Our Team

Advisory and Administration

David Beers
Co-founder, Tyee Solutions Society

Michelle Hoar
Co-founder & Senior Advisor, Tyee Solutions Society

Chris Wood
Coordinating Editor, Tyee Solutions Society

Katie Hyslop
Education, youth issues, and housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Geoff Dembicki
Sustainability reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Jackie Wong
Housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

David P. Ball
Housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Andrew MacLeod
Reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Tom Barrett
Reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Advisory committee

Al Etmanski
Kathryn Gretsinger
Alden Habacon
Am Johal
Peter Klein
Ed Levy, PhD

Advisory and Administration

David Beers

David Beers
Co-founder, Tyee Solutions Society

David Beers spent a quarter century writing and editing solutions-focused journalism before founding The Tyee (2003), and then co-founding Tyee Solutions Society with Michelle Hoar in 2009.

During those decades, Beers served as senior editor at the San Francisco Examiner, Mother Jones and the Vancouver Sun, and wrote on many topics for numerous publications. Upon reflection, what had the greatest impact, he says, were the pieces he worked on that offered a promise of positive change, rather than cynicism affirmed.

“I realized the common thread running through those articles was that they were focused on solutions,” he recalls. “Most news media are busy asking ‘What went wrong yesterday and who’s to blame?’ But healthy democracies need skilled journalists asking, ‘What might go right tomorrow, and who’s showing the way?’”

Areas of expertise: Independent media. Social enterprise.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Solutions-focused — “We look for laboratories where potential solutions are being tried out, and use investigative reporting skills to report on those experiments,” he explains. “We hire top journalists, and the process is rigorous.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of? “That’s a tough one! Successful Practices in First Nations Education, a 2011 series by Katie Hyslop, not only identified better approaches to education being developed in Aboriginal communities, but also broke new ground in the collaborative approach Katie took to reporting on those communities.

“In a sense,” he says, “this approach to journalism was itself a search for a solution to unequal relations stemming from colonization.”


Michelle Hoar

Michelle Hoar
Co-founder & Senior Advisor, Tyee Solutions Society

Originally from Toronto but living on B.C.’s West Coast since 1993, Michelle Hoar co-founded The Tyee a decade later with David Beers. Six years later they launched Tyee Solutions Society as a hub for “catalytic” public interest reporting.

She had previously been doing communications work for nonprofits and foundations, all of which “were working towards a more sustainable, socially just future,” she explains. Journalism, she realized, was one essential way to tell those emerging stories.

Areas of expertise: “A passion for funding journalism,” she says, “and for talking about environmental and social change.”

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Catalytic — “meaning that we aim to do the kind of journalism that ignites a conversation and informs a dialogue on possible solutions.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
“I’m proud that we’ve been able to write about under-explored issues, and support incredible emerging and veteran talent to do so.”


Chris Wood

Chris Wood
Coordinating Editor, Tyee Solutions Society

A professional journalist with decades of experience, Chris Wood became Tyee Solutions Society’s coordinating editor in 2011. Before that, he was a freelancer for nearly a decade, served for 16 years as nation and business editor and as a correspondent at Maclean’s magazine, and even did a stint in radio.

The Hamilton, Ontario-born writer and editor has written seven books, the latest being Down the Drain: How We Fail to Protect Our Water Resources (2014), and is currently concluding a two-year residence in Mexico with his wife.

Areas of expertise: The general knowledge from over 40 years in the business: in radio, video, magazines, newspapers and books (“I’ve even done poetry!” he quips).

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Responsive — “Tyee Solutions Society is much more responsive to the interests, concerns and problems of our readers — real citizens,” he says, “rather than concocting distractions which in large part is what conventional media do.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
Interactive B.C. Carbon Map (2012)
B.C.’s Central Coast series (2012)
“The great satisfaction I get working with other, mostly younger journalists, to help them hone and refine what they do,” he says.


Reporters

Katie Hyslop 2Katie Hyslop
Education, youth issues, and housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Katie came on board with Tyee Solutions Society in September 2010, after earning a Master’s from the University of B.C.’s graduate school in journalism. The St. John’s, Newfoundland native explains her passion for covering her youth and education beat because of its importance for wider social issues.

