Staff Team

Sharon Welch, MA, CPHR
Executive Director

Sharon is committed to lifelong learning. She started her career as a music teacher and has served her community in a variety of ways. Sharon has spent many years advocating for the homeless in Nanaimo and Oceanside. She joined the Forward House team in 2014 and was tasked with the overall leadership of the organization. Sharon loves diverse challenges, and you’ll often find her working on everything from staff development to community outreach and grant writing. If Sharon isn't at Forward House, it’s probably because she’s out on the water enjoying everything coastal living has to offer.


Anne Louise
Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator

Anne Louise came to Forward House as an administrative assistant in the spring of 2016. A professional musician, she has balanced her music career with frontline work at women’s shelters in the Yukon (where she lived for twenty years) and on Vancouver Island. Anne Louise has added the Volunteer Program to her responsibilities at Forward House, and enjoys leading music jam sessions with clients.  Anne Louise tours nationally and internationally with her band Annie Lou, and in her free time can be found playing her banjo, helping her husband in the garden, or walking in the woods. 


Client Support Worker, Kitchen Coordinator & Safety Officer

Shane first came to Forward House as a Community Support Worker practicum student in 2014. His sense of humour and positive outlook made him a valuable addition to our family, and when he completed his program, we snapped him up to come work on our team. Shane ensures that the food we serve is nutritious and delicious. He also teaches our clients how to cook, bake, plan affordable meals, and shop for good deals. One thing you'll notice about Shane is that no matter what time of day it is, a Tim Horton's coffee is never out of his reach!

Client Support Worker & ACE Coordinator

Plain and simple, Pat is the Godmother of Forward House. On the team since 2001, Pat brought with her a wealth of experience including 24 years in banking, eight years with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and a stint as a Flight Control Operator with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Her role at Forward House is to provide emotional support to clients, volunteers, caregivers and staff. With her Reiki Level 2 and Healing Touch Level 3 certifications, Pat has a unique approach to helping people navigate mental health and addiction challenges. Pat’s other passions include fast cars, long walks on the beach, and her five grandchildren.

Client Support Worker 

Born and raised in Holland, Myriam immigrated to Canada and worked as a counsellor on a First Nations Reserve in Northern BC. Having joined the Forward House team in 2015, Myriam has facilitated programs such as Start with Art, Writing Circle and Women’s Group. She is a firm believer that taking a strengths-based approach is always best, as it helps people to grow towards their own personal potential. When she’s not at Forward House, you can often find Myriam walking her dogs or curled up on the couch reading a good book.

Client Support Worker and Young Adult Coordinator

Christine graduated from the VIU Community Mental Health Certificate Program, completing her practicum at Forward House.  She became a member of our staff in April of 2017.  “I knew on my first day as a practicum student that my values were aligned with the client-centered approach at Forward House.” Always looking for innovative ways to support clients in expressing themselves, Christine can often be found creating new tools and activities to add to the Forward House programs. She is also an active outdoor enthusiast and enjoys photography and writing.

Client Support Worker and Education/Outreach Coordinator

Born and raised in the UK, Myra trained in Mental Health Care, working for 10 years as part of the Community Mental Health Team. She came to Canada with her partner and three children in 2007. “I have worked in administrative roles for the past 7 years, so coming to Forward House is like coming home for me!” says Myra. She and her family have acted as a host family for the past 9 years, hosting 16 international students from 6 different countries. When not working, Myra loves to travel, spend time with her family & friends, knit, read, eat out, and experiment with essential oils.

Client Support Worker

Amanda is another team member who came to Forward House as a practicum student in the Community Support Worker Program at Discovery College. She joined our staff as a part-time Client Support Worker in January 2017. Amanda loves both people and animals; along with raising three children she also cares for 8 cats, a hedgehog, a rabbit, a dog, and a tarantula! Her favourite things about Forward House are the warm, family-like atmosphere and the Arts programs. “I love to see the clients being creative and expressing themselves.” When Amanda is not at Forward House, you can find her spending time with her family in the great outdoors.

Client Support Worker

Brennan joined our team in the fall of 2017. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, and has worked and volunteered in the mental health field for six years. Kindness and compassion are his guiding principles, and he is looking forward to sharing his skills with the Forward House family. Brennan's great passion other than mental health is the great outdoors, and in his spare time he can be found hiking, kayaking, swimming, and camping.

Client Support Worker

The newest addition to the Forward House team, Cathy has four years of undergraduate studies under her belt and has achieved substantial completion on a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After touring Canada as a musician and several years working in the restaurant business, Cathy is pleased to be bringing her skills to the field of support work in her former home town of Parksville. Cathy is all about making human connections and is a fierce advocate for individuals trying to navigate the system. When not at work, Cathy can be found in Errington fending off bears and cougars with her trusty hound Gryphon.


Board of Directors

Janet Walker, President
Wanda Brown, Vice Pres.
Marianne O'Brien, Treasurer
Mary Parkinson, Secretary
Jo Dunn, Director
Phil Dwyer, Director
Jamie Johnson, Director
Janice Tait, Director