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leadership Team

CEO and head of school

sara blair

Chief Operations and Financial Officer

Phil Graham


Megan hedderick

Director of Admissions

Elizabeth Coltart

Director of Educational Pathways and Partnerships

Mary Lue Emmerson

Creative Director

Juliana Mills


Board Chair

Karen clark Cole '86

Karen Clark Cole '86 is the CEO and co-founder of Blink UX, an award-winning, global experience design firm, and proud Mphasis company. Blink’s mission is to enrich people’s lives by creating products that people use, love, and remember.

Karen's leadership philosophy is grounded in what she calls being a “Possibility Thinker.” Her optimistic, fully present approach to life enables her to turn big visionary ideas into action and plant a seed for what is possible in everyone she meets. On a daily basis, Karen is primarily focused on growth, strategic planning, and upholding Blink's cultural framework.Karen's leadership at Blink UX has led to numerous accolades. She received the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year award and was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015. That same year, Forbes included Blink on its list of America’s Best 25 Small Companies. The company also earned recognition from the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of Washington’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in both 2015 and 2012, and from the Women President’s Organization as one of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Led Companies Worldwide in 2014. Additionally, Blink has consistently appeared on Inc. Magazine’s Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America list from 2012 through 2015.

Karen serves as council member on the SBA appointed National Women’s Business Council, to advise the president and congress on policy impacting women entrepreneurs.Karen is the Executive Director for the non-profit she founded in 2014, Girls Can Do. A speaker series for girls with the mission to inspire a generation of Possibility Thinkers and ignite a vision for equal opportunity. She also founded a farm animal retirement sanctuary, Heaven on Earth, in 2023.


rachel mielke

Rachel Mielke is the founder and CEO of Hillberg & Berk, a retail jewelry brand that blends design with purpose. Rachel's vision for Hillberg & Berk has always extended beyond simply creating beautiful jewelry; she has leveraged her company as a tool for social good, focusing on addressing gender-specific issues women face through philanthropy, campaigns, and organizing her business around a social enterprise model. Hillberg & Berk has proudly supported hundreds of organizations worldwide that uplift women. Rachel built Hillberg & Berk from her kitchen table into a national brand with 15 stores across Canada and a significant global online presence.

Rachel has served on many boards and philanthropic committees, including the National Board of Dress for Success Canada Foundation and Women Leading Philanthropy at The Royal University Hospital. She also serves as an honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy. Rachel has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in business and philanthropy, including an Honourary Doctor of Laws honoris causa (LLD) from the University of Regina, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal, and being named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list.


Dr. Mina Hoorfar

Dr. Mina Hoorfar, a trailblazer in engineering and the first female dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Victoria (UVic) in British Columbia, embodies the role of a transformative leader in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her journey began in Iran, where she earned her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Tehran, followed by a master’s and PhD at the University of Toronto after moving to Canada.

Dr. Hoorfar is deeply committed to fostering an inclusive academic environment, emphasizing the importance of education in unlocking opportunities. “Advanced education has given me tremendous opportunities far beyond what I ever imagined as a child in Iran,” she shares. This philosophy drives her efforts to support her colleagues and students in reaching their fullest potential, particularly advocating for women and equity-deserving groups in STEM. Prior to her current role at UVic, she significantly contributed to the establishment and growth of the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and led the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Laboratory, focusing on innovative solutions in energy, health, and environmental sustainability. At UVic, Dr. Hoorfar is leading the charge towards achieving 30% female enrolment in her faculty by 2030, a goal that is within close reach under her guidance. Her leadership not only enhances the faculty but also sets a standard for equity and diversity across the university and the broader Canadian society.


Lauri Thompson

Lauri is a seasoned strategist and connector with two decades of experience in international and community development. Her career has focused on empowering communities and individuals by linking them with vital resources and facilitating strategic planning to enhance their capabilities. Lauri's educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Business from Simon Fraser University and a Masters in International Development from the University of Manchester, UK. Over the years, she has specialized in philanthropic advising, strategic planning, and capacity building for nonprofits and social enterprises, including aspects like proposal writing, board development, and donor relations.

In 2011, Lauri founded Tapestry Philanthropy Partners, a firm dedicated to guiding individuals and families in creating impactful philanthropic legacies. Tapestry begins by helping clients articulate their values and envision the legacy they wish to leave, forming a personalized philanthropy criteria based on their emotional connections and key values. The firm conducts extensive research to find organizations that align perfectly with the client's interests, ensuring thorough vetting and maintaining communication to keep donors informed about the impact of their contributions. Serving a diverse client base from novice donors to well-established philanthropists, Tapestry engages at any point in the philanthropic journey, ensuring meaningful and effective philanthropic engagements.


Alex Nelson '12

Alex Nelson '12 is a dedicated advocate and PhD candidate passionately working towards ending homelessness in Canada. Alex leverages their education and expertise to drive impactful changes in housing policies at national levels. Committed to ensuring the human right to housing, Alex focuses on community-based leadership to address and solve housing crises.

Beyond policy, Alex is deeply invested in sustainable development, community engagement, and promoting equity and diversity. They are a staunch supporter of non-binary people, actively working to include and uplift diverse voices in all aspects of their advocacy.