who’s on our team?

Karen Mason (she/her) is co-founder and executive director for SOAR, and former executive director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. A seasoned non-profit leader, communicator, and community collaborator, Mason brings 35+ years of career experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to her work advocating for survivors of IPV, conducting knowledge translation and mobilization activities, and supporting research, development, and dissemination of promising practices.  Mason has training in trauma-informed practice and advanced strangulation prevention, and is a member of the Pink Concussions Partner-Inflicted Brain Injury Task Force, the ENIGMA International Consortium Working Group on Brain Injury in Intimate Partner Violence, the Women’s Health Research Cluster, and the Canadian Concussion Network’s Advisory Council.

Dr. Paul Van Donkelaar

Dr. Paul van Donkelaar (he/him) is co-founder and scientific advisor for SOAR. He is also a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences and Associate Vice Principal, Research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, B.C., Canada. His research focusses on the basic mechanisms of sensorimotor control and the cerebrovascular, neurocognitive, and sensorimotor aspects of brain dysfunction resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Since 2016, he has focused much of his research on better understanding brain dysfunction in women who have experienced intimate partner violence-related BI through the SOAR project.

Kelsey Helm (he/him) is director of operations for SOAR. A seasoned and respected operator, Kelsey has extensive start-up to enterprise experience, and a strong background in portfolio & program management and strategic planning. Over his 20+ year career, Kelsey has managed programs and planning across 500+ person organizations, and supported external, key stakeholders to implementation of complex initiatives. As director of operations for Wheelhouse Ventures, he managed investments in multiple, seed-stage companies, oversaw the design, development, and construction of the Kelowna Innovation Centre, and established and supported the operation of a venture capital corporation. Kelsey has worked with SOAR since 2018

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