The Office is staffed by a dedicated and diverse group of professionals. Staff are representative of the diversity of the population served by the Office and come from a variety of education and employment backgrounds, such as law, social work, education, child and youth mental health, community-based and public sector advocacy, law enforcement, social policy, communications, administration and human resources.

Bernard Richard

Representative for Children and Youth

Bernard Richard was confirmed by the British Columbia Legislature as the province's second Representative for Children and Youth, effective Feb. 16, 2017.

Senior Management Team

Deputy Representative for Children and Youth

Dawn Thomas-Wightman was appointed Deputy Representative for Children and Youth in August 2015 after seven months as Acting Deputy Representative. Prior to that, Thomas-Wightman was the Office’s Chief Investigator. In the past, she has also served as RCY’s  Associate Deputy Representative, Aboriginal Services and as an Investigator. She also previously held the position of Executive Director, Aboriginal Services, at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Jeff Rud bio photo

Executive Director, Strategy and Communications

Jeff Rud joined the Representative's office after four years as a B.C. government communications director, during which he was assigned to various ministries and worked on a number of initiatives including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Prior to that, he worked for nearly 30 years as a journalist at several newspapers in Western Canada.

Executive Director, Corporate Initiatives and External Relations

Linda has a strong background in the not-for-profit sector and government, working with children, youth and families facing many challenges – poverty, abuse, health issues and disabilities.

Lise Haddock photo

Executive Director, Indigenous Strategies and Partnerships

Lise Haddock joined the Representative’s Office in 2015 as Acting Director of the former Aboriginal Initiatives program area. She was formally named Executive Director of RCY’s Indigenous Strategies and Partnerships team in February 2017. 

Lise has a strong background in Indigenous child welfare. For over 25 years, she was the Executive Director of a Delegated Aboriginal Agency and active in many areas of Indigenous child welfare initiatives both provincially and nationally.

Blair Mitchell photo

Executive Director, Advocacy and Youth Engagement

Blair Mitchell was appointed to the position of Executive Director, Advocacy in 2016. Blair joined the Representative’s office as an Intake Advocate in 2012 and has performed various functions on the team since then. He has nearly 20 years’ experience working directly with children, youth, young adults and their families in a variety of roles. As Executive Director, Blair oversees and supports the important work carried out by the Advocacy team which is spread across three office locations: Burnaby, Prince George and Victoria.

Carissa Matheson photo

Manager, Executive Operations

Carissa joined the Representative’s Office in December of 2014. In her role as Manager, Executive Operations, she is responsible for the daily flow of priorities and responsibilities for the Representative and the executive team.

Prior to this position, Carissa worked for the provincial government for 10 years where she provided executive support to provincial cabinet ministers in a variety of portfolios including the offices of Justice, Solicitor General, Attorney General, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and Environment.  

Colleen Ellis

Executive Director, Monitoring

Colleen joined the Representative’s office in 2009 as a Project Manager and was later appointed to the position of Director, Monitoring, Research, Evaluation and Audit. In 2016, Colleen took on the role of Executive Director, Monitoring, leading a team that monitors the effectiveness and responsiveness of services and programs available to children, youth and families in British Columbia.