“Education, while not a golden ticket or silver bullet to social ills, is the best line of defence people have from poverty and marginalization,” she says.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique: Dogged — “The people who report at Tyee Solutions, and the editors, are very passionate about the topics they take up, and about dedicating their time to researching them,” she says. “All that time spent means you get more to each story than you would from non-investigative reporting.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of? Call of the Spirit (2013): “Inspiring is the least I can say about the indigenous people and programs I profiled who have succeeded in a colonial education environment despite the high institutional, societal, and cultural barriers in their way.”


Geoff Dembicki
DembickiSustainability reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Geoff joined Tyee Solutions Society in April 2012, and has also appeared in the Toronto Star, Walrus, VICE, Alternet, Motherboard and The Tyee, where he started out as an intern in 2008.

Awarded a media fellowship from the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada for his sustainability reporting, Geoff brings to his work “a prairie-dweller’s earnest desire to get beyond the overheated rhetoric on all sides of our environmental debates,” he reveals, “and figure out what’s truly at stake in society’s shift to sustainability.”

Areas of expertise: Climate change, energy, technology, sustainability.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Future-focused.

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of? “My feature revealing that leading oil sands firms support a national price on carbon,” Geoff says, “even as their political allies in Ottawa demonize such a policy.”
Canada’s Oil Insiders Want a Carbon Tax (2012)
Part of Geoff’s ground-breaking series, Greening the Tar Sands (2012-2013)


Jackie Wong
JackieWong 1
Housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

Jackie joined Tyee Solutions Society in 2013 for a year-long investigation into affordable housing solutions, after contributing to The Tyee for eight years.

Jackie’s year of housing reporting included investigating discrimination faced by Chinese seniors, housing for refugees, and affordability concerns in Vancouver’s rental housing landscape.

Today she is editor of Megaphone magazine and teaches journalism to inner-city residents as well as Simon Fraser University’s continuing studies program. She also teaches in the University of B.C.’s creative writing program. Her work has appeared in many publications including the Georgia Straight, BC Business, Westender, and Xtra.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique: Innovative — “A desire to do journalism differently, to push creative boundaries, and to actively make space for more nuanced conversation and contemplation in what can feel like a hyper-speed, information-addled era,” she says.

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
Alone, Elderly, and Isolated by Language in Vancouver’s Chinatown (2013)
“The neighbourhood was a significant part of my grandparents’ lives,” she says, “and it meant a lot to me to retrace their steps and think about their experiences while conducting research for this series.”


David P. Ball
David-Ball-byKristian-web
Housing reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

David is Tyee Solutions Society’s housing reporter, starting in 2013 when he joined Jackie Wong for a year-long reporting project on affordable housing solutions in the Lower Mainland. His work included an exclusive visit with residents of Vancouver’s first shipping container project, one last look at a historic intergenerational community facing demolition, and an investigation of how urban planning could embrace visionary ideas of equality, creativity and community.

Originally from Ottawa, David’s reporting for The Tyee has won investigative awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Jack Webster Foundation.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Inspiring — “Investigative reporting can be a bit gloomy: exposing abuses and shining a spotlight on injustice,” he says. “Tyee Solutions Society doesn’t shy away from tackling society’s shadows, but it also encourages us as reporters to explore potential solutions and new ways forward.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
False Creek South: An Experiment in Community (2013-4)
“Amidst rising tensions in B.C. around housing costs, I never imagined how one hippie-era neighbourhood experiment could become a symbol for our wider challenges,” he says. “But a solutions lens on the past can help us see what’s possible in the future.”


 

Andrew MacLeod
Andrew MacLeod
Reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

The Tyee’s legislative bureau chief Andrew MacLeod briefly joined the Tyee Solutions Society team in late 2013 to write a wide-ranging exploration of the high level of economic inequality in the province.

Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, Andrew has lived in Victoria for 22 years where he currently lives and reports on B.C. politics and government. In his two decades of journalism experience, his reporting has appeared in Monday Magazine, the Georgia Straight, BC Business, 24 Hours and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Areas of expertise: “Perspective on political decision making. International perspective. Environmental and social values.”

