This conference is taking place on the territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people and the work of Cicely Blain Consulting and our co-conspirators takes place on other parts of stolen and occupied Indigenous land including, but not limited to the land of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Stolo, Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.


The xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people have been here as long as there has been land to live upon. The name Musqueam relates back to the flowering plant, məθkʷəy̓, which grows in the Fraser River estuary. (source

© 2019 Stratagem. Brought to you by Cicely Blain Consulting.

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Meet the Team

Cicely Belle Blain (CEO) 

they/them & she/her


Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity and inclusion consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter - Vancouver, one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and BC Business 30 Under 30 2019 and has served as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations. Their work is informed by their professional and academic background at the University of British Columbia and their lived experience as a Black, queer artist, a community builder, an intersectional feminist and a Black liberation activist. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020 with VS Books & Arsenal Pulp Press.

Cicely Belle loves:​

  • Dinosaurs

  • Smashing the patriarchy

  • Swimming

  • Mani-pedi dates

Sandra Iroegbu (Director of Event Curation)



Sandra was born and raised in Nigeria, she has been settling, working, and growing in Coast Salish Territories for over 9 years. When she is not dazzling you with her unprecedented sense of humour, or her OH I KNOW I CAN DANCE moves, she is actively working with the black community in Vancouver to dismantle white supremacy and the patriarchal society we live in. With an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, Sandra has a passion for sustainable engineering practices and how that intermingles with social justice. Sandra was part of the team that designed an approved Active Travel Plan for the City of Vernon as part of their 2020 vision. She was also nominated as Woman of the Year in Leadership at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus. If you're lucky, you'll be amazed at the ease that she switches her accent back to home, with excitement - this ability to adapt and be a chameleon is one of her favourite strategies to survival in Vancouver as a Black woman.

Sandra loves:

  • Adventures

  • Deep conversations

  • Visiting the Motherland

  • Being a plant mom 

Jillian Christmas (People & Talent Coordinator)


Jillian Christmas is a queer, black writer living on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam people, where she served for six years as Artistic Director of Versəs Festival of Words. As an enthusiastic organizer and advocate in the Canadian arts community, her focus has been to increase anti-oppression initiatives in spoken word. She has executed programs in partnership with Toronto Poetry Project, The Chan Centre, Vancouver Opera, and more. Jillian has performed and facilitated spoken word workshops for youth and adults across the country and beyond. Her forthcoming debut book of poetry will be released in Spring 2020 with Arsenal Pulp Press.


Jillian loves:

  • Splashing in the wild ocean

  • Cuddling all the fur-babies of the world

  • Flower adornment as somatic-healing practice

  • Star Trek TNG reruns

Kevonnie Whyte (People & Talent Coordinator)


Kevonnie is a Business Analyst at Vancouver Coastal Health. She is passionate about seeing people reach their full potential and does this through developing, implementing and managing the processes involved with improving peoples workplace experiences- especially the experiences of those most marginalized. When you don't see her at the gym, doing yoga, or hanging out with friends, you will find her active in the black community as she currently sits on the board of the National Congress of Black Women Foundation as well as the City of Vancouver Racial and Ethno-Cultural Advisory Committee.


Kevonnie Loves:

  • Reading a good book in bed on a rainy day

  • Sleep

  • Nice Teas

  • Cheese Cake

Piper Fawkes (Administrative Assistant)


Piper is a queer nonbinary femme who thrives on any opportunity to organize the thing. Having a background in technical theatre and the arts, Piper has always dabbled in their own artistic practice and helped support others in creating meaningful, connective, and unapologetically expressive art. Not one to step onto the stage, Piper will always be behind the scenes to support, organize, and help those around them achieve their goals. Introverted yet passionate, quiet and also melodramatic, Piper loves to be the sunny firecracker behind the scenes.

Piper loves:

  • Obscure yet in depth nerdery

  • Stationary

  • Nail art

  • Growing as a human and learning how best to support others

Neia Balao (Storyteller)


Neia Balao is a Filipina-Canadian screenwriter currently based in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, she recently moved to LA to complete a Master’s Certificate at UCLA with an emphasis in screenwriting for television. As a woman of colour herself, Neia aspires to contribute to the shift towards diversity in television. She aspires to be part of television shows that feature female protagonists of colour, as well as normalize protagonists living with mental illness. Neia is an advocate for OCD awareness and hopes to one day write stories inspired by her own experiences. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring LA, eating tuna poke, and singing Broadway show tunes while cleaning her apartment. 

Neia Loves:

  • Pickles

  • Napping

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • Aesthetically pleasing coffee shops 

K. Ho (Photographer)


K. Ho is a portrait photographer and writer living in the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. A queer non-binary artist of colour, K focuses on the joy and tenderness of living in intersectional margins, telling stories about love, struggle, recognition, and self. Their photography centres the visibility of queer and trans BIPOC. You can find them at parties hiding in the bathroom in a moderate way.


K loves:

  • Salt

  • Goodreads

  • Their bicycle, Daisy Dirtbag 

  • Lying down

Becca Schwenk (Communications Coordinator)


Becca Schwenk is a diversity and inclusion educator, communications aficionado, and creative chameleon. She is all about disruptive entrepreneurship and intersectional innovation. Becca completed her bachelor’s degree at McGill University, where she majored in both Sociology and Gender, Sexuality, Feminism, and Social Justice studies. She has worked in anti-oppressive support centres and fast-paced feminist startups, and she doesn’t intend to stop shaking up unjust structures any time soon. You can frequently find her casually slipping intersectional tidbits into everyday conversations with a cheeky smile; ready to engage free of judgement and full of empathy. 


Becca loves:

  • Whales 

  • Olives

  • Deep and Meaningfuls 

  • Woodsy Candles