Our Team

Castlemain is proud of the hard-working people on our team that advise and assist Indigenous communities.

We have a team of nearly three dozen employees and associates – economists, policy advisors, professional negotiators, governance experts, communications and social media professionals, digital experts, lawyers and land management specialists – who can advise and assist Indigenous organizations with virtually any economic, governance, social or communications issue or opportunity.

The team we have built has more than 60 years of combined consulting experience. Our partners and advisors have long and successful track records with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, and have also built and managed leading Canadian and international consulting companies.

The knowledge and experience of our professionals and the successful results they achieve for our clients are what distinguishes Castlemain from other firms, and has made us the leading advisors to Indigenous groups in Canada.

  • Alyssa Melnyk
    Alyssa Melnyk
    Vice President, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Anthea Darychuk
    Anthea Darychuk
    Senior Specialist, Programs
  • Arturo Calvo
    Arturo Calvo
    Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Cherlyn Billy
    Cherlyn Billy
    Lead, Programs
  • Clare Pugh
    Clare Pugh
    Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Courtney Daws
    Courtney Daws
    Vice President, Governance and Policy
  • Georgia Gerontas
    Georgia Gerontas
    Lead, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Fiona Wu
    Fiona Wu
    Controller
  • Hannah Geiser
    Hannah Geiser
    Senior Analyst, Governance and Policy
  • Jessica Dickson
    Jessica Dickson
    Vice President, Programs
  • Lakshmi Lochan
    Lakshmi Lochan
    Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Neil Philcox
    Neil Philcox
    President
  • Peter Arkell
    Peter Arkell
    Creative Director, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Rupamjeet Kaur
    Rupamjeet Kaur
    Accountant
  • Sabina Saran Singh
    Sabina Saran Singh
    Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications
  • Sara Neuert
    Sara Neuert
    Lead, Governance and Policy
  • Shannon D’Arcy
    Shannon D’Arcy
    Senior Specialist, Governance and Policy
  • Stefan Moores
    Stefan Moores
    Chair of the Board
  • Teyem Thomas
    Teyem Thomas
    HR & Office Manager
  • Rob McPhee
    Rob McPhee
    Managing Director, Negotiations and Government to Government Relationships
  • Varun Srivatsan
    Varun Srivatsan
    Senior Analyst, Economic Development, Lands and Infrastructure
Alyssa Melnyk
Vice President, Strategic Engagement and Communications
Anthea Darychuk
Senior Specialist, Programs

Anthea Darychuk is an accomplished sustainability practitioner with more than a decade working in community engagement, program evaluation and research. Prior to joining Castlemain, she held positions in the public and private sectors within the natural resource industry, working alongside Indigenous communities to build inclusive programming and shared value throughout Canada and Latin America.

Anthea holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science from the University of Guelph, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto, focused on Health Promotion and Community Resilience. Anthea is an experienced community researcher, with a passion for community outreach and qualitative inquiry based on community engagement and collaboration.

Arturo Calvo
Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications

Arturo Calvo is a trained journalist who has worked in politics, media and with First Nations. As a first-generation Canadian, and a proud Yukoner, he is passionate about supporting positive change for communities and future generations. Arturo’s career began on Parliament Hill where he supported the Liberal caucus in building relationships with Indigenous constituents. He collaborated with the Prime Minister’s Office and several Minister’s offices to create a cross-government table for Indigenous policy leads to discuss emerging issues and initiatives. Prior to joining Castlemain, he advised two Assembly of First Nations regional chiefs and worked with the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association.  Arturo graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism. While completing his studies, worked for local television and radio in Whitehorse.

Cherlyn Billy
Lead, Programs

Cherlyn is from the Secwepemc Nation, and has more than 25 years’ experience working for Indigenous community organizations in British Columbia and Ontario at the regional, provincial, and national levels. She is a skilled facilitator, strategic planner, and experienced program director who has expertise in human resources development, organizational capacity development, governance, and program development, assessment, and monitoring. Cherlyn approaches her work form a deep commitment to understanding and elevating community and grassroot voices. Whenever she has an opportunity to meet someone or be in their territory, she holds close a teaching one her Elders once shared: “You will never learn as much about people as in their own environment.” Cherlyn has both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law (now called Juris Doctor) from the University of British Columbia. 

Clare Pugh
Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications

Clare Pugh is a communications professional with a diverse background in community-driven work dedicated to amplifying and empowering the voices of marginalized communities. Clare’s work has consisted of creating and implementing communications strategies to increase sector and public awareness of issues affecting vulnerable populations in Canada with a focus on factors of homelessness and affordable housing. Prior to joining Castlemain, she held positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors, with experience working alongside Indigenous communities in Yukon and British Columbia. Clare holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Community Development from the University of Northern British Columbia focused on sustainable planning and Indigenous governance.

 

Courtney Daws
Vice President, Governance and Policy

Courtney is a lawyer and strategic advisor with extensive knowledge in the areas of Aboriginal law, policy and governance and has held positions in the legal, political and social realm. Most recently, Courtney was the Director of Operations at the BC Assembly of First Nations under then Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould. Courtney has a BA in Sociology and a law degree, both from the University of British Columbia, and is a member of the Law Society of BC.

Georgia Gerontas
Lead, Strategic Engagement and Communications

Georgia is a passionate public policy leader with over 12 years of experience working in the public and private sectors.  Georgia has spent much of her career working in Alberta Government departments of Energy and Environment, where she led key policy files related to oil and gas tenure and leasing, responsible and sustainable land-use, and sector regulation. In addition to her extensive experience working in the natural resource sector, Georgia has also held a variety of leadership positions in the Alberta Public Service Commission, where her area of focus was public sector and public agency governance as well as strategic human resource policy and practice.

Georgia took her undergrad in political science and a graduate diploma in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.  She also pursued a Masters of Arts in Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

Fiona Wu
Controller

Fiona Wu is a dedicated and solutions focused financial Controller with over 10 years progressive experience in finance and operations. She has extensive experience in a variety of industries including manufacturing, engineering, trust financial services and non-profit organizations. Skilled in implementing systems and streamlining processes, financial reporting, budgeting, and forecasting.

She is a compassionate team leader who leads by example. Her role is to oversee and evaluate the operation of the financial and accounting department, and provide strategic financial analysis and support to the Castlemain team. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Financial Management and is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.

Hannah Geiser
Senior Analyst, Governance and Policy

 

Hannah Geiser is a policy analyst with experience in the areas of Crown-Indigenous relations, policy development and human security. As a Senior Analyst of Governance and Policy at Castlemain, Hannah focuses on law and policy development, drafting strategic communications products, researching and reviewing existing policy documents, engaging citizens and stakeholders to develop strategic plans, and supporting the development of governance documents for clients.

Hannah has held positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors in Ontario and British Columbia and has done extensive engagement with First Nations across B.C., working collaboratively with them to advance their relationships with the federal government and support their resiliency during emergencies. She has a certificate in Project Management and has experience managing, overseeing and executing all project activities on both domestic and international policy consulting projects, including communications and written correspondence with diverse stakeholders and Indigenous rights holders. Hannah has a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Legal Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She moved to Vancouver in 2018 where she completed her Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia before joining the Castlemain team.

Jessica Dickson
Vice President, Programs

With her Master’s degree in Dispute Resolution, Jessica specializes in tailor-made community-building and governance tools for First Nations. She has a breadth of knowledge and experience in treaty issues, indigenous policy, project management, governance best practices, and leading research methods.

Lakshmi Lochan
Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications

Lakshmi offers experience in facilitations, communications, and governance and policy development. Before joining Castlemain, Lakshmi worked in a dynamic policy environment at the BC Treaty Commission. There she gained experience facilitating tripartite negotiations across broad self-governance areas including land, resources, health, education, and fiscal relationships.

Lakshmi has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology and is working to complete a Master of Public Policy, both from Simon Fraser University. She is a volunteer advisor on a steering committee focussing on funding structures for Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives and partnerships, and serves on the board of Vancouver based, Spec Theatre Company.

Neil Philcox
President

Neil is an established leader in the economic development, financing and community development arena.  He has worked with many First Nations to access capital for over 200 business development and community-based projects.  Neil’s passion lies in the development of a values-driven approach to investments, with a focus on the broad set of community goals and benefits often sought by Castlemain’s Indigenous clients.

Peter Arkell
Creative Director, Strategic Engagement and Communications

Peter Arkell is an established designer with 11 years of experience bringing impactful visual design products to Indigenous clients and businesses. His previous role saw him managing a design firm for the economic arm of Kwantlen First Nation, where he worked closely with neighbouring Nations and municipalities on projects of cultural significance.

Peter is proud of is his work in supporting emerging Indigenous artists with public art collaborations, and has also helped design two traditional children’s books in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Halq’eméylem dialects. He has also participated in exhibit design teams that have created Indigenous spaces in the Langley Centennial Museum and the Museum of Surrey.

He has over 14 years of leadership experience and holds a Diploma in Design from Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design and BCIT, as well as a Business Management Diploma from BCIT.

Rupamjeet Kaur
Accountant
Sabina Saran Singh
Senior Analyst, Strategic Engagement and Communications
Sara Neuert
Lead, Governance and Policy

Sara Neuert is a mediator and strategic advisor with over 20 years of experience and extensive knowledge in the areas of Indigenous strategic policy and governance. She supports our clients with strategic policy and advocacy, negotiations with government and industry, and community engagement.

Prior to joining Castlemain, Sara held senior positions in the policy, political, public safety, health, and social sectors, working for Indigenous peoples. Sara was the Executive Director of Chiefs of Ontario for five years, an organization representing all First Nation leaders in Ontario. During this time, she advanced the Ipperwash Inquiry, helping advocate for northern communities to have a greater voice in the challenges with policing issues. Sara also has extensive experience working directly with communities to develop comprehensive community-based planning, drafting policies, procedures, and programs across a variety of sectors such as community infrastructure, child welfare, health, and long-term care.

Sara completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, and has a Master’s in conflict resolution from Royal Roads University.

 

Shannon D’Arcy
Senior Specialist, Governance and Policy

Shannon D’Arcy is a strategic advisor with extensive knowledge in the areas of policy development, non-for-profit organizations and public administration. Prior to joining Castlemain, Shannon has held positions in both government and non-profit organizations in Ontario in which she advised senior-level executives on strategic communications, worked cross-functionally to develop strategic solutions to policy and communications projects and specialized in creating compelling stories to achieve measurable results in the natural resources and conservation sectors.

Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature and a Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, both from Western University in London, Ontario. Shannon is a recent transplant to British Columbia after being born in Alberta, finishing elementary and high school in Nunavut, and spending over a decade in Ontario.

Stefan Moores
Chair of the Board

A recognized business leader with extensive First Nations negotiation and land development experience, Stefan is a Vancouver “Top Forty under 40” and co-founder of the Urban Land Institute of BC. He is recognized as an authority in land negotiations, land valuation, land development on-reserve, and leads Castlemain’s land practice.

Teyem Thomas
HR & Office Manager

Teyem has been working in Aboriginal organizations in BC since 1999. Her office leadership ranges from a grassroots level as Youth Coordinator and Education Assistant in First Nation band offices, to political level as Snuneymuxw’s Chief and Council’s Secretary and as Administrative Assistant at the BC AFN.

Rob McPhee
Managing Director, Negotiations and Government to Government Relationships

Rob is an accomplished indigenous economist and is a member of the Tahltan Nation. Since 2009, he has negotiated over $3b worth of agreements on behalf of our First Nations clients. The agreements Rob negotiates set the standards in the areas of socio-cultural strategy, impact benefits, environmental oversight, and co-management of major resource projects.

Varun Srivatsan
Senior Analyst, Economic Development, Lands and Infrastructure

Varun Srivatsan is a values-based economics and finance professional. He has varied experience in government, consulting, impact investing, advertising and microfinance. His current role involves supporting Indigenous communities exercise their economic potential in support of their social, cultural, and economic goals. Varun’s approach is driven by his deep belief that self-determination comes together with financial and fiscal independence. Prior to joining Castlemain, he worked for the Parliamentary Budget Officer. A highlight of his time there was costing 2019 election campaign promises for the first time in Canadian and G7 history. Varun holds a bachelor’s in international economics from the University of British Columbia.