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Solutions-focused — “We look for laboratories where potential solutions are being tried out, and to use investigative reporting skills to report on those experiments.”

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
Super Unequal British Columbia series (2014)


Tom Barrett
Tom Barrett-hor
Reporter, Tyee Solutions Society

A Victoria-born veteran reporter, Tom started with Tyee Solutions Society in 2011, after reporting for The Tyee since mid-2004 — making him one of the site’s earliest contributors. At TSS he was part of a team of journalists investigating the province’s ground-breaking push to become carbon-neutral.

A Kwantlen University journalism instructor, he has also been published across some of Canada’s top media outlets, including Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, Winnipeg Free Press and the Vancouver Sun.

Areas of expertise: Politics, climate policy.

One adjective to describe what makes Tyee Solutions Society unique:
Solutions-oriented.

What Tyee Solutions Society work are you most proud of?
B.C’s Quest for Carbon Neutrality: Reports from Canada’s Climate Policy Frontier 
 (November-December 2011)


Advisory Committee

 


Al Etmanski

Al Etmanski
Twitter: @aletmanski
Website: aletmanski.com

Al Etmanski is an author, community organizer and social entrepreneur specializing in innovative, multi-sector solutions to complex societal challenges. He is currently a partner in Social Innovation Generation (SIG). SiG is dedicated to scaling up innovative solutions to deeply rooted social problems. Previously he co-founded  Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) which assists families across Canada and globally, address the financial and social well-being of their relative with a disability, particularly after their parents die. He proposed and led the successful campaign to establish the world’s first savings plan for people with disabilities — the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

 


 

Kathryn Gretsinger
Twitter: @kgretsinger

Kathryn Gretsinger is an Instructor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Kathryn is the lead national audio trainer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio.

 


Photo: Don Erhardt.

Alden Habacon
Twitter
: @aldenhabacon

Alden E. Habacon is an accomplished diversity and inclusion strategist, and leading thinker in the area of social sustainability.

He is Director of Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development for the University of British Columbia, and the former Manager of Diversity Initiatives for CBC Television. He has published Schema Magazine online since 2004, and co-founded the Asian Canadian Journalists Association (ACJA) of Vancouver.

Alden has received the YMCA Power of Peace Award (2010), the Leadership Honouree of the North American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP) of Vancouver (2011), the Maharlika Award in Leadership (2012), and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Award (2013) for his work in multiculturalism and intercultural understanding.

 


Am JohalAm Johal
Twitter: @amjohal

Am Johal works at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement in the SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit. He has worked with government, civil society organizations and labour unions. He has undergraduate degrees in human kinetics, commerce (entrepreneurial management with an Asia Pacific focus), an MA in international economic relations, and is currently a part-time PhD student in Communication and Media Philosophy at European Graduate School in Switzerland. He was chair of the Impact on Communities Coalition, a co-founder of UBC’s Humanities 101 program and has been a board member with Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, the Or Gallery, Vancouver Community Arts Council, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House, the Vancity Community Foundation and is a member of the steering committee of SFU’s Centre for Dialogue. He has been a stringer with Inter Press Service.

 


Peter KleinPeter Klein
Twitter: @peterwklein
Website: peterwklein.com

Peter Klein is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and teacher, interested in bringing to light global stories that are overlooked. His work has been featured on 60 Minutes, where he’s been a producer since 1999, as well as PBS Frontline, ABC News, Al Jazeera English, The New York Times, and The Daily Show. Winner of 3 Emmys, his main reward is doing stories that have an impact on the world.

Klein serves as Director of the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, where he established the International Reporting Program, in which he takes graduate students abroad to practice global reporting in the field.

 


PastedGraphic-2Ed Levy, PhD

Ed Levy, PHD, taught philosophy of science at UBC from 1967 to 1988, at which time he joined the biotechnology company, QLT Inc. As an executive at QLT Ed participated in the development and regulatory approvals of the first medical treatment for age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among the elderly.

Upon retiring from QLT in 2002, Ed became an adjunct professor in the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics at UBC. He has served on a number of boards of for-profit and not-for-profit organisations including Oncolytics Biotech Inc., Tides Canada, BC Civil Liberties Association, WelTel, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Neil Squire Society, and PIVOT Foundation.