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Our Team

Wear 2 Start is a non-profit society and registered federal charity. We are a volunteer-driven organization that operates through the generosity of volunteers, community partners and private donations.

View Annual Report and Financial Statement

Our People

Board Directors

Alessandra Ringstad, PastPresident

A professional facilitator/coach with 20+ years’ local and overseas experience, Alessandra holds a BA in German and French as well as adult education, business coaching, and other certifications. Her volunteer work includes YMCA Board of Endowment Trustees, Mosaic, Royal Victoria Yacht Club, mentoring youth entrepreneurs and human resources for BCCPHR.

Leelah Dawson, President

Leelah has served as dean of the School of Business and Media at BCIT, associate dean of the business school at Camosun and dean of Social Sciences and Management at Langara College. She has been a volunteer director at the Burnaby Board of Trade and served on the Board of Examiners for CPA Canada.

Alison Rhynas, Secretary

A family and civil litigation lawyer, Alison completed her law degree at UVic and her BA at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS, her hometown. She is a lawyer supervisor for Pro Bono Students Canada and sits on the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, Young Lawyers Section executive for Victoria.

Heather Catte, Treasurer

Heather has her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an Accounting major and is in the final stages of completing her Chartered Professional Accounting designation. She works as a Manager with Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and has experience supervising, coaching and mentoring diverse teams through her professional life and through volunteering.

Tara Keeping

Tara is a WestJet flight attendant who also runs her own event planning business, Tiger Lily Events. She served as a program host for several programs on Shaw TV and volunteered with a number of other organizations, including Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Mental Health Association and Canadian Parents for French.

Susan Mills

Susan, who first joined W2S as a boutique consultant in 2021, has more than 25 years of analytical and investigative experience. She spent 10 years working with the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP and previously served as a senior policy analyst with the Office of the Correctional Investigator, both in Ottawa.

Laura Savage

Laura is a commercial property manager, currently managing Westshore Town Centre in Langford. With 16+ years of experience, she is still learning the art of listening and believes communication is the key to workability. Her volunteer experience includes large and small events, golf tournaments, casino nights and performances and has spent many hours fundraising for her daughter’s schools and dance studios. Introduced to Wear 2 Start in the early 2000’s, Laura was reintroduced to the organization at the Women’s Expo in 2023 and was inspired by their work. She’s motivated by a desire to give back to those needing support as they start the next chapter in their lives.

Angela Mangiacasale,

Angela has been a journalist in Ontario and BC, holds an undergraduate journalism degree (Ryerson) and master’s in political behaviour (University of Essex, England, on a Rotary Foundation scholarship). She has volunteered with Royal Jubilee Hospital, Music by the Sea, Times Colonist book sale and Raise a Reader literacy campaigns.

Staff Members

Zoey Wells, Program Manager

As a professional Fundraiser and Relationship Manager with a non-profit background, Zoey brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in Production Management, Sales, Human Resources, Volunteer Management and Special Events.

Zoey is thrilled to be joining Wear2Start and working with our amazing group as we continue to make an impact in the lives of self-identified women in our community!

Boutique Consultants

The Globe and mail once called our service “a wardrobe fairy godmother,” but it’s really a team of fairy godmothers. They work in our Johnson Street boutique where the magic happens – sorting and culling the constant stream of donations we are fortunate enough to receive from individuals, groups and retailers and meeting with clients to help them select a mix-and-match wardrobe that will help them polish their appearance so they can take the next step toward a successful future with greater confidence. Our boutique consultants come from a variety of backgrounds, including fashion design and retailing. They all have a great sense of style and love helping our clients put together a wardrobe. We know what a great job they do from the many, many notes and cards of thanks we receive.